понедельник, 25 февраля 2013 г.

Torgsin. Reader's comment. Elena OSOKINA.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Theme: Torgsin. Reader's comment.
"Gold for industrialization. TORGSIN". Publisher: Russian Political encyclopedia. The Foundation of the First President of Russia, Boris Eltsin. M., 2009. Circulation: 2000 copies. - 650 pages
ISBN 978-5-8243-1110-5

     The false thesis is contained in the name itself: as though the gold obtained by the state through Torgsin shops' system went to industrialization.
   It is declared that the sale of artistic valuables to foreigners through Torgsin was critical for industrialization. The reports of Torgsin itself, ideologically determined by the time, which, of course, was interested in the justification of its activities, are listed. As a matter of fact, the defense of any state is a sacred concept. The military-industrial complex always existed, it was only named differently ("military-industrial groups", etc.) and not only in our state. Following Perestroika (rebuilding), we got to know the sum of the state's budget defense expenditures.

    Unfortunately, the author is not alone in these myths introduced by the Soviet historiography. The author is followed by such reputable (in other spheres) scientist as Prof. Piotrovsky M.B. who agrees with the sales of art objects and finds advantages in them in the preface to the book "Sold Treasures of Russia", Moscow, 2000.
     "One can console oneself that our objects, for the most part, are in good hands and are available to viewers. Due to this the Hermitage could become relatives with many museums of the world";
     Professor continues "I think that it is important to verify one more detail. Soviet rulers were not dabsters, who knocked down museum collections for a trifling sum. They managed to get what they strove for. The access to the Western markets has appeared (the art object markets? – V.S.). The access to the Western technologies, including defense technologies was obtained. Sales partly helped to prepare for the future war. This must be spoken straightforwardly. Because the crime is not in that that it was sold unprofitably. The crime is in that that the cultural heritage, museums were treated like a commodity in stock. The state disposed cultural sites and used them for the purposes not having any relation to culture".
     Not everyone agrees with this point of view. It is enough to mention Savva Yamshikov, deceased fierce defender of the Russian culture. The justifying of art objects' sales sounds in the thesis of Prof. Piotrovsky M.B.: such sales have "made possible to prepare for war". History has no subjunctive mood: why Germany did not sell museum values during preparation to revenge war?
      Prof. E. Osokina said that her next book would be a monograph about the activities of the ANTIKVARIAT All-Union Association. We hope that the reputable scientist will critically examine the false prerequisites declared by the father of the present director of the Hermitage.
      Actually, we do not know where the currency earned from Torgsin's activity had left directly. Torgsin was not involved in the purchasing of equipment needed for industrialization. There is no evidence that it is Torgsin's gold which was used for purchasing of industrial equipment, as the pattern of purchases of the equipment, passage of payment tranches, terms of delivery of equipment for DneproGES, Magnitogorsk, Kuznetskstroy, Turksib and other high-priority facilities. It is possible that this money went to other purposes not investigated by us, for sustention of the Third International, for getting of military and industrial secrets, or to western banks. How much such money is in Swiss banks? Where is the notorious "party's gold" of which so many feathers were ground down, but the truth was not revealed?
     Bread export brought 200 million gold rubles to the country in 1930, and Torgsin's activities brought only 47 million gold rubles in 1933 which was Torgsin's best year.
     Not only the notorious equipment and industrial secrets, but also the goods for stores were bought for Torgsin's gold. Part of the goods went to supplying the same foreign experts worked in the USSR.
     As if author is trying to prove that the path of hardship and starvation was the only possible way for the country. This is a direct justification of Stalinism. Perhaps, the researcher felt herself as though having "entered" to the subject she realized the "genius of Stalin". Studying the historical person for a long time, one unwittingly becomes like it. Professor has also taken over from Stalin the ability to conceal the facts. The USSR was a "secret country". To understand is to forgive. Can we forgive Stalin and Stalinism in the country where there are repressed people almost in every family? The main value of the state is the people, not the machines.
      Fifth of the foreign currency earnings were so-called "Jewish money" from the United States. Consequently, according to author's logic the USA credited the USSR for the industrialization by the fifth. Or this money left to save the starving citizens of the country. It is necessary to clarify these issues. What about those who did not have relatives abroad? To die with hunger?
     "Instead of the pre-revolutionary precious metals withdrawn from the private ownership the Jewelry union of the People's Commissariat of the Internal Trade (if it really was because Glavyuvelirtorg was established in 1936 – V.S.) filled the domestic market with the Soviet crafts made of cupronickel, bimetal, lightweight silver, artificial, and low-quality gems." It is a borderline claim because the structure of the activity of jewelry industry and trade which worked on a "processing" feedstock a lot was not disclosed. It was during Soviet era when domestic watch industry was organized. Objects of art, including jewelry are national patrimony aren't they? Why jewelry pieces from museum's collections cannot be sold (or can be sold "for the defense of the motherland"?), and the same artifacts in private ownership can be and must be withdrawn, impersonalized, scraped and sold. Jewellery did not really exist in our country for 70 years. Few jewelry Kremlin expositions resembled a "museum of disappeared nation", as Hitler called the Jewish Museum established by him in Prague in 1942. There is still no national museum of jewellery and lapidary art in the country which showed the genius of Fabergé to the world; - this is the result of "reasonable" sales.
    The materials of classified archives are still not listed, and real facts are hidden. One remembers, we could not believe in the "Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact". There were no documents, hence there was no pact. Nevertheless, they were found. There are a lot of references to the closure of archives in the monograph. Historians have to strive for their opening. It can be seen that the material was collected long ago, and it can be seen the author's apartness from the archives. We recommend to refer to Vladimir Teteryatnikov's archive (1938 - 2000), an art historian who "shoveled" the mountains of U.S. and emigrant newspapers of the years 1920-1930 in search of an answer to the question - how many objects of art were sold abroad in dashing years. Archive of V.Teteryatnikov is stored at the New York Public Library, where it was passed by his widow several years ago. There is plenty of material for several monographs there.
     The state received more money from the official vodka (wine monopoly). Making nation drunk, destructing its gene pool in order to justify "defense capacity and industrialization increase." In order to save the party's authority the state destroys much of its citizens, brings them to impoverishment, deprives of their property, and sets them onto prison ration. Making nation drunk and withdrawing of gold are the links of one chain. We will specify "vodka money" for industrialization on figures.
     Sacred objects (church property) were not accepted in Torgsin. Church property was nationalized; religious items in private ownership were considered as stolen from the state and were subject to confiscation. So what is the amount of church property which was withdrawn in the period of 1922-1929 till the absolute prohibition of the production of sacred objects?
     Text analysis casts some doubt on the fact that the author has managed to reach the goal of its research due to the lack of the source base. Available sources do not allow producing a picture of Torgsin's genesis and functioning as a socio-economic phenomenon.
     Use of the term "continuity" implies that the researcher strove to show the dynamic processes occurring in the displayed phenomenon. I do not see the continuity because the activity of Torgsin's predecessors: organizations of Gostorg, Moscow Jewelry Partnership, “Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga” (International Book) union and the other carried out currency transactions before Torgsin has not been investigated. However, this is not the author's fault. The merit of Prof Osokina E. A. is in that she has exposed the problem, and has opened new horizons of researches.

March 2010, Geneva.

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