HC Deb 02 February 1931 vol 247 cc1415-7
20. Commander BELLAIRS

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why, in giving extracts from the criminal code in the White Paper, Russia (No. 1) 1931, Article 34, dealing with prison labour, is omitted; and whether he will give the terms of this article, in view of the number of persons affected and the anxiety about prison goods reaching this country?


Since the publication of the English translation of the Criminal Code in 1925, the code has been revised, and Article 34 of the revised code of 1926, which I believe is still valid, does not deal with prison labour. For the. hon. and gallant Member's information, I am circulating the text of this Article in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this White Paper has completely knocked the bottom out of the case of the "die-hards"?

Following is the text of the Article:

Article 34 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, 1926.

The Court shall discuss the question of depriving the accused of his rights (as a citizen) in all cases in which the accused is sentenced to deprivation of liberty for a period of more than one year. When a lighter sentence is awarded, the accused cannot be deprived of his rights.

21. Commander BELLAIRS

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that Part IV, Statistics of Wages, of the White Paper, Russia, No. 1 (1931), issued on 28th January, gives wages and wage increases only at the official value of the rouble; and whether, to allow the figures to be better understood, he will give the actual value of the rouble at the present date and the value on 1st January, 1929, or, if preferred, the average for the year 1928?


If the hon. and gallant Member is referring to the rate of exchange of the rouble, the gold parity is roubles 9.458 to the £, and the present official rate is about roubles 9.436 to the £. Particulars of the internal purchasing power of the rouble are published by the State Bank of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. These particulars consist of a number of figures, and I will, with the hon. and gallant Member's permission, circulate them in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Commander BELLAIRS

Is it not extremely misleading, in a White Paper issued by the Government, to give wages at the official rate of the rouble?


I have said that that must be a matter of opinion and of statistical argument. I am circulating, for the information of the hon. and gallant Gentleman and those of his friends who specialise in this subject, further details of the matter.


Will the Minister circulate a statement giving the equivalent of these wages in English money?


The right hon. Gentleman, as an authority on these matters, is well aware of the difficulty of these international comparisons.


Is it not the case, although these international comparisons are difficult, that the difficulty has been surmounted in other cases?


Will the hon. Gentleman remember the fact that there are social services and insurance to be taken into consideration?


In this country too:


That would certainly be a very important consideration, if we seek to make these comparisons approximately accurate.

Following are the particulars:

Purchasing power of the Chervonetz.
(1913 = 10 roubles.)
Date. According to—
The wholesale prices index numbers. The retail prices index numbers.
Average for: roubles. copecks. roubles. copecks.
1922–23 8 18 7 19
1923–24 5 88 5 05
1924–25 5 58 4 72
1925–26 5 39 4 31
1926–27 5 70 4 93
1927–28 5 83 4 89
1928–29 5 59 4 78
Oct. 1 5 50 4 90*
Nov. 1 5 51 4 90
Dec. 1 5 50 4 83
Jan. 1 5 49 4 81
Feb. 1 5 39 4 83
Mar. 1 5 35 4 88
Apr. 1 5 34 4 90
May 1 5 33 4 93
June 1 5 34 4 93
July 1 5 29 4 93
Aug. 1 5 31 4 93
Sept. 1 5 34 4 93
Oct. 1 5 36 4 90
* Beginning 1st October, 1929, the retail index is compiled on the basis of prices ruling in socialised trade alone.
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