Evening Post Foreign Service
New York, New York
March 29, 1933
Famine grips Russia Millions Dying. Idle on Rise, Says Briton
Asserts Reds Arrest British to Check Public Wrath
Peasants "Wait for Death"
BERLIN, March. 29th , - Russia today is in the grip of a famine which is
proving as disastrous as the catastrophe of 1921 when millions died,
reported Gareth Jones, Foreign Affairs secretary to former Prime Minister
David Lloyd George of Great Britain, who arrived in Berlin this morning en
route to London after a long walking tour through the Ukraine and other
districts in the Soviet Union.
Mr. Jones, who speaks Russian fluently, is the first foreigner to visit
the Russian countryside since the Moscow authorities forbade foreign
correspondents to leave the city. His report, which he will deliver to the
Royal Institute of International Affairs tomorrow, explains the reason for
this prohibition. Famine on a colossal scale, impending death of millions
From hunger, murderous terror and the beginnings of serious unemployment in
a land that had hitherto prided itself on the fact that very man had a
job-this is the summary of Mr. Jones's first-hand observations.
He told the EVENING POST: "The arrest of the British engineers in Moscow
is a symbol of panic in consequence of conditions worse than in 1921.
Millions are dying of hunger. The trial, beginning Saturday, of the British
engineers is merely a pendant to the recent shooting of thirty-five
prominent workers in agriculture, including the Vice-Commissar of the
Ministry of Agriculture, and is an attempt to check the popular wrath at the
famine which haunts every district of the Soviet Union.
"Everywhere was the cry, 'There is no bread. We are dying. This cry came
from every part of Russia, from the Volga,. Siberia, White Russia, the North
Caucasus, Central Asia. I tramped through the black earth region because
that was once the richest farm land in Russia and because the correspondents
have been forbidden to go there to see for themselves what is happening.
"In the train a Communist denied 'to me that there was a famine. I flung
a crust of bread which I had been eating from my own supply into a spittoon.
A peasant fellow-passenger fished it out and ravenously ate it. I threw an
orange peel into the spittoon and the peasant again grabbed it and devoured
it. The Communist subsided. I stayed overnight in a village where there
used to be 200 oxen and where there now are six. The peasants were eating
the cattle fodder and had only a month's supply left. They told me that
many had already died of hunger. Two soldiers came to arrest a thief. They
warned me against travel by night as there were too many 'starving'
"'We are waiting for death' was my welcome, but See, we still, have our
cattle fodder. Go farther south. There they have nothing. Many houses are
empty of people already dead,' they cried.
"A foreign expert returning from Kazakstan told me that 1,000,000 out of
5,000,000 there have died of hunger. I can believe it. After Stalin, the
most hated man in Russia is Bernard Shaw among- those who read his glowing
descriptions of plentiful food in their starving land. "The future is
blacker than the present. There is insufficient seed. Many peasants are
too weak physically le to work on the land. The new taxation policy,
promising to take only a fixed amount of grain from the peasants, will fail
to encourage production because the peasants refuse to trust the
In short, Mr. Jones concluded, the collectivization policy of the
Government and the resistance of the peasants to it have brought Russia
to the worst catastrophe since the famine of 1921 and have swept away the
population of whole districts.
Coupled with this, the prime reason for the breakdown, he added, is the
terror, lack of skill and collapse of transport and finance. Unemployment
is rapidly increasing, he declared, because of the lack of raw materials.
The lack of food and the 'wrecking of the currency and credit system have
forced many of the factories to close or to dismiss great numbers of
The Jones report, because of his position, because of his reputation for
reliability and impartiality and because he is the only first-hand observer
who has visited the Russian countryside since it was officially closed to
foreigners, is bound to receive widespread attention in official England as
well as among the public of the country.
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