Gorky’s Appeal

Maksim Gorky, Appeal for Relief. July 13, 1921


The corn-growing steppes are smitten by crop failure, caused by the drought. The calamity threatens starvation to millions of Russian people. Think of the Russian people’s exhaustion by the war and revolution, which considerably reduced its resistance to disease and its physical endurance. Gloomy days have come for the country of Tolstoy, Dostoevskii, Mendeleev, Pavlov, Mussorgskii, Glinka and other world-prized men and I venture to trust that the cultured European and American people, understanding the tragedy of the Russian people, will immediately succor with bread and medicines.

If humanitarian ideas and feelings faith in whose social import was so shaken by the damnable war and its victors’ vengeance towards the vanquished-if faith in the creative force of these ideas and feelings, I say, must and can be restored, Russia’s misfortune offers humanitarians a splendid opportunity to demonstrate the vitality of humanitarianism. I think particularly warm sympathy in succoring the Russian people must be shown by those who, during the ignominious war, so passionately preached fratricidal hatred, thereby withering the educational efficacy of ideas evolved by mankind in the most arduous labors and so lightly killed by stupidity and cupidity. People who understand the words of agonizing pain will forgive the involuntary bitterness of my words.

I ask all honest European and American people for prompt aid to the Russian people. Give bread and medicine.

Source: American Relief Administration, Bulletin, 1921, Second Series, No. 16 (1 September 1921), p. 2.

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