Providing the population with food during the Great Patriotic War
Not for nothing, the party organs called the issue of supplying bread "political." The fact is that the presence or absence of bakery products in stores was for citizens a kind of indicator of the situation in the country. If, for example, there was not enough milk, matches, or salt, but there was still enough bread, then the situation was not critical. Products such as cereals, cereals, salt and sugar, usually the population always kept in reserve. Bread is a perishable product, you have to buy it every day. Therefore, its absence in the store was perceived as a harbinger of hunger, with all the ensuing consequences. On the other hand, people attributed this situation to the fact that the situation in the country and in particular at the front is bad. Disruptions in the supply of bread began as early as the end of July 1941. This immediately affected the mood of the population, panic began, some workers even refused to go to work.
In the 30-s in the USSR, food was never in abundance, as indeed in other times, and with the onset of World War II, the situation began to deteriorate further. Therefore, a card distribution system was gradually introduced. In the capital, it was introduced in the first month of the war. On July 16, the Moscow City Commerce Department signed an order No. 289 on the introduction of cards for certain products and manufactured goods in the city of Moscow. Then July 18 cards were introduced in Leningrad and surrounding cities. The chairmen of the executive committees of district councils were assigned the task of “explaining to workers the importance of the card system for organizing an uninterrupted supply of the population.
In August 1941, the chronic shortage of bread and other products began to be felt in almost all cities of the Soviet Union. Cards were introduced from food products to bread, cereals, sugar, butter, meat, fish, confectionery; and from manufactured goods - on soap, shoes, fabrics, sewing, knitted and hosiery goods. Supply rates were set depending on the availability (including production) of certain goods and were differentiated by population groups depending on the nature and importance of the work performed. But there were exceptions. Once in the category of "drummers" and "Stakhanovites", one could get additional coupons. They were also received by workers from hot shops, donors, sick and pregnant women.
Cards and coupons themselves created a wide field for fraud and speculation. In the first months of the war, there was no proper control over the work of the institutions and the house administrations for issuing cards, various kinds of abuse began, food stores operated uncontrollably. “Erroneously issued or fraudulently received cards led to additional consumption of food, and in the conditions of a siege of the city this is tantamount to a backstab. However, the egoists, in the worst sense of the word, fabricated false references, fraudulently, where possible, received additional cards. Ways to illegal acquisition of them invented a variety. Some house managers, in collusion with the janitors, wrote cards to fictional persons; cards returned by tenants to people who left or died in some cases were appropriated by dishonest workers in house administrations, at enterprises. They used every omission of the management of the registration and issuance of ration cards ... The card was more valuable than money, more precious than the paintings of great painters, more valuable than all other masterpieces of art ”(Pavlov DV, Leningrad in the Blockade, L., Lenizdat, 1985 g. , pp. 107).
In addition, the cards were stolen by the workers of the printing house on which they were printed. All this forced the leadership of Leningrad, headed by Zhdanov, to take action. First, the issuance of one-off coupons was prohibited. Secondly, the cards were requested to be issued only after thorough verification of primary documents. Thirdly, it was decided to strengthen the cadre of workers on accounting cards "best people" and the Communists. In order to prevent the use of fake cards, the Leningrad City Executive Committee made a decision from 12 to 18 of October to conduct a massive re-registration of the issued pro-cards for October. The attackers picked up paper, paint and calligraphy, making fake cards by hand. In stores with dim lighting of the lamp or the flickering light of oil coolers, it was often difficult to distinguish fakes from originals. But there was a catastrophic shortage of people, so the event was ordered to be carried out by all the same house authorities and enterprises that had previously issued these cards. As a result, they simply put the stamp "Re-registered".
"However, this gave a certain result. In October, 97 cards were issued a thousand less than in the previous month. But this figure also includes those who died as a result of bombardments and artillery bombardments, as well as those evacuated through Lake Ladoga. With the total number of cards issued in the city 2,4 million, the difference was not that big. So the situation as a whole hasn't changed. " (Ibid. 108).
In Leningrad, explosions thundered every day and fires blazed, air-raid sirens howled. If the cards were lost, the district offices were to issue new ones. But the "fashion" for lost cards began to grow like a snowball. “Escaping from shelling, I lost it”, “Cards remained in the apartment, and the house was destroyed”, “Stolen in the turmoil”, etc. - The reasons that citizens indicated in the statements. “If district bureaus issued new 4800 lost cards in October, then in November, around 13 000. In December, enterprising St. Petersburg people“ lost ”thousands of cards in 24. As a result, the government also reacted in a Soviet way: it was simply forbidden to issue cards again. this was possible only in rare cases, and almost after the personal order of Zhdanov. In addition, the practice of attaching citizens to certain shops was introduced, and additional stamps like “Prodmag No. XXUMX” appeared on the cards. " (Zefirov M.V. Degtev, D.M. “Everything for the front? How victory was forged,” AST Moscow, 31, with 2009).
Of course, all these measures somewhat reduced and complicated the illegal receipt of cards. But the most enterprising people in the autumn months managed to create some food supply, which allowed many of them not only to survive the disastrous blockade winter, but also to speculate on food on the market. So honest citizens, who completely entrusted their fate to the state, suffered the most.
In the markets, food prices were high: milk - 4 rubles. liter, meat - 26-28 rub., eggs - 15 rub., oil - 50 rub., but for such money it was not easy to buy - huge queues lined up. Often there were no vegetables in the bazaars, even potatoes and cabbage. The strict city authorities, under pressure from public opinion, ordered the collective farmers to establish "firm prices" for food. It seemed that the buyer’s cherished dream would soon come true. From now on, the milk should have cost no more than 2 rubles. 50 cop., Meat - 18 rub. etc. However, the peasants responded to this in their own way — they destroyed the food and simply ran away from the bazaars. As a result, the markets were empty, and by August 1941 trade continued only with berries and mushrooms, for which no fixed prices were set. Milk, eggs, butter and meat almost completely disappeared.
On September 1, by government decree, a rationing system for products was introduced everywhere. However, while it concerned only bread, sugar and confectionery. Norms and cards for other products appeared later. The entire population was divided into two categories. 1 has included workers in the military, oil, metallurgical, machine-building, chemical industries, workers in power stations, railway and sea transport, etc. The 2 group includes workers and engineers, employees of other industries and all others who were not included in the first category. . He established the following daily allowance for bread and sugar:
However, the same decree allowed local authorities in parallel with the card distribution to trade in bread without cards at elevated prices. In fact, the card system coexisted in parallel with commercial trade. As far as bread was a political product, the events of 1943 fall say. As a result of the Luftwaffe summer raids on the cities of the Volga region, sending grain to the areas liberated from the Germans and poor harvest, the state almost everywhere had to reduce the bread ration rates on cards in November. On average, from 800 to 600 grams per day for the 1 category of citizens.
As a result, the population began to show massive discontent. According to the NKVD, in December there were the following statements of citizens, similar to the statements of the mechanic of the flight test station of the aircraft plant No. XXUMX Kiryasov: "Comrade Stalin said that the war will soon end, so why do they lower the norms, it means that the war will continue for a long time, the people and so hungry, and then bread is taken away, many people will swell and die. " Or an employee of the planning department of the ammunition plant No. XXUMX Vaganova: “So you’re winning, giving back the cities again, lowering the standards for bread, and soon, apparently, they won’t give, that’s not the best things on the front.” (Ibid. 21).
In the future, they also refused to regulate the prices of products on the markets. It was a major victory for the peasants over the Soviet regime! The kolkhoz farmers simply lost the profit they had received lately in prices that rose four to five times compared with the pre-war ones. So, a liter of milk in October 1941 was already worth 10 rubles instead of two rubles in June. But even behind such an expensive product, it was now necessary to stand in line for 2-3 hours. There were also long lines in commercial stores. After analyzing the situation, the state soon decided, apparently, that people have too much cash. Therefore, December 30 1941 was introduced the so-called "military tax", constituting 12% of salary.
"It was winter ahead, but in the meantime, due to the lack of labor in agriculture, they didn’t manage to harvest 1941. The prospect of famine started to melt. Party authorities decided to throw everyone who could to harvest. September, the Gorky Regional Party Committee 26 of September ordered" to attract as a labor service for harvesting agricultural crops, all able-bodied rural population, including students of both sexes, as well as the population of cities and urban-type settlements, but not to the detriment of the work of state institutions and enterprises. ”District Party Committees and were obliged to clarify this decree to the population and ensure its access to the harvest. " (Ibid. 334).
At the end of 1941, cards were entered for fish, cereals, meat, and pasta. Meat, on average in the country, relied only 1,2 kg per person per month. Then, in 1942, many cities introduced rationing for the sale of kerosene and salt to the public. Often, the shortage of products in the stores was explained not only by the conditions of wartime, but also by the fact that for various reasons they did not reach the counters, but “miraculously” turned out to be on the markets at fabulous prices. The cost of one loaf first came to 200-250, and later to 400 rubles! At the same time, the salary of a skilled worker at a military factory was 800 rubles per month. Slightly more - the rate in 1080 rubles - had a professor. But after all, there were also absolutely miserable salaries. So, technicals and cloakroom attendants received all 100-130 rubles. At the same time, the price of, for example, a kilogram of carrots in the bazaars in May 1942 reached almost 80 rubles!
Police officers regularly carried out operational activities for the removal of speculative bread, established ways of its receipt in the markets. Sometimes even had to spy on bread vans. The shortage of bread and other food, of course, was due not only to its actual absence. Theft of grain occurred in the countryside. "In some collective farms, the administration and other workers managed to plunder 50% of the crop. At the same time, the yields were artificially underestimated. The lower the yield per hectare was, the more wheat was stolen ... In November, the 1943 five-year collective farm was exposed to 2. In fact, filling in the “bins of the Motherland” only for 250-260 centners of grain, the management entered 400 centners into reports. With the Zagotzerno base, fictitious advance receipts for grain acceptance were written ... Ordinary collective farmers, puffed with hunger, dragged less But it was precisely they who were caught most of all. Thus, one resident of the town of Lyskovo worked in a grain warehouse, shoveling wheat. When tired of looking at this abundance with hungry eyes, she sewed two secret pockets to the skirt and carried several pieces of grain into them. the woman was caught and received three years in prison, despite the fact that she had three young children in her care. " (Ibid. 336-337).
Despite all the measures taken to avoid hunger failed. Of course, he didn’t have the tragic features of besieged Leningrad everywhere, but he was still felt both in large cities and in the countryside. First of all, people received less bread, which was aggravated by the shortage of other products. The constant shortage of food made the citizens "part-time" to become peasants. All lawns and flower beds near houses in the spring of 1942 were sown with potatoes and cabbage. Who did not have time to seize the land in the city, received officially or occupied the plantations in the suburbs. It was also possible to rent land from collective farms bordering the city. Some citizens hired in collective farms for seasonal work for bread. In general, they survived as best they could. All this, of course, could not but affect the health of people ...
Inflation during the war reached enormous proportions. This is evidenced by rising prices for basic foodstuffs. If in January 1942 a kilogram of potatoes in the markets of Gorky cost 1 rubles on average. 60 cop., Then in a year - already 12, and in January 1943 - 40 rub.! The cost of a kilogram of fresh cabbage has grown from 3 rubles. 70 cop in January 1941 to 20 rubles in January 1942, and a year later doubled. The bow went up with 3 rub. 50 cop up to, respectively, 14 and 78 rubles. A dozen eggs in January 1941 cost 16 rubles on average, 1942 rubles in January 52, and 1943 rubles in January 190! But the most record was the increase in prices for animal and vegetable oil, milk and meat (rubles / kg):
Thus, the highest food prices occurred at the end of 1942, the beginning of 1943, then there was a decline for some products, but the increase in prices still remained high compared to the beginning of the war. Most striking is the rise in prices for butter and milk, which have risen in price for a specified period 14 times! However, only essential goods were mentioned here, and there were many others in short supply. For example, champagne for 1943 has risen in price on average to 160 rubles per liter. But the most expensive product, which overtook all the "competitors", of course, was vodka. The cost of one bottle on the market by the middle of the war reached an astronomical sum of 1000 rubles! That is, even the monthly salary of a skilled worker was not enough to buy it. But once such a price was established, it means there was demand.
Not only food was in short supply - there were always not enough industrial goods. Professor Dobrotvor describes an interesting case, he saw 3 on June 1942 in the center of Gorky: “A wild picture near a department store. Today they give out woolen matter. It is a menagerie of speculators of every kind. RUB. A brawl near a shop. 900 militiamen, but not for order, but also to receive material. Orgy of speculation and cronyism. Terribly honest man. " ("Not to be forgotten. Pages Nizhny Novgorod stories 1941-1945 years ”, N. Novgorod, 1995 g., P. 528).
The most hungry in the USSR were the 1944-1946's. This then in feature films and literature, the spring of the victorious 45 of the year will be depicted as an optimistic and happy time. Here are excerpts from the letters of students of the Rabotkin Agricultural Technical School, the contents of which became known even at the highest level. In particular, the information reached the deputy chairman of the Soviet government, Mikoyan A.I. Starving students wrote:
"11.4.45 d. ... Since 1, the numbers in the technical school did not give even a single bread, all the students came down, some began to swell. The classes stopped, but they did not give vacations. Everyone was very weak.
9.4.45 G. ... Absolutely weak. Now 9 is already a number, but we have not been given bread even once, we do not know when it will be. And besides, we have neither potatoes, nor money, the “kaput” has come.
10.4.45 g. ... 13 days live without bread. In our group, two girls are swollen. There is no firewood in the technical school, there is no water either, in connection with this breakfast happens at lunch — one beet root, and lunch at dinner, dinner does not happen at all. In the college now such a mess, such excitement, the students are rioting with might and main.
11.4.45 ... Bread was not given a single gram since April 1. Students can not even walk, and lie on the bed barely alive. Now we are not learning and not working, we are sitting in our room. When they will give bread, it is not known. "(Zefirov, MV Degtev, DM,“ Everything for the front? How victory was forged, in fact, ”AST Moscow, 2009, with 342).
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