Mrs. Philip Snowden’s Impression on Georgia-Russia
The Manchester Guardian (The Guardian) 12.10. 1920
By a Woman Correspondent
Mrs. Philip Snowden, who accompanied Mr. Ramsay MacDonald and Mr. Tom Shaw on their visit to Georgia, to-day described to me her impressions with vivid personal touches that were more illuminating from the comparison she drew between the border State and Soviet Russia.
“Georgia,” said Mrs. Snowden “has had experiences of warfare with Turks, Armenians and Bolsheviks. Prices are still very high, and the exchange is heavily against her. But the people are full of hope and determination. They have set up what is the most perfect socialism in Europe, and from what I could see the dispossessed aristocracy are acquiescing in the new conditions. I met princes and nobles by the score who are now earning their living as chauffeurs or clerks or in other employments, and, so far, from complaining about the Government, they justified it. This, too, was the attitude adopted by a dispossessed princes whom I met. Of course, there are others who resent the change, but apparently they have gone to live elsewhere.
“I was immensely struck by the differences between the appearance of the people in Georgia and in Russia. The constant sight of misery in Russia was intolerable. The Georgians were in a physical condition infinitely superior to the Russians. They looked well fed and well clothed, and, above all, genuinely happy. There was no terror in their faces. There were no demonstrations arranged by military order.
As we went from town to town and village to village the people who had been told we were coming came in the friendliest way to welcome us. They brought us gifts of fruit and wine and—according to their traditions of hospitality—bread and salt. They danced their national dances for us, but it was all spontaneous and natural.
“The fact that these people are not, like the people of Azerbaijan, dominated by the Bolsheviks, but are opposed to Bolshevism in practice and in theory, makes it easier for them to trade with other countries, and thus, with their more ample supplies, accounts for their well-fed appearance.”
Note: Mrs. Philip Snowden was a world-renowned activist of women’s rights and wife of Mr. Snowden, chancellor of the exchequer in the first Labour Government of Ramsay MacDonald