The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


Bolsheviki Believe They Have Crossed Great Divide on Road to Socialism

Farm Policy is Hailed

Food for People and Live Stock, Too, Expected to Solve Chief Problems of Country


By Walter Duranty
Wireless to the New York Times
[Sunday, August 13, 1933, Front Page]


MOSCOW, Aug. 11 [1933]- "This is a year of perelom," they are now saying in the Soviet Union, and the voices are confident, instead of merely hopeful, as three months ago.

In Czarist Russian "perelom" meant a crisis in illness - a turning point toward recovery or death - but in modern Soviet parlance the word is exclusively of optimistic connotation - a "change for the better".

When the Bolsheviki say that this is a year of perelom they mean it will carry them definitely over the divide - that they are at the summit of their long uphill struggle to build socialism and are moving down an easier road to the promised land. The decisive factor of perelom is the good harvest - the biggest, it is asserted, in the past thirty-five years.

Labor Solution Predicted.

The great Empress Catherine, who knew her Russia, once said, "A single good crop atones for ten years of political errors." And today, whether there have been errors or not, it is truer than ever that the huge harvest will not only be a turning point in the colossal agrarian revolution - that is, collectivization - but will solve one of the chief problems of the Soviet industry, namely exaggerated labor turnover.

This turnover is commonly from 100 to 200 per cent annually. The big crop is also expected to solve so-called "labor in discipline."

There is no denying that despite the real progress and industrial achievements of the Five-Year Plan, the Soviet populace during the past four years has had steadily less to eat. The reasons for this are clear enough.

First, there is the unprecedented concentration of the national energy, man power and money upon capital investments - that is, upon huge basic plants, the products of which cannot be transformed into consumers' goods for several years. Second, the peasant opposition to collectivization caused widespread slaughter of live stock, and the liquidation of the kulak" deprived food production of the section of the peasants that created the biggest surplus.

Third, confusion and mismanagement attended the new collectives. Fourth, there was the Japanese war scare, which last Spring especially necessitated withdrawals of grain and other foodstuffs for the Far Eastern army from peasants whose stocks were already low.

Finally, the world depression forced the Soviet Union to export more foodstuffs for less money to meet foreign bills. All these reasons are freely admitted by the Kremlin spokesmen, including Joseph Stalin, but the Kremlin resolutely maintained that its collectivization policy as such was correct and that, despite errors and "excesses" on certain occasions by local authorities, it was well worth the sacrifices it involved.

The Kremlin knows its own people, and the Bolsheviki consistently have preferred to drive policies through at any cost rather than temporize or shilly-shally. The majority of foreign observers believe the recent difficulties would have been less had collectivization been carried out at a slower tempo then was originally called for by the Five-Years Plan.

M. Stalin admitted at the beginning of the year that the Communist party made the mistake of leaving the collectives too much to their own affords and of imagining that Socialist form implied successful Socialist practice. Early this year there was introduced a new method of organizing and stimulating the collectives - the political department of the tractor stations.

This device is generally attributed to M. Kaganovich, the only man of Jewish birth who is in the highest Communist party circles today and who is the most intelligent of' M. Stalin's "young men". The political department has wide powers not only to punish recalcitrant peasants but to deal with obstreperous local authorities, and from the outset of the Spring sowing it put the collective farms to functioning with enough efficiency to profit vastly from the favorable weather conditions.

It is already evident not only that the Soviet populace but the live stock, too, henceforth are assured of the essentials in their food supply - to say nothing of the immense help and encouragement a good crop will give to the collective farm movement as a whole. Diseases arising primarily from malnutrition, which have been a depressing feature of the past eighteen months, will diminish and disappear.

Last but not least, the harvest will be taken as proof that the Kremlin's policy is correct and it will be dissipate doubts that had arisen not only among certain sections of the population but in the Communist party itself.

The New York Times, Sunday, August 13, 1933, Front Page Story
Researched and transcribed from The New York Times on microfilm by the  Information Service (ARTUIS)