The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)

RUSSIA REVEALED: Part I. The Five-Year Fiasco
Agony of the Unwanted Citizen

The Morning Post,
Monday, June 5, 1933


Below we publish the first of four remarkable articles, on the present situation in Russia by Mr. Malcolm Muggeridge, who recently acted for eight months as the Moscow Correspondent of an English Liberal newspaper.


Mr. Muggeridge went to Russia a convinced and enthusiastic Communist. He came away entirely disillusioned about the Soviet regime. He has drawn a faithful and terrible picture of human suffering under existing conditions, and has described his own disillusionment in moving and memorable words.



Future historians are likely to have some difficulty in accounting for the remarkable vogue of the Five-Year Plan. How, they will wonder, did it come about that so fantastic, so elephantine, so patently inefficient and wasteful a project impressed, not merely simple-minded idealists, but also reputable economists, successful business men, particularly American, and serious politicians?

To answer this question they will have to attempt to recreate the general character of the post-war period in which the Plan was floated - instability so great that any positive proposal, however extravagant, was received respectfully; size so worshipped that the (on paper) biggest of all big-business, socialist big-business, seemed wholly admirable because of its scale; statistics so profuse and so widely honoured that a project, when it was expounded statistically, was taken as having been achieved.

The general conception, I imagine, of the Five-Year Plan is of something graphed and written down which is fulfilled as accurately and regularly as, in European countries other than Russia, trains fulfil their time-tables.

In this sense, the Plan never had any existence. In so far as there has been a Plan at all, it has been altered, and altered considerably, almost from day to day. Its object was to industrialise the country rapidly and on a large scale, mainly with art eye to military preparedness. In regard to this last, I am not competent to speak, but would refer those interested to one of the very few accurate and profound studies of Soviet Russia - "La Revolution Russe," by Henry Rollin - where they will find the matter excellently discussed and in great detail.


It was not difficult for the Soviet Government, with the aid of highly-paid foreign engineers and by importing foreign machinery, to bring into existence a number of large and, in themselves, sufficiently impressive industrial enterprises.

Food products and timber and oil and furs, dumped abroad, chiefly in England, at fabulously low prices, realised the necessary valuta; printing-presses made available an unlimited number of paper roubles; and with a ready supply of political prisoners to undertake - for no wages - the more arduous tasks, as for instance, digging canals, and, with a working-class so intimidated that the proletarian Pharaohs, like the Egyptian, need fear no labour troubles in building their pyramids, socialist construction seemed to booming.

Visiting Americans found the situation delectable; they stood in front of the "largest hydro-electric station in the world" with wonder and awe in their eves, and asked themselves whether, after all, Wall Street had not something to learn from Karl Marx. Parties of Fabians and pacifists and promoters of cultural relations with the Soviet Union had pointed out to them by dainty ''Intourist"' guides the sites of wonderful socialist cities, saw the very plans, and felt that at last their dreams had come true.

It seems almost a pity that this Fabian fairyland, which, apart from the hundred-and-sixty million inhabitants of Russia, has given so much innocent pleasure to so many amiable people, provided the subject-matter for so many interesting articles in newspapers and periodicals, led to so much instructive lecturing in halls on the radio, should have proved unsubstantial. Such, however, is the fact.

The industrial enterprises, admirable as to size, failed to produce anything that anyone wanted; Soviet industry was heavy rather than light, very heavy; the peasants, some 90 per cent, of the population, lacking class-consciousness and a proper appreciation of the advantages of a dictatorship of the proletariat, grew tired of provisioning and paying for socialist construction and starving themselves, and ate up their cattle and horses and neglected their fields, with the result that the factory-workers began to suffer from a food shortage and the Government from a valuta-shortage; the fecundity of the rouble - here at least production far exceeded the Plan's estimates! - led to its heavy depreciation, and even the political prisoners, having no other means of protest, died most wastefully.


To deal with this situation the Government has adopted a series of drastic and characteristic measures. It has dismissed large numbers of factory-workers - in Kharkov, for instance, 20,000 and in Moscow at least 500,000 - and ruthlessly pruned all administrative offices. It has suspended new industrial development and issued the most stringent regulations in regard to expenditure, which result, in many cases, in wages falling several months into arrears.

Factory discipline has been tightened up by taking food distribution out of the hands of the co-operatives, over which the consumers had some measure of control, and putting it in the hands of the factory managements with instructions to punish slackness, even missing one day's work without a medical certificate - incidentally, almost unobtainable owing to the shortage of doctors - or unpunctuality, by the withdrawal of ration cards, that is, by starvation.

This programme or retrenchment has naturally led to unemployment. The dictatorship of the proletariat's method of dealing with an unemployment problem ......................................"


(The rest of the article is missing. We expect to be able to post the entire article soon. thanks Margaret Siriol Colley and Nigel Collery for providing the article above. Please check out their website about Gareth Jones, Welch journalist, who reported accurately on the conditions he found in the Soviet Union in the early 1930's.