Coffee for the front

Coffee for the front
Coffee for the front

Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen, Mongolia, Tuva helped the Soviet Union free of charge

During the Great Patriotic War, many countries and peoples provided assistance to the USSR, even being officially neutral in that war.

Brief reports of this can be found in the Soviet wartime press. There were several very laconic articles in small editions. Why did Soviet historiography not favor these facts? Firstly, the Cold War, which began in 1946, had its effect, and those countries that did not openly support the USSR were considered by our leadership a kind of "train" of anti-Sovietism and subsequently the NATO bloc. Naturally, such a foreign policy line limited the possibilities of Moscow and its allies, but Stalin at that time did not recognize compromises. True, at the beginning of April 1952, almost 50 countries, mostly developing ones, took part in the first international economic conference in Moscow initiated by the Soviet leader, the decisions of which - first of all on a single financial and economic space of the USSR and friendly countries - became, one might say, the prototype of the present BRICS. But after 1953 the formation of an anti-dollar, anti-imperialist bloc Moscow began to increasingly prefer “countries of socialist orientation”, where pro-Soviet bureaucratic regimes were implanted with rare exceptions without taking into account political and economic realities. And they preferred to “forget” about the decisions of the 1952 conference in Moscow until the collapse of the USSR. Unlike Beijing …

Secondly, Soviet propagandists in the second half of the 40s - mid 50s neglected the developing countries, considering them a kind of buffer zone between the West and the East. Therefore, their position regarding the USSR during the Second World War was either hushed up or qualified as insignificant. Although it was she who contributed to the creation of a single anti-imperialist alliance of states - long, let us emphasize, before the creation of NATO and its regional counterparts (CENTO, SEATO, ANZUK, ANZUS). Moscow understood this by 1952, but by that time, hostile military alliances, one might say, were already encircling the USSR and its allies. And many developing countries fell into the orbit of influence of these blocs.

As you know, the USSR, even during the Great Patriotic War, provided all kinds of assistance to China, which had fought since July 1937. But he tried not to remain in debt. So, in 1943, by decision of the Chinese leadership, three consignments of electric power equipment from the United States, intended for the country under Lend-Lease, were redirected to the Soviet Union. As Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek said, in connection with the enormous needs of the defense and rear of the USSR. This, incidentally, is noted in the memoirs of the then head of the US Lend-Lease Committee, Edward Stetinnius: “The third Lend-Lease program is related to the generation of electricity for Soviet military factories in the Trans-Urals and in the areas devastated by the Germans that are now recaptured by the Red Army. This program began with three generators we made for China, but the Chinese allowed in 1943 to transfer them to Russia."

Iceland in 1943 refused about half of the volume of fish oil supplies from the USA and Canada, asking to include this volume in northern convoys to the USSR. In Reykjavik, they said that the USSR really needed this product, including Leningrad, which was heroically withstanding the onslaught of the Nazis. In addition, the Icelanders sent fishing tackle, herring, mackerel, cod, wool to the USSR - mostly free of charge.

Coffee for the front

Iraqi Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nuri Said in the same year ordered to transport through neighboring Iran to the USSR up to 60 percent of the total number of ships of the river military flotilla delivered to the country from the United States. Up to 30 percent of the volume of wheat imported under the same program to Iraq at the beginning of 1944 from Canada and Australia was asked by the authorities to be shipped to the USSR, where, according to them, due to the war, the problem of food supply was aggravated (by the way, in the same year Baghdad and Moscow established diplomatic relations, and Iraq entered the war with Germany and Italy at the beginning of 1943).

The rulers of the Himalayan Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan in 1942 included in lend-lease supplies from British India to the USSR up to eight thousand tons of jute, four thousand tons of citrus fruits, about 20 tons of wool (yaks and musk oxen) and about 10 tons of medicinal herbs. Moreover, the authorities of these countries spoke in favor of the optional payment for these goods by the USSR. The same approach was shown by the king of Afghanistan M. Zahir Shah, who included in the lend-lease deliveries in 1943-1944 about 200 tons of cotton, 100 tons of vegetables and fruits, almost 30 tons of wool (of various types), 10 tons of coal and about 20 tons of potassium salt. Iran has provided large volumes of similar assistance. 60 percent of his deliveries were free of charge.

The neutral kingdom of Yemen in 1943-1944 included in the lend-lease program for the USSR up to 25 tons of mocha (Yemen is the birthplace of this variety), more than 15 tons of fish, 10 tons of various types of wool and about 10 tons of cotton. Yemen designated up to 70 percent of the supplies as gratuitous aid to the Soviet Union. The then head of Yemen, Imam Yahya said: “We remember how the USSR helped protect our country from a foreign (British-Saudi, then Italian. - AB) invasion in the late 1920s (in 1928 the Soviet-Yemeni treaty was signed “About friendship.” - AB). Therefore, in a difficult period for the USSR, we must provide reciprocal assistance that we can."

Deliveries to the USSR went not only under Lend-Lease. In 1942-1944 they were carried out by Ethiopia, Liberia, Brazil, which were part of the anti-Hitler coalition. Since 1943, neutral Sweden has been increasing exports (mainly through Iran) to the USSR at prices five to ten percent lower than world prices, with a partial delay in counter deliveries or payments. During negotiations with Stalin on June 15, 1946, Staffan Soderblum said: "Sweden knows to whom it owes the preservation of its independence and neutrality - the heroic struggle of the USSR against the aggressors and, of course, the heroism of Leningraders who were subjected to cruel trials."

Diverse, almost entirely gratuitous aid to the Soviet Union from independent Mongolia and (until August 1944) Tuva, according to many estimates, in total cost amounted to almost 40 percent of lend-lease supplies to the USSR for the same 1942-1944 years. Ulan Bator also provided all possible assistance to China, which had fought with Japan since 1937, actively participated on its own in the defeat of the Kwantung Army, in the liberation of a number of regions of Northern China.

If we exclude the fragmentary, low-circulation articles and brochures about the USSR's assistance from Mongolia, the first studies and books of a proper level and circulation appeared in the USSR only in the late 60s, and the corresponding history of Tuva remained a blank spot until 2010-2011.

Eternal gratitude to all these countries and peoples!

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