Hunger: survival and resistance

"Secret. July 11, 1947.
Secretary of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of Belarus Comrade Gusarov MI
Reporting, July 16 this year Piercy in the village district Komarinskiy Polessian area lost two babies: Shubenok Vanya and 9 years and Samojlenko Galina 6 years. Oriented village Piercy narsledchy Komarinskiy district that Hmelenok learned that Shubenok Vanya Samoilenko Galina were killed citizen village Rudenok Catherine Piercy and meat slaughtered kids used it in food. The investigation found out that Rudenok any personal toiletries and had lived very poorly. Rudenok arrested and prosecuted.
Attorney Byelorussian SSR I. Winds. "

Vyacheslav Rakytskyy: "In Minsk studio without barriers we talk with historian Ira commandant. Modern man is hard to believe in the reality of this fact. Is it? Either this is a case of cannibalism? Or maybe ordinary murder?"
Ira commandant: "In the archives is still a lot of documents that prove zhahlivasts status of the population in the first years after the war, first in the eastern part of Belarus. Little earlier in the same 1947 in a memo to the same secretary same Gusarov Polesski regional party committee, where he had a case of cannibalism, Karasev reported that in more than 20 thousand families of farmers are half-starved condition, and it is about 70 thousand people. condition was particularly acute since many of these families had no cattle or other power sources. Several families traveled to the western regions of the BSSR and hired laborers there. Over 4 thousand kids because hunger is not walking to school. "
Rakytskyy: "Why do we previously knew nothing about it, why in the modern Belarus is hushed up? "
Commandant: "It is logical, as the policy of the current government in Belarus continues the policy of Belarus in the Russian historical science. Virtually unchanged occur manipulating history for political purposes, one of which is an idealization of Russian past. Elsewhere, where the convicted crime regime in the USSR affected by famine 1946 — 1947’s called unjustifiably repressed. And the hunger is considered a crime of the communist regime. "
Rakytskyy: "Indicates the famine was not only in the Byelorussian SSR, and in other republics of the former Soviet Union?"
Commandant: "Apart from the southern areas of Belarus, hunger 1946 — 1947 years enveloped most of the territory of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan certain area. Epicenter were grain-growing areas that were suffering not so much from the drought, but on the procurement campaign."
Rakytskyy: "What is the cause of mass starvation? First it was the result of a devastating war, or were other prerequisites? Or all made by the government to overcome hunger, failures?"
Commandant: "Due to a lack in the aftermath of the war, had a lot of hungry. But the main event was a poor harvest in 1946-1947. Its outcome could be different if the government really help people. But for the senior management of the USSR was more principled policy of supporting the communist world and the preservation of their own style. Hiding difficult internal situation, the government has refused international assistance necessary for its citizens grain sent to countries of the socialist camp. Thus, in 1946-1947, 2.5 million tons of grain were oriented in Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania and other countries. At the same time, despite the hunger, the country’s implementation of plans for resupplying put above human life. Instead of real help hungry forced to collect on the loans to the state funds, not vorachivalis. And in the western regions collectors bread included possible more lists kulak farms, that impose public procurement at inflated rates. Failure to supply threatened to bring to justice the likely sentence of imprisonment for a term of 5 to 10 years. That was done. "

Rakytskyy: "The authorities knew about hunger and does not help people. They did not want or could not?"
Commandant: "Management of the USSR surmised help hungry but very hitretskuyu — exclusively in the form of a loan with interest. BSSR asked for help from Moscow only at one point in 1946. Help came late for 6 months and was intended by virtue of their small size ( 500 tonnes of barley and oats), only party-Soviet apparatus on the criteria of return from the harvest in 1947 at 10 percent.’s western regions BSSR assistance given in the main activists of village councils and collective farmers, the authorities have tried to show that for the salvation of the individual farmers exclusively on collective farms. Dimensions assistance were missing. result — increasing illness, death and even cannibalism. Even if it distributed fairly, the people on hand during the entire period of famine, it is here and there about a year, would get only a few kilograms of grain. since top-secret documents indicate that the management of the Republic reported on the situation on the ground, although likely reducing hunger. "
Rakytskyy: "As I understand it, the bread still going, but it did not give the highest power of ordinary people. A local government did not try somehow help people, not looking at the center? How people behaved? Naturally, to survive, a person is ready to all … "
Commandant: "Local authorities are obliged to reckon with the situation on the ground. And therefore did not always act in the framework of the decisions that came from above. They also punished. Criminally responsible are brought to justice around 500 collective farm chairmen who gave hungry grain of seed fund tried to settle with the people before have paid with state-of mandatory deliveries. government instead of fighting with the true precondition — hunger — made tougher punishment. 4 June 1947 issued a decree on the responsibility for the theft of municipal and public property. Convicted by this decree amounted to about half all those deported to camps. Typically, these were collective farmers, who was accused of a haircut kolkhoz spikelets. Gulag almost turned into a house of mother and baby, because the ladies moved in the camp and their small kids. It was not only repressive measure aimed at control over the peasants. middle of measures to intensify farmers were led to the adoption in June 1948 of the decree of eviction from the village without trial of so-called parasitic elements — those who did not make the minimum number of workdays ".
Rakytskyy: "Were there any laws that would protect the most basic rights of ordinary people? Could survive within the law? "
Commandant: "Law in the Russian state defended human rights, if they are not contrary to the interests of the country. Drought and famine to increment the number of criminals, including, children. Has grown the number of thefts, murders. Much of the responsibility lured to not have certain classes and even property. In the midst of major atrocities were also spekulyatsyya and samagonavarenne. "
Rakytskyy: "People were transferred silent famine, or somehow protesting?, The output is a normal person?"
Commandant: "The authorities closely watching how people react to starvation. This has a lot of top-secret documents in archival collections of the CC CP (b) B. For example, on the farm in the Voroshilov Love district farmers even refused to go to work in December 1946 year. meeting was held at which the farmers said: "Give us a potato at the moment, and not in the spring, because we are starving." In response, the collective farm chairman said that his is a clash between Siberia and collective farmers responded: " Suppose you 1st sent, but we will all be full. "Strategies to Counter were different — from passive, non-violent, to active terrorist forms. Everyone chooses their own way. Someone from shortcomings eating food nettles, quinoa and sentences himself starvation death, someone went to work in the city, someone robbed and killed for a piece of bread. "

Rakytskyy: "To make it easier to survive — townsman or peasant?"
Commandant: "City dwellers had to survive easier. During the war they were transferred to a normalized system of receipt of goods rationed. Vo-2, the government committed official controls over the movement of people across the country that particularly affected the inhabitants of rural areas. They were given passports only in the case of out with the permission of the local chiefs. B-3, in the towns was more measured wage system. And, in the end, farmers bolshennymi levied taxes. makarom Thus, the government’s own policies pushed farmers in town. But there it was hard to get housing and residence. When changing work they threatened category enrollment in flyers and subsequent harassment by the secret police. "
Rakytskyy: "Where farmers live more easily — in western Belarus, where before the war there was collective, and was the personal property on the ground or in the east, the kolkhoz Belarus?"
Commandant: "This is a lot to find out from the memoirs of western Belarusians since. They remember how hungry people — farmers, ladies with children, cripples — from the eastern areas with bags behind filled terminals and stations along the railroad. Zeal to escape in western Belarus hunger people demonstrated how different well-being in different parts of the Byelorussian SSR. "
Rakytskyy: "Either the authorities understood that the collective farms — this is the way to starvation, not to welfare? Or raised the question of the dissolution of the collective farms and the transfer of land to the peasants?"
Commandant: "Officials of the highest rank was informed that the position of farmers bad. But revoking collective sold to important principles with party policy, and this power could not go. Only during the war in response to the mood of the population does not interfere with the power of pragmatic (and not supported) spreading rumors about the dissolution of the collective farms to increase the desire of the Russian people to strive for victory in the war. After graduation prosecution for spreading such rumors is restored. "
Rakytskyy: "And if I still have eliminated collective porazdavali land and people, what the consequences might be in Byelorussia and for the people and for the government?"
Commandant: "For power — bad, because farms were one of the main pillars of the Russian state system. This could lead to the disintegration of the Soviet Union for a long time until 1991. Returning peasants freedom in managing their personal requirements would have provoked a population of freedom in other areas, and means the existence of the country, where the main role was played by the Communist Party, would be superfluous. At the same time it would be a turning point changed the Belarusian history, though that could be rapidly improved the situation in the village, where the able-bodied farmers still living who remembered how to successfully conduct individual farms. "
"Belarusian people, great experience sure that the Bolshevik Party is the only correct policy, a policy that conforms to the fundamental interests of the people that all the activities of the Communist Party is the devotional service of the people … Winning farm system in the USSR has transformed our agriculture into an advanced, socialist, curb upscale appliances, provided the Russian peasants and rich cultural life … The Party and government have always been considered one of its own obligations to plead for a real improvement in the standard of living. "
Appeal of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) of all voters in the elections to the Supreme Soviet of the BSSR. February 4, 1947. "

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