directives "from above," local workers were expelled from the party and tried as traitors and organizers of sabotage. Thus, on 1 January 1932, the administrations of 250 collective farms were disbanded, administrators of 345 collective farms were tried on charges of hampering the work of grain procurements in 146 raions of the Ukrainian SSR (out of a total of 484 raions), and 355 people were dismissed from their posts. During 1931 and the first half of 1932, 80 percent of the secretaries of raion party committees were replaced in Ukraine.30
Under these circumstances, the members of the central Soviet leadership began to express concern. The last chance for them to avert an imminent famine was the III Conference of the CP(b)U, which took place in the summer of 1932. Stalin's closest associates, Molotov and Kaganovich, also participated in the conference. Together with Stanislav Kossior, who was the head of the CC CP(b) U since 1928, there were three members of the Politburo of the CC of the All-Union Communist Party (b) present at this gathering.
The stenographic notes from this assembly were published in book form in 1932. However, in the archives I managed to find a carefully edited authentic text, which contained those sections that were not published later in the official version. In their speeches some raion leaders strove not only to describe the difficult situation in the villages but also to demonstrate that it was not advisable to shift the main responsibility for this situation onto the lower chains of command, primarily the recently created raions. But neither the raion representatives' speeches nor the tentative attempts of some Soviet Ukrainian leaders to point out the complex state of affairs of Ukraine's agriculture succeeded in softening Stalin's emissaries. The Kremlin leaders believed that the grain procurement plan was a realistic one and that, with their requests, the leaders of the Ukrainian SSR were merely trying to make life easier for themselves.
In his concluding speech Stanislav Kossior repeated his criticisms of the speeches of certain secretaries of raion party committees, emphasizing: "So far not everyone has realized [their] responsibility for implementing the tasks... We must put a decisive end to such frames of mind. After what has been said at the conference, after the speeches by comrades Molotov and Kaganovich and your unanimous approval of these speeches we should unfold work in a Bolshevik manner and ensure that the difficulties being experienced by certain raions of Ukraine are swiftly overcome.''31
30 Ibid., p. 160.
31 III Conference of the CP(b)U. 6-9 July 1932. Stenographic report. Kharkiv, Partvydav, 1932, pp. 145, 147.