General Knox to War Office.―(Received January 16.)
(Telegraphic.) Omsk, January 15, 1919.
AN officer has just returned from a few days' visit to Perm. Before the revolution he was employed at Perm. He states that he arrived there on the 28th December. The town was captured by the Bolsheviks on the 24th, and they fed no one except those in their employ. He says he was unable to recognise his old acquaintances, as their cheeks were sunken, their faces were yellow, and they looked like palsied old men. The Bolsheviks have raised a battalion of 700 officers, but they will have to be fed for several weeks before they are in a condition to fight. Starvation will, he says, claim half the population of the towns before June if Bolshevism is not stamped out in Russia. The peasants hate the Bolsheviks owing to constant requisitions, but they are better off. The peasants will only sow sufficient for their own needs for next harvest. He is of opinion that Bolsheviks will not be suppressed without the use of outside force, as anti - Bolshevik classes are too enfeebled by hunger to make any effort. There are of course numerous murders. There was one commissary who used to have a dozen prisoners out every night, and before loading by ball-cartridge, made the firing party snap their rifles at them ten or a dozen times. As the educated workmen have been taken away by the Bolsheviks, the chances of the factories producing anything for several months is negligible. It is difficult to bring coal from the Ural mountains, as the bridges over the Chusovbravaya, east of Perm, have been destroyed. Is it possible that public opinion in Allied countries will allow Bolsheviks to continue this wholesale murder? They will, moreover, increase in strength as Russians have to serve them or starve. This matter is not one that only concerns Russia, as the food supply of the world is affected.