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75th anniversary of Ukrainian Famine

By       Message Ludwik Kowalski       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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1) The World News Story, at:

< click here >

reminds us about  the 75th anniversary of Holodomor -- the famine genocide of 1932-1933 that took the lives of 7-10 million Ukrainians.

"The commemorations are generally viewed with distrust by Russia which officially denies the Holodomor as ethnic genocide, and it is likely the commemorations will do little to ease tensions between the two nations.

Earlier this year the Russian state Duma passed a resolution on the subject of the Holodomor, saying it should not be considered genocide.

"There is no historical proof that the famine was organized along ethnic lines. Its victims were millions of citizens of the Soviet Union, representing different peoples and nationalities living largely in agricultural areas of the country," the resolution said.

2) Last summer I visited the Holodomor exhibit in The Ukrainian Museum in New York City. I was impressed by a poster based on 115 letters received by the Central Committee of Ukrainian Communist Party. Some of them were addressed to Stalin. These "were returned from Moscow to Ukraine with orders to punish the writers as enemies of the people." One of the authors, Mykola Reva, wrote: "Dear Joseph Vasirionovich [Stalin]; because you are our friend, teacher and father, I had a bold idea of writing to you the whole truth ... The grain lay in the Zahotzero storehouses ... while people were dying of starvation. And at the same time you, Joseph Vasirionovich, said that people are the most valuable capital...."

For writing this letter, Mykola Reva was sentenced to 6 years in prison. Another letter to Stalin, written by a party member, in the name of students of the Technical School of Chemistry and Technology (Dniepropetrovsk) also describes the worsening situation. It is clear that the authors believed that Stalin was not informed about what was going on. The letter ends "with communist greetings, I await your reply." The reply probably came in the form of arrests and long term gulag sentences.

3) According to Wikipedia, "Modern estimates for the total number of casualties of the famine within Soviet Ukraine range between 2.2 million (demographers' estimate) and 3-3.5 million (historians' estimate) though much higher figures are often quoted by the media and cited in political debates." To what extent was the second Soviet famine due to the forced collectivization and to what extent was it a punishment for anti-Soviet and nationalistic aspirations? I think that both factors were important. The death toll from the first famine would have been higher without significant help from American Relief Administration (headed by Herbert Hoover). Capitalist help was initially welcome by Lenin. But Stalin characterized it as a self-serving attempt to infiltrate the country with spies and saboteurs. Many of those who cooperated with Americans ended their lives in camps and prisons.

Unfavorable weather conditions might have contributed to famines. The main factors, however, were political decisions of Bolsheviks. Stalin never recognized that the policy of collectivization was an error. His simply denied the reality of the second famine. And he had a system for dealing with those who dared to disagree. Constant food shortages in the Soviet Union, and in other countries in which collectivization was introduced, confirmed that Bolshevik agrarian policy was based on a fundamental doctrinal error. It was an attempt to implement utopia by force. Note that most peasants supported Lenin's revolution because individual ownership of land, was promised to them.

 

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Ludwik Kowalski is a retired physics teacher (Professor emeritus, Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA). He is the author of two recently-published FREE books:

1) "Hell on Earth: Brutality and violence under the Stalinist regime" (more...)
 

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