Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18)

Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin !!! 18+)

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When I say to someone that from the Volga region, many people start to smile and every third will surely blurt out something like "Aaaa, starving Volga region". And it flies from their lips easily, as a joke. Although, I am sure, almost none of them knows where and why this stable combination of “starving Volga region” came to our speech.
And for smiles and jokes here, well, at least for me, there is absolutely no reason.
Yes, I am from the Volga region, where in 1921-1923 there was such a famine that they try to keep silent about this milestone of our history. Because it was a real hell.
So, about my homeland, about the starving Volga region. I express my great gratitude to the historian and journalist Vladimir Sharikov who provided this article for this material.
The summer of 1920 in the Volga region was unusually arid, while civil war continued in the country, and the army had to be fed with something. On the instructions of the government in the regions prodotryad began to form, whose task was to carry out the surplus,and if it is easier to say - to take away the so-called surplus products from the already poor peasants. However, legal methods, as is often the case with us, soon turned into lawlessness and began to be ruthlessly selected and all ...
So the famine that was started was provoked not so much by drought as by the fact that after confiscating the “surplus” from the peasants, there was no grain left for the sowing season, nor the desire to work the land. Demonstrators swept the bins cleaned. The peasants could not oppose something to the armed people. Any deviation from the delivery of grain, meat, oil, etc. led to ruthless repression. The peasants "beaten" during the years of Chapanka were simply robbed.Even the staff of the Cheka expressed dissatisfaction with the actions of the detachments that disrupted the process of establishing relations between the new government and the peasantry. According to a report sent on January 5, 1920 to Moscow by a special department of the Saratov sponge, “there are a lot of misunderstandings during the layout. Prodotryad mercilessly sweep up everything to the grain, and even there are such cases when people who have already completed the surplus are taken hostage. On the basis of such inattentive attitudes towards the distribution, the discontent of the peasant masses is growing.It often turned out that everything was handed over, even the seeds for the next planting. ”
As a result, the spring sowing of 1920 in many provinces, including Simbirsk, was essentially torn down. And in the fall, we had to again pass the grain on the surplus.

By the spring of 1921, the situation in the Volga region became critical. There was simply nothing to eat or sow. On March 19, 1921, from the Saratov sponge they reported to Moscow that in two districts there was a massive death rate from starvation.
In the villages of Saratov, Samara and especially Simbirsk provinces, people attacked local councils, demanding the issuance of rations. They ate all the cattle, started on dogs and cats, and then on people. The house at that time could be bought for a bucket of sauerkraut.
In the urban markets for a handful of seeds you could buy a mink coat:

People in cities for nothing sold their property and somehow kept on ...

But in the villages, judging by the reports, the situation was getting worse and worse.

Saratov Province (December 7):
“The food situation in the northern and western Volga districts is extremely difficult. Peasants destroy the last livestock, not excluding working cattle.In Novouzensky district, the population eats dogs, cats and gophers. Mortality on the basis of hunger and epidemics is increasing. "

Samara Province (December 12):
“Hunger is increasing, deaths on the basis of hunger are increasing. In November and October, 663 children died of hunger, 2735 patients, and 399 adults. Epidemics are intensifying. During the reporting period, 750 people fell ill with typhus. ”

The victims of famine in the Samara province:

The information from the Samara province, which was received by the country's leadership on December 29, 1921, became a completely logical result: “Epidemic diseases are aggravated due to the lack of medicines. Deaths of starvation are increasing. There have been several cases of cannibalism. ”
Prices for all products soared sharply. Speculation began to flourish. At the Simbirsk market in February 1922, one could buy a pood of bread for 1200 rubles. And by March, for the pound of bread, they had already asked for one million rubles. Potatoes cost 800 thousand rubles per pound. And despite the fact that the annual salary of a worker was about 1000 rubles ...

People died in entire villages, but local county commissions for overcoming hunger hid the facts of death. In the reports from the volosts only tens of people died of starvation, although only in one summer month of 1921 325 people died out in Simbirsk province.

Unable to buy bread, people left the province in search of a better life. Particularly difficult was the situation in Sengiley, Syzran and Simbirsk counties. There, thirty percent of the inhabitants ate a piece of surrogate bread per day. 20 percent died out. Here are the data for September 20, 1921 in the Sengiley district: "In a week, 228 people died out."
In the new, 1922, reports of cannibalism began to arrive in Moscow with ever increasing frequency. On January 20, reports referred to cannibalism in Bashkiria, Samara province and Simbirsk provinces.

The party press also began to write about the horrors occurring in the starving areas. On January 21, 1922, Pravda wrote:
“The Simbirsk newspaper“ The Economic Path ”printed impressions of a comrade who had been in hungry places. These impressions are so vivid and characteristic that they do not need comments. Here they are: “We drove together in one deaf abandoned village to warm up, relax and have a snack. The products were their own, you just had to find the corner.
We go in the first izba. On the bed is still a young woman, and in different corners on the floor - three little guys.Still not understanding anything, we ask the hostess to put the samovar and to flood the stove, but the woman, not rising, not even lifting herself, whispers weakly:
- Vaughn samovar, put yourself, but I have no silushki.
- Are you sick? What's the matter?
- The eleventh day was not a crumb in the mouth ...
It became terrible ... We took a closer look around and we see that the children barely breathe and lie with their little hands and legs bound.
- What is the mistress you have with your children, sick?
- No, my relatives are healthy, but we did not eat for ten days either ...
- But who tied them, yes, scattered in the corners?
- And I myself came to this. How hungry for four days, began to bite each other's hands, well, I tied them up, and put them apart from my friends.
Like madmen, we rushed to our little basket to give perishing children a piece of bread.
But the mother could not stand it, got out of bed and on her knees begged us to quickly remove the bread and not give it to the children. In a weak, crying voice, she spoke.
- They suffered painfully for seven days, and then became quieter, now they don’t feel anything. Give them peace to die, and then feed them now, they will go, and then again seven days will suffer, bite, to calm down again just the same ... After all, tomorrow or in a week nobody will give anything. So do not torment them.For Christ's sake, leave, let me die in peace ...
We jumped out of the hut, rushed to the village council, demanding explanations and immediate assistance.
But the answer is short and clear:
“There is no bread, there are many hungry people, there is no possibility to help not only everyone, but even a few.”

On January 27, Pravda once again wrote about rampant cannibalism in starving areas: “Nightmares are happening in the rich steppe counties of the Samara province, full of bread and meat, and an unprecedented rampant cannibalism is observed. Driven by hunger to despair and madness, having eaten everything that is available to the eye and tooth, people begin to eat human corpses and secretly devour their own dead children. From the village of Andreevka, Buzuluksky district, they report that Natalya Semykina eats the flesh of a dead person, Lukeryi Logina.

The police chief of the 4th district of Buzulukskiy district writes that on the way to his journey in three volosts he met with cases of cannibalism. So, in the village of Lyubimovka, one of the citizens dug from the grave of a dead man - a girl of about 14, cut the body into several parts, put the body parts into cast iron ... When this “crime” was discovered, it turned out that the girl’s head had already been scorched. The man-eater didn’t have time to cook the corpse. ”
Alas, the government’s response was inadequate ...
On the same day, January 27, Nikolay Semashko, the people's commissar for health, wrote to the members of the Politburo: “Dear comrades! Allow me to draw your attention to the “over-saling” that our press allows for in an anti-cold campaign, especially to the messages that are multiplying every day, allegedly about growing “cannibalism” ... Many of these descriptions are clearly implausible. So, in “Izvestia” it is reported that the peasant of the village of Sikterma left “the corpse of his wife, having had time to eat the lungs and the liver”, meanwhile everyone knows what a disgusting place the dead man’s lungs represent, and of course, the starving person would rather eat the meat than the lungs. ..
The People's Commissar for Health Nikolay Semashko was convinced that the press, highlighting the problem of hunger, allowed "peresal" ...

On January 30, 1922, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the RCP (B.) Banned the publication of reports of mass cannibalism and bribery in starving regions of the country.
True, from the suppression of the facts of cannibalism, cannibalism itself has not disappeared anywhere.
For example, the VChK report for March 31, 1922 stated: “In the Tatrespublic, the famine intensifies. Mortality due to hunger is increasing. In some villages, 50% of the population has become extinct.The cattle is mercilessly destroyed. The epidemic is rampant. The incidence of cannibalism is increasing. ”
According to the GPU, in the spring of 1922, 3.5 million starving were recorded in the Samara province, 2 million in Saratov, 1.2 million in Simbirsk, 651.7 thousand in Tsaritsyno, 329.7 thousand in Penzenskaya - 2.1 million, in Chuvashia - 800 thousand, in the German commune - 330 thousand people ...
Samara Region, April 13, 1922. The report of a member of the Executive Committee on the inspection of the village Lyubimovka: “Wild cannibalism” in the village takes on massive forms. In the “deaf midnight, the cooking of the dead goes,” but only one citizen was detained. “... in the oven, we found a cooked piece of human flesh, and in the passage there was a pot of minced meat of the same kind. And next to the porch we found a lot of bones. When we asked the woman where she took the flesh, she admitted that back in February her 8-year-old son Nikita died and she cut him into pieces. Then she decided to kill the 15-year-old daughter Anna, which she did in early April. While the girl was sleeping, she killed her, cut the body into pieces and began to cook it. She shared a liver with her neighbors Akulina and Evdokia, telling them that it was horse meat.Human flesh - Anna's hips and legs - were brought to the office as evidence, and the boiled meat was buried in the ground ... ”

In the village of Andreevka in a warehouse in the militia lies in a trough the head without a torso and part of the ribs of a sixty-year old woman. The body has already been eaten by a citizen of the same village, Andrei Pirogov, who has already confessed.
There are practically no horses and cows left in the villages. For example, in the village of Nikitin of the Simbirsk district, out of 123 horses, only 14 remained, and out of 107 cows - 15. People ate everything. Even thatched roofs were dismantled. People did not disdain surrogate and manure. Ate bark and acorns. Carrion went to the food, cats and dogs.
More than 210 thousand people needed emergency help, of which 60 thousand were children. As a result of poor nutrition, an epidemic of typhoid fever began in the Simbirsk province, which began to mow people. People were dying right on the streets.
Crowded cemetery in Buzuluksky district. 1921:

About hunger then wrote many newspapers. According to the newspaper "Our Life", "in the streets in the villages of Simbirsk province lie the corpses of people, and nobody removes them. Cases of cannibalism began to acquire a mass character. In one of the villages, the parents ate the corpse of their child.It got to the point that people began to steal stocks of human meat from each other, and in some townships they dug out the dead for food. ”
Collection of corpses in the villages:

So, the peasant of the Buzuluk district of the Efimov volost of the Samara province Mukhin said to the investigator during the inquest:
“My family consists of five people. There is no bread from Easter. About 10 horses remained in the whole village. Last spring there were about 2500 of them. We first ate bark, horsemeat, dogs and cats. In our village, the mass of corpses. They are lying on the streets or in a public barn. In the evening I made my way to the barn, took the body of a boy of 7 years old, took it home on a sled, cut it into small pieces with an ax and cooked it. During the day we ate the whole corpse. Only the bones were left. In our village, many people eat human meat, but they hide it. The taste of human meat, we currently do not remember. We ate it in a state of unconsciousness. ”

Here is another document. This is an extract from the testimony of a peasant woman of the same Chugunova volost:
"I'm a widow. I have four children: Anna, 15 years old, Anastasia, 13 years old, Daria, 10 years old, and Pelageya, 7 years old. The latter was very ill. In December, I do not remember the number, I have no products left with the orphans. The eldest girl pushed me to kill a smaller, sick one.I decided on it, stabbed her at night when she was sleeping. Sleepy and weak, she did not scream under the knife and did not resist. After that, my eldest girl, Anna, began to cut her into pieces ... "

Children cannibals. 1921 Buzuluk County, Samara Province:

By 1922, in some villages of the Simbirsk province there was not a single dog or cat. People hunted for rats. Sometimes it came to suicide. In the village of Ivanovka, Syzran district, a hungry woman slaughtered her child, and then she rushed into the well.
The number of street children who begged in the villages grew. They began a real hunt. The newspaper "Our Life" in 1922 wrote that "... a local resident, together with his father, caught a streetless 8-year-old boy on the street and killed him. The corpse was eaten ... "

There was prostitution. The girls surrendered for a piece of surrogate bread, and in Simbirsk itself it was common to remove the girl for a slice of bread. Often helpless parents pushed their children towards prostitution.

Only by the end of 1923 the famine in Simbirsk province was overcome. For the autumn sowing, the province received assistance with seeds and food, although even before 1924, the peasant's main food remained surrogate bread.

According to the census of 1926, the population of Simbirsk province declined by about 300 thousand people since 1921. From hunger and typhus killed 170 thousand people, 80 thousand were evacuated, and about 50 thousand fled. By the most conservative estimates, in those years at least 5 million people died in the Volga region.

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  • Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18)

    Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18)

    Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18)

    Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18)

    Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18)

    Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18)

    Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18)

    Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18)

    Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18)

    Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18)

    Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18) Hunger in the Volga region (1921-1923) (Tin 18)