The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


Special Cable to The New York Times
New York, New York, Monday, August 21, 1933, Front Page
[This story by Walter Duranty immediately follows a story on the front page of the NYT entitled "Moscow Doubles Price of Bread" by the Associated Press]


MOSCOW, Aug. 20 [1933].---Reports from abroad that the Vatican wants to relieve "millions of victims of the Russian famine" are greeted here with the same scorn and indignation that met earlier news that German Nazis were collecting funds for "starving German Volga colonists" and the appeals of emigre Russian newspapers in the Baltic States for "relief of a worse famine in Russia than that of 1921."

(There has been no report that the Vatican has made an appeal for "millions of victims of the Russian famine," but Cardinal Innitzer, Archbishop of Vienna, did make such an appeal, which was announced in a dispatch printed in THE NEW YORK TIMES yesterday.)

The writer pointed out in uncensored dispatches from Berlin recently that such parallels as existed between considerations in Russia in the Spring of 1921 and this year were completely obliterated by the fact that the 1921 crop was ruined in the chief grain-producing regions by a forty-day drought, whereas the present crop is so abundant that whatever shortcomings and losses in harvesting--and the Soviet newspapers frankly admit they exist-- the national food supply is fully assured for the coming year.

Conditions have been bad in many sections prior to the harvest --although, at that, the badness was exaggerated abroad and the Bolsheviki do not fail to stress the significance of the fact that most of the pessimistic reports about the situation in Russia emanated from quarters that are naturally the most hostile to the Soviet Union.

On the other hand, it cannot be denied that there has been a growing tendency here in recent months to try to cover up or minimize the difficulties--for foreign consumption. The censorship in particular seems unable to realize that the United Stated Department of Commerce, to take a single instance, has efficient representatives in countries bordering on the Soviet Union, who not only collect and carefully sift reports from people visiting Russia, but are able to read accurately between the lines of Soviet newspapers, which those representatives receive a day or two after publication.

The newspapers, as well as high Soviet leaders, do not fear to reveal and face the facts about agriculture and industry. For example, the recent attack on the mismanagement of the Magnetogorsk steel plant, issued by G. K. Ordzhonikidze, member of the Communist Political Bureau and Commissar for Heavy Industry, and published in the Industrial Gazette, was followed by the summary replacement of the Magnetogorsk director.


Until this harvest the picture was dark enough. The Kremlin had ruthlessly carried through the agrarian revolution of collective farming, and the costs had been heavy for the Russian [Ukrainian] people, but it looks now as if the revolution is complete because the harvest is really good.

In the Ukraine, for instance, the year's grain delivery program had been accomplished 25 per cent by Aug. 16 [1933], as compared with 3.4 per cent up to the same day last year. The Tartar Republic up to Aug. 16 had fulfilled its program 40 per cent, the North Caucasus and lower and middle Volga regions 25 and 35 per cent, while in one section of the Ukraine more than 400 collectives had fulfilled their whole annual delivery.

In a North Caucasus industrial town the price of bread dropped on the open market from 15 rubles a kilogram (2.20 pounds)--this price indicates the severity of the "shortage"--to 2 rubles in a fortnight after the harvest.

The New York Times, NY, NY, Monday, August 21, 1933, Front Page. This historical material researched, transcribed and posted from The New York Times on microfilm by the  Information Service (ARTUIS)