AUR#774 Oct 14 Genocide: Most Heinous Crime Of Stalin; Stop The Genocide In Darfur Now

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Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko announced on FRIDAY,
OCTOBER 13, 2006 a very large program to commemorate the victims
of famine and political repression.

The Ukrainian government wants the United Nations and individual
nations to declare the Holodomor (induced famine, death for millions,
genocide) in Soviet Ukraine in 1932-1933, the most heinous crime of
Stalin and his Communist regime, officially as GENOCIDE.

Two very important new articles on this subject have just been published.

By Roman Serbyn

By Stanislav Kulchytsky

Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor

Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article.

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, October 13, 2006

By Roman Serbyn, Professor-Emeritus of History, University of Quebec
The Ukrainian Quarterly, Volume LXII, Number 2
Taras Hunczak, Editor
A Journal of Ukrainian & International Affairs – Since 1944
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA)
New York, New York, Summer 2006
Article re-published with permission by the
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #774, Article 1
Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 14, 2006

By Stanislav Kulchytsky, Deputy Director,
Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
The Day Weekly Digest in English, in three parts, #29, #30, #31
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Part I, September 26, 2006; Part II,
Tuesday, October 3, 2006; Part III, Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #774, Article 2
Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 14, 2006

Daria Hluschenko, Ukrainian News Agency, Thursday, August 24, 2006

Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian, 26 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Sep 26, 2006

[Holodomor: Induced starvation, death for millions, genocide of 1932-1933
By Nick Wadhams, Associated Press Writer
United Nations, New York, NY, Wednesday, Sep 20, 2006

COMMENTARY: By Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #774, Article 7

Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 14, 2006


Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, October 13, 2006

KYIV – President Viktor Yuschenko has set up an organizing committee to
prepare for and hold a Memorial Day in honor of victims of famine and
political repression and appointed the Presidential Secretariat’s first
deputy head Ivan Vasiunyk and Deputy Prime Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk
as the co-chairmen of the committee.

This is stated in the presidential decree No. 868/2006 of October 12, a text
of which Ukrainian News obtained. The Memorial Day will be commemorated
on November 25. The organizing committee is to approve a plan of measures
to be implemented on that day within one week.

[1] The presidential decree declares a minute of silence to be observed at
16:00 on November 25 in remembrance of people who died as a result of
famine and political repression.

[2] Yuschenko states in the decree that flags should fly at half-mast on
that day as a sign of mourning and that entertainment events as well as
entertainment programs on radio and television should be restricted on that

[3] Yuschenko directs the Crimean Council of Ministers, the Kyiv municipal
administration, and the Sevastopol municipal administration to law wreaths
at monuments to victims of famine and political repression and their places
of burial, honor the memories of such people with a minute of silence, light
candles, and organize mourning events and evenings of requiems.

[4] Yuschenko also directs the Cabinet of Ministers and the Kyiv municipal
administration to accelerate allocation of land in Kyiv for a memorial to
victims of famine.

[5] Separately, he directs the Cabinet of Ministers to make provisions in
the state budget for 2007 for expenditures on construction of such a
memorial as well as on researching the history of famines at the National
Memorial Institute.

[6] Yuschenko also directs the Foreign Affairs Ministry to be more active in
seeking international recognition of the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine as an
act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.

[7] Moreover, he directs the Foreign Affairs Ministry to study the
possibility of erecting a monument to this famine in other countries.

[8] According to the decree, the ministry is to organize memorial days in
honors of victims of famine and political repression at Ukrainian embassies
in other countries and involve foreign diplomats in Ukraine in such events.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, between 3 million and 7 million people
died in the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine, according to various estimates.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By Roman Serbyn, Professor-Emeritus of History, University of Quebec
The Ukrainian Quarterly, Volume LXII, Number 2
Taras Hunczak, Editor
A Journal of Ukrainian & International Affairs – Since 1944
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA)
New York, New York, Summer 2006
Article re-published with permission by the
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #774, Article 1
Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 14, 2006


Serious scholars and respectable politicians no longer challenge the
historicity of the Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933. What is still disputed is
the cause of death and the number of victims. Some influential Western
historians blame climatic conditions, administrative mismanagement and
peasant attitudes for bringing about the famine, and deny or minimize the
moral responsibility of Stalin and his régime for voluntarily starving
millions of innocent people – or at least knowingly pursuing policies which
they knew would result in such human losses. [1]

Proponents of the view that the cause of the monstrous loss of life was the
criminal activity of the Soviet régime continue to disagree on the nature of
the crime and the identity of the victims. In other words, there is no
agreement on whether the famine in Ukraine should be classified as genocide,
and if so, if its victims were targeted as peasants or as Ukrainians. The
issue has both a theoretical and a political dimension. It still elicits the
most partisan feelings among both politicians and academics.

The Ukrainian famine is not recognized as genocide by the United Nations. In
November 2003, the UN General Assembly commemorated the 70th anniversary

of the event with a declaration signed by some 60 countries. The document
declared that “the Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine” took seven to 10
million of innocent lives, and explained that they were victims of “the
cruel actions and policies of the totalitarian regime.”

What had happened was called “a national tragedy for the Ukrainian people,”
but there was no allusion to genocide. The declaration erroneously
attributed the cause of the famine to “civil war and forced
collectivization” and misleadingly merged the Ukrainian catastrophe with
the “millions of Russians, Kazaks and representatives of other nationalities
who died of starvation in the Volga river region, North Caucasus, Kazakhstan
and in other parts of the former Soviet Union.”

The Ukrainian delegation agreed to this watered-down version out of fear
that the Russians would block a more strongly worded declaration. [2]
Ambassador Valeriy Kuchinsky of the Ukrainian Mission to the UN later stated
that it was, nevertheless, “an official document of the General Assembly,”
whose importance resided in the fact that “for the first time in the history
of the UN, Holodomor was officially recognized as a national tragedy of the
Ukrainian people, caused by the cruel actions and policies of a totalitarian
regime.” [3]

The precedent allowed the Ukrainian Ambassador to return to the famine two
years later, during the General Assembly discussion of the resolution on the
International Holocaust day. Kuchynsky reiterated: “We believe that it is
high time that the international community recognized that crime as an act
of genocide against the Ukrainian nation.” [4]

There is no unanimity on the famine among Ukrainian historians. Some, like
Valeriy Soldatenko of the Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies,
continue to reject the notion of a man-made famine in Ukraine. Others, like
Yuri Shapoval of the same institution, blame the communists for the crime
and consider it genocide in accordance with the 1948 UN Convention.

Stanislav Kulchytsky of the Institute of History of the National Academy of
Sciences of Ukraine maintains that the famine was genocide and that
Ukrainians must ensure that the international community officially
recognizes it as “an act that falls under the UN Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” At the same time, he
claims that, “in reality, this famine cannot be classified as genocide as
defined in the Convention.” [5]

Kulchytsky draws a sharp distinction between the Ukrainian famine, on the
one hand, and the Jewish Holocaust and Armenian massacres, on the other.

“We will never prove to the grandchildren of those Ukrainian citizens who
starved to death, let alone to the international community, that people died
in 1933 in the USSR as a result of their national affiliation, i.e., in the
same way that Armenians died in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, or Jews in the
European countries that were occupied by Hitler’s Reich.”

Convinced that the Ukrainian famine cannot satisfy the criteria set by the
UN Genocide Convention, he comes to a rather surprising conclusion: “And
there is no need to prove this, because the mechanism of the Soviet genocide
was different. The terror by famine that Stalin unleashed on Ukraine and the
Kuban was an act of genocide against Ukrainian citizens, not Ukrainians.” [6]

Further on, I shall return to Kulchytsky’s “terror by famine”
interpretation; for now, I wish to point out that his approach cannot be
used in arguing the Ukrainian case before the UN, nor is it of much help
when debating the issue with scholars who base their rejection of the
Ukrainian genocide on the UN Convention.

Kulchytsky quotes the UN Convention and then dismisses it without bothering
to analyze it, point by point, to see if it really covers the Ukrainian
famine or not. Absence of such analysis is a common characteristic of
Ukrainian scholarship, which often contents itself with simple assertions
that the Ukrainian famine falls within the UN criteria for genocide.

Deniers of the Ukrainian genocide often rely on the UN Convention for their
main argument against the recognition of the Ukrainian famine as genocide.
This approach can be illustrated by the discussion that took place at the
VII World Congress of the International Committee for Central and East
European Studies held in Berlin in the summer of 2005. A special session was
organized under the title “Was the Famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933 Genocide?”

Otto Luchterhadt, Professor of Law at the University of Hamburg in Germany
entitled his presentation “Famine in Ukraine and the Provisions of
International Law on Genocide.” Luchterhand’s own summary of his argument,
printed in the Congress Abstracts, reads as follows:

“The question whether the Ukrainian Golodomor [sic!] was a
genocide, can only be answered along with the Anti-Genocide Convention
(9.12.1948), because it exclusively offers the relevant criteria, i.e. the
definition of genocide as a crime under international law. While the
objective elements of the offense were completed without any doubt by state
terrorist measures against a substantial part of the Ukrainian population
during the so-called Dekulakization, the subjective element was not
fulfilled, because killings, deportations, and mistreatments were not
committed with the required specific ‘intent’ to destroy, in whole or in
part, the Ukrainians as a national group as such. The victims of the
Dekulakization policy were defined by a social approach, not by a national
one. So, the Golodomor-case touches on a crucial problem of genocide
definition: due to the Soviet UN-policy it doesn’t protect social and
political groups.” [7]

Let us disregard, for the moment, the author’s erroneous reading of history
(“dekulakization” was mostly over when the great famine began, and people
died from induced famine, which was not a function of “dekulakization”) and
his misdirection in subject identification (victims of “dekulakization”
instead of the famine). What is important is that Luchterhandt’s denial of
the Ukrainian genocide is based on the UN document, as is the case with most
of the other scholars who reject the notion of a Ukrainian famine-genocide.

Andrea Graziosi, a recognized expert on the Ukrainian famine, has come to
the conclusion that the Ukrainian famine will be recognized as genocide
because recently revealed documentation points to such a crime. [8] What the
Italian historian does not say is whether he believes that this claim can be
made on the basis of the UN Convention. I think it can. In this paper I
shall argue the following three points:

1. The Ukrainian famine was genocide.
2. It was a genocide directed against Ukrainians.
3. The evidence meets the criteria set by the 1948 United Nations
Convention on Genocide.


The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was
adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1948 and came into force on
12 January 1951. Soviet Ukraine became a signatory of the Convention on 16
June 1949 and ratified it on 15 November 1954. Independent Ukraine continues
to respect the international Convention and has inscribed “Article 442.
Genocide” into its own Code of Criminal Law.

The term “genocide” was coined in 1943 by Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959) “from
the ancient Greek word ‘genos’ (race, tribe) and the Latin ‘cide’ (killing),
thus corresponding in its formation to such words as tyrannycide, homicide,
infanticide, etc.” [9] A Polish Jew, born in what today is Lithuania, Lemkin
studied law at the University of Lviv, where he became interested in crimes
against groups and, in particular, the Armenian massacres during the First
World War.

In October 1933, as lecturer on comparative law at the Institute of
Criminology of the Free University of Poland and Deputy Prosecutor of the
District Court of Warsaw, he was invited to give a special report at the 5th
Conference for the Unification of Penal Law in Madrid. [10] In his report,
Lemkin proposed the creation of a multilateral convention making the
extermination of human groups, which he called “acts of barbarity,” an
international crime.

Ten years later, Lemkin wrote a seminal book on the notion of genocide. A
short excerpt will show that the author’s approach was much broader than the
one later adopted by the UN:

“Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the
immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings
of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated
plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations
of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups
themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be disintegration of the
political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings,
religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction
of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of
the individuals belonging to such groups. Genocide is directed against the
national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against
individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the
national group.” [11]

Lemkin’s book became a guiding light for the framers of the UN Convention

on Genocide.

The Convention voted by the UN General Assembly contains 19 articles,
dealing mainly with the problems of the prevention and punishment of
genocidal activity. Most relevant to our discussion is the preamble and the
first two articles. The preamble acknowledges that “at all periods of
history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity,” while the first
article declares that genocide is a crime under international law “whether
committed in time of peace or in time of war.” The all-important definition
of genocide is contained in Article II:

“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following
acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in ‘part’ a ‘national,’
‘ethnical,’ racial or religious ‘group, as such.'” [12]

This definition was a compromise after much discussion by the delegates of
various countries who sat on the drafting committees. It satisfied few
people and continues to be criticized by legal experts, politicians and
academics. However, it remains the only legal definition sanctioned by the
UN and operative international courts.

A major objection to the definition is the restricted number of recognized
genocide target groups. Coming in the wake of the Second World War and
informed by Lemkin’s work and the evidence of the Nazi concentration camps,
the definition would necessarily be tailored to the Jewish Holocaust. Jews
could fall into any one of the four categories: national, ethnic, racial and
religious. They did not form a political or a social group, but this was not
the reason for the exclusion of the two categories, which, after all, were
part of Lemkin’s concern.

The exclusion of social and political groups from the Convention, to which
Luchterhandt alluded, was the result of the Soviet delegation’s
intervention. The implication of the definition’s limitation to the four
categories of victims is that one cannot argue for the recognition of a
Ukrainian genocide if its victims are identified only as peasants. Of the
four human groups listed by the Convention, it is quite clear that
Ukrainians did not become victims of the famine because of their religious
or racial traits. This leaves two categories: “national” and “ethnic(al).”

There has always been a certain ambiguity about the distinction between the
two groups labeled as “nation” and “ethnic(al)” by the Convention. William
Schabas, internationally recognized legal expert on genocide, believes that
all four categories overlap, since originally they were meant to protect
minorities. He argues that “national minorities” is the more common
expression in Central and Eastern Europe, while “ethnic minorities” prevails
in the West. [13] But if both terms designate the same group then there is
redundancy, which Schabas fails to note.

A more meaningful interpretation of “national group” was given in a recent
case cited by the author. “According to the International Criminal Tribunal
for Rwanda, the term ‘national group’ refers to ‘a collection of people who
are perceived to share a legal bond based on common citizenship, coupled
with reciprocity of rights and duties’.”[14]

What we have here is a “civic nation” formed by all the citizens of a given
state, regardless of their ethnic, racial or other differentiation, as
opposed to “ethnic nation,” or members of an ethnic community often divided
by state borders. Such a clarification of the terms “national” and
“ethnical” in reference to “groups” used would remove any ambiguity or
redundancy in the Convention. It would also help the understanding of the
Ukrainian famine-genocide.

Relevant to this discussion is a statement made in 1992 by a Commission of
Experts, applying the Genocide Convention to Yugoslavia: “a given group can
be defined on the basis of its regional existence … all Bosnians in
Sarajevo, irrespective of ethnicity or religion, could constitute a
protected group.” [15] The “regional” group is thus analogous to the civic
national group.

The decisive element in the crime of genocide is the perpetrator’s intent to
destroy a human group identified by one of the four traits mentioned above.

When applying this notion to the Ukrainian case, certain aspects of the
question of intent as used by the Convention should be taken into
consideration. First, it is not an easy task to document intent, for as Leo
Kuper pointedly remarked, “governments hardly declare and document genocidal
plans in the manner of the Nazis.” [16] However, documents which directly
reveal Stalin’s intent do exist, and there is also circumstantial evidence
which can be used. [17]

Secondly, contrary to frequently erroneous claims, the Convention does not
limit the notion of genocide to an intention to destroy the whole group; it
is sufficient that the desire to eliminate concern only a part of the group.
This implies that there is the possibility of selection on the part of the
perpetrator from among the victims within the targeted group, and this
aspect must not be neglected when analyzing the Ukrainian genocide.

Thirdly, the Convention (Article II) lists five ways in which the crime is

1. Killing members of the group;
2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to the members of the
3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life
calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

All of these acts, to a greater or lesser extent, can be documented in the
Ukrainian experience.

Fourthly, the Convention places no obligation on establishing the motive
behind the crime, even though the reason behind a criminal’s activity can
help to establish his intent. Two Canadian scholars with long experience in
genocidal studies have classified genocides in four groups according to
their motives.[18] It should be clear from examining the list that the
Ukrainian genocide fits all four categories:

1. To eliminate a real or potential threat;
2. To spread terror among real or potential enemies;
3. To acquire economic wealth; or
4. To implement a belief, a theory or an ideology.

Schabas approaches the problem somewhat differently: “There is no explicit
reference to motive in article II of the Genocide Convention, and the casual
reader will be excused for failing to guess that the words ‘as such’ are
meant to express the concept.” [19]

Yes, to a certain extent. With the help of a criminal ideology, perpetrators
of genocide can transform a targeted group into an object of blind hate,
which then in itself becomes a motive for the destruction of members of that
group. In other words, members of a group “X” are singled out for
destruction because they are members of that group. But the underlying
motives which brought about the hatred do not disappear – they are only
pushed into the background.



All serious scholars, not only in Ukraine, [20] but also in Russia [21] and
the West, [22] now generally accept the fact that Stalin and his cronies
willfully starved millions of peasants to death in 1932-1933. Ellman, who
rejects the idea of a specifically Ukrainian famine and a Ukrainian
genocide, admits that “Stalin also used starvation in his war against the
peasants” and that “an unknown fraction of mortality in the 1931-34 Soviet
famine resulted from a conscious policy of starvation.” [23]

One can only speculate as to why the Amsterdam historian disregarded in his
tightly reasoned and well-argued discussion of intent in the Soviet famine a
document which of all the known testimonies best illustrates this intent.

For almost two decades now, historians have known about Stalin’s secret
directive of 22 January 1933. Danilov and Zelenin, whose knowledge of Soviet
archives was second to none, considered it one of the few documents “to bear
witness to Stalin’s direct personal participation in the organization of
mass famine of 1932-1933.”[24]

The document is of particular significance for the study of the Ukrainian
genocide, and we cannot exclude the possibility that its checkered fate in
the hands of Soviet, post-Soviet and Western historians had something to do
with this connection.

The document was made known to the academic world at a conference on
collectivization, held in Moscow, on 24 October 1988. Iu. A. Moshkov of
Moscow State University informed the meeting that Stalin had complained of a
massive flight of peasants from Kuban and Ukraine in search of food in
various regions of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR)
and Belarus.

The General Secretary called the peasants SR agitators and Polish agents who
were going to RSFSR with the intention of stirring up the peasants against
the Soviet power. “Instead of ordering aid for the fugitives,” commented
Moshkov, “the telegram demanded that these people be apprehended at the
railway stations and sent back.”[25]

To my knowledge, this was the first public presentation of the important
document. A participant at the conference, E. N. Oskolkov from the Rostov
University, later used the document in his study of famine in the Northern
Caucasus, in which the Ukrainian Kozak “stanytsyi” figured prominently.[26]
There were no scholars from Ukraine at the Moscow conference, but they must
have read about it in “Istoriya SSSR.”[27]

In 1990, the Institute of Party History of Ukraine published documents of
the famine held in its own Archive. The Stalin document was probably not
found, for it was not published. However, the collection contained a
follow-up directive from Kharkiv, the then-capital of Soviet Ukraine,
relaying the Kremlin directive to the Ukrainian oblasts.[28]

In 1993, Ukrainians organized an international conference on the occasion of
the 60th anniversary of the tragedy. Ukrainian scholars made no reference to
the 22 January 1933 document, but N. Ivnitsky from the Institute of Russian
History, Russian Academy of Sciences, gave a detailed analysis of it.

This historian stated that as a result of the directive 219,460 individuals
were arrested; 186,588 of them were sent back to their starving villages,
and the others were punished in other ways.[29] Oskolkov spoke about a real
“people hunt” in the Northern Caucasus and, in particular, the Kuban region,
as a result of Stalin’s directive.[30]. Significantly, no Ukrainian
participant referred to the document.

The Russian participants were unhappy with the conference and, once in
Moscow, wrote a scathing report.[31] They objected to Ukrainian historians’
“groundless insistence” on Ukraine’s exclusiveness during the famine, on
imagining “a separate character and content of the events in that republic,
distinct from other republics and regions.”

They liked Kulchytsky’s linking the famine with grain procurement and
collectivization; they ignored James Mace’s comments on the national motives
in Stalin’s starvation policy; and they condemned Ivan Drach for his demand
that Russia recognize its liability for the famine. The statement discussed
at length the famine in the Kuban and Northern Caucasus, but only as proof
of Russian famine and without a single reference to its ethnic Ukrainian

In 1994, N. A. Ivnitsky published a seminal study on collectivization from a
post-Soviet perspective, explaining in some detail Stalin’s secret directive
on closing the borders around Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus. This
measure was to prevent a peasant exodus from Ukraine and Kuban to the
Russian regions of Central-Black Earth, the Volga, Moscow and Western
oblasts, as well as to Belarus. The scholar reiterated the fact that, as a
result of that order, the OGPU arrested 219,460 persons in the first six
weeks of the order. [32]

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Bolshevik overthrow of the
Provisional Government, a group of French historians, many of them former
Marxists, published a book of communist crimes around the world. [33] The
book hit the French public like a bombshell, was translated into a dozen of
languages and had a great impact on intellectuals of leftist leanings.
Nicolas Werth, a known expert on Soviet history, authored the part on the
Soviet Union.

In the chapter on “the Great Famine,” he presents Ivnitsky’s findings on
Stalin’s directive but changes the direction of the peasants’ migration. The
peasants from Ukraine and Kuban no longer go to the four Russian regions,
but to unspecified “towns” – towns that were not even mentioned in Stalin’s
decree or Ivnitsky’s rendering of it. [34]

Werth made Stalin’s directive a follow-up to the new law on passports,
decreed on 27 December 1932. Peasants were not entitled to the passports,
and this was one way of preventing them from leaving the village. The two
measures were quite different. The passport law concerned the whole Soviet
Union, and it was of a social nature – to prevent peasants from moving
freely into urban centers. Stalin’s directive on the border concerned only
Ukraine and the heavily Ukrainian Northern Caucasus (especially the
predominantly Ukrainian Kuban), and was thus of a national character.

The immediate consequence of this misrepresentation of the important
document in Werth’s work was to allow the author to preclude its use as
evidence of Ukrainian genocide. Tackling a problem that was then hotly
debated in the academic world, Werth asks: “Should one see this famine as ‘a
genocide of the Ukrainian people’, as a number of Ukrainian historians and
researchers do today?” To which he gives a somewhat evasive answer, which

is worth a direct quotation:

“It is undeniable that the Ukrainian peasantry were the principal
victims in the famine of 1932-33, and that this ‘assault’ was preceded in
1929 by several offensives against the Ukrainian intelligentsia, who were
accused of ‘nationalist deviations’, and then against some of the Ukrainian
Communists after 1932. It is equally undeniable that, as Andrei Sakharov
noted, Stalin suffered from ‘Ukrainophobia’. But proportionally the famine
was just as severe in the Cossack territories of the Kuban and the Don and
in Kazakhstan.” [35]

The national character of the document is thus lost on two counts: the
flight from Ukraine to Russia was replaced by migration from village to
town, and the Ukrainian ethnicity of the Kuban Kozak population was ignored.
In fairness to Werth, it should be noted that in a later publication he has
corrected the first, although not the second, point in his presentation of
Stalin’s infamous directive. [36] There is also merit in Werth’s situating
the famine in a broader national context.

But the fact that there was a famine in Kuban, the Don and Kazakhstan in no
way affects the genocidal nature of the famine in Ukraine, as the author
seems to imply. Werth’s unfortunate mistaken interpretation of the Stalin
border directive was reproduced in all the translated versions of the “Black
Book” and, paradoxically, Ivnistky’s correct comments on Stalin’s directive
returned to his homeland in a twisted and deceptive form. [37]

Stéphane Courtois, the editor of the “Black Book,” gave the famine another
spin. In his “Introduction” to the publication, he begins by quoting the
whole Article II of the UN Convention on Genocide but then reminds the
reader of the addition to the definition of genocide made by the French
criminal code: “or a ‘group that has been determined on the basis of any
other arbitrary criterion’ ” [emphasis added by Courtois].

This allows Courtois to add “social group” to the list of targeted
populations. Inspired by Vasily Grossman’s “magnificent novel” Forever
Flowing, Courtois compares “the great famine in Ukraine in 1932-33, which
resulted from the rural population’s resistance to forced collectivization”
and in which “6 million died” to the Jewish Holocaust.

“Here, the genocide of a ‘class’ may well be tantamount to the genocide of a
‘race’ – the deliberate starvation of a child of a Ukrainian kulak as a
result of the famine caused by Stalin’s regime ‘is equal to’ the starvation
of a Jewish child in the Warsaw ghetto as a result of the famine caused by
the Nazi regime.” [38] Courtois’s analysis of the 1932-1933 famine as “class
genocide” is shared today by many scholars in the West, Ukraine and Russia.

Terry Martin was the first Western scholar to draw particular attention to
Stalin’s border decree of 1933, which he also published in “toto.” [39] The
American historian examined the Ukrainian famine in connection with the
national aspect, not only in Ukraine but also in the Northern Caucasus.
Stalin’s correspondence with Kaganovich and Molotov reveals his distrust of
the Ukrainian party leaders, such as Chubar and Petrovsky, and the whole
Communist party in Ukraine, which he accused of being infiltrated by
Petlyurites and agents of Pilsudski.

The general opposition in Ukraine to grain procurement was seen as directly
connected to the national question, as was the similar sabotage mentality in
the Northern Caucasus. This part of the RSFSR had a high proportion of
ethnic Ukrainians, especially the Kuban region, with its clear Ukrainian
majority. It is in this context that the historian introduces Stalin’s
directive of 22 January 1933.

However, in spite of the revealing evidence about the national factor in the
1932-1933 events, and even though he called the chapter dealing with the
famine “The National Interpretation of the 1933 Famine,” the author remains
far from recognizing the famine as a Ukrainian genocide.

In a lecture delivered at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute in
February 2001, Martin stated his interpretation is “derived primarily from a
close analysis of Soviet nationalities policy,” but that this did not mean
that he thought it “the decisive factor in explaining the famine.”

“On the contrary,” declared the speaker, “I fully accept the standard
peasantist interpretation of the famine.” The historian was convinced by the
“forceful restatement of that argument” by his colleague, D’Ann Penner, who
argued “that the famine was the culminating act in a five-year assault on
the peasantry.”[40]

Martin’s reliance on Penner’s work is surprising, because the latter
analyzed the famine in the Don and North Caucasus regions, and in her
otherwise excellent essay shows a curious understanding of the Ukrainian
population of the RSFSR. Penner writes: “The Kuban Cossacks who spoke
Ukrainian did not consider themselves Ukrainians nor did they exhibit a
desire to join a Ukrainian national movement.

They treated the ‘khokhly,’ one of the less derisive terms used by Cossacks
when referring to Ukrainian-speaking peasants, with as much disdain as did
the Russian-speaking Cossacks of Veshensk. [Penner’s emphasis]” [41] As the
title of her essay indicates, Penner sees the famine primarily as a result
of the struggle between the peasants and the Soviet state. Comparing the
Chinese and “the Soviet” (her words) famines, the American author writes:

“In both cases, the famines were immediately preceded by decisions
to change and, the decision-makers believed, to rapidly upgrade agricultural
production on a grand scale irrespective of the farming people’s expressed
will. At the most basic level, each famine was caused by the government’s
handling of a serious grain crisis, which itself was the result of a
predominantly unnatural disaster caused by failed innovations, short-sighted
policies and effective peasant resistance.” [42]

Penner mentions the Stalin border decree, not in connection with the
national question, but as a follow-up to the law on passports and a way to
control popular mobility, unproductive to the state.[43] For Martin, there
was also no Ukrainian famine as such, and his perception of the event was
reflected in the title of his Harvard paper: “The 1932-33 Ukrainian Terror.”
The evidentiary potential of the Stalin directive was not exploited to its

Stalin’s directive to close the border has been slow in attracting interest
among Ukrainian scholars, even those who uphold the thesis of Ukrainian
genocide and need evidential material to support their claim. On the 65th
anniversary of the famine, Ivnitsky once more spoke of the Moscow document
of 22 January 1933, and Volodymyr Serhiychuk quoted from the follow-up
Kharkiv directive to the Ukrainian regions.

Regrettably, neither historian approached the blockade of the Ukrainian
peasants from the perspective of the UN Convention on genocide. Nor was it
the approach adopted by Levko Lukyanenko and Olena Zdiochuk, who were
supposed to provide the conference with a legal analysis of the famine. [44]

When, at the end of the millennium, Vasyl Marochko wrote a long essay titled
“Genocide of the Ukrainian People,” he quoted the definition in Article II
of the Convention without analyzing it, made no reference to the Stalin
directive and waffled between a national and a “peasantist” interpretation
of the tragedy. Marochko begins his section on “Terror by famine” with this:
“The most pronounced indication of genocide in Ukraine is the conscious
creation of life conditions, calculated for the physical destruction of
‘peasants.'” [45]

Only in the beginning of our century did Stalin’s directive receive adequate
attention in Valeriy Vasilev’s thorough analysis of the Soviet authorities’
starvation policies. Surprisingly, the author took at face value Stalin’s
demagogic claim that the reason for the closing of borders was to “prevent
the spreading of information about the famine.” [46]

The 70th anniversary of the famine was marked by scholarly conferences, a
special hearing at the Ukrainian Parliament, and a representation to the UN
General Assembly. A central aim of these events was to ascertain the
genocidal character of the famine.

By then, Stalin’s directive should have been well known in academic circle
and among interested politicians, for in 2001 the Russian Academy of
Sciences published the whole text of Stalin directive. [47] That same year,
Stalin’s correspondence with Kaganovich came out, which helped put the
document in a more meaningful historical context. [48]

Assistant Prime-Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk presented the main report at the
Parliamentary hearing in February 2003. The historian- turned-politician
argued in the spirit of the UN Convention on genocide, showing how the
conditions in Ukraine in 1932-1933 corresponded to the criteria of the UN
Convention on Genocide. As one of the repressive measures, Tabachnyk
mentioned the introduction of the passport system, which tied the peasants
to the starving villages.

However, with one exception, no politician or academic at the hearing evoked
Stalin’s border decree. Only one Member of Parliament, the head of the
Poltava “Prosvita” organization, Mykola Kulchytsky, quoted Stalin’s
directive and recounted an incident from the period to illustrate its
effect.[49] I was not able to obtain the dossier presented by the Ukrainian
delegation to the 5th Committee of the General Assembly of the United
Nations, but I suspect that there was no particular attention drawn to the
border-closing decree.

Of the numerous conferences held that fall in Europe and North America, let
us look at just two, one held in May at the Lviv Polytechnic University, and
the other in November at Kyiv University. Not one paper at the Lviv
conference mentions Stalin’s border decree. Rudolf Myrsky’s paper, however,
is relevant to our discussion for another reason. The author draws a
parallel between two genocides executed on Ukrainian soil: Stalin’s “class
genocide” against Ukrainian peasants and Hitler’s “race genocide” against
the Jews of Ukraine.

Echoing Courtois’s quotation from Grossman’s “Forever Flowing” Myrsky
asserts: “We can say that in Holodomor and Holocaust a class genocide joins
up with a racial genocide in a fatal calculation: the death from hunger of a
Ukrainian child has the same value as death from hunger in a Warsaw ghetto.”

[50] Courtois’s Ukrainian child thus lost its “kulak” label, but was subjected to
the same “peasantist” interpretation, which enjoys much support among
Ukrainian scholars.

Only Shapoval discussed Stalin’s borders directive at the Kyiv conference.
He made it clear that the decree was to counter the flight of peasants
“beyond the limits of Ukraine.” Shapoval also quoted a Ukrainian translation
of the whole follow-up order sent the next day from Kharkiv to the oblasts.
But the Ukrainian specificity of the two documents are diminished by the
historian’s discussion of the matter in a section, which he aptly calls “the
second serfdom,” namely the tying down of all Soviet peasants to the land,
which began with the passport decree. [51]

To complete this brief overview of the fate of Stalin’s border decree, three
more publications should be mentioned. For the 70th anniversary of the 1933
famine, the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of
Ukraine published a voluminous collective study under the title “Famine of
1932-1933 in Ukraine: Causes and Consequences.”

Significantly, neither “Holodomor” nor “Genocide” appear in the book’s
title, and of the 68 titles of sections and subsections in the book, the
term “genocide” is used only once in a subtitle, and in reference to
peasants, not Ukrainians: “The policy of total grain confiscation in the
Ukrainian village: genocide against the peasants.” [52]

Neither in that section, nor anywhere else in the almost 900-page opus, is
there any mention of the UN Convention on Genocide or an analysis of the
concept of genocide. As for Stalin’s border decree, there is only discussion
of its application and its effect in the sections on how peasants tried to
save themselves from the famine and in connection with the passport system.
[53] The more popular terms used in the book are “holodomor” and “terror by

Mention should be made of the 80 documents on the famine, recently published
by Lubomyr Luciuk (Royal Military College in Kingston, Canada) and Shapoval
(Political and Ethnic Studies Institute, Kyiv). As the collection is
intended primarily for the academic public outside Ukraine, Shapoval
included a succinct introduction, in English, showing the most important
stages in the realization of Stalin’s famine-genocide.

The author briefly explains the border closing document and adds:
“appropriate instructions were issued to the transport departments of the
OGPU USSR” (the precursor of the better-known NKVD).[54] Notwithstanding

the sloppy appearance of the book, it is a worthwhile addition to the material
on the Ukrainian genocide.

Since many of the documents have already appeared in the original language
(Russian), it would have been more useful to give an English translation of
these documents. What is also baffling is the editor’s failure to include
the crucial Stalin-Molotov directive of 22 January 1933. Instead, the
editors published the follow-up directive, sent the next day by Kharkiv to
the Ukrainian regions, which does not have the same evidentiary value in
proving Stalin’s genocidal intent. [55]

Ukraine’s most prolific academic writer on the famine is Stanislav
Kulchytsky. His last major essay on the subject was first serialized in the
Ukrainian, Russian and English versions of the newspaper “Den,” under the
title “Why was Stalin Destroying Us.”[56] Then the Ukrainian and Russian
versions were adapted for a bilingual book published by the Institute of
History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine under the title
“Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine as Genocide.” [57]

Kulchytsky’s conceptual paradigm is the notion of “terror by famine,”
borrowed from Robert Conquest [58] and also popular with many Western

and Ukrainian historians. Yet, as Egbert Jahn so cogently argued, a terror
policy seeks to alarm and intimidate people, and to be effective makes
available as much information as possible. This was not characteristic of
the famine and so “one cannot characterize the core of the Holodomor as
the use of hunger terror.” [59] “Terror by famine” is a misnomer.

Terror was employed to force the peasants into collective farms and to
confiscate their harvest. It was effective and achieved its goal. It also
caused some loss of life but did not result in mass extermination. Famine
came after most of the collectivization was already accomplished and the
peasants’ foodstuffs confiscated. Terror was employed throughout the whole
period towards party and state cadres to intimidate them into carrying out
Stalin’s genocidal policies toward the Ukrainian peasants, but these
functionaries did not die from the terror.

Terry Martin provides a good analysis of the measures taken to terrorize the
local communists in the Kuban.[60] Ukrainian peasants succumbed to
starvation when there was no need to scare them into the collective farms,
for most of them already were there, and when there was no need to scare
them into giving up their produce, because it had already been confiscated.
The peasants died from induced hunger, not fear. The “terror by famine”
cannot be used as a synonym for genocide, as Kulchytsky seems to imply by
his usage of the terms.

Kulchytsky set for himself the task of discovering Stalin’s motives for
destroying Ukrainians. Establishing the motive for a criminal act helps to
understand the criminal’s intention to commit it, but it is not a factor in
determining proof of genocide, according to the UN Convention. What the
Convention demands is proof of the intent itself.

Contrary to Kulchytsky’s claim, I believe that the Ukrainian famine of
1932-1933 does fit the UN definition of genocide. The two main concerns

of Article II – that the victim population fit one of the four identified
groups and that proof be given of the perpetrator’s genocidal intent – can
be satisfied with the available documents, the most revealing of which is
Stalin’s border decree.


Stalin’s decree is directed against two groups of peasants, those living in
the Ukrainian SSR and those in the Northern Caucasus, especially the Kuban
region. Let us first examine the targeted population in the Ukrainian

Stalin complains of a massive flight of peasants from Ukraine to the near-by
regions of Russia and Belarus. These people pretend to search for food but
in fact, he claims, are social-revolutionaries and agents of Poland who
agitate in the northern parts of the USSR against the “kolkhoz” system. The
same thing happened the year before, but the party, state and police
authorities of Ukraine did nothing to stop it. It must not be allowed to
happen this year.

Stalin then orders the party, state and police authorities of Ukraine to
prevent peasants from crossing the border between Ukraine and the rest of
the USSR. Corresponding authorities in Belarus and the adjoining Russian
regions must prevent peasants from Ukraine to enter their territories.
Peasants guilty of disobeying the order must be arrested,
counter-revolutionary elements segregated for punishment, and the others
returned to their villages.

Stalin’s decree concerned all peasants of Ukraine. But since the UN
Convention only recognizes national and ethnic groups, the crucial question
is whether they were targeted as peasants or Ukrainians?

We have seen that the “national group” in the UN Convention’s has been
interpreted in the sense of “civic nation” and even a well-defined region.
In this regard, all the peasants within the borders of the Ukrainian SSR,
whatever their ethnic origin, were part of the Ukrainian nation. According
to the 1926 census, ethnically Ukrainian peasants made up 88.5 % of the
Republic’s peasant population; the ethnic and civic character of Ukrainian
peasantry overlapped.

Ethnically, Ukrainian peasants also made up 89.0 % of the Republic’s
ethnically Ukrainian population and 71.8 % of the Republic’s overall
population, and thus constituted the overwhelming portion of the Republic’s
population. It was this group that Stalin’s border decree singled out for
partial destruction, but did he see his enemies as peasants or Ukrainians?

Two months earlier, Kaganovich boasted in Rostov-on-Don that the Party had
definitively settled the question of who would defeat whom in the struggle
between the régime and its opponents. [61] Kaganovich was right regarding
the peasants: by then their opposition to collectivization was broken, as
was their “sabotage” of state procurement.

Ukrainian peasants – as peasants – were no more an obstacle to the Party’s
policies or a danger to its domination than were the Russian peasants. There
was no more need to exterminate them, than to eliminate the Russian
peasants. However, Ukrainian peasants presented a more formidable threat to
Stalin’s regime as Ukrainians.

In 1925, Stalin lectured the Yugoslav comrades on the national question. He
told them that the peasant question was “the basis, the quintessence of the
national question.” “That explains the fact,” he affirmed, “that the
peasantry constitutes the main army of the national movement, that there is
no powerful national movement without the peasant army.”

The social role of the peasantry is inexorably connected with its national
needs, and because of the peasants’ predominance in agrarian societies, the
national question becomes in essence a peasant question. And to be perfectly
clear, Stalin adds that the national question is “not an agrarian but a
peasant question, for these are two different things.” [62]

Stalin’s separation of the peasant’s economic and social functions is
noteworthy. Stalin criticized the Yugoslavs for underestimating “the
inherent strength of the national movement,” and warned them that the lack
of understanding and underestimation of the national question constituted a
grave danger.

Stalin’s convictions did not change in later years; he continued to be
vigilant lest the national movements endanger the integrity of his
multinational empire, and he had no intention of underestimating the
“profoundly popular and profoundly revolutionary character of the national
movement” in Soviet Ukraine, engendered by the Ukrainian national revival in
the 1920s and fanned by the Party-approved Ukrainianization. By the end of
1932, Ukrainian peasants had been vanquished as peasants; Stalin now
intended to eliminate a part of them – as Ukrainians.

Revealing evidence of Stalin’s concern for the national question is provided
by Stalin’s correspondence with Kaganovich in August 1932. The two agreed
that the Ukrainian party was dragging its feet on grain procurement and that
Petlyurites and agents of Pilsudski infiltrated the party.

Stalin raised the threat that unless proper measures were taken, “we can
lose Ukraine”; Kaganovich agreed, adding: “The theory that we, Ukrainians,
have unjustly suffered, fosters a solidarity and a rotten mutual guarantee
not only among the middle level cadres, but also at the top.”[63]

Of course, both knew that there was little threat from imaginary
“Petlyurites” or “Pilsudski agents,” who supposedly infiltrated the Party
(this was a directive for the Party on how to interpret these matters), but
there was an eventual threat from the Ukrainian national revival, whose
mainstay was the peasantry. Kremlin’s 14 December 1932 analysis of the
procurement difficulties in Ukraine and the North Caucasus was blamed on

the Ukrainianization policy, and both were attacked with a vengeance.

Moscow ordered Party and State authorities in Ukraine “to pay serious
attention to the proper conduct of Ukrainianization, eliminate its
application in a mechanical way, remove Petlyurite and other
bourgeois-nationalist elements from Party and Soviet organizations.”

They were also ordered to “carefully pick and train Ukrainian bolshevik
cadres, secure systematic party leadership and control over the process of
Ukrainianization.”[64] This was a blueprint for ethnocide; it effectively
put an end to Ukrainianization in Ukraine, and even more so in the RSFSR.
This document was more of a precursor for the genocidal Stalin border
directive than the passport decree.

The other region closed by Stalin’s 22 January 1933 directive was the North
Caucasus Territory, but the main target was its Kuban region. The directive
even begins with the notification about peasant exodus from “Kuban and
Ukraine.” What did the two targeted areas – Ukraine, a union republic, and
Kuban, a neighboring region of the RSFSR – have in common? They were
important grain-producing regions.

That is true, but so was the Central-Black Earth region, which was not
singled out. There was a more important consideration at that time for
Stalin and Kaganovich: the Ukrainianization program was transforming in a
dangerous way the overwhelmingly Ukrainian peasant population of Ukraine

and Kuban into Ukrainians, conscious of their national identity.

At that time, there were some eight million ethnic Ukrainians living outside
the Ukrainian SSR, mostly in the regions of the RSFSR, contiguous with
Ukraine. The North Caucasus had about three million Ukrainians, and almost
half of them lived in the Kuban region, where it constituted about two
thirds of the population.

Also significant was the fact that about one-half million of the Kuban
Ukrainians were not of traditional peasants stock but descendants of
Ukrainian Zaporozhian Kozaks, people with a military history and democratic
traditions. It was in these regions that most of the starvation outside
Ukraine took place. (Kazakhstan is a separate case.)

The Ukrainianization of the Ukrainian “colonies” in the RSFSR, and
especially of the Kuban, had already added fuel to what Martin calls the
Piedmontist principle of border disputes between the Ukrainian SSR and
Moscow. The peasant/Kozak population could prove to be a disruptive force

in the future.

In its 14 December 1932 decision, Moscow took to task the party and state
authorities of the North Caucasus Territory: “… the flippancy in carrying
out unbolshevik ‘Ukrainianization’ of almost half of the districts of North
Caucasus, which did not come from the cultural interests of the population,
and which was carried out with a complete absence of controls on the part of
regional organs over the Ukrainianization of the schools and the press, gave
the enemies of the Soviet power legal cover for organizing opposition by
kulaks, [former] officers, returning Cossack emigrants, members of the Kuban
Rada [analogous to the Ukrainian Central Rada of 1917-1918], etc.” [65]

The prescribed punishment was harsh: “Immediately change the clerical work
of the Soviet and cooperative organs and all the newspapers and journals in
the ‘Ukrainianized’ districts of North Caucasus from the Ukrainian language
to the Russian language, as the more understandable to the Kuban population,
and also prepare the transfer of teaching in schools into the Russian
language.” The local authorities were further warned to immediately verify
and improve the composition of school personnel in the “Ukrainianized”
districts. [66]

The foregoing examination of Stalin’s twin targets should be sufficient to
show that their common characteristic was their national or ethnic identity.
The nexus joining the Ukrainian national group in the Ukrainian SSR (whether
taken in its civic or ethnic sense) and the Ukrainian ethnic group in Kuban
was their Ukrainianness.

The requirement of the UN Convention on Genocide is thus satisfied:
Ukrainian peasants in Ukraine and in the RSFSR were being destroyed in their
capacity as Ukrainians; their agrarian role was secondary. Peasants were the
most numerous part of the Ukrainian national/ethnic group, consisting also
of intellectuals, state and party functionaries, and workers; and it was
this group that Stalin’s régime decided, in the language of the UN
Convention, “to destroy in part.”

The non-peasant Ukrainians did not die from starvation, but they were
definitely victims of the same genocidal intent. The intent was not to
destroy the whole Ukrainian nation (nor is total destruction of a specified
group a condition for the recognition of genocide by the UN Convention).

The intention was to destroy the élites and a sufficiently large portion of the
most dynamic element of the Ukrainian national group so as to cripple the
Ukrainian nation and reduce Ukrainians to what Stalin liked to call “cogs”
in the great state mechanism.

Stalin’s genocidal intent should be sufficiently clear from the various
documents originated by him or signed by others on his orders or in
anticipation of such. Schabas insists that the “genocidaire” must have
knowledge of the consequences of his act. [67]

Stalin was privy to all the important documentation of the Soviet state,
cognizant of, and personally responsible for, all the policies, which
resulted in the death of millions of innocent people. The régime’s public
denial of the famine and its rejection of foreign aid cannot be interpreted
in any other way than as a flaunting admission of its intent to starve the
population to death.

The most heinous crime of Stalin and his Communist régime is now quite

well known, especially to the academic community, but various aspects of
the catastrophe still need further research, systematization and
conceptualization. This question of the Ukrainian genocide is a case in
point. We need a breakdown by nationality of the population that died from
the famine in the RSFSR to see how many of the victims were ethnic
Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars and other nationalities.

There is no systematic study to shows the forms and the degree of
discriminatory practices of the Stalinist régime in its policies towards
different localities and nationalities in the ethnically mixed regions with
regards to the procurement quotas, the implementation of Moscow orders.

The national composition of command structure and the cadres that carried
out food confiscation and distribution must also be examined in a more
systematic way. There was some internal aid to some of the hungry
population, but the economic and other reasons behind the régime’s help

need a more thorough study.

While the very existence of the famine was vehemently denied and foreign
efforts to organize famine relief were rejected, some foreign aid did get
through to the German and Jewish communities, but this aspect of the Soviet
policies is generally ignored in the literature on the famine, possibly
because it has not been sufficiently explored and documented. This
additional research will give us a more complete knowledge and a better
understanding of the Ukrainian famine and help establish its genocidal
character. -30-
NOTE: Roman Serbyn is Professor-Emeritus of History at University of
Quebec and the author of numerous articles on Ukrainian history and
nationalities problems in Ukraine in the 19th and 20th centuries. He is
also the editor or co-editor of a number of books, inclusing “Federalisme

et Nations” (1969) and “Famine in Ukraine, 1932-1933” (1986). His
most recent book was “Za yaku spadshchynu?” (1986)
[1] See, for example, R. W. Davies and Stephen G. Wheatcraft, “The Years
of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture, 1931-1933″ (New York : Palgrave Macmillan,
[2] Ukrainian Weekly, 16 November 2003.
[3] Kuchynsky at the UN discussion of Holocaust Day, 1 November 2005.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Stanislav V. Kulchytsky, “Holod 1932-1933 rr. v Ukrayini yak henotsyd”
(Kyiv, 2005), pp. 3, 21.
[6] This is the “Den” version (24 November 2005). In the book version (p.
85), “not Ukrainians” was dropped.
[7] ICCEES VII World Congress Abstracts, “Europe – Our Common Home?”
(Berlin, 25-30 July 2005), pp. 247-248. The importance of the intent as
defined by the convention is shown in Michael Ellman, “The Role of
Leadership Perceptions and of Intent in the Soviet Famine of 1931-1934,”
“Europa-Asia Studies,” vol. 57, no. 6 (September 2005), pp. 823-841.
(Emphasis added by author.)
[8] “Den,” 8 November 2005.
[9] Raphael Lemkin, “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation –
Analysis of Government – Proposals for Redress” (Washington, D.C.:
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944), p. 80.
[10] “Les actes constituant un danger général (interétatique) considérés
comme delites du droit des gens,” “Librarie de la cour d’appel et de l’order
des advocates” (Paris, 1933).
[11] Lemkin, p. 80.
[12] Emphasis added by author.
[13] William A. Schabas, “Genocide in International Law. The Crime of
Crimes” (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), Chapter 3.
Groups protected by the Convention.
[14] Ibid., p. 115.
[15] Ibid., p. 237.
[16] Leo Kuper, “Genocide. Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century”
(Penguin, 1981), p. 35.
[17] On circumstantial evidence, see Ellman, pp. 829-830.
[18] Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, “The History and Sociology of
Genocide. Analyses and Case Studies” (New Haven and London : Yale
University Press, 1990), p. 29.
[19] Schabas, p. 245.
[20] Most active in the field have been Ukrainian historians: Stanislav
Kulchytsky, Yuri Shapoval, Valeriy Vasilev, Volodymyr Serhiychuk and a few
others. See also “Holod 1932-1933 rokiv v Ukraini: prychyny ta naslidky”
(Kyiv: Naukova Dumka, 2003).
[21] V. P. Danilov and I. E. Zelenin, “Orhanizovannyi golod: k 70-letiiu
obshchkrestianskoi trahedii,” “Otechestvennaya istoriya,” no. 5 (2004).
[22] Among the most recent publications: Vernichtung durch Hunger: “Der
Holodomor in der Ukraine und der UdSSR.” (A special issue of Osteuropa).
December 2004; “La morte della terra: La grande “carestia” in Ucraina nel
1932-1933. Atti del Convegno Vicenza, 16-188 ottobre 2003″ (Roma : Viella,
2004); Robert Conquest, “Raccolto di dolore” (Italian edition of Harvest of
Sorrow) (Roma : Liberal edizioni, 2004).
[23] Ellman, p. 835.
[24] Danilov and Zelenin, p. 107.
[25] “Dyskusiyi i obsuzhdeniya. Kollektivizatsiya: uroki, sushchnost,
posledsviya,” “Istoriya SSSR,” no. 3 (1989), p. 46. The telegram is wrongly
dated here as 23 January instead of of 22 January.
[26] E. H. Oskolkov, “Golod 1932/1933,” in “Khlebozagotovki i golod
1932-1933 goda v Severno-Kavkazkom krae (Rostov-na-Donu, 1991),”
pp. 75-76.
[27] “Kollektivizatsiia: istoky, sushchnosst, posledstviia. Beseda za
‘kruglym stolom’,” “Istoriya SSSR,” pp. 46-52.
[28] “Dyrektyvnyi lyst TsK KP(b0U ta Radnarkomu USRR vsim obkomam
partii ta oblvykonkomam pro neprypustymist’ masovykh vyizdiv kolhospnykiv
ta odnoosibnykiv za mezhi Ukrainy,” in “Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini:
ochyma istorykiv, movoiu dokumentiv” (Kyiv, 1990), pp. 341-342.
[29] “Holodomor 1932-1933 rr. v Ukraini: prychyny i naslidky. Mizhnarodna
naukova konferentsiia.” Kyiv, 9-10 veresnia 1993. Materialy. (Kyiv, 1995),
p. 43.
[30] Ibid., p. 121.
[31] “O golode 1932-1933 godov i eho otsenka na Ukraine,” “Otechestvennaya
istoriya,” no. 6. (1994), pp. 256-262. (Signed: I. E. Zelenin, N. A.
Ivnitskiy, V. V. Kondrashin, E. N. Oskolkov.)
[32] N. A. Ivnitskiy, “Kollektivizatsiia i raskulachyvanie (nachala 30-kh
godov)” (Moskva, 1994), p. 204. (Reedited in 1996.)
[33] Nicolas Werth, “Un État contre son peuple. Violence, répression,
terreurs en Union soviétique,” in Stéphane Courtois et al. (eds.), Le livre
noir du communisme. “Crimes, terreur, repression” (Paris: 1997), p. 183. For
convenience, all references here are to the English edition: “The Black Book
of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression” (Cambridge, Massachusetts:
Harvard University Press, 1999).
[34] Ibid., p. 164.
[35] Ibid., p. 168.
[36] “Le pouvoir soviétique et la paysannerie dans les rapports de la police
politique (1930-1934),” “Bulletin de l’IHTP,” nos. 81-82 (December 2003).
[37] Nikolia Vert, “Gosudarstvo protiv svoego naroda. Nasilie, repressii i
terror v Sovetskom Soiuze,” in Stefan Kurtua et al., “Chernaia kniga
komunizma. Prestupleniia terror i repressi.” (Moskva: Tri Veka Istoriyi,
1999), p. 170.
[38] Courtois, “Introduction. The Crimes of Communism” in “The Black
Book,” p. 9.
[39] Terry Martin, “The Affirmative Action Empire. Nations and Nationalism
in the Soviet Union, 1923-1939″ (Ithaca and London, 2001). See Chapter 7:
“The National Interpretation of the 1933 Famine”; the translation is on pp.
[40] Terry Martin, “The 1932-1933 Ukrainian Terror: New Documentation on
Surveillance and the Thought Process of Stalin,” in “Famine-Genocide in
Ukraine 1932-1933″ (Toronto, 2003), p. 98. The Ukrainian version, Teri
Martyn, “Pro kozhnoho z nas dumaye Stalin … ,” “Krytyka” (December
2003), contains a Ukrainian translation of the document (pp. 17-18).
[41] D’Ann Penner, “The Agrarian Strike of 1932-1933” (Kennan Institute for
Advanced Russian Studies, Occasional Papers #269) (March 1998), p. 23.
[42] Ibid., p. 32.
[43] Ibid. p. 28.
[44] M. P. Kots (ed.), “Holod-henotsyd 1933 roku v Ukrayini:
istoryko-politychnyi analiz sotsialno-demohrafichnyky ta
moralno-psykholohichnykh naslidkiv. Mizhnarodna naukovo-teoretychna
konferentsiya. Kyiv, 28 lystopada 1998″ (Kyiv, 2000) ; see Ivnitskiy, p.
113; Serhiychuk, p. 125; Lukyanenko, pp. 240-247; Zdioruk, pp. 248-252.
[45] “Holodomory v Ukrayini 1921-1923, 1932-1933, 1946-1947: Zlochyny
protry narodu” (Kyiv, 2000), p. 104. [Emphasis added by author.]
[46] Valeriy Vasilev, “Tsina holodnoho khliba: polityka kerivnytstva SRSR i
USRR v 1932-1933 rr.,” in “Komandyry velykoho holodu: Poyizdky V.
Molotova i L. Kahanovycha v Ukrayinu ta na Pivnichnyi Kavkaz” (Kyiv:
Heneza, 2001), p. 67.
[47] “Tragediya sovetskoi derevni. Collectivizatsia i raskulachivanie.
Dokumenty i material,” vol. 3 (Moskva: ROSSPEN, 2001), pp. 634-635.
[48] “Stalin i Kaganovich Perepiska. 1931-1936” (Moskva: ROSSPEN, 2001).
[49] “Ukrayina. Parlametski slukhannya shchodo vshanuvannya pamyati zhertv
holodomoru 1932-1933 rokiv. 12 lyutoho 2003 roku” (Kyiv, 2003); see
Tabachnyk, pp. 12-24; Kulchytsky, pp. 68-70.
[50] Rudolf Ia. Myrsky, “Holodomor i Kholokost v Ukrayini yak
vseukrayinska trahediya (filosofsko-politolohichni rozdumy,” “Visnyk
natsionalnoho universytetu ‘Lvivska politekhnika'”, no. 493 (2003), p. 299.
[51] Yuri Shapoval, “Holod 1932-1933 rokiv: Kreml i politychne kerivnytstvo
USRR,” in “Try holodomory v Ukrayini v XXst.: pohlyad iz sohodennya.
Materialy mizhnarodnoyi naukovoyi konferentsiyi” (Kyiv, 2003), pp. 43-45,
[52] “Polityka totalnoho vyluchennya khliba v ukrayinskomu seli: henotsyd
proty selyan,” in II NANU. Holod 1932-1933 rokiv v Ukrayini: prychyny ta
naslidky (Kyiv: Naukova Dumka, 2003), p. 440.
[53] Ibid., pp. 551, 632-633.
[54] Shapoval (ed.), “The Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933 in Ukraine.”
(Kashtan Press, 2005), p. 9.
[55] Ibid., pp. 282-283.
[56] “Chomu Stalin nas nyshchyv,” “Den” (25 October, 8 November and 22
November 2005) ; rendered into English as “Why Did Stalin Exterminate
[57] Stanislav V. Kulchytsky, “Holod 1932-1933 rr. v Ukrayini yak henotsyd”
(Kyiv: II NANU, 2005). The book’s relation to the Den articles is not
mentioned, nor is the reader informed that changes (some of them quite
important) had been made in the book version.
[58] Conquest, “Harvest of Sorrow. Soviet Collectivization and the Terror
Famine” (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).
[59] Egbert Jahn, “On the Phenomonology of Mass Extermination in Europe.
A Comparative Perspective on the Holodomor,” in “Osteuropa. Sketches of
Europe: Old Lands, New Worlds” (Bonn, 2005), p. 212.
[60] Martin, “The Affirmative Action Empire,” pp. 300-301.
[61] “Komandyry velykoho holodu,” p. 49.
[62] J. V. Stalin, “Concerning the National Question in Yugoslavia,” in
“Works,” vol. 7 (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1954),
pp. 71-72.
[63] “Stalin i Kaganovich Perepiska”; see Stalin, p. 274; Kaganovich, p.
[64] “Tragedia Sovetskoi Derevni,: T. 3., p. 577.
[65] “Tragediya sovetskoi derevni,” pp. 576-577.
[66] Ibid., p. 577.
[67] Schabas, p. 207.

Taras Hunczak, Editor, Ukrainian Quarterly
A Journal of Ukrainian & International Affairs – Since 1944
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA)
New York, New York, September 2006

NEW YORK – The new Summer 2006 issue of The Ukrainian Quarterly
is now available. The English-language scholarly journal includes such
interesting articles as:

[1] OUN-Between Collaboration and Confrontation with Nazi Germany;
[2] The Political Prisoner’s Dilemma: Evidence from the Great Terror in
the Soviet Union;
[3] The Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 as Genocide in the Light of the
UN Convention of 1948; and,
[4] The Emergence of State Polity and National Aspirations in Ukraine –
Two Coins or Two Sides of One Coin?

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[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By Stanislav Kulchytsky, Deputy Director,
Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
The Day Weekly Digest in English, in three parts, #29, #30, #31
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Part I, September 26, 2006; Part II,
Tuesday, October 3, 2006; Part III, Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #774, Article
Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 14, 2006

On Nov. 10, 2003, the 58th UN General Assembly Session officially adopted
the Joint Statement on the Holodomor-the Great Famine of 1932-1933 in
Ukraine. Due to the Russian Federation’s inflexible stand, the level of the
document was lowered from a UN resolution to a joint statement, and the term
“genocide” was excluded from the title.

In view of Russia’s position, the US House of Representatives and the Senate
also left out this key term from their statements on the 70th anniversary of
the Holodomor in Ukraine.

However, in a joint bill passed in February 2005, both houses of the US
Congress allowed the Ukrainian community to erect a memorial in the District
of Columbia “in order to honor the victims of the famine-genocide.”

In this document the US Congress emphasizes that in 1998 it set up a
commission to investigate the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine and after
analyzing its report, acknowledged that Stalin and his circle had employed
genocide as a weapon against Ukraine.

The Nov. 4, 2005, Ukase of the President of Ukraine “On Commemorating the
Victims and Those Who Suffered from the Holodomors in Ukraine,” established
an organizing committee headed by the prime minister of Ukraine, whose task
is to implement a number of measures commemorating the 75th anniversary of
the Holodomor of 1932-1933.

As President Yushchenko declared, the committee’s main task is to “implement
additional measures pertaining to the international community’s recognition
of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine as an act of genocide against the
Ukrainian people.”

Why is qualifying the Holodomor of 1933 as an act of genocide so important?
What kind of hidden obstacles are we finding on the way to recognizing this
tragedy as a genocide?

Why do so many people both in our country and abroad refuse to believe that
the Soviet government in Stalin’s time was capable of destroying people? Do
historians have facts at their disposal that can prove that the 1933
Holodomor was an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people?

In October and November of 2005, The Day carried a series of six of my
articles entitled “Why did Stalin exterminate the Ukrainians?” Without
repeating myself, I am seeking an answer to these questions in a new series
of articles.

The Holodomor of 1932-1933 left unhealed wounds on the body of the
Ukrainian nation. If one imagines the total number of the population as a
diagram based on birth years, the result would be an age-based pyramid, with
children born in the first years at the bottom and long-lived people at the

Dents in this pyramid are caused by unnatural population losses. The dent
made by the Holodomor is the deepest and in an increasingly smoother
appearance is repeated in every succeeding generation. Today no grandsons
and great-grandsons of those whose lives were cut short in the early 1930s
are being born.

The current generation of Ukrainian citizens remembers its grandfathers and
great-grandfathers who perished during the famine. But for many the cause of
those deaths by starvation in 1932-1933 has not been determined. Some people
try to learn why. Others have no memories – and there are a lot of people
like this.

The 70th anniversary of the Holodomor has become an event of world
significance. On Nov. 10, 2003, the UN General Assembly issued a joint
statement by 36 countries expressing sympathy with the Ukrainian people.

On Oct. 22, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 356
“Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the man-made
famine that occurred in Ukraine in 1932-1933″ in which the nature of the
tragedy was clearly defined: “…this man-made famine was designed and
implemented by the Soviet regime as a deliberate act of terror and mass
murder against the Ukrainian people…”

Yet neither the joint statement of 36 countries nor the US Congress
resolution contained the key point: recognition of the 1932-1933 famine as
an act of genocide.

Genocide is a category of international law. The UN Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, signed on Dec. 9,
1948, reads that the international community undertakes to bring to justice
persons committing genocide “whether they are constitutionally responsible
rulers, public officials or private individuals.”

Former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic was prosecuted on the basis of this
convention. We do not have to bring to justice those who were responsible
for the genocidal famine because they are all dead. The important thing is
to know why. Our society and the rest of the world must know what really
happened in those years.

With this in mind, the president of Ukraine signed an edict on Nov. 4, 2005,
establishing the Organizing Committee for the Preparation and Implementation
of Measures in Conjunction with the 75th Anniversary of the Holodomor. The
committee must organize its activities so that the UN will recognize the
Holodomor as an act of genocide in 2008.

Do we stand a chance of getting the international community to do this?
The task of this article is to assess the actual situation. We have about
two years to convince the international (and Ukrainian) community.


Whether a crime against humanity is an act of genocide is decided only by
the international community – i.e., parliaments in other countries. The
final verdict is returned by the United Nations. Qualifying a crime as an
act of genocide is a serious matter, and the international community
approaches it with a sense of special responsibility.

The recognition of the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine as an act of genocide
cannot entail any concrete actions on the part of the UN Security Council.
An entire lifetime separates us from that tragedy, but this circumstance is
of little help in the successful resolution of this problem.

History is firmly connected to politics and is thus often politicized. Nor
is the famine issue an exception. It has to be depoliticized, made
absolutely clear, and convincingly substantiated.

In the first place, it must be explained to the international community why
the nation against whom that weapon of genocidal famine was employed has not
demonstrated any clear-cut and unanimous desire to regard this crime as an
act aimed at terminating its existence in an organizational, i.e., state,

It must also be explained why several convocations of parliament formed by
that nation during the course of free elections failed to examine the
question of the famine-genocide. Is it because the dent from this genocide
touched not only the physical body of the Ukrainian people but also its
historical awareness?

We are a postgenocidal society, said the late Prof. James Mace, former staff
director of the U.S. Commission on the Ukraine Famine (1932-1933). A
postgenocidal society is not cognizant of the violence that was carried out
against it. Complicating this issue is the fact that the victim of this
violence is a generation that no longer exists.

Ukrainian scholars and those engaged in regional historical studies have
succeeded in conveying to their people the outward image of the Holodomor.
This has been done in breathtaking detail.

However, they may not have been as convincing in revealing the logic of
events that were unfolding in the countryside from the beginning of the
all-out collectivization of agriculture.

Collectivization itself probably ought to be viewed on a broader scale, as
an element in the creation of the Bolshevik socioeconomic system that ran
counter to the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population; in
other words, it was inherently artificial and could emerge only within the
force field of a terrorist dictatorship.

The final task is crucial in determining the genocidal nature of famines in
Ukraine and the Kuban region. It is necessary to prove why the Kremlin found
the regions most densely populated by Ukrainians especially dangerous, so
that it employed famine as the most severe form of terror against them.

Without a doubt, the famine of 1932-1933 swept over most Soviet regions.
Researchers also agree that the degree of famine in two Ukrainian regions
was the highest (with the exception of Kazakhstan, but more on this later).
In order to recognize the famines there as an act of genocide, it is
necessary to explain how they differed from the others.

This article does not claim to solve the problem of the famine-genocide. It
simply raises questions relating to the recognition of the 1932-1933 famine
in Ukraine as an act of genocide. It should be noted that foreign
researchers have accomplished more to this end than we have.

One of the main problems is to heal the Ukrainian people’s historical
awareness. The need has been realized on the governmental level. A Ukrainian
Institute of National Memory is in the process of being organized and is
meant to coordinate the efforts of numerous organizations in reviving
historical memory.


Two de-Stalinization campaigns took place in the Soviet Union. The one
launched by Khrushchev became known as the struggle against the cult of
personality; the one by Gorbachev, as democratization. Both campaigns had
a concrete objective: to rehabilitate the victims of Stalin’s arbitrary
rule, primarily communist functionaries and Soviet public figures.

Along the way, society gradually began to see the general picture of terror
with the aid of which the Bolsheviks constructed an order during 1918-1938,
which became known as the Soviet system.

A colossal number of documents on the mass repressions, which began
circulating among the general public, convinced many in the Soviet Union
that there were no blank spots left in their history. That was an illusion.

The Short Course on the History of the AUCP(b), which in 1938 summed up
the gains of the communist revolution, was withdrawn from circulation after
Stalin’s death, but the postulates remained in the minds of those who
studied and taught history.

In the countries that emerged in place of the USSR, a revision of Soviet
history continued, but at different rates and even along different vectors.
Russian historians, for example, have mostly emphasized positive aspects,
like the transformation of a backward country into a superpower.

Ukrainian historians have basically divided into two camps. Some see nothing
positive in the past; others see almost nothing negative. Official policy in
the field of history (which was particularly manifested in the content of
textbooks recommended by state agencies) has been strongly influenced by
the anticommunist North American Diaspora.

The anticommunism of the Diaspora and the former Soviet Communist Party
nomenklatura that did not lose power in independent Ukraine sprang from
different causes, which I will examine further on. At this point it should
be noted that anticommunism only impeded the comprehension of the history
of communist construction.

Comparatively few researchers, who try to approach the past without using
communist or anticommunist criteria, are working quite successfully on
revising the conceptual principles of the history of the Soviet order. Their
studies are facilitated by the absence of pressure from authorities and the
presence of open archives.

The year 1933 cannot be described as a blank spot because everybody knew
about the famine. In the late 1980s, when information about the crimes of
Stalinism began pouring out, it was received by society in a variety of

In the minds of many people a positive attitude to Soviet power, ingrained
since childhood, could not coalesce with claims that this government had
carried out terror by starvation, i.e., conscious actions specially designed
to physically destroy the population by starving it to death.

It is considerably easier to present historical facts in a consecutive order
than to trace the effects of some or other events on a person’s
consciousness. A historian has few sources at his disposal with which to
study individual and collective consciousness.

The history of Soviet Ukraine has been studied well in terms of events,
including the Holodomor, but we know little about how people’s awareness
changed during that revolutionary epoch, how adequately people responded
to terror and propaganda, which were used to herd them toward a “bright

Along with terror and propaganda, the Soviet government intensively used
another factor of influence on the population, namely, the education of the
rising generation.

Recently, on the pages of The Day I wrote a commentary on the occasion of
the 50th anniversary of the 20th Congress of the CPSU, but I did not
emphasize an idea that is very important in the context of the present
article: that congress served to reconcile people who were products of
Soviet schools with the government.

At the time, in the first postwar decades, almost all Soviet citizens were
graduates of Soviet schools (except in the territories that were annexed to
the USSR in 1939). It was now possible to attribute to Stalin the crimes
committed by the Bolshevik regime, which had used terror and propaganda to
build the Soviet socioeconomic system in the years preceding World War Two.

We (I mean my generation) can assess the effectiveness of communist
upbringing by analyzing our own awareness in this period.

When I was still a university student (1954-1959) I obtained access, as a
professional archivist, to uncensored information: Ukrainian newspapers of
the occupation period, the first articles on the 1932-1933 famine that were
appearing in the journals of the Ukrainian Diaspora, etc. But that
information was rejected by my consciousness and had no effect on my
ingrained world views.

Terror can impose a way of life but not a world view. A world view is the
result of upbringing and propaganda, which must necessarily rely on an
understandable and a positive symbol of faith.

Who can argue that the communist doctrine in its propagandistic form was
not attractive? You should read the works of a very sincere poet, Vladimir
Mayakovsky, to realize its strength.

After graduating from Odesa University, I made my way to the Institute of
Economy of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, where I became
fascinated with Soviet economic history of the 1920s and 1930s.

In those days I was also following the scholarly literature in my field that
was being published in the West, and I tried on a regular basis to read the
journal Problems of Communism, which was quite prestigious among

My indirect acquaintance with “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists” did not
lead to a split in my consciousness. Our world was different from the West
in its most profound dimensions, i.e. it was a different civilization.

The Iron Curtain was like the glass walls of an aquarium separating two
different environments. In its own way our world was logical and had values
that were understandable to everyone. It was false through and through, but
few could detect this precisely because of the totality of that falsity.

For me in particular, both the causes of the 1932-1933 famine and the
reasons behind the Soviet government’s refusal to acknowledge the fact of
the famine remained unfathomable. The literature of the Diaspora stated that
Stalin had starved the Ukrainian people to death, but it was simply
impossible to believe such a thing.

It is embarrassing to keep referring to myself, but I lack other empirical
material for analyzing the revolution in world perception that has taken
place in our country. My own such revolution was accelerated by my research
on the famine of 1932-1933, and it passed through two stages.

The first one lasted seven or eight years during which I accumulated
archival material and formed a factual picture of the Holodomor. I was
compelled to believe the “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists,” who recounted
how Stalin had killed the Ukrainian people by starving them to death.

During the second stage, my department conducted a systematic nine-year
study of the nature of Soviet totalitarianism. The famine of 1932-1933
became part of the general context of events that took place in 1918-1938 in
a Bolshevik-controlled country.

It has become possible to answer the question why Stalin tried to destroy
the Ukrainian people by starving them to death. This is precisely what we
need to define the Holodomor as a famine-genocide in accordance with the
criteria set forth in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of
the Crime of Genocide, of Dec. 9, 1948.



History knows cases of genocide that occurred in wartime and in different
ethnic sociums. In my encounters with some overseas researchers of the
Ukrainian Holodomor, I could see that they were unable to accept the
possibility of genocide in peacetime and within one’s own country.

I repeat: in order for them to believe in the facts, the nature of the
Holodomor must be analyzed against a broader background, without separating
this phenomenon from the entire process of communist construction of

Marxism had a number of principal distinctions from the teachings that were
known in the Soviet Union as MarxismLeninism.

Perhaps the most important one was that Marx regarded a communist society
as a natural product of objective natural-historical development. You will
not find the term “communist construction” in any of his works. In contrast,
Lenin believed that it was not worth waiting for communism to mature.

He saw communist construction as the main duty of the proletarian party (his
and only his) after it came to power and after the founding of the
“dictatorship of the proletariat” (once again, the dictatorship of his very
own party). In his opinion, communism could be built within a very short
period of time.

Maintaining the stereotypes that were instilled in us during Soviet times,
we are still seeking the roots of the Leninist-Stalinist communist
revolution in the revolution that began in Russia in March 1917 (new style).

In reality, the revolution in Russia had only two distinct
currents-bourgeois-democratic and Soviet, which were represented in various
proportions in every region of the multinational empire.

The Bolsheviks joined the Soviet current without in any way merging with it
and seized power on the shoulders of the soviets, after which they left only
the outer shell of these soviets.

None of the revolutionary personalities of 1917, except the leaders of the
Bolshevik Party, wanted to do what was done in Russia and Bolshevik-
enslaved Ukraine between World War One and World War Two.

At any rate, in 1917 the Bolshevik leaders kept their communist doctrine to
themselves, and for the purpose of seizing power they exploited completely
different political slogans of the revolutionary soviets.

After the failure of the first communist assault in 1921, the Bolsheviks put
communism on the back burner and played up distribution relations in
communism rather than production relations. Simultaneously, from the angle
of propaganda distribution relations were given the following highly
effective formulation: “From each according to his abilities, to each
according to his needs.”

The building of the Soviet order, starting in 1918, was proclaimed as
socialist, not communist. This terminological contradiction was resolved
very simply: socialism was proclaimed the first phase of communism.

Even today we call the communist revolution of 1918-1938 the building of
socialism. However, the notion “socialism” should be left to its original
Western European discoverers, who recognized the objective necessity of
capitalist enterprise and private ownership.

The essence of socialist policies in the West was that the capitalists
pledged to share their profits with the strata of the socium that needed
help. This policy appealed to the population, which could elect organs of
rule. That is why social democratic parties began coming to power in Europe
(the Bolsheviks too emerged from the ranks of the social democrats).

In time, countries called capitalist in the Soviet Union changed, but we
could not spot their new look from behind the Iron Curtain, all the more so
as they never called themselves socialist. This popular term was privatized
first by Lenin and later by Hitler.

As a matter of fact, Stalin took a dim view of Hitler’s privatization, so
when the National-Socialist German Workers Party became the governing one,
he ordered the Nazis to be called fascists. Even though there is an
essential difference between German Nazism and Italian fascism, we still
adhere to Stalin’s directive announced at the 17 th Congress of the AUCP(b).

Western European socialism relied on capitalist entrepreneurship and helped
maintain class peace in society, which is the basis of a democratic order.
It was a dynamic and highly effective socioeconomic system, so long as it
took into account the polarized interests of workers and employers.

In contrast, Soviet communist socialism destroyed the free market and
private enterprise, replacing them by the planned distribution of finished
products. The destruction of the free market as a natural regulator of the
economic process a priori deprived production of effective management. The
nationalized economy came alive under the influence of bureaucratic commands
that arrived from outside and could not assure its effectiveness.

Marx and Engels peremptorily declared in their Communist Manifesto: “…the
theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition
of private property” (Works, 2nd ed., vol. 4, p. 422).Western European
Marxists discarded this postulate as premature and, instead of revolutionary
violence, adopted a policy of reform as a method of struggle for a better

Thanks to this, they were able to transform their countries. In contrast,
the Bolsheviks adopted early Marxism and declared the destruction of private
ownership of the means of production. What came of this?

Private property is an historical category, i.e., it has a beginning and an
end. But in our days, just like in Marx’s time, it is too soon to discuss
its demise. We will have to wait another couple of hundred years, perhaps
longer. The slogan of the abolition (not demise) of private property is an
altogether different matter.

Its realization does not destroy property itself; it merely changes its
owner. Communist construction in the USSR resulted in the concentration of
all ownership of the means of production in the hands of a small group of
oligarchs, the Politburo of the CC CPSU.

Even during the first onslaught of 1918-1920, these oligarchs realized that
tens of millions of peasants would not surrender their lands and other means
of production. And so a new communist onslaught, which began in 1929,
relied primarily on terrorist means of influencing the peasantry.

Hair-raising tragedies, like the Holodomor and the Great Terror became
possible precisely because the coercive component was paramount in
communist construction.

In the hands of the Communist Party/Soviet oligarchs the fusion of political
dictatorship and economic dictatorship turned society into an atomized,
helpless, inert mass.

You can do anything you want with an enslaved population: organize an
artificial famine to ward off spontaneous unrest, and carry out mass
repressions, even with the help of the purged victims’ intimidated

Many people refuse to believe that the Soviet power could use terror by
starvation in order to systematically destroy people. They seek other causes
behind the famine of 1932-1933, like drought, excessive grain delivery
quotas, or the drop in harvests because of the crisis that took place in
agriculture after villages were totally collectivized.

I will say straightaway that all these factors were present (except
drought). They did cause famines both in grain-producing regions (because
of excessive grain delivery quotas) and grain-consuming ones (because of
inadequate government food supplies).

But it is necessary to distinguish between the famine that raged almost
everywhere in the Soviet Union, and the Holodomor in Ukraine and the
Kuban region. Unfortunately, the tenfold difference in the death toll does
not suffice to convince many of our contemporaries.



Why has the problem that this article calls the healing of historical memory
become so topical in our day? The reason may be that in transformational
processes social and humanitarian problems should not be pushed to the

If society wants to remove the blemishes of its totalitarian past, it should
be interested not only in investments or the exchange rate. You cannot head
toward the future with your head turned to the past.

I belong to the older generation, those people who were recently granted the
legal status of “children of the war.” The older members of my generation
fought in the war, mostly in its victorious phase; some younger ones were
born after the war. We are all united by one characteristic: we are
graduates of Soviet schools.

Throughout my life I have encountered people from my parents’ generation.
However, the historical consciousness of the preceding generation became
clear to me not through direct contacts, but only as a result of my
professional activities. There was an almost impenetrable wall between us,
and even Khrushchev’s “Thaw” failed to dismantle it.

Frankness was impeded by the staggering number of informers working for
the secret police, popularly known as “the organs.” Hounded by the security
organs, the representatives of this first generation of “Soviet people” did
not share their life experiences with the next generation, their children.
Those children – the oldest of which are over 80 – grew up under a mature
Soviet system.

What was my parents’ generation all about? Those people survived a civil war
that in and of itself attested to that generation’s mixed attitudes to the
communist idea.

Later, this generation became divided (into unknown proportions) into those
who wanted to build a new life to the accompaniment of the March of the
Enthusiasts’ and those who were forcibly driven to join communism.

The ranks of the latter were probably increasing because life did not get
any better, while the terror intensified. Still, there is a litmus test for
determining the attitude to the Soviet regime of a large proportion of this
generation: the war against Nazi Germany.

German statistics indicate that between June 1941 and October 1942 – a
period of less than a year and a half – a total of 5.2 million Red Army
troops surrendered to the Nazis. Such was the result after 16 months of the
“Great Patriotic War.”

People preferred to become POWs rather than defend their Bolshevik-conquered
Fatherland. To keep this horrible phenomenon away from the public eye,
Stalin abolished military dog tags and the registry of names of fallen
soldiers, and introduced a strange column in the statistics, which became
usual practice from the spring of 1942: “Missing in action.”

It was only after the Soviet people became convinced that Nazism constituted
a lethal danger that they began to fight the enemy in earnest. Between
November 1942 and November 1944, i.e., during a two- year period, only half
a million Red Army soldiers and commanders were taken prisoner, a figure
that is 10 times smaller than during the first period of the war.

Therefore, the generation of victors in World War II built a thick wall
separating it from the next generation and did not hinder schools from
raising their children in the communist spirit. When we, their children,
grew up, we proceeded to form our contemporaries’ consciousness and
that of the next generation in the spirit of convictions instilled by Soviet

However, the impact of propaganda and upbringing should not be
overestimated. Life experience has always been the key factor in the
formation of historical consciousness and citizens’ world views. The
experience accumulated by the communism-building generation was radically
different from that of subsequent generations, the people who were destined
to live under communism.

Without changing its character in any way, the Soviet government altered its
attitude to society. It stopped using mass terror as a method of state rule.

At first, mass terror was used to create an artificial socioeconomic order
and later, to strengthen Stalin’s personal authority. After his death terror
became selective rather than mass-scale. This was enough to maintain the
existing political system. It turned out, however, that an artificial system
becomes unstable without mass terror.

In this situation, the new political leadership had to exert tremendous
efforts to raise the population’s level of well-being. These were truly
heroic efforts, considering the Soviet Union’s military commitments and
inherent ineffectiveness of the command economy.

The current generations have duly assessed those efforts. Despite the
inconveniences of daily life that the decades-long death throes of the
Soviet order inflicted on the people, the older, and mostly middle,
generation in Ukraine preserved its generally positive views of life in the
past, all the more so as it is difficult for people over 40 to adjust to a
new life.

These objective circumstances explain the moral detachment of a large number
of Ukrainians from the horrific tragedies of the interwar period, including
the Holodomor. These people cannot believe that the Soviet government, so
deeply rooted in the masses, was capable of cold-bloodedly annihilating its
own citizens.


The Kremlin’s dictatorship in Soviet Ukraine was implemented not so much
by the CPU as by “union-subordinated agencies” (star ting with the KGB).
However, even these agencies were Ukrainized. The Kremlin-reared
nomenklatura reported directly to the CPU leadership and, at the same time,
was a solid link of the Communist Party/Soviet system.

In 1988 the CPSU lost its status as a state structure, and power passed to
the Supreme Councils. The Union center, headed by Mikhail Gorbachev,
found itself faced with a challenge from Boris Yeltsin, then Speaker of the
Russian Parliament.

The Ukrainian nomenklatura promptly took advantage of the crisis in Moscow.
On July 16, 1990, it adopted the Declaration of Ukrainian State Sovereignty;
on Aug. 24, the Act of Independence, and on Aug. 30 it banned the CPSU on
the territory of Ukraine.

This metamorphosis of the “party of power” did not strike me as odd. Half a
year before the national sovereignty declaration, on Jan. 16, 1990, the
Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine
deliberated the Holodomor question and the publication of relevant archival

A heated discussion took place during the meeting, which was attended
several experts, including me. Some Politburo members started making
alarming statements (not unjustifiably) that the publication of this
collection of documents would be a “knife in the party’s back.”

However, key party leadership figures, among them First Secretary of the CC
Volodymyr Ivashko, were keen on giving the collection the “green light.” The
resolution of the CC CPU includes this final instruction: “The editorial
offices of newspapers, magazines, television and radio must be provided with
truthful, unbiased, documented coverage of events relating to the Holodomor
of 1932-1933.”

In my 2005 series of articles entitled “Why did Stalin exterminate the
Ukrainians?” published in The Day (no. 207, 2005) I mentioned another fact
relating to this strange (at first glance) phenomenon.

James Mace recounted how Oles Yanchuk’s documentary Holod-33 (Famine ’33),
on which he had worked as a consultant, did not receive a single penny from
the central budget, but it was shown on Ukrainian television on the eve of
the referendum held on Dec. 1, 1991.

Finally, I will mention another fact that is probably the most eloquent one.
During an international scholarly conference held in Kyiv on Sept. 9, 1993,
marking the 60 th anniversary of the Famine, Ukraine’s President Leonid
Kravchuk declared: “I fully agree that this was a planned action, that this
was an act of genocide against one’s own people.

However, I would not close the issue here. Yes, they aimed it against their
own people, but they were acting on orders from a different center.
Obviously, this is how this horrible page in our history should be treated.”

The above facts prove one thing: the leaders of Soviet Ukraine sought to
climb up the rungs of the Kremlin ladder and become genuine state leaders.
After they “flowed” from the party structures into Soviet ones, they banned
the activity of their own party and armed themselves with the state symbols
of the “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalists.”

The truth about the Holodomor was used for the sole purpose of revealing the
actual danger of all those fateful decisions if they were made outside the
republic. This corresponded to the Kyiv leadership’s calculations aimed at
asserting Ukraine’s political independence and, thus, their personal
independence of the Kremlin.

I am recounting this without rancor, simply to stress the absence of real
interest in the problem of the Holodomor among key figures in the “party of

Leonid Kuchma should be given credit for signing his ukase of Nov. 26, 1998,
marking the 65th anniversary of the Holodomor and establishing Holodomor
Victims Remembrance Day to be marked on the last Saturday of November.
On this date measures were supposed to be implemented in order to restore
people’s memories of the most horrifying event in the history of Ukraine.

However, these Remembrance Days serve as the best proof of the indifferent,
even scornful, attitude to this event on the part of regional authorities.
In fact, the required measures were formally approved in the Ukrainian
capital only after insistent reminders from activists in the Ukrainian

Quite a few books on the Holodomor have been published in Ukraine. However,
I cannot think of a single book that was published with state funds. The
proceedings of the international scholarly conference held in September 1993
were published by the Institute of History at the National Academy of
Sciences of Ukraine.

The proceedings of the conference held on Nov. 28, 1998, were published with
funds raised by the Ukrainian American Marian Kots. This philanthropist has
been instrumental in the publication of dozens of other books about the
Holodomor. All honor and respect to him!

Much can be said about the attempts to create a scholarly-research structure
that would embark on the study of the genocide of the Ukrainian nation
within the framework of the Institute of History.

For example, on Feb. 4, 2003, Viktor Yanukovych, the chairman of the
Organizing Committee to Prepare and Implement Measures in Conjunction with
the 70th Anniversary of the Holodomor in Ukraine, issued a directive stating
that “the scholarly work of the Ukrainian Genocide Research Center will be
adequately funded.” Yet to this day the state has not allocated a single
hryvnia for target-oriented studies in this domain.

Books published in Ukraine, with a print run of 1,000 copies, or even fewer,
cannot possibly have an impact on the process of healing the historical
consciousness of our citizens.

In December 2005 veterans in Kyiv held a meeting during which council
chairman Ivan Krasylnikov took the floor and spoke at length about the
merits of “Joseph Stalin, the greatest figure in the history of the world,”
while Yurii Syzenko, the first secretary of the CPU municipal committee,
referred to “the so-called Holodomor.”

Oleksandr Omelchenko, the then mayor of Kyiv, was present at the meeting and
declared that he was donating 300,000 hryvnias so that people could receive
complimentary issues of Kievskii vestnik [Russian-language Kyiv Herald] on
whose pages statements made by Krasylnikov, Syzenko, and others like them
are published.

The mayor made it clear that there would be no problem to double the amount
if need be. Thus, government funds are still being used to drum the
postulates from Stalin’s Short Course on the History of the AUCP(b) into
veterans’ heads.

On May 14, 2003, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a Message to the
Ukrainian People in conjunction with the Holodomor. The document defined the
Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. The bill
passed with 226 votes in favor.

Without a doubt, President Kuchma and Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr
Lytvyn had done their best to produce the minimum required majority of
votes, lest the Verkhovna Rada miss the 70th anniversary of the Holodomor

the way it missed its 60th anniversary.

During that decade historians and regional historians published mountains of
blood-curdling data. So it would have been strange if the parliamentarians
had ignored it.


I will briefly restate what I said in The Day in 2005 with regard to the
role played by the Ukrainian Diaspora in revealing to the world the scope
and fundamental nature of the Holodomor. In 1982-1983 the Diaspora
succeeded in organizing large-scale events commemorating the Holodomor’s
50th anniversary in a number of countries.

This was instrumental in the decision of the US Congress to set up what
became known as the Commission on the Ukraine Famine (1932-1933). The
commission’s activities forced Volodymyr Shcherbytsky to acknowledge in
December 1987 the fact of the famine in Ukraine.

This, in turn, gave researchers access to archives on the Holodomor.
Shcherbytsky’s successors allowed the publication of top-secret KGB archival
documents reflecting the true picture of what actually happened in the
Ukrainian countryside during the Holodomor. This was the systematic nature
of events initiated by the Diaspora.

This article analyzes another problem: why is the process of identifying the
Holodomor as a genocidal famine such a difficult one?

An analysis of the reasons preventing people outside Ukraine from
ascertaining this fact should start with the works of journalists and
scholars in the Ukrainian Diaspora, connected to the interpretation of the

Ukrainian immigrants talked about the Holodomor, relying on their own
experiences. They knew that the Soviet regime had placed them in a position
in which they simply had no chance of surviving. In communicating with each
other, they realized that the famine had engulfed the entire Ukrainian
countryside and that the Soviet regime was destroying Ukrainians.

After studying their eyewitness accounts, Western scholars, among them the
members of the U.S. Commission on the Ukraine Famine (1932-1933), arrived
at the conclusion that a genocidal famine had indeed taken place. At the
time, it was not possible to verify the reports of eyewitnesses to the

Holodomor, nor could archival work bring quick results.

After writing my first booklet entitled 1933: The Tragedy of the Famine,
which appeared in May 1989 (also published in the newspaper Literaturna
Ukraina in January and February 1989), I believed that the Ukrainian tragedy
was the result of an economic crisis, and that this crisis stemmed from the
forced collectivization campaign.

A more thorough-going familiarization with the archives of the CCCP(b)U led
me to a different conclusion, namely that the Soviet authorities punished
grain producers who had failed to fulfill the state delivery quotas by
levying fines in kind on them; in other words, practically the whole
Ukrainian countryside was made to suffer.

Special resolutions were adopted to levy fines of meat and “other
bread”-potatoes. These documents did not attract attention in the
collection that Ivashko allowed to be published.

It was only by cross- checking this data with eyewitness accounts (Mace
brought me a computer page-proof of the unpublished three-volume collection
in 1990) that the horrendous scope of the famine in Ukraine could be

It turned out that the “grain procurement officials” confiscated not only
grain, meat, and potatoes from the peasants, but also all food supplies that
had been collected to last until the next harvest.

This action, in the absence of any possibility to purchase food in the
countryside (peasants were excluded from the ration-card system) can only
be regarded as the conscious creation of conditions leading to death by
starvation. Thus, in my book The Price of the “Great Breakthrough”
(published in March 1991) the Holodomor is treated as an act of genocide.

At the time, however, I did not invest the term “genocide” with legal
content, and little did I comprehend the real motives of the government,
which was starving peasants to death.

Cloaking the confiscation of food in the form of “fines in kind” led me to
the idea that the government was punishing the peasants in such a barbaric
manner for failing to fulfill the official grain delivery quotas.

From the heights of our current knowledge of the Holodomor it becomes
obvious that the perpetrators of the act of genocide must have been governed
by a particular reason. The punishment of peasant debtors was selected as
this motive.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the voice of Soviet scholars was hardly
audible, while the voices of the Ukrainian Diaspora’s journalists and
researchers were reverberating mightily all over the world. What was the
weakness of our collective stands from the standpoint of the legal content
of the term “genocide”?

We could recount those criminal actions in detail but were unable to explain
Stalin’s reasoning. At the time we knew about the horrible scope of the
tragedy in Kazakhstan (larger than in Ukraine).

The cause of the Kazakh death toll was clearly apparent: most of the nomads’
cattle was confiscated for the meat delivery plan, and they were forced to
work the land. Unaccustomed to agricultural work, they slaughtered the
cattle left to them for food and then started dying of hunger.

Naturally, the famine in Kazakhstan was an act of genocide in essence, but
in the categories of criminal law it may be qualified as “manslaughter due
to negligence.”

The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of

Genocide, of Dec. 9, 1948, reads that “genocide means any… acts committed
with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or
religious group, as such…” In other words, you always have to prove the
murder of people as a deliberate intention.

The genocide of the Armenian people during the First World War was
understandable to everyone: the Armenians were massacred simply because
they were Armenian. The Holocaust of World War II is also understandable.

The Nazis massacred the Jews because they were Jews. Germany’s defeat
marked the starting point of criminal prosecutions against the Nazis,
including those who were responsible for the Holocaust.

The term “Holocaust” proved to be so easily identifiable that journalists in
our Diaspora started using the concept of the “Ukrainian Holocaust” with
regard to their own national tragedy. They failed to notice that there is a
methodological danger in equating the Holodomor with the Holocaust.

The expression “Ukrainian Holocaust” automatically leads one to the
erroneous conclusion that the Kremlin destroyed Ukrainian citizens simply
because they were ethnic Ukrainians. In actuality, the Ukrainian genocide
was not as primitively simple as Hitler’s “final solution” in regard to the

Identifying the Holodomor with the Holocaust was transplanted from the
Diaspora by our journalists. This is inadmissible, for two reasons.

First, we forget about the true Ukrainian Holocaust, the deaths of 1.6
million Ukrainian Jews at the hands of the Nazis.

Second, we will never convince anyone that the famine of 1932-1933 was an
act of genocide if we keep referring to it as the “Ukrainian Holocaust.” The
international community will never understand why the Kremlin was set on
destroying millions of ethnic Ukrainians precisely in the years 1932-1933.

How many millions of Ukrainians starved to death in Ukraine? Unfortunately,
our journalists and political figures are still using experts’ calculations
borrowed from Diaspora sources in the period when Soviet population
statistics were still secret.

In 1990 we reprinted the dictionary section of the Encyclopedia of Ukraine
published in the West, edited by the celebrated Ukrainian geographer and
demographer Volodymyr Kubijovyc.

One entry contains Kubijovyc’s tally of Holodomor death toll statistics
(nearly 2.5 million), and Dmytro Solovei’s figure from a book published in
Winnipeg in 1954-between four and five million.

Another figure (7.5 million) was cited in 1950 by T. Sosnov in a newspaper
published in Neue Ulm (West Germany). Later, Solovei, using the pen name of
Petro Dolyna, contributed his figures to the first joint monograph on Soviet
repressions in Ukraine, published by emigres in Toronto in 1955. His
estimates were based on a formula of complicated percentages that are
completely unsuitable for demographic analysis.

Nevertheless, Vasyl Hryshko used it in his book about the famine in Ukraine.
In 1983 an English version was published in Toronto and a Ukrainian one in

Eventually, this data was borrowed by Mykola Zhulynsky, the then deputy
prime minister of Ukraine and chairman of the organizing committee of the
international scholarly conference held in Kyiv (September 1993) to
commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Holodomor. Since then, Zhulynsky’s
statistics have often been cited: 7.5 million, including “direct losses” of
4.8 million people.

During the parliamentary hearings on honoring Holodomor victims (Feb. 12,
2003), Dmytro Tabachnyk, the then deputy prime minister of Ukraine, noted in
his speech that historians and demographers do not agree on the number of
lives lost during the Holodomor (estimates ranging from three to ten
million), but said that seven million looked liked the most reliable figure.

The question is: why do journalists and politicians favor estimates made in
the Diaspora? Is it possible that all these researchers have never looked up
Soviet demographic statistics that have been open for the past 17 years?

In March 1990 I flew to Canada from Moscow. The director of the Central
State Archive of the National Economy of the USSR, Vsevolod Tsaplin, gave
me permission to work in the archive for several days.

That is how I landed in Toronto with a large digital cargo and contacted two
world-renowned demographers with a proposal to write a joint article on
Ukraine’s population losses resulting from the famine of 1932-1933.

I contacted Professors Stephen Wheatcroft of the University of Melbourne and
Alexander Babyonyshev of Harvard University, a former Moscow dissident from
Sakharov’s circle, who signed his works using Bulgakov’s pen name Maksudov.
Maksudov’s book entitled Poteri naselenia SSSR (Population Losses in the
USSR) was published in the US in 1988.

It is an impossible task to tally up the human lives lost in the famines of
1921-1923 and 1946-1947 because we have no data relating to migrations and
population losses during the world wars.

However, the number of victims of the 1932-1933 famine can be estimated with
a great deal of accuracy, because this number constitutes the difference
between the censuses of 1926 and 1937, allowing for the balance of natural
and mechanical movement.

Maksudov helped to figure out some purely demographic problems, and I was
able to include my own estimates in the above-mentioned collection of
archival documents whose publication was specially approved by the Ukrainian

In early 1990, my and Maksudov’s article was published in Ukrainskyi
istorychnyi Zhurnal (Ukrainian Historical Journal). My estimates recorded
direct losses of 3,238,000 people, allowing for a margin of error of 3 to
3.5 million owing to inaccurate data on mechanical population movements.

Aggregate losses (allowing for the drop in births during the famine years)
reached five million. Maksudov refused to take into account official
statistics on the mechanical increment rate (which I still think is wrong),
so his estimates of losses wobbled between 4 and 4.5 million, and after
factoring in the drop in the birth rate, 6 million.

Using a completely different calculation method, which made it possible to
establish only aggregate losses sustained in 1926-1939, in 1992 Serhii
Pyrozhkov published his result: 5.8 million lives lost over 12 years. I
believe that his figures are closer to my own calculation of the death toll
over two years, compared to Maksudov’s.

Stephen Wheatcroft refused to sign our article. I believe that this
conscientious researcher was scared by the excessively high number of
victims, which emerged from the unbiased analysis of sources.

However, in an addendum to the collection of documents entitled Tragediia
sovetskoi derevni (The Tragedy of the Soviet Countryside) published in
Moscow in 2001, he published his own estimates of direct losses: between 3
and 3.5 million deaths in Ukraine, and between 6 and 7 million in the USSR.

So we have death toll statistics. What we do not have is a desire to use
them. Over the years no one has questioned scholars’ estimates. These
estimates were known to Dmytro Tabachnyk, e.g., who said that “historians
and demographers are arguing.”

But is it possible to use a number that you like, which thus seems to be
reliable? Unbiased findings on the Holodomor, not subjective preferences,
must be submitted to the court of world public opinion.



My series of articles entitled “Why did Stalin exterminate the Ukrainians?”
(Den, no. 207, 2005) includes a subsection on discussions with Russian
scholars, which corresponds thematically with the present question.

Indeed, these debates boil down to the assertion (on our part) or negation
(on their part) of the genocidal character of the Famine of 1932-1933.
Without repeating what I stated last year, I will dwell on the stand of
political figures who are deforming objective knowledge about the

I will start by characterizing the position of Ukrainian politicians. On the
question of Russia’s responsibility for the Holodomor it was contradictory,
but it was always aimed at defending personal powers. For politicians power
probably comes first under all circumstances.

In the subsection on the governing party’s attitude to the Holodomor I
mentioned Leonid Kravchuk’s speech at an international conference that took
place in September 1993. The president of Ukraine recognized the Holodomor
as an act of genocide perpetrated on instructions from Moscow.

Ivan Drach spoke next. In his speech he declared that the Russian Federation
was asserting itself as the legal successor to the White and Red empires, in
conjunction with which legal and ethical reasons emerge for Ukraine to
present a bill to Russia on account of the Holodomor.

“The time will come,” said the writer, “when 8 or 12 million eyewitnesses –
two or three times the number of those killed in the war of 1941-1945 – will
rise from their graves in every Ukrainian village and demand the abolition
of the statute of limitations on their deaths, which is only proper under
international law.”

I will not comment on the number of victims. Drach derived the right to
submit a bill from the unquestioned fact that Russia truly wanted to be the
legal successor of the USSR. However, this fact, as everyone understands,
belongs to the category of objective evaluations of the Russian political

Another fact is objective: the USSR was a totalitarian state whose peoples
were not responsible for the Kremlin’s actions. Drach’s emotional and
selfless (from the political point of view) speech corresponded to the
interests of Kravchuk and the party nomenklatura that he headed, which
wanted to move to a safe distance from Russia.

The Kremlin reacted rather indulgently to the Ukrainian political leaders’
emphasis on their political independence. Its reaction was elicited by the
specific features of its course of collecting the lands that had fallen
away. This course was formulated immediately after the collapse of the USSR.

It consisted in the creation in the post-Soviet countries of an elite social
stratum connected to the Kremlin with its economic interests at the expense
of Russia’s raw material resources.

This stratum was supposed to replace the Communist Party-Soviet
nomenklatura that was linked to the center only by political interests. The
political interest disappeared after Mikhail Gorbachev’s constitutional
reform that “lopped off” the dictatorial functions of the ruling party.

The replacement of the Kremlin- supporting social stratum was taking place
almost imperceptibly because private ownership of the means of production,
whose rights had been restored, was concentrated mainly in the hands of the
former Communist Party-Soviet nomenklatura.

The Kremlin’s influence on this process relied primarily on the penetration
of Russian capital into the economy of the former Union republics and second
of all, on maintaining their dependence on Russia-in the case of Ukraine,
through energy supplies.

Thanks to the difference in domestic Russian and world oil and gas prices, a
small but influential group of oligarchic businessmen emerged in Russia and
Ukraine. Business and politics are close connected in Ukraine.

Now the Ukrainian elite has stopped spurning Russia, once again in order not
to forfeit its power. On Feb. 23, 2003, an informal meeting of four
presidents – Vladimir Putin, Leonid Kuchma, Nursultan Nazarbaev, and
Aleksandr Lukashenko – took place in Moscow.

The presidents signed a statement with the long heading “On the New Stage of
Economic Integration and the Beginning of Talks on Forming a Single Economic
Space and Creation of a Single Regulatory Intergovernmental Commission on
Trade and Tariffs.” Thus, the new concept of a “Single Economic Space” (SES)
was introduced into daily life.

The concept and draft of the SES agreement had been developed already in
August 2003. A number of Ukrainian ministries showed a markedly critical
attitude, but at the Yalta meeting in September 2003 the Agreement on the
Creation of the SES was signed.

On April 20, 2004, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada passed the Law on the
Ratification of the Agreement on the Formation of the SES by a roll-call

There is no doubt that the results of the voting – and before that, the
positions of President Leonid Kuchma and Prime Minister Volodymyr
Yanukovych of Ukraine – were the consequence of heavy pressure from
the Russian Federation. On the eve of the presidential elections the
candidates needed support from the Kremlin, but for this support they
had to make certain commitments in return.

Readers may think that the previous paragraphs are a digression from the
present topic. In reality, they form the background against which subsequent
debates on the character of the Ukrainian Holodomor unfolded.

In 1991 the Communist Party-Soviet nomenklatura connected independent
Ukraine with the Ukrainian National Republic, which was crushed by the
Kremlin. This allowed historians to freely assess documentary sources and
more effectively rid themselves of sham communist stereotypes.

However, this also created difficulties for Ukrainian and Russian historians
in reaching an understanding of certain acute problems, one of which is the
Holodomor of 1932-1933.

Ukrainian and Russian historiographies are drifting increasingly farther
apart in assessing the recent past. In Ukraine, a thorough revision of the
Soviet concept of “socialist construction” is underway.

In Russia, however, this revision is superficial and selective. Developed in
the 1938 edition of the Short Course on the History of the AUCP(b), the
concept of socialist construction is still prevalent in our neighbor’s

In his introduction to the Russian edition of Le Livre noir du communisme:
Crimes, terreur, repression, the famous joint study by mostly French
scholars, Aleksandr Yakovlev wrote bitterly in September 1999: “Our students
and schoolchildren continue to study using the same (content- wise)
textbooks as before.”

Lest this statement by the chief architect of Gorbachev’s perestroika seem
grossly exaggerated, it would be useful to bolster it with the conclusions
of an historiographic analysis carried by Voprosy istorii (Questions of
History), the leading historical journal of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

In 2006 the journal published I. Chemodanov’s article under the paradoxical
heading, “Was There an Alternative in the USSR to Forced Collectivization?”
The author states that there are two approaches to this question, including
this one: the implementation of mass collectivization was on the whole

Further on he writes: “When the question arises of the price that the
peasantry paid, the advocates of all-out collectivization only spread their
hands: you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs, and every victory has
to be paid for.” That’s not all.

Summing up a survey of literature, Chemodanov arrives at the following
conclusion: in the mid-1920s there was a possibility of relatively dynamic
industrial development through a linkage with NEP-based agriculture, but by
the end of this decade there was no longer such a possibility: the
development of market relations in agriculture turned out to be incompatible
with the reinforcement of the planned principles of industry.

Hence his final conclusion: “There was only one way out of that situation:
mass forced collectivization.”

In thrall to Soviet stereotypes, this author did not even bother to consider
that the reinforcement of the planned foundations of industry was the result
of the voluntaristic decision of Stalin’s team to resume the course of
communist construction that was begun in 1918.

I think that we will continue to encounter difficulties in finding a common
language with many Russian scholars with regard to the Famine-Genocide of
1932-1933, if they continue to suggest that we spread our hands helplessly
and forget about the millions of victims: “You can’t make an omelet without
breaking eggs.”

The position of the journal Voprosy istorii would have been more
understandable some 20 years ago, when the collective farm system still
existed, albeit in its last death throes. But what is there to say now?


In the Kremlin’s arsenal there was a large assortment of forcible means that
were used for communist construction.

These included individual repressions that now and then acquired a mass
character: the “dekulakization” of the wealthiest stratum of peasant owners,
as well as poor peasants who opposed collectivization; terror by famine
under the guise of grain deliveries; deportation of large masses of the
population according to social or national markers; “purging” dissenters
from the governing party, and so on.

Using mass terror as a method of state governance, the Kremlin leaders did
not reckon with human losses even in cases when they fell under a category
known in international law as the concept of genocide.

Herein lies the secret of the Soviet genocide, which is unfathomable to
Western observers because it in no way resembles the Jewish or Armenian

We can have objections to the content of the concept of genocide that was
formulated and adopted by the United Nations together with representatives
of the Stalinist regime.

However, the famine of 1932-1933 in the Soviet Union, which was suppressed
until 1987, falls – on the territories of the Ukrainian SSR and the Kuban
district of the Northern Caucasus Territory – under the not quite complete
definition that already exists in international law.

Attempts to locate in the most secret archives the frank testimonies of
individuals who were directly involved in the organization of the
famine-genocide are naive. They are not even necessary. A frank admission
of guilt could be the “queen of evidence” only in jurisprudence headed by
Stalin and Vyshynsky.

Terror by famine was a likely possibility in the state that was building a
socioeconomic system that could not have emerged in a natural way.

This artificial system did not correspond to the interests of the
overwhelming majority of the population and therefore could only be built by
the method of force. Where force is used, there is terror.

Applied at the turn of 1932-1933, terror by famine was not the first such
occurrence in Ukraine. The famine of 1921 impeded Nestor Makhno’s peasant
detachments in their continuing struggle against the Bolsheviks.

The approaching famine became the straightjacket for the peasants, who had
been rebelling against all regimes since 1917. After the Kremlin established
this regular pattern, the Soviet government began to struggle against “kulak
banditry” in the southern famine-stricken gubernias of Ukraine with the aid
of forced grain deliveries.

In order to understand the situation in Ukraine in the fall and winter of
1932, as well as the way in which the Kremlin rulers reacted to it, it is
above all necessary to compare it to the situation that existed in the
winter and spring of 1930.

In March 1930, the growing anti-collective farm movement, especially in
Ukraine’s borderland districts, worried Stalin so much that he rejected the
communization of farms (just like Lenin did in 1919, also in connection with
mass uprisings in Ukraine).

In the commune state the Kremlin left a “small island” of private ownership
in the form of the peasants’ “personal” ownership of a plot of land attached
to a house.

The collectivization of agriculture in the artel (cooperative) form was
proclaimed as a completely voluntary matter. The previous course aimed at
the forced “collectivization” of peasant property began being identified
with local authorities’ “leftist distortions.”

In early 1932 the situation in Ukraine looked incomparably worse. As a
result of grain deliveries from the 1931 harvest, carried out by forcible
means, the Ukrainian peasants were left without grain.

During the first half of the year some 140,000-150,000 peasants starved to
death. They were dying because all their grain, their main source of food,
had been confiscated from them.

People whose personal plots could not feed them after their grain was
confiscated were dying. The following year, i.e., in the first half of 1933,
the peasants were dying the same way in the Volga area and all the districts
of the Northern Caucasus Territory, except the Kuban. In the first half of
1933 there was a complete different situation in the Kuban region and the
Ukrainian SSR – the Holodomor.

Here is some food for thought. In the first half of 1932 the Soviet
government was not destroying the Ukrainians by famine because they were
Ukrainians and not starving peasants to death because they were peasants.

The government purchased grain abroad, something it had never done before,
to provide seed and bread grain assistance to dozens of rural districts in
Ukraine. Of course, they were not rescuing peasants’ lives so much as the
1932 harvest.

However, the harvest forecast was not realized. Grain deliveries failed, and
the government’s ability to supply tens of millions of people with
centralized ration card supplies dropped sharply. Owing to the situation
that had developed, Stalin dispatched special grain delivery commissions to
the main grain-producing regions.

Famine broke out as a result of forced grain confiscations and the
cancellation of ration cards for many categories of the population, and with
it, a political crisis. The crisis could not be concealed behind pompous
newspaper reports on the start of operations of the Dnipro Hydroelectric
Station and other new construction projects of the first Five- Year Plan.

All the textbooks state that the Soviet totalitarian state deprived the
population not only of political freedom but also private ownership of the
means of production, along with freedom of enterprise.

However, they do not emphasize the direct consequence of the absence of
political and economic freedom: the obligation of the state to feed the
population on a daily basis.

Instead of taking measures to ease the situation of the starving population
of the Ukrainian SSR and the Kuban (as was the case in the first half of
1932), the Kremlin carried out the confiscation of non-grain food reserves,
i.e., terror by famine.

Soviet repressions were always of a cautionary character. Stalin did not
wait for an unfavorable situation to evolve and then react to it later.
Preventive strikes were used to destroy or isolate those who could take
advantage of the crisis in order to put an end to the “dictatorship of the
proletariat” concentrated in the hands of the Kremlin oligarchs.

What kind of threat did the Kremlin see in the Ukrainian SSR and the Kuban,
in other words Ukraine? We are accustomed to analyzing events of the
interwar period from the standpoint of perceptions that were formed later,
in the postwar period.

Besides being an ordinary aberration of historical vision defined by the
concept of presentism (i.e., the influence of the epoch in which a
researcher is living on his analysis of preceding epochs), this habit is
also explained by the stability of a political regime.

The regime that Lenin formed in the space of several months after the coup
of October 1917 did not actually change until Gorbachev’s constitutional

However, corrections should be made in two circumstances relating to the
problem under study. The first one concerns Stalin’s political weight and
the second, the functioning of the Soviet Union as a multinational state of
the imperialistic type.

Stalin acquired one-person power after a long (1922-1928) and difficult
struggle within the Politburo of the CC AUCP (b). Starting in 1929, he
exerted a decisive influence on the passage of the most important state
decisions, although he was not yet an omnipotent dictator, the way he is
remembered today.

In 1929- 1932 the destiny of the political group led by Stalin was hanging
by a thread. At any moment the political and economic crisis caused by the
excessively high rates of industrialization could have become so exacerbated
that it could have touched off the threat that Stalin’s group would be
ousted from power.

The leader had a lot to lose, and we know that he did not stop short of
committing a crime on the most massive scale, which helped reinforce his

Stalin’s transformation from a formal into a true dictator was the result of
the Holodomor and the Great Terror. This circumstance should be taken into
account when analyzing the general secretary’s actions in the critical
situation of 1932-193.

[2] The second circumstance that influenced the Kremlin’s decision to use a
weapon against Ukraine like terror by famine under the guise of grain
procurements is linked to the Soviet Union’s dual nature. On the one hand,
it was a unitary state with a centralized administration.

On the other hand, it was a federation of Union states, each of which had
the right to secede from the federation as laid down both in its own
constitution and the Union one. This federation of Union states was
transformed into a unitary state by the “dictatorship of the proletariat,”
which boiled down to the Kremlin’s dictatorship.

The crisis in the leadership of the state party was destroying the force
field holding the Union republics within the framework of the federation. We
are used to the kind of Soviet Union that it became after the Holodomor and
the Great Terror.

This was a unitary country in which any mention of the right to secede was
regarded as treason to the Motherland and punishable by death or the maximum
prison term (a precedent set by Levko Lukianenko). In this case “we” means
all of us Soviet people, starting from the highest-ranking leaders.

When the force field of the Communist Party dictatorship vanished after
Gorbachev’s constitutional reform and each Union republic got the
opportunity to leave the empire built with “steel and blood,” almost all the
leaders kept a low profile in their respective capitals, contenting
themselves with issuing declarations about state sovereignty.

All these republican leaders reminded one of baby birds that had been born
in a cage and were scared to fly out now that the door was open. The
situation exploded only after a putsch was organized by some high-ranking
leaders of the Union state, who had found themselves jobless after the
signing of the new Union agreement.

What was the Soviet Union like prior to the Holodomor and the Great Terror?
It must be acknowledged that it was a false federation in which the Kremlin
placed its own people at the head of all the republics.

These people were accustomed to submitting to iron party discipline. But
they did not forget either the needs of their own republics, which for them
were countries united around the Kremlin, or their constitutional rights.
Even Lazar Kaganovich referred to Ukraine as a “country” in his letters to

The leaders of that branch of the unitarily-built AUCP (b) known as the
Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine behaved particularly “insolently.”
They managed to get the bureau of the CC of the CP(b)U renamed as a
political bureau and the first secretary of the CC as general secretary
(this lasted until 1934).

They constantly demanded that the Kremlin annex the raions bordering on the
Russian Federation, which were inhabited predominantly by Ukrainians, to the
Ukrainian SSR. They were especially insistent about the Kuban and in the
meantime launched vigorous activity to Ukrainize the Kuban organs of power,
educational institutions, and the mass media.

They transformed the official policy of indigenization, which the Kremlin
began to implement after the formation of the Soviet Union in order to
enroot the organs of Soviet power in the national republics, into a policy
of de-Russification and began seriously regarding Russians in the Ukrainian
SSR as a national minority.

What can be added to everything stated above-perhaps the fact that even
without the Kuban the Ukrainian SSR was the most powerful national republic?
Its economic and human resource potential equaled that of the other Union
republics put together, except the RSFSR.

One could probably add that 15 to 20 years before the Holodomor the
Ukrainian people had their own national statehood and that the Kremlin
succeeded in replacing it by the Soviet one only after three “liberation
campaigns” against Ukraine.

Another significant thing was that the Ukrainian SSR bordered on European
countries, and there was an eight-million-strong Ukrainian enclave in Poland
that was awaiting the overthrow of the Bolshevik regime and reunification
with Greater Ukraine.

Stalin truly had grounds for striking a preemptive strike against the
citizens of the Ukrainian SSR and the Kuban in the critical situation of


In May 2006 The Day published my article “Society and the State on the
Scales of History,” which deals with the events of the last two decades.
Among other things it analyzed the “Russian question” in Ukraine.

In particular, I raised the idea that the successful development of Ukraine
as a state that would be different from Russia is ensured by abiding by two

[1] first, tolerance and self-restraint with regard to “inner” Russia –
Russian-speaking Ukrainians and Russians;
[2] second, maintaining friendly relations with the Russian people while
achieving complete independence from the Russian Federation, both
political and economic.

Such a conclusion did not appeal to everyone. One of my colleagues, who used
to be a high-ranking official, reminded me of the Soviet propaganda thesis
before Germany invaded the USSR: if Hitler tries to attack the world’s first
workers’ and peasants’ state, the German proletarians mobilized into the
army would turn their weapons against him.

These calculations were built on sand, he said; likewise, Ukraine cannot
expect support from the Russian people, which would go against the line of
the Russian Federation’s leadership.

I still think that we shouldn’t be afraid of the Russian people. The
argument of the German proletarians is not convincing, if only because the
USSR was not the world’s first workers’ and peasants’ state.

In addition – and this is the main thing – the situation in the world has
radically changed over the past 50 to 100 years. Unlike statesmen and
politicians, many of whom out of inertia continue to think in categories of
control over territories, nations want to live without borders.

They have the right to freely elect their leaders and expect effective
governance from them, which will ensure positive dynamics of well-being,
friendship with neighboring countries, admission to the global economic and
humanitarian space, and care for the preservation of national identity. It
is not nations that elicit fears but elites that manipulate people’s
consciousness. However, their possibilities are limited.

A revision of Soviet historical concepts is taking place in Ukraine and
Russia at different rates. Thus, knots of conflicts have formed, which are
negatively influencing Ukrainian-Russian relations.

Among them is the problem of the OUN-UPA or the assessment of the famine
of 1932-1933. In studying such problems, we must try to arrive at only one
thing: historical truth. Historical myths may seem useful, but they are only
a way to manipulate consciousness; you cannot build your own history on

Since Ukraine during its existence within the USSR suffered horrific
repressions, including the Holodomor, some representatives of our community
want to “present a bill” to the state-forming nation in the multinational
Union state, in other words, to the people of Russia, all the more so as the
Russian Federation is in no hurry to renounce its Soviet heritage.

When such appeals are voiced, they disunite not only neighboring peoples,
but also the population of Ukraine. Allegations devoid of historical
authenticity turn into Russophobia, which is equally unpleasant to almost
all strata of Ukrainian citizenry.

Although the study of the famine of 1932-1933 in the Russian Federation is
not encouraged, works by Western researchers make it clear that other
regions put together suffered no fewer human losses from the famine than
Ukraine (true, if you include the Kuban as part of the Russian Federation,
of which it was then a part and where it will remain forever).

When our public political figures accuse the Kremlin of destroying ethnic
Ukrainians, they often encounter a distrustful and skeptical reaction.
Identifying the Holodomor with the Holocaust is beneath criticism, although
in the final result it was ethnic Ukrainians who were being destroyed in

Stalin was annihilating not ethnic Ukrainians as such but citizens of
Ukraine, in other words representatives of Ukrainian national statehood,
which was dangerous to him even in its Sovietized form.

We cannot leave the truth about the Holodomor inaccessible to the
understanding of the international community and citizens of Ukraine itself.

We are duty-bound to show why those Kremlin monsters passed a decision
on a people-killing action on part of the territory of their own country,
which was completely well-informed, calculated in advance and painstakingly
supported by organizational and political measures.

The truth about the Holodomor must be free of emotional exaggerations, if
only with regard to the number of victims, otherwise it will be received not
as truth but as propaganda.

The truth about the Holodomor is part of the people’s historical memory. The
restoration of historical memory is directly connected with the liberation
of the people’s consciousness from Soviet stereotypes.

Unfortunately, among the many institutes that have emerged in Ukraine after
1991 with the aim of asserting its independence, to this day there is no
institute called upon to engage in the correction, healing, and restoration
of national memory.

As a result of the complete absence of informative work, a large part of
Ukrainian society cannot render an objective judgment on the balance sheet
of gains and failures of the first two decades of the Soviet period, i.e.,
the era of communist construction.

The consciousness of these people is still dominated by the distorted
assessments laid down in the Short Course on the History of the AUCP(b).
The famine-genocide of 1932-1933 clearly does not fit in with these
evaluations, as we have already seen.

The tragedy of the Ukrainian nation is attracting increasingly greater
attention among foreign researchers, especially in Italy, Germany, and

On Nov. 24, 2005, the Lithuanian parliament passed a resolution
commemorating the victims of political repressions and the famine-genocide
of 1932-1933 in Ukraine. On Dec. 20, 2005, a similar resolution was adopted
by the Georgian parliament, and on March 16, 2006, by the Polish Senate.

I would like to conclude this article with the closing statement of the
resolution of the Polish Senate:

“The Senate of the Republic of Poland pays homage to all those who were
tortured to death during the Great Famine in Ukraine, as well as to that
small number of heroes who often armed with weapons fought against the
threat of destruction of their people, against communist tyranny, hypocrisy,
and falsehood.

We are in solidarity with the actions of the Ukrainian people, as well as
the president, parliament, government, self-ruling organs, and veterans’
unions, which honor this tragedy that, like a warning against totalitarian
ideology, can never be forgotten.” -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Daria Hluschenko, Ukrainian News Agency, Thursday, August 24, 2006

KYIV – President Viktor Yuschenko expects the Verkhovna Rada to declare the
Great Famine of 1932-1933 an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.
He made this statement in his Independence Day address.

“I believe that in the next few months the Verkhovna Rada will fulfill its
duty to the Ukrainian people and legislate to acknowledge that the Great
Famine in Ukraine was an act of genocide against our nation.

And hence, the government has a clear task to ensure the erection of a
Memorial to the Great Famine Victims in Kyiv toward the 75th anniversary
of the tragedy,” Yuschenko said. He said he is sure that the Cabinet of
Ministers will help build the memorial.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the Security Service of Ukraine has
declassified the documents of the State Political Department also known as
GPU of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic concerning the Great Famine
of 1932 and 1933 that were deposited in the state archives of the SBU.

The Polish Senate (the upper house of parliament) called on the
international community in March to recognize the 1932-1933 famine in
Ukraine as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.

Ukraine is intending to draft a document on recognition of the 1932-1933
famine as an act of genocide by 2007 so that the United Nations Organization
could adopt it.

President Viktor Yuschenko recently called on the heads of state to
recognize the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine as an act of genocide against
Ukrainians. The parliaments of several countries have recognized the famine
as an act of genocide.

In November 2003, 25 member-countries of the United Nations Organization
drafted a joint statement that described the famine in Ukraine as the result
of the policies of a totalitarian regime. Other states later aligned
themselves with this statement.

In 2003, the Verkhovna Rada passed an address to the Ukrainian people in
which it promised to declare the famine an act of genocide. According to
various estimates, between 3 million and 7 million people died in the
1932-1933 famine in Ukraine. -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian, 26 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Sep 26, 2006
KIEV – Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk has urged the 61st
session of the UN General Assembly to recognize the famine of 1932-33
in Ukraine as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian nation.

He said such recognition would be of great importance for all the countries
that observe the principles of democracy and respect for the human being and
would confirm their loyalty to international commitments and readiness to
resist any act of totalitarianism, mass-scale and gross violations of human
rights and new cases of genocide.

He thanked the countries whose parliaments had recognized the famine as
genocide of the Ukrainian nation and commemorated its victims. He said such
responses are gladly welcomed in Ukraine and widely echoed in the world.

He thanked the countries which approved extending the agenda of the 61st UN
General Assembly’s session to the issue of protracted armed conflicts in the
GUAM region [including Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova] and their
consequences to the security and development of international community.

He said that Ukraine alongside the international community did not recognize
the recent referendum in Moldova [in the breakaway
Dniester region] as legitimate and all the attempts to use “the Kosovo
scenario” as a precedent to claim independence by self-declared regimes are

He said Ukraine is proud to be elected to the UN Human Rights Council and

is ready to work there alongside other countries.
“The strengthening of democracy, the rule of law, human rights protection
and other fundamental rights and freedoms of the person are the cornerstone
basics of Ukraine’s foreign and home policy,” he said. -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
[Holodomor: Induced starvation, death for millions, genocide of 1932-1933

By Nick Wadhams, Associated Press Writer
United Nations, New York, NY, Wednesday, Sep 20, 2006

UNITED NATIONS – Ukraine is campaigning for a U.N. General Assembly
resolution that would declare the 1932-33 famine [induced starvation]that
killed up to 10 million people a genocide, Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk

Ukraine has the support of several nations and Tarasyuk will use the
two-week annual U.N. General Assembly event now under way to canvass
dozens more, he said in an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday.

The resolution would accuse Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s regime of
deliberately instigating what Ukrainians call the Great Famine.

“We expect that the delegations here at the United Nations will deplore this
artificially made famine as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian
people,” Tarasyuk told The Associated Press. “We would like that the
international community pay tribute to those who perished.”

Stalin provoked the famine as part of his campaign to force Ukrainian
peasants to give up their land and join collective farms. Cannibalism was
widespread during the height of the disaster, which was enforced by the
confiscation of all food by the Soviet secret police.

Ukraine has long sought international recognition of the famine as a
genocide, but has been unable to overcome opposition from Russia and
governments that do not want to upset Moscow. The famine was kept secret
by the Soviet authorities, and it was only in 2003 that Ukraine declassified
more than 1,000 files documenting it.

That same year, Ukraine’s U.N. Ambassador Valery Kuchinsky presented a
statement signed by 30 countries that condemned the actions of Stalin’s
regime but stopped short of calling the famine a genocide.

Ukraine will mark the 75th anniversary of the famine in 2008, and Tarasyuk
said that would be an appropriate time for a General Assembly resolution
calling it a genocide.

Earlier this year, Ukraine failed in its bid for the Commonwealth of
Independent States, made up of 12 former Soviet republics, to consider
recognizing the famine as a genocide. -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

COMMENTARY: Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #774, Article 7
Washington, D.C., Saturday, October 14, 2006

A large number of outstanding organizations who are involved in helping
people around the word have joined with those organizations who want
to speak out and take action against genocide whenever and wherever it
occurs in the world today to create the SAVE DARFUR COALITION.

The Save Darfur Coalition’s mission is to raise public awareness about
the ongoing genocide in Darfur and to mobilize a unified response to the
atrocities that threaten the lives of two million people in the Darfur

The coalition is now an alliance of over 170 organizations. The Coalition’s
member organizations represent 130 million people of all ages, races,
religions and political affiliations united together to help the people of
Darfur, (

All of the organizational members have signed on to a statement demanding
peace and security for the people of Darfur,

One of the worst genocides in history occurred in Ukraine during 1932-1933
under the Soviets. Millions died from induced starvation. The Holodomor,
as it is now called in Ukraine, was the most heinous crime of Stalin and his
communist regime.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk
and other Ukrainian leaders around the world speak about the Ukrainian
genocide very often and state strongly it is something that must not ever
be allowed to happen again.

Ukraine wants the United Nations and the world to officially recognize
the terrible events in Ukraine in 1932-1933 as genocide.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk stated in an address before
the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on Monday,
the 25th of September, 2006 the following:

“The international community is responsible for protection of people under
the threat of genocide or other violations of fundamental human rights. In
two years we will mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. One and a half decade
before its adoption and yet before the tragedy of Holocaust Ukrainian people
had become victims of genocide.

Deliberately organized by the communist totalitarian regime with the purpose
of destruction of the vital core of freedom-loving Ukrainian people – its
peasantry, the artificial Holodomor in Ukraine of 1932-33 led to the death
of seven to ten million of innocent men, women and children which
constituted up to 25% of the then Ukraine’s population.

Having committed this inhuman crime, the communist regime tried to conceal
its scale and tragic consequences from the world community. And they
succeeded for a long time. After regaining the independence of Ukraine many
new appalling and horrifying facts have been revealed. Parliaments of a
number of countries took decisions recognizing Holodomor of 1932-1933 as
an act of genocide.

Ukraine calls upon the United Nations as the collective voice of the
international community to contribute to the commemoration of the 60th
anniversary of the Convention by recognizing Holodomor as an act of
genocide against the Ukrainian people.

Such a step would contribute towards making genocide and mass abuse

of human rights impossible in the future.”
But, as far as can be determined there is not one Ukrainian government
leader today who has spoken out about the genocide now going on in

There is not one Ukrainian organization in the world who has signed on
as a member of the Save Darfur Coalition.

It is time for President Viktor Yushchenko, Foreign Minister Borys
Tarasyuk and other Ukrainian leaders in Ukraine and around to world to
become actively involved in raising public awareness about the ongoing
genocide in Darfur and to help mobilize a unified response to the atrocities
that threaten the lives of two million people in the Darfur region.

Ukrainian leaders should be one of the first to speak out about genocide
in the world today, not the last or be among those who forever remain

The world remained silent in 1932-1933, the world did not respond,
and millions of Ukrainians died.

The way to honor and commemorate the memory of those who died

in 1932-1933 is to be fighting on the front lines today against genocide.
“When all the bodies have been buried in Darfur, how will history judge us?”
CONTACT: Save Darfur Coalition:

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