Soon after the Revolution hit Russia the political changes in the country and bad weather in the south of the state led to the Russian famine of 1921, which is better known as Povolzhye famine. It began in early spring in 21 and lasted through 1922, being the most severe thing that ever happened in Russia. More that 5 million people died during the year and a half, some of them passed away because they just had nothing to eat and some of them fell prey to their neighbors, parents or children. To survive in those terrible conditions people ate corpses of their family members, who were killed or just died of starvation. This period was very hard for the region, but it could not happen so, if the Soviet government hadn’t traded the grains to the other European countries, wanting to get more money for its industrialization purposes. Please proceed only if you are ready to see those disturbing documentaries.
The wars wiped out the stores and the ardent sun made fields dry. First, people sold what they could sell but very soon even the supplies ware run out of products and didn’t want to take things for food. So, people started to eat cats, dogs, rats, birds, grass and finally, human beings. The cases involving cannibalism usually were not measured as a real crime, and were considered to be just a survival thing. Anyway, those people were sent to prisons, were cannibalism was a common practice as well.
Samara region, 13 April, 1922
“… in the larder we found two pieces, in the stove there was one piece of boiled human flesh, and in the inner porch there was a pot with jellied minced flesh of the same kind, and near the porch we found a lot of bones. When we asked the woman where she had taken the flesh from, she confessed that back in February her 8-year-old son Nikita died and then her 15-year-old daughter Anna and she took his copse and cut it into pieces, and as they were starving they ate it together. When there was nothing else left, she decided to kill the daughter for meat and did it in the early April. While the girl was sleeping, she slaughtered her and cut the corpse into pieces, and started to cook it. She gave the jellied flesh and liver to her neighbors Aculina and Evdokia, saying that it was horse meat. The human flesh, Anna’s thighs and feet are taken to the police as evidence, the boiled meat and bones and the jellied meat have been consigned to the earth…”
We don’t know what exactly happened to that woman who ate her kids. Most probably, she went to Gulag or somewhere like that, and maybe was eaten by her fellows as well. To remain above suspicion people preferred killing strangers or eat those who were already dead. Psychiatrists stated that those people were mentally sound and just had been driven to the most abysmal depths of hunger.
Cemeteries also had to be protected from those who wanted to take and cook the deceased. Students were ready to sell livers and lungs from the university dissection rooms, and in prisons people could have their dead cellmates cooked in the prison kitchen for dinner.
Since food was a rear thing to find, meat sales stopped as most probably meat pies and canned stewed meat would be made of human flesh and most of citizens could become cannibals unwillingly.
Only in a year and a half people of the region could enjoy bread and soup, though, there were not many of those who managed to survive and see food again.
Photos with hieroglyphs are taken from a Japan traveller’s collection.