The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


By Prof. James Mace
Consultant to The Day
The Day, Kyiv, Ukraine
November 26, 2002


As Ukraine observed its Day of Memory of the Victims of the Manmade Famine on Saturday, President Kuchma said that Ukraine must tell the world the truth about what happened in 1933. "The Manmade Famine was a national catastrophe. In 1932-1933 alone a fifth of the Ukraine's rural population perished. The Holodomor and political repressions planned and carried out by the Communist regime put in doubt the very existence of the Ukrainian nation," the head of state declared.

With all due respect, as one who has had his fingers burned for trying to tell the world what I thought (and think) was the truth about the famine, perhaps I should best confine myself to fact.

The president was right to bracket the Famine and repressions together. After years of infighting in Moscow with the support of the Communist Party (bolshevik) of Ukraine being significant to Stalin's victory, the CP(b)U and Ukraine in general had gained such a sphere of autonomous action that Stalin himself expressed the fear that "we could lose Ukraine" and when his trusted lieutenant Lazar Kaganovich was sent to the old North Caucasus Territory, he made it clear that the main problem with bread was in Ukrainian speaking areas, especially where there had been "arrivals" from Ukraine, meaning from the Commissariat of Education, which had been the centerpiece of the Ukrainization policy. In Ukraine itself, the whole business was under the personal supervision on USSR Premier Vyacheslav Molotov, who on November 18, 1932 pushed through a resolution on "fines in kind," which punished people without bread by taking whatever else that could be eaten. In December Moscow explicitly blamed the failure to get bread on Ukrainian nationalism, and whatever had been accomplished during the Revolution and in the 1920s was destroyed. There is, of course, one tenured Professor Tauger at the University of West Virginia, who chalks all this up to a bad harvest that nobody who lived through it seems to have ever remembered. But let the philosophers seek the truth. I confine myself to merely a few facts.

November 26 2002, The Day