In 1931 Joseph Stalin ordered that the kulaks “be liquidated as a class.” Over the next three years an estimated six million Soviet subjects who were called “kulaks” were shot, starved to death, or sent off to slave labor camps in Siberia where they perished.

Who were these people who were so hated by Stalin? They were peasants who owned eight acres of land or more. They owned more than one cow. They produced enough grain to feed not only their own family, but also enough to sell and make money to set aside and improve their lot. Alexander Solzhenitsyn said that you could spot a kulak’s house because it has two stories instead of one. A kulak’s house may have some bricks as it’s siding instead of just wood. A kulak employed farm hands and paid them.

Stalin’s predecessor, Vladimir Lenin, called all kulaks “vampires, leeches, and bloodsuckers”. You see, the kulaks resisted the socialists’ plans to “collectivize” all industries and farms. Collectivization is the government telling some people that they have “too much” of something, then the government sends in secret police or soldiers to take the land or business, and put the property owners in a place where the government thinks “trouble makers” need to go (like a concentration camp). In collectivization all this stealing is done “for the good of the collective”…and all the collected property is then redistributed to the poor.

Except in the Soviet Union the property stayed in the hands of the elites who ruled in the government, the poor stayed poor, and all the kulaks who got in the way of a socialist utopia….well they were all murdered.