Source: World News and Views, Vol. 30, No. 2 January 14, 1950
Originally Published: Pravda, December 21, 1949
Transcription: Mike B.
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
The following passages are extracted from the article by L. P. Beria on “Stalin—the Great Organiser of the Victories of Communism”
THE BLOSSOMING of the national Republics in the Soviet Union is particularly striking when compared with the position in certain States which border on the Soviet Union. Take, for example, the Uzbek and Azerbaijan Soviet Republics, and Iran and Turkey, States bordering on the U.S.S.R. The working people of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, like all the Soviet people, long ago ceased to experience the oppression of exploiters, the horrors of poverty, starvation and unemployment, while year by year the material and cultural level of these peoples is improving. The peoples of Iran and Turkey continue to languish under the power of landlords, khans, capitalists and foreign enslavers. During the years of Soviet power, the Azerbaijan S.S.R. and the Uzbek S.S.R., from being backward, agrarian countries, have become industrial Republics, with highly developed industries occupying a predominant part in the national economy. Iran and Turkey have remained backward agrarian countries where agriculture and primitive technique form the basis of the countries’ economy. In Iran, two-thirds of the peasants have no land and 62 per cent of the country’s land is held by landlords. In Turkey, the overwhelming majority of the peasants have no land and work on the land of the landlords. In Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, 90 per cent of the population were illiterate before the establishment of Soviet power, but already in 1946 illiteracy was completely stamped out. Today, in Iran, about 85 per cent of the population are- illiterate, and in Turkey about 66 per cent are illiterate. About 70 per cent of the Turkish villages have no schools. In the Azerbaijan S.S.R. there are nineteen schools of higher learning attended by 29,000 students, or one school of higher education for every 163,000 of the population. In Iran there are only five schools of higher education attended by about 4,500 students, or one school of higher learning per 3,400,000 of the population. In the Uzbek S.S.R. there are thirty-six schools of higher education attended by 38,000 students, or one school of higher learning per 175,000 of the population. In Turkey there are nine schools of higher learning attended by about 11,000 students, or one school of higher learning per 1,950,000 of the population. There are thirteen theatres, 2,100 palaces of culture and clubs in the Azerbaijan S.S.R. In the Uzbek S.S.R. there are twenty-three theatres, 3,011 palaces of culture and clubs. Each of these Republics has its own film industry. There are only a few privately-owned theatres eking out a miserable existence in Iran and Turkey. In the Azerbaijan S.S.R. there are 5,902 practising doctors, or one doctor per 525 of the population. In Iran there are 1,500 doctors, or one doctor per 11,333 of the population. In the Uzbek S.S.R. there are 6,612 doctors, or one per 935 persons. In Turkey there are 2,181 doctors, or one doctor per 8,941 of the population. In the Azerbaijan S.S.R. there is one hospital bed per 183 of the population. In Iran-one bed per 3,400 of the population. In the Uzbek S.S.R. there is one bed per 186 persons, and in Turkey one bed per 1,466. More than 5,000 tractors, 600 combine-harvesters, 70,000 trailer implements and other agricultural machinery are used in the agriculture of the Azerbaijan S.S.R. In Iran, the ancient plough, the “azal” and the wooden plough, the “avach”, remain the chief agricultural implements. In the agriculture of the Uzbek S.S.R. there are more than 24,000 tractors, 1,500 combine-harvesters, 280,000 trailer-machines and other agricultural machinery working in the fields. The chief implement for cultivating the land in the Turkish countryside is a wooden plough, the “karaspan”. There is one “karaspan” for every two farms, and one ordinary plough per sixteen farms, and one agricultural machine for every 220 farms.