b. 5 July 1872, Troyes, France, d. 26 March 1957, Lyon, France.

Herriot served as Prime Minister of the Third French Republic three times – from June 1924 to April 1925, in July 1926 and from June-December 1932. A member of the Radical party, during his third term as PM Herriot visited the USSR. As part of the disinformation campaign about the Famine in Ukraine, the Soviet government took him on a tour of Ukraine.

The entire expedition was staged – the streets of Kyiv through which Herriot drove were cleaned and he was taken to collective farms at which farmers told him that everything was fine. It is probable that the farmers with whom he spoke were actors, or alternately, had been intimidated into lying about the actual conditions in the countryside.

Upon returning from the USSR, Herriot reported that accounts of the famine raging in the Ukrainian countryside were false, that the harvest had been good and that the peasants had plenty to eat. His testimony was influential in forming public opinion in the West that reports of Famine were simply anti-Soviet provocations.

The staging of Herriot’s tour was but one of several concerted efforts by the Soviet government to cover up the Famine that they themselves had created. In large part, the campaign of disinformation carried out by the Soviet authorities was effective; the Soviet government itself did not admit to the Famine until the years of perestroika, and many Soviet sympathizers in the West continued until that time to believe that there had been no Famine at all.

Harvest of Despair

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