• Anatolii SHVAB Doctor of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor, Professor of the Department of Modern and Contemporary History of Ukraine, Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University,
  • Vasyl DENYSIUK Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of National Security, Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University,



World War I, food supply of the frontline cities, food prices, food crisis.


The purpose of the article is to analyze the state and the main factors that influenced the food supply of the frontline cities of the Volhynian Governorate in 1914–1917. The methodology of the research is based on the principles of historicism, the effectiveness of systematic and scientific using national (analysis, synthesis, scientific abstraction) and special-historical (historical-genetic, historical-typological, historical-systemic) methods. The research novelty. For the first time a comprehensive analysis of the food supply of the Western Volhynia’s cities during the First World War is made; price fluctuations at the level of individual frontline cities are investigated; major pricing factors for staple foods are identified. Conclusions. Most of the losses in the Russian Empire from the effects of the First World War were in the frontline areas, including five counties (Kremets, Dubno, Lutsk, Volodymyr-Volynskyi and Kovel) of the Volhynian Governorate. The severity of the situation associated with the devastating effects of hostilities has been compounded by the crisis in the region’s economy. Mass mobilization of the able-bodied male population, large-scale requisitions and purchases for the needs of the army of livestock and grain resulted in a significant reduction in acreage and the profitability of farms in general.

The inability of the Russian government to meet the army’s food needs at the expense of remote regions has led to the food depletion of the frontline governorates. Population of the Volhynian Governorate frontal districts suffered most from the food crisis. The crisis was aggravated by such crisis phenomena of the Russian economy as militarization, lack of able-bodied population, inflation, devaluation of the Russian ruble, loss of purchasing power of the population, etc. Attempts of the Russian government to prevent crisis phenomena through the introduction of martial law, fixed prices for basic goods, monopolies for the sale of bread, the introduction of a card system of goods distribution, did not produce the desired results. Frontline cities have suffered from a semi-starvation.

A promising area of research for this topic is to compare the food supply of the frontiline cities of Volhynia, Podilia and Minsk governorates during the First World War and to track the role of local economies in supplying the army with the necessary food and goods.