Ryazan Miracle - how Khrushchev ordered agriculture to catch up and overtake America in 3 years

On May 22, 1957, Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, in his speech made the slogan “Catch up and overtake America in 3 years for the production of meat, milk and butter per capita!”, And also build communism by 1980.

“Comrades, you have to understand what forces the Soviet people have accumulated now. This is a political phenomenon, the result of many years of work by our party ... ”And indeed, the forces have accumulated. The first secretary of the Ryazan Regional Committee of the CPSU Alexei Larionov made an ambitious statement, promising to triple the state procurement of meat in the region not in three years, but in one year! The promises, despite their unreality, were approved by the regional party conference, and on January 9, 1959, on the urgent recommendation of Khrushchev and contrary to the opinion of the Agricultural Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU, they were published in Pravda. Several other areas have answered the “challenge”.

The Ryazan region had not yet begun to implement its grandiose program, as awards had already poured on it: in February 1959, she received the Order of Lenin, and Larionov in December of the same year became the Hero of Socialist Labor. cattle for 1959, as well as most of the dairy herd and producers, adding all the cattle raised by collective farmers on their farms taken away against receipt.

However, even these measures were not enough, in connection with which the purchase of livestock in neighboring regions was organized at the expense of funds from public funds intended for the purchase of cars, the construction of schools and other needs.

Interestingly, the meat disappeared from the market altogether. That is, colossal volumes were surrendered on paper - and meat stopped flowing to stores.

On December 16, 1959, the local authorities solemnly reported on the 100% fulfillment of the plan: the region formally sold 150 thousand tons of meat to the state, three times exceeding the supply of the previous year. Thus, according to statistical indicators, meat production increased by 3.8 times over the year, and procurement by 3 times. Obligations for 1960 were even higher - to procure 180 thousand tons of meat.

By the way, then the artist Ilya Glazunov was sent to Ryazan to create a series of portraits of agricultural leaders - and he painted these leaders with might and main. Khrushchev was delighted. However, in 1960, the procurement of meat did not exceed 30 thousand tons: after the mass slaughter of the previous year, the livestock decreased compared to 1958 by 65%. Collective farmers, whose livestock was "temporarily" withdrawn on receipt, refused to cultivate the collective farm land, which led to a 50% drop in grain production. By the end of 1960, it became impossible to hide the disaster, and the scam was exposed.

To conduct an investigation, a special commission arrived from Moscow, seeing no other way out on September 22, 1960, Larionov shot himself. He was already posthumously stripped of the title of Hero of Socialist Labor.