Such tinsel fairytales, however, painted by unkind and dishonest people, appeared when it was overwhelming than those who remembered how it really was, died or left the age at which adequate information could be obtained from them. By the way, ordinary citizens could easily have been able to ponobalize about the beautiful pre-revolutionary times at the end of 30's, without any party committees, in a purely village-style “make a face”, so the memories of the “lost Russia” were fresh and painful.
A great number of sources reached us about the situation in the Russian village before the Revolution - both documentary reports and statistical data, as well as personal impressions. Contemporaries evaluated the surrounding reality of "God-bearing Russia" not just without enthusiasm, but simply found it desperate, if not terrible. The life of an average Russian peasant was extremely harsh, even more so - cruel and hopeless.
Here is a testimony of a person who is difficult to blame for inadequacy, non-Russianness or dishonesty. This is the star of world literature - Leo Tolstoy. Here's how he described his trip to several dozen villages of different counties at the very end of the 19 century :
“In all these villages, although there is no mix with bread, as was the case in 1891, but bread, although pure, does not provide plenty. Welding - millet, cabbage, potatoes, even the majority, do not have any. The food consists of grass groves, whitened if there is a cow, and unbleached, if there is none, and only bread. In all these villages, most have sold and mortgaged everything that can be sold and mortgaged.
From Guschina, I went to the village of Gnevyshevo, from which peasants came two days ago asking for help. This village consists, like Gubarevka, of 10 courtyards. For ten yards are four horses and four cows; almost no sheep; all houses are so old and bad that they barely stand. All are poor, and all beg to help them. “If only the guys have rested a little bit,” say the women. “Otherwise, they ask for folders (bread), but there’s nothing to give, so they will not fall asleep without having dinner” ...
I asked me to exchange three rubles. There was no ruble money in the whole village ... Similarly, the rich, who make up everywhere around 20%, have a lot of oats and other resources, but in addition, landless soldiers' children live in this village. The whole settlement of these inhabitants does not have land and is always poor, but now it is at the price of expensive bread and at a meager delivery of alms in terrible, terrifying poverty ...
From the hut, near which we stopped, a ragged dirty woman came out and walked over to a handful of something lying on the pasture and covered with a tattered and skidded caftan everywhere. This is one of her 5's children. A three-year-old girl is ill in extreme heat with something like a flu. Not that there is no speech about the treatment, but no other food, except the crusts of bread that the mother brought yesterday, leaving the children and running with the bag for exhortation ... The husband of this woman left the spring and did not return. These are about many of these families ...
We, adults, if we are not crazy, can seemingly understand where the famine comes from. First of all, he - and every man knows this - he
1) from the shortage of land, because half of the land is from landowners and merchants who trade both land and bread.
2) from factories and plants with those laws under which the capitalist is fenced, but the worker is not protected.
3) from vodka, which is the main income of the state and to which the people have been accustomed for centuries.
4) from the soldiery who selects the best people from him in the best time and corrupts them.
5) from officials who oppress the people.
6) from taxes.
7) from ignorance in which government and church schools consciously support it.
The farther into the depths of the Bogoroditsky district and closer to Efremovsky, the worse and worse the situation ... Almost nothing was born on the best lands, only the seeds returned. Bread almost everyone with a quinoa. The quinoa here is not ripe, green. That white nucleoli, which usually happens in it, is not at all, and therefore it is not edible. Bread with quinoa cannot be eaten alone. If you eat on an empty stomach of one bread, it will throw up. From kvass, made on flour with quinoa, people freak out ”
Well, lovers of "Russia-lost", is impressive?
V. G. Korolenko, who lived in the village for many years, visited other hungry areas in the beginning of the 1890-s and organized dining rooms for the hungry and distribution of food loans there, left very characteristic testimonies of civil servants: “You are a fresh person, you come across a village with dozens typhoid patients, see how a sick mother leans over the cradle of a sick child to feed him, loses consciousness and lies above him, and no one to help, because the husband mumbles on the floor in rambling delirium. And you are horrified. And the “old warrior” was used. He had already experienced this, he was already terrified twenty years ago, had had a pain, had boiled over, had calmed down ... Tif? Why, it's always with us! Quinoa? Yes, we have this one every year! .. ”.
Please note that all authors are not talking about a single random event, but about a constant and cruel famine in the Russian village.
“I meant not only to attract donations in favor of the starving, but also to put in front of the society, and maybe even before the government, an amazing picture of the land disturbance and poverty of the agricultural population on the best lands.
I had a hope that when I succeed in announcing all this, when I loudly tell the whole of Russia about these people of Dubrovka, the Poles and Petrovtsy, how they became “non-adversaries”, how “bad pain” destroys entire villages, as in Lukoyanov himself, a little girl asks her mother to “bury her living in the Zemku”, then maybe my articles can have at least some influence on the fate of these Dubrovki, raising the question of the need for land reform, even the most modest at first. ”
Interestingly, what will lovers of saying “the horrors of the famine” —the only famine of the USSR (with the exception of the war, of course) — say?
In an attempt to save themselves from hunger, the inhabitants of entire villages and districts "went with their souls around the world," trying to escape from starvation. This is how Korolenko, who witnessed this, describes it. He also says that this happened in the life of most Russian peasants.
Cruel sketches from nature of the western correspondents of the Russian famine of the end of the 19 century have been preserved.
Hordes of starving people trying to escape in the cities
“I know many cases when several families joined together, chose some old woman, together supplied her with the last crumbs, gave her children, while they themselves wandered into the distance, where their eyes were looking, with anguish of uncertainty about the left guys ... As the last the stocks are disappearing in the population, - family after family goes on this mournful road ... Dozens of families, united spontaneously into crowds, who were driven to the main roads, fright and despair, to villages and cities. Some local observers from the rural intelligentsia tried to create some sort of statistics to take into account this phenomenon that had brought everyone's attention. Cutting a loaf of bread into many small pieces, the observer counted these pieces and, feeding them, thus determined the number of beggars who had been in a day. The numbers turned out to be truly frightening ... Autumn did not bring improvement, and winter moved in among the new crop failure ... In the autumn, before the loan issues began, again whole clouds of hungry and scared people just like that left the disadvantaged villages ... When poverty came to an end, poverty became stronger among these fluctuations and became more common. The family that served yesterday — today I went out with my bag ... ”(ibid.)
Crowds of hungry people from the village reached St. Petersburg. Near the doss house.
Millions of desperate people took to the roads, fled to the cities, even reaching the capitals. Distraught from hunger, people begged and stole. Along the roads lay the corpses of the victims of hunger. To prevent this gigantic flight of desperate people into the starving villages, troops and Cossacks were injected, which prevented the peasants from leaving the village. Often they were not allowed at all, usually, they allowed only those who had a passport to leave the village. The passport was issued for a certain period by the local authorities, without it the peasant was considered a vagabond and far from everyone had the passport. A person without a passport was considered a vagabond, subjected to corporal punishment, imprisonment and expulsion.
Cossacks do not give the peasants to leave the village to go with the bag.
Interestingly, lovers to speculate about how the Bolsheviks did not let out people from the villages during the “famine” would say about it?
About this terrible, but ordinary picture of "Rossi-that-we-lost" is now carefully forgotten.
The starving stream was such that the police and the Cossacks could not keep him. To save the situation in the 90 of the 19 of the century, food loans began to be applied - but the peasant was obliged to return them from the harvest in the fall. If he did not repay the loan, then they would hang it on the village community on the principle of mutual responsibility, and then how it could happen they could ruin it cleanly, taking everything as arrears, could collect it with the whole world and repay the debt, they could beg the local authorities to forgive the loan.
Now, few people know that in order to get bread, the tsarist government took tough confiscation measures - urgently increased taxes in certain areas, collected arrears, or simply took out the surplus by force - police officers with Cossack detachments, OMON of those years. The main burden of confiscation lay on the poor. Rural rich usually bought off bribes.
A conscript with Cossacks enters the village in search of hidden grain.
Peasants massively sheltered bread. They were whipped, tortured, knocked out bread by any means. On the one hand, it was cruel and unfair, on the other, it helped to save their neighbors from starvation. Cruelty and injustice were in the fact that bread in the state was, albeit in small quantities, but it was exported, and a narrow circle of “efficient proprietors” was fattening from export.
Hunger in Russia. In the starving village troops entered. A Tatar peasant on her knees begs the constable.
“Together with spring, the most difficult time was actually coming. His bread, which the “deceivers” sometimes knew how to hide from the watchful eyes of the non-commissioned officers, from diligent medical assistants, from “searches and seizures”, almost completely disappeared almost everywhere. ”
Grain loans and free canteens really saved a lot of people and alleviated suffering; without this, the situation would have been monstrous. But their coverage was limited and inadequate. In cases where bread assistance reached the hungry, it was often too late. People have already died or received irreparable health disorders, for the treatment of which needed qualified medical assistance. But in tsarist Russia there was a catastrophic lack of not only doctors, even medical assistants, not to mention medicines and means of fighting hunger. The situation was terrifying.
Distribution of corn to starving, d. Molvino, near Kazan
“... a boy is sitting on the stove, swollen from hunger, with a yellow face and conscious, sad eyes. In the hut there is pure bread from an increased loan (evidence in the eyes of the recently dominant system), but now, to restore an exhausted organism, one, even pure bread, is no longer enough. ”
Perhaps Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy and Vladimir Galaktionovich Korolenko were writers, that is, sensitive and emotional people, this was an exception and exaggerated the scale of the phenomenon and in reality everything is not so bad?
Alas, foreigners who were in Russia in those years describe exactly the same thing, if not worse. Permanent hunger, periodically interspersed with cruel hungry pestilence was the terrible ordinariness of Tsarist Russia.
Hut starving peasant
Professor of Medicine and Doctor Emil Dillon lived in Russia from 1877 to 1914 a year, worked as a professor at several Russian universities, traveled extensively in all regions of Russia and saw the situation at all levels at all levels - from ministers to poor peasants. This is an honest scientist, completely disinterested in the distortion of reality.
Here is how he describes the life of an average peasant of the tsarist times: “The Russian peasant ... goes to bed at six or five in the evening in the winter, because he cannot spend money to buy kerosene for a lamp. He has no meat, eggs, butter, milk, often no cabbage, he lives mainly on black bread and potatoes. Does it live? He dies of hunger due to their insufficient number. ”
The scientist-chemist and agronomist A.N. Engelhardt, lived in the village and left a classic fundamental research of the reality of the Russian village - “Letters from the village”:
"Anyone who knows the village, who knows the situation and the life of the peasants, does not need statistical data and calculations to know that we sell bread abroad not from an excess ... In a person from the intelligent class, such a doubt is understandable, because they simply can not believe how is it that people live without eating. In the meantime, this is true. Not that they didn’t eat at all, but were undernourished, they live from hand to mouth, they feed on all sorts of rubbish. Wheat, good pure rye, we send abroad, to the Germans, who will not eat any rubbish ... Our peasant-farmer lacks wheat bread for a child’s nipple, a woman’s rye crust that she eats, puts in a rag - suck. 4]
Somehow very much at odds with the pastoral paradise is not it?
Perhaps at the beginning of the century 20 century everything was fine, as some "patriots of Tsarist Russia" are saying now. Alas, this is absolutely not true.
According to the observations of Korolenko, a person engaged in helping starving people, in 1907, the situation in the village did not change, on the contrary, it became noticeably worse:
“Now (1906 — 7 year) in starving areas, fathers sell daughters to merchants of living goods. The progress of the Russian famine is obvious. ” 
Hunger in Russia. Roofs dismantled to straw feed cattle
“The migration wave is growing rapidly with the approach of spring. Chelyabinsk resettlement office registered for February 20 000 walkers, most of the starving gubernias. Typhus, smallpox, diphtheria are common among immigrants. Medical care is insufficient. There are only six canteens from Penza to Manchuria. ” The newspaper "Russian word" from 30 (17) March 1907 year 
- This refers to the hungry immigrants, that is, refugees from hunger, which were described above. It is completely obvious that the famine in Russia did not actually stop, and, by the way, Lenin, when he wrote that under a Soviet government the peasant first ate bread to the full, he did not exaggerate at all.
The 1913 was the largest crop in stories pre-revolutionary Russia, but hunger was all the same. He was especially cruel in Yakutia and the adjacent territories, where he never stopped with 1911. Local and central authorities had practically no interest in the problems of helping the starving. A number of villages died out completely. 
Are there any scientific statistics from those years? Yes, there are, they were summed up and they even openly wrote about hunger in encyclopedias.
“After the famine of 1891, covering a huge region in the provinces of 29, the lower Volga region constantly suffers from hunger: during the 20th century. Samara province starved 8 times, Saratov 9. Over the past thirty years, the largest hunger strikes relate to 1880 (Lower Volga region, part of the near-lake and Novorossiysk provinces) and to 1885 (New Russia and part of the non-Chernozem provinces from Kaluga to Pskov); then, following the 1891 famine, the 1892 famine began in the central and southeastern provinces, the hunger strikes of 1897 and 98. approximately in the same area; in the XX century. 1901 famine in 17 provinces of the center, south and east, 1905 hunger strike (22 provinces, including four non-chernozem, Pskov, Novgorod, Vitebsk, Kostroma) opening a whole series of hunger strikes: 1906, 1907, 1908 and XNXX . (mainly eastern, central provinces, Novorossiya) ”
Pay attention to the source - clearly not the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party. So, the encyclopedic dictionary is trivial and phlegmatic about an event well known in Russia - regular hunger. Hunger once in 5 years was commonplace. Moreover, it is directly said that the people in Russia were starving and at the beginning of the 20th century, that is, there was no question that the problem of permanent hunger was solved by the tsarist government.
"Crunch French bread", say? Would you like to return to such Russia, dear reader?
By the way, where does the bread loan come from? The fact is that there was bread in the state, but it was exported in large quantities abroad for sale. The picture was disgusting and surreal. American charities sent bread to the starving regions of Russia. But the export of bread taken from the starving peasants did not stop.
The cannibalistic expression “Unable to eat, but we will take it out” belongs to the Minister of Finance of the Government of Alexander III, Vyshnegradsky, by the way, a major mathematician. When A. S. Yermolov, the director of the department of non-assembly charges, handed a report to Vyshnegradsky in which he wrote about the “terrible sign of hunger”, the intelligent mathematician then responded and stated. And then repeated more than once.
Naturally, it turned out that some were undernourished, and gold was exported and received from exports - quite different. The famine under Alexander the Third became a perfect commonplace, the situation became noticeably worse than when his father, “the Tsar-Liberator.” But Russia began to intensively export bread, which its peasants lacked.
This is what they called it, not at all embarrassed - “hungry exports”. In a sense, hungry for peasants. Moreover, it was not Bolshevik propaganda that invented all this. It was the terrible reality of Tsarist Russia.
The removal continued even when, as a result of a poor harvest, the net per capita harvest was about 14 pounds at the critical level of hunger for Russia - 19,2 pud. 1891-92 starved over 30 millions of people. According to the official sharply understated data, 400 thousands of people died then, modern sources believe that more than half a million people died, given the poor registration of aliens, the death rate can be much higher. But "not fed up, but taken out."
The grain monopolists were well aware that their actions lead to a terrible famine and the death of hundreds of thousands of people. They did not care.
“Alexander III was annoyed by the mention of“ hunger ”, as a word invented by those who have nothing to eat. He very commanded to replace the word "hunger" with the word "crop failure". The Main Press Administration Directorate sent out a strict circular immediately. ”- wrote a well-known cadet lawyer and an opponent of the Bolsheviks Gruzenberg. By the way, for violation of the circular could absolutely no joke to go to jail. There were precedents. 
Under his royal son, Nikolai-2, the ban was relaxed, but when he was told about the famine in Russia, he was very indignant and demanded in no case to hear “about it when she deigned to dine.” True, for the majority of the people who were delighted to have one, forgive Lord, the ruler was not so happy with the dinners and they didn’t know the word “hunger” from stories:
“The peasant family, where per capita income was below 150 rubles (average level and below), should have been systematically faced with hunger. Based on this, it can be concluded that periodic hunger was largely typical of the majority of the peasant population. ”
By the way, the average per capita income in those years was 102 ruble . Do modern guardians of Tsarist Russia imagine well what the dry academic lines mean in reality?
"Systematically collide" ...
“With an average consumption close to the minimum norm, due to statistical variation, the consumption of half of the population is less than the average and less than the norm. And although the country was more or less supplied with bread in terms of production, the policy of forcing the export led to the fact that the average consumption balanced at the level of the hungry minimum and about half of the population lived in conditions of constant malnutrition ... ”
Photo Caption: Hunger in Siberia. Photogr. snapshots from life taken in Omsk 21 July 1911, a member of the State. Duma Dzjubinsky.
First picture: The family of the widow cr. D. Puhovoy, Kurgan. w., V.F. Ruhlova, going to the harvest. In the harness foal for the second year and two boys on the tie. Behind - the eldest son, who fell from exhaustion.
The second photo: Kr. Tobol. lips., Tyukalin. w., Kamyshinsky par., the village of Karaulnaya, M. S. Bazhenov with his family, going to the harvest. Source: ISKRY JOURNAL, ELEVENTH YEAR, with the newspaper Russkoye Slovo. No. 37, Sunday, 25 September 1911.
And this is all a permanent, “background” hunger, all sorts of king-hunger, pestilence, crop failures - this is optional.
Due to the extremely backward agricultural technologies, the growth of the population was “eaten up” by the growth of labor productivity in agriculture, the country surely fell into a loop of “black dead end” from which it could not get out of the Romanov tsarist state system.
The minimum physiological minimum for feeding Russia: at least 19,2 puds per capita (15,3 puds - to people, 3,9 pounds - the minimum feed for cattle and poultry). The same number was the norm for the calculations of the USSR State Planning Committee of the beginning of the 1920-s. That is, under the Soviet government, it was planned that the average peasant should have had no less than this amount of bread. Such questions worried the royal authority a little.
Although, since the beginning of the twentieth century, the average consumption in the Russian Empire was finally critical 19,2 puds per person, but at the same time in a number of areas, the growth of grain consumption occurred against the background of a fall in consumption of other products.
Even this achievement (the minimum of physical survival) was ambiguous - according to calculations from 1888 to 1913, the average per capita consumption in the country decreased by at least 200 kcal. 
This negative dynamic is confirmed by the observations of not just “disinterested researchers” - ardent supporters of tsarism.
So one of the initiators of the creation of the monarchical organization "All-Russian National Union" Mikhail Osipovich Menshikov wrote in 1909 year:
"Every year, the Russian army is becoming increasingly sick and physically incapable ... Of the three guys, it is difficult to choose one who is fully fit for service ... Poor food in the village, roving living, early marriages requiring enhanced work in almost youthful age - these are the reasons of physical exhaustion ... It’s scary to say what kind of hardship a recruit sometimes undergoes deprivation of service About 40 percent. recruits almost the first time ate meat after entering military service. In the service of the soldiers, besides good bread, he eats excellent meat soup and porridge, i.e. what many people don’t have a clue about in the village ... ”. Exactly the same data was given by the commander-in-chief, General V. Gurko, at the call from 1871 to 1901, informing that 40% of peasant guys are trying to get meat in the army for the first time in their lives.
That is, even ardent, fanatical supporters of the tsarist regime recognize that the food of the middle peasant was very poor, which led to massive illness and exhaustion.
“The western agricultural population mainly consumed high-calorie products of animal origin, the Russian peasant satisfied his need for food with the help of bread and potatoes with lower calorie content. Meat consumption is unusually low. In addition to the low energy value of such nutrition ... the consumption of a large mass of vegetable food, compensating for the lack of an animal, entails severe gastric diseases ”.
Hunger led to severe mass diseases and violent epidemics.  Even in pre-revolutionary studies of an official body (department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Empire), the situation looks terrible and shameful.  The study shows the mortality rate for 100 thousand people. for such diseases: in European countries and individual self-governing territories (for example, Hungary) within countries.
Mortality in all six major infectious diseases (smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, diphtheria, whooping cough, typhoid fever) was firmly, with a huge margin, Russia was leading at times.
1. Russia - 527,7 people.
2. Hungary - 200,6 people
3. Austria - 152,4 people.
The lowest total mortality rate for major diseases is Norway - 50,6 people. More than 10 times less than in Russia!
Mortality by disease:
Scarlet fever: 1-place - Russia - 134,8 people., 2-place - Hungary - 52,4 people. 3-place - Romania - 52,3 people.
Even in Romania and dysfunctional Hungary, the mortality rate is more than two times less than in Russia. For comparison, the lowest death rate from scarlet fever was in Ireland - 2,8 people.
Measles: 1. Russia - 106,2 people. 2 Spain - 45 pers. 3-e Hungary - 43,5 people. The lowest mortality from measles is Norway - 6 people, in impoverished Romania - 13 people. Again, the gap with the nearest neighbor in the list is more than double.
Typhoid: 1. Russia - 91,0 people. 2. Italy - 28,4 people. 3. Hungary - 28,0 people The smallest in Europe - Norway - 4 people. Under the typhus, by the way, in Russia, which we lost, we wrote off hunger losses. It was recommended to do to doctors - write off hungry typhus (bowel damage during fasting and associated diseases) as infectious. This was quite openly written in the newspapers. In general, the gap with the nearest neighbor in misfortune - almost 4 times. Someone, it seems, said that the Bolsheviks forged statistics? Oh well. And here at least fake, though not - the level of a poor African country.
It is not surprising that further the picture is almost the same.
Whooping cough: 1. Russia - 80,9 people. 2. Scotland - 43,3 pax 3. Austria - 38,4 people.
Smallpox: 1. Russia - 50,8 people. 2. Spain - 17,4 people. 3. Italy - 1,4 people. The difference with rather poor and backward agrarian Spain is almost 3 times. It is even better not to remember the leaders in eliminating this disease. The impoverished, oppressed by the Irish Ireland, from where people have fled by the thousands across the ocean - 0,03 people. It’s even indecent to talk about Sweden to 0,01 people on 100 thousands, that is, one of 10 millions. The difference is more than 5000 times.
The only thing in which the gap is not so terrible, just a little more than one and a half times - diphtheria: 1. Russia - 64,0 people. 2. Hungary - 39,8 people 3 Mortality - Austria - 31,4 people. The world leader of wealth and industrialization, only recently got rid of the Turkish yoke of Romania - 5,8 people.
“Children eat worse than calves from a master who has good livestock. The mortality of children is much greater than the mortality of calves, and if the owner, who has good livestock, had the mortality of calves as great as the mortality of children in a peasant, then it would be impossible to manage ... If mothers ate better, if our wheat, which the German eats, stayed at home, then the children would grow better and there would not be such a death rate, all these typhus, scarlet fever, diphtheria would not be rampant. By selling our wheat to the German, we sell our blood, that is, peasant children ”.
It is easy to calculate that in the Russian Empire only because of the increased incidence of hunger, disgusting medicine and hygiene, just like that, by the way, about a quarter of a million people died without a trace of snuff. This is the result of the incompetent and irresponsible government of Russia. And this is only if it were possible to improve the situation to the level of the most unsuccessful country of “classical” Europe in this respect - Hungary. If we reduce the gap to the level of a Central European country, only this would save about half a million lives a year. For all the 33 years of Stalin's rule in the USSR, torn apart by the consequences of civilian, brutal class struggle in society, several wars and their consequences were sentenced to death by a maximum of 800 thousand people (enforced significantly less, but so be it). So this number easily overlaps the entire 3-4 years of increased mortality in "Russia-which-we-lost."
Even the most ardent supporters of the monarchy did not speak, just shouted about the degeneration of the Russian people.
“A population that exists half-starved, and often just starving, cannot give strong children, especially if we add to this the unfavorable conditions in which, besides the lack of nutrition, a woman is during pregnancy and after it” .
“Stop, gentlemen, deceive yourself and cheat with reality! Do such purely zoological circumstances as lack of food, clothing, fuel and elementary culture mean nothing to the Russian common people? But they are reflected extremely expressively on the human type mischief in Great Russia, Byelorussia and Little Russia. It is a zoological unit - the Russian people in a multitude of places are engulfed in grinding and degeneration, which made us remember to lower the norm twice when recruiting to recruits. Another hundred years ago, the tallest army in Europe (Suvorov's “miraculous heroes”) - the current Russian army is already the smallest, and a terrifying percentage of recruits has to be rejected for service. Doesn't this “zoological” fact mean anything? Doesn't our shameful thing mean, nowhere in the world can we see child mortality, in which the vast majority of the living mass of the people live to a third of the human age? ”
Even if we question the results of these calculations, it is obvious that the dynamics of changes in nutrition and labor productivity in the agriculture of Czarist Russia (and this was the overwhelming majority of the country's population) were completely insufficient for the rapid development of the country and the implementation of modern industrialization they would have nothing to feed in the conditions of tsarist Russia.
Maybe it was a general picture for that time and it was everywhere? And how did the geopolitical opponents of the Russian Empire feed at the beginning of the 20th century? Something like this, data for Nefedov :
The French, for example, consumed more grain in 1,6 than Russian peasants. And this is in a climate where grapes and palm trees grow. If in the numerical dimension the Frenchman ate 33,6 pounds of grain per year, producing 30,4 pounds and importing more 3,2 pounds per person. The German consumed 27,8 pounds, producing 24,2, only in the dysfunctional Austria-Hungary, which lived to the last years the consumption of cereals was 23,8 pounds per capita.
The Russian peasant consumed less meat in 2 times less than in Denmark and in 7-8 times less than in France. Milk Russian peasants drank in 2,5 times less than the Dane and in 1,3 times less than the Frenchman.
The Russian peasant ate eggs from as many as 2,7 (!) G per day, while the Danish peasant eaten 30 g and the French, 70,2 g per day.
By the way, dozens of chickens among Russian peasants appeared only after the October Revolution and Collectivization. Before that, feeding chickens with grain, which your children lack, was too extravagant. Therefore, all researchers and contemporaries say the same thing - Russian peasants were forced to fill their stomachs with all sorts of rubbish - bran, quinoa, acorns, bark, even sawdust, so that the hunger pangs were not so painful. In fact, it was not an agricultural, but a society engaged in farming and gathering. Approximately as in not the most developed societies of the Bronze Age. The difference with the developed European countries was just terrible.
“Wheat, good pure rye, we send abroad, to the Germans, who will not eat any rubbish. We burn the best, pure rye for wine, and the most bad rye, with fluff, bonfire, Sivec and all otboh, obtained when cleaning rye for distilleries - that is what a man eats. But not only does a man eat the worst bread, he is still undernourished. ... from bad food, people lose weight, they are sick, the guys grow tighter, quite similar to what happens with fool-containing cattle ... "
What it means in reality is an academic dry expression: “consumption of half of the population is less than the average and less than the norm” and “half of the population lived in conditions of constant malnutrition”, this is: Hunger. Dystrophy. Every fourth child who did not live to even a year. Fading children.
It was especially hard for children. In the case of hunger, it is more rational for the population to leave the necessary food for workers, reducing it to dependents, which obviously include children unable to work.
As the researchers frankly write, “Children of all ages who under all conditions have a systematic calorie deficit.” 
“At the end of the 19th century, 5 from 550 born children survived to 1000 age, whereas in most Western European countries more than 700. Before the Revolution, the situation improved somewhat -“ only ”400 children from 1000 died.” 
With an average 7,3 child birth, there was almost no single family for a woman (family) in which several children would not die. What could not fail to be deposited in the national psychology.
Constant hunger had a very strong influence on the social psychology of the peasantry. Including, - on the real relation to children. L.N. During the 1912 famine of the year in the Volga region, Liperovsky was engaged in organizing food and medical aid to the population, testifies: “In the village of Ivanovka there is one very nice, large and friendly peasant family; all the children of this family are extremely beautiful; Somehow I went to them in the trash; in the cradle the child screamed and the mother shook the cradle with such force that she threw up to the ceiling; I told my mother what harm such a child could have from such a swing. “May the Lord have tidied up at least one ... And yet this is one of the good and kind women in the village” .
“From 5 to 10 years, the Russian mortality is about 2 times higher than European, and up to 5 years - higher by an order of magnitude ... The mortality rate of children older than one year is also several times higher than that of Europe” .
Caption: Aksyutka, satisfying hunger, chews white refractory clay, which has a sweetish taste. (v. Patrovka, Buzuluk. y.)
Over 1880-1916 The excess mortality of children compared with more than a million children a year. That is, with 1890 under 1914, the year only because of the incompetent state administration in Russia died about a snuff of about 25 of millions of children. This is the population of Poland in those years, if it had died out completely. If you add to them an adult population that does not live up to the average level, then the total numbers will be simply terrifying.
This is the result of the management of tsarism in "Russia-which-we-lost."
By the end of 1913, the main indicators of public well-being, quality of food and medicine - life expectancy and infant mortality in Russia were at an African level. Average life expectancy for 1913 year - 32,9 year Melyantsev V.A. East and West in the second millennium: economy, history and modernity. - M., 1996. While in England - 52 years, France - 50 years, Germany - 49 years, Central European - 49 years. 
According to this most important indicator of the quality of life in the state, Russia was at the level of Western countries somewhere in the beginning and middle of the 18 century, lagging behind them by about two centuries.
Even rapid economic growth between 1880 and 1913. on not reduced this lag. Progress in increasing life expectancy was very slow - in Russia in 1883 - 27,5 years, in 1900 year - 30 years. This shows the effectiveness of the social system as a whole - agriculture, economics, medicine, culture, science, and political structure. But this slow growth associated with an increase in the literacy of the population and the spread of the simplest sanitary knowledge  led to an increase in the population and, as a result, a decrease in land plots and an increase in the number of “mouths”. An extremely dangerous unstable situation arose from which there was no way out without a radical reorganization of social relations.
However, even such a small life expectancy is only for the best years, during the years of mass epidemics and hunger strikes, life expectancy was even shorter in 1906, 1909-1911, as even biased researchers say, life expectancy “for women did not fall below 30, but in men, it is lower than 28 years. ”  What can I say, what is the reason for pride - the average life expectancy of 29 years in 1909-1911.
Only the Soviet authorities radically improved the situation. So just after 5 years after the Civil War, the average life expectancy in the RSFSR was 44. . While during the 1917 war, it was 32 of the year, and during the Civil years it was about 20 years.
The Soviet Power, even without taking into account the Civil War, made progress compared with the best year of tsarist Russia, adding over 5 years more than 11 years of life per person, while Tsarist Russia over the same time during the years of greatest progress - just 2,5 years over 13 years. By the most unfair calculation.
It is interesting to see how Russia, starving itself, “fed the whole of Europe,” as some peculiar citizens are trying to convince us. The picture of "feeding Europe" is as follows:
With an exceptional combination of weather conditions and the highest yield for tsarist Russia, 1913, the Russian Empire exported 530 million pounds of all grains, which amounted to 6,3% of European countries (8,34 billion pounds).  That is, there can be no talk that Russia fed not only Europe, but even half of Europe. 
Grain imports are generally very characteristic of developed industrialized European countries - they have been doing this since the end of the 19 century and are not at all stiff. But for some reason, even there is no talk about inefficiency and agriculture in the West. Why is this happening? Very simple - the added value of industrial products is significantly higher than the added value of agricultural products. With a monopoly on any industrial products, the manufacturer’s position becomes exceptional at all - if someone needs, for example, machine guns, boats, airplanes or telegraph, and no one has them except for you, then you can wind up just a mad rate of return After all, if someone has such urgently needed things in the modern world, then there are none, it’s not a question of doing this quickly. And wheat can be produced even in England, even in China, even in Egypt, from which its nutritional properties will change little. Do not buy Western captain wheat in Egypt, no problem - buy in Argentina.
Therefore, when choosing what is more profitable to produce and export - modern industrial products or grain, it is much more profitable to produce and export industrial products, if, of course, you know how to produce them. If you do not know how and need foreign currency, then all that remains is to export grain and raw materials. What tsarist Russia was engaged in and the post-Soviet EEF, which destroyed its modern industry, deals with it. Simply, skilled workers give a much higher rate of return in modern industry. And if you need grain in order to feed a bird or cattle, you can buy it, for example, by exporting expensive cars. Grain can produce very much, but modern equipment is far from all and the competition is incomparably less.
Therefore, Russia was forced to export grain to the industrial West to get the currency. However, over time, Russia clearly lost its position as an exporter of grain.
From the beginning of the 90 of the 19 of the century, the United States of America, which was rapidly developing and using new agricultural technologies, ousted Russia from the place of the main wheat exporter in the world. Very quickly, the gap became such that Russia couldn’t make up what was lost already - 41,5% of the market was firmly held by the Americans, Russia's share dropped to 30,5.%
All this despite the fact that the population of the United States in those years was less than 60% of the Russian - 99 versus 171 million in Russia (without Finland). 
Even the total population of the United States, Canada and Argentina was only 114 million - 2 / 3 from the population of the Russian Empire. Contrary to the widespread misconception lately, in 1913, Russia did not exceed these three countries in the aggregate in wheat production (which would be unsurprising to have one and a half times the population employed, mainly in agriculture), but was inferior to them, and in the general collection cereal yielded even to the United States.  And this is despite the fact that while the agricultural production of the Russian Empire employed almost 80% of the country's population, of which at least 60-70 million people were employed, and in the USA only about 9 million. The USA and Canada were at the head of the scientific and technological revolution in agriculture, making wide use of chemical fertilizers, modern machines and new, competent crop rotation and highly productive grain varieties and confidently squeezed Russia out of the market.
In collecting grain per capita, the United States was ahead of Tsarist Russia by two, Argentina — by three, Canada — by four times. [24,25] In reality, the situation was very sad and the situation in Russia was getting worse - it was lagging more and more behind the world level.
By the way, they began to reduce the export of grain and the USA, but for another reason - before the First World War they had a rapid development of more profitable industrial production and with a small population (less than 100 million), workers began to move into industry.
Actively began to develop modern agricultural technologies and Argentina, quickly squeezing Russia out of the grain market. Russia, “which fed the whole of Europe”, exported grain and bread in general, almost as much as Argentina, although the population of Argentina was 21,4 times smaller than the population of the Russian Empire!
The USA exported a large amount of high-quality wheat flour, and Russia, as usual - grain. Alas, the situation was the same as with the export of raw materials.
Soon, Germany ousted Russia from the seemingly unshakable first place exporter of the traditionally main bread culture of Russia - rye. But in general, in the total amount of “classical five grain” exported, Russia continued to hold the first place in the world (22,1%). Although there was no question of any unconditional domination, and it was clear that the years of Russia as the world's largest exporter of cereals were already numbered and would soon be irretrievably gone. So Argentina’s market share was already 21,3%. 
Tsarist Russia lagged behind its competitors in agriculture more and more.
And now about how Russia fought for its market share. High quality grain? Reliability and stability of supply? Not at all - a very low price.
An agricultural economist-emigrant P. I. Lyashchenko in 1927 wrote in his work on the end of 19-beginning of 20 century devoted to grain exports in Russia: “The most good and expensive buyers did not take Russian bread. Russian clean and high-grade grains of monotonous high standards, American strict trade organization, supply and price exposure Russian exporters contrasted clogged grain (often with direct abuse), multi-grade, not corresponding to trade patterns, thrown out on the foreign market without any system and exposure at the least a favorable conjuncture, often in the form of goods, unsold and only in the way of a seeking buyer. ” 
Therefore, Russian merchants had to play at the proximity of the market, price polls, etc. In Germany, for example, Russian grain was sold cheaper than world prices: wheat for 7-8 cop., Rye for 6-7 cop., Oats for 3-4 cop. for pood. - ibid
Here they are, "beautiful Russian merchants" - "excellent entrepreneurs", nothing to say. It turns out that they were unable to organize the cleaning of grain, nor the stability of supply, could not determine the market conditions. But in the sense of squeezing the grains of peasant children, they were experts.
And where, I wonder, were the proceeds from the sale of Russian bread?
For a typical 1907 year, the income from the sale of bread abroad amounted to 431 million rubles. Of these, 180 millions were spent on luxury items for aristocracy and landowners. 140 of millions of Russian nobles left the crusty French bread left abroad - they spent at the resorts of Baden-Baden, prokutili in France, lost in the casino, bought real estate in "civilized Europe". Efficient owners have spent as much as one sixth of their income (58 million rubles)  from the sale of grain taken from starving peasants to modernize Russia.
Translated into Russian, this means that the “effective managers” took bread from a starving peasant, exported them abroad, and drank up the gold rubles received for human lives in Parisian taverns and blew them into the casino. It was to ensure the profits of such bloodsuckers that Russian children died of starvation.
The question of whether the tsarist regime could carry out the rapid industrialization necessary for Russia with such a control system did not even make sense here - this is out of the question. This is, in essence, a verdict on the entire socio-economic policy of tsarism, and not only agrarian.
How did you manage to pump food from an undernourished country? The main suppliers of marketable grain were large landowners and kulak farms, held at the expense of cheap wage labor of small-scale peasants who were forced to hire workers for pennies.
Exports led to the ousting of crops, traditional for Russia, that were in demand abroad. This is a classic sign of a third world country. In the same way, in all sorts of "banana republics" all the best lands are divided between Western corporations and local latifundist compradors, cheaply bananas and other tropical products, which are then exported to the West, for nothing. And the locals simply do not have enough good land for production.
The desperate situation of famine in the Russian Empire was completely obvious. It is now that there are peculiar gentlemen explaining to everyone how, it turns out, it was good to live in Tsarist Russia.
Ivan Solonevich, an ardent monarchist and anti-Soviet, thus described the situation in the Russian Empire before the Revolution:
“The fact of Russia's extreme economic backwardness compared to the rest of the cultural world is beyond doubt. According to 1912 figures, the per capita national income was: in the USA (USA - PK) 720 rubles (in gold pre-war terms), in England - 500, in Germany - 300, in Italy - 230 and in Russia - 110. So, the average Russian before World War I was almost seven times poorer than the average American and more than twice as poor as the average Italian. Even bread - our main wealth - was poor. If England consumed per capita 24 pounds, Germany - 27 pounds, and the USA - whole 62 pounds, then Russian bread consumption was only 21,6 pounds, including all this and for livestock feed (Solonevich uses somewhat overstated data - PK) At the same time, it is necessary to take into account that in the diet of Russia bread occupied such a place as it did not occupy anywhere else in other countries. In the richest countries of the world, like the USA, England, Germany and France, bread was supplanted by meat and dairy products and fish — fresh and canned ... ”
S. Y. Witte stressed at the ministerial meeting in 1899: “If we compare consumption in Europe and us, then the average per capita in Russia will be one-fourth or one-fifth of what other countries recognize as necessary for normal existence” [28 ]
These are not the words of anyone, Minister of Agriculture 1915 – 1916. A. N. Naumov, a very reactionary monarchist, and not at all a Bolshevik and a revolutionary: “Russia does not actually emerge from the state of famine in one or another province, either before the war or during the war.”  And then it follows: “bread speculation, predation, bribery flourish; grain agents supply agents make a fortune without leaving the telephone. And against the background of complete poverty of some - the insane luxury of others. Two steps away from convulsions of starvation - orgy of satiety. Around the estates of those in power, the villages are dying out. Meanwhile, they are busy building new villas and palaces. ”
In addition to the “hungry” comprador exports, the permanent famine in the Russian Empire had two more serious reasons - one of the lowest yields in most crops  in the world due to climate specifics, extremely backward agricultural technologies , which led to a large area of land, land available for processing by antediluvian technologies in a very short period of Russian sowing was extremely insufficient and the situation only worsened with the growth of the population. As a result, there was a shortage of land in the Russian Empire - a very small amount of peasant allotment.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, the situation in the village of the Russian Empire began to acquire a critical character.
So, just for example, on the Tver lips. 58% of the peasants had put on, as bourgeois economists call it elegantly, “below the subsistence minimum.” Are the supporters of Russia-who-we-lost understand well what it means in reality?
“Look in any village, where hungry and cold poverty prevails. The peasants live almost together with the cattle in the same living space. What are their allotments? They live on 1 tithing, on 1 / 2 tithing, on 1 / 3 tithing, and from such a small scrap you have to bring up 5, 6 and even 7 souls of the family ... ”1906 Duma meeting  Volyn peasant - Danilyuk
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the social situation in the countryside radically changed. If before this, even during the times of the cruel famine of 1891-92, there was practically no protest - the dark, downtrodden, completely illiterate, dumbfounded by the clergymen, the peasants dutifully chose the bag and starved to death, e years 57 century, then by 90 began mass peasant performances. Their characteristic feature was that it was necessary to protest the peasants of one village, as several nearby villages immediately flared up.  This shows a very high level of social tension in the Russian countryside.
The situation continued to deteriorate, the agrarian population grew, and the brutal Stolypin reforms led to the ruin of a large mass of peasants, who had nothing to lose, complete hopelessness and hopelessness of their existence, not least because of the gradual spread of literacy and the activities of revolutionary enlighteners, as well as a marked weakening of the influence of churchmen due to the gradual development of education.
The peasants tried desperately to reach the government, trying to tell about their cruel and hopeless life. Peasants, they were no longer wordless victims. Mass performances began, land squatting of landlords and equipment, etc. They did not touch the landlords, as a rule, they did not enter their homes.
The materials of the courts, peasant orders and appeals show the extreme degree of despair of the people in "God-saved Russia." From the materials of one of the first ships:
“... When the victim Fesenko appealed to the crowd who had come to rob him, asking why they want to ruin him, accused Zaitsev said,“ You have one 100 tithe, and we have 1 tithing * per family. Would you try to live on one tithe of land ... "
the accused ... Kiyan: “Let me tell you about our manly, unhappy life. I have a father and 6 minors (without a mother) children and have to live with a manor in 3 / 4 tithe and 1 / 4 tithe field land. We pay for the grazing of a cow ... 12 rubles, and for tithing under bread, 3 tithing of harvesting must be worked. We do not live like that, - continued Kiyan. - We are in the loop. What do we do? We, men, appealed everywhere ... nowhere they accept us, nowhere are we no help ”; 
The situation began to develop in an incremental manner, and by 1905, mass demonstrations had already captured half of the country's provinces. A total of 1905 peasant uprisings were recorded for 3228. The country was openly talking about the peasant war against the landlords.
“In a number of places in the autumn of 1905, the peasant community assumed all power and even declared complete disobedience to the state. The most striking example is the Markov Republic in the Volokolamsk district of the Moscow province, which existed from October 31 1905 on July 16 1906. ”
For the tsarist government, all this turned out to be a big surprise - the peasants suffered, submissively starving for decades, and they suffered on you. It is worth emphasizing that the speeches of the peasants were, in the absolute majority of them peaceful, they did not, in principle, kill anyone and not kolech. Maximum - could beat the clerks and the landowner. But after the mass punitive operations, the mansions began to burn, but still they tried with all their might not to suffer from the bane. Frightened and embittered, the tsarist government began brutal punitive operations against its people.
“At that time, blood flowed exclusively from one side - the blood of the peasants flowed during punitive actions by the police and the troops, while executing the death sentences of the“ instigators ”of speeches ... The merciless reprisal of the peasant" self-government "became the first and main principle of state policy in the revolutionary village. Here is a typical order of the Minister of Internal Affairs P. Evil to the Kiev Governor-General. "... destroy immediately, by force weapons the rebels, and in the case of resistance - to burn their homes ... Arrests now do not reach the goal: hundreds and thousands of people cannot be tried. ” The instructions of the Tambov vice-governor to the police command were quite consistent with these instructions: “arrest less, shoot more ...” Governor-General in the Ekaterinoslav and Kursk gubernias acted even more decisively, resorting to shelling of the insurgent population. The first of them sent a warning on the volosts: "Those villages and villages, whose inhabitants allow themselves any violence over private economy and lands, will be fired upon by artillery fire, which will cause the destruction of houses and fires." In the Kursk province, a warning was also sent out that in such cases "all the dwellings of such a society and all its property will be ... destroyed."
Developed a specific procedure for the implementation of violence from the top while suppressing violence from below. In Tambov Governorate, for example, on arrival in the village, punitive men collected an adult male population for a gathering and offered to extradite instigators, leaders and participants in the unrest, to return the property of landowner economies. Failure to comply with these requirements often entailed a volley through the crowd. The dead and wounded were evidence of the seriousness of the demands put forward. After that, depending on the fulfillment or non-fulfillment of the requirements, the courtyards (residential and outbuildings) of the issued “guilty”, or the village as a whole, were burned. However, Tambov landowners were not satisfied with the improvised reprisals against the rebels and demanded the imposition of martial law throughout the province and the use of field martial law.
Widespread use of corporal punishment of the population of insurgent villages and villages marked in August 1904 was noted everywhere. In the actions of the punishers, morals and norms of serf slavery were revived.
Sometimes they say: see how little the royal counter-revolution killed in 1905 - 1907. and how much - the revolution after 1917. However, the blood shed by the state machine of violence in 1905-1907. it is necessary to compare, first of all, with the bloodlessness of the Peasant uprisings of that time. The absolute condemnation of the executions committed then over the peasants, which was so forcefully expressed in the article by L. Tolstoy "
This is how the situation of those years was described by one of the most qualified specialists in the history of the Russian peasantry V.P. Danilov, he was an honest scientist, personally hostile to the Bolsheviks, a radical anti-Stalinist.
The new Minister of Internal Affairs in the government of Goremykin, and later - the pre-Council (head of Government) - liberal Pyotr Arkadyevich Stolypin thus explained the position of the tsarist government: "The government in order to defend itself has the right to" suspend all legal norms.  When the “state of necessary defense” comes, any means and even the subordination of the state to “one will, the will of one person” is justified.
The tsarist government, not at all embarrassed, “suspended all the norms of law”. Only on the verdicts of the field courts were hung from August 1906 to April 1907 1102 rebel. Extrajudicial massacres were a mass practice - the peasants were shot without even figuring out who he was, burying, in the case with the inscription “besfamilny”. It was in those years that the Russian proverb appeared “they will kill and no surnames will be asked”. How many such accidents have died - nobody knows.
The speeches were suppressed, but only for a while. The brutal suppression of the 1905-1907 revolution led to the desacralization and delegitimization of power. The remote consequences of this were the ease with which both revolutions of 1917 took place.
The failed 1905-1907 revolution did not solve either the land or food problems of Russia. The brutal suppression of the desperate people drove the situation deeper. But the tsarist government failed, and did not want to take advantage of the resulting respite, and the situation was such that emergency measures were already needed. Which, in the end, the government had to spend the Bolsheviks.
An indisputable conclusion follows from the analysis: the fact of major food problems, the constant malnutrition of most of the peasants and the frequent regular famine in Czarist Russia in the late 19th - early 20th centuries. no doubt. Systematic malnutrition of a large part of the peasantry and frequent outbreaks of famine was thoroughly discussed in the journalism of those years, with most authors emphasizing the systemic nature of the food problem in the Russian Empire. In the end, this led to three revolutions during the 12 years.
There was not a sufficient amount of cultivated land to provide all the peasants of the Russian Empire in circulation, and only agricultural mechanization and the use of modern agricultural technologies could give them. All together, this constituted a single, interconnected set of problems, where one problem was insoluble without the other.
The peasants were well aware of their lack of land on their own skin and the “question of the land” was the key, without him talking about all sorts of agricultural technologies would lose their meaning:
“It’s impossible to keep silent about that, - he said that the peasant / 79 / population was accused a lot here by some speakers, as if these people were incapable of anything, worthless and not suitable for anything at all, that their culture was the work is also seemingly excessive, etc. But, yrs., think; What should peasants use this culture on if they have 1 - 2 dess. There will never be any culture. ” MP, Gerasimenko peasant (Volyn province), 1906 Duma meeting
By the way, the reaction of the tsarist government to the “wrong” Duma was unpretentious — it was dispersed, but the peasants did not increase the land and the situation in the country remained, in fact, critical.
That was common, the usual publications of those years:
27 (14) April 1910
TOMSK, 13, IV. In Sudzhenskoy parish in migrant villages hunger. Several families died out.
For three months now, the settlers have been feeding on a mixture of mountain ash and rot with flour. Food assistance is needed.
TOMSK, 13, IV. In the resettlement warehouses in the area Anuchinsky and Imansky found waste. According to reports from the field, something terrible is happening in these areas. Migrants go hungry. Live in the mud. Earn no.
20 (07) July 1910 of the year
TOMSK, 6, VII. Due to chronic hunger, in 36-ti villages of the Yenisei district among the migrants there is rampant typhus, as well as scurvy. The mortality rate is high. The settlers feed on surrogates, drink swamp water. From the composition of the epidemic squad, infect two nurses.
18 (05) September 1910 of the year
KRASNOYARSK, 4, IX. In the entire Minusinsk district at the present time, due to the poor harvest this year, famine. The settlers ate all their cattle. By order of the Yenisei governor, a consignment of bread was sent to the county. However, this bread is not enough, and half of the hungry. Emergency assistance is required.
February 10 (January 28) Year 1911
SARATOV, 27, I. Received the news of hungry typhus in Alexandrov Gay, Novouzensk district, where the population suffers terrible need. This year, the peasants collected only 10 pounds per tithing. After three months of correspondence, a nutritional point is established.
01 April (19 March) 1911 of the year
RYBINSK, 18, III. The village headman Karagin, 70- years, contrary to the prohibition of the foreman, gave the peasants of the Spasskaya parish a little extra grain from the grain store. This "crime" led him to the dock. At the trial, Karagin explained with tears that he had done this out of pity for the starving peasants. The court fined him three rubles.
There were no grain reserves in case of a crop failure - all the excess bread was swept away and sold abroad by greedy grain monopolists. Therefore, in the case of crop failure, famine immediately arose. Even a peasant-middle peasant did not have enough harvest for a small plot for two years, so if there was a crop failure for two years in a row, or an overlap of events occurred between a worker, a cattle, a fire, etc. and the peasant was ruined or fell into hopeless bondage to the kulak — the rural capitalist and the speculator. Risks in the climatic conditions of Russia with backward agricultural technologies were extremely high. Thus, there was a massive ruin of the peasants, whose lands were bought up by speculators and rich rural residents who used hired labor or rented out their livestock to the kulaks. Only they had enough land and resources to create the necessary reserve in case of famine. For them, crop failure and famine were manna from heaven — the whole village turned out to be due to them, and soon they had the necessary amount of completely ruined farm laborers - their neighbors.
A peasant who was ravaged by a poor harvest, left without everything, with only one plow. (p. Slavyanka, Nikol. at.) 1911
“Along with low yields, one of the economic prerequisites of our hunger strikes is the lack of land security for the peasants. According to the well-known calculations of Mares in chernozem Russia, 68% of the population do not receive enough bread from the allotment land for food even in good years and are forced to produce food by renting land and earning money. ”
As we can see, by the year the encyclopedic dictionary was published - the last peaceful year of the Russian Empire, the situation had not changed and had no tendencies to change in a positive direction. This is also clearly seen from the statements of the Minister of Agriculture, cited above and subsequent research.
The food crisis in the Russian Empire was precisely systemic, intractable under the existing sociopolitical system. The peasants could not feed themselves, not only the cities that had grown up, where, according to Stolypin's idea, the masses of ruined, shabby and dispossessed people who agreed to any kind of work could rush to. The massive ruin of the peasants and the destruction of the community led to death and terrible mass deprivations, followed by popular demonstrations. A large proportion of the workers led a semi-peasant existence to somehow survive. This did not contribute to the growth of their qualifications, the quality of their products, or the mobility of labor.
The reason for the constant hunger in the socio-economic structure of tsarist Russia, without changing the socio-economic structure and management method, was the task of getting rid of hunger was unsolvable. The greedy pack at the head of the country continued its “hungry export”, filling its pockets with gold at the expense of Russian children who died of starvation and blocked any attempts to change the situation. The highest elite of the country and the most powerful landowner lobby of hereditary nobles, who had completely degenerated by the beginning of the 20 century, were interested in exporting grain. They were not interested in industrial development and technical progress. Personally, they had enough gold from grain exports and the sale of the country's resources for a luxurious life.
The sheer inadequacy, helplessness, venality and outright stupidity of the country's top leaders left no hope for resolving the crisis.
Moreover, no plans were even made to solve this problem. In fact, since the end of the 19 century, the Russian Empire was constantly on the verge of a terrible social explosion, resembling a building with spilled gasoline, where there was a sufficient spark for the catastrophe, but the owners didn’t care much.
An indicative moment in the police report on Petrograd from 25 on January 1917 was warned that "The spontaneous speeches of the hungry masses will be the first and last stage on the way to the beginning of the senseless and merciless excesses of the most terrible of all - the anarchist revolution" . By the way, anarchists did participate in the Military Revolutionary Committee, which arrested the Provisional Government in October 1917.
At the same time, the king and his family led a relaxed sybaric life, it is very significant that in the diary of Empress Alexandra at the beginning of February 1917 she talks about children who “rush around the city and shout that they have no bread, and this is just for to cause excitement ”.
Just amazing. Even in the face of disaster, when only a few days remained before the February Revolution, the country's elite did not understand anything and did not want to understand it in principle. In such cases, either the country dies, or society finds the strength to change the elite to a more adequate one. It happens that turns and more than once. It happened in Russia.
The systemic crisis in the Russian Empire led to what should have led - the February Revolution, and then another, when it became clear that the Provisional Government was unable to solve the problem, then another - the October Revolution, which was held under the slogan "Land to the Peasants!" The new leadership of the country had to address critical management issues that the previous leadership was unable to resolve.
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