Gareth Jones

[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]

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The Manchester Guardian, January 24th 1933.

Mr Jones's Lecture

Mr. Gareth Jones, a member of Mr. Lloyd George's staff, who has travelled extensively in Russia, speaking to members of the Flintshire Committee of the League of Nations Union at Rhyl, said be considered that although the Five-year Plan in Russia had achieved great things, much of its success was only "on paper." The rock on which it had foundered was the attempt to socialize the peasants which had led to famine conditions and to the ruin of agriculture.

There was now a change of policy, and the peasants were to be encouraged to go in for private trading. He doubted whether anti-religious propaganda in Russia had gone as deeply as was generally supposed, and quoted: "Religion is like a nail, the more you strike it, the deeper it goes." Greater toleration was now being shown; something of a revival of religion was beginning, and strange new creeds were growing up.

The Soviet Government and the Russian people, he said, were far too busy with their own affairs to desire war, but they were desperately afraid of being attacked. He spoke on a visit to a village 2,000 miles from the frontier, where the inhabitants were so afraid of foreign invasion by air that they kept a large supply of gas masks ready.

The lecturer's references to social conditions in Russia led to the asking of many questions by his audience. One result of the attitude to religion, he said, was that priests were barred from trading at the co-operative shops, and had to pay exorbitant prices for bread and other necessaries.

 

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