Although there were proposals dating from the early 1890s to establish small-scale farming based on the establishment of the khutor, it was not until the 1911 Stolypin rural reforms that the khutor came into existence as part of the land settlement provisions for "individual enclosures." The khutor lasted for three decades before it was eliminated by the Soviets. In contrast to the long-standing system of land ownership under which farms were held and worked in common by an entire village, under the Stolypin reforms an individual could now own a plot of land on which was also located his house and farm buildings. This totally self-contained farm unit was the khutor.
Never important as an agricultural institution either under the tsars or during the Soviet period, khutors, along with the closely related otrub (where only the farmland was enclosed), accounted for less than 8 percent of total farm output at its height before the Bolshevik Revolution and for a mere 3.5 percent of all peasant land as of January 1, 1927. Only in the northwest and western parts of the Russian Republic were khutors an important part of peasant agriculture—11 percent and 19 percent of all households, respectively.
Before collectivization in 1929, there were two forces causing the number of khutors to fluctuate in number. On the one hand, as a result of the revolution and the civil war that followed, many of the khutors once again became part of a communal mir. But, on the other hand, the 1922 Land Code permitted peasants to leave the mir, and in some places peasants were encouraged to create khutors. As a consequence, the number of khutors increased in the western provinces as well as the central industrial region of Russia.
In spite of its relative numerical unimportance, the khutor remained a thorn in the side of the Soviet leadership, who rightly saw the often prosperous khutor as inconsistent with the larger effort to socialize Soviet agriculture. The khutor, which existed alongside collective farm agriculture in the 1930s, was finally dissolved at the end of the decade. All peasant homes located on the khutors were to be destroyed by September 1, 1940, without compensation to the peasants who lived in them. Nearly 450,000 rural households were transferred to the collective farm villages. The khutor as a form of private agriculture in Russia became extinct.
See also: collectivization of agriculture; mir; peasant economy; stolypin, peter arkadievich
Danilov, V. P. (1988). Rural Russia under the New Regime. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.