Imagine you are a Soviet citizen who works in a locomotive building plant day in and day out, just to make ends meet. You work hard to provide for your family and to provide food on the table so that your children are able to eat. For the last ten years, the economy has been pretty stable and steady. However, you get news that the government just increased prices for meat and dairy products. You turn to the director and demand answers as to why this is happening because it is almost impossible to provide for your family with food. His response, “If you can’t afford meat pies, eat something cheaper.” Let’s be real, how pissed off would you be? Probably so mad that you would go on strike in order to show your frustration, right? Are you still imagining it? Okay, good. Now imagine bodies laying in the streets after a protest erupted in violence and gun shots were fired at citizens involved in these protests.
June 1, 1962 completely changed Soviet history when the Soviet Army used deadly force against protesters. Due to food shortages and provisions, workers united together in order to strike against government sanctions. “Several thousand workers from the Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Works (NEVZ) and supporters marched to the Communist Party’s headquarters in the center of the city to protest nation-wide price increases for meat and dairy products that had been announced two days earlier.” Instead of being heard, the workers were being taken advantage of and not being taken serious. As a result of frustration, the workers took to the streets to march and protest the city Party committee, carrying red banners and portraits of Lenin. However, the results of this protests became extremely violent and bloody.
Since active speakers were arrested and an army called into town, tensions started rising and becoming more hostile within the city limits. “The people demanded the release of the workers arrested that morning. Pushing on the doors to the building, the crowd eventually broke through and poured into the building. Suddenly shots rang out, and everyone turned back. Panic broke out on the square as people tried to escape the tanks and machine-gun fire.” As a result, twenty four people were killed and thirty were injured. The worst part? The government tried to hide the truth about what happened on this day for about twenty six or so years. The truth slowly came out about this event and I just don’t understand how something this bloody could go on for years as a secret. I get with the amount of power the government had with news filters and what not, but it’s something that I feel like could get international attention in a matter of a day or so because of the innocent lives that were taken.