Kuzmenko V. Everyday Life of Rural Residents of the Ukrainian SSR in the Late 1940-1960s on Materials of Chernihiv Region

Українська версія

Thesis for the degree of Candidate of Sciences (CSc)

State registration number


Applicant for


  • 07.00.01 - Історія України


Specialized Academic Board

Д 26.001.20

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv


The thesis studies everyday life of rural residents in Ukrainian SSR in the late 1940-1960s on the example of Chernihiv region. The research investigates social, economic, cultural features of everyday life of the peasantry following the analysis of numerous sources. It has been established that the peasant spent majority of time working on the collective farm. At the same time, the peasants drew significant attention to their own household. It has been stated that there was a division of labor depending on the age and gender both on the collective farm and in own household. The amount and items of incomes and costs in a peasant household of the region in the late 1940-1960s have been studied and compared with profits of collective farmers in other regions of the Ukrainian SSR. The role of the market in a daily life of the peasantry, their profits from the sold goods, best-selling products among collective farmers has been shown. The role of side jobs, ‘unearned incomes’ received by peasants and its correlation with work on collective farms has been stressed. The role of agrarian reforms introduced by M.S. Khrushchev which contributed to the improvement of the farmers’ financial situation has been emphasized. The research has analyzed rural society in the context of the relationship between the peasantry and management of collective farms and the party, their impact on the condition of agriculture in the region, establishment of a model of relations between the farmers and the government. Daily production of collective farms as the main economic units in rural regions in the late 1940-1960s has been highlighted. The role of the “land issue”, abuses of collective farm benefits and the usage and embezzlement of property of collective farms in the daily life of the Soviet countryside has been stressed. The role of measures taken by the state to encourage development of agriculture, specifically organization of ‘socialistic competitions,’ awarding of the most successful workers, strengthening of control over effective use of the commercial plans by collective farms has been specified. The author has shown the impact of the state policy in agriculture as well as social and economic situations in the country on the attitude of the peasants in the region to collective farm system and government in general. The main forms of protests against the collective farm system and the measures taken by that regime to establish control over production life of the village have been reviewed. Governmental measures dealing with outreach of communist ideology among peasants and its impact on the development of rural society have been highlighted. Complaints and petitions of peasants to the authorities, mass media materials contributing to identification of the main problems about which the farmers were concerned have been analyzed. The thesis has also reviewed the condition of social, transport and cultural infrastructure of countryside and its influence on the daily life strategies of peasants. It has been stressed that modernization of infrastructure and change of daily living conditions in countryside such as road setting, expanding of railway transportation, development of regular bus services, electrification and radiofixation of villages, establishment of permanent phone and postal services had a significant impact on daily life of peasants. It has been stated that majority educational, health and cultural institutions depended on financial support of local collective farms. That is why their condition was unsatisfactory. It has been mentioned that there was a hard situation with provision of peasants of the region with commodities. Shortage of goods, limited variety of goods were common for country shops which contributed to shopping in the cities particularly during acquiring of home appliances, bicycles, household products, construction materials. The thesis presents the place of the family in life of rural society of those times and certain individual in particular. The increased role of the woman in public production life of the village as well as in the family has been emphasized. Leisure of peasantry of those times in Chernihiv region and the influence of the party and governmental structures on it have been reviewed. The role of collective farm clubs which were the main leisure spot for peasants and were particularly popular among youth has been shown. It has been emphasized that the main popular leisure were movies, dance, concerts and local amateur performances. Leisure not related to the club has been described.


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