Famine of 1946-1947

Remember Those Who Starve! A Russian poster from 1921.

Remember Those Who Starve! A Russian poster from 1921.

Famine was a subject in Russian history that was not surprising or new for it’s citizens. Although out of the three famines that occurred in Russian history we know the least about the last one, the famine of 1946-1947 is still an important piece of the history during this time.

As Freeze notes in his text, the war was devastating to Russia in all aspects of life. The war destroyed 1,700 towns, 70,000 villages, 3,000 factories, and 65,000 kilometers of railway. That was only the aftermath of the war however, and the famine was still yet to come.

The conditions of the famine were caused by drought, the effects of which were exacerbated by the devastation caused by the war. Not only that, but the grain harvests were significantly lower that normal and the amount of able-bodied workers had decreased from either the soldiers decision to not go back to the farm or from the casualties of war which dramatically increased population in men.

There was an estimated 2 million people that died from the famine of 1946-1947 which is a very high number after the devastation that occurred to the population during the war. The mortality rate peaked in the summer of 1947 and the famine contributed to a mass exodus from the countryside to the cities. Although it wasn’t the biggest famine that occurred in Russian history, I think it is still one that was traumatic considering the timing right after the war and was just another setback for the Russian’s as they tried to recover from the various events of past decades.



Freeze, Gregory L. “Chapter 12,  The Great Fatherland War and Late Stalinism.” Russia: A History. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1997. 363. Print.

Seventeen Moments in Soviet History – http://www.soviethistory.org/index.php?page=subject&SubjectID=1936stakhanov&Year=1936&navi=byYear

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