TO THE EDITOR OF THE NATION:
SIR: The Russian-American Industrial Corporation has just announced its first dividend of 3 per cent.
The investmentof our corporation in the Russian clothing industry has proved to be profitable, the All-Russian Clothing Syndicate having been operated on a sound basis. The results of its work for the past six months indicate quite convincingly that the Russian workers know how to run their clothing factories.
The letter from Chairman Bograchev of the Syndicate, referring to the operations of the last half-year, inform us that "from the figures in the balance sheet it is apparent that the expected profits of the Syndicate have been exceeded." So it appears that those doubters who scoffed at the Russian-American Industrial Corporation when it ventured to help build up a branch of industry in the Soviet Republic have now toface facts that show them to have been in error in their opinion concerning the ability of the Russian garment workers to carry on profitable business.
It so happens that during the past year the activities of the Syndicate, in which we have invested, have spread over the territories of the Soviet Union. The Syndicate has opened sales agencies and stores in 25 cities, as far south as Tiflls and as far east as Irkutsk in Siberia. The membership in the Syndicate which now employs over 15,000 workers has been increased by the entrance of several new city trusts, so that the Syndicate now comprises, in addition to our corporation, the Supreme Council of National Economy, the Moscow Experimental Factory, and the clothing trusts of the following cities: Petrograd, Moscow, Nizhni Novgorod, Kazan, Xharkov, Tambov, and Egorievsk.
During the period of the civil wars in Russia the clothing industries worked almost exclusively on military uniforms and equipment. Now the growing purchasing power of the peasants, stimulated by fair harvests, has increased the demand for the clothes manufactured in the factories, which are now working 90 per centon the wholesale manufacture of civilian clothing.
The presence in Russia of several score of ex-members of Amalgamated Clothing Workers — men who have gained valuable experience in the American needle industry — has contributed much to the success of the Syndicate’s factories. The manager of the Moscow Experimental Factory, one of the,most up-to-date clothing shops on the continent of Europe, was formerly an active Amalgamated member in Baltimore. The representative of our corporation in Russia, Mr. D. Petrovsky, was one of the first organizers of the Amalgamated, having worked in the Rochester market in 1915, later returning to Russia to become the mayor of a city of 80,000 in the Ukraine.
The close association of these men with the American industry has contributed much to the splendid technical organization of some of the Russian factories. The efficiency of these factories has risen steadily during the last twelve months. "When I was in Russia last fall it took 16 to 19 hours to make an average quality men’s suit (about $25). Now it takes only 12 to 13 hours to complete a suitof this kind. With the introduction of further modern technical equipment in the factories of the Syndicate the efficiency of the shops will be increased still more," writes the Chairman of the Syndicate in a recent letter.
When the Amalgamated at its biennial Convention in 1922 voted to help Russia by organizing a one-million-dollar corporation, the American friends of Russia whom we called upon to subscrlbe to stock had the pledge of the highest Soviet authorities that the capital invested in Russian enterprises mould be guaranteed as well as a dividend of 8 per cent payable to our corporation on the capital stock so invested. Now, however, with a year’s experience and the announcementof the first dividend, we have something more tangible than even the contract of the Russians, Something that ought to increase confidence in Russian industry and stimulate others to a genuine desire to help her in this very practical way. The capital stock of the corporation has not yet been fully subscribed. There is still some for those who want to join in a movement to give credit rather than charity to the Russlan workers. Approximately five and one half of the thousand shareholders are now participating in our enterprise and will benefit by the first dividend that has been paid out of Russian industry to a large group of investors since the adoption of the new economic policy.