By Prof. James MACE, Consultant to The Day
The Day WEEKLY DIGEST, Kyiv, Ukraine, December 2, 2003
This writer is always happy to respond to readers, especially when they
disagree. It means, after all, that they have read what I wrote and thought
about it enough to respond. As a scholar I cut my teeth on the historical
problem of Ukrainian Communism when the very word Ukrainization was
forbidden here and whole periods of Ukrainian history were erased, national
memory banned, and writers murdered. This makes particularly welcome the
article by one Professor Ivan Hrushchenko (professor of what is not
indicated) in Komunist on November 19.
It seems that in the learned professor's view I have been speculating on the
Holodomor for some thirty years, which would have been when I was 21 years
old, busy earning my bachelor's degree, growing my hair long, smoking
marijuana (I confess), enjoying the favor of similarly inclined ladies, and
marching against the Vietnam War. But, as the professor continues it becomes
clear that we can expect little in the way of accuracy from our Communist
PROF. JAMES MACE
Photo By Mykola LAZARENKO, The Day
Many people, our learned reader tells us, went hungry in the early 1930s
because of "inauspicious climatic conditions and also mistakes in carrying
out the collectivization of agriculture and grain procurements." What kind
of bad weather was there? Let us perhaps ask one Mr. Stalin, who was General
Secretary of the All-Union Communist Party for a number of years. In his
Sochinenniya (Works), volume XIII, pp. 216-217, he stated that, while in
1932 there had been some losses due to bad weather in the Kuban, Terek
regions, and some parts of Ukraine, they were not half that of the previous
Should our professor wish to learn about the history of weather, he might
also consult a volume edited by A. I. Rudenko, Zasukhi v SSSR (Droughts in
the USSR), published by Leningrad's Hydrometeorological Publishing House in
1958. On page 168 he will find that there were droughts in some areas of the
Soviet Union in 1931 and 1934 but not in 1932-33.
The drought of 1931 was addressed by Chairman of People's Commissars of the
USSR Viacheslav Molotov, who announced in Pravda on February 6, 1932 that
aid would indeed be mobilized for the Russians of the Volga Basin, and on
March 20 of that same year the same paper announced that 40,000 tons had
been obtained through "shock work methods" from people in the North Caucasus
(mainly Cossacks) who had already met their quotas. Translated into simple
language, this means that those who had earlier taken the required amount of
foodstuffs before simply came around again and took more.
On October 22, 1932, this same Mr. Molotov (his real name was Skriabin and
his uncle a composer) was named to head a special commission on grain
procurements to Ukraine, and on November 18 he pushed a resolution through
the Communist Party (bolshevik) of Ukraine to the effect that all bread
resources in all collective farms in Ukraine would be audited and all grain
from those that had not met their quotes completely would be seized.
Moreover, those outside the collective farms that were "maliciously" short
of bread were to be fined by having other edibles taken from them.
The decree in question may be found in the book, Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na
Ukrayini: Ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv, which was published in
accordance with a special decree adopted by the Central Committee of the
Communist Party of Ukraine on January 26, 1990. Or shall we assume that the
Communist Party of Ukraine in 1990 that opened its archives is some
different one from what our learned professor defends? In any case, I can
discern no error here.
Those who took the food and starved the people were doing precisely what
they had been ordered. That millions died could only have been the only
intended result. What else could one expect if one takes the potatoes,
beans, and meat from one "maliciously" short of bread? Of course, the
learned professor counters this with figures from years for which there were
no censuses in an attempt to show that the population was growing while
nobody could find them when the actual counting was done. One thinks of
certain German propagandists who came to prominence in the years under
discussion who would have been proud of such argumentation.
Still more in the vein of one Mr. Goebbels is that charge that I was
accompanied in my campaign of disinformation by citing actual official
Communist documents by such allegedly venal scholars as Ivan Kuras, Dmytro
Tabachnyk, and Stanislav Kulchytsky. Was I supposed to have bought them? I
never had the money to attempt it, and, in fact, the only one of these
gentlemen with whom I have ever had anything remotely resembling financial
dealings was Academician Kuras, in whose institute I once worked.
Here I become confused. Was I supposed to have bought him or he me? In any
case, I must admit that it was his institute that paid me when I was
employed there and not the other way around. Who is supposed to have sold
out to whom?
Nobody can possibly be against social justice, which our Communist friends
have sought in what I think has been demonstrated to have been a misguided
way. There are problems with Nietsche's project of an art of forgetting as
an antidote to the art of history, of remembrance. Starving to death the
innocent is not justice, nor is jailing a nation's writers and historians.
Memory has an important place, and I am honored by the calumny brought
against not only me but against all who have sought to recover from
documents the memory of those to whom their memory was denied.
Whether one believes in humanity or the God who created it, there are things
that were and that deserve to be part of a nation's memory. Those who
justify or deny the crimes of the past also deserve to be remembered, but
God alone is qualified to judge them. I am thankful that this is not my
The author calls upon me to go home. And where is his home? What country
does he defend if not a Red Fourth Reich?
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