One of the lesser-known themes of World War II is the question of wages in the rear, the real value of the ruble in wartime. How much did citizens of the USSR receive in the prewar period and home front workers during the war years?
Chairman of the USSR State Planning Committee Nikolai Voznesensky in his work “The USSR Military Economy during the Patriotic War” noted that the average monthly salary of workers in the USSR Union industry (enterprises of union and republican subordination existed) increased from 375 rubles in 1940 to 573 rubles in 1944 (by 53%). And in the steel industry, it reached 697 rubles, and in the coal industry - 729 rubles. The salary of engineering and technical workers in the same period increased from 768 rubles to 1209 rubles. Moreover, in the steel industry it reached 1725 rubles, and in the coal industry - 1502 rubles. In the republican industry and agriculture revenues were lower.
The memoirs of veterans and contemporaries in general confirm the words of the head of the State Planning Commission. So, planer Jacob Roytman from 1936, he worked at the Odessa plant them. Lenin in the "closed" shop, which carried out defense orders, said that he received 720 rubles a month. According to him, this "amount seemed huge." Pyotr Butov, after training in the mining school, worked in the mine number 15-16 in Gukovo, a mechanic of an electric locomotive of trolleys. In 1939, I earned about 1 thousand rubles per month. And this despite the fact that "lunch at our miner's dining room cost 30 kopecks." Fedor Titov graduated from college in the 1936 year, receiving a specialty locksmith-train engine 3-th level. From the 3 rank before the war began, it grew to 6, earned about 500 rubles per month, so much then the best suit to order cost.
Mikhail Borisov, after completing their studies at the flying club, they wanted to leave the instructor. They offered 750 rubles, plus full provision - free food, free form. Claudia Deryabina (Ryzhkov) worked as an aero club instructor. Received 625 rubles. The instructors were fully provisioned - breakfast in the dining room, lunch and dinner brought to the airfield, lived in private apartments. Pavel Ankudinov reports that he received 100 rubles in the first year of study, and each new year a dozen were added. And as an instructor, he received 700 rubles, plus free good food and uniforms. "They lived well, this does not take away."
Pilot Sergey Gorelov becoming a sergeant received 440 rubles (lieutenant salary was 750 rubles). In this case, the sergeants lived in rooms for 3-4 people in each, but not in the barracks, had a complete allowance - food, form, travel. It is safe to say that the military and skilled workers were the elite of the country, this was reflected in their income. With the incomes of "collective farmers", agricultural workers, the situation was much worse. True, we must not forget that all the “roads”, social elevators before the youth were open, just learn.
Veniamin Lazarev recalled that in 1940 he worked at a logging site, where he was assigned to a collective farm, received 70-80 rubles a month. The quantity and quality of work of a collective farmer was estimated and taken into account by workdays (they were informally called chopsticks). In collective farms there were no salaries taken in industry, the entire income of an agricultural enterprise, after fulfilling its obligations to the state, was placed at the full disposal of the collective farm and collective farmers. Each collective farmer received his share in accordance with the worked up work days.
How much did prices rise during the war years?
It is clear that the war led to higher prices. Most of the industry was reoriented to military needs, the number of channels for the supply of goods from abroad has drastically reduced. However, the Soviet leadership as a whole managed to avoid serious fluctuations. Voznesensky noted that the index of retail government prices for rationed food and manufactured goods during the war economy period in the Soviet Union remained unchanged and in 1943 was 100,5% of the pre-war level. The only exceptions were alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, the prices of which were increased. It was a kind of indirect tax on that part of the population that actively bought these goods. As a result, the products that were sold on cards (standardized products) cost almost the same as before the war. In addition, the Soviet authorities managed to ensure more or less timely replenishment of the cards. There were no delays for boiling. But they could replace some products with others. According to Voznesensky, during the period of the military economy, the population that was on state food supply rose to 78,8 million. This is when the population of the USSR in non-occupied territories in 130 million people in 1942 year. Collective farmers no ration cards.
It is clear that on some cards it was very difficult to live. Some were helped by relatives from the village. The situation in the country was different, in some places in the village they lived on the verge of starvation, in others they could help relatives and acquaintances. Who had the opportunity, bought more products on the market. Voznesensky recognized that the situation on the free collective farm market was different, here the law of value acted in its market form of supply and demand. The price index increased to the 1943 year from the pre-war level: for crop products - by 12,6 times, for livestock products - by 13,2 times. It is clear that prices differed from time, terrain, ability to bargain. In particular, if on cards the bottle of vodka in Moscow 1942 cost 30 rubles, then on the market 400-500 rubles. A loaf of rye bread in the market cost 150-200 rubles.
Infantry officer Alexander Lebedintsev, talking about the meeting of the new year (1945 of the year) in Moscow. At that time, he received cash support for the post of regimental chief of staff, citing the following prices: a bottle of vodka or a loaf in 2 kg cost 300 rubles, a pack of “Kazbek” cigarettes - 75 rubles. This is in Moscow, in the countryside, the military bought and brew for 400 - 700 rubles. Writer Vsevolod Ivanov wrote down prices in the city of Gorky (Nizhny Novgorod) in the autumn of 1942 of the year: a glass of millet - 25 rubles, tobacco - 30-50 rubles, a liter of vodka - 450 rubles. I must say that in the memories of the products most often called bread and vodka. There is no need to talk about the significance of bread during the war years, and vodka traditionally played the role of not only the product of consumption, but also of the monetary unit.
Dmitry Vaulin, who served in the division of the bombers, which 9 on May 1945 produced an air salute, went to celebrate the Victory in the capital the next day with his comrades. In the restaurant "Moscow" they bought 4 bottles of vodka and 4 loaves of bread, all for 500 rubles. The monthly salary of Vaulina was 2,5 thousand rubles. One hundred grams of commercial vodka cost 40 rubles.
The availability of food by region differed seriously. If the villages of Ukraine, Belarus and Central Russia were in poverty and starving, then in Transcaucasia the standard of living practically did not change. The interpreter of Joseph Stalin, Valentin Berezhkov, getting to the Tehran Conference, was amazed at the food abundance in the Azerbaijani capital. In the restaurant it was possible to order kebabs, various snacks and other dishes from the voluminous menu without cards. The Maitre d'hote explained the reason for this abundance by the fact that transport difficulties do not allow food items to be taken out of Transcaucasia, they cannot be stored for a long time, therefore, in restaurants all are without cards. According to him, relatively inexpensive goods and the collective farm market. The population of the South Caucasus did not experience food shortages during the war. Perhaps this is exaggerated, but the fact remains that in Transcaucasia, the shortage of food products was less noticeable, and prices in the markets were lower than in other areas of the Soviet Union.
This is evidenced by other contemporaries. Tamara Bondarenko (Sladkova), her childhood was spent in Baku during the war years, recalls: “... I don’t remember the hungry time. Even sweets from Iran and American chocolate were given to us. ” Georgian writer N. Dumbadze in the novel “The Law of Eternity” described how, during the war years, the young man Bachany had lunch at the collective farm canteen, ordering only bread and cheese for 5 (!) Rubles. This surprised the waitress, not taking the usual for lunch time meat, wine and kharcho. The Russian villages in the military and post-war, recovery years did not even dream of such luxury. They dreamed of an extra piece of bread.
It must be said that the Soviet monetary system, despite the introduction of a rationing distribution system at the beginning of the war (introduced by other warring states) and significant inflation, showed high stability. In almost all areas, the ruble has retained its real purchasing power. The ruble has not turned into empty paper, like the “queens” of the Provisional Government or the Soviet “millions of“ lemons ”of the Civil War.
Ruble and other means of payment in the occupied territory
Surprisingly, in the territory occupied by German troops, the Soviet ruble retained its purchasing power. This can be explained by the fact that at first there was simply no other means of payment. The German authorities needed time to master the occupied territories, launch their currency into circulation, or create a new banknote. Therefore, initially they allowed the circulation of the Soviet ruble. Even the salaries of their accomplices were paid in rubles, taxes were calculated in them, which were taken from the population. After the battle of Moscow, when the German plan of the “blitzkrieg” was finally defeated and the Wehrmacht was thrown off from Moscow, there was hope that soon Soviet power would be restored throughout the USSR. The ruble has retained its position. Somewhat later, the German authorities began to take measures to limit the circulation of the ruble, but time was already lost.
Even before the attack on the USSR, the German military-political leadership planned to completely subordinate the Soviet economy to the interests of Germany. Among the measures to subjugate the economy of the USSR were the development of samples of special occupation money, which were supposed to oust the ruble. First of all, it concerned the Soviet Ukraine. Initially, the German authorities wanted to print banknotes with 1, 3 and 5 rubles; 1, 3, 5 and 10 chervonets. The bills were casually executed, primitive in design. They were going to place the Russian text on them: “Published on the basis of the regulation on the issuing bank. Kiev. 1941 year. Issuing Bank. On the back of each bill put the inscription: "Forgery of bank notes is punishable by hard labor." But this money was not approved. The higher authorities did not accept the fact that they had inscriptions in Russian. They were not going to leave anything Russian in the occupied territories.
As a result, for the captured territories of the USSR, it was decided to introduce occupational banknotes in karbovanets, where all the inscriptions will be in German. On banknotes from 1 to 500 karbovanets, there were different drawings. The happy faces of a boy, a girl, a peasant woman, a worker, a miner and a sailor were depicted. On each sign was the imperial seal of the Third Reich - an eagle holding a swastika in its claws. 4 July 1942 was issued by Erich Koch, the Reich Commissar of Ukraine, to conduct a monetary reform and completely withdraw rubles and chervonets, replacing them with Carbanians. Before 25 in July, the residents of Ukraine were ordered to exchange (hand over) the available Soviet money from 5 rubles and higher for Karbovanians. Dentes 1 and 3 of the ruble, as well as Soviet coins, were not withdrawn from circulation. The exchange took place at the rate of one ruble per karbovanets. However, it was agreed that the money will be withdrawn, if there is no evidence that they were acquired legally. This scared away many owners of large sums. In addition, no sums exceeding 200 rubles were issued, and special interest-free savings accounts were credited.
But this reform was not successful. This became especially clear after the Battle of Stalingrad, the German authorities were considered by many to be temporary. Carbovane's rate fell rapidly, and in the spring of 1944, there was a massive rejection of the population of the occupation money. In addition to karbovanets and Soviet rubles worth 1 and 3 rubles, coins in 1 - 20 kopecks, there were also occupation marks and German zinc and bronze coins in 1, 2, 5 and 10 pfennigs. The "canceled" Soviet rubles also went unofficially.
In order to rob the population, German troops received the so-called. imperial credit bank notes (“occupation marks”). Their exchange rate did not correspond to reality, and besides, the population had nothing to buy for them. Another means of plundering the population was to establish extremely low prices for agricultural products subject to mandatory surrender. At the same time, the occupation authorities used a shortage of essential goods from the population and sold them for inflated prices.
These types of robbery were supplemented by a whole system of taxes. In October 1941, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces signed the “Temporary Deal for Taxes and Fees”. This has become a heavy financial burden for the population in the occupied territory. The occupation authorities introduced various additional taxes. In some areas of the rear, the entire adult population was taxed "for security". In a number of places, the able-bodied population was subject to a head tax, special taxes were paid on doors, windows, “extra” furniture, etc.
For a more efficient use of the resources of the occupied territories, the German authorities, among other measures, resorted to the issuance of various kinds of surrogates of means of payment. In addition to the creation of an issuing bank in Ukraine, an Issuing Bank for Eastern Land was established under the Ostland Reich Commissariat (it included the Baltic States and Belarus). Special currency units for these territories were not issued, using the tickets of the General Directorate of the imperial credit cash desks of a single sample, i.e. the same occupation marks. At the same time, the army quartermaster service prepared special receipts for raw materials, for which goods could be purchased. In fact, such receipts had a more serious weight than other banknotes in circulation.
On the territory of the occupied regions of Northern Russia, part of the Leningrad and Pskov regions, as in other occupied territories, the Special Task Force “La” (Landwirtschaftlich, i.e. agriculture) on food and agriculture issues was formed. At the direction of this group, "Signs of the punctual value of spinning products" were made in Riga. The same issue was carried out in Belarus. In the Belarusian regions that were included in East Prussia - the Belostok region and parts of the Brest and Grodno regions, real German brands were used.
Ostland's currency legislation forced the population to hand over items made of precious metals and foreign currency. Violators were threatened with fines, confiscations and imprisonment.
Berezhkov V.M. Pages of Diplomatic stories. M., 1987. // http://militera.lib.ru/memo/russian/berezhkov_vm2/index.html
Voznesensky N. The Soviet military economy during the Patriotic War. M., 1948 // http://militera.lib.ru/h/voznesensky_n/index.html
Internet site "I remember." Memories of war veterans // http://iremember.ru/
Kustov MV Price wins in rubles. M, 2010.