The famine in the Volga region in 1921-1922, 1932-1933: causes. Historical facts


2018-04-02 02:21:24




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The Famine in the Volga region is one of the most tragic events in Russian history of the 20th century. When you read about him, it's hard to believe that it was in reality. It seems that the photos taken at the time - this is footage from the Hollywood trash-horror. Featured here, the cannibals, and the future Nazi war criminal, and robbers of churches, and the great polar Explorer. Alas, this is not fiction, but real events that occurred less than a century ago on the banks of the Volga.

The Famine in the Volga region was very difficult in the years 1921-22 and 1932-33. However, the reasons for it were different. In the first case the main one was the weather anomalies and the second the actions of the authorities. Details about these events will be discussed in this article. You will learn about how cruel was the famine in the Volga region. Photos presented in this article, are living witnesses of a terrible tragedy.

During Soviet times, were held in high esteem "news from the field". In personnel news programs and Newspapers have found their place many tons of grain. Even now it is possible to see on regional TV channels dedicated to this topic. However, spring and winter for most residents - just obscure agricultural terms. Tillers with a television channel may complain of a severe drought, heavy rainfall and other surprises of nature. But we usually turned a deaf ear to their troubles. The presence of bread and other products today as the eternal reality, not to be questioned. And agricultural disasters sometimes raise its price just a couple of rubles. But less than a century ago, the inhabitants of the Volga region was in the midst of a humanitarian catastrophe. At that time bread was worth its weight in gold. Today it is difficult to imagine how heavy was the famine in the Volga region.


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The causes of the famine of 1921-22

cannibalism during the famine in the Volga region

Lean and 1920, was the first prerequisite to disaster. In the Volga region gathered a total of about 20 million tons of grain. For comparison, the amount in 1913 reached 146,4 million pounds. The extreme drought has brought the spring of 1921. In may in Samara province killed winter crops began to wither crops. The appearance of locusts, which ate the remains of the harvest and lack of rain caused the deaths of almost 100 % of crops by early July. As a result of this famine in the Volga region. 1921 was a very difficult for most people in many parts of the country. In the Samara province, for example, starved for about 85% of the population.

famine in the Volga region in 1921

In the previous year as a result of "surplus" was withdrawn from the peasants, almost all food stocks. The kulaks withdrawal was made by requisition, on a "royalty" basis. Other residents were paid money for it at the rates established by the state. "Requisition" was in charge of this process. The prospect of the withdrawal of food or forced sale of many peasants did not like. And they began to take preventive measures. "Disposal" subject to all the reserves and surplus of bread - it was sold to speculators, mixed into animal food, eaten by themselves, cooked on its basis, or simply hidden. "Requisitioning," was originally distributed on grain and bread. In the years 1919-20 were added to the meat and potatoes, and by the end of 1920 almost all agricultural products. The peasants, after the surplus already in the autumn of 1920 were forced to eat seed grain. Very wide was the geography of hunger covered regions. This is the Volga (from the Udmurt Republic to the Caspian sea), South of modern Ukraine, part of Kazakhstan, the South Urals.

ogres-era famine in the Volga region

The actions of the authorities

Critical was the situation. The government of the USSR had no food reserves in order to stop the famine in the Volga region in 1921. In July of this year it was decided to ask for help from capitalist countries. However, the bourgeoisie were reluctant to help the Soviet Union. Only in early autumn, received the first humanitarian assistance. But she was a minor. In late 1921 - early 1922, the amount of humanitarian assistance has doubled. This is a great achievement of Fridtjof Nansen, the famous scientist and polar Explorer who organized a vigorous campaign.

Using the America and Europe

While the policy of the West was thinking about, what are the conditions to push the Soviet Union in exchange for humanitarian aid, religious and public organizations of America and Europe took over. Very great was their assistance in the fight against hunger. The work of the American relief administration (ARA) reached a particularly large scale. It was headed by Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce of the United States (by the way, an ardent anti-Communist). According to estimates, 9 February 1922, the United States ' contribution to the fight against hunger was estimated at 42 million dollars. For comparison, the Soviet government has spent a total of 12, 5 million dollars.

Activities undertaken in 1921-22.

However, the Bolsheviks were not inactive. Decree of the Central Executive Committee of Soviets in June, 1921, was organized by Pomgol. The Commission was empowered in the field of distribution and food supply. And on the ground created such a Commission. Abroad, actively carried out the purchase of bread. Special attention was paid to help farmers in sowing winter crops in 1921 and spring in 1922. About 55 million pounds of seed was purchased for this purpose.

The Soviet government used the famine to deal a crushing blow to the Church. January 2, 1922, the Presidium ofOf the Central Executive Committee ruled to liquidate the Church property. It was declared good purpose - the proceeds from the sale of property owned by the Church, should be directed on purchase of medicines, food and other essential goods. During 1922 were seized property from the Church, the cost of which was estimated at 4.5 million gold rubles. It was a huge amount. However, the stated purpose was directed only 20-30% of the funds. The main part was "used" to kindle the fire of world revolution. And the other is simply stolen by officials on the ground in the process of storage, transportation and withdrawal.

The horrors of the famine of 1921-22

About 5 million people died from hunger and its consequences. Four times increased mortality in the Samara region, reaching 13 %. Most of all they are suffering from hunger are children. There were at that time the cases of parents deliberately got rid of extra mouths to feed. It was noted even cannibalism during the famine in the Volga region. Surviving children became orphans and replenish the army of homeless. In the villages of Samara, Saratov and especially of the Simbirsk province residents attacked the local councils. They demanded the issuance of rations. People ate all the cattle, and then started for the cats and dogs and even people. Desperate measures forced people going famine in the Volga region. Cannibalism was just one of them. People sold all their possessions for a piece of bread.

Prices during the hunger

At that time the house could be bought for a bucket of sauerkraut. Urban residents were selling the property for a song and somehow held on. However, in villages the situation became critical. Food prices have soared. Famine in the Volga region (1921-1922) led to the fact that speculation began to flourish. In February 1922, Simbirsk on the market pounds of bread could be purchased for 1200 rubles. And by March he asked for a million. The price of potato reached 800 thousand rubles. for PUD. While the annual earnings of an ordinary worker amounted to about a thousand rubles.

Cannibalism during the famine in the Volga region

famine in the Volga region

In 1922, with increasing frequency began to arrive in the capital, reports of cannibalism. Summaries for January 20 mentioned cases of it in Simbirsk and Samara provinces, and also in Bashkiria. It was observed wherever there was a famine in the Volga region. Cannibalism 1921 began to gain new momentum in the following, 1922. The newspaper "Pravda" on January 27, wrote that in starving areas there is rampant cannibalism. In districts of the Samara province the people driven by hunger to madness and despair, eating human corpses, and devoured their dead children. That's what led to the famine in the Volga region.

Cannibalism 1921 and 1922 were documented. For example, the report of a member of the Executive Committee of April 13, 1922 on the audit of the village Lyubimovka, located in Samara region, it was noted that "savage cannibalism" takes in the movie is massive in form. In the oven one resident he found a welded piece of flesh, and in the hall - a pot of meat. Near the porch and found a lot of bones. When the woman asked about where she got the flesh, she admitted that her 8-year-old son died and she cut him to pieces. Then she killed his 15-year-old daughter while the girl slept. Cannibals the time of the famine in the Volga region in 1921, it was recognized that not even remember the taste of human meat, because eating it in a state of unconsciousness.

The Newspaper "Nasha zhizn" reported that villages in Simbirsk province on the streets of the corpses lying around, which nobody cleans. The lives of many people claimed the famine in the Volga region in 1921. Cannibalism was for many the only way out. It got to the point that the people began to steal each other's stocks of human meat, and some counties for food digging up corpses. Cannibalism during the famine in the Volga region 1921-22 no one is surprised.

Effects of the famine of 1921-22

ogres-era famine in the Volga region in 1921

In the Spring of 1922, according to the PGO, in the Samara province, 3.5 million hungry people, 2 million in Saratov, 1,2 - in Simbirsk, 651,7 thousands in Tsaritsyno, of 329,7 thousand in Penza, 2.1 million in Tetrasporic, 800 thousand - in the Chuvash Republic, 330 thousand in the German commune. In Simbirsk province only to the end of 1923 was overcome by hunger. Province for the autumn sowing had received food aid and seeds, although until 1924 the surrogate bread remained the staple food of the peasants. According to the census, held in 1926, the population of the province decreased by about 300 thousand people since 1921 From typhus and starvation killed 170 thousand, 80 thousand were evacuated and approximately 50 thousand fled. In the Volga region, according to conservative estimates, has killed 5 million people.

Famine in the Volga region of 1932-1933.

In 1932-33 famine repeated. Note that the history of its origin in this period is still murky and distorted. Despite the huge amount of published literature, the debate about it continues to this day. It is known that in 1932-33, in the Volga region, the Kuban and in Ukraine, there was a drought. What then are his reasons? Because traditionally in Russia, hunger was associated with loaves crop failures and droughts. Weather in 1931-32 was not very favourable for agriculture. However, the massive crop failure breads she could not cause. So this famine was not a result of natural disasters. He was the investigation carried out by Stalin's agrarian policy and the reaction of the peasantry to it.

Famine in the Volga region: causes

The Immediate cause can be considered antichristians policy of grain procurement andcollectivization. It was held for the solution of tasks of strengthening of Stalin's power and the forced industrialization of the USSR. Ukraine, as well as the main grain regions of the Soviet Union, areas of complete collectivization, the famine struck (1933). Again the Volga region suffered a terrible tragedy.

After Carefully studying the sources, we can note a uniform mechanism for the establishment in these areas, hungry situation. All this forced collectivization, dispossession, forced grain procurement and public procurement of agricultural products, the suppression of the resistance of the peasants. On the inextricable link between famine and collectivization can be judged by the fact that in 1930 he stopped the band for the stable development of the village, which occurred after the hungry years 1924-25. Food shortages were already marked by 1930, when carried out the collectivization. In some regions of Northern Caucasus, Ukraine, Siberia, the Middle and Lower Volga because of the campaign on the harvesting of bread in 1929 any food difficulties. This campaign became the catalyst for collective-farm movement.

famine in the Volga region 1932 1933

In 1931, it would seem, was to be fed to the grain, as in grain regions of the USSR due to favourable weather conditions attracted a record crop. According to official data, it 835,4 million tons, although in reality not more than 772 million But it turned out differently. Winter-spring 1931, was a harbinger of future tragedy.

The Famine in the Volga region in 1932 was the natural outcome of Stalin's policies. Many letters to the farmers of the North Caucasus, the Volga region and other regions of the plight was received in the editorial office of the national Newspapers. These letters are the main reasons for the difficulties was called policy of collectivization and grain procurement. The responsibility was often attributed to Stalin personally. Stalin's collective farms, as shown by the experience of the first 2 years of collectivization, in essence, had nothing to do with the interests of the peasants. The authorities regarded them mainly as a source of marketable grain and other agricultural products. The interests of farmers were not taken into account.

Under pressure from the Centre, local authorities raked all the bread from individual farms and collective farms. By "the conveyor method" of cleaning, as well as counter-plans and of other measures was strict control over the crop. Activists and disgruntled peasants was ruthlessly persecuted: exiled, dispossessed, put on trial. The initiative proceeded from the top leadership and Stalin personally. Thus, from the very top was the pressure on the village.

Migration of peasants to the cities

Large-Scale migration to the cities the peasant population, most young and healthy its members are also greatly weakened in 1932, the production potential of the village. People left the village at first because of the fear of dispossession, and then in search of a better life began to leave the farms. In the winter of 1931/32. because of the serious food situation began fleeing most active part of individual farmers and farmers in town and to work. It concerns particularly men of working age.

Mass exit from collective farms

Most farmers wanted to get out of them and back to the sole management. For the first half of 1932 was the peak of the mass outputs. At this time, in the RSFSR, the number of collectivized households decreased by 1370,8 thousand

Undermined the sowing and harvesting campaign of 1932

To the beginning of the planting season in the spring of 1932 the village was undermined farming and a difficult food situation. Therefore, this campaign could not be carried out qualitatively and in time for objective reasons. Also in 1932, failed to remove at least half of the harvest. A great shortage of grain in the USSR after the end of the harvest and grain procurement campaign for the year arose because of both subjective and objective circumstances. The latter include the already mentioned above, the consequences of collectivization. Subjective became, first, the peasants ' resistance to collectivization and grain procurement, and secondly, carried out by Stalin in the village policy of repression and grain procurement.


The Main breadbasket of the Soviet Union swept the famine, which was accompanied by all its horrors. The situation is repeated 1921-22: the cannibals the days of famine in the Volga region, countless deaths, a huge food prices. A terrible picture of the sufferings of many rural residents draw numerous documents. In grain-prone areas of complete collectivization, focused on the epicenters of hunger. The situation of the population they were about equally heavy. It can be judged according to OGPU reports, eyewitness accounts, closed correspondence with the Centre of local authorities, the reports of the political departments of the MTS.

In particular, it is established that in the Volga region in 1933, almost completely depopulated following the settlements located in territory of the bottom Volga region: the village of Old Grivki, village Ivleva, farm them. Sverdlov. There were cases of corpse-eating, as well as the graves of famine victims in General, wells in the villages of Penza, Saratov, Volgograd and Samara regions. This was, as we know, in Ukraine, the Kuban and the don.

The actions of the authorities

The actions of Stalin's regime to resolve the crisis boiled down to the fact that residents are caught in the hunger, allocated significant seed and food loans, with personal approval of Stalin. Grain exports fromcountry by decision of the Politburo in April 1933, was discontinued. In addition, emergency measures were taken to strengthen the collective from the point of view of organizational-economic with the political departments of the MTS. The system of planning grain collection in 1933 changed: fixed rate of delivery of steel to set on top.

Today it is proved that the Stalin leadership in 1932-33 was suppressed hunger. It continued to export abroad the bread and ignore the attempts of the public around the world to help the people of the USSR. The recognition of hunger would mean the recognition of the collapse of the model of modernization of the country, selected by Stalin. But it was unrealistic in terms of strengthening the regime and the defeat of the opposition. However, even within the chosen policy regime Stalin had the possibility of mitigating the extent of the tragedy. According to D. Penner, he could hypothetically take the advantage of the normalization of relations with the United States and to purchase surplus food at cheap prices. This step could be regarded as evidence of the goodwill of the US towards the Soviet Union. The act of recognition would "cover" the political and ideological expenses of the Union, if she agreed to take the help of America. From this step, moreover, would benefit American farmers.

Memory of the victims

famine in the Volga region cannibalism 1921

Assembly of the Council of Europe on 29 April 2010, adopted a resolution on honoring the memory of the inhabitants of the country who died in 1932-33 as a result of hunger. This document States that this situation was created "deliberate" and "brutal" actions and policies of the regime of the time.

In 2009, in Kiev opened "the memorial in commemoration of famines 'victims in Ukraine". In this Museum, in the Hall of remembrance, the Book of memory of victims in 19 volumes. It recorded 880 thousand names of people who died from hunger. And it is only those whose death is documented today. N. A. Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan, 31 may, 2012 in Astana opened a memorial dedicated to the victims of famine.

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