Accumulation of wealth in Russia
An interesting light on the way wealth is accumulating in the hands of certain individuals and organisations in Soviet Russia is provided by news items in recent issues of Soviet War News, published by the Press Department of the Soviet Embassy in London. The items relate to gifts made by the persons concerned to various war-time funds, as, for example, funds for building tanks and warplanes.
Thus the issue of Soviet War News for December 19th, 1942, reports that a collective farmer donated “all his personal savings, amounting to 100,000 roubles.” At the official rate of exchange (25 roubles equals £1) this is £4,000. but a better idea of its significance is given by comparing it with the average minimum wage of workers, which is put at about 8,000 roubles a year; or by comparing it with the top ranges of pay of specialists, put at about 24,000 roubles a year.
Other gifts reported in Soviet War News are:—
The Patriarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, 100,000 roubles; Elokohvsky Cathedral in Moscow, 300,000 roubles; Father Superior of the Kolchida Cathedral, 100,000 roubles; Priest of the Church of the Assumption, “all my savings, totalling 273,000 roubles in cash.” (The above are reported in the issue for January 6th, 1943.)
Then we read of the Council of the Church of Kazan in Kuznetsk donating 250,000 roubles, while the Archdeacon made a further personal gift of 150,000 “from his savings” (January 30th, 1943). Another Church dignitary, the deputy Catholicos of the Armenian Church, donated on behalf of his Church “a precious panagia set with diamonds us well as other objects of platinum and diamonds worth over 800,000 roubles” (January 25th, 1943).