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Encyclopedia > Russian famine of 1921
Help!, a Soviet poster from 1921.
Help!, a Soviet poster from 1921.

The Russian famine of 1921, which began in the early spring of that year, and lasted through 1922, was a true famine: hunger so severe that it was doubtful that seed-grain would be sown rather than eaten. At one point, relief agencies had to give grain to the railroad staff to get their supplies moved. Famine, which killed an estimated 5 million, affected mostly the Volga-Ural region and Ukraine.[1][2][3] Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 379 × 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (400 × 633 pixel, file size: 70 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)Dmitry Moor (1883-1946). ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 379 × 600 pixel Image in higher resolution (400 × 633 pixel, file size: 70 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)Dmitry Moor (1883-1946). ... Year 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ... Year 1922 (MCMXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... <nowiki>Insert non-formatted text hereBold text</nowiki>A famine is a social and economic crisis that is commonly accompanied by widespread malnutrition, starvation, epidemic and increased mortality. ... Grain redirects here. ... For other meanings of the word Volga see Volga (disambiguation) &#1042;&#1086;&#1083;&#1075;&#1072; Length 3,690 km Elevation of the source 225 m Average discharge  ? m³/s Area watershed 1. ... Ural (Russian: ) is a geographical region in Russia, around Ural Mountains. ...


The famine resulted from the combined effect of the disruption of the agricultural production, which already started during World War I and continued through the disturbances of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and Russian Civil War with its policy of War Communism, especially prodrazvyorstka. One of Russia's intermittent droughts that happened in 1921 aggravated the situation to the level of the national catastrophe. In many cases recklessness of local administration, which recognized the problems only too late, contributed to the tragedy. “The Great War ” redirects here. ... The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a series of political and social upheavals in Russia, involving first the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy, and then the overthrow of the liberal and moderate-socialist Provisional Government, resulting in the establishment of Soviet power under the control of the Bolshevik party. ... Combatants Local Soviet powers led by Russian SFSR and Red Army Far Eastern Republic Chinese Volunteers White Movement Allied Intervention: Japan Czechoslovakia Greece  United States  Canada Serbia Romania  Turkey UK  France Foreign volunteers: Polish Italian Local nationalist movements, national states, and decentralist movements  German Empire  Mongolia Warlords Commanders Vladimir Lenin... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Prodrazvyorstka (prodovolstvennaya razvyorstka) (&#1055;&#1088;&#1086;&#1076;&#1088;&#1072;&#1079;&#1074;&#1105;&#1088;&#1089;&#1090;&#1082;&#1072;, &#1087;&#1088;&#1086;&#1076;&#1086;&#1074;&#1086;&#1083;&#1100;&#1089;&#1090;&#1074;&#1077;&#1085;&#1085;&#1072;&#1103; &#1088;&#1072;&#1079;&#1074;&#1105;&#1088;&#1089;&#1090;&#1082;&#1072; in Russian, or food apportionment) was... Droughts and famines in Imperial Russia and USSR are known to have happened every 10-13 years, with average droughts happening every 5-7 years. ...

Contents

History of the famine

Russia had suffered six and a half years of the First World War and the Civil Wars of 1918-20 before the famine began; much of them fought inside Russia.[1] Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ...


Before the famine, all sides in the Russian Civil Wars of 1918-20 - the Bolsheviks, the Whites, the Anarchists, the seceding nationalities - had provisioned themselves by the ancient method of "living off the land": they seized food from those who grew it, gave it to their armies and supporters, and denied it to their enemies. The Bolshevik government had requisitioned supplies from the peasantry for little or nothing in exchange. This led peasants to drastically reduce their crop production. According to the official Bolshevik position, which is still maintained by some modern Marxists, the rich peasants (kulaks) withheld their surplus grain in order to preserve their profits [4] - statistics indicate that most of the grain and the other food supplies passed through the black market [5]. The Bolsheviks believed that peasants were actively trying to undermine the war effort. The Black Book of Communism states that Lenin ordered the seizure of the food peasants had grown for their own subsistence and their seed grain in retaliation for this "sabotage", leading to widespread peasant revolts. In 1920, Lenin had ordered increased emphasis on the food requisitioning from the peasantry. Combatants Local Soviet powers led by Russian SFSR and Red Army Far Eastern Republic Chinese Volunteers White Movement Allied Intervention: Japan Czechoslovakia Greece  United States  Canada Serbia Romania  Turkey UK  France Foreign volunteers: Polish Italian Local nationalist movements, national states, and decentralist movements  German Empire  Mongolia Warlords Commanders Vladimir Lenin... The collectivisation campaign in the USSR, 1930s. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into underground economy. ... The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression is a book authored by several European academics and senior researchers from CNRS, and edited by Dr. Stéphane Courtois. ...


The American Relief Administration, which Herbert Hoover had formed to help the starvation of World War I, had offered assistance to Lenin in 1919, on condition that they have full say over the Russian railway network and hand out food impartially to all; Lenin refused this as interference in Russian internal affairs.[2] American Relief Administration was an American relief mission to Europe and later Soviet Russia after World War I. Herbert Hoover, future president of the United States, was the program director. ... Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964), the thirty-first President of the United States (1929–1933), was a world-famous mining engineer and humanitarian administrator. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ...


This famine, the Kronstadt rebellion, large scale peasant uprisings such as the Tambov rebellion, and the failure of a German general strike convinced Lenin to reverse his policy at home and abroad. He decreed the New Economic Policy on March 15, 1921. The famine also helped produce an opening to the West: Lenin allowed relief organizations to bring aid, this time; fortunately, war relief was no longer required in Western Europe, and the A.R.A. had an organization set up in Poland, relieving the Polish famine which had begun in the winter of 1919-20. Combatants Soviet Sailors Red Army Commanders Stepan Petrichenko Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky Strength c. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Antonovschina. ... A general strike is a strike action by an entire labour force in a city, region or country. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... is the 74th day of the year (75th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ...


The international relief effort

Although no official request for aid was issued, a committee of well-known people without obvious party affiliations was allowed to set up an appeal for assistance. In July 1921 the writer Maxim Gorky published an appeal to the outside world, claiming that millions of lives were menaced by crop failure. At a conference in Geneva on 15 August organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the League of Red Cross Societies, the International Committee for Russian Relief (ICCR) was set up with Dr Fridtjof Nansen as its High Commissioner. The main participants were Hoover's American Relief Association, along with other bodies such as the American Friends Service Committee and the International Save the Children Union, which had the British Save the Children Fund as the major contributor.[6] Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov (In Russian Алексей Максимович Пешков) (March 28 [O.S. March 16] 1868–June 18, 1936), better known as Maxim Gorky (Максим Горький), was a Soviet/Russian author, a founder of the socialist realism literary method and a political activist. ... Geneva (pronunciation //; French: Genève //, German:   //, Italian: Ginevra //, Romansh: Genevra) is the second most populous city in Switzerland (after Zürich), and is the most populous city of Romandy (the French-speaking part of Switzerland). ... The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a private humanitarian institution based in Geneva, Switzerland. ... The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRCS) is an international humanitarian organisation, often better known as the Red Cross or the Red Crescent. ... Fridtjof Nansen Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen (born October 10, 1861 in Store Frøen, near Christiania - died May 13, 1930 in Lysaker, outside Oslo) was a Norwegian explorer, scientist and diplomat. ... American Friends Service Committee logo The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) is a Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) affiliated organization which works for social justice, peace and reconciliation, abolition of the death penalty, and human rights, and provides humanitarian relief. ... The International Save the Children Union (French: L’Union Internationale de Secours aux Enfants) was a Geneva-based international organisation of childrens charities founded in 1920 by Eglantyne Jebb, who had earlier founded Save the Children in the UK with her sister, Dorothy Buxton. ... Save the Children is an international non-profit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aid. ...


Nansen headed to Moscow, where he signed an agreement with Soviet Foreign Minister Georgy Chicherin that left the ICCR in full control of its operations. At the same time, fundraising for the famine relief operation began in earnest in Britain, with all the elements of a modern emergency relief operation - full-page newspaper advertisements, local collections, and a fundraising film shot in the famine area. By September, a ship had been despatched from London carrying 600 tons of supplies. The first feeding centre was opened in October in Saratov. Georgy Vasilyevich Chicherin (Russian: Георгий Чичерин) (1872–1936) was Peoples Commissar of Foreign Affairs in the Soviet government from 1918 to 1930. ...


The ICCR managed to feed around ten million people, with the overwhelming bulk coming from the ARA, funded by the US Congress; the International Save the Children Union, by comparison, managed to feed 375,000 at the height of the operation. The operation was hazardous - several workers died of cholera - and was not without its critics, including the London Daily Express, which first denied the severity of the famine, and then argued that the money would better be spent on poverty in the United Kingdom. [3] The Congress of the United States is the legislative branch of the federal government of the United States of America. ... For other uses, see Daily Express (disambiguation). ...


The post-relief period

The Bolsheviks permitted the relief agencies to continue distributing free food in 1923, while they sold grain abroad. The net effect, since grain is fungible, was that they received money for nothing from the western philanthropists. When this was discovered, foreign relief organizations suspended the aid. Lenin's first heart attack was in the spring of 1922, and he had aphasia in 1923; the extent of his responsibility for the grain sales is therefore unclear. However, taking advantage of gullible capitalists would have accorded with his expressed policies. Fungibility is the degree to which all instances of a given commodity are considered interchangeable. ... Philanthropy is the act of donating money, goods, time, or effort to support a charitable cause, usually over an extended period of time and in regard to a defined objective. ... For other uses, see Aphasia (disambiguation). ...


François Furet estimated there were 5 million deaths in the famine; [4] for comparison, the worst crop failure of late Tsarist Russia, in 1892, caused 375,000 to 400,000 deaths. That failure followed years of normal and bumper harvests, with the resulting buildup of reserves; the harvest of 1888 had been "excellent beyond even the more optimistic hopes". [5] Also, that was in a time of peace, international commerce, and good order; there had not been war throughout Russia as there was from 1914 to 1920. François Furet (27 March 1927 – 12 July 1997) was an influential French historian. ... 1892 (MDCCCXCII) was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... For the toll-free telephone number see Toll-free telephone number Year 1888 (MDCCCLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Friday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...


Political uses

As noted above, the Russian famine of 1921 came at the end of six and a half years of unrest and violence (first World War I, then the two Russian revolutions of 1917, then the Russian Civil War). Many different political and military factions were involved in those events, and most of them have been accused by their enemies of having contributed to, or even bearing sole responsibility for, the famine.


The Communist government also mounted an attack against a resistant Russian Orthodox Church: churches were stripped to provide for the relief of the famine victims, after a refusal by Patriarch Tikhon to sell off church valuables to raise needed funds to feed famine victims. Many senior members of the church were executed, and even more deported.[6] Said Lenin on this issue: "The greater the number of the representatives of the reactionary bourgeoisie and the reactionary clergy that we will manage to execute in this affair, the better."[7] The Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (Russian: ), also known as the Orthodox Christian Church of Russia, is a body of Christians who are united under the Patriarch of Moscow, who in turn is in communion with the other patriarchs and primates of the Eastern Orthodox Church. ... (Vasily Belavin, &#1042;&#1072;&#1089;&#1080;&#1083;&#1080;&#1081; &#1048;&#1074;&#1072;&#1085;&#1086;&#1074;&#1080;&#1095; &#1041;&#1077;&#1083;&#1072;&#1074;&#1080;&#1085; in Russian) Russian Orthodox patriarch of Moscow and all Russias (1917-1925). ... Vladimir Ilyich Lenin ( Russian: &#1042;&#1083;&#1072;&#1076;&#1080;&#769;&#1084;&#1080;&#1088; &#1048;&#1083;&#1100;&#1080;&#769;&#1095; &#1051;&#1077;&#769;&#1085;&#1080;&#1085;  listen?), original surname Ulyanov (&#1059;&#1083;&#1100;&#1103;&#769;&#1085;&#1086;&#1074;) ( April 22 (April 10 ( O.S.)), 1870 &#8211; January 21, 1924), was a...


See also

A 1921 Pomgol stamp A fantastic Pomgol stamp issued by Marco Fontana (Italy) Pomgol Russian: was the name of two organizations created in Soviet Russia during the Russian famine of 1921. ... Child victim of the Holodomor The Ukrainian famine (1932-1933), or Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомор), was one of the largest national catastrophes of the Ukrainian nation in modern history with direct loss of human life in the range of millions (estimates vary). ... The 1921-1922 famine in Tatarstan was a result of war communism policy, realized in Tatar ASSR as well as elsewhere in the USSR. It started in autumn 1921. ... Remember about Those Who Starve! A Soviet poster from 1921. ... This is an incomplete list of major famines, ordered by date. ...

References

  1. ^ World's worst natural disasters since 1900
  2. ^ Hoover Institution - Hoover Digest - Food as a Weapon
  3. ^ The German Colonies on the Volga River - Famine Years
  4. ^ An exchange of letters on the BBC documentary Lenin’s Secret Files
  5. ^ Carr, E.H., 1966, The Bolshevik Revolution 1917-1923, Part 2, p.233, Chase, W.J., 1987, Workers, Society and the Soviet State: Labour and Life in Moscow 1918-1929 pp.26-7, and Nove, A. 1982, An Economic History of the USSR, p.62, cited in [Flewers, Paul, War Communism in Retrospecthttp://www.whatnextjournal.co.uk/Pages/Back/Wnext5/Warcomm.html]
  6. ^ Famine in Russia: the hidden horrors of 1921
  • Kennan, George Frost: Russia and the West under Lenin and Stalin. Boston (1961) Particularly pp.^ 141-150, 168, 179-185. Default reference for the historical and aftermath sections. ^ 
    • Kennan: The Decline Of Bismarck's European Order : Franco-Russian Relations, 1875-1890 Princeton (1979) p.387. Harvest of 1888. ^ 
  • Fromkin, David: Peace to End All Peace (1989 hc) p.360 (on Tsarist corruption and the closure of the Dardanelles). ^ 
  • François Furet: Passing of an Illusion. (1999 tr. of 1995 orig.) on total deaths. ^ 
  • Breen, Rodney (1994). "Saving Enemy Children: Save the Children's Russian Relief Organisation, 1921-1923". Disasters 18 (3), 221-237. On the international relief effort; entire section. ^ 
  • Black Book of Communism 92-97; 116-21 Grain seizures and terror. ^ 
  • Trotsky, Leon My Life (1930) Chapter 38 His advice to Lenin. ^ 
  • Alexander N. Yakovlev. A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia. Yale University Press, 2002 ISBN 0300087608 pg 155-156 ^ 
  • Richard Pipes. Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime. Vintage, 1995, ISBN 0679761845 pg 352 ^ 

  Results from FactBites:
 
Russian famine of 1921 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1212 words)
The Russian famine of 1921, which began in the early spring of that year, and lasted through 1922, was a true famine: hunger so severe that it was doubtful that seed-grain would be sown rather than eaten.
All sides in the Russian Civil Wars of 1918-20 - the Bolsheviks, the Whites, the Anarchists, the seceding nationalities - provisioned themselves by the ancient method of "living off the land": they seized food from those who grew it, gave it to their armies and supporters, and denied it to their enemies.
The famine also helped produce an opening to the West: Lenin allowed relief organizations to bring aid, this time; fortunately, war relief was no longer required in Western Europe, and the A.R.A. had an organization set up in Poland, relieving the Polish famine which had begun in the winter of 1919-20.
Holodomor - Encyclopedia, History, Geography and Biography (2776 words)
It was also confirmed that "while famine took place during the 1932-1933 agricultural year in the Volga Basin and the North Caucasus Territory as a whole, the invasiveness of Stalin's interventions of both the Fall of 1932 and January 1933 in Ukraine are paralleled only in the ethnically Ukrainian Kuban region of the North Caucasus".
Some historians maintain, however, that the famine was an unintentional consequence of collectivization, and that the associated resistance to it by the Ukrainian peasantry exacerbated an already-poor harvest.
Russian political interests and their supporters in Ukraine have reasons to deny the deliberate character of the disaster and play down its scale, moreover one must remember that it was not only Ukranians that suffered.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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