Every day you hear: “Oh, the prices! Oh, inflation!”. Expensive all or almost all of the cruising, if not space, speed. People complain, but forget that everything is relative. Especially when it comes to prices.
75 years ago our country entered into the worst, most devastating war. It is clear that more does not remain those who remember, for example, how much was a loaf of bread at the beginning of the war and in the end is how wildly expensive vodka and cigarettes…
Not to mention the fact that was then in the grocery cart.
What could you buy for the average salary during the period of military economy of 1941-1945 in the Soviet Union?
Specially on request “MK” scientists of the research Institute of the Russian audit chamber conducted a study to answer these questions after 75 years after the war.
Photo: David Trachtenberg
So the scientists we have set a few goals. First and foremost is to understand how in fact more expensive or cheaper goods because of the war.
To begin, we asked the experts of the accounting chamber “to dress” of the Soviet citizen male! And that’s what happened.
Buy mens coat shortly before the war, in late 1940, it was possible for 377 rubles. In the midst of the fighting, in 1944, its value was up to 4300! The same dynamics were at prices men’s costume: before the war it amounted to 367 rubles, then there was a sharp rise in price up to 4000. Worse of all was the case with shoes. If in time of peace men’s shoes can be purchased for 90 rubles, in the period of bloody battles for a whopping 1875. Summarize: before the war the average man in the USSR could dress up, spending 834 rubles, and during it for the same “outfit” he had to give 10 175 rubles.
With products fared about the same. Prices have grown since the first day of the war until 1944 (and 1945 there was a slight fall). Beef, milk, flour rose by an average of 10, the eggs and potatoes 20 times. Highest prices for tobacco, vodka and salt. For example, the half-liter bottle “flammable” before the war was worth 11.5 ruble, and during it — 250 (sometimes with hands sold for 500 and above).
But this is the price of the free market. But the index of state retail prices of rationed food and consumer goods during the period of military economy of the USSR remained almost unchanged and made up in 1943, of 100.5%, compared to the pre-war time. Exceptions were only alcoholic beverages and tobacco: vodka, they officially grew from 11.5 ruble to 80.5 per bottle, cigarettes “Kazbek” — from 3.15 to 6.3 rubles per pack.
Here is a typical example about the difference of market and normalized prices: 1 kg of flour on the free market was worth 47 rubles, and the store (where it certainly would not get it or where it was sold for spectrochem) — 1 ruble 80 kopecks.
Photo: Vasily Fedoseyev
— During the war, the country lived under conditions of planned economy to policy pricing, ” says Professor, doctor of economic Sciences Nikita KRICHEVSKY. — Without a doubt, this system of public economy has become one of the main factors of the victory in the hardest war. Yes, prices were regulated, but in an era of turmoil always aktiviziruyutsya those who are trying to cash in on people’s grief. In the war of power to that part of society that is called, did not reach the hands. As a result, in 1943 compared with 1940 prices at collective farm markets rose, according to official figures, 13 times! In those years, the government has enough forces to control the distribution, except that the products of the first necessity, “optional”, so to speak, types of food, such as vodka or tobacco — fell on black market more often. This explains the more significant rise in prices compared to other goods.
Economists joke: if now in Russia there was such inflation, as in war, we are with you on average salary could buy a few loaves of bread, a few pounds of potatoes and a piece of bacon. In any case lend a month, u would hardly be able to.
By the way, experts of the research Institute has estimated for us the cost of the war, food basket, which included flour, potatoes, onion, beef, milk and butter — 663 rubles and 50 kopecks. Who could afford it “fill”?
First soldiers of the army. So, the salary of the Lieutenant — platoon commander was 650 rubles, the captain — 800 rubles, major — 1100 rubles, divisional Commissioner — 1600 rubles, division commander — major-General — 1600 rubles. Vulnerable to afford such a set of products well could not. The pension of a war invalid of the 3rd group, for example, amounted to 320 rubles. Because of that, it also received a working card and was attached to the special shop.
Photo: Margaret Bourke-White
In General, the pension was enough to buy the special rations with food, which for a month was obviously not enough. So people sold in the market at free market prices existing in the composition of the special rations of vodka for the price of 400 rubles per bottle.
In total for years of war the average official salary grew by only doubled from 339 to 725 rubles, respectively for 1940 and 1944.
— Something similar to the familiar to Russians many months of unpaid wages (including no money, and cards) were not observed, — comments for “MK” one of the employees of the Institute. In any case, information about that anywhere cards do not merchandised weeks or months, could not be found. The population residing on the occupied territories not the state for the supply of bread and other food increased during the period of military economy to 76.8 million In 1943, in the rear areas of the Soviet Union the working peasant population was as follows: women — 10 million people, teenagers from 4 million men to 3.6 million people, only 17 million 600 thousand people. And this small group of women, children and men unfit for war, health or age, fed the entire country and numerous warring army. These 17,6 million farmers in the kolkhoz markets of the Soviet Union in 1943 sold products 178.9 billion. The amount is astronomical! All military expenditures of the USSR in 1943 amounted to 146 billion roubles.
But back to prices.
— The closer the victory the situation has stabilized, and in 1945 the prices of the collective-farm trade has decreased in comparison with 1943 almost 2.5 times (to a large extent this was facilitated by organized government in 1944, the commercial trade at higher prices), ” says Krichevsky. — Besides after the war the state system, as they say, is recouped in full, the “bread business” with extremely tough penalties speculators worth.
— In the first period of the great Patriotic war, the budget was deficit — continues the employee of the Institute. To cover it, began to print more money. During the war years their number increased by 3.8 times. But even in 1942-1943, when the issue reached the highest level, the ruble was relatively stable. This was due to the state policy of regulated prices for goods, the immutability of the prices of agricultural products. In 1944, the state refused to issue money.
Could we survive in that battle, if the country lived in conditions of the market? Economists believe: of course not. Even in the United States during the war years the main expenses were borne by the state (it then began to rise sharply the country’s public debt), restrictions were imposed on the growth of wages and many types of non-productive construction, and food prices were controlled at all levels of government. In fact, today, in peace time, prices in the West are under indirect government control. Sooner or later, after playing in the market, for this we come. It would be better earlier… and without war.