Ryzhkov on the Berlin Wall

Former Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov, writing in the Moscow Times:

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, the man who ended the Cold War and forever ended the threat of a global nuclear holocaust, has a simple answer for those who continue to blame him for the collapse of the Soviet Union and for “giving away” the former Soviet satellite states to the West. “What did I give away?” Gorbachev asks. “I gave Poland to the Poles and Czechoslovakia to the Czechs and Slavs.” And as it turned out, Russia went to the Russians as well.

Gorbachev never tires of reminding people of his political program at the time that the Berlin Wall fell: “We made an agreement [with Western leaders] to build a free Europe, a unified system of security … that would serve the interests of Germans, Russians, Europe and the whole world.” That is the principle value of perestroika, glasnost and Gorbachev’s “new thinking”: Every individual was given the chance to determine his own path. The only problem is that everyone chose different paths and traveled down differing roads over the past two decades.

Now, 20 years after the Berlin Wall fell Nov. 9, 1989, we see how much Europe and Asia have expanded and become stronger, while Russia has declined and continues to lag behind.

From the moment that the Cold War ended, the West started expanding and strengthening its two principal economic, political and security structures — NATO and the European Union. NATO experienced three waves of expansion, adding 12 new states and bringing its total number of members up to 28. The EU also expanded three times, bringing its number of member states to 27 with a combined population of almost 500 million. The number of countries aspiring to join both organizations also increased.

The East has gone through its own period of intense development. It has become an engine of growth for the global economy. China began its unprecedented perestroika even before the Gorbachev era. In 1990, the size of China’s economy ranked No. 11 in terms of gross domestic product, and today it is No. 3. Even during the current crisis, China has maintained a GDP growth rate of about 8 percent. As a whole, Asia took advantage of the end of the Cold War to open its doors to globalization and to become the second-largest economic center in the world after the combined force of the United States and the EU. The other major power in the East, India, has also strengthened both its democracy — the largest in the world — and its economy since the Berlin Wall fell.

In contrast to the successes in the East and West, Russia — the country that did so much to inspire all these changes — has ended up the biggest loser in the post-Cold War era. Twenty years later, the country has experienced a triple defeat. First, Russia has failed to modernize its economy or social sphere. Second, it has not been able to build an effective political system, creating instead a one-man authoritarian regime. Russia has lost its international reputation and its former superpower status, leaving it almost entirely without allies or the support of global public opinion.

The structure of Russia’s economy has significantly worsened over the last 20 years, and it continues to deteriorate. Fully 86 percent of Russia’s exports, constituting up to one-third of the country’s entire GDP, consist of raw materials, while 80 percent of the country’s imports are finished products. By comparison, Soviet-era raw material exports accounted for only 48 percent of GDP. Today, hydrocarbon exports account for up to 70 percent of Russia’s consolidated budget income. More than 70 percent of all shares traded on the Russian stock market are for companies from the raw materials sector.

Moreover, every attempt to create a modern, high-tech economy has ended in failure. The average Russian income remains at almost the same level as it was 20 years ago, while 20 percent of Russians now live below the poverty line. A mere 10 percent of the population earns more than 50 percent of all wealth in the country, and in 2008 the country’s 53 wealthiest Russians owned capital equaling 30 percent of the national GDP. In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, Russia dropped 12 places since last year, down to 63rd of 132 countries. For the first time, Russia fell behind countries such as Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia and even Azerbaijan.

Similar declines were seen in recent years in the areas of democracy and human rights. According to Freedom House, Russia moved from being a “free” state in the early 1990s to becoming firmly entrenched on the list of “unfree” states. According to a democracy rating conducted by The Economist magazine, in 2008 Russia found itself at the record-low 108th place among 167 countries. The picture is similarly bleak for ratings of freedom of speech, freedoms of nongovernmental organizations and so on.

This degradation has not been lost on Russia’s neighbors, which are distancing themselves as much as possible from Moscow. Instead, they consider Western institutions to be the better model for development. Only five former Soviet republics have relatively good ties with Russia — Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan — and even they are taking cautious steps backward. The other former Soviet republics  have either distanced themselves from Moscow or else broken ranks with Russia completely. The Kremlin is rapidly losing its two major means of influencing others — the “hard power” of economic and military incentives and threats and the “soft power” of attracting partners through its own example, culture and policies.

In short, Moscow is finding itself increasingly isolated from the international community. While the rest of the world is commemorating the 20th-year anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain, Russia is left wondering why it has so little to celebrate.

73 responses to “Ryzhkov on the Berlin Wall

  1. As usual, Ryzhkov nails it on Russia. However, he reminded me of something that has been bugging me the last couple of weeks during all the talk of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It seems to me that Gorbachev is getting WAY too much credit for it. I even hear it from sources from whom I wouldn’t have expected it.

    Case in point:

    “We made an agreement [with Western leaders] to build a free Europe, a unified system of security … that would serve the interests of Germans, Russians, Europe and the whole world.”

    Huh? When did that happen? Let’s get things straight, yes, Gorbachev’s reforms helped cause the fall of the Berlin Wall. However, the actual reason why it failed is because Gorbachev tried to tinker with a system that was put together with duct tape and bailing wire. Once he took one card away from the deck of cards, the whole thing collapsed, thus rendering them so weak that they could not prevent the wall from falling. He didn’t let Eastern Europe go, the Soviet Union lost its strength and its intimidation factor and the whole thing was over.

    Mixed metaphors aside, I only wish I could get credit for changing the world by screwing up. I’ve read a lot about Gorbachev and he was certainly a hero for pointing out the flaws in the system and for trying to create a “kinder, gentler” authoritarian system. He was just too naive to know that those systemic flaws were the only thing keeping the whole thing together and he lost complete control of it. I truly believe he is an honest, good man. He just happens to be wrong a lot, that’s all.

    What felled the Berlin Wall was a combination of the West completely outpacing the East and the East losing its grip on itself. The grass was greener on the other side, the right triggers came into place, and the rest was history.

    • Gorbachev was actually a frontman for a reformist wing of the KGB (he was formerly Andropov’s man) who wanted to reform the system because they were losing the Cold War badly and the economy was collapsing.

      It was NOT a purely humanitarian/democratic effort, just like it was a case with the de-Stalinization in the 1950s (even Beria as a leader would liberalize the system back then and it was actually him who opened the camps).

  2. Giving all the credit to Gorbachev helps the media avoid having to credit their archvillains Reagan and JP2. It also divorces the people from any role in rejecting communism; they wouldn’t do that, it was all a management problem. I think Western journalists are more in love with Stalinism than Putin if that is possible.

    • I think that it all happened really because of Gorbachev. You mentioned that it diminishes the people’s role in rejecting Communism, but I think there was no such role to speak of and there is nothing to diminish. They wanted Communism and did not want it to end. That’s why Gorby is so universally reviled.

      On the other hand, their warlord lamented the demise of the U.S.S.R. as the great tragedy, and that’s what I think a majority of their people feel like to. At least, the paramount leader enjoys an unprecedented support.

      So, by comparing their opinions of Gorby and of Putin, you can see what they think of Communism and the U.S.S.R.

      As for Reagan, his role I think is greatly exaggerated by the media and others. It’s naive to believe that everything that happened, happened just because he said “tear down this wall.”

      Definitely, the insane economic and ideological systems had weakened the U.S.S.R. considerably. Yet, even in that weakened condition, she could have continued for many more years. Clearly, there was enough strength to at least crush, by conventional means and sheer brutality, whatever rebellion was ripening in East Germany.

      But Gorby refused to do that even though he was able to. That’s what makes him such a transformational figure. It is he who destroyed Communism, willingly or unwillingly, not Reagan, all Reagan’s beautiful rhetoric notwithstanding. And that’s why Gorby is so passionately hated in the modern day Russia.

    • My impression is rather opposite – mr. Reagan is usually presented as an USSR destroyer. Nobody tells though what exactly he did that destroyed the soviets. In fact USSR was in pretty good shape in 1990, so the collapse was the result of internal forces rather than of direct exernal impact.

      • Absolute nonsense. The soviet economy was brought to the brink of collapse because the bolshevics were more interested in trying to use all the resources of the economy to counter Reagan’s active military and propoganda buildup against them (Reagan did this precisely to try to win the cold war, Slava Reagan!). Gorby did not bring in perestroika because he was a nice guy, he brought it in to try to turn around the russian economy that was on life support. The last thing he wanted was an end to the soviet russian empire. The very moment the man in the street understood that he probably wouldn’t be killed for demanding what is right, that is the moment that the soviet empire disintigrated.

        • > The soviet economy was brought to the brink of collapse

          Well firstly that’s exaggeration.
          Then look, economies of Ukraine or Liberia suck much more. Yet there’s no sign anything is going to change in politics there. So the able political regime usually can survive an economical disaster.

  3. Most Russians are not aware that the fact that they were starving in the last years of the USSR and the first years of Russian Federation was caused by the inherent flaws of the Soviet system. The fact that so many Russians were simply doomed to starvation otherwise, made Gorby so willing to reform and safe some image and greatness of the Russian state. He succeeded. Could he have kept Eastern Europe with the USSR in such conditions? No. They could have possibly crashed with brutal force just the poor Baltics whom nobody wanted to see as different from the rest of the USSR and striving towards the West where they once belonged. And that’s because the West saw the Balts worse of all in Europe (was the most ready to turn the blind eye on the Balts, enjoying the achievement of freedom of the rest, of the stronger, more independent European countries). Gorby saved some of honor and pride of the Russians and himself acting like he did. No matter how angrily the present Russians who stopped or started starving during the capitalist years see him. They forgot or never knew what choices did Gorby have, imho.

    • Well the soviet system had a lot of flaws indeed, but the statement “many Russians were simply doomed to starvation” is absolutely nonsence.
      The inefficient and corrupt soviet economy still worked much better than the current systems in Pribaltika or Tajikistan.

  4. LOL, Ouch, the Russian idiot zombie or the paid slave propagandist of his Putler idiot, is trying to fool the uninformed and compared The Baltic states to Tajikistan as equals. :D :D :D They never starved in the 20 c. either, except during wars caused by Russians and the first years of kolkhozisation they hated and tried to sabotage.

    • The kremlin killed about 10,000,000 Ukrainians, in one (1) year, 1932/1933, during their GENOCIDE by starvation – HOLODOMOR!

      • Well not Kremlin. The Holodomor was mostly made by local activists.
        And now the history repeats itself. The independent Kyiv already decreased the Ukrainian population on 10mln and there’s no end to it in sight.

        • Well Ouch, Russia is the state with the truly collapsing demographics.

          Naqvamdis ghorro!

        • BTW, Holodomir was ordered from Moscow to crush the Ukrainian independance and anti-communist movements.

          It was and is Russia’s great shame that it happened, and the constant denial of Russian crimes shows Russians to be little better than barbarians.

        • >> 1934 This is a quote from a communist leader speaking in the Kharkiv region in 1934:

          “Famine in Ukraine was brought on to decrease the number of Ukrainians, replace the dead with people from other parts of the USSR, and thereby to kill the slightest thought of any Ukrainian independence.”

          – V. Danilov et al., Sovetskaia derevnia glazami OGPU_NKVD. T. 3, kn.2. Moscow 2004. P.572

        • Dear Ouch,

          You are a brainwashed clueless teenager who believes his kremlin press releases.

          The kremlin is the only government that ORGANIZED 112,000 PAID serial killers, in a few weeks. {AKA GENOCIDE – AKA HOLODOMOR}

          In 1932 Ukraine had an average grain harvest of 146.6 million centers (15.5 million centers more than in 1928), and there was no climatic danger of famine. Yet, because of onerous forced grain requisition quotas that the kremlin imposed upon the Ukrainian rural population, the peasants already experienced hunger in the spring of 1932.

          The grain collections were brutally carried out by 112,000 special kremlin agents sent to Ukraine to extract grain by using terror against both collectivized and independent farmers.

          {They also confiscated or destroyed potatoes, beets, cabbage, pickles, and ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that they could find, that was normally edible.}

          Consequently mass starvation and disease became rampant, resulting in millions of deaths


          Lemkin’s {In 1943 he coined the term “genocide”} notion of genocide was much broader than the definition of that crime retained by the UN Convention. In particular, Lemkin’s victims of genocide included groups targeted because of their social and/or political identities. However, the Genocide Convention recognized only four groups of victims:

          national, ethnic, religious and racial.

          Ukraine is highly susceptible to racial murder by select parts and so the Communist tactics there have not followed the pattern taken by the German attacks against the Jews. The nation is too populous to be exterminated completely with any efficiency. However, its leadership, religious, intellectual, political, its select and determining parts, are quite small and therefore easily eliminated, and so it is upon these groups particularly that the full force of the Soviet axe has fallen, with its familiar tools of mass murder, deportation and forced labor, exile and starvation.




      • LES,

        Actually more like over 3 million.

        But in just the few worst months there were more deaths than in several years before this (including the previous months of the forced famine). Mostly children, I’ll add.

        Now, stop feeding [yeah, it’s ironic] a troll.

    • > the Baltic states to Tajikistan as equals

      Both are failed state, their economies are just the burden to the world, unsustainable without the external welfare. That’s what i meant.

      • Russia is a failed state by that definition, just look at what happens to your economy when foreign investors realise that Russia is a lawless, amoral cesspit.

        • Yet can call Russia ‘lawless amoral cesspit”, but you can’t call it a ‘burden’. We pay our bills not asking for favours, and even manage to help some other countries out. That’s the difference.

          • Russia help anyone? LOL

            Yes, if you consider arms transfers to Serbia & Sudan in violation of UN arms embargoes “helping people out”

            Russia has already done one default on its foreign debt, it is quite likely to do another in the near future.

            You have never paid your debts as a nation to those you occupied and opressed for so long.

            The US & UK give many times more in foreign aid than Russia, and do far more good in the world, hell, even New Zealand with 4 million people does more good in the world than Russia.

  5. As long as Russia is lucky to have oil and gas and other goods in its soil, Europe – including the Baltics – pays its people’s bills – Russians pay much less for their home sustainment each month – water, gas, heating – than what it costs to bring all that to their appartments.
    The Baltics are not failed states – their people work and pay their bills, even in case they would work abroad – mostly in the West, not in Russia, which is lawless and wouldn’t pay them as much as their work may be worth. :D Learn the concept of the failed state before you use it. You compatred the Baltics to Tajikistan because you saw (or wanted to spread, lol?) some antiBaltic propaganda on your Russian TV or your Russian sites… Putin fears that Baltic Russians don’t want to leave to Russia and the Russian Russians would gladly come to the Baltics and see how Russia is much more of a failed state – cesspit, if you prefer that, lol, that’s why he spread that propaganda. Commies were dumped by LT voters in the latest elections and the Conservatives achieved some more order, so the commies are utterly relentless helpers of Putin in that now – desperate to come back to power again. Dream on that the Baltics will ever look and feel like Tajikistan. Never, unless Russian idiots come and “help” with their bombs. Or not even in that case, depends on how effective killer of life the bomb will be.

  6. See the BBC video report:


    And the story from:

    The Guardian

    Home Pages

    Recognition at last for Welsh reporter who exposed Ukraine’s famine to the world:

    Gareth Jones’s diaries from Stalin’s 1932-33 ‘genocide’ go on display for first time

    Mark Brown Arts correspondent

    13 November 2009

    © Copyright 2009. The Guardian. All rights reserved.

    In death he has become known as “the man who knew too much” – a fearless young British reporter who walked from one desperate, godforsaken village to another exposing the true horror of a famine that was killing millions. Gareth Jones’s accounts of what was happening in Soviet Ukraine in 1932-33 were different from other western accounts. Not only did he reveal the true extent of starvation, he reported on the Stalin regime’s failure to deliver aid while exporting grain to the west. The tragedy is now known as the Holodomor and regarded by Ukrainians as genocide.

    Two years after the articles Jones was killed by Chinese bandits in Inner Mongolia – murdered, according to his family, as punishment in a Soviet plot.

    Jones’s remarkable story is being told afresh by his old university, Cambridge, which is displaying for the first time his handwritten diaries. They will go on display at the Wren Library alongside items relating to rather better known Trinity old boys such as Newton, Wittgenstein and AA Milne, coinciding with a new documentary about Jones and the famine, The Living, which gets its British premiere this evening.

    Rory Finnan, a lecturer in Ukrainian studies at Cambridge, called Jones “a true hero”. “He is a remarkable historical figure and it is also remarkable that he is not well known. Jones was the only journalist who risked his name and reputation to expose the Holodomor to the world.”

    Born in Barry in 1905, Jones became interested in Ukraine and learned Russian because of his mother, who worked as a governess for the family of John Hughes, a Merthyr Tydfil engineer who founded a Ukrainian town called Hughesovka – now Donetsk. Jones became David Lloyd George’s foreign adviser, visiting the USSR for the first time as the former prime minister’s eyes and ears.

    However, it was in 1932-33 that Jones would make his name, walking alone along a railway line visiting villages during a terrible famine that killed millions. He sent moving stories of survivors to British, American and German newspapers but they were rubbished by Stalin’s regime and derided by Moscow-based western journalists. The only other reporter writing about the extent of the famine was Malcolm Muggeridge in the Manchester Guardian, although his articles were heavily cut and not bylined.

    Jones walked from one starving village to another, sending reports of the famine that were rubbished by the Stalin regime.

    In Ukraine, Jones is something of a national hero and last year both he and Muggeridge were awarded the highest honour Ukraine gives to non-citizens, the order of freedom, for their reporting. Jones’s great-nephew, Nigel Linsan Colley, said he was pleased his great-uncle is finally being recognised. “I don’t know whether he was brave or stupid. He knew the risks he was taking, I think, but because he was a British citizen he thought he was indestructible.”

  7. Again the articles were damned and wrongly discredited. Banned from the USSR, Jones decided he wanted to explore what was going on in the far east and, in particular, what Japan’s intentions were. The day before his 30th birthday Jones was kidnapped and killed by Chinese bandits. Jones’s descendants believe it happened with the complicity of Moscow. “There is no direct proof,” said Colley, “but plenty of indirect proof.”


  8. The White House

    Office of the Press Secretary

    For Immediate Release November 13, 2009

    Statement by the President on the Ukrainian Holodomor Remembrance Day

    Seventy six years ago, millions of innocent Ukrainians – men, women, and children – starved to death as a result of the deliberate policies of the regime of Joseph Stalin. Tomorrow, we join together, Ukrainian-Americans and all Americans, to commemorate these tragic events and to honor the many victims.

    From 1932 to 1933, the Ukrainian people suffered horribly during what has become known as the Holodomor – “death by hunger” – due to the Stalin regime’s seizure of crops and farms across Ukraine. Ukraine had once been a breadbasket of Europe. Ukrainians could have fed themselves and saved millions of lives, had they been allowed to do so. As we remember this calamity, we pay respect to millions of victims who showed tremendous strength and courage. The Ukrainian people overcame the horror of the great famine and have gone on to build a free and democratic country.

    Remembering the victims of the man-made catastrophe of Holodomor provides us an opportunity to reflect upon the plight of all those who have suffered the consequences of extremism and tyranny around the world. We hope that the remembrance of Holodomor will help prevent such tragedy in the future.


  9. By 1933 there were numerous incidents of cannibalism, and this despite the fact that the 1932 Fall harvest had been a good one. States Dolot, “From the very start of the harvest to the end, not a single pound of wheat had been distributed to the village inhabitants. Nothing was left for them. We were told that all the grain had to be transported to the railroad stations. We also learned that there it had been dumped on the ground, covered in tarpaulins, and left to rot.”

  10. Dear Robert,

    The 3,000,000 # that you gave comes from the kremlin spin-doctors, or some clueless bookworm scholars, that could not fathom the intentional mass murder – GENOCIDE BY STARVATION {PRONOUNCED HOLODOMOR} – that the secular uncivilized barbarians from the kremlin orchestrated. Some “scholars” base their 3,000,000# on statistics.

    “Definition of Statistics: The science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures.”
    Evan Esar quotes

    “Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”
    Aaron Levenstein quotes

    “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.”
    Mark Twain quotes (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910)

    >> 1937 The demise of the USSR and the opening of archives have shed light on this matter by revealing the results of the previously suppressed 1937 census. According to the 1937 census, the number of Ukrainians, within the USSR in 1937, decreased by 16%. Meanwhile, based on the 1939 census, the population of Russia increased by almost 30%.

    The fact that the 1937 Soviet census was officially declared invalid by the kremlin and not released suggests that its results indicated a catastrophic population decline as a consequence of the Holodomor.

    The above map of Ukraine clearly shows that there was no famine in the Crimea (where the secular uncivilized barbarians from the kremlin had their “dachas”) and in Western Ukraine (which was occupied by other European countries). This clearly shows that the Ukrainian people {PRONOUNCED HUMAN BEINGS} were targeted by the kremlin!

    Fact file: during three months of 1933, over 600,000 people died in Kharkiv oblast. The total mortality count reached 2,000,000-one-third of all peasants in the region. As can be seen from archival photographs, peasants died on the city’s central street. Every morning their bodies were dumped into suburban ravines. Every evening the streets were covered with new corpses.

    Kharkiv was then the capital of the Ukrainian SSR, so historians call the city in that period “the capital of despair.”


    If two million (2,000,000) died in that one (1) region, how can three million (3,000,000) be a viable accounting for the HOLODOMOR in the entire?

    The pregnant Ukrainian women died because they had to eat for 2-4 people. When the parents died, then the children died also.

    Back then, Ukrainian families in the towns and villages had 5-10 children (my Father had 11 siblings).

    Vovkun said that a relevant decision has been today made at the Cabinet meeting. According to different estimates, the Great Famine (Holodomor) took from 7 to 10 million lives in Ukraine, including around 4 million children, which was 25% of the country’s population at that time.
    (Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, October 14, 2009)

    Special detachments of urban activists searched the homes of collective and independent farmers and seized all the grain they could find to fulfill the delivery quota. Peasants were forbidden to save grain for seed, feed, or even human consumption; all of it was removed.

    To minimize peasant opposition, a law introduced the death penalty ‘for violating the sanctity of socialist property.’ This state of affairs led to the terrible, man-made Famine-Genocide of 1932-3, which resulted in several million deaths from starvation and related diseases in Ukraine…



    If a starving Ukrainian peasant was caught looking for a few stalks of wheat in the mud, after the harvest, they were shot.

    In 1932 Ukraine had an average grain harvest of 146.6 million centers (15.5 million centers more than in 1928), and there was no climatic danger of famine. Yet, because of onerous forced grain requisition quotas that the Bolshevik state imposed upon the Ukrainian rural population, the peasants already experienced hunger in the spring of 1932.

    The grain collections were brutally carried out by 112,000 special Bolshevik agents sent to Ukraine to extract grain by using terror against both collectivized and independent farmers. Consequently mass starvation and disease became rampant, resulting in millions of deaths.

    The Holodomor affected almost all parts of interwar Soviet Ukraine, but it grew to massive proportions in the republic’s southern and eastern oblasts. It also occurred in the territories bordering on the Ukrainian SSR that were populated mostly by Ukrainians, such as the Kuban and the Don region. Only an insignificant part of the population—the privileged rural Communist functionaries, who were served by a special distribution system—did not experience hunger. Urban inhabitants and industrial regions suffered less, because they received food rations. But the peasants were forced to try to survive on various food surrogates. Consequently mass starvation and disease became rampant, and occurrences of cannibalism were reported. Whoever had the strength fled to the cities, to the industrial Donets Basin, or to Russia in search of food. Peasants who were caught were repressed or returned to their starving villages, where the vast majority perished alongside those who had been too weak or ill to attempt escape.


    >> 1930 The kremlin relocated many Ukrainians to Kazakhstan, the kremlin begins to orchestrate another GENOCIDE on the territory of Kazakhstan. By 1932, about 80% {?} of the non-russians in the territory of Kazakhstan are exterminated by the secular uncivilized barbarians in the kremlin, and some villages did not have any living children.




    PS When I went to the family cemetery in Southern Ukraine, next to the graves of my Grand-Parents I noticed an 8×12 inch stone, lying flat and covered with snow. A few yards away was my Great-Grand-Father’s monument, which was over 12 feet high. I took off my gloves to clean the snow off of the stone, and saw: Maria (with my surname) January 1933. My surviving relatives could not tell me anything about her, but they said that when a baby died, and was “lucky” enough to be properly buried, the baby received a small stone. I do not know if she was a sister or a cousin, but I do know what she never had a chance to give me any nephews or nieces. I doubt that she was included as a statistical victim of HOLODOMOR, just like the so many other unknown little children that died in the villages, and were not counted.

    • Dear Robert,

      I rewrote part of my comment:

      The above map of Ukraine clearly shows that there was no famine in the Crimea (where the secular uncivilized barbarians from the kremlin had their “dachas”) and in Western Ukraine (which excluded the Ukrainian people and lands that were not ENSLAVED by the kremlin in that time period). This clearly shows that the Ukrainian people {PRONOUNCED HUMAN BEINGS} were targeted by the kremlin!



      PS I posted my rebuttal to kremlinoid “A.” in error (due to a senior moment), at:


      • LES, you are clearly delusional and paranoid. Me, a “kremlinoid”? LOL That is funny coming from a Little Russian chauvinist who babbles about “Western Ukraine” (which is a Sloviet creation) and who tries to justify Soviet annexation of Polish and Romanian territory and the Russian/Ukrainian genocide of the native population of that territory. You really need medical help LES, no offence, you’re worse than “I’m Russian” and “Agrippa”

  11. >> 1932-33 The KREMLIN REMOVES ALL FOOD FROM Ukrainian villages, does not allow food to enter Ukraine, does not allow Ukrainians to leave Ukraine, or their villages, and creates GENOCIDE by starvation in Ukraine! {about ten million (10,000,000) Ukrainians are killed in this GENOCIDE called HOLODOMOR!} Dead bodies, from an artificially created starvation, litter the streets of Kyiv, like cigarette butts in NYC. Meanwhile, there are no dead bodies on the streets of moscow! In fact, there are banquets in moscow. In fact, dead bodies, from an artificially forced starvation {PRONOUNCED GENOCIDE}, were strewn in the streets, throughout all of the cities in the Ukrainian territory that was occupied by the moskali! Now the kremlin will have to re-rewrite their history books {AGAIN} and claim that dead bodies littered the streets of moscow in 1932-33, also?

    Ethnic Russians later poured into these vacated {PRONOUNCED GENOCIDE}, cultivated and furnished areas, dramatically altering their ethnic makeup and laying the ground for bitter disputes that continue to this day.

  12. LES, I appreciate the fact that you are trying to increase awareness of the genocide suffered by the Ukrainians in the 30s, but there are some objectionable things about your posts. First of all, you talk about “Western Ukraine” being “occupied by other countries” back in the 30s, which is ridiculous. What you call “Western Ukraine” consists of territories that belonged to Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania and had nothing to do with Ukraine before being invaded by the Soviets and annexed to Ukraine.

    And I also object to the idea that Ukrainians were perpetual victims of the USSR. The situation is a bit more ambivalent. Ukraine was given territories it had no historical claim to (and to this day, Ukraine’s borders are the result of the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact), and Ukrainians participated in the forced Russification of non-Slavic “Soviet republics”. And even today Ukraine is trying to assimilate the native populations that inhabit the territories annexed during World War II.

    I think Ukraine’s future lies in the EU and in NATO, but if Ukrainians don’t want to be just a “little Russia” the need to have a more honest and nuanced understanding of their history, and be more sceptical of ultra-nationalist myths.

    • Well, it’s Ukraine today, it had a majority of ethnic Ukrainians, and pro-independence militant organizations of Ukrainian nationalists, too, right? So I guess it was pretty much occupied. (Then it was occupied by the Soviet Union/Russians/Moscow, and by the Germans too.)

      • It’s Ukraine today only thanks to Hitler and Stalin and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

        • That was pretty harsh. Hitler and Stalin killed millions of Ukrainians and none of them planned an independent country for them.

          • Hi Robert,

            Russification of Ukrainians by the Moskali has been an ongoing genocide – for centuries, and Ukrainians have been fighting (and dying) Russification – for centuries .

            But, “A.” claims that Ukrainians are Russifying others ?? HELOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW ??

            Sincerely, LES

    • Western Ukraine has been in the past very multi-ethnic, but the inhabitants have ALWAYS been majority Ukrainian. Just because it was part of Poland did not make it Polish. When the area was ruled by Ausria-Hungry, did that make it German? Eastern Ukraine has been ruled from moscow for centuries. Why don’t you consider it Russian? The current borders of Ukraine are a reasonable manifestation of the true Ukrainian land. I would add Kuban to that because until the Holodomor, it also had a majority Ukrainian population, but now not.

      • Not really. For instance, Bucovina and Southern Bassarabia were always ethnically Romanian. And they had historically nothing to do with Ukraine. The ethnic make-up only changed due to ethnic cleansing and genocide after World War II, committed by both Russians and Ukrainians.

        • And you know there was also ethnic cleansing OF the Ukrainians after WWII, right? And a resistance movement?

        • Incorrect. Bukovina has always been Ukrainian ethnic territory.

          • Please stop making uininformed comments. Bucovina was never part of Ukraine, and even today the region as a whole has a Romanian majority. Northern Bucovina was annexed by the Soviets during WWII, and the current overall Ukrainian majority in Northern Bukovina (even though some “raions” are still predomninantly Romanian) is the result of Soviet deportation and genocide.

            So by “always” you mean the last 50-60 years? Before the 19th century, Bucovina was almost 100% Romanian, and it was the Austrian occupiers who first settled large numbers of Slavs (mostly Ruthenians, and it’s debatable whether Ruthenians are Ukrainians). But even after a century of colonization Bucovina had a Romanian majority before the Soviet invasion.

              • Some of the info on that website is inaccurate, but overall it doesn’t contradict what I said. So:

                FACT: There were barely any Slavs in Bucovina prior to the 19th century. (according to the Austrian census, Romanians were 85% of the population when the area was annexed by Austria; up until the Soviet invasion the Romanians were the largest ethnic group)

                FACT: Romanians are the indigenous population of Bucovina. Virtually the entire Slavic population was transplanted there in the 19th century, and then in greater numbers after 1944.

                FACT: Bucovina belonged to the Romanian principality of Moldavia (until 1774), to the Austrian Empire (1774-1918) and to the Kingdom of Romania (until the Soviet invasion). Ukraine or Russia don’t figure anywhere on the list. Prior to 1991, Ukraine only existed as an internationally recognized independent state once, and even the short-lived Ukrainian People’s Republic recognized Bucovina as part of Romania.

                So please educate yourself, instead of making a fool of yourself by emitting opinions on issues you know nothing about. Thanks.

  13. Kremlin secrecy extends to Holodomor archives
    June 18 at 19:23 |

    Vladimir Ryzhkov Vladimir Ryzhkov writes that the Russian government has to open its archives if it truly is interested in fighting falsification of history.

    It is absurd that documents regarding the famine deaths of millions of people in 1932 and 1933 in southern Russia and Ukraine are still classified. Interestingly enough, Russia never tires of accusing Ukraine of falsifying history when Kyiv claims that the Holodomor, or famine, was an act of Soviet (read: Russian) genocide against the Ukrainian people. Moscow maintains that Stalin’s policy of seizing food supplies was directed against all the agricultural regions of the Soviet Union – mainly Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan – regardless of ethnicity. If that is the case, why doesn’t the Kremlin immediately declassify those documents and expose Stalin’s decisions? In this way, the Kremlin warriors for historical truth could pull the rug out from under Ukraine’s allegedly “brazen attempt to falsify history.”

    Vladimir Ryzhkov, a State Duma deputy from 1993 to 2007, hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio. This column was originally published in the Moscow Times (www.moscowtimes.ru) on June 9 and is reprinted with the author’s permission.


  14. Dear A,

    With all due respect, I think that you have read so many BS kremlinoid comments, that their subliminal brainwashing is affecting you. Ukraine has been attacked and occupied by the Countries on the North, South, East and west, for centuries. If someone steals something from you, and returns it, they are not giving you a gift!

    One of the tragic things for Ukrainians is that their history has been rewritten by the kremlin, and incorporated into western history books.

    Ukrainian lands go well past the present day borders of Ukraine:


    Ukrainian settlement of Kuban first started in 1792 when the Black Sea Cossack Host was given the rights to these lands by the Empress Katherine II. According to the Ukaz of 30.6. and 1.7.1792 these lands were handed over to the Black Sea Cossacks “for eternity”. Therefore, the kremlin should give back the Kuban also.

    The 1897 census combined both the Russian and Ukrainian population together. Together they made up 97.64% of the population. The number of Ukrainian language speakers was 859,122 (49.1%).The number of Russian language speakers was 732,283. (41.1%)[1]. The ethnographer Pavlo Chubynsky stated that the number of Ukrainians in the Kuban was understated and that they also made up 60% of those who put down Russian as their language were of Ukrainian ethnicity. The ethnographer and statistician O. Rusov also noted a similar number in his writings. [2].

    Ethnographic map of the Slavic peoples prepared by Czech ethnographer Lubor Niederle showing territorial boundaries of Slavic languages in Eastern Europe in the mid 1920’s:

    >> 1918 The West Ukrainian People’s Republic was proclaimed on November 1st, 1918.


    >> 1939 On March 15 Carpatho-Ukraine declared its independence as the “Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine”, with the Reverend Avhustyn Voloshyn as head of state.

    “The First Constitutional Law of Carpatho-Ukraine” of March 15, 1939 defined the new status of the country as follows:

    1. Carpatho-Ukraine is an independent state.
    2. The name of the state is: Carpatho-Ukraine.
    3. Carpatho-Ukraine is a republic, headed by a president elected by the Sojm of Carpatho-Ukraine.
    4. The state language of Carpatho-Ukraine is the Ukrainian language.
    5. The colors of the national flag of the Carpatho-Ukraine are blue and yellow, blue on top and yellow on the bottom.
    6. The state emblem of Carpatho-Ukraine is as follows: a bear on a red field on the sinister side, four blue and three yellow stripes on the dexter side, as well as the trident of Saint Volodymyr the Great.
    7. The national anthem of Carpatho-Ukraine is “Sche ne vmerla Ukraina” (“Ukraine has not perished”).
    8. This act comes valid immediately after its promulgation.
    9. map:

    10. The Ukrainian battle against the Nazi supported Hungarians’ attack on Carpatho-Ukraine may be considered the first battle of WWII.

    Both Hitler and Stain temporarily closed the Ukrainian “question” in 1938—1939. Hitler again duped the Western democracies and deliberately provoked a fuss over Ukraine as a disguise. Then he finally seized Czechoslovakia, which was humiliated by the 1938 Munich treachery, without a single gunshot in March 1939, dismembered the ill-fated country, and reached the strategic border of the now doomed Poland. Leaving Carpatho-Ukraine to the tender mercies of Hungary in exchange for the Hungarian dictator Mikl s Horthy joining the Axis on Feb. 29, 1939, Hitler helped the Polish government achieve its dream — “a common border” with Hungary.
    In his turn, speaking on March 10, 1939 (four days before the Hungarian invasion of Carpatho-Ukraine), at the 18th Congress of VKP(b), Stalin sent Hitler a positive signal from the topmost Kremlin podium, accusing the Anglo-French and North American press of whipping up tension around the Carpatho-Ukraine question and intending “to stir up the Soviet Union’s rage against Germany, poison the atmosphere, and provoke a conflict with Germany for no apparent reason.”
    This, in fact, triggered a tumultuous affair between Stalin and Hitler: within just a few months they became conspirers and accomplices in the destruction of Poland and allies in the early stage of World War II.




    PS You made other unthinking remarks, which should be addressed later.

  15. LES, what are you talking about? “Subliminal Kremlin messages”? What does that have to do with the HISTORICAL FACT that there was no “Western Ukraine” in the 30s and that Ukraine’s current borders are the result of Soviet aggression in 1940. Just as I have no time for Russian falsifications of history and imperialist myths, I have no time for Ukranian falsifications of history and nationalist myths. When did Bucovina or Southern Bassarabia belong to Ukraine before 1940, and 1947 respectively? Could you give me any legal claim apart from the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, and (the Ukrainian) Khruschev’s arbitrary decisions?

    Unfortunately, Ukraine shares some unpleasant traits with Russia (artificially inflated borders, widely held nationalist myths that have nothing to do with history, oppression of minorities, and a mythology of victimization that is not always based on rational grounds). So I repeat, if you don’t want to be a “little Russian” stop acting like a Russian with a chip on his/her shoulder.

    • Acyually, Krushchev was an ethnic Russian, born in Russia, he did however help organise bolshevik activities in eastern Ukraine and lived in Ukraine for much of his adult life.

      He was a Russian.

      • He may have been an ethnic Russian (but he grew up in Ukraine, if I’m not mistaken), but my broader point was that 1) current Ukrainian borders are a result of arbitrary Soviet decisions based on no legitimate legal or historical grounds and 2) Ukrainians weren’t perpetual victims of the Soviets; while they suffered horribly under Stalin, in subsequent Soviet administrations Ukraine benefitted territorially and Ukrainians were to some extent a privileged nation in the USSR and contributed actively in other republics to the Russification and ethnic cleansing that they now accuse the Russians of (see the Ukrainian settlers in the Baltics and in Bassarabia, who still speak only Russian and still refuse to integrate). So I was only arguing for a sober, realistic view of history.

        • I understand entirely, but interestingly he never referred to himself as Ukrainian.

          On your other points, they are true to a great extent, however I will note that Ukrainians in Georgia (in my experience) speak Georgian and are quite well intergrated as a general rule. So are a large percentage of the Russian population.

          I think it has to do with being a long way from Moscow.

      • >> 1956 In February 1956, Nikita Khrushchev in his speech On the Personality Cult and its Consequences condemned the deportations as a violation of Leninist principles, asserting that the Ukrainians avoided such a fate “only because there were too many of them and there was no place to which to deport them.”

  16. In 1953 Raphael Lemkin described “the destruction of the Ukrainian nation” as the “classic example of Soviet genocide.”

    He wrote:

    “…the Ukrainian is not and never has been a Russian. His culture, his temperament, his language, his religion, are all different…to eliminate (Ukrainian) nationalism…the Ukrainian peasantry was sacrificed…a famine was necessary for the Soviet and so they got one to order…if the Soviet program succeeds completely, if the intelligentsia, the priest, and the peasant can be eliminated [then] Ukraine will be as dead as if every Ukrainian were killed, for it will have lost that part of it which has kept and developed its culture, its beliefs, its common ideas, which have guided it and given it a soul, which, in short, made it a nation…This is not simply a case of mass murder.

    It is a case of genocide, of the destruction, not of individuals only, but of a culture and a nation.”

  17. Despite all this progress, one glaring exception remains – an unrepentant Russia. Today, Russia has changed only its tactics, not its ultimate goal of solving its “Ukrainian problem.” Russia continues its work to eliminate all that defines Ukrainians as a people and as a nation in order to return Ukraine once and for all to regional status within Russia.

    In order to accomplish this, Russia must not only reassert its political control over Ukraine, but also fully subsume Ukrainian culture, society, business and industry into the Russian milieu. For Russia, this is a work in progress. However, Russia must also establish some degree of international acceptance of the elimination of Ukrainian national identity as well as of Ukraine as a nation.

    Nothing stands in Russia’s way more than the Holodomor. How can Russia pretend to be a respected world leader, a caring and responsible steward of its people with all that blood on its hands? This is a case of Lady Macbeth in reverse – the world sees the blood, while Russia actually believes that after seventy-five years of denial, rewriting history, repression and destruction of evidence, it has washed away the blood and is now magically pure as a newborn baby’s soul.

    But all of a sudden, here come those Ukrainian witnesses again. The survivors may be old, but they are unanimous about how and why it happened: “The Russians did it.” And, to make matters worse, the Ukrainian government has opened up the archives – with all those documents clearly stating that the purpose of the Holodomor was to destroy the Ukrainians.

    While the Holodomor marked the height of Russian genocide against Ukrainians, it was by no means an isolated event. Under Russian rule, Ukrainians were subjected to tyranny that went beyond traditional interpretations of genocide, to what this author terms “metagenocide” – long term ongoing genocide systematically targeting for destruction not just a group of people but also all that defines them as that group. The goal is not just to deny the group’s right to exist, but to deny that it ever existed as a nation in the first place, to wipe it from humanity’s collective memory.

    Russia’s metagenocide in Ukraine was pervasive, calculated, insidious and covert. It was at times incremental, at times opportunistic, but never losing sight of its ultimate goal – to eliminate once and for all, all things Ukrainian and leave unchallenged Russia’s claim that all those things were and are really Russian.

    It combined the worst aspects of classic genocide with long term intentional ethnocide. Russia’s metagenocide in Ukraine targeted not only Ukrainian persons, but also the Ukrainian language, culture, history, churches, traditions and all else that contributes to defining Ukrainians as Ukrainians and not as just another subset of Russians.

    Russian destruction of Ukrainian people systematically targeted first one segment of the Ukrainian population and then another, the ultimate goal to eliminate them all. The killing of Ukrainians who insisted on being Ukrainians lasted throughout the twentieth century and for some, into the twenty-first.

    Before World War II, several waves of killing destroyed the bulk of the Ukrainian nation’s leadership class. Ukrainian civil authority was eliminated during and after the revolution (1918-1921). The Ukrainian clergy and churches were eliminated in the early 1930s, leaving only a handful of Moscow Patriarchate affiliated churches controlled by the Russian secret police.

    The destruction of the intelligentsia, begun in earnest in 1929 with the destruction of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, peaked in the late 1930s as the remaining survivors were executed or exiled, Ukraine’s premier historian Mykhailo Hrushevsky being among the last to fall. The Holodomor was designed to destroy the Ukrainian peasant class, the roots of Ukrainian national identity. Ukrainian nationalist leaders abroad were also assassinated, including Symon Petliura (Paris, 1926) and Yevhen Konovalets (Rotterdam, 1938).

    Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union in 1941 and the subsequent obliteration of Ukraine’s western border created the opportunity for Russia to extend its rule and anti-Ukrainian state terrorism into Western Ukraine (until then under Polish rule). Ironically, Ukrainians were perhaps the only major nationality that got it right in World War II.

    To Ukrainians, the Nazis and the Communists were equally evil – two sides of the same fascist coin. Wanting only their own freedom, Ukrainians fought both the Germans and the Russians, and paid the ultimate price when Germany was defeated but Russia was not. As a victor and partner of the Allies, Russia was allowed to take control of all of Ukraine.

    Instead of peace, the end of World War II brought continued death and destruction to Ukraine and Ukrainians. In 1946, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, predominant in Western Ukraine, was closed, its property was seized, its churches demolished and its clergy killed or exiled to Siberia. In 1947, Russia inflicted another massive slaughter by starvation on Ukrainians, as more than a million died when their food was once again seized and shipped out to feed Russians and their newly acquired satellite states in Eastern Europe.

    In the 1960s and 70s numerous Ukrainian intellectuals, writers, artists and cultural figures were arrested and exiled to Siberia. Songwriter Volodymyr Ivasiuk was murdered in 1979 in an effort to stop a nationalist resurgence in popular music. At the same time, the archives were purged of much damning evidence and crucial historical and cultural materials were transferred as Russia sought to rewrite history to suit its propaganda purposes. Once again, it all proved to be only a temporary solution.


  18. Ukraine tears down controversial statue

    A statue of a politician considered to be one of the main instigators of the man-made famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the early 1930s, has been demolished.

    The Holodomor has emerged as a contentious issue in Ukraine’s relations with Russia.

    Moscow insists that other republics, particularly southern Russia and Kazakhstan, also suffered from famine during the 1930s.

    It rejects the assertion from Ukraine’s leadership that there was a deliberate policy of anti-Ukrainian “genocide”.

    But Ukrainian historians point to the widespread use of Soviet interior ministry troops to requisition desperately needed food, as well as the ban imposed on the movement of peasants to the cities.

    The commemorations on Saturday will be marked by church services all over Ukraine, the laying of wreaths, and a gathering of Ukraine’s leaders at a recently completed monument to the victims on a hillside location in Kiev.



    By Professor Roman Serbyn, Université du Québec à Montréal
    Montréal Québec, Canada

    “Holodomor Studies” Journal, Vol. 1, Issue 1, Winter-Spring 2009,
    Pages vii-viii, 1-2, In Memoriam: Raphael Lemkin [1900-1959]
    Charles Schlacks, Publisher, Idyllwild, CA

    EDITOR’S FORWARD [Roman Serbyn]: …….The first issue of “Holodomor Studies” is dedicated to the memory of Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), to honor the first Western scholar to approach the analysis of the Ukrainian genocide with the same conceptual framework as this journal. A Polish Jew, who studied law in the Jan Casimir University of Lviv, Lemkin became a recognized expert in international criminal law, with particular interest in the prevention of mass exterminations.

    In 1943 he coined the term “genocide” and then popularized it with his book “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe” published the following year. [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]. It was mainly due to Lemkin’s perseverance in lobbying the delegates to the United Nations, that the General Assembly passed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, on December 9, 1948

    While in the United States Lemkin maintained friendly relations with members of the Ukrainian community, and in 1953 was invited to speak at the commemoration of the Great Ukrainian Famine, held at New York’s Manhattan Center. Lemkin’s address remains to this day on of the most perceptive of the Ukrainian genocide. [Raphael Lemkin, “Soviet Genocide in the Ukraine,” Raphael Lemkin Papers, N.Y. P.L., Manuscripts & Archives Division, Aster, Lenox and Tilden Foundation, 2. File 16.]


    Lemkin’s notion of genocide was much broader than the definition of that crime retained by the UN Convention. In particular, Lemkin’s victims of genocide included groups targeted because of their social and/or political identities.


    However, the Genocide Convention recognized only four groups of victims:
    national, ethnic, religious and racial.

    Aware of this limitation of the UN document, Lemkin examined the destruction of the Ukrainian population as a national/ethnic group. It is very clear from his arguments, that Lemkin saw the partial annihilation of the Ukrainian people, both by starvation and by othe means, as intended to destroy the Ukrainian national group, as such.


    Raphael Lemkin’s essay, “Soviet Genocide in Ukraine,” is one of the earliest writings on the subject by a non-Ukrainian scholar. A note “Begin here,” scribbled in before the second paragraph, which begins with the words “What I want to speak about,” suggests that the text was originally composed for Lemkin’s address at the 1953 Ukrainian Famine commemoration in New York. Later Lemkin added it to the material he was gathering for his elaborate History of Genocide which was never published. [1]

    Lemkin’s views on the Ukrainian tragedy are virtually unknown and hardly ever figure in scholarly exchanges on the Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933, or on genocides in general. [2] Yet his holistic approach to the Soviet regime’s gradual destruction of the Ukrainian nation is enlightening and makes a valuable, if belated, addition to scholarly literature on the subject.

    Rafael was born in 1900 to a Jewish farming family in the village of Bezwodne, near the Old Rus’ town of Volkovysk, now part of the Grodno region of Belarus. Before World War I the territory belonged to Russia, but after the break-up of the Tsarist Empire it was incorporated into Poland.[3] Lemkin studied philology and law at the University of Lviv, where he became interested in the Turkish massacres of the Armenians, during World War I. After studying on a scholarship in Germany, France and Italy he returned to Poland and pursued a career in the Polish courts of law, mainly in Warsaw.

    He continued his preoccupation with the problem of legal sanctions against perpetrators of mass exterminations and developed his ideas, which he later presented at various international conferences. Lemkin was appointed assistant prosecutor, first at the District Court of Berezhany, Ternopil Province of Eastern Galicia (Western Ukraine), and then he obtained a similar position in Warsaw, where he also practiced law and continued his writings on international law. He must have been quite aware of the collectivization, dekulakization and the eventual Great Famine devastating Soviet Ukraine.

    After the invasion of Poland by German and Soviet troops in 1939, Lemkin fled to Vilnius and then to Sweden where he lectured at the University of Stockholm. In early 1941 he managed to obtain a visa to the USSR, and then via Japan and Canada came to the United States. In April 1941 he was appointed “special lecturer” at the Duke University Law School in Durham, North Carolina. In 1944 he published Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, which he had started writing in Sweden.[4]

    The study is a thoroughly documented exposé on German crimes in Europe. The book contains the first mention of the term “genocide,” which has become a generic name not only for the Nazi atrocities but of all mass destructions. The author’s relentless lobbying, backed by the prestige of his book, finally succeeded in swaying the United Nations Organization to adopt the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”

    After the war, Lemkin devoted his life to the further development of legal concepts and norms for containing mass destructions and punishing their perpetrators. After the fall of Nazism, Lemkin saw the main threat in Communism, which had overrun his native Poland. Towards the end of his life he had close relations with the Ukrainian and Baltic communities in the United States. In 1953 he took part in the commemoration of the Great Famine by the New York Ukrainian community.

    His essay on the Ukrainian genocide shows his empathy for the plight of Ukrainian victims of Communism and Russian imperialism, not only of the Great Famine of the early thirties but of the periods that preceded and followed the tragic event. Lemkin’s essay, based on personal observations and supplemented with emotionally charged testimony provided by the Ukrainian community may appear sketchy and naïve today.

    Yet his comments offer an insight that is often lacking in present-day literature, whose authors have access to documentation, unavailable to Lemkin. Lemkin rightly extends the discussion of Ukrainian genocide beyond the starving peasants of 1932-1933 and speaks about the destruction of the intelligentsia and the Church, the “brain” and the “soul” of the nation. He put the emphasis on culture, beliefs and common ideas, all of which made Ukraine “a nation rather than a mass of people.”

    [1]. Raphael Lemkin Papers. The New York Public Library. Manuscripts & Archives Division. Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation. Raphael Lemkin ZL-273. Reel 3. For Lamkin’s biography, see: Pané, note 2.
    [2]. A notable exception is Jean-Louis Panné, “Rafaël Lemkin ou le pouvoir d’un sans-pouvoir,” in Rafaël Lemkin, Qu’est-ce qu’un genocide? Presentation par Jean-Louis Panné (Monaco: Édition du Rocher, 2008), pp. 7-66.
    [3]. Bibliographical data gathered from Ryszard Szawlowski, “Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959) The Polish Lawyer Who Created the Concept of ‘Genocide’,” Polish International Affairs, no. 2 (2005), pp. 98-133; Panné, “Rafaël Lemkin ou le pouvoir d’un sans-pouvoir,” pp. 7-66.
    [4]. Raphael Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944), pp. xii-xiii.

    Roman Serbyn is a well-known historian and scholar. He is professor emeritus of Russian and East European history at the University of Quebec at Montreal, and an expert on Ukraine. Publications: Roman Serbyn and Bohdan Krawchenko, “Famine in Ukraine 1932-1933,” 1986, ISBN 0920862438 and Roman Serbyn, “Holod 1921-1923 I Ukrainska Presa V Kanadi” (translation: The Famine of 1921-1923 and the Ukrainian Press in Canada), 1992, ISBN 0969630107

  21. The mass murder of peoples and of nations that has characterized the advance of the Soviet Union into Europe is not a new feature of their policy of expansionism, it is not an innovation devised simply to bring uniformity out of the diversity of Poles, Hungarians, Balts, Romanians – presently disappearing into the fringes of their empire.

    Instead, it has been a long-term characteristic even of the internal policy of the Kremlin – one which the present masters had ample precedent for in the operations of Tsarist Russia. It is indeed an indispensable step in the process of “union” that the Soviet leaders fondly hope will produce the “Soviet Man,” the “Soviet Nation,” and to achieve that goal, that unified nation, the leaders of the Kremlin will gladly destroy the nations and the cultures that have long inhabited Eastern Europe.

    What I want to speak about is perhaps the classic example of Soviet genocide, its longest and broadest experiment in Russification – the destruction of the Ukrainian nation. This is, as I have said, only the logical successor of such Tsarist crimes as the drowning of 10,000 Crimean Tatars by order of Catherine the Great, the mass murders of Ivan the Terrible’s “SS troops” – the Oprichnina; the extermination of National Polish leaders and Ukrainian Catholics by Nicholas I; and the series of Jewish pogroms that have stained Russian history periodically. And it has had its matches within the Soviet Union in the annihilation of the Ingerian nation, the Don and Kuban Cossacks, the Crimean Tatar Republics, the Baltic Nations of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. Each is a case in the long-term policy of liquidation of non-Russian peoples by the removal of select parts.

    Ukraine constitutes a slice of Southeastern USSR equal in area to France and Italy, and inhabited by some 30 million people.[2] Itself the Russian bread basket, geography has made it a strategic key to the oil of the Caucasus and Iran, and to the entire Arab world. In the north, it borders Russia proper. As long as Ukraine retains its national unity, as long as its people continue to think of themselves as Ukrainians and to seek independence, so long Ukraine poses a serious threat to the very heart of Sovietism.

    It is no wonder that the Communist leaders have attached the greatest importance to the Russification of this independent [minded – R.S.] member of their “Union of Republics,” have determined to remake it to fit their pattern of one Russian nation. For the Ukrainian is not and has never been, a Russian. His culture, his temperament, his language, his religion – all are different. At the side door to Moscow, he has refused to be collectivized, accepting deportation, even death. And so it is peculiarly important that the Ukrainian be fitted into the procrustean pattern of the ideal Soviet man.

  22. Ukraine is highly susceptible to racial murder by select parts and so the Communist tactics there have not followed the pattern taken by the German attacks against the Jews. The nation is too populous to be exterminated completely with any efficiency. However, its leadership, religious, intellectual, political, its select and determining parts, are quite small and therefore easily eliminated, and so it is upon these groups particularly that the full force of the Soviet axe has fallen, with its familiar tools of mass murder, deportation and forced labor, exile and starvation.

    The attack has manifested a systematic pattern, with the whole process repeated again and again to meet fresh outburst of national spirit. The first blow is aimed at the intelligentsia, the national brain, so as to paralyze the rest of the body. In 1920, 1926 and again in 1930-33, teachers, writers, artists, thinkers, political leaders, were liquidated, imprisoned or deported. According to the Ukrainian Quarterly of Autumn 1948, 51,713 intellectuals were sent to Siberia in 1931 alone. At least 114 major poets, writers and artists, the most prominent cultural leaders of the nation, have met the same fate. It is conservatively estimated that at least 75 percent of the Ukrainian intellectuals and professional men in Western Ukraine, Carpatho-Ukraine and Bukovina have been brutally exterminated by the Russians. (Ibid., Summer 1949).

    Going along with this attack on the intelligentsia was an offensive against the churches, priests and hierarchy, the “soul” of Ukraine. Between 1926 and 1932, the Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church, its Metropolitan (Lypkivsky) and 10,000 clergy were liquidated. In 1945, when the Soviets established themselves in Western Ukraine, a similar fate was meted out to the Ukrainian Catholic Church. That Russification was the only issue involved is clearly demonstrated by the fact that before its liquidation, the Church was offered the opportunity to join the Russian Patriarch[ate] at Moscow, the Kremlin’s political tool.

    Only two weeks before the San Francisco conference, on April 11, 1945, a detachment of NKVD troops surrounded the St. George Cathedral in Lviv and arrested Metropolitan Slipyj, two bishops, two prelates and several priests. [3] All the students in the city’s theological seminary were driven from the school, while their professors were told that the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church had ceased to exist, that its Metropolitan was arrested and his place was to be take by a Soviet-appointed bishop. These acts were repeated all over Western Ukraine and across the Curzon Line in Poland. [4] At least seven bishops were arrested or were never heard from again. There is no Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church still free in the area. Five hundred clergy who met to protest the action of the Soviets, were shot or arrested.

    Throughout the entire region, clergy and laity were killed by hundreds, while the number sent to forced labor camps ran into the thousands. Whole villages were depopulated. In the deportation, families were deliberately separated, fathers to Siberia, mothers to the brickworks of Turkestan, and the children to Communist homes to be “educated”. For the crime of being Ukrainian, the Church itself was declared a society detrimental to the welfare of the Soviet state, its members were marked down in the Soviet police files as potential “enemies of the people.” As a matter of fact, with the exception of 150,000 members in Slovakia, the Ukrainian Catholic Church has been officially liquidated, its hierarchy imprisoned, its clergy dispersed and deported.

    These attacks on the Soul have also had and will continue to have a serious effect on the Brain of Ukraine, for it is the families of the clergy that have traditionally supplied a large part of the intellectuals, while the priests themselves have been the leaders of the villages, their wives the heads of the charitable organizations. The religious orders ran schools, took care of much of the organized charities.

  23. The third prong of the Soviet plan was aimed at the farmers, the large mass of independent peasants who are the repository of the tradition, folk lore and music, the national language and literature, the national spirit, of Ukraine. The weapon used against this body is perhaps the most terrible of all – starvation. Between 1932 and 1933, 5,000,000 Ukrainians starved to death, an inhumanity which the 73rd Congress decried on May 28, 1934.[5] There has been an attempt to dismiss this highpoint of Soviet cruelty as an economic policy connected with the collectivization of the wheat lands, and the elimination of the kulaks, the independent farmers was therefore necessary. The fact is, however, that large-scale farmers in Ukraine were few and far-between. As a Soviet writer Kosior [6] declared in Izvestiia on December 2, 1933, “Ukrainian nationalism is our chief danger,” and it was to eliminate that nationalism, to establish the horrifying uniformity of the Soviet state that the Ukrainian peasantry was sacrificed. The method used in this part of the plan was not at all restricted to any particular group. All suffered – men, women, children.

    The crop that year was ample to feed the people and livestock of Ukraine, though it had fallen off somewhat from the previous year, a decrease probably due in large measure to the struggle over collectivization. But a famine was necessary for the Soviet and so they got one to order, by plan, through an unusually high grain allotment to the state as taxes. To add to this, thousands of acres of wheat were never harvested, were left to rot in the fields. The rest was sent to government granaries to be stored there until the authorities had decided how to allocate it. Much of this crop, so vital to the lives of the Ukrainian people, ended up as exports for the creation of credits abroad.

    In the face of famine on the farms, thousands abandoned the rural areas and moved into the towns to beg food. Caught there and sent back to the country, they abandoned their children in the hope that they at least might survive. In this way, 18,000 children were abandoned in Kharkiv alone. Villages of a thousand had a surviving population of a hundred; in others, half the populace was gone, and deaths in these towns ranged from 20 to 30 per day. Cannibalism became commonplace.

    As C. Henry Chamberlain, [7] the Moscow correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor, wrote in 1933:

    The Communists saw in this apathy and discouragement, sabotage and counter-revolution, and, with the ruthlessness peculiar to self-righteous idealists, they decided to let the famine run its course with the idea that it would teach the peasants a lesson.

    Relief was doled out to the collective farms, but on an inadequate scale and so late that many lives had already been lost. The individual peasants were left to shift for themselves; and much higher mortality rate among the individual peasants proved a most potent argument in favor of joining collective farms.

  24. The fourth step in the process consisted in the fragmentation of the Ukrainian people at once by the addition to Ukraine of foreign peoples and by the dispersion of the Ukrainians throughout Eastern Europe. In this way, ethnic unity would be destroyed and nationalities mixed. Between 1920 and 1939, the population of Ukraine changed from 80 percent Ukrainian to only 63 percent.[8] In the face of famine and deportation, the Ukrainian population had declined absolutely from 23.2 million to 19.6 million, while the non-Ukrainian population had increased by 5.6 million. When we consider that Ukraine once had the highest rate of population increase in Europe, around 800,000 per year, it is easy to see that the Russian policy has been accomplished.

    These have been the chief steps in the systematic destruction of the Ukrainian nation, in its progressive absorption within the new Soviet nation. Notably, there have been no attempts at complete annihilation, such as was the method of the German attack on the Jews. And yet, if the Soviet program succeeds completely, if the intelligentsia, the priests and the peasants can be eliminated, Ukraine will be as dead as if every Ukrainian were killed, for it will have lost that part of it which has kept and developed its culture, its beliefs, its common ideas, which have guided it and given it a soul, which, in short, made it a nation rather than a mass of people.

    The mass, indiscriminate murders have not, however, been lacking – they have simply not been integral parts of the plan, but only chance variations. Thousands have been executed, untold thousands have disappeared into the certain death of Siberian labor camps.

    The city of Vinnitsa might well be called the Ukrainian Dachau. In 91 graves there lie the bodies of 9,432 victims of Soviet tyranny, shot by the NKVD in about 1937 or 1938. Among the gravestones of real cemeteries, in woods, with awful irony, under a dance floor, the bodies lay from 1937 until their discovery by the Germans in 1943. Many of the victims had been reported by the Soviets as exiled to Siberia.

    Ukraine has its Lidice too, in the town of Zavadka, destroyed by the Polish satellites of the Kremlin in 1946.[9] Three times, troops of the Polish Second Division attacked the town, killing men, women and children, burning houses and stealing farm animals. During the second raid, the Red commander told what was left of the town’s populace: “The same fate will be met by everyone who refuses to go to Ukraine. I therefore order that within three days the village be vacated; otherwise, I shall execute every one of you.”

    CURZON LINE by Walter Dushnyck

    When the town was finally evacuated by force, there remained only 4 men among the 78 survivors. During March of the same year, 2 other Ukrainian towns were attacked by the same Red unit and received more or less similar treatment.

    What we have seen here is not confined to Ukraine. The plan that the Soviets used there has been and is being repeated. It is an essential part of the Soviet program for expansion, for it offers the quick way of bringing unity out of the diversity of cultures and nations that constitute the Soviet Empire. That this method brings with it indescribable suffering for millions of people has not turned them from their path. If for no other reason than this human suffering, we would have to condemn this road to unity as criminal. But there is more to it than that. This is not simply a case of mass murder. It is a case of genocide, of destruction, not of individuals only, but of a culture and a nation.

    Were it possible to do this even without suffering we would still be driven to condemn it, for the family of minds, the unity of ideas, of language and customs that forms what we call a nation constitutes one of the most important of all our means of civilization and progress. It is true that nations blend together and form new nations – we have an example of this process in our own country, – but this blending consists in the pooling of benefits of superiorities that each culture possesses.[10] And it is in this way that the world advances. What then, apart from the very important question of human suffering and human rights that we find wrong with Soviet plans is the criminal waste of civilization and of culture. For the Soviet national unity is being created, not by any union of ideas and of cultures, but by the complete destruction of all cultures and of all ideas save one – the Soviet.

    Sosyura. “Love Ukraine”
    You cannot love other peoples
    Unless you love Ukraine.[1]

    [1]. Verse by Volodymyr Sosiura added in pencil. Sosiura wrote the patriotic poem in 1944, during the German-Soviet war. At first it was praised by the authorities, but in 1948 it was condemned for Ukrainian nationalism. The two verses in the Ukrainian original:
    не можна любити народів других
    коли ти не любиш Україну! . .
    [2]. According to the 1959 census there are a little over 40 million people.
    [3]. The Charter creating the United Nations was signed by the delegates of 50 countries, including the USSR and the Ukrainian SSR, at the Conference held on April 25-26, 1945.
    [4]. The Curzon Line proposed by the British as a border between Poland and the Soviet state after the First World War eventually served as the basis for the post-World War II border between Poland and the USSR. The border left a large Ukrainian minority in the Polish state.
    [5]. On May 28, 1934 Congressman Hamilton Fish of New York introduced a resolution (H. Res. 309) in the House of Representatives in Washington. The document stipulated that “several millions of the population of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic” died of starvation during 1932 and 1933.” The Resolution further proposed:
    “that the House of Representatives express its sympathy for all those who suffered from the great famine in Ukraine which has brought misery, affliction, and death to millions of peaceful and law-abiding Ukrainians”;
    “that . . . the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics . . . take active steps to alleviate the terrible consequences arising from this famine”;
    “that . . . the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Government will place no obstacles in the way of American citizens seeking to send aid in form of money, foodstuffs, and necessities to the famine-stricken region of Ukraine.”
    The Resolution was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. (From the Ukrainian Quarterly, no. 4 [1978], pp. 416-17.)
    [6]. In fact, Stanislav Kosior was the First Secretary of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine. In a speech delivered at the joint session of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine, on November 27, 1933, he stated that “at the present moment, local Ukrainian nationalism poses the main danger.”
    [7]. The correct name is W[illiam] Henry Chamberlain. Prolific writer on Soviet affairs, he later wrote a history of the Russian Revolution.
    [8]. There was no census in 1920. The official figures from the 1926 and 1939 census are somewhat different from Lemkin’s. In 1926 there were 22.9 million ethnic Ukrainians in Ukrainian SSR and the falsified 1939 figure showed 23.3 million, or an increase of 435,000 ethnic Ukrainians. However, the rise in over-all population of Ukrainian SSR by 3.3 milllion reduced the ethnically Ukrainian portion from 80 percent to 73 percent.
    [9]. On June 10, 1942, 173 males over the age of 14 were shot, the women and children deported and the village of Lidice razed to the ground in reprisal for the assassination of the Nazi dictator of Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich. Zavadka Morokhivs’ka, Sianik povit, Lemkivshchyna, now Zawadka-Morochowska, Powiat Sanok, Poland.
    [10]. Lemkin has in mind the United States.

    FOOTNOTE: Lemkin’s essay is reproduced here with the correction of obvious typographical errors, minor updating of terminology (Ukraine instead of “the Ukraine,” Romanian instead of “Rumanian,” Tsarist instead of “Czarist”) and the transliteration of Ukrainian names from Ukrainian. Roman Serbyn, Editor.


  25. Ukraine observes minute of silence in honor of victims of 1932-1933 famine

    Yesterday at 17:23 | Ukrainian News

    Ukraine has observed a minute of silence in honor of the 1932-1933 famine. The nationwide minute of silence was observed at 15:52.

    It was followed by a national event called “Light a Candle.” The Kyiv municipal administration has decided to honor the memories of the victims of the 1932-1933 famine at 16:00 on Saturday, November 28. Ukraine is marking the 76th anniversary of the 1932-1933 famine on November 28.


    Coined the term ‘genocide,’ “Father of the Genocide Convention”

    Called the Holodomor a classic case of Soviet genocide

    Commentary: By Lubomyr Luciuk, Professor
    Political Geography, Royal Military College of Canada
    Kyiv, Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, November 20, 2009

    Rafael Lemkin who coined the term ‘genocide,’ called the Holodomor a classic case of Soviet genocide.

    Only seven people came to bury him. He rests beneath a simple stone in New York’s Mount Hebron cemetery, the sole clue to his historical importance an inscription incised below his name – “Father Of The Genocide Convention.”

    As a graduate student I was obliged to read his book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government, Proposals for Redress, frankly more door-stopper than page-turner. Nowadays, with advocates for “humanitarian intervention” shilling the notion of a “duty to intervene” whenever and wherever necessary to “stop genocide,” Dr. Raphael Lemkin’s name and words are better known. After all he fathered the term “genocide” by combining the root words –geno (Greek for family or race) and –cidium (Latin for killing) then doggedly lobbied United Nation member states until they adopted a Convention on Genocide, on Dec. 9, 1948, his crowning achievement.

    Because of the horrors committed by Nazi Germany in World War II what is often forgotten, however, is that Lemkin’s thinking about an international law to punish perpetrators of what he originally labeled the “Crime of Barbarity” came not in response to the Holocaust but rather following the 1915 massacres of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians within the Ottoman Turkish empire.

    Likewise overlooked were Lemkin’s views on Communist crimes against humanity. In a 1953 lecture in New York City, for example, he described the “destruction of the Ukrainian nation” as the “classic example of Soviet genocide,” adding insightfully: “the Ukrainian is not and never has been a Russian.

    His culture, his temperament, his language, his religion, are all different…to eliminate (Ukrainian) nationalism…the Ukrainian peasantry was sacrificed…a famine was necessary for the Soviet and so they got one to order…if the Soviet program succeeds completely, if the intelligentsia, the priest, and the peasant can be eliminated [then] Ukraine will be as dead as if every Ukrainian were killed, for it will have lost that part of it which has kept and developed its culture, its beliefs, its common ideas, which have guided it and given it a soul, which, in short, made it a nation…This is not simply a case of mass murder. It is a case of genocide, of the destruction, not of individuals only, but of a culture and a nation.”

  27. Yet Ukraine’s declaration that the Great Famine of 1932-1933 (known as the Holodomor) was genocide has secured very little official recognition from other nations. Canada is among those few. Most have succumbed to an ongoing Holodomor-denial campaign orchestrated by the Russian Federation’s barkers, who insist famine occurred throughout the USSR in the 1930’s, did not target Ukrainians and so can’t be called genocide.

    They ignore key evidence – the fact that all foodstuffs were confiscated from Soviet Ukraine even as its borders were blockaded, preventing relief supplies from getting in, or anyone from getting out. And how the Kremlin’s men denied the existence of catastrophic famine conditions as Ukrainian grain was exported to the West. Millions could have been saved but were instead allowed to starve. Most victims were Ukrainians who perished on Ukrainian lands. There’s no denying that.

    A thirst for Siberian oil and gas explains why Germany, France and Italy have become Moscow’s handmaidens, refusing to acknowledge the Holodomor and blocking Ukraine’s membership in the European Union, kowtowing to Russia’s geopolitical claim of having some “right” to interfere in the affairs of countries in its so-called “near abroad.” More puzzling was a 28 January 2009 pronouncement by Pinhas Avivi, deputy director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry: “We regard the Holodomor as a tragedy but in no case do we call it genocide…the Holocaust is the only genocide to us.” Yet if only the Shoahis genocide what happened to the Armenians, or to the Rwandans, not to mention to those many millions of Ukrainians?

    This year, Nov. 28 (fourth Saturday of November) is the date on which the Holodomor’svictims will be hallowed. Thousands of postcards bearing Lemkin’s image and citing his words have been mailed to ambassadors worldwide with governments from Belgium to Botswana, from Brazil to Bhutan, being asked to acknowledge what was arguably the greatest crime against humanity to befoul 20th century European history.

    There is no doubt that Lemkin knew the famine in Soviet Ukraine was genocidal. If the world chooses to ignore what he said than what this good man fathered – the word “genocide” – will lose all meaning, forever more.

    NOTE: Professor Lubomyr Luciuk teaches political geography at the Royal Military College of Canada and edited “Holodomor: Reflections on the Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine (Kashtan Press, 2008).”



  28. Ukraine reburies famine victims shot in Soviet era

    Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:08am IST

    LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – The remains of 602 people caught fleeing famine in Ukraine 60 years ago and shot by the Soviet secret police were reburied on Saturday, closing a dark chapter in the country’s history.

    Ukraine’s Holodomor, or death by starvation {PRONOUNCED GENOCIDE} , was denied by the Soviet Union for decades.

    Those caught by the NKVD secret police were taken to railway stations. The healthy ones were sent back to central Ukraine and the old and ill were shot on the spot.

    “They were mostly children and women,” said Petro Franko, who as a teenager with his friends once saw some of those escaping the famine being rounded up at the Lviv station to be deported east.

    He said he was shocked by the appearance of those suffering from starvation. “I was horrified when I saw a woman lying on the ground — there was foam coming out of her mouth and her face was already green,” he said.

    Yushchenko, swept to power in the 2004 pro-Western “Orange Revolution”, has angered Moscow with his view of history, his insistence on developing a distinct Ukrainian identity and emphasis on making the Ukrainian language a national tongue.



    Article by James E. Mace, Professor of Political Science
    Kyiv-Mohyla Academy National University, Kyiv, Ukraine
    Published in: “Holodomor: The Ukrainian Genocide, 1932-1933”
    Holodomor 70th Anniversary Commemorative Edition
    Canadian American Slavic Studies Journal, Vol 37, No. 3, Fall 2003
    Mr. Charles Schlacks, Jr, Publisher, Idyllwild, CA, Pages 45-52

    In 1988 the US Commission on the Ukraine Famine arrived at nineteen findings, among them (No. 16) that what happened to the Ukrainians in 1932-1933 constituted genocide. [1] This was, fact the most important of the commission’s conclusions, and as the person who drafted those conclusions for the commission’s approval, I feel a certain responsibility to defend it in this journal in the light of new evidence that has been made available after the collapse of the Soviet Union and published by scholars in Ukraine.

    Now, of course, with Ukrainian historians having had over a decade to work in the archives, we know much more about the details. We know about Molotov’s and Kaganovich’s direct role in Ukraine and the Kuban after being appointed heads of special commissions on October 22, 1933, to oversee the grain procurements in those places and how they were able to send the very top Communists in their own jurisdictions wherever they decided in order to fulfil whatever tasks they assigned.[9] We now have the terrible decree of November 18, 1932, that Molotov pushed through the Ukrainian Politburo, taking away everything but the seed (that would be taken under a separate decree in late December) if they had not fulfilled their quotas, placing collective farms on blacklists and fining individual peasants in other foodstuffs (in kind) for “maliciously” not having enough bread to seize.[10]

    We have the Moscow Politburo decree signed by Stalin and Molotov on December 14, 1932, blamed “shortcomings in grain procurements” in Ukraine and the North Caucasus (read the Kuban) on “kurkul and nationalist wreckers” in order to unleash a reign of terror on Party officials, decree how many years specific officials in several districts should receive from the courts, end Ukrainization in the North Caucasus, condemn its “mechanistic” implementation (thereby “de facto” eliminating it there also), and the following day ending Ukrainization in the rest of the USSR.[11] We have Kaganovich’s diaries recalling how on his first day in the North Caucasus he told the local leadership, “Without doubt among those who have come from Ukraine (i.e., Skrypnyk’s Commissariat of Education -J.M.) there were organized groups leading the work (of promoting kulak attitudes -J.M.), especially in the Kuban where there is the Ukrainian language.”[12]

    We also now have thousands of eyewitness accounts recorded in Ukraine itself, basically identical to what the Commission on the Ukraine Oral History Project began to collect almost 20 years ago from those who had fled to North America.[13] The first outpouring was when Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi published a list of highly “Party-minded” questions in “Sil’s’ki visti” (Village News) for a book of people’s memory that the Writers Union had commissioned the late Volodymyr Maniak to compile. Maniak sorted through 6000 letters sent in response to Kul’chyts’kyi’s questions to publish 1000 accounts.[14] Now there are enough individual memoirs and collections of eyewitness accounts to make up the bulk of an impressive biography.[15] These witnesses can no longer be dismissed as fascist collaborators. Many fought in the Red Army during the Second World War and were exemplary Soviet citizens.

    In short, under such pressure from the very pinnacle of Soviet power, witnessed to both by the documents of the perpetrators and the memories of those who survived, the question ceases to become, How many millions died? One is forced to ask instead, How could so many still survive when literally everything possible was done to starve them to death? Each account is individual, but taken together their collective accounts of traumatization cannot fail to move even the most “scientific” of historians.

    Still, the basic outlines of what happened and why remain basically the same in general outline as what we learned from classical Sovietology working on the basis of the official Soviet press. The only difference is that now we know in much more detail just how invasive Moscow’s interventions in Ukraine were. And what Raphael Lemkin – the Jewish jurist from Poland who coined the term “genocide,” [16] wrote the basic documents, and lobbied them through the United Nations – had in mind when he first developed the term is quite clear:

    Genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressor group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor. This imposition, in turn, may be made upon the oppressed population which is allowed to remain, or upon the territory alone, after removal of the population and colonization of the area by the oppressor’s own nationals. Denationalization was the word used in the past to describe the destruction of a national pattern. This author believes, however, that this word is inadequate because: (1) it does not connote the destruction of the biological structure; (2) in connoting the destruction of one national pattern, it does not connote the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor; and (3) denationalization is used by some authors to mean only deprivation of citizenship.[17]

    Some scholars have called for defining genocide in either too narrow or too broad for scholarly purposes.[18] But what the author of the term had in mind and what was actually adopted by the international community were actions “subordinated to the criminal intent to destroy or cripple permanently a human group.”[19] Few would doubt that Ukraine was crippled by the Stalinist period and ways that are both painfully obvious and agonizingly difficult to define. For this reason, in my more recent work I have tried to understand how and why independent Ukraine has thus far been unable to transform itself in the ways we might think appropriate and its people deserve. For this reason I have found it useful to describe contemporary Ukraine as a post-genocidal society.


    Ukrainians have sometimes spoken of the “Holodomor” as the Ukrainian Holocaust. With all due respect to those who have chosen to do so, I must point out the pitfalls of such a usage of the term. The word “holocaust” is usually traced to Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible as a burnt offering to the Lord, and indeed it is an English word from the ancient Greek words “holos” (whole) and “caustos” (to burn). In reference to Hitler’s destruction of the Jews, it came to be used as a not quite exact translation of the Hebrew word “shoah” (complete and utter destruction), yet eerily evocative of what Hitler tried to do to with a people traditionally considering themselves to be chosen by God, the Jews, to destroy them entirely as a people, including burning them in ovens specially designed for that purpose. It is not a generic term for a certain kind of crime against any given group but a specific word for a specific event and as such has entered many languages.

    Almost until the end of the Soviet Union, Ukrainians in the West used such terms as the Great Famine or the Manmade Famine in Ukraine. Only when the veil of silence began to gradually lift at the end of 1987[20] did it become clear that the word “holodomor” become the label that stuck in people ‘s memory in the place where it happened. The word itself is interesting, “holod” (hunger or famine) and “mor” (mass death as in a plague, like “chumats’kyi mor,” the Black Death).

    For this reason, to speak of the Ukrainian Holocaust makes about as much sense as speaking of the Jewish Holodomor. It is a unique term that has arisen from the depths of a victimized nation itself. As the unique tragedy faced by Ukrainians in the USSR becomes more a part of the consciousness of the larger world, the use of the word that Ukrainians in Ukraine have chosen will inevitably enter other languages as well.


    ANSWERS, A Weekly London Tabloid
    Centre Spread, Pages 16 & 17
    London, UK, February 24th, 1934

    All the time he was speaking he was looking round furtively to make sure that no one was within earshot. It may be possible to survive the famine, but no one in Russia today can hope to escape the Ogpu once its spies are on his track.

    Dead people in the streets! I found it difficult to believe. At I mentioned it to a young woman who had given me information on other subjects.

    “They make one last effort to get outside,’ she explained, “in the hope of finding or being given a crumb of bread. And then they are too weak-and just drop.”

    A day or so later I saw an old man lying in the road on the outskirts of one Of the steel towns. I have sufficient medical knowledge to know that he was dying, and that there was nothing which I, or anyone else, could do for him.

    But the worst memory I have brought out of Russia is the children. There was one youngster I saw in Kharkov. Half-naked, he had sunk, legs sprawled out, regardless of danger from passing wheels.

    Another – a boy of eight or nine -was sitting among the debris of a street market, picking broken eggshells out of the dirt and examining them with heartbreaking minuteness in the hope of finding a scrap of food still sticking to them. His-shrunken cheeks were covered with an unhealthy whitish down that made me think of those fungoid growths that sprout in the darkness out of dying trees.

    I saw him again, in the same place the next day motionless now, with his head sunk between his knees in a piteous abandonment.

    While eating in a restaurant in the same town I saw a girl of twelve run up the steps towards a veranda table from which a customer had just risen. For a moment she hesitated; shrank back as if in fear, as she saw the man look at her. Finally, reassured by his expression, she darted boldly forward, gathered the scraps he had left on his plate in her fingers, then turned and -ran down the steps with her prize.

    For all the world she was like a wild bird driven by a bard- winter to a town garden. There was the same suspicion, the same holding back, and the same momentary boldness followed by headlong flight. Something, also, perhaps, of the same grace and beauty. I shall never see her again, but I cherish the hope that she will survive.

    There are hordes of those wild children in all the towns. They live and die like wild animals.

    Where do they come from? I made inquiries about them, and learned that last winter, when food supplies began to fail, large numbers of peasants left their villages and came into the towns with their families, hoping that there they might get a chance to work – and eat.

    There was neither work nor bread for them, and under a new regulation that required every adult in the towns to show papers to prove his right to be there, they were driven back to their foodless villages.

    They believed they were returning to certain starvation. So they left the children behind. In the villages, they said, the little ones would inevitably die–in the towns, their chance of life might be slender, but it was t least a chance.

    Something like 18,000 children were abandoned in this manner – abandoned because that was the only way in which their parents could help them – in Kharkov alone.

    These bands of wild children are not a new phenomenon in Russia. In the early days of the Revolution they were found even in Moscow itself. Then they disappeared – we were told that they had been rounded up and placed in homes, where they would be cared for and educated and made into good citizens.

    I saw some of the wild children of this winter being rounded up. A horse-drawn wagon lumbered alone the street, with two or three policemen marching beside it. When they saw one of the little Ishmaels the police gave chase. If the youngster was caught, he was placed among the others already in the wagon, and this procession moved on again.


    Once, when the wagon stopped and a chase was in progress, two of the lads previously captured saw their chance, scrambled to the ground, and made off as hard as they could into a maze of narrow alley-ways.

    I felt rather sorry for these youngsters, running back to the hardship and hunger of their life in the gutter, when, as I thought, they would have been fed and clad and educated in the institution to which they were being taken. But when I mentioned this to a Russian acquaintance he just stared at me. At first I could not believe what he told me. Then I spoke to a number of other people. They all said the same thing.

    These children were not sent to homes. Bread was too scarce. They were put into railway wagons and unloaded out in the open country – too far out for it to be possible to walk back to town.

    And once, at least, three wagons filled with youngsters were shunted into a siding and forgotten for three days. When, at the end of that time, someone found them, not one of the children remained alive.


  31. Ukraine leader calls ’30s famine Soviet genocide

    Monday, November 30, 2009

    The ongoing effort by Mr. Yushchenko to revive a history long suppressed by the Soviet Union, and still dismissed by many in Russia, could well define his presidency.

    “We did almost the impossible,” the leader told a large crowd on Saturday gathered near the memorial on an overcast day. “We saved and returned to the people the truth about the Great Famine of 1932-33. We returned it from the abyss, from the precipice, from that which fails to return.”

    Ukraine’s Soviet-era archives, opened to the public by Mr. Yushchenko, has allowed historians to take a fresh look at the Holodomor, or death by hunger.

    Using agricultural records as proof, historians have argued there was no reason why millions of people should have died of hunger in Ukraine during that time, because the country enjoyed bumper harvests those years. The only way to explain the deaths, they say, was if the famine was purposefully planned.


    Did Stalin’s communist regime commit genocide against the Ukrainian people?

    By Professor Roman Serbyn, Université du Québec à Montréal
    Montréal, Québec, Canada

    “Holodomor Studies” Journal, Vol. 1, Issue 2, Winter 2009
    Charles Schlacks, Publisher, Idyllwild, CA

    Did Stalin’s communist regime commit genocide against the Ukrainian people? The answer is “yes,” if the UN Convention on Genocide informs our understanding of what constitutes genocide, and if our analysis of the events is based on relevant documents.

    The “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide” provides the most authoritative definition of genocide, which has been integrated into national and international laws. The document acknowledges that genocides occurred in all periods of history, and in times of war and peace. Article II defines genocide as “acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious groups, as such.”

    The focus is on groups, two types of which are applicable to Ukrainians: “national,” which lays emphasis on civic bonds, and “ethnic,” which stresses cultural ties. The 30 million inhabitants of the Ukrainian SSR (over 80 percent ethnic Ukrainians) constituted a “national group,” and the 8 million ethnic Ukrainians in the RSFSR (mostly in the Kuban and along the Ukrainian border) formed an “ethnic group.” A comprehensive discussion of the Ukrainian genocide must include both groups because together they constituted an identifiable minority on which Stalin’s regime imposed its genocidal policies.

    In November 1932 Stalin boasted that the kolkhozes gave twice as much marketable grain as the private sector had done before collectivization. True enough, “marketable” grain did increase (fourfold in Ukraine), but the increase came from the farmer’s table, not his surplus. Yearly grain exports jumped to over 5,000,000 tons in 1930-1931 and 1931-1932, and around 1,500,000 in the next two years. During the peak famine year, 1933, the USSR had 1,500,000 tons of grain in state reserves. A million tons being sufficient to feed five million mouths during a whole year, the Soviet authorities had sufficient means to feed an additional fifteen million mouths, more than enough to prevent starvation during the worst years. Collective farms became the means by which the totalitarian regime gave itself control over food production and distribution, and the weapon of food in its war on the farmers.

    The Ukrainian genocide culminated in the famine of 1932-1933, but the process began much earlier. In the winter of 1929-1930 the GPU rounded up hundreds of members of an invented “Union for the Liberation of Ukraine (SVU),” put forty-five of the accused on trial and sentenced most of them to various terms in the Gulag. The SVU was accused of counterrevolutionary activity, of conspiracy to separate Ukraine from the USSR, and of organizing the peasantry for the same purposes. No Russian equivalent to the SVU was ever fabricated by the GPU in the RSFSR. In 1930 the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church was liquidated, not because it was a religious institution (the Russian Orthodox Church was never outlawed) but because it was independent of Moscow. The Ukrainian national intelligentsia was put on notice and cowed. Repression then spread to pro-Soviet and communist cadres that were becoming disenchanted with the regime’s ruinous policies in Ukraine. In January 1933 Stalin sent the hardliners Postyshev, Balitsky, and Khataevich to take effective control of the republic, complete the purge, and tighten Moscow’s grip. By the summer of 1933, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians were removed from their posts in the Ukrainian SSR and the Kuban region, and repressed. Leaders like Skrypnyk committed suicide.

    The destruction of the rural elites was launched in 1929 in the guise of a socialist revolution aimed at “eliminating the kulak as a class,” and to foster collective ownership of agriculture. Dekulakization was carried out in two waves of expulsions, executions, and deportations, and was accomplished within a year, although the regime continued to wage war against fictitious “kulaks” throughout the famine years. The national dimension of the campaign was prominent. The epithet “kulak-Petliurite,” found in OGPU reports and party statements, reflects a certain reality and points to the regime’s fear of any Ukrainian farmer, rich or poor, who opposed its repressive measures. The apprehension of an alliance between the disaffected middle and lower cadres and the oppressed masses with a “kulak-Petliurite” mentality was one of the main motives for the genocidal starvation imposed by the regime in 1932-1933.
    Wholesale collectivization, launched at the end of 1929, provoked fierce resistance, and Ukraine became one of its main centers. Of the 13,756 mass “disturbances” recorded for the USSR in 1930, 4,098 took place in Ukraine, with well over a million participants. Slogans with nationalist messages like “Free Ukraine from Moscow rule” appeared. Often put down with military force, the troubles continued until the fall of 1932. By then collectivization had practically ended and the farmers, weakened by malnutrition, were all but subdued. Their goals were reduced from fighting collectivization to struggling for survival – for food, which had completely disappeared from the Ukrainian countryside. Stalin was well informed about the degenerating situation in Ukraine by the Communist Party, the GPU, and the special emissaries he periodically sent there.

    Ukraine first succumbed to the famine during the winter and spring of 1931-32. The Ukrainian party boss Kosior mentioned it in a letter to Stalin in April 1932, but it was Chubar, the head of state, and Petrovsky, the head of government, who on 12 June sent Stalin detailed descriptions of widespread starvation, requesting aid and the lowering of quotas for grain delivery. Petrovsky warned that unless help was given, the starving farmers would cut unripened wheat and jeopardize the harvest. Stalin responded with draconian laws on public property. Promulgated on 7August 1932, the “5 ears of corn law” prescribed the death penalty for pilfering kolkhoz goods. Enforced throughout the famine period, the decree was a glib expression of Stalin’s intent to exterminate the enfeebled farmers and weaken the rest into submission. Limited aid was given to healthier farmers who could still work.

    The Stalin-Kaganovich correspondence shows that the draconian laws were triggered by Ukrainian events and were aimed at Ukraine. On 11 August, just four days after the infamous decree, Stalin wrote that the situation in Ukraine was critical and cautioned that unless immediate measures were taken, “we may lose Ukraine.” The Ukrainian Party leadership was weak and ineffective, and the 500,000-strong organization was full of “rotten elements,” “conscious and unconscious” Petliurites. Then Stalin made a startling prediction: “As soon as things get worse, these elements will waste no time opening a front inside (and outside) the party, against the party.”

    Commentators have failed to connect this passage with the beginning of the letter, where Stalin affirms that the decree on property is good and will soon have an effect. Stalin knew that the said “effect” would be a dearth of foodstuffs and a famine, and things would definitely “get worse” for the farmers. The danger was that when that happened, the “rotten elements” and “Petliurites” would turn against the party and form an alliance with the farmers. The letter shows that the famine was neither a surprise for Stalin, nor an unwelcome occurrence: he set the policy, which he knew would bring about starvation, and he deliberately intensified repression so as to shape the famine into a powerful weapon.

    The worst aspect of the Ukrainian crisis, Stalin claimed, was that the Ukrainian leadership did not see the dangers. Moscow had to take the situation in hand and transform Ukraine into a “real fortress of the USSR.” Stalin set the party and the GPU apparatus in motion to accomplish this task. His two troubleshooters, Molotov and Kaganovich, aptly called “commanders of the Great Famine,” were sent on missions to Ukraine and the North Caucasus, where they supervised purges of party and state cadres, forced local authorities to vote for Moscow’s exorbitant quotas of grain deliveries and then terrorized them into carrying out the plan. Starvation spread across the countryside. There is no need to describe here the well-known horrors that were visited upon the farming population of Ukraine and the North Caucasus during the Great Famine. Suffice it to mention those two repressive measures, aimed specifically at the Ukrainian population, which demonstrate the regime’s intent to destroy the Ukrainian group by means of physical annihilation and cultural transformation.

    On 14 December 1932, Stalin and Molotov signed a secret party and state resolution blaming the hitherto government-approved Ukrainization program for the current difficulties in grain deliveries. Bourgeois nationalists and Petliurites had been allowed to join party and state institutions and to set up their organizations. They acquired administrative positions in collective farms and sabotaged sowing and harvesting campaigns. In the North Caucasus “unbridled Ukrainization” was allegedly forcing the Ukrainian language on a population that did not want it. As a remedy, the Ukrainian authorities were ordered to expel Petliurite and other bourgeois-nationalist elements from party and soviet organizations and meticulously select and train new Ukrainian Bolshevik cadres. In the North Caucasus the policy of Ukrainization was completely abolished and replaced with Russification. The Ukrainian language was banned from all administrative, cooperative and school activity. Newspapers and magazines were switched from Ukrainian to Russian. The next day, 15 December, the language provisions were extended to all other previously Ukrainized regions of the RSFSR.

    By the end of 1932 Ukraine and the Kuban had become a killing field for the starving collective and independent farmers. To escape the coming doom, many farmers tried to flee to Belarus or the RSFSR, where food was more readily available. Stalin decided to stop this mass flight and on 22 January 1933, he sent around a secret directive forbidding farmers to leave Ukraine and the North Caucasus for other regions of the USSR. Orders were given to the railways and water transportation agencies to stop selling tickets to farmers from these regions, and to the OGPU and local administrations on both sides of the administrative borders to arrest all peasants migrating from these regions and, after punishing the most dangerous, to send the others back to their places of residence. A quarter of a million farmers were thus intercepted. These measures was clearly aimed at the Ukrainian group.

    The atrocities committed in the early 1930s by Stalin’s communist regime against the Ukrainian population of Soviet Union fit the UN definition of genocide. Stalin’s intent to destroy the Ukrainian SSR as a national group, in the sense of an ethnically based socio-economic and political entity, is well documented in Stalin’s correspondence and other documents. The criminal acts consisted of the decimation of the urban elites and the deliberate starvation of the peasantry. Executions, deportations and induced famine were also inflicted on the Ukrainian ethnic minority in the Kuban and other regions of the RSFSR. The abolition of Ukrainization and the persistent condemnation of bourgeois-nationalist and Petliurite elements show that the destructive measures were conceived in terms of ethno-national transformations.

    Ukrainians refer to their genocide as “the Holodomor,” coined from the words “holod” (hunger, famine) and “moryty” (to waste, destroy or kill). When capitalized, the term acquires the sense of “Ukrainian genocide.”

    Roman Serbyn is a well-known historian and scholar. He is professor emeritus of Russian and East European history at the University of Quebec at Montreal, and an expert on Ukraine.

  33. File size: 34.5 Mb
    Duration: 5:15

    Date of birth: 7 July 1923
    Place of birth:Kharkiv city
    Witnessed Famine in: Kharkiv city
    Arrived in Canada:
    Current residence: Vancouver
    Date and place of interview: 24 February 2009, Vancouver

    Vera Shumylo (nee Fominichenko)
    VS – In 1933, I went with my mother to the bazaar.

    Interviewer – In Kharkiv?

    VS – In Kharkiv. My mother wanted to buy something. I saw a young girl, the same age as me, lying there. She was in my class. Her name was Valya Nikitivna. I bent over to her and my earring fell off. I wanted to pick it up and I touched her body. She looked at me, and her body shook. That was all; she died. She was skin and bones. A bit further on, I saw another child, about eight years old, lying there with her hand stretched out. I was a child, I couldn’t give her anything because I didn’t have anything myself. My mother took me by the hand and we walked on. We had to climb some stairs and go over a bridge. People were lying on the bridge, with legs like glass logs, begging for help. Whoever could gave them some seeds or something. We walked on and I asked my mother about these people. My mother said they were starving. My mother took me by the hand and we left. The next day my mother left to go [to the villages] near Moscow, with a rope tied around her waist. I don’t know how she traveled there, but she walked from village to village begging for help. Some people gave her wheat, millet, or barley. She hid it all around her waist. She had rubber boots; her feet were wet. She said she went to a woman’s house, who said to her, “What do want, khakhlushka¹ ?” [My mother] said she wanted to spend the night, so she put her up in the [barn], with the goat and pigs. It was cold outside. The next day, [my mother] went to the railway station. At the time the [secret police] was the GPU². They took everything [that she had collected] from her. She didn’t bring anything home. She said, “Children, I couldn’t bring you anything. The GPU confiscated everything.” We had some potatoes left, so my mother cooked them and mashed them all together, with the peels. She mixed in sawdust, made patties and baked them. That’s what we ate. That’s how we lived. My sister Luba, who was born in 1915, was very swollen. Her legs were like logs.

    There were people who kidnapped young children and made sausages from them. My mother brought some sausage home and gave us a piece. There was a child’s nail in it. I told my mother there was a child’s nail; she said “daughter, be quiet.” I was only ten years old, but I remember this to this day.

    ¹Feminine tense of khakhol, pejorative term for Ukrainians, loosely translated as “dumb peasant.”
    ²GPU – Gosudarstvennoe politycheske upravlinnye – – State Political Administration, subordinate to the NKVD (Peoples’ Commissariat of Internal Affairs).


  34. The New York Times Helped Build the Wall

    In November 1933, the one-legged reporter had come to Washington, D.C. from Moscow to witness President Roosevelt officially recognize the Soviet Union. Duranty knew, and everyone else knew, that were it not for his reporting, the President would never have pushed for recognition.

    As Duranty related, he “felt as pleased as punch” when Stalin announced the Five-Year Plan in the fall of 1928. Stalin, after all, was the world’s “greatest living statesman,” the one man capable of pulling off this extraordinary task.

    As part of the plan, Stalin was prepared “to socialize, virtually overnight, a hundred million of the stubbornest and most ignorant peasants in the world.” Stalin specifically named the enemy in December 1929 when he demanded “the eradication of all kulak tendencies and the elimination of all kulaks as a class.”

    By definition, a kulak was a wealthy land-owning peasant — “wealthy” meaning anyone who produced more than his family consumed. In time, the Soviets defined the term down to just about anyone who resisted collectivization, these being the hundred million stubborn and ignorant peasants of Duranty’s glib retelling.

    Early in that same year, the kulaks and other peasants resisted as the Soviets attempted to appropriate their property and force them into collectives. In March 1930 alone, there were more than 6,500 Soviet-style tea parties centering on the Ukraine and expanding outward.

    Stalin was not pleased. During a six-week period including March 1930, the Ukrainian GPU, the justice arm of the Soviet state, sentenced more than 20,000 people to death through its courts for resisting collectivization.

    Many others were executed without judicial niceties. Somehow, this all seems to have escaped the attention of Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty. Much worse would escape him in the years ahead.

    In 1930, the GPU got serious about deporting the kulaks and other “socially dangerous elements” like priests, nuns, shopkeepers, and rural artisans. By the end of 1930, 700,000 people had been shipped to the nether regions of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1931, that number had swollen to 1.8 million.

    By stripping the countryside of its more productive citizens and reducing the rest to penury, Stalin set the stage for the horror-show that was to follow. He and his cohorts began by shaking down those left on the land for a bigger slice of the action.

    In 1932, for instance, the government take was to be 32 percent higher than the year before. By that year, the peasantry was faced with a grim choice: resist the collection or starve to death. They resisted.

    Stalin sent in his shock troops. They came to enforce the infamous 1932 “ear law,” so dubbed because an individual could and would be arrested for withholding any “socialist property,” right down to an ear of corn. By the end of 1933, authorities had arrested more than 125,000 people under the law and sentenced more than 5,000 to death. In areas of widespread resistance, the authorities would deport whole towns.

    To defeat an enemy this stubborn, there could be only one recourse for Stalin. Notes the authoritative Black Book of Communism, “He [the enemy] would have to be starved out.”

    By late summer 1932, when even hard-liners began to plead for some relief for these peasants, Moscow turned them down cold. This hardheartedness gave birth to the adage, “Moscow does not believe in tears.”

    Harassed and starving, with no hope for the future, millions fled these rich agricultural lands for the cities. At this point, Stalin got serious. In December 1932, in order to “liquidate social parasitism,” he mandated the equivalent of passports for all internal migration.

    In January 1933, Molotov and Stalin instructed local authorities and the GPU to stop the peasants from leaving their farms “by all means necessary.” These “means” included mass execution. In February 1933 alone, the secret police reported that it had stopped more than 219,000 desperate peasants in their tracks.

    In April 1933, after touring this ravaged countryside, the writer Mikhail Shokolov wrote a plaintive letter to Stalin. He detailed the tortures used by local Communist officials to meet their quotas.

    In the “cold” method, whole brigades of collective workers were forced to stand naked in the frigid night until they revealed hidden grain stashes. In the “hot” method, officials would set fire to the bottom of women’s skirts and refuse to douse them until they too gave up their family’s food.

    In a combination of hot and cold, officials would splay peasants on a hot stove and then make them nurse their burns naked in the cold. “These are not abuses of the system,” wrote Shokolov. “This is the system for collecting grain.”

    The recounting of these “minor inconveniences” did not move Stalin. “These people deliberately tried to undermine the Soviet state,” he wrote back. “It is a fight to the death, Comrade Shokolov.”

    Duranty would describe this period as “a heroic chapter in the life of Humanity.” The capital “H” is Duranty’s touch. If large-“H” humanity advanced, small-“h” humanity fell by the wayside, and Duranty knew it.

    “According to Mr. Duranty the population of the North Caucasus and the Lower Volga had decreased in the last year by three million, and the population of the Ukraine by four to five million,” wrote the British chargé d’affaires in Moscow just a month before Duranty was to head back to America to witness the Soviet Union’s official recognition. The British official knew this was no accident. “The Ukraine had been bled white,” he added.

    Two questions need to be asked here. One is how a New York Times reporter could countenance such evil. The second is how he could get away with concealing it. The answers are becoming depressingly familiar.

    The year 1913 found the ambitious, if unfocused, Duranty in Paris. He was making useful connections in the city’s Anglophone community by serving as something of a deacon in an ongoing series of black masses known as “the Paris workings.” The mantra of this unholy affair, “sanguis et semen” (blood and semen), nicely captures its over-the-edge, homoerotic flavor.

    In his later life, Duranty would not say much about these “workings,” or about his religious inclinations, “only that he no longer believed in anything.” That same year, 1913, Duranty finessed these connections to secure a job with the New York Times in Paris.

    By the time of the terror-famine, Duranty’s callousness rivaled Stalin’s own. “Russians may be hungry and short of clothes and comfort,” he wrote in the New York Times in 1932. “But you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”

    To the Times reader, conditions in the Soviet Union must have seemed no worse than those of Hoover’s USA, the difference being that Stalin was offering hope and change. “The ‘famine’ is mostly bunk,” Duranty wrote to a friend in June 1933. He used his and the Times’ authority to feed the story to an establishment that had developed a taste for progressive hogwash.

    The Pulitzer Committee awarded him its top prize for news correspondence in 1932. The Committee cited the “scholarship, profundity, impartiality, sound judgment, and exceptional clarity” of his reporting on the Five-Year Plan in the Soviet Union.

    The Nation, the quintessential progressive journal, cited the Times and Duranty on its annual “honor roll,” describing his as “the most enlightening, dispassionate, and readable dispatches from a great nation in the making which appeared in any newspaper in the world.”

    To the editors of the Nation and especially the New York Times: on this, the twentieth anniversary of the Wall’s fall, how about an apology?


  35. In honor of Ukraine’s Independence day, the people of Azerbaijan sing the Ukrainian Anthem in their language. :)

    Captions in Ukrainian. :)

    Гімн України азербайджанською (Hymna Ukrajiny ázerbájdžánský, 2010)

  36. Bloodlands

    Review by Guy Walters

    Published: November 1 2010 04:11 | Last updated: November 1 2010 04:11

    Bloodlands: Europe between Stalin and Hitler, by Timothy Snyder, Bodley Head, RRP£25, 544 pages

    Snyder’s first chapter on the Holodomor is distressing to read. He recounts how, in one orphanage in a village in the Kharkiv region, the children started to eat the youngest child while he was still alive. Strips were torn off his body, and the child even started to eat parts of himself. Some children even sucked at the blood issuing from his wounds.

    Of course, according to Stalin’s twisted logic, the Ukrainians were starving in order to spite him. Those affected by the famine were actually “saboteurs”, who were deliberately halting the Kremlin’s attempt to create an industrial society that would be a more stable framework on which to build his workers’ utopia.

    Hitler, however, used the Holodomor to show that Marxism was failing. Both dictators were masters at politicising death, and Hitler used the famine as a stick he wielded against his opponents on the left. In Snyder’s eyes, Stalin had therefore unwittingly helped Hitler come to power.

    Snyder shows how many millions of the deaths in the bloodlands were brought about by what he calls “belligerent complicity” between the two men.

    “De-enlightenment” was another motive for murder shared by both Hitler and Stalin


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