The surplus is traditionally associated with the first years of Soviet power and the extreme conditions of the Civil War, but in Russia it appeared under the imperial government long before the Bolsheviks.
"Wheat and flour crisis"
Since the beginning of the First World War, the basic necessities have risen in price in Russia, prices for which have increased by two to three times by 1916. The prohibition of governors on the export of food from the provinces, the introduction of fixed prices, the distribution of cards and purchases by local authorities did not improve the situation. Cities suffered severe food shortages and high prices. The essence of the crisis was clearly presented in a memorandum of the Voronezh Exchange Committee to a meeting at the Moscow Stock Exchange in September 1916. She stated that market relations had penetrated into the village. The peasantry was able to sell less important items of production for a high price and at the same time hold bread for a rainy day because of the uncertainty of the outcome of the war and increasing mobilization. At the same time, the urban population suffered. "We consider it necessary to pay special attention to the fact that the wheat and flour crisis would have come much earlier if trade and industry didn’t have a certain reserve of wheat in the form of the next cargo lying at railway stations waiting for loading from 1915. and even with 1914, the stockbrokers wrote, “and if the Ministry of Agriculture did not release wheat mills from its stock in 1916 ... and that was intended in a timely manner, not for the population’s food, but for other purposes." The note firmly expressed confidence that a solution to the crisis that threatened the whole country could only be found in a complete change in the country's economic policy and the mobilization of the national economy. Such plans have been repeatedly expressed by various public and state organizations. The situation demanded radical economic centralization and the involvement of all public organizations in the work.
Introduction of the surplus
However, at the end of 1916, the authorities, not daring to change, confined themselves to a plan for mass requisition of grain. The free purchase of bread was replaced by the surplus between the producers. The size of the attire was set by the chairperson of the special meeting in accordance with the yield and size of stocks, as well as the consumption standards of the province. Responsibility for the collection of bread was assigned to the provincial and district councils. Through local surveys, it was necessary to find out the right amount of bread, subtract it from the total attire for the county, and spread the rest between the volosts that were supposed to bring the size of the dress to every rural society. Distribution of orders by county councils should have been held by December 14, by December 20, outfits for the townships, those by December 24, for rural societies and, finally, by December each 31 every household should have known about their attire. The withdrawal was entrusted to the district authorities together with the ombudsmen.
A farmer during a plow Photo: RIA News
Having received a circular, the Voronezh Provincial Government convened a meeting of the chairmen of the Zemstvo councils on December 6-7 of December 1916, at which the layout was worked out and the outfits were calculated in the counties. The council was tasked with developing schemes and volost lists. At the same time, the question of the impracticability of the dress was raised. According to the telegram of the Ministry of Agriculture, the province was overlaid with a distribution in 46.951 thousand pounds: rye 36.47 thousand, wheat 3.882 thousand, millet 2.43, oats 4.169 thousand. At the same time, the minister warned that an additional distribution could be made due to an increase in the army, therefore " I present to you now to increase the number of loaves designated by point 1 in the list, and in the case of an increase by at least 10%, I undertake not to include your province in a possible additional list. " This meant that the plan rises to 51 million pounds.
The calculations carried out by the zemstvos showed that the complete implementation of the development is associated with the withdrawal of almost all the bread from the peasants: then there was only 1,79 million pounds of rye left in the province, and wheat was threatened with a deficit of 5 million. This amount could hardly be enough for consumption and the new sowing of bread, not to mention the feed of livestock, which in the province, according to an approximate calculation, there were more than 1,3 million heads. Zemstvos noted: "In record years, the province gave 30 millions throughout the year, and now it is supposed to take 50 millions during 8 months, moreover a year with a below-average crop and provided that the population not confident in sowing and harvesting the future harvest, can't help but strive to make stocks. " Considering that the railway lacked 20% wagons, and this problem was not solved at all, the meeting considered: "All these considerations lead to the conclusion that collecting the above amount of bread is in fact impracticable." The zemstvo noted that the ministry had calculated the list, clearly not based on the statistics presented to it. Of course, this was not the accidental bad luck of the province - a similar rough calculation, which did not take into account the real state of affairs, concerned the whole country. As it was found out from a survey of the Union of Cities in January 1917: “the bread was distributed in the provinces from what calculation, sometimes with nothing incongruous, placing a completely unbearable burden on some gubernias”. This alone indicated that the plan could not be fulfilled. At the December meeting in Kharkov, the head of the provincial government VN. Tomanovsky tried to prove it to the Minister of Agriculture A.A. Rittih, to which he replied: "Yes, all this may be so, but such an amount of bread is needed for the army and for factories working for defense, since this distribution only covers these two needs ... we need to give it and give it are required. "
Also, the meeting informed the ministry that “there are neither material resources nor means of influence on unwilling to comply with the conditions of the distribution”, therefore the meeting proceeded to give them the right to open svypnyh points and requisition premises for them. In addition, in order to preserve fodder for the army, the meeting asked to cancel the provincial outfits for cake. These considerations were sent to the authorities, but had no effect. As a result, the Voronezh residents had a distribution, and even with the recommended increase in 10%.
The deployment will be completed!
The Voronezh provincial assembly due to the amusement of the chairmen of the county governments, who were engaged in collecting grain in the villages, was postponed from January 15 1917 to February 5, and then to February 26. But even this number quorum did not take place - instead of 30 people. 18 gathered. 10 people sent a telegram that they could not arrive at the congress. Chairman of the Zemsky Assembly A.I. Alekhine was forced to ask those who had appeared not to leave Voronezh, hoping that a quorum would meet. It was only at the March 1 meeting that it was decided to "immediately" begin collecting. This meeting also behaved in a dual way. After an exchange of views on the proposal of the representative of the Valuysk district S.A. Blinov’s meeting worked out a resolution for reporting to the government, in which he actually recognized his demands as impracticable: "The size of the outfit given to the Voronezh governorate is undoubtedly excessively exaggerated and virtually impossible ... since its full implementation would have led to the withdrawal of the entire bread without residue. " The meeting again pointed out the lack of fuel for grinding bread, bread bags, the collapse of the railway. However, references to all these obstacles ended in that the assembly, submitting to the highest authority, promised that the "common joint efforts of the population and its representatives - in the person of Zemstvo figures" will be done. So, contrary to the facts, those "extremely resolute, optimistic statements of the official and official press" that accompanied, according to contemporaries, the campaign were supported.
Chairman of the Voronezh district council assembly A.I. Alekhin. Photo: Homeland / provided by the author
However, it is difficult to say how real the assurances of the zemstvos were about the withdrawal of "all the bread without a trace" in the case of full implementation of the distribution. It was no secret to anyone that there was bread in the province. But its concrete amount was unknown — as a result, the zemstvos were forced to derive figures from the agricultural census data in their hands, consumption and seeding standards, farm yields, etc. At the same time, the bread of previous harvests was not taken into account, since, according to the administration, he had already gone for consumption. Although this opinion seems controversial, given that many contemporaries mention the grain stocks of the peasants and the markedly increased level of their well-being in the war, other facts confirm that the lack of bread in the village clearly existed. Voronezh city shops were regularly besieged by poor peasants from the suburbs and even other volosts. In the Korotoyak district, according to the reports, the peasants said: "We ourselves would hardly get the bread, but the landowners of the landowners have a lot of bread and a lot of cattle, but they have requisitioned little cattle, and therefore they should requisition more bread and cattle." Even the most prosperous Valuisky district provided itself largely due to the delivery of grain from the Kharkiv and Kursk gubernias. When supplies were banned from there, the position of the county deteriorated markedly. Obviously, the problem is in the social stratification of the village, in which the poor of the village suffered no less than the poor of the city. In any case, the implementation of the government’s plan for the distribution was impossible: there was no organized apparatus for collecting and recording bread, the layout was arbitrary, there was not enough material resources for collecting and storing grain, the railway crisis was not resolved. Moreover, the surplus, aimed at supplying the army and factories, did not solve the problem of supplying cities, which, while reducing the stocks of grain in the province, was only supposed to escalate.
According to the plan, in January 1917 the province had to hand over 13,45 million pounds of grain: of these, 10 million pounds of rye, 1,25 - wheat, 1,4 - oats, 0,8 - millet; as much was supposed to prepare in February. To collect grain, the provincial zemstvo organized 120 collection points, 10 per county, located 50-60 versts from each other, most of which were to open in February. Difficulties began already during the layout: Zadonsky district assumed only a part of the order (instead of 2,5 million pounds of rye - 0.7 million, and instead of 422 thousand pounds of millet - 188), and of the defined pounds of bread into February, 1,76 million pounds of bread were unrolled by February 0,5 million. The deployment of the parish by the parish was released from the control of the administration due to the lack of reliable communication with the villages, so the case there was much delayed.
"A whole series of parishes completely refuses ... the distribution"
Already during the period of procurement, the Zemstvo was skeptical about their result: "At least, the reports from some counties already convince this, firstly, that a number of volosts completely refuse any distribution, and, secondly, and in those volosts where the distribution was made by the volost assemblies completely - later on, with a settled and household distribution, it becomes impossible to carry it out. " The sale was unimportant. Even in Valuysky district, which was the smallest layout, and the population was in the best position, things went badly - many peasants insisted that they did not have that much bread. Where bread was, laws were dictated by speculation. In one village, the peasants agreed to sell wheat at 1,9 rubles. for a pood, but soon they secretly abandoned it: “Then it happened that the respondents to the proposal of the authorities did not have time to get money for the delivered bread, as they heard that the fixed price for wheat had risen from 1 ruble 40 kop. to 2 rub. 50 cop Thus, the more patriotic peasants will receive less for bread than those who have kept it in. Now the peasants are so convinced that the more they keep their bread, the more the government will increase firm prices and the local bosses do not need at Ery, since they only deceive the people. "
Md Ershov, in 1915-1917 and about. Governor of the Voronezh Province. Photo: Homeland / provided by the author
The procurement campaign was not backed by real means of execution. The government tried to overcome this with threats. On February 24, Rittikh sent a telegram to Voronezh, ordering, first of all, to proceed with the requisition of grain in the villages that most stubbornly did not want to perform a pattern. At the same time, it was necessary to leave on the farm one pood of grain per capita before harvesting a new crop, but no later than the first of September, as well as for spring sowing of fields according to the norms established by the county council and for feeding the livestock - according to the standards established by the authorized person (even mismatch of actions). Governor MD Ershov, fulfilling the demands of the authorities, on the same day sent out telegrams to the county district councils, in which he demanded to immediately start deliveries of bread. If the delivery does not start within three days, the authorities were instructed to proceed with requisitions “with a decrease in the fixed price of 15 percent and, in case of failure of the owners to deliver the bread to the receiving point, less the transportation cost”. The government has not provided any specific directives on the implementation of these instructions. Meanwhile, such actions required the provision of an extensive network of the executive apparatus, which was absent from the zemstvos. It is not surprising that, for their part, they did not attempt to be zealous in the performance of a deliberately hopeless enterprise. Ershov's order from December 6 to render the police "every possible assistance" to the collection of bread did not help much. V.N. Tomanovsky, who was usually very strictly in the public interest, took a moderate tone at the March 1 meeting: "From my point of view, we need to collect bread, as far as possible, without resorting to any drastic measures, it will be some plus to that amount of stocks which we have. It is possible that the movement of the railway will improve, a greater number of cars will appear ... to take drastic measures in the sense that "let, carry, by all means," it would seem inexpedient. "
"The deployment undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture has definitely failed"
Mv Rodzianko wrote to the emperor just before the revolution: “The development undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture definitely failed. Here are the figures characterizing the latter’s progress. It was supposed to deploy 772 million poods. Of these, 23 January was theoretically expanded: 1) provincial zemstvos 643 million poods. E. On 129 million pounds less than expected, 2) county zemstvos 228 million poods. And finally, 3) volosts only 4 million poods. These figures indicate a complete collapse of the distribution ... ".
State Duma Chairman M.V. Rodzianko was forced to state that the surplus, started by the Ministry of Agriculture, failed. Photo: Bibliothèque nationale de France
By the end of February, 1917, the province not only failed to fulfill the plan, but also failed to deliver to 20 million pounds of grain. Collected bread, as was evident from the very beginning, could not be taken out. As a result, 5,5 million pounds of grain accumulated on the railway, which the district committee pledged to take out no earlier than in two and a half months. No wagons for unloading, no fuel for the locomotives were registered. It was impossible even to transport flour to dryers or grain for grinding, as the committee did not deal with internal flights. Yes, and fuel for the mills, too, was not, because of what many of them were idle or preparing to stop work. The last attempt of the autocracy to solve the food problem failed because of the inability and unwillingness to solve a complex of real economic problems in the country and the lack of the state centralized control of the economy necessary in wartime conditions.
This problem was inherited by the Provisional Government, which followed the old path. Already after the revolution, at the meeting of the Voronezh Prokkommittee 12 in May, the Minister of Agriculture A.I. Shingarev said that the province had failed to deliver 17 from 30 million pounds of grain: "It is necessary to decide: how right is the central administration ... and how successful is the implementation of the attire, and can there be a significant excess of attire?" This time, the members of the administration, clearly having fallen into optimism of the first revolutionary months, assured the minister that "the mood of the population was already defined in the sense of bringing up grain" and "with the active participation" of the pro-auction, the order would be fulfilled. In July, 1917 outfits were performed on 47%, in August - on 17%. There is no reason to suspect local leaders, loyal to the revolution, of lack of zeal. But the future showed that this time the promise of the Zemstvo was not fulfilled. Objectively, the situation in the country — the economy’s withdrawal from the state’s control and the impossibility of regulating the processes in the village — put an end to the well-intentioned efforts of local authorities.
1. Voronezh Telegraph. 1916. N 221. 11 October.
2. Journals of the Voronezh Provincial Zemsky Assembly of the regular session 1916 of the year (February 28 - March 4 1917). Voronezh, 1917. L. 34-34
3. State Archive of the Voronezh Region (GAVO). F. And-21. Op. 1. D. 2323. L. 23ob.-25.
4. Journals of the Voronezh Provincial Zemstvo Assembly. L. 43ob.
5. Sidorov A.L. The economic situation in Russia during the First World War. M., 1973. C. 489.
6. Gavo. F. And-21. Op. 1. D. 2225. L. 14ob.
7. Journals of the Voronezh Provincial Zemstvo Assembly. L. 35, 44-44ob.
8. Voronezh Telegraph. 1917. N 46. 28 February.
9. Voronezh Telegraph. 1917. N 49. 3 March.
10. Sidorov A.L. Decree. cit. C. 493.
11. P.A. Popov Voronezh city government. 1870-1918. Voronezh, 2006. C. 315.
12. Gavo. F. And-1. Op. 1. D. 1249. L.7
13. Voronezh Telegraph. 1917. N 39. 19 February.
14. Voronezh Telegraph. 1917. N 8. 11 January.
15. Voronezh Telegraph. 1917. N 28. 4 February.
16. Gavo. F. And-21. Op.1. D. 2323. L. 23ob.-25.
17. Voronezh Telegraph. 1917. N 17. 21 January.
18. Gavo. F. And-1. Op. 2. D. 1138. L. 419.
19. Gavo. F. And-6. Op. 1. D. 2084. L. 95-97.
20. Gavo. F. And-6. Op.1. D. 2084. L. 9.
21. Gavo. F. And-21. Op. 1. D. 2323. L. 15ob.
22. Note M.V. Rodzianki // Red archive. 1925. T. 3. C. 69.
23. Bulletin of the Voronezh district zemstvo. 1917. N 8. 24 February.
24. Gavo. F. And-21. Op. 1. D. 2323. L. 15.
25. Bulletin of the Voronezh Provincial Food Committee. 1917. N 1. 16 June.
26. Voronezh Telegraph. 1917. N 197. 13 September.