The case of fraud cards
1616 employees and heads of food ration cards were prosecuted for abuses in 1943. They with accomplices and all those who cheated with cards, monthly deprived the only opportunity to get bread by the most conservative estimates of tens of thousands of people. The State Defense Committee, headed by Stalin, made the strictest anti-robber anti-riot orders, the police conducted raids and raids, deployed their agents everywhere to identify the criminals, but the results did not meet expectations.
Any war, among other things, is accompanied by food difficulties, often turning into hunger. The subjects of the Russian Empire, who became citizens of the USSR, knew this more than anyone else. In the year 1914, at the beginning of World War I, it was believed that Russia's food resources were almost inexhaustible. Soldiers at the front and in the rear were supplied in abundance, and there was no question of any rationing of consumption in the rear.
However, the mass appeal of peasants to the army reduced the production of agricultural products. And the problems of railway transport, suffocating from an excess of military cargo and a shortage of fuel, made it difficult to bring grain from Siberia, where its shortage was not yet observed. On top of that, the grain was required by the allies of Russia, first of all France, which in fact exchanged it for weapon and ammunition. So in the 1916 year, food prices, which had risen gradually, went up sharply, and the government thought about urgent remedial measures.
Large cities, primarily Petrograd, attempted to free from unnecessary consumers, sending those who did not work in the military departments and industries, to the villages. However, this event required huge funds and soon failed. In the summer of 1916, a committee was set up to combat the high cost of living under the Ministry of the Interior, followed by a government special committee of the same purpose. Both emergency agencies examined the situation and concluded that it was necessary to imprison all the merchants who unreasonably raise prices. Nicholas II approved the relevant decision of the Council of Ministers, writing on the document: "Finally!"
However, the harsh measures did not help, prices continued to rise. In order to save the situation, the government took the last step: it introduced ration cards for essential goods - bread, sugar, cereals. In the autumn of 1916, the cardholder was supposed to have no more than three pounds (pound - 409,5 g) of sugar per month. And in order to make high-ranking empire subjects easier to go through food difficulties, additional rations were arranged. However, the rates of additional payments for privileged consumers gradually decreased, and in February 1917 of the year they were canceled altogether due to depletion of stocks. According to contemporaries, food reserves dried up primarily because with the introduction of rationing consumption did not decrease, but increased, because everyone tried to buy everything that was supposed to him on the cards.
The fewer products remained, the more often they were sold at prices very far from those set by the government. Products from the shops and shops, which were merchandised by cards, migrated to market merchants, offering them five to seven times more expensive. The queues grew, and general discontent was one of the most important reasons, first of all for the February and then for the October revolution.
A lot of abuse was also observed during the Civil War, when the supply was carried out according to ration rates, which differed sharply in different localities and institutions. Many violations were also made at the beginning of the 1930-s, when, after the start of collectivization and the sharp decline in agricultural production caused by it, they again introduced cards, which were called fence books. If you believe the reports, the riots in the distribution of rationed products successfully fought, so the experience gained was to make the following introduction of the cards canceled in 1935, almost a routine operation. But it all turned out differently.
The card system was decided to be re-introduced soon after the start of World War II. It would seem that the distribution scheme of products was carefully thought out. Enterprises and organizations prepared data on the employees working for them, and house administrations on pensioners, housewives, children, and other non-working citizens of the country who were then called dependents. All data were transferred to the card bureaus that functioned under the district, city and regional trade departments. There, for each citizen, in accordance with the norms that were supposed to him, they issued cards and sent them to the population for enterprises and house management. And in shops and canteens to which employees of institutions or residents of houses were attached, sent documents to receive funds allocated to these outlets.
When buying products from the card, coupons were cut off, corresponding, for example, to the daily norm of bread, which was sold to the buyer. Employees of the store had to collect and hand over coupons to card bureaus, reporting for distributed funds. However, the system immediately began to falter. Moscow Prosecutor Samarin in August 1941 reported to the leadership of the capital on the results of the audit:
"Workers conducting the issuance of food and manufactured goods cards were not provided with instructions from the USSR People's Commissariat of Trade, were not promptly instructed, and the district card bureaus did not conduct a deep check of card issuing and did not carry out any control over the work of enterprises, institutions and house administrations for issuing cards until recently, which creates an atmosphere of complete lack of control and contributes to the commission of various kinds of abuse.
Food stores work especially uncontrollably, where the registration of coupons from the day of the introduction of cards is still not conducted. For the day worked, coupons for the goods sold are laid in a package without counting, at best, sealed and stored in this position. Thus, in the N24 store of the Frunzensky RPT from 1 to 5 August, coupons were not pasted and not counted. The same situation was observed in the N204 store of the Leninsky district and in a number of other stores in Moscow.
This practice has put every trading point in terms of complete lack of control. There is a situation that products are delivered in a certain quantity to the distribution network, and how many and where these products are going, the district trading office has no information, since coupons are not taken into account ...
The bulkiness of the counting is due to the different bill and an extremely large number of coupons. So, to get 1 kg 200 of meat, various 24 tickets of the coupon are cut off, and on the work card for receiving 2 kg of 200 of meat, you need to cut off the 44 of coupon. To get 800 g bread cut 5 coupons. It is absolutely inexpedient to split coupons for notes on pasta, sugar, fish. True, petty dignity tickets for products such as meat and bread, for those who use the dining room, provide the necessary amenities.
The People's Commissar of Commerce of the RSFSR, t. Pavlov, issued an order 7.VIII.41 for N CH-80 / 1129 to burn all coupons received in July with the preparation of relevant acts on this. In fact, when destroying the coupons for July, no counting and reconciliation with the number of products received by the store was made, which made it possible to cover with money at firm prices the abuses of products received in the store for sale by cards. "
Essentially, the Commissariat of Commerce, by allowing the destruction of coupons, created the basis for mass abuses, which began without delay. Regardless of whether the number of coupons collected during the month corresponded to the received volume of products or not, the store compiled a report on the total distribution of funds. Attached to the report was an act of recalculation and destruction of coupons. Card bureaus could easily identify these abuses, but since they were staffed by the same trade departments as in the shops, and the stolen goods were shared by accomplices, the card bureaus did not detect any violations, and theft of products continued.
At the beginning of 1942, the Soviet government decided to transfer the card bureaus from the subordination of tenders to local authorities - district, city and regional executive committees. However, the staff in them remained the same, so the situation has not changed.
As a new measure to combat abuses of cards, the Council of People's Commissars 26 of June 1942 of the year created new supervisory bodies - control and accounting bureaus of industrial and food cards (CUB). Now, instead of card bureaus, they took coupons from the cards and controlled the compliance of their numbers with the figures from the reports on the funds sold. CUBs began to regularly check the work of card bureaus, outlets, and immediately revealed a lot of violations. It seemed that, under the control of the CUBs, the card system would work as intended. However, as you know, any business goes smoothly only on paper.
The most significant problem of distribution by cards was that at times there was simply nothing to distribute. Of the majority of the regions of the country not occupied by the enemy, letters were sent to Moscow that it was impossible to get the necessary products even with the smallest amount of cards.
In the autumn of 1942 of the year, a commission appointed by the Central Committee of the CPSU (B.) Found a depressing state of affairs in those areas from which most of the complaints had come. These regions did not receive the prescribed food. In separate areas, for months, they did not see either fat or sweet, and in the Yaroslavl region, for example, only 1942% of the prescribed were given for meat in July 6. The audit report submitted in November 1942 to the country's leadership separately referred to one method of abusing the card system. As it should be during the war, the army and defense enterprises were primarily supplied with food. Large military production, moreover, had a special status: they submitted directly to the Allied Commissariat and the number of their employees was a secret not only for the enemies, but also for the heads of the regions. Than the directors of the enterprises used: the workers' supply departments (LFS) of the factories overestimated the number of factory workers and demanded much more products than the current standards allowed. However, starvation threatened the population of many areas not only for this reason.
There was no optimal way out of the situation. Vast territories with fertile lands were occupied by the enemy, and until their release, there was no need to talk about increasing yields and food supplies. It was impossible to take anything else from the state that had already surrendered to the state to the last spikelet and therefore starving kolkhoz farmers. Worrying supplies to the army during heavy fighting was insane. But to leave things as they were meant to undermine the morale in the rear. The only solution was to reduce the loss of available products. First of all, the losses from the plunderers, or predators, as they were then called.
The decree "On strengthening the fight against the plundering and squandering of food and industrial goods", which the State Defense Committee took on 22 in January 1943, proposed the creation of a new structure as the main measure - trade inspections that should monitor the correctness of distribution of rationed goods. In addition, it was proposed to create a public control group in each outlet, so that workers and housewives themselves would check the correctness of spending products. Moreover, members of the public are now involved in monitoring the distribution of cards and the work of CUBs.
But the main thing - the resolution proposed to change the conditions and rules of trade that contributed to the theft. For example, in stores and canteens, instead of the existing accounting of goods at cost, their quantitative accounting was introduced. So selling the goods in short supply to the left and instead of it, making money in the cashier or replacing some goods with others has become more difficult.
No less important was the establishment of fines for products and goods that had disappeared from shops and canteens. It was proposed to charge for foodstuffs from materially responsible persons at the market price, and for manufactured goods - at five times the commercial price. Resale of products and goods lost its meaning and abuses in shops and catering should have stopped. However, only those who knew nothing about Soviet trade could decide this way.
The report of the Department for Combating the Plundering of Socialist Property of the General Directorate of Militia (OBKhSS GUM) of the NKVD of the USSR for 1943 said:
"With the issuance of the decree ... the possibilities for unimpeded plundering of goods decreased. As a result, the size of squandering began to decline somewhat. More significantly, it decreased in cities and less in rural areas, where later the goods accounting and control over their implementation was streamlined. Due to these criminals began to look for opportunities and ways of more unhindered plundering of goods. And the hanging and measuring of consumers as a more accessible and unhindered way began to spread about the creation of reserves of goods for theft. Currently, hanging and measuring consumers is the most common form of plundering of goods in stores and canteens. "
There was another way to conceal the theft: it was possible to depict that they were sold by cards. However, this required unrecorded cards or already used coupons, as stated in the report on the ObChSS:
“Activation by criminal elements from the number of employees of shops and canteens was increased by involving workers of control and accounting bureaus in crimes and receiving through them coupons and coupons for reuse in order to cover stolen goods. This way of plundering goods was also widely used by criminals. Suffice to say that During the second half of 1943, a significant number of uncovered criminal groups in shops and canteens were connected with the complicity of workers of control and registration bureaus. Dov (Chkalov, Voronezh, Kuibyshev, Saratov, Kazan and others.) prosecuted to 20% of workers control and accounting offices. The more that this contributes to the imperfect system of work control and accounting office. "
As the same report testified, similar machinations were committed even in besieged Leningrad:
"A group of criminals from the workers of the control and accounting bureau and Pischetorga of the Vyborg district was included in the number of 20 people. untimely redemption of coupons, the criminals systematically plundered bread and food stamps, for bribes wrote out stock warrants with an increase against actually surrendering vouched coupons. The criminals stole coupons redeemed Novikov, Petrashevsky, Kadushkin, Alekseev, Shitkin, Utkin and others, who had taken part in the embezzlement, by dividing the food in half. the Leningrad Tribunal sentenced 4 accused to execution, 5 people to 1500 years of imprisonment, and the rest from 2 to 4 years. "
And in the Moscow region, employees of the CUBE not only initiated the crimes, but also dragged in them the employees of the card bureau controlled by them and the house managements:
"The controllers of the Krasnogorsky District Kanurin and Rybnikov Control Bureau, the Mikhailov Card Bureau Head, Merkulov Card Bureau Controller, Mukhina the cashier, a number of employees of the trading system, and others, including 22, were engaged in the organized plunder of cards and coupons. receiving coupons from stores, accepting them not once every five days, but once every 10-15 days, and destroying them without the participation of members of the public. They sold the head of the N14 store of the Krasnogorsk bargaining, Guryeva, the director of the store of the same bargain, N1 Fields, and other store employees for reuse. In addition to the theft of coupons, the commandants of the store made fictitious requirements and issued them food cards, shopping them in stores. "
In conditions when a considerable number of CUBs, to put it mildly, lost their controlling functions, the staff of the card bureaus did not sit idle. The report OBKSS described numerous cases of crimes detected in KUB using various methods, starting with banal thefts:
"A large-scale plundering of cards was revealed in the Ulyanovsk regional card bureau. The embezzlements were carried out by a group of card bureau employees and other organizations among 22 people headed by a cashier storekeeper Kurushina. The card bookkeeping and storage were extremely weak. The receipt and expenditure documents were stored in bulk cabinets and drawers; personal accounts of enterprises and institutions that received the cards were not opened, cards were issued without a visa by the head of the card bureau and senior accountant; No points were produced and the results were not withdrawn on the first day of each month, when transferring the storerooms to other storekeepers, the rest of the cards for the storeroom were not withdrawn. Only in April this year, the storekeeper Vinokurov revealed a shortage of 5372 cards and 5106 coupons, and the storekeeper Validov 1888 card sets and 5З47 5-day coupons: during searches of the accused, 558 stolen cards were seized, individual 1850 coupons were loaded with different products, 53 000 cash and a lot of valuables. All sentenced to different terms of imprisonment. "
Often used and more elegant methods - writing cards to non-existent people and even non-existent organizations:
"In Syzran, a group of criminals led by the head of the city card bureau Kashcheyev was arrested. The investigation revealed that the former. Assistant Chief Engineer of the Chelyabugol Rykov trust, having the seal of a liquidated organization, got acquainted with the head of the card bureau Kashcheev and agreed with him about receiving on behalf of the construction of the Palik mine and received a large number of cards through Kashcheev, which he sold through speculators in the Syzran market. Rykov received five days ’vouchers and bread cards and other products from Kashcheyev’s 3948 180 000 five-day ration cards, of which 90 000 rubles received Kashcheev, three people were sentenced by the Kuybyshevsk regional court to convict 8 people, one of whom was shot to death, three to 10 years of imprisonment and the rest for different periods of time. "
However, the spectrum of crimes related to the rationing system was not exhausted either. Police noted:
"In some cases, employees of shops and canteens began to resort to buying cards and coupons in the markets to buy shortages of goods resulting from theft."
And demand, as you know, even under socialism gave rise to supply. If there were not enough stolen coupons and cards, they were fake. According to OBKHSS GUM, a significant number of cards and coupons were sold in the country, which were sold to trade workers, used in markets and were used by manufacturers for their own needs. At the same time, some criminals released fakes at the Stakhanov rate and volume:
"In Kuibyshev, a group of criminals was arrested, making bread stamps and additional food. The Stalin typesetter of the NKNUMX plant NKAP Vetrov, using weak control over printing and spending food stamps on bread and additional food, as well as weak accounting for them, systematically stole He sold them through his accomplices - factory workers at speculative prices. In April, 1 Vetrov, having stolen a font from a printing house, together with his accomplices, the workers of the N1943 factory organized in the basement about The underground printing house began printing fake tickets, bringing their production to 1 units per day. In total, the criminals fabricated 1000, 12 coupons, from the sale of which they generated over 000 200 rubles, 000 kg of bread and more 9600 were obtained from sales. dinners. Search for criminals seized: machine for collecting cliches, typographical font and 24 pieces of cliches, seals and stamps, 000 9 rubles in cash and for 32 000 rubles. different values. The case convicted 50 of a person to 000 years of imprisonment each, 4 accused of 10 years and the rest for different terms of imprisonment. "
In order to curb abuses in the rationing system in 1943, a large-scale operation of the NKVD began, resulting in 49 republics and regions of the USSR 1848 criminal cases were initiated, in which 1616 workers of card bureaus and KUBov and 3028 of their partners participated. To prevent card and ticket fakes, their production was transferred to well-protected printing houses. And in some areas where such enterprises did not exist, they began to carry the cards from Moscow. However, the police themselves noted that the measures taken did not bring the desired result.
In the BHSS report for 1944, for example, it was stated that during the year and three months of the operation to identify crimes in the rationing system, various abuses and thefts were revealed in 692 KUBakh, despite the fact that 832 was at that time. At the same time, in 156 CUBES, crimes were also detected during repeated and subsequent checks.
And the report for 1945 for the year showed that the number of card crimes by the end of the war and after its completion was much higher:
"Abuse of cards is extremely widespread. They occur in almost all parts of the card system."
And criminals use old methods and start practicing new ones:
“It is widely practiced by criminals to draw up fictitious acts for the destruction of industrial coupons or food ration cards. Such crimes are carried out not only to cover squandering, but also to cover theft. In each card bureau, card balances are formed every month after being issued to the public. In some cases, criminals plunder the remnants cards and cover embezzlement by drawing up fictitious acts on the destruction of unused card balances. In addition, I often write out fictitious stock warrants for consumed rationed goods to trading enterprises. This allows criminals to steal large quantities of goods, since the warrant is the main document indicating that the goods of the trading enterprise were spent on the cards correctly. However, after the bureau will be destroyed coupons, and they are destroyed in the majority daily, it is impossible to establish the fictitiousness of the stock warrant. "
In the meantime, workers and employees continued to receive less food on cards and starve. In June 1944, the USSR Commissar of Internal Affairs, Beria informed the Council of People's Commissars:
"The NKVD and the NKGB of the Bashkir ASSR provide the following data on the food supply situation for workers and engineers and technicians of a number of industrial enterprises in Bashkiria. Despite the fact that the food supplied by centralized funds is supplied primarily to the LRCs of leading industrial enterprises individual enterprises are not completely out of stock ... The public catering of workers at a number of industrial enterprises is organized unsatisfactory, the quality of meals in the table the output is low. At Sterlitamak Chemical Plant there was a massive refusal of workers from the first course prepared from nettle ... Due to interruptions in the workers' supply and poor organization of catering at a number of industrial enterprises, there are diseases of workers on the basis of depletion. depleted 268 people, at the N175 NCAP plant - 161 people. There are a number of deaths from exhaustion. "
Attempts to improve the work of the card system have been made more than once. In 1946, for example, a special commission of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of the Bolsheviks took up the task of conducting an inspection in each oblast and republic. Only in one Murmansk region 44 criminal cases were initiated, in which, among others, 28 employees of card bureaus and CUBs took part.
True, ineradicable card crimes soon ceased. Once in December 1947, the card system was canceled.