Another method of terror against Ukrainians: why the USSR introduced a tax on trees and bushes

Alina MilsentLifestyle
There was a tax on trees and bushes in the USSR. Source: Created with the help of AI

In its attempts to destroy the Ukrainian village, the Soviet government resorted to terrible methods. Of course, nothing can compare to the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in terms of the scale of the tragedy, but there were other ways of covert genocide. For example, a tax on fruit trees and bushes.

Peasants, who had already had everything taken away from them by the collective farms, had to pay for an apple tree in their garden or a raspberry bush near their house. People were forced to cut down trees, which subsequently led to a fruit shortage that could not be overcome for decades. How and why the USSR introduced a tax on trees and bushes, read in the OBOZ.UA article.

Government directives

Taxes on trees and shrubs were introduced several times: in 1929, 1939, 1948, and 1953, just before Stalin's death.

It is said that this idea belonged either to Stalin personally or to Minister Zverev. The tax was abolished only in 1954.

Peasants in the USSR worked for collective farms, and taxes were an additional burden for them. According to the law, arable land, every animal owned by a collective farmer, and every fruit tree and bush were taxed.

Taxes were calculated from each farm according to the area of the land plot. The financial authorities issued detailed payment notices: these documents specified the amount of money or in-kind and clearly stated the deadline for making payments.

An attempt to destroy the village

Villagers, unable to pay taxes, were forced to cut down trees and bushes. People had nothing to pay with, and non-payment was severely punished. Exemplary punishments were carried out by brigades of "buksirs" and Red Army soldiers.

As a result of the introduction of this tax, dozens of varieties of apples, pears, plums, apricots, currants, cherries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, etc. were destroyed.

Some crops, such as chishkun, quince, nut varieties, cherry hybrids, peaches, and an ancient type of early summer pears that are very fragrant and sweet, simply disappeared.

Eyewitnesses say that after the tax was abolished, peasant collective farmers were finally allowed to have larger plots of land. However, to be able to plant an orchard of apple, cherry, or pear trees, they had to go around all the neighboring towns and villages in search of cuttings, as there were only a few surviving fruit trees. The hardest part was restoring the population of apricots and nuts.

The villagers had always treated trees with respect, and after the massive felling and taxes, they began to appreciate the opportunity to have a small garden near their homes. Trees frozen or broken by the storm were often mourned, and spring planting turned into a kind of holiday and symbolic act.

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