Central Commission for Famine Relief

Central Commission for Famine Relief


(in Russian, Pomgol), a commission created by a decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (All-Russian CEC) of July 18, 1921, as a consequence of the severe crop failure that affected extensive areas of the Soviet Union in 1921, particularly the Volga Region. More than 30 million peasants lived in the famine-stricken areas. The regulations, adopted Oct. 20, 1921, by the Presidium of the All-Russian CEC cited the principal tasks. These included determination of the extent of the famine, review of requests that certain provinces and districts be declared famine areas, acquisition of foodstuffs (state grain reserves, collection from the population, imports from abroad), implementation of All-Russian CEC decrees on the confiscation of church valuables to aid relief efforts, and the evacuation of peasants from the affected regions.

M. I. Kalinin was named chairman, and members of the commission were selected from among the directors of people’s commissariats, branches of the administration, the Central Union of Consumers’ Societies of the USSR, the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, and other organizations. Individual commissions attached to the executive committees of soviets were created for autonomous republics, provinces, districts, and volosti (small rural districts). Agencies of the Central Commission for Famine Relief were organized by the central executive committees of the Ukrainian, Byelorussian, and other Soviet republics. Particular attention was paid to organizing assistance to peasants for the 1921 winter sowing season and the 1922 spring sowing. Soviet authorities allocated approximately 55 million poods of seed for this purpose. Food, clothing, and medicine were distributed to the hungry from government resources and from supplies obtained from the population; children received priority.

The central and local commissions for famine relief were abolished on Oct. 15, 1922, in accordance with a Sept. 7, 1922, resolution of the All-Russian CEC, which then created a central commission to deal with the consequences of the famine (Posledgol).


Sobranie uzakonenii rabochego i krest’ianskogo pravilel’stva RSFSR, 1921, no. 55, art. 342; 1922, no. 58, art. 731.
Poliakov, Iu. A. Perekhod k nepu i sovetskoe krest’ianstvo. Moscow, 1967.
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