Gareth Jones

[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]

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The Morning Post.  March 30th 1933  [This Newspaper was later merged with the London Daily Telegraph.]

RUSSIA IN GRIP OF FAMINE 

Death and Despair Stalk the Land 

EVIDENCE AT FIRST HAND 

“There Is No Bread: We Are Dying” 

BERLIN, March 29.  [1933]

“Russia today is in the grip of famine, which is proving as disastrous as the catastrophe of 1921, when millions died,” said Mr. Gareth Jones Former Political Secretary of Mr. Lloyd George, when he arrived in Berlin this morning en route for London.  He had been on a long walking trip through the Ukraine and other districts of the Soviet Union. 

Mr. Jones, who speaks Russian fluently, was the first foreigner to visit the Russian countryside since the Moscow authorities forbade foreign correspondents to leave the city.  His report which will be delivered to the Institute of International Affairs to-morrow, explains the reason for this s prohibition. 

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 a land which has hitherto prided itself of every man having a job.  The arrest of the British engineers in Moscow is a symbol of panic and is a consequence of worse than in 1921 when millions died of hunger,” declared Mr. Jones.  The trial beginning on Saturday of British engineers is merely a sequel to the recent shooting of thirty-five prominent agricultural workers, including the Vice-Commissar in the Ministry of Agriculture, in an attempt to cheek 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 peasant again grabbed and devoured it.  The Communist subsided. 

A MILLION DEAD 

“A foreign expert returning from Kazakstan told me that a 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 glaring descriptions of plentiful food in their starving laud 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, concluded Mr. Jones, the Government’s policy of collectivisation and the peasants’ resistance to it had brought Russia to the worst catastrophe since the famine of 1921 swept away the population of entire districts. 

Coupled with this, the prime reason for the breakdown was the lack of skilled labour and the collapse of transport and finance. 

Reuters

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