41 Hunger in Soviet Russia

Hunger in Soviet Russia

Posted on July 31, 2010 by team

This post is based on the materials of the Don State Library. It reminds of the hunger problem in the Soviet Russia and an important role played by American Relief Administration to help the starving.

Herbert Clark Hoover (1874-1964), chairman of ARA, President of the USA in1929-1933

Starving and abandoned children were taken from the streets to orphan asylums. Ufa, 1922

Canteen of ARA in Uralsk, Saratov province

A propaganda poster of ARA in Russia. The government tried to depreciate the help of ARA and steal thunder, they didn’t prevent the rumours that Americans allegedly sold products triple the price to the country. Mass media often dissembled the true scale of help from ARA. Such posters hung on the trains and in the ARA canteens but they were often concealed.

ARA open canteen in Moscow. The Soviet government didn’t like such type of canteen –  they had to pay to service personnel, American aid was in the public eye. They preferred closed institutions under their own control.

James Goodrich – former governor of Indiana state. Under his initiative the US Congress devoted extra 20 million dollars for food to the starving in Russia. The US Government didn’t support the Bolshevist system, and it was hard to convince the lawmakers that they had to help the starving, not Bolsheviks. Among other products this 20 millions dollars were spent for corn that saved the harvest in 1922.

Ufa, Canteen №1

Free baths opened by ARA in Ufa. America brought thousands of tons of detergent, linen, clothes etc. to Russia.

A standard American package. It was enough to live for a month for a family of four. All in all 1.163.296 pcs of 10 dollars’ packages were sent to Russia.  Besides, there were 20 dollars’ packages, they sent  41.997 pcs of such packages to Russia too.

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41 Responses to “Hunger in Soviet Russia”

  1. DOBERMAN says:


    I found this kinda sad:

    “it was hard to convince the lawmakers that they had to
    help the starving, not Bolsheviks.”

    • Pawel says:

      OMG Russians are so poor, starvation and hungers are unheard of in the west and poor people are fat and obese here cause we have too much luxury food. :(

  2. George Johnson says:

    America still do stuff like this, but for some reason, we’re the world most evil country. I think most of it is wealth envy. (well, now it’s been exposed as credit/debt envy….)

    • moscowguy says:

      i dont think that US did that mainly because the wanted to help… what they did is nothing more than subsidizing the US economy by buying this stuff from their own producton and sending it to Russia… otherwise the price for this stuff would have been freakin low or the producers would not haven been possible to sell it.

      i have been to both country, i have many friends in both countries and i like both of you…

  3. Lithuanian says:

    America win russia fail…

  4. Spongebobtotherescue says:

    Somehow you forgot to mention that Russians are perverse drunks who can’t quite function and have state sponsored abortions. Hmm I can never see America being like that. People might be fat in America but there are many hard working souls.

  5. Boris Huiwitz Gudunov says:

    If Russians wouldn’t be so lazy, greedy and egoistic they would be able to support themselves.

    To start with, elect a responsible government.

  6. Kirov says:

    Somehow you also forgot to mention that if it was not for the American support early in the war [trucks, planes] Stalin wouldn’t even have had the option to fight back.

    He let his armies be slaughtered by the fascists because he couldn’t believe Hitler would turn against him, so he did nothing at first. Many many thousands of good Russian soldiers died because of him. He is basterd, and still many Russians think he’s the greatest [after Putin] Russian ever. Russia deserves the leaders it has, I think.

  7. cockatrice says:


    Funny thing there, wasn’t Herbert Hoover pre-WWII. As I remember, he left office in 1933 and WWII didn’t start until 1939, unless you’re in some Steam-Punk side universe…

    So in some weird retroactive logic, you’ve just applied something that happened almost two decades later to what was going on in the early 1920’s…

    I know Americans are not known for their extra-US history, but we at least are taught about this stuff around WWI and WWII…

  8. YJ says:

    The new world order begins back then.

  9. Orignal Kirov says:

    hey listen up, Soviets lost 6,8 million KIA vs Axis 4,2 million KIA. Both sides lost about equal numbers of dead, wounded and captured.

    Difference is though, that the heartless nazi scum saw Russian POW’s as dirt, and thus 3,6 million Soviet POW’s died in Nazi concentration camps

    Then we have 10+ million civilians who died in German-occupied Soviet Union (they died mostly due to “Der General-plan Ost”).

    • CZenda says:

      Where did you get the figures? Is this what they teach you in grammar schools now, in the Putler´s Russia? Everybody (outside Russia, that is) knows that the military losses of Nazi Germany were disproportionately smaller than those of USSR. One of the famous Koba´s slaughterhouses were attempts to break the blockade of Leningrad, where waves of poorly equipped infantry were sent against well-entrenched Germans – again and again, until the Germans run out of ammo.

      • alibi says:

        At least the Russians fought for their motherland as they always did unlike the Czechs. But then who can blame the Czechs for being the sheep they are they have always belonged to somebody so what’s the point in fighting it will be one master or another anyway.

        • CZenda says:

          You got it all wrong, Comrade. Try googling “Czech Legion”.

          • alibi says:

            The Czech Legion – jeez that’s a cool name for a bunch of Czechs who were so desperate to fight for their country so they decided to speed it all up and run to the battlefield in the Central Europe from Russia through Siberia and the Far east coast. That’s what I call a determination. Being the only organised military force in Russia at that time when the Russians got busy fighting each other in the civil war all 7 divisions of the Czech Legionnaires fully equipped and armed instead of moving West to join their comrades fighting for their motherland moved East to Vladivostok. Imagine that? There was no Red army back then just packs of thugs roaming around looking for a snatch there was practically no one to oppose the Legion. The Czechs could have captured Moscow if they wanted back then or even better – could’ve gone and fight for their loved motherland against the Austrians. But no – they had a better idea – go to Vladivostok kill some people on the way and at the end make a del with the Reds and sell them Admiral Kolchak the guy they fought with together against the Reds. That’s the spirit. No wonder when the Legion got back to Europe the fight for their motherland was over, done by somebody else as usual.

            • CZenda says:

              Did you ever hear of Brest-Litovsk peace where Comrade Lenin broke all treaties Russia had with the Allies, signed a separate peace with Germany, thus released enormous amounts of people and materiel Germany and Austria used in their spring 1918 offensive in France and Italy?
              Do not think so.
              The move of the Legion to Vladivostok was a direct consequence of Comrade Lenin´s betrayal of the efforts of the Allies, because USSR (RSFSR, whatever they called the bloody state then) quit fighting the Axis.
              I am giving up this discussion. There is no point in arguing with a 12-yrs old Putinjunge.

              • alibi says:

                CZenda: “I am giving up this discussion. There is no point in arguing with a 12-yrs old Putinjunge”

                No problema comrade. That’s a smart move. I’m with you on that one – don’t u ever talk to anybody without a presence of a lawyer. Very smart man. Just one question though – what’s the connection between Lenin’s betrayal of the Russian allies in the WWI and the Czech’s Legion avoiding a participation in a fight for the Czech independency. But then again – don’t answer without a lawyer’s approval.
                Cheers comrade.

  10. perristalsis says:

    The ARA opened kitchens in Petrograd and Moscow by September 1921, serving tens of thousands of children. The ARA spread into smaller cities and rural areas over the next several months, but in several places faced opposition from local village leaders and Communist Party officials. Most rural local committees consisted of a teacher and two or three other members who would serve the food to the children from the local schools. This fed the children, paid and fed the teacher, and continued some measure of education. In addition to feeding programs, the ARA employed thousands of starving and unemployed Russians to unload, transport, and distribute food to the most famine-stricken areas. The ARA also established a medical division that furnished medical supplies for hospitals, provided treatments to tens of thousands of people, and conducted sanitation inspections. It was estimated that the ARA provided about eight million vaccinations between 1921 and 1923.

  11. Kirov says:

    Fake Kirov, again you prove you have the brains of a shoe. Kulaks were an invention of the propaganda machine. There never existed such a thing. It was a deliberate attempt to submit weaken and submit the peoples.

  12. Kirov (REAL) says:

    yes, ara were of great help, BUT they were NOT THE ONLY ONES. many groups from Europe helped the civilians during the civil war.

  13. Otis R. Needleman says:

    Just what are you people fighting about? The ARA saved thousands of lives. Stalin took over in the mid-1920s. He presided over a man-made famine in the Ukraine due to collectivization. Didn’t have to happen. While I deeply respect the Russian people’s sacrifice during WWII, Stalin made things a whole lot worse. To be sure, most of the Lend-Lease materials got to Russia after the Nazis had been pushed back from Moscow, but we certainly supplied plenty to the USSR. Re today’s Russia, keep in mind the population is shrinking and the economy is basically an extractive economy. What happens when everything is extracted? And this year’s Russian wheat crop doesn’t look good due to abnormally hot weather.

    No need to fight. Better we should look at ways to work together.

    • Ivana Benderova says:

      “No need to fight. Better we should look at ways to work together.”

      Why? fighting is more fun AND more profitable!

  14. RB says:

    what is the relation between being a lazy pig and that makes us evil?
    At least we can take some small comfort in the fact that now we can throw words at each other instead of heavy metals.

  15. Grzegorz says:

    oh, twenties – my mistake. Still caused by noone else but the Commies.

  16. Byron76 says:

    I don’t undestand why there are supplies with “american” tag… some sort of propaganda or was the fear to avoid confusion of the origin of those bags, or the “american” tag makes food to get a better flavour???
    Come on… help and charity hasn’t any tag… nor name…
    Hugs from Argentina to all EnglishRussia crew!!!

    • perristalsis says:

      As you point out, it would be nice to offer country of origin label- neutral food items, but reality says black marketeers, government corruption, and possible recall needs dictate such labeling. If propaganda were the purpose, you’d see something like: “A gift from the American people to our friends, the starving Russian peasant”.

    • Cracker says:

      If Argentina were to help people out the same way the USA does, I am sure the bags of food would say “Argentina”. We wish to help people out, but we also want to be remembered for doing so.

  17. big mike says:

    Stalin starves how many people in Russia and the Ukraine. And a country try’s to help and they are the villain? Shame shame the World shakes it’s head at you Russia :(

  18. DouglasUrantia says:

    Lets try to get along and everyone sit down to dinner.
    Thank God for what we have, even if it be little.


  19. Rolling Stone says:

    What a Kremlin propaganda is this? Bunch of homeless children are called starving? What a fake! In Ukraine at that time millions of people were dying from the artificial fame, created to destroy the freedom-loving local peasantry, and the food was taken by force to Russia to feed bolsheviks. And not any help was getting to these region – obviously because russians wanted as many people to die as possible. Now Putin claims that hunger was all over the Soviet empire and Russia is not to blame, but that’s a lie, the scale is uncomparable, and this post is well within Russian lies about “starving children” elsewhere. Russia is responsible for genocide in Ukraine!

    • alibi says:

      If you check the names of folks who were in charge in Ukraine back then you’ll find out that they were Jews. Sorry pal but they just paid back for your Ukrainian hospitality that you gave the Jews throughout your mutual friendship. Don’t blame the Russians for that.

      • Rolling Stone says:

        why didn’t then mighty jews organize fame in Germany after WWII? The point is that jews interests coincided with those of the Russian empire in the beginning of the 20th century, they were leading bolsheviks, but did it well within the imperialist line.

        • alibi says:

          That’s easy – because they didn’t get to power there. They had power in Russia though and you know what happened, same in Ukraine. Just check the names.

  20. Hasn’t Russia changed so much economically?

    Soendoro Soetanto

  21. kbr says:

    Have you ever been to the USA? And if so, did you speak with Americans, did life with them? Or are you getting your information from your imagination?

  22. Cracker says:

    America is one of the most productive countries on Earth. Most of us work 40 to 60 hours a week and get 1 to 2 weeks vacation a year. If you compare that to France which has a 20 to 30 hour work week and 1 to 2 months of vacation, the average American works twice as much as the average Frenchman.

  23. Cracker says:

    $20 million in 1922 is worth $260 million in 2010

  24. american says:

    oh, by the way….youre welcome, russia.

  25. SovMarxist1924 says:

    The famine was a result of the Civil War (1918-1922); The Soviet system of the 20s was productive; fair; working.. Stalin abandoned Marxism for a twisted authoritarian system (Stalinism) and was LARGELY responsible for the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33.

  26. SovMarxist1924 says:

    To elaborate: Premier Rykov, Kalinin, Bukharin, and even Stalin’s wife Nadya were concerned about Stalin’s policies but Stalin had the muscle (but no brains) of Molotov, Kaganovich, Voroshilov, and other parasites who succeeded in silencing or destroying the real communists of this era.

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