FAMINE IN RUSSIA
WHAT HE SAW ON A WALKING TOUR
By Gareth Jones
BERLIN. MARCH 29th, 1933
Manchester Guardian, UK
March 31, 1933
"Russia to-day is in the grip of famine, which is proving as disastrous as
the catastrophe of 1921, when millions died," said Mr. Gareth Jones,
formerly one of Mr. Lloyd U George's political secretaries, when he arrived
in Berlin this morning on his way to London after a tong walking trip
through the Ukraine and other districts of the Soviet Union.
International Affairs tomorrow in an interview with the New York "Evening
Post," Mr. Jones said that famine on a colossal scale was impending. It
meant death to millions by hunger and the beginnings of serious unemployment
in land which has hitherto prided it sell of every man having a job.
This summed up Mr. Jones's first-hand observations.
The arrest of the British engineer in Moscow is a symbol of panic, and is
a consequence of conditions worse than in 1921, when millions died of hunger
(declared Mr. Jones). The trial, beginning on Saturday, of the British
engineers is merely a sequel to the recent shooting of 35 prominent workers
of agriculture, including the vice commissar in the Ministry of Agriculture,
in an attempt to check the popular wrath at the famine which haunts every
district of the Soviet Union.
I walked alone through villages and twelve collective farms. Everywhere
was the cry, "There is no bread; we are dying." This cry came to me from
every part of Russia. In a train a Communist denied to me that there was a
famine. I flung into the spittoon a crust of bread I had been eating from
my own supply. The peasant, my fellow-passenger, fished it out and
ravenously ate it. I threw orange peel into the spittoon. The peasant
again grabbed and devoured it. The Communist subsided.
A foreign expert returning from Kazakstan told me that one million out of
five million have died of hunger. I can believe it. After Stalin the most
hated man in Russia is Bernard Shaw; to many of those who can read and have
read his descriptions of plentiful food in their starving land the future is
blacker than the present. There is insufficient seed. Many of the peasants
are too weak to work the land. The new taxation policy, which promised to
take only a fixed amount of grain from the peasants, will fail to encourage
production because the peasants refuse to trust the Government.
In short, the Government's policy of collectivisation and the peasants'
resistance to it have brought Russia to the worst catastrophe since the
famine of 1921 swept away the population of whole districts. Coupled with
this, the prime reason for the breakdown is the lack of skilled labour.
For further material on Gareth Jones please check out the
Dr. Margaret Colley and Nigel Linsan Colley website about
Gareth Jones: http://colley.co.uk/garethjones