Some local historians were even ordered not to speak about American aid, but the authors of the film noticed the surveillance leading over them.
As you know, any authoritarian government tries to rewrite the history of its country in such a way as to justify its existence. The Russian government is no exception. In the face of aggravated relations with the West, officials in every possible way keep silent about any events in the history of the country, at least somehow connected with foreign aid, be it "Lend-Lease", which actually saved the USSR during World War II, or Western aid to the starving in the early 1920s. that saved millions of lives.
The famous TV presenter, writer and publicist, TEFI award winner Alexander Arkhangelsky, together with the famous journalist Maxim Kournikov and director Tatyana Sorokina, are filming the documentary "Hunger", dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the worst famine in the history of Russia, which claimed millions of lives. And they do this not with public funds, which would be logical, but with money collected by subscription.
However, from the explanation of the authors, it will become clear why the state is not interested in seeing this film out on the screens:
“At the beginning of the 20s of the XX century, in cities and villages that were growing rapidly and getting rich a few years ago, such a famine began that people were ready to give everything for food, and sometimes they hunted each other. At first, the decisions of the authorities, which caused a violation of the usual way of life, and then a poor harvest, led to the fact that the vast expanses - from the Volga to Siberia, from the Southern Urals to the Tien Shan mountains, turned out to be a zone of unprecedented disaster. Whole peoples consider these years to be the most terrible in their history, while many know practically nothing about it. In school textbooks they hardly write about this ... "
The authors of the film want to rectify the situation and make a film about the tragedy, about stupid, incompetent decisions that led to mass death, and about heroes, about humanity, which erased the boundaries between states and peoples. Hunger in Soviet Russia became one of the first symbols of the international struggle for Life.
“It is no secret that at the height of the famine, the young Soviet government turned to the whole world for help and gratefully accepted this help - from governments, from international, religious and national organizations, from private benefactors.
Fighting the consequences of this famine became one of the first challenges for the then newly emerged League of Nations (the predecessor of the UN). And for the United States, this was the first such large-scale assistance provided to another country, and even overseas. The American Relief Administration (ARA) fed millions of people in Soviet Russia free of charge every day. And the British Quakers continued their successful work in our country.
Solidarity, the systemic war on hunger, and the typhoid vaccination saved an entire generation born at that time. The Soviet government used the famine to fight those it declared enemies, but at the same time recognized and thanked ARA for its help. And then, already in the 30s, under Stalin, she decided to simply delete all this from her history - it became dangerous to remember hunger, and even more so about help.
Soon - a hundred years of those events, and we want to tell this story in as much detail as possible, remember why this famine arose, what it cost our country (and even countries), tell how people survived then, tell about those who helped and tell them Finally, thanks".
It should be added that the shooting of the Russian part of the film has already been completed. They took place in cities: Orenburg, Buzuluk, Ufa, Samara, Saratov and Chelyabinsk.
But at the next stage, according to the authors' intention, shooting in Kazakhstan, Great Britain and the United States is coming, since it is in the world famous American scientific center Stanford that one of the largest archives on the history of the famine of the 1920s is kept.
“The history of the famine is not only the history of political decisions, it is above all the history of humanism, a history that must not be forgotten. And we hope that this is important not only for us.
We want to make a film that will give us back our history...”, - hope the authors.
As you might expect, Russian officials are not at all interested in bringing history back. Here is what Arkhangelsky writes following the results of the first stage of filming "Hunger":
The first filming expedition of the "Hunger" project, which was conceived by Maxim Kournikov, has finished, having invited me and Tatyana Sorokina to join it.
These were two weeks of incredible impressions - both from places and from people. Thanks to the historians we interviewed. Thanks to those who helped.
Oddly enough, thanks to those who interfered, consistently and systematically. In different regions, under various pretexts, policemen politely got to know us, asking what we were shooting, for whose money and for whom. From time to time they were more and more informed (they knew in which company - in another city - the cars were rented, they knew some names), they emphasized that they were not accusing us of anything, but they would still like to inspect the car and the copter. In a fierce blizzard throughout the village, people from the administration were looking for us, who were puzzled by our filming by indignant representatives of the Cossack community. And some local historians (not all!) Were ordered not to talk about American aid. We boast a collection of refusals, with the most sophisticated wording.
For example, the National Museum of the Republic of Bashkortostan: "Today... the museum is working on a project dedicated to the history of the region of the XX century ... excluding events using the museum fund".
The Saratov Museum of Local Lore is getting ready to move, so coincidentally, there are exhibitions there, but everything related to hunger turned out to be already packed in boxes and sealed. But one of the major universities kindly provided us with a room for shooting, but only together with a specially trained person who will record on his camera how we shoot. The first department did not doze.
The most interesting turn happened when we called the historical park via an open connection and agreed on a shooting site, even discussed gratitude in the credits. Everything was agreed with the authorities, but exactly half an hour later, the same people with a completely different intonation reported that it was actually a day off, it was impossible to find a person who would turn on the electricity, and in general an official letter was required, but there was no way to agree on it in the near future.
But all this is exactly the case when they wanted, as always, but it turned out better. We planned what lay on the surface, and thanks to the obstacles we found new, more interesting solutions. But why pay so much attention to the film crew, busy with the events of 100 years ago? Is it just because we are going to talk about help and interaction with the Americans, the English Quakers, the Nansen mission? It's strange somehow. By the way, I am answering the question with whose money we are renting - yours. With money from people who supported our project on Planet.ru, because they want to see this film. Thanks a lot..."