rice - 6.00
wheat groats 4.50
MOSCOW PRICES AT THE BEGINNING OF 1937, IN ROUBLES, A KILO: (2.2 LBS.)
wheat bread 1.70
rye bread 0.85
meat for stew 6 to 7
oleomargarine 10 to 11
edible oil 13 to 14
These are prices paid by all buyers, including the unfortunates who
must make both ends meet on a monthly wage of 80 to 200 roubles.
To get an exact idea of the situation that the Russian worker finds
himself in, compare these figures with those of your own budget. And remember: the prices given in the last table are Moscow prices. They are
often quite different in the provinces, with the ratio always favoring
Many Westerners have permitted themselves the cruelty of saying that
the present misery of the Russian worker is an improvement as compared
to the time of the Tsar.
It is true that the Russian worker was badly housed before the revolution. But he ate abundantly. The Russian is a big eater. The Russian
worker, under Tsarism, had a simple but plentiful fare. Foodstuffs were
cheap. Daily he ate his stew and kasha. He had sugar, lard, cabbage, tea,
and good bread in large quantity.
In 1925-1927, in the last years of the Nep, this standard of alimentation was even surpassed. It then fell radically, affecting the entire population, including the peasants, the oldest of whom cannot recall similar
What is the cause of this condition? It is accounted for, in part, by
the State's program of boundless industrialization, consisting of the forced
development of heavy industry and the manufacture of means of production rather than means of subsistence. Another reason is the forced "collectivization" of the countryside in the four years from 1929 to 1933, which
led, among other things, to the disappearance of more than half of the
Artisan production was well developed in old and Nep Russia. The
peasant who busied himself as an artisan producer during the long winter
months was almost self-sufficient. In the name of "organized" economy, the
artisan production of Russia was destroyed. Almost instantly, industry was
facing needs that it could not satisfy.
During that period, the hurried exportation of grain, fish, butter, eggs,
oils, flax, etc. paid for the importation of machines. I remember how in
1931, while I was working at the loading of salt fish to be shipped abroad
from a Soviet port, the "accidental" breaking of a cask was like a gift
from heaven to the famished longshoremen. We rushed to pick up the
pieces of fish, though some of it had landed in the mud.
The "shortage" found in the USSR is, therefore, not a natural product. It is the exclusive result of the will and acts of the masters of the
country. They say that they know best what is good for humanity. They
say that they know best the ways leading to what is good for humanity.
Coldly, pitilessly, they impose their "truth" on the helpless country.