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Genesis: Historical research
Reference:

Natural and Climatic Conditions of the Territory and Agriculture in Kalmykia (1917-1925)

Badmaeva Ekaterina Nikolaevna

ORCID: 0000-0002-4472-5535

Doctor of History

Associate Professor, Director, International Scientific Center "Oirats and Kalmyks in the Eurasian Space" of Kalmyk State University named after B. B. Gorodovikov

358000, Russia, Republic of Kalmykia, Elista, Pushkin str., 11, office 205

en-badmaeva@yandex.ru
Erdneeva Baina Anatol'evna

student, II course, Kalmyk State University named after B. B. Gorodovikov, 358000 Russian Federation, Republic of Kalmykia

358000, Russia, Republic of Kalmykia, Elista, Pushkin str., 11

bainabaina06@mail.ru

DOI:

10.25136/2409-868X.2022.9.38680

EDN:

OUFARG

Received:

28-08-2022


Published:

04-10-2022


Abstract: The object of research is agriculture of Kalmykia in 1917-1925. The subject of the study is the development of this branch of agriculture in the specified period. The purpose of the work is to identify the influence of natural and climatic conditions of the territory on farming in the region. To this end, the article: analyzes the development of the agricultural sector of Kalmykia in the early years of Soviet power; characterizes the natural and climatic conditions of the territory, soil features of various natural zones of the region. The novelty of the study is an attempt to identify and analyze the influence of climatic factors, soil characteristics of the territory on the development of agriculture, the quality and quantity of grain products produced in the region. The novelty of the study is an attempt to identify and analyze the influence of climatic factors, soil characteristics of the territory on the development of agriculture, the quality and quantity of grain products produced in the region. The relevance of the article lies in the fact that on the basis of the study, positive and negative experiences of farming on land in extreme conditions of nature and climate of Kalmykia have been identified, which can be used today, since the current agrarians of the region face almost the same problems as their distant ancestors a hundred years ago: drought, degradation and desertification of lands, etc. Taking into account the accumulated experience will certainly help to effectively solve the modern problems of agriculture in the Republic of Kalmykia. The main conclusion made in the article based on the results of the analysis of agriculture of the KAO in the 1920s: the development of this branch of agriculture in the region during this period largely depended on difficult climatic conditions, soil characteristics of the territory. The results of the study can be used in the comparative study of the agrarian development of the regions of the USSR during the period of "war communism" and the NEP.


Keywords:

Kalmyk Autonomous Region, agriculture, peasants, nomadic economy, natural and climatic conditions, soil cover of the territory, area of crops, grain products, new economic policy, collectivization

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Climatic features, relief (geological and geomorphological conditions), inland water resources, soil cover of the territory together constitute the most important natural characteristics of a certain area, reflecting the essential features of the components of the natural environment, and predetermine, for example, the regional specifics of agriculture, which is under the direct influence of natural conditions. The natural and climatic features of the territory are the most important factor in choosing a person's economic activity and most directly affect the results of his production activities.

In Russian historiography, the problem of the influence of nature, climate and soil of the territory on agricultural production has not yet been sufficiently studied, but there are a number of works that indirectly investigate the problems we are considering [4; 25].

Regional historiography practically did not address a detailed analysis of the complex natural and climatic conditions of the territory in the context of the development of the agricultural sector of the Kalmyk Autonomous Region in the 1920s. Turning to this research problem, we would like to fill the existing gap in historical research to a certain extent.

Kalmyks, as is known, first appeared in the European part of Russia in the XVII century, having made a consistent and long journey from Central Asia and Siberia. One of the main reasons for the migration of the ethnos from their former habitats was the lack of pasture lands. The territory occupied by the Kalmyks in the XVIIXVIII centuries stretched from the Urals in the east to the northern part of the Stavropol Plateau, from Kuma and the northwestern coast of the Caspian Sea in the south and to the lower reaches of the Khoper and Medveditsa rivers in the north and the upper reaches of the Samara River in the northeast. The new nomadic lands were quite suitable for the Kalmyks, as they represented a huge forest-steppe space with extensive pastures, good herbage, a sufficient number of water sources necessary for year-round grazing, which they had four types of animals (sheep and goats, cattle, horses, camels). In summer, the Kalmyks, along with their cattle, usually stayed in the northwest of their nomads, and in winter, they moved to the southeastern pastures - to the Black Lands area and to other, warmer places. A rich selection of pasture lands, the possibility of seasonal migration, allowed Kalmyk livestock breeders to graze their cattle in natural conditions. Already in the XVIII century. there is a noticeable increase in the cattle breeding population of Kalmyks, there is an improvement in the material well-being of the people. However, over time, the nomads began to be oppressed in terms of land: the territory of their nomads gradually narrowed, mainly as a result of the colonization of the Kalmyks' pasture lands by Russian peasants, which intensified every year.

After the "compression" of the ethnos' nomadic territory for objective and subjective reasons, the Kalmyks began to live geographically and geographically within the modern borders of the Republic of Kalmykia. This territory in official Russian documents began to be referred to as the "Kalmyk Steppe", which entered the Astrakhan Province as an independent administrative unit. Separate groups of Kalmyks lived compactly in the villages of the Salsky district of the Don region, the Bolshederbetovsky ulus of the Stavropol province, the Kumsky aimag of the Tersk region, the southern part of the Chernoyarsky district of the Astrakhan province, mainly engaged in cattle breeding. However, some representatives of the Kalmyk diaspora, under the influence of local residents, having appreciated the advantages of arable farming, switched to agricultural labor, although such facts among nomads, including the Kalmyk steppe, I must say, were not so common.

In the XVIIIXIX centuries, the Kalmyk ulus of the Kalmyk steppe were one of the main suppliers to the All-Russian market of meat, wool, other livestock products, as well as thoroughbred horses for the tsarist army. Academician I. I. Lepekhin, highly appreciating the resilience of the Kalmyks and their amazing ability to cattle-breeding work, wrote with admiration and respect about the steppe people: "There is a benefit from them They occupy empty steppes, objectionable to any habitation. We get the best slaughter and working cattle from cattle breeding" [7, p.112]. N. A. Strakhov, the Chief Bailiff of the Kalmyk people, emphasized the practical benefits brought by the Kalmyks of Russia in his letter to the imperial administration: "The Kalmyk people deserve the attention of the government for their economic benefits, turning millions of dessiatines of barren and sundried land into millions of herds and herds, the empty steppe into a reliable and rich horse and cattle yard for the whole of Russia" [26, p. 42]. As we can see, both the government official and the famous scientist with great respect emphasized the merits of the Kalmyk people in the development of the lifeless steppe spaces of Southern Russia, the development of pastoral cattle breeding, which brought significant benefits to the Russian Empire.

The territory inhabited by the main part of the Kalmyks by the beginning of the XX century the Kalmyk steppe was a sparsely populated steppe area of the south-east of the European part of Russia. According to the 1916 census , the population density in the Kalmyk steppe was 1.9 people . per square mile (slightly higher in the Kyrgyz steppe 3.6), while in the Lower Volga Region as a whole, this indicator was significantly higher and equaled 6.1 people per 1 square mile. The population of the Kalmyk steppe before the beginning of the October Revolution according to the above census was 131583 people . The main part of its inhabitants were nomadic Kalmyks. By 1920, the population of the Kalmyk Autonomous Region had significantly decreased compared to the beginning of the First World War. If in 1914 there were 147.6 thousand Kalmyks in the Kalmyk steppe, then in 1920 there were 104.3 thousand people in the Kalmyk Autonomous Oblast (hereinafter KAO).[9, c.100109].The decrease in the number of the ethnic group and the weakening of the economic condition of the region were affected by the severe consequences of two wars world and civil, especially the latter, since the territory of the steppe region became the scene of the most violent confrontation of the Red Army and White Guard armies. Subsequently, however, there was a slight increase in the number of Kalmyks on the territory of the KAO due to natural growth, as well as the resettlement of Terek, Kuma, Orenburg, Ural, Don, Astrakhan Kalmyks who had previously lived in other Russian territories. The newly resettled Kalmyks began to live compactly mainly in the Bolshederbetovsky ulus of the KAO, as well as in the Volga, Manych, Primorsky ulus and the western part of the Ikitsokhurovsky ulus. In these villages they occupied more or less fertile lands, which allowed them to engage in agriculture.

The Kalmyk Autonomous Region by its level belonged to an arid uncomfortable territory with harsh natural conditions, unsuitable for the life of the population. The difficulty of farming due to the difficult natural and climatic conditions in most of the territory of Kalmykia was rightly noted in 1928 by the researcher of the Lower Volga Region P. Bogdanov: "The sandy steppe is completely waterless ... it is completely unsuitable for plowing, since plowing turns into loose sands until they are again fixed by vegetation. Clay steppe is also not suitable for plowing due to the heavy composition of clay soils. It should be added to this that a small percentage of humus makes soils infertile" [2, p. 86].

In the post-revolutionary years, the Soviet government showed a special interest in the further development of beef cattle breeding in Kalmykia. Already during the Civil War, signed by the leader of the Soviet state V. I. Lenin, the most important decree "On the protection and restoration of Kalmyk animal husbandry" was issued, prescribing "to develop a plan and practical measures for the restoration of Kalmyk animal husbandry" [6, pp.712-713]. In 1920, the number of Kalmyk cattle in comparison with 1914 noticeably thinned due to military requisitions for the needs of the Tsarist army in the First World War, the Red and White armies in the Civil War, as well as the difficult natural and climatic conditions of the region. In the autonomous region, by the end of this year, there were: 48,492 cattle, 69,257 sheep and goats, 4552 horses, 3661 camels. [1, p. 92].

After the end of the civil war, the government of the country set before the leadership of Kalmykia the task of accelerated development in the territory, not only cattle breeding, but also agriculture. Was there such an urgent need to make this decision on the steppe region? It is understandable when such tasks are set for regions where the peasant population had centuries-old experience of farming, rich agriculture. However, government decisions concerned, in addition to the Kalmyks, other nomadic and seminomadic peoples who in the past were practically not engaged in agriculture - Kazakhs, Kirghiz, Nogais, etc. Today, the motives for making government decisions are obvious to us. They were caused by a number of relevant interrelated and interdependent domestic factors, first of all, the widespread shortage of bread. The fundamental reason for the grain shortage is a significant reduction in the acreage in the country (in 1920 by 40% compared to 1913) and, in this connection, a sharp drop in the gross grain harvest.The leaders of the Soviet state feared the so-called "hunger riots" that swept through different regions of the country, mass protest actions that threatened the overthrow of Soviet power. In the spring of 1921, according to the estimates of some historians, about 200 thousand people were involved in anti-Soviet demonstrations across the country. In the conditions of mass discontent of the population with the current plight in the country, the power structures in the Center wanted first of all to solve the "bread problem" in the state and feed millions of hungry people as quickly as possible. In addition, bread was needed not only to provide food for the population, but also to obtain, through the sale of grain abroad, the necessary currency for the restoration of industry, the resuscitation of the weak and disorganized economy of the country. It is precisely for these, of course, good reasons, as it seems to us, that the USSR authorities decided to attract even previously non-producing or low-producing areas of the country, which primarily included regions with nomadic populations, to the production of such a valuable product for the population and the state as bread. However, it was not easy and difficult to instill the skills of agricultural labor to the nomads without success due to a number of reasons. For example, in such a specific nomadic region as the Kalmyk Autonomous Region, socio-psychological, economic and climatic factors have become a serious obstacle to the widespread and rapid introduction of agriculture. The fact is that the nomadic population of the KAO, which was mainly engaged in cattle breeding, practically had no own experience of farming. Also, a kind of "hindrance" to the mass introduction of agriculture in Kalmykia was the fact that at the beginning and even at the end of the 1920s, the indigenous population for the most part still led a traditional nomadic lifestyle, and the dense occupation of arable farming, as we know, presupposes settlement and a certain concentration of productive forces in one place. In the KAO in 1920, only 365 Kalmyk families had a stationary peasant farm [23, p. 122]. The authorities understood that only by transferring nomads to a sedentary lifestyle, they could be attracted to farming. P. Bogdanov emphasized this direct and immediate connection in Bolshederbetovsky ulus of the KAO, analyzing the socio-economic state of the Lower Volga region: "The main trends of the district are the settlement and, together with the settlement, the strengthening of the fieldgrowing trend. Already now we can say with confidence that nomadic cattle breeding is an obsolete form here" [2, p. 89]. Looking ahead, let's say that some work was carried out in terms of the transfer to the settlement of the indigenous population in the autonomous region: by the end of 1920, over 2.5 thousand Kalmyk families moved to the settlement in the Yandyk-Mochazhny ulus, almost as many in the Bagatsokhurovsky ulus [14, l. 291].

The situation with the introduction of the Kalmyks to agriculture was further complicated by the fact that most of the representatives of the ethnic group were Buddhist believers, and according to popular religious prejudices they were forbidden to plow the land. But the main reason why it was difficult and unprofitable to engage in agriculture in most of the Kalmykia uluses was the difficult climatic and soil conditions of the region. In Kalmykia in the early 1920s, as, by the way, at the present time, there was a huge shortage of suitable drinking water, which is one of the key elements of human life. A small amount of precipitation falls on its territory. The region is the driest area in the south of the European part of Russia. The annual precipitation is 210-340 mm . Summer in Kalmykia is hot, very dry; the duration of the warm period is 240-275 days. At this time of the year, sometimes in spring, dry winds and dust storms lasting for months occur in the region, blowing out the fertile layer of the earth and spikelets of already ripe grain crops.

According to soil conditions, the territory of Kalmykia is conditionally divided by biologists into several zones: steppe, dry-steppe, semi-desert and desert. In the last three zones, "light chestnut and brown semi-desert soils are mainly located, semi-desert salt flats with zonal soils of varying degrees of salinity are found in places" [3, p. 4]. In the desert, semi-desert, partly dry-steppe natural areas of the territory, due to weak snow cover, rare precipitation, the soil does not receive sufficient moisture necessary for biodiversity and intensive vegetation growth. In areas with a predominance of sandy loam and sandy soils, the Kalmyk population was mainly engaged in cattle breeding. The Kalmyks who lived closer to the Caspian Sea and Astrakhan specialized in the extraction of fish, salt, and the cultivation of melons. The economic activity of the steppe nomads of the southeastern regions of Kalmykia combined different spheres of activity - it was very difficult to engage in agriculture in these ulus because of the scarcity of soil and difficult climatic conditions.

Dark chestnut soils and chernozems in the soil cover of the territory of Kalmykia occupied a small area, but were the most fertile soils. They were located mainly in the northern and western part of the region the steppe zone of Bolshederbetovsky ulus, partly the dry-steppe zone of Manychsky ulus. The soils of these localities had the ability to provide digestible nutrients and moisture for the growth of natural herbage, cereals of grain crops. In the historical past, Russians and Ukrainians who moved here in search of free lands from other Russian territories were engaged in farming in these fertile areas. Besides them, grain crops on the territory of Bolshederbetovsky ulus were grown by Germans and Estonians living there. In the Est-Haginka farm, peasants had 2444 des of allotment arable land in land use, 3022 des of allotment pasture. In the large farm of Nemkhaginsky, which included the farms of Kugurt and Didenko, the majority of the population were Germans (out of 2236 people there were 2196 people, Russians 30 people, Kalmyks only 10 people). In 1927, the farm population numbered 2131 people. In the land use of the peasants of this settlement were: arable land 1873 des., steppe convenient 1669, 5 des. [15, l. 1]. The data given in archival documents on the use of farmland by farm residents for arable land and for walking animals indicate their parallel occupation, both agriculture and cattle breeding.

It was on the fertile lands of the extreme southwest of Kalmykia, as well as other territories of the steppe and dry steppe zones of the region, that in the second quarter of the XIX century. The Kalmyks also began to master agriculture. Two Kalmyks, Khara and Zhambo, were among the first to sow grain crops in the Kalmyk steppe Maloderbetovsky ulus. The first is on the lands in the vicinity of the ArshanZelmen river, the second is in the Ulduchin aimag. Initially, they hired Russian peasants for sowing and harvesting. However, the very next year, having mastered agricultural skills, they took up farming themselves. Kalmyks who lived in other Russian regions also began to join the occupation of agriculture. In the Kalmyk steppe by the beginning of the XX century. and the First World War, almost the entire sown area was in Remontensky uyezd and Bolshederbetovsky ulus. In the first years of Soviet power, the acreage in the region was noticeably reduced as a result of the policy of "war communism" and the most severe surplus, when not only surplus, but also necessary product was withdrawn from the peasant economy. For example, in 1920, the sown area in the Kalmyk Autonomous Region was only 8.2 thousand des., whereas in 1913, 1916 and 1917, the sown area occupied 273.5, 26.2 and 40.5 thousand des. respectively [16, l. 6, 16, 61; 17, l. 4343ob]. In fairness, I must say that the reduction in total acreage was also noted in the whole country: only in 1921 compared to 1920. they decreased by 7.1%, and for cereals by 8.3% [24, 135]. At that time, there was not enough agricultural equipment for farming in the KAO, there were 51 ploughs, roe deer and sabans, 2284 ploughs, 2092 buckers, 4681 harrows, 2 cultivators, 96 seeders, 2042 harvesters, 1309 hay harvesting machines, 28 threshing machines, winnower 704 [12, p. 24].

The Soviet state, even in the conditions of the ongoing civil war, found an opportunity to provide all possible assistance to the regions, certainly not to the extent required by them. Kalmykia "The Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR at the beginning of 1920 allocated 60 mowers, 40 lobogreek, 30 horse threshing machines, 58 horse rakes, 500 plows, 500 harrows, 100 seeders, 200 separators for milk processing, etc. for economic recovery" [10, p. 253]. Astrakhan factories, which produced plows, harrows, seeders, which were sent to Bagatsokhursky, Hosheutovsky and Yandyk-Mochazhny uluses, rendered significant assistance to the peasant farms of the KAO in equipping with agricultural equipment. In 1921, the Astrakhan provincial Executive Committee allocated 2 thousand tons of wheat and 150 thousand pounds of millet to the autonomous region of Kalmyks. He sent 24 stationary and mobile workshops, 292 specialist workers for the restoration of agricultural equipment [13, p. 88]. Similar assistance in the form of seed grain and agricultural equipment came from Georgia, Ukraine, Tambov province, the Lower Volga Region and other territories of the country. In addition, 55 thousand poods of wheat were imported by the CAO from abroad [5, l. 478; 18, l. 91ob].

The great work in organizing the sowing campaign of 1921 in the KAO was carried out by the regional sowing committee and the sowing committees established in the hospitable uluses Manychsky, Bolshederbetovsky and Maloderbetovsky. Village councils, on the instructions of the chairman of the regional sowing committee A.Ch. Chapchaev, organized self-taxation of wealthy peasants and 4 thousand pounds of grain were received into the fund of the sowing committees [19, L. 50].As a result of the assistance provided by the KAO from the Russian regions, Union republics, international organizations, organized work of regional and ulus sowing committees, as well as self-taxation of citizens, in the spring of 1921, over 42 thousand des were sown in the region. [20, L. 20].

The transition to the NEP in the country was accompanied by a departure from strict centralized management and the granting of some economic independence to the peasants. In the new political and economic situation, the peasantry has a certain freedom, in particular, in choosing grain crops for sowing, based on their own financial and material benefits. Kalmyk peasants began to sow more valuable grain crops more often, to increase the culture of agriculture, as evidenced by Report on the activities of the Economic Council of the Kalmyk Autonomous Region: "With the abolition of prodrazverstka and the introduction of the food tax, the desire of peasants to improve their economy by sowing technically valuable crops and food grains, as well as in improving land cultivation, is immediately noticed" [22, p.34].Kalmyks, who in some cases achieved good results in obtaining grain products, took an increasing part in the sowing campaigns of those years, along with Russian, Ukrainian, German, and Estonian peasants.

In general, it was peasant farms of different nationalities that became the main driving force in the revival of the region's economy. However, due to the low yield of the fields, the peasants did not fully comply with agricultural technology, the autonomous region still could not even meet its own needs for bread. In 1923 and subsequent years, the peasant farms of the KAO, taking into account the experience of previous years, the difficult natural and climatic conditions of the territory, began to sow drought-resistant varieties of grain crops, as well as expand the acreage. The authorities began to closely deal with the issues of helping peasants to equip their farms with agricultural equipment and machines. In April 1923, the Kalmyk Central Election Commission appealed to the federal government with a request to provide the region with at least 5 thousand double-ploughed plows and 1 thousand mowers, as well as harvest equipment. In the same year, this request was granted, and the Union People's Commissariat of Agriculture granted the KAO a loan for the purchase of agricultural equipment in the amount of 1 million rubles. By the decree of the SNK and the Central Executive Committee of June 23, the loan debt for the past years in the amount of 131 thousand rubles was written off from the Kalmoblast [8, p. 82].In the same month, the region was allocated a seed loan in the amount of 55,927 poods. [21, L. 55].

As we can see, in a difficult time for the country, the Soviet government found an opportunity to provide practical support to the Kalmyk peasantry, as a result of which, and mainly to the selfless work of the peasants themselves, the agriculture of the KAO began to slowly revive under the conditions of the new economic policy. But in 1924, Kalmykia, as well as some regions of the European part of the country, was gripped by a severe drought. There was practically no rain in the region from May to the end of August, and the bread burned out on significant acreage. Especially large losses of grain occurred in Bolshederbetovsky ulus the main bread-producing region of Kalmykia, as well as in the farms of the dry-steppe zone.

Kalmyk peasants, having barely survived the dry year of 1924, already the following year began to really restore the economy of their shaken farms. However, they did it, as before, by expanding the acreage. As K. Maksimov and I. Lidzhieva note in their study, by the end of 1925, the acreage in the region increased 4.5 times compared to 1920, which amounted to 38073 des. (41,500 ha.), which, however, was only one third of the pre-war level [11, p.54]. In the whole country, after the dry year of 1924, marked by a shortage of grain products, grain production reaches a level slightly lower than in the pre-war years 1908-1913. For example, in 1926, more than 4.5 million tons of grain were harvested a record figure for ten years of Soviet power, achieved, however, mainly due to the expansion of acreage.

A great help for the development of agriculture in the Kalmyk Autonomous Region during the years of the new economic policy was the permission in the country of free commodity exchange of agricultural products. The liberalization of the tax and economic policy of the Soviet state made it possible for enterprising and hardworking peasants to prove themselves in many areas of industrial activity. In particular, Kalmyk grain growers had funds for the purchase of drought-resistant varieties of seeds, as well as the purchase of agricultural machinery, inventory, which allowed them, during, according to all the rules of agricultural technology, to carry out agricultural work, which, of course, had a positive effect on their labor productivity, ultimately, on the quantitative growth of the grain products received. The peasant farms of the KAO directed part of the grain produced for sale, their own food and livestock feed. However, if they managed to sell some of the saved grain, the proceeds from the sale were small, since the Soviet state underestimated the prices of agricultural products. At first, only 30%, however, later 50% of grain products, the state bought from the peasants at market value, and the rest at low prices. In connection with such a pricing policy of the state, in the autonomous region at least some positive balance from the sale of grain had only peasant farms of grain-producing areas of the steppe zone, which on fertile lands received to a certain extent a good harvest. On the less fertile lands of the dry steppe zone, where the grain harvest was weak, only a few peasant farms had the opportunity to sell grain and, consequently, replenish the revenue side of their meager budget. Many of the Kalmyk peasants suffered serious losses, abandoned farming, returned to their usual work as cattle breeders, went to crafts, left in search of work in other regions of the country. It should be noted that it was in those years that the massive plowing of significant areas of infertile virgin lands began, which, due to low yields, were no longer sown, and dropped out of crop rotation. Grass does not grow on these "developed" lands due to damage to the humus of the soil for a long period, as a result of which they are not used even for grazing for some time. The consequences of such an irrational approach in the use of the land fund of the region, characteristic, however, in general for the Soviet era, are still being felt today in the form of the ongoing degradation and desertification of part of the Kalmyk lands.

Thus, in 1917-1925, yesterday's Kalmyks nomads began to join agricultural labor in the Kalmyk Autonomous Region more and more. However, in general, the Kalmyk population continued to engage in traditional pasture animal husbandry. The difficult climatic and soil conditions of the territory played a negative role in the development of agriculture in the region and obtaining sufficient volumes of agricultural products. The real disaster for farmers was the frequent droughts in the territory caused by a lack of precipitation. The leadership of the Kalmyk Autonomous Region, striving to overcome at least to some extent the serious dependence of agricultural industries on the natural and climatic factors of the territory, took a course for reclamation and watering of arid Kalmyk lands. This direction of agrarian transformations began to be implemented in Kalmykia mainly already in the 1930s, when the accelerated collectivization of agriculture was in full swing in the Soviet state and a rigid command and administrative system was gaining strength.

By the mid-1920s, demonstrative collective farms began to be organized in the USSR, which, as practice has shown, even with significant state support, for the most part did not achieve leadership positions in the production of agricultural products, in particular grain. Despite objectively worse indicators in the cultivation of grain in the collective farm sector, which was not numerous at that time compared to individual peasant farms, the country's leadership relied on the speedy organization of collective farms and state farms. The collectivization of agriculture, carried out at an accelerated pace, mass dispossession, carried out with unprecedented cruelty, eventually led to the unbridling of the peasantry, seriously drained the potential of the country's agriculture, and slowed down its development for a long time. Of course, they also affected the agricultural sector of Kalmykia.

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Review of the article "Natural and climatic conditions of the territory and agriculture in Kalmykia (1917-1925)" Natural and climatic conditions are one of the most important determining factors of the agricultural specifics of the development of a particular region, traditional forms of occupation of ethnic groups in a particular territory. The main occupation of the Kalmyks was extensive cattle breeding and one of the main reasons for their migration from Siberia to the European part of Russia was the lack of pasture lands. In the south of Russia (the modern territory of Kalmykia), there were also good conditions for cattle breeding and the semi-nomadic lifestyle that the Kalmyks led. The Kalmyks switched to agriculture quite late, in fact during the Soviet period in the early 1920s, when the state took measures to transfer the Kalmyks to a sedentary lifestyle and farming. It should be noted that in the second quarter of the 19th century, the most enterprising Kalmyks themselves began to switch to agricultural labor, under the influence of Russians. At first, the Kalmyks hired Russians to work on the land, but then they themselves began to sow crops. The subject of the study is the natural and climatic conditions of the territory and the development of agriculture in Kalmykia. The purpose of the study is to study the influence of the natural and climatic conditions of the steppe zone of southern Russia on the development of agriculture in Kalmykia in 1917-1925 (in the early years of Soviet rule). The research methodology is based on general scientific methods and special historical ones (comparative historical and system-comparative, etc.). The relevance of the article is determined by the fact that currently problems of a geopolitical and economic nature pose the task of providing the country with food and increasing the country's food security, which actualizes the problems of agricultural production in various natural and climatic regions of the country. In these conditions, the task is to adopt the positive aspects of the Soviet period and study the measures of the authorities for the development of agriculture in such a risky steppe zone as Kalmykia. The scientific novelty of the work is determined by the fact that the problem of agricultural development in Kalmykia has not been the subject of special research, and the problem of the influence of nature, climate and soil of the territory on agricultural production has also not been sufficiently studied. The article attempts to show the influence of nature, climate and soil on agriculture, identifies the main risks of farming in such a difficult climatic zone, measures taken by the authorities to spread agriculture in the UK Style, structure, content. The style of the article is academic, the language is clear and concise. The material of the article will be understandable not only to specialists, but also to a wide range of readers. The appeal to the opponents is presented in the analysis of the material collected by the author, a good knowledge of the topic and related topics of the issue under study, a sufficiently in-depth analysis of various sources and literature on the topic under study as a whole. The bibliography of the reviewed article as a whole indicates knowledge of the subject of the study and also indicates that the author has raised a serious and to date poorly researched topic. The author's conclusions are objective and follow generally from the work carried out by the author. It should be noted that the author rightly notes that in the 1920s the Kalmyks, who had previously led semi-nomadic extensive cattle breeding, began to switch to agriculture. Difficult climatic and soil conditions, as well as lack of water, had a negative impact on the development of agriculture and obtaining a good volume of products. The course of land reclamation and irrigation of arid territories was taken already in the 1930s, when a course was taken for virtually forced collectivization, which also had a negative impact on the peasantry itself and the development of agricultural production in Kalmykia as a whole. The article will be of interest to historians, cultural scientists, biologists, agronomists, meliorators and a wide range of readers interested in the history and culture of the peoples of the country, as well as those interested in the reforms of the Soviet government in the 1920s and 1930s. The article is written on an interesting topic, has a scientific novelty and is recommended for publication.
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