Heroes & Villains
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Report on starving Soviet peasants, from Mr Rennie, the British ambassador to Finland, 28 July 1921
(Catalogue ref: FO 371/6850)

SECRET.

My telegram No. 117.

I have to-day seen Finnish Minister just returned from Moscow. He maintains that the demobilization of the Russian army has taken place and that only mobilization has been effected of reliable communists who are being mainly sent in the direction of Tambow to repel starving hordes from the famine district who are estimated at some six million reported to be moving in the direction of Moscow. Orders issued on July 11th to use poison gas if necessary. Local press yesterday reported Sovyet Government intended to employ all available measures to combat possible anarchical conditions. Finnish Minister adds that appeal of Patriarch for succour for starving population addressed to Archbishop of Canterbury and church in America was genuine and not political move of Sovyet Government. He stated that food and general conditions in Russia were considerably worse than on his first arrival in June.