Gareth Jones

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The Times.  22nd August1933.

Soviet Harvest Difficulties


Deficient Crops


Foreign Observers Restricted

From our own correspondent

Riga. Aug 21

Four prominent agricultural specialists (all Communists), including M Grushevsky, deputy head of the All-Soviet State Farming Commissariat, have incurred official displeasure for "attempting to derange" the quota deliveries of grain to the state. They were sent to inspect the grain areas in the Ukraine and the Urals, particularly the State farms, and to stimulate the enforcement by armed detachments of grain deliveries. M. Grushevshy sent a report to Moscow that "it is ridiculous to call the harvest good," and urged the Government to reduce the State quotas. The Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party pronounced M. Grushevsky's attitude as tantamount to sabotage, and resolved that the entire grain plan must be fulfilled.

According to other unofficial information the total harvest  in no important region equals the average. Some crops are excellent, but there are areas which have produced practically nothing chiefly in consequence of bad cultivation and lack of seed, the hungry peasants having managed to purloin a good deal of the grain for immediate consumption during the spring. Harvesting is also confronted with great difficulties, through the faultiness of machinery, the scarcity of draught cattle, and the general malnutrition of the peasantry. The central Soviet Press glosses over these facts, declaring that the harvest is excellent. it is noteworthy, however, that the Press has ceased publishing the detailed harvest reports which in other years always appeared weekly until the end of harvesting.

At the beginning of August the Soviet authorities circumscribed the liberties of foreign journalists accredited in Moscow by forbidding them to travel outside Moscow without special permits. From what has happened since it appears that one of the chief purposes of this is to screen the real conditions in the countryside from foreign eyes. Hitherto the official correspondents of foreign newspapers have only been allowed to travel about, subject only to the usual difficulties confronting everyone travelling in Soviet Russia. They can still undertake journeys, but only after obtaining a special permit for an approved route, and they are always escorted by Communist officials. Permits for some of the chief grain areas are now very difficult or impossible to obtain.

Notwithstanding the general food scarcity foodstuffs are still being sent abroad. Consignments of lentils pass the frontiers daily, mostly for Germany.



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