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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union

Agricultural Workers

Agricultural workers, on both state farms and collective farms, formed the bottom layer of the social structure in 1989. They were the least well paid and the least educated, and they were severely underrepresented in the CPSU. Most agricultural workers performed unspecialized labor. Where specialization existed, it did so only to the extent that raising poultry or livestock demanded greater skill than growing crops. In general, mechanized agriculture benefited men more than women because men tended to operate the tractors while women continued to perform manual work.

Although all farmers cultivated state-owned farmland, in 1989 farm workers were divided into two categories. State farmers were technically employees of the state. Working with government-owned machinery and seed, they received wages from the state for their labor. In contrast, collective farmers theoretically owned their machinery and seed and shared the proceeds from the produce sold.

Data as of May 1989