Making the Kremlin Queasy: Massive American Aid Has Helped Russians Three Times in the Last Century

Posted September 25th, 2012 at 7:28 pm (UTC+0)
27 comments

In Fairbanks, Alaska monument to the American and Russian pilots who ferried military aircraft and supplies from Alaska to Siberia during World War II. Photo: JK Brooks

As American officials struggle to meet an Oct. 1 deadline for closing the 20-year-old USAID office in Moscow, it is worth looking at America’s other great 20th century aid program to Russians.

In a corner of Public School 1262 in Moscow, there is a one-room, privately run museum, the Museum of the Allies and Lend-Lease. It celebrates a crucial act of American generosity largely unknown to Russians.

Under the bland title of the Lend-Lease Act, American taxpayers sent to the Soviet people, from 1941 to 1945, $11.3 billion worth of war supplies. That is $146 billion in contemporary dollars.

This steel river of jeeps, trucks and bombers was neither a loan nor a lease. Franklin Roosevelt chose that title in the hopes of deluding American isolationists who opposed what they saw (correctly) as an outright gift to Moscow.

What did this money buy for the USSR? 3,770 bombers, 11,594 fighter planes, 5,980 anti-aircraft guns, 2,000 railroad locomotives, 51,000 jeeps, 361,000 trucks, 56,445 field telephones, 600,000 kilometers of telephone wire, 22 million artillery shells, almost one billion rifle cartridges, and 15 million pairs of army boots.

Shipped through the North Atlantic, driven up through Persia, or flown in from Alaska, this ready-made war material also freed up 600,000 Soviet factory workers to directly fight the Nazi invaders.

What was the impact of this generosity?

Joseph Stalin, during the Tehran Conference in 1943, said publicly of the American Lend-Lease program: “Without American production the United Nations could never have won the war.” After the war, the aid became a taboo topic. A contemporary Russian school notebook cover depicts Soviet dictator in the uniform of a Soviet Marshall. Photo: AP/Kupialt.ru

Without it, Adolf Hitler might have enjoyed his planned victory banquet at the Hotel Astoria in St. Petersburg. Then, he might have proceeded with his plan to raze Moscow and turn Russia’s capital into a lake. As a rump Soviet government retreated to the Urals, Hitler might have pursued his grand plan to reduce “excess” Slav populations and convert the Black Soil belt into agricultural plantations devoted to feeding the Third Reich. (Note to Russian neo-Nazis: Sorry to break the news, but the real Nazis wanted your grandfathers dead).

Russian cynics will say the United States needed the Soviet Union to bolster the American war effort.

Au contraire.

Even after Dec. 7, 1941, one current of thought in the United States said, in effect: trade Britain for the Bolsheviks. In other words: Adolf, lay off London. Focus your energies on Moscow. An Anglo-American alliance could learn to live with a Nazi dominated Europe. Our fight is with the Japanese, who attacked Hawaii, and were killing and interning Americans in the Philippines and the Marianas.

Instead, a more generous and liberal American worldview prevailed: free the world from fascism.

It was toward this goal, that my mother worked at a factory building bomb sites outside of New York City, and my father drove a military ambulance in the North African campaign against the Nazis. They were just two of the millions of Americans who volunteered — were not drafted — in the war effort.

Today, American Lend-Lease aid is largely ignored in Russian history books.

It did not fit with Stalin’s self-aggrandizing victory narrative.

After the fall of communism, the Lend-Lease never recovered its place in Russian history books.

There was an earlier precedent.

American aid accounted for the bulk of aid that fed 10 million Russians at the height of the 1921-22 famine. The aid was coordinated by Fridtof Nansen, the Norwegian explorer, who was High Commissioner of the International Committee for Russian Relief. This photo, of two boys in fatal stages of hunger, was taken by Nansen in early 1922 and used in pamphlets to win donations in Europe and the United States for food aid to Russia.

In 1921-22, the United States Congress-funded American Relief Administration helped feed about 10 million starving Russians. Initially, Lenin had refused Western aid. But as the death toll mounted, he relented. American food aid continued through 1923. But American popular support dwindled when it became clear that the Soviet government was exporting its own grain to earn foreign currency, and then asking foreigners to feed Russian peasants.

Soviet textbooks ignored the American aid and glossed over the famine. Largely manmade, this hunger killed about five million people – 10 times higher than any late Czarist era famine.

I bring this up because a similar Kremlin official revisionism is now underway about American taxpayers’ third great aid project to Russia in the last century: the USAID project.

Over the last 20 years, the United States has given $2.7 billion in aid to post-communist Russia. Initially, the aid was designed to stave off severe food shortages. But the bulk was to ease Russia’s transition from a closed society and economy to an open one.

Much of the money went to such building block projects as drawing up a land code, a tax code, promoting small business and judicial reforms.

Over the last two decades, I have known many AID workers in Russia. They came in all shapes and sizes, but seemed to be motivated by a common goal: to see Russia progress from a state-controlled economy and society to an open one.

The program had American support. Year after year, it was approved by the U.S. Congress. Congress answers to the 138 million Americans who pay income tax. If aid to Russia was unpopular, it would have been thrown out years ago.

As Russia’s economy stabilized and grew, the aid shrank. This year, it is $49 million – less than 20 percent of the mid-1990s peak. It increasingly went into health issues – fighting tuberculosis, AIDS prevention, and reducing the abandonment of children.

On one level, the Putin Administration feels Russia has outgrown foreign aid. But, just as Russia seeks foreign investment in factories, foreign aid in health care brings in new techniques and experience. There is no point in reinventing the wheel in either sector. Should Russia throw out foreign car companies and go back to making its own world-beating cars?

On another level, Vladimir Putin feels that Washington is interfering in Russian politics by granting a total of $29 million this year to such civil society groups as Golos, a clean elections group, Memorial, a human rights group, and Transparency International, a corruption fighting group.

Hmm, what does that say about the Kremlin’s attitudes toward clean elections, human rights, and corruption fighting?

The USAID Russia civil society promotion budget is barely 1 percent of USAID’s total $23.8 billion budget this year.

And what does it say, when the Kremlin elephant stands on a stool, and cries ‘eek, eek’ at the sight of a $29 million American mouse?

Today, Russia’s finance minister, Andrei Belousov, announced that Russia’s net capital outflow for the first eight months of 2012 was $52 billion. At that rate, it took three hours to clock $29 million out the door. Presumably, private Russian donors can be found to pick up the slack. Of course that assumes that the Kremlin will allow non-governmental groups to take non-governmental donations.

Kremlin apologists try to persuade the public that Western money is the reason for the protest movement in Russia. But, in a recent Pew Global Attitudes survey, 58 percent of Russians believe the opposition protests were home-grown. Only 25 percent believe that foreign powers are behind the protests.

All the same, 20 years of USAID assistance to Russia is being sacrificed on the current altar of anti-Americanism.

American Napoleon — For the Sept. 2 reenactment of the 1812 Battle at Borodino between Russian troops and French troops, it seemed fitting for the times that the organizers passed up 11 French Napoleon reenactors to pick American actor Mark Schneider to play the role of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Here the American Napoleon gestures with a whip at the reenactment of the largest and bloodiest single-day action of the French invasion of Russia. Photo: AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko

In a sign of the times, an American, Marc Schneider, was chosen earlier this month to play the role of Napoleon in the Sept. 2 reenactment of the Battle of Borodino. This 1812 epic confrontation pitted the French dictator’s Grande Armee against the forces of Czar Alexander I.

Putin and former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing met at the battlefield and talked to reporters about the eternal friendship between France and Russia.

“France has almost always been our close ally,” Putin said, as a pint-sized American Napoleon swaggered up and down the French lines, urging his troops to kill Russians.

An American Napoleon.

Now, THAT fits the Kremlin’s historical narrative.

James Brooke
James Brooke is the Russia/CIS bureau chief for Voice of America. A lifelong journalist, he covered West Africa, Brazil, the American Rocky Mountain States, Canada, and Japan/Korea for The New York Times. A resident of Moscow since 2006, he was first Bloomberg bureau chief for the region. In 2010, he joined VOA. In addition to writing Russia Watch, his weekly blog, he also does video, radio and web reports from Russia and the former USSR.

27 Responses to “Making the Kremlin Queasy: Massive American Aid Has Helped Russians Three Times in the Last Century”

  1. … the Russian is taken – for free to eat and drink … and do not even think otblogodarit. They think that all they have to. Thus they plundered all post-Soviet republics taking it for granted …

  2. David Barrett says:

    I’ve been looking for stats on what the U.S. gave the Soviets during WWII. Could you tell me your source? Also, I did see any reference to the food we sent the Soviets during WWII. I was under the impression it amounted to a very significant percentage of their overall needs.

  3. Gennady says:

    1. To my mind comes one more, the fourth massive American aid. It was the USA that made it possible to launch Russian Wikipedia on November the 11, 2001.
    It placed Russia in the frontline of XXI century and provided millions Russians with access to the international wealth of know-how, information and knowledge.
    Its significance can’t be overlooked and underrated in nowadays global knowledge-driven economy.
    2. Our countries border each other,
    they are great (the USA by technology and economy, Russia by its resources and size),
    they have common values and never fought each other in the highly competitive world.
    Even in deep Russian provinces common people express regards to Ford cars and some other American brands (legacy of the above mentioned American aid) .
    I wonder, why shouldn’t the USA and Russia enjoy each other to mutual benefit?

  4. Alexander P says:

    Thank you for the informative article.

    Why do you suppose the Russians are so ungrateful? Is it politics or is it the nature of the Slavic culture?

  5. Gennady says:

    To ArbagoKorolev & Alexader P

    1. As a native Russian from a province I disagree that Russian people are ungrateful for timely and very generous aids the USA has provided Russia four times in the last 90 years.
    The aids ordinary Russians needed the most. The USA proved that “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. Nothing can wipe out it from history records.
    In Russia the contradiction between rulers and their subjects is at the highest with ordinary people suffering the most but having no rights to speak out.
    2. The closing down of USAID in Russia will be a great mistake and a tragedy for hundreds thousand if not millions ordinary Russians suffering from tuberculosis and AIDS, for a million abandoned children dumped in state orphanages.
    3. I am personally grateful for the American aid I have got through Peace Corps Russia at the peak of chaos in Russia after the demise of the USSR. In 1996 among a dozen more students I was enlisted in a Distance Learning Course on marketing, business logistics management in Penn State University. For a symbolic pay of 20$ the course was equipped with excellent library and Apple computers. Our progress was supervised by American professors.
    It was marvelous. Many thanks from me and our graduates. At that time in our old Russian city of about million inhabitants with a few universities nobody heard of “logistics” and what was its place in modern economy.

    • Alexander P says:

      Gennady:

      Your gratitude is noted.

      In any discussion of people and government, we must take care to distinguish between the personal qualities of the people who are being led and the people who are doing the leading. This must be the “contradiction” you are referring to: “In Russia the contradiction between rulers and their subjects is at the highest with ordinary people suffering the most but having no rights to speak out.”

      In our personal lives, we know individuals who range from the grateful to the oblivious to the selfish. Since these are human qualities they will be found across humanity.

      Lenin followed by Stalin were the leaders who cast their imprint on the official government response. The official response was silence and therefore tantamount to a message of ingratitude. “To the west: we accept your assistance but we are not acknowledging it. In effect, we are not thanking you for it.” History paints Stalin as a particularly cruel person and cruelty is closely associated with selfishness. (I’m not as familiar with Lenin but I’m sure others can fill in.)

      Since they were leaders they were able to imprint within the culture of their respective administrations the notion that it is acceptable to respond to foreign benefactors with a lack of gratitude.

      That is how governments, like any other organization, develop their values. The actions of its leaders set the tone for government and in many cases, for generations to follow.

      That was the premise behind my original question: is it politics or is it native to the culture of the people.

      What do you think?

  6. James Brooke jbrooke says:

    Foreign aid highlights shortcomings of Moscow’s leadership. When the second Soviet famine rolled around in the 1930s, largely in Ukraine, the tactic was to cover up, deny and instruct Soviet agents around the world to deny and harass reporters who tried to cover it.
    Now, of course, it is a far milder situation. But President Putin has sketched out a political survival strategy of building up a foreign enemy. I just spent the weekend in NY/New England. No on I met there seemed terribly concerned about Russia, or saw it as an enemy.
    No matter, by banging the foreign threat drum, the Russian President can rally (some) people around him, adopt draconian laws to protect his position, and try to discredit the opposition as foreign agents. When the tiny flow of USAID money stops, that last argument will be increasingly in-credible.
    Jim
    Moscow

  7. Gennady says:

    To Alexander P

    1. Thank you, Sir, for your profound question that I’ve failed to answer: is it politics or is it native to the culture of the people?
    I would answer that it’s 100% politics enhanced by strong personal interest of Mr. Putin clinging to power and seeing his own threat in the West and the USA as the main protagonist.
    To be ungrateful to any aid, particularly provided when one is in need, is absolutely alien to values and culture of all Eastern Slavonic people with Russians among them. I remember turbulent 1990-s in chaotic needy Russia with all people adoring all American, fascinated by USA accomplishments and achievements, by its generosity, by great Kennedy’s family.
    At that time there was no country and no people in the whole wide world that admired the USA more than Russia after the demise of the USSR.
    Its worth to mention that all KGB officers and agents, Mr. Putin including, kept very low profile in 1990-s. Contrary to nowadays.
    2. You were quite right to mention V.Lenin and J.Stalin in the context of Mr.Putin’s politics as the latter stems from “classics” in the most horrible way.
    To my opinion, the so called “Leninism-stalinism” was the worst extreme and dogmatic ideology the world had known that had claimed to have rooted in prophetic works of K.Marx and F. Engels.
    Judging by V.Lenin’s published works he was particularly belligerent and intolerant to capital, private property and rule of law.
    90 years after his death his archive is still well kept state secret under Mr. Putin. And still there are no valid answers if V.Lenin’s bellicose nature stemmed from him being insane, suffering from neurosyphilis or was he a German spy and provocateur?

  8. thepravda says:

    take a look at the truth of Russian aggression to the rest of the world why help this guys to continue there acts of aggression ? thepravda.org
    http://thepravda.org/russian-aggression-towards-ukraine

    http://thepravda.org/putins-russia-and-nazi-germany-both-fit-the-requirement-of-the-four-main-pillars-of-fascism

  9. Jon Kassaw says:

    It is sad we have a world such as we do. Putin is obviously still a communist in ‘sheeps’ clothing and no one can dispute that, however, I might add that he has found a way to be a dictator and get elected for it by playing tricks on the very people he says he loves, which bring us to his ‘self-serving love.’ Putin is a master manipulator and as long as the fox guards the hen house we will only see more exploitation of the Beautiful and Good people of Russia.

  10. It is “interesting” that the (PravoSlav-Dominated) Russian government is now making love to that (racially superior?) country whose national anthem is the third stanza of “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles”, just like they did under the Czars…

  11. Philippe Drevait says:

    This article is a crude and inaccurate piece of propaganda. Firstly the US subventions in WW2 did not go to Russia. They went to the Soviet Union and that includes not only Russia but Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova and the Central Asian Republics.
    In return the Soviet Union gave 26 million lives but the author thinks merely in terms of dollars.
    The closure of USAID is undoubtedly wrong but to respond in such an arrogant and inaccurate way is wrong too.

    • James Brooke jbrooke says:

      Philippe
      Interesting that you write from France.
      My recollection — from reading and living in France — is that the Resistance and DeGaulle’s Free French Forces were 95 percent supplied by the Great Britain and the US. Once again, perfidious Albion and USA had made the decision to interfere in the internal affairs of Europe and not allow that continent to become a German-speaking landmass. Once again, 20 years after WWI, many Americans preferred the isolationist route, saying: don’t get tangled up again in European affairs.
      Once in power, DeGaulle repaid the favor by withdrawing France from the NATO command power structure, twice vetoing Britain’s entry into the Common Market, and encouraging Quebecois separatism in Canada.
      So, your ‘angloskeptic’ site sounds like an trendy update on mid-20th century Gaullist anglophobia.
      Plus ca change…
      Jim
      Tbilisi

    • Kolanovich says:

      Phillippe:
      You are obviously correct that the US wartime aid was destined to the Soviet Union as a whole, not to Russia that was only one of 16 Soviet republics. However, there is no evidence of any sort that this aid was in fact distributed in proportion to the wartime needs and/or the degree of destruction caused by figthing. It is most regrettable that most westerners (and not only the USA citizens) associate the fighting on the Eastern front with such cities as Stalingrad (now Volgograd) and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). While these two Russian cities suffered heavy demage, few people realise that the territories occupied by the German armies covered all of Belarus, all of Ukraine, all of the Baltic states but only a minor part of the Russian Soviet Republic east of the Ural mountains. It was not only the frontline fighting that caused most of the physical destruction but how can anyone assess the suffering of the millions of residents of Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania and others under a brutal Nazi occupation. No one denies that the Russians fought on the frontlines together with millions of Ukrainians, Belorusians, Moldovans, Georgians, Armenians, Kazakhs, Chechens and all the others. But no one could also deny that some part of the grand totals of victims represents those who refused to fight for Stalin and died from decease in POWs captivity, and civilians deported by the Soviet NKVD to the Asian Gulags, and tens of thousands of civilian victims of forced deportations, like the Crimean Tatars, the Chechens, the Don cossaks and others suspected of disloyalty to Stalin’s regime. The full truth about the WWII victims remains hidden in the secret Soviet archives,

    • Alexander P says:

      Philippe,

      It’s best to stick with the facts and keep to the theme of the article.

      It appears that you branded this article as a “crude and inaccurate piece of propaganda” because you feel anger about the article’s failure to mention the 26 million casualties of the Soviets during their so-called “Great Patriotic War” while talking only in terms of dollars.

      The article is about America’s aid programs to the former Soviet Union and Russia. Period.

      Sure we can talk about the 26 million casualties but that belongs to another conversation, don’t you think?

  12. Иван says:

    Правды много, и у каждого она своя. А вот истина она одна, и порой, она прикрыта ложью или правдой. Когда стороны начинают перетягивать правду, как ругающиеся супруги одеяло, то из этого ничего хорошего не будет. А вот если стороны прижимаются друг к другу, согревая друг друга теплом и вместе укрываясь этим самым одеялом – вот тогда они находятся ближе всего к истине. Поэтом историки двух стран должны просто объединиться в изучении истории 2-й мировой войны, а политики должны открыть им доступ к документам. И в конце концов написать истину о 2-й мировой войне.

    • Kolanovich says:

      Иван
      The truth about WWII has been written by many independent scholars from many countries. The real issue is that generations under the Soviet regime have been fed streams of ideologically motivated propaganda full of twisted facts and false interpretations. You are right that full access to all WWII documents, including those stored in Kremlin archives, is a precondition to disclosure of all historic facts.

    • Anatoliy says:

      Ивану – в США архивы открыты….

  13. Ronald says:

    And what of the period just after World War II, when Russia begged for a pan-European security agreement? Instead of helping Russia rebuild from a war in which the US showed up years too late to prevent massive civilian slaughter, the US rewarded Germany with the Marshall Plan and not only failed to help Russia recover, but actively punished it with a massive nuclear arms race it then claimed had been started by the Soviets. What a waste for all mankind.

    And after communism had fallen, what did Russia get? Forgiveness? Real help? No, it got massive theft, aided and abetted by western banks and interests only too happy to asset-strip Russia from coast to coast, as Russian criminal interests deposited vast sums into the western banking system with no due diligence from the US or UK as to the prevenance of funds. Russia was well and truly raped.

    America complains about the lack of real democracy in Russia, just as the UK does. It applied a different standard to Libya during Ghadafi, only too happy to suck out the oil and ignore inconvenient truths about the terror regime he imposed. It continues to apply a different standard to Saudi Arabia, happy to have the oil flowing to America. All Putin has to do to have the US stop complaining against his governance is to hand the US the keys to Russia’s oil wealth. The US simply can’t believe that a country it sneered at during the collapse of the FSU has not had the decency to crumble and die, and now, incredibly — thanks to an authoritarian government similar to China’s — to have the temerity to demonstrate that the American version of democracy — a system increasingly of the rich, by the rich and for the rich, is actually choking America from within and destroying its own middle class.

    The US would do well to spend USAID dollars at home, perhaps re-tooling a once-great nation to some semblance of its past.

  14. Mark says:

    It was a different Russia then, and it’s a different America now. It is disingenuous to argue that today’s Russia should take on trust the activities of today’s America because American governments in the past were decent and generous. I’m sure Russians are indeed grateful for American kindness, but they see very little of that in USAID’s activities now. Yes, USAID supports medical research and unselfish projects, and those projects do not even need to register as foreign agents under the new laws as they are not political. However, USAID also supports organizations like Transparency International, which never has a good word for Russia and actively lobbies investors to spend their money elsewhere; you mentioned capital outflow (which does not necessarily imply capital flight, and there are plenty of legitimate reasons for capital outflow). You can thank organizations like Transparency International for some of it, for listing Russia as being as corrupt as Zimbabwe while Georgia is one of the least corrupt countries in the region according to that same organization. Its ratings have no basis in reality. Likewise, USAID supports not only Golos, but “civic watchdog groups in Russia that have provided non-partisan oversight over electoral processes including through innovative uses of technology”, according to its website.

    http://www.usaid.gov/news-information/fact-sheets/usaid-russia

    Both the Rose Revolution and the Orange Revolution were started by NGO’s and youth activists who controlled exit polling in the host countries, using the same technique – reporting that the elections were rigged and citing huge differences in the vote count and the exit polls. Russia is wise and prudent to be suspicious of western NGO’s which are determined to involve themselves in the Russian electoral process. Especially since hacked documents from Golos representatives in Russia made clear the organization is an instrument of U.S. foreign policy and not an independent philanthropic organization, and that Golos workers were paid for violation reports.

    http://rt.com/news/election-america-golos-support-393/

    U.S. NGO’s are united in their support of the liberal opposition, and regularly publish or support falsehoods about Russia, such as that the population is shrinking by hundreds of thousands per year, that Russia spends more than any other country to treat TB patients without it achieving any result, that official statistics are lies and that the Russian president is a multi-billionaire who owns majority holdings in state energy companies.

    Roosevelt backed Russia and wanted a partnership that would survive the war because he wanted Russia as a counterweight to Japan, to prevent it from coming back as a military power. Modern Japan is a trusted ally of America, and that need is gone. Different circumstances prevailed then, and there is no reason the Russian government of today should drop its guard because an America so different from today’s hegemonic inveigler that they might have been different countries was once kind to Russia.

  15. echo says:

    What about Jacob Schiff, who funded the Bolsheviks and Stalin’s First Five Year Plan? (His descendants are part of Al Gore’s family, who coincidentally defended the disaster his administration was causing in Russia, seeding mistrust in an important partner that the United States would require later). Leon Trotsky was also shielded for several months in the United States. Do these count as US aid?

    Who was it that unleashed the Communists on the world? Because it was not Russia. If the Germans or the British or the Americans had not done that, then the terror and famines in Russia and Ukraine, the rise of Nazism in response, the Holocaust, and maybe even the war could have been avoided.

  16. Roman Serbyn says:

    With reference to the first Soviet famine, illustrated by the Nansen post card.
    The famine resulted from two consecutive years of drought, which destroyed the harvests of 1921 & 1922 in the grain producing black-earth regions of Ukraine and Russia. The famine lasted until the harvest of 1923.
    Western aid began to come to Russia in the summer of 1921, but starving Ukraine was not recognized as famine-stricken and was actually twinned with several regions of Russia as a “have” region to help feed these “have not” regions of Russia. Moscow refused to allow Western relief to be sent to Ukraine, stating falsely that here was no famine in Ukraine, and truthfully (alas!) that Ukraine was helping Russia!
    This gridlock on Western aid to Ukraine was broken by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which was part of the American Relief Administration, then providing the greatest amount of famine relief to Russia. Joint had been informed by the numerous population of southern Ukraine about the famine, which decimated the urban population (where the Jews predominantly lived) as well as the countryside. On Joint’s bidding, ARA succeeded in obtaining permission to send an inspection team to verify the situation in Ukraine, and finally in January 1922 a new agreement was signed with the Soviet authorities, allowing aid to Ukraine. In this way Ukraine was opened to foreign aid. In the wake of Joint (which mostly financed the ARA aid in Ukraine) came other charitable organizations: Nansen’s team, the International Red Cross, Save the Children, etc.
    Western aid continued to be sent to Russia and Ukraine until the summer of 1923, in spite of the fact that the Soviet government declared on 15 October 1922 that the famine was licked (hence, the false dates of the famine: 1921-1922!) and began to export grain from the famine-stricken republics. Western relief agencies were furious but between letting the starving population perish and continue their relief work, these organizations nobly chose the latter.
    Among other things, this was a beautiful moment in the much-maligned Jewish-Ukrainian relations, and in Ukrainian history merits at least as much attention as the Ukrainian participation in the Franco-Russian war of 1812.
    For some photographs of the famine in Ukraine, see the pictures sent abroad by the Ukrainian Red Cross in 1922: ukrlife.org/main/evshan/famine.htm

  17. Reyter says:

    That is a flagrant lie about Lend-Lease. The Soviet Union “bought” all that material and the US “sold” it. What J. V. Stalin said all along is: “Thanks for ‘selling’ us these goods but we would really like you to stop sitting around the UK watching events unfold and open a second front.” He was saying that until the Axis powers had been bled white in Russia and their final defeat was assured.

  18. George Hilbert says:

    And we in the U.S. have no need for “clean elections, human rights, and corruption fighting”?

  19. John Fry says:

    Jim: A well written, thoughtful piece of reporting and analysis laced with intelligent perspective. Proof is the outpouring of response to your piece. Belatedly, John

  20. […] turned any battles. You are even more clueless than seabhcan. I did not think that was possible. Making the Kremlin Queasy: Massive American Aid Has Helped Russians Three Times in the Last Century … nder the bland title of the Lend-Lease Act, American taxpayers sent to the Soviet people, from […]

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James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR. With The New York Times, he worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa, Latin America, Canada and Japan/Koreas. He studied Russian in college during the Brezhnev years, first visited Moscow as a reporter during the final months of Gorbachev, and then came back for reporting forays during the Yeltsin and early Putin years. In 2006, he moved to Moscow to report for Bloomberg. He joined VOA in Moscow in 2010. Follow Jim on Twitter @VOA_Moscow.

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