American Starving Russia Help Poster
Tickets were sold out long before the show. The entire collection was taken to the editorial office of the Izvestia newspaper and handed over to the Volga Volunteer Relief Fund.
On Sunday, the club in the morning was filled with guys. Children came from neighboring houses and a large crowd of street children from the Rukavishnikovsky receiver.
A. Rybakov. Dirk
On Sunday, the club in the morning was filled with guys. Children came from neighboring houses and a large crowd of street children from the Rukavishnikovsky receiver.
A. Rybakov. Dirk
History and documents. What could be worse than famine in an agricultural country? Nevertheless, in tsarist Russia, hunger was a frequent occurrence. But famine came to Russia immediately after the end of the Civil War, and it was especially scary. The fratricidal war in the literal sense of the word has just ended, there has just been at least some hope, and here you are, again suffering, death again, now not from a bullet, but from hunger. It began in the RSFSR in 1921 and covered about forty provinces of the country. By the end of the year, 23,2 million people were starving. By the beginning of spring 1922, one million people died of starvation, and another two million children became orphans.
What time, such and people ...
On January 27, Pravda wrote about general cannibalism in starving areas:
“In the rich steppe districts of the Samara province, abundant in bread and meat, nightmares are created, an unprecedented phenomenon of general cannibalism is observed. Brought by hunger to despair and madness, having eaten everything that is accessible to the eye and tooth, people begin to eat human corpses and secretly devour their own dead children ... "
The newspaper “Our Life” in 1922 reported that “a local resident, along with his father, caught an 8-year-old homeless boy on the street and killed him. The corpse was eaten ... ”A real hunt for street children began. And it’s understandable why: well, who will be exacting for such and such? Hungry prostitution has spread. Girls surrendered for a piece of surrogate bread, and in Simbirsk it was common to remove a girl for a slice of bread. Moreover, helpless parents often pushed their children into prostitution.
The United States reacted to these events on July 26, 1921, when the then Secretary of Commerce, founder and head of the ARA (American Assistance Administration) Robert Hoover, in his letter to Maxim Gorky in which he asked for help from the starving people Russia to the world community, proposed to supply food, as well as clothing and medicines for one million starving children in Russia. Then, American and Soviet diplomats met in Riga and held negotiations, ending with the signing of an agreement. At first glance, it might seem that the Americans had no benefit in helping the Bolsheviks, but in reality this was far from the case.
Just one of the consequences of World War I for the United States was the overproduction of agricultural products, especially grain. And it was not possible to sell it at a profit for itself in the bled and insolvent markets of European countries, which could have had the most serious consequences for the country. Russian assistance made it possible to maintain, first and foremost, stable prices, and, consequently, farm incomes. But there was another goal, and this is also not disputed by anyone: to stop the wave of Bolshevism. Hoover believed that such massive assistance from the ARA would show the Russians the effectiveness of the American economy and cause the process of erosion of Bolshevism within Russia itself. And the authority of Hoover turned out to be so great that he managed without much difficulty to achieve the adoption of the relevant law in Congress. “The food we want to send to Russia is surplus in the United States,” he told congressmen. - We are now feeding milk to pigs, burning corn in furnaces. From an economic point of view, sending this food for help is not a loss to America. ”
The first to feed starving children. The Phoenix steamer arrived in Petrograd on September 1, 1921, and on September 6, the first ARA canteen in Soviet Russia was opened in Petrograd, and a total of 120 kitchens were opened in the city, feeding 42 thousand children. Four days later, a children's nutritional center was opened in Moscow.
Then, a very important agreement on food and clothing parcels was signed with the ARA for the starving. The idea was this: everyone who wanted to help the starving people had to buy a $ 10 grocery coupon at one of the ARA's offices in Europe. The ARA sent this coupon to the "country of hunger", issued it to the needy, and he already went to the ARA warehouse, gave the coupon and received a food parcel. There were also parcels worth $ 20. The food package included: 49 pounds of flour, 25 pounds of rice, 3 pounds of tea, 10 pounds of fat, 10 pounds of sugar, 20 cans of condensed milk. That is, the weight of the parcel was about 53 kg!
By December 10, 1921, the ARA in the Samara province was feeding 185 625 children, in Kazan - 157 196, in Saratov - 82 100, in Simbirsk - 6075, in Orenburg - 7514, in Tsaritsyn - 11 000, and in Moscow - 22 000, Only 565 112 children!
However, the appearance in Soviet Russia of a sufficiently large number of foreign specialists immediately aroused great concern of the Bolshevik leaders. Already on August 23, three days after the signing of the agreement with the ARA, Lenin gave a personal instruction to the Central Committee on the organization of supervision of visiting Americans:
“Secretly to Comrade Molotov. 23/8. T. Molotov. In view of the agreement with the American Hoover, the arrival of the Americans is ahead. Care must be taken of supervision and awareness. I propose that the Politburo decide: create a commission with the task of preparing, developing and conducting, through the Cheka and other bodies, the strengthening of supervision and awareness of foreigners. Composition of the commission: Molotov, Unshlikht, Chicherin. ... The main thing: to take into account and mobilize the maximum of Communists who know English for introduction to the Hoover Commission and for other types of supervision and awareness ... "
(Hereinafter, examples are taken from the material “Gangsters and Philanthropists” by V. Makarov and V. Khristoforov. “Homeland” No. 8, 2006)
Well, in the ARA organizations at that time there were 300 employees from the USA and about 10 thousand citizens of the RSFSR, whom the Americans recruited of their choice. Moreover, the authorized ARA were in 37 starving provinces, united in 12 subareas.
The agreement with the ARA stipulated that all its cargoes by the Soviet side are transported free of charge throughout the country, the ARA employees are paid salaries, free housing and premises for dining rooms and the administrative apparatus are provided. Equipment and utilities were also paid by the host. Warehouses, various vehicles, garages and fuel for cars coming from the USA were also provided free of charge; all trains with food were unloaded for free, in addition, we agreed to pay for all the postal and telegraph expenses of the ARA. And it took all this from the Soviet government, that is, to the costs of servicing the ARA, 14,4 million rubles in gold.
Already in May 1922, 6 people received food from the ARA in Russia. So, the American Quaker Society fed 099 thousand, then the International Union for the Help of Children fed 574 people, the famous Nansen Committee - 265 thousand, the Swedish Red Cross - 259751 thousand, the German Red Cross another 138 thousand, the British trade unions - fed 87 thousand, and such an organization, as International Work Assistance - 7 92 people. At the same time, all food was given out completely free of charge. In addition, ARA handed out shoes and manufactories to the needy. Patients received medical care, vaccinations were carried out, and peasants received even varietal seeds. Until the end of 78, over 011 million people received food assistance from the ARA.
Another "Aarov" poster
From the very beginning, the activities of the ARA in Russia were marked by a serious conflict between the security officers of the Black Sea-Kuban coast and Hoover agents who arrived in the RSFSR. Here is what the People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs G. V. Chicherin informed Lenin about him in a letter of October 23, 1921:
“The American destroyer, on which some Houverites rode, was stopped at sea by the Novorossiysk security officers who searched it and kept it extremely rude towards the Americans. When in Novorossiysk the authorized NKID wanted to go up on the American destroyer to greet the Americans, the Cheka agents standing on the shore in front of the Americans in the most brutal form did not let our authorized on the destroyer. "The Americans, having gone ashore, protested against the behavior of the Chekists, which made the most severe impression on them."
The very next day, Lenin, in his characteristic categorical manner, demanded
“To arrest the lousy Chekists and bring them to Moscow, to shoot the guilty. Put it in the Politburo on Thursday, giving timely feedback to Unshlikht and attaching all the material. ”
On the other hand, surveillance carried out by the Houverites made it possible to say convincingly that much of what was done in the ARA in Russia was to a certain extent anti-Soviet in nature.
But this is an interesting document of that era. Here, as they say, neither diminish nor add. Document cover
So, the head of the informational department of the INO VChK, Y. Zalin, in his memorandum “On the ARA” of January 26, 1922, noted the following:
“The results that we identified through systematic monitoring of the activities of the ARA force us to urgently take measures that, without interfering with the fight against hunger, could eliminate everything that threatens the interests of the RSFSR in this organization. Most of the American personnel are military and intelligence agents, many of whom know the Russian language and were in Russia either in pre-revolutionary times, or in the White Guard armies of Kolchak, Denikin, Yudenich and Poland (Gavard and Fox - at Kolchak, Torner - at Yudenich, Gregg and Fink - in Polish, etc.). The Americans do not hide their hatred of Sovvlast (anti-Soviet agitation in conversations with peasants - Dr. Golder, the destruction of portraits of Lenin and Trotsky in the dining room - Thompson, toasts for the restoration of the past - Gofstr, talk about the near end of the Bolsheviks, etc.) ... Engaging in espionage, organizing and scattering a wide network throughout Russia, the ARA tends to become more and more widespread, trying to cover the entire territory of the RSFSR with a continuous ring along the outskirts and borders (Petrograd, Vitebsk, Minsk, Gomel, Zhytomyr, Kiev, Odessa, Novorossiysk, Kharkov, Orenburg, Ufa, etc.). From all of the above, we can only conclude that, regardless of the subjective desires, the ARA objectively creates, in the event of an internal uprising, strong points for counter-revolution, both ideologically and materially ... ”
On the other hand, the work of the Arovites in Soviet Russia was fraught with a risk to life. Two employees were killed with the purpose of robbery.
The first page of the document
In the summer of 1922, the assistant chief of the SO GPU reported to his leadership:
“Observations of the work of the Russian branch of ARA for several months enabled the GPU to establish the true nature of its activities. Currently, from the GPU’s material, it is clear that, in addition to helping the hungry, in Russia “ARA” has other goals that have nothing to do with humanitarian ideas and philanthropy. The personnel of ARA employees who came from America to Russia were recruited with the participation of conservative, patriotic American clubs and under the influence of the former Russian consul in the United States, Bakhmetyev. In addition, all ARA employees were filtered by Guy, a prominent employee of the European ARA office in London, who is a representative of US intelligence in England; almost all ARA employees have military experience. Most of them are or ex. the ranks of the intelligence and counterintelligence agencies of the United States, or people who worked in white Russians and other opposing armies. Finally, some of these employees took an active part in the work of ARA to overthrow the Soviet regime in Hungary. Colonel Haskell William, authorized by the ARA in Russia, was at one time the High Commissioner in the Caucasus. He was distinguished then by his intransigence to Soviet Russia, inciting Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia against it. He spread fables about the Bolsheviks in the press. Among the more responsible ARA workers with extensive military experience, we can point to the following: artillery major Karol, cavalry captain Gregg, lieutenant Seljarge, Colonel Winters, Colonel Bucks, Captain Dougreg, Major Longkran, Captain Mengen and a number of others. "
At the same time, the Chekists were especially concerned not so much with the Americans themselves as with the Russian employees of the ARA, because it was thanks to them that they managed to get all the information they needed about Russia and her life. It was noted that the ARA supplies its food parcels mainly to the former Russian bourgeoisie, so the GPU began to consider the ARA’s stay in Russia undesirable, especially after the famine in the Volga region began to decline.
Third page ...
As a result, in June 1923, an agreement was signed between the ARA and the RSFSR on the termination of its activities and the dismissal of its personnel, after which their functions were transferred to it by the Swiss Committee for Child Assistance. The result was this: in the two years of its activity, the ARA spent about $ 78 million, of which 28 - the money of the US government, 12,2 - of the Soviet government, the rest - donations from private organizations and individuals.
The foreign white-emigrant press also responded to the completion of the ARA. The newspaper “Rule” on this occasion informed readers the following:
"ARA" ends its activities in Soviet Russia. Banquets are held in honor of its representatives and the Bolsheviks make eulogies. However, from the words of ARA employees returning to the United States, it turns out how hard it was for them and how unfriendly the Soviet government was towards them. The history of ARA is full of misunderstandings with the Soviet government. Detective agents were set up in ARA offices to monitor and monitor employees. Their mail, despite the diplomatic privileges officially granted to them, was opened and scanned. Soviet newspapers attacked the representatives of ARA as smugglers. ”
Fourth page ...
Maxim Gorky, in a letter to Herbert Hoover, spoke about the activities of the ARA as follows:
"Your help will be recorded in history as a unique, gigantic achievement worthy of the greatest glory, and will long remain in the memory of millions of Russians ... whom you saved from death."
And now a little about the results and consequences of all these events. Let's start with the children, on whom the food in the ARA canteens had a huge moral, psychological and cultural impact. First of all, the children ate themselves, and although it was forbidden to take food out of the canteens, they, of course (bread), secretly carried it out and thereby fed their parents. Despite hunger, the children began to play again, and it was noted that, playing the war, they shout not “Hurray!”, But “Ara!” There were also quite amusing phenomena associated with the interpenetration of cultures. So, the guys, having done their homework well or answered at school, began to say that “they had done the lesson in American way”, that one way or another ... “arovsky is good.” Adults, especially peasants, on the contrary, regarded the “Americans” with great distrust. They could not understand how it was possible to distribute food like this for free. At the same time, they did not like the coldness and detachment of Americans, who did not at all resemble their own on the board, and even more so did not allow cronyism. Hence the constantly rumored rumors of espionage, although what was there to spy on the Americans - in the then RSFSR? To fix the number of clamps and carts?
But the social policy of the ARA really, if I may say so, undermined the foundations of young Soviet statehood. First of all, the ARA sought to feed "their", "former" and the intelligentsia, its organizations took 120 thousand cultural people to work and thereby saved them from hunger and death, that is, they acted in fact against the Soviet government, which many of these citizens Russia was simply not needed. And about this quite frankly in September 1918 at the party conference of the Petrograd communists, said the Bolshevik Zinoviev:
“We must lead ninety of the one hundred million people who make up the population of the Soviet Republic. The rest we have nothing to say. They need to be eliminated. ”
And so it turned out that, in the first place, the regions of the well-known Chapan War were swept by hunger, and there the positions of the Soviet government were by no means strong. Workers in the cities, the main revolutionary class and the support of the dictatorship of the proletariat, received rations, they were not threatened by hunger. But the poorest peasantry, which, as the well-known Moor, played its role in the revolution, in general, did not even need power, and indeed was a reactionary class. The same Vandeya of whom consisted? From the peasants! The Bolsheviks were just glad, glad that all these "former" and also "backward peasants" were dying out by themselves, but it turned out that the ARA fed and saved them. And, saving these people, the ARA increased the inertia of Soviet society, saved millions of people in the soul of unacceptable communism, that is, by their actions, the Arovites planted a decent pig to the Bolsheviks ... And it is not surprising that they understood this and tried their best to get rid of the ARA. With their practical attitude towards people, this help was ultimately useless to them. The main thing for them is that the proletariat be preserved - the striking power of the revolution, and all sorts of peasants, intelligentsia, "former" and "officers" - as they said, were the tenth thing for them! So the hunger in a certain respect was even beneficial for the authorities, not without reason at that very time where the Soviet government allocated a lot of money not for buying bread for the starving, but for acquiring locomotives in Sweden, for which they paid 200 million rubles in gold! And then the ARA with its help, which was, by the way, seemingly, and, it seems, ... not even so. It is not without reason that TSB did not mention the ARA at all in 1950, as if its activities were not at all. True, Soviet newspapers of the 20s wrote about her activities, but all of them soon migrated to the archives. Who really went there then? In general, they don’t especially go there today. Unless to look for the pedigree ...
PS But just in the archives there are a lot of interesting evidence of Soviet-American cooperation of those years. For example, from the newspapers stored there, you can find out that, for example, American destroyers were being repaired in Novorossiysk, for example, and, in particular, the American destroyer DD-239 Overton was undergoing repairs. The newspaper "Red Black Sea" on April 22, 1922, wrote that "for every day of the interruption, the plant was obliged to pay 300 dollars under the agreement," so the work went on very quickly. In addition, his commander Ware agreed with the plant about the repair of him and all other American destroyers, who entered the parking lot in Novorossiysk. Soon ship repair was completed, the ship was anchored to leave the port.