The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


REUTERS TWT, Moscow, Russia
The Washington Times, Washington, D.C.
Section: A, WORLD, Edition: 2, Page: A7
February 8, 1990


MOSCOW (Reuters) - Soviet authorities have ordered publication of full details of a disaster that they tried to hush up for more than 50 years - the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33, in which Western historians believe 5 million people died.

A resolution of the Ukrainian Communist Party, reported yesterday by the official Tass news agency, declared the famine a "national tragedy" and blamed it on dictator Josef Stalin and his "criminal" policies of forcible collectivization.

It ordered the party's official historical institute to publish articles this year on the famine along with archive materials it had discovered.

The archives, the resolution said, "give a tragic picture of mass fatalities from hunger and disease, especially from March 1933 onwards."

It gave no precise figures, but British historian Robert Conquest in his book "The Harvest of Sorrow" puts the death toll from the famine at 5 million and the total toll from Stalin's agricultural policies in the 1930s at 14.5 million.

Eyewitness accounts published recently in the Soviet Union spoke of cannibalism in some rural areas.

The disaster had not been officially mentioned in the Soviet Union until the past three years, when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost began to take hold.

In 1987, Vladimir Shcherbitsky, then leader of the Ukrainian Communist Party, admitted that there had been famine in some areas and criticized the agricultural policies of the time.

The Ukrainian party resolution, however, is believed to be the first time that a full public expose has been ordered.

It conceded that "for more than half a century this theme was hushed up in national historiography, which hindered scientific understanding and an objective moral and political assessment of a national tragedy."

The Ukrainian party concurred with Western historians in blaming the famine on enforced collectivization, which meant abolition of private land ownership, and "dekulakization" - in effect the dispossession and deporting of millions of "kulaks" - peasant farmers.

When grain output fell as a result, the resolution acknowledged, the Stalinist leadership raised the quotas of grain that farms were obliged to deliver to the state.

When this failed, thousands of people were arrested for "connivance in kulak sabotage," it said.

The Washington Times, Washington, D.C.
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