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Undergraduate Research Journal

Abstract

Peasants often have been the last class in society to be included within a new political, economic, or social system. Such a concept is especially true regarding communism. When faced with the peasantry, Marxist ideology does not specifically describe them; therefore, it leaves practitioners of the ideology to deal with them as they see fit. Two communist regimes that have shown significant differences in the relationship with their peasant populations are those of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Soviet Union) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea). Peasants in the Soviet Union rejected the Bolshevik’s harsh implementation of Marxist communism and protested (often times violently) against the change. When compared to the Soviet Union peasantry, the DPRK peasants were in favor of implementing communism in their state. However, their support does not mean that the DPRK peasants fared well in this system.

This paper will discuss the peasants’ reactions in the Soviet Union and the DPRK, as well as the two regimes’ approaches to the application of communism. Although peasants in the DPRK, like those in the Soviet Union, also ultimately suffered great hardships under the communist regime, they gained significantly greater amounts of support from the regime than did those in the Soviet Union during Lenin’s Bolshevik control thanks to Confucian traditions, anticolonial nationalism, and the DPRK’s founder Kim Il Sung.

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