The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)



The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), through their New York office director Tamara Gallo, issued the following statement on April 22, 2003:

New York, NY (UCCA) -- During the first Executive Board meeting of 2003 held on January 25th, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America discussed the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide. A broad spectrum of ideas was outlined and a comprehensive yearlong plan was devised to focus on developing a high school curriculum of the famine-genocide, coverage of the famine-genocide in the mass media and solemn remembrances to appropriately observe this anniversary in the United States.

One integral component of the UCCA's strategy is a campaign to revoke Walter Duranty's 1932 Pulitzer Prize and to expose the truth about his reporting from the Soviet Union.

In a recently released book titled US Intelligence Perceptions of Soviet Power 1921-46, the author, Leonard Leshuk, details US intelligence gathering and analysis on the Soviet Union based on documentary materials from US and British archival sources. In this book he states that the US news media had a great influence on how those in the intelligence agencies, policy makers, and the general public viewed the USSR.

The reliability and objectivity of US newspapers concerning the Soviets, as well as their ethics and those of their reporters can be judged from a statement of Walter Duranty of the New York Times who admitted in June 1931 that in an "agreement with the New York Times and the Soviet authorities" his official dispatches always reflected the official opinion of the Soviet regime and not his own.

The above statement is a chilling reminder of how an American journalist can sway public opinion and policy makers by misinterpreting or withholding the facts. Such was the case with New York Times Moscow correspondent, Walter Duranty who not only disregarded the famine-genocide in his dispatches but called other journalists outright liars for reporting about Ukraine's Famine Genocide of 1932-33.

As a result of this, the UCCA deemed it necessary to begin a nationwide and international campaign to revoke Walter Duranty's Pulitzer Prize.

The UCCA's campaign began in early February with a community-wide letter writing campaign to the Pulitzer Prize Committee urging them to revoke Duranty's prize. The campaign was timed to coincide with the Pulitzer Prize Board meetings, when members are in frequent contact with each other to discuss current prize candidates. In addition to an official letter sent by the UCCA Executive Board, hundreds of letters were sent from members of our community.

The UCCA's Kyiv Bureau also joined the campaign by soliciting letters from various influential individuals of Ukraine. Letters were sent to the Pulitzer Board from MP Hennadiy Udovenko, 52nd President of the UN General Assembly; MP Pavlo Movchan, Chairman of "Prosvita" Society; Professor Volodymyr Serhiychuk, Director of the Ukrainian Studies Center at the Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University; Oleskandr Kryvenko, Director of the UPJC "Without Prejudices"; and Ihor Lubchenko, Chairman of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.

Unfortunately, the official response from the Pulitzer Prize Committee's Administrator, Mr. Sig Gissler, was in the model of a form letter that stated in part: "My predecessor as administrator says that complaint about the prize for Mr. Duranty have raised on and off through the years. However, to date, the Pulitzer Board has not seen fit to reverse a previous Board's decision that now stretches back 70 years."

Understanding that the Pulitzer Prize Board was not going to address these complaints in a proper manner, the UCCA joined an international campaign, spearheaded by the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association and supported by Ukrainian World Congress, the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, the Federation of Ukrainian Australian Organizations, the Ukrainian American Justice Committee and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

This campaign, which is supported by the above mentioned organizations and the UCCA, published postcards for distribution throughout their respective communities to ensure that the Pulitzer Prize Committee receives thousands of cards postmarked May Day (May 1, 2003) from around the world urging the Committee to posthumously revoke Walter Duranty's prize.

As part of such efforts, the UCCA has also been contacting various journalists to inform them of our efforts. As a result of this several newspapers have printed stories about the UCCA and its campaign, including a story submitted by Natalia Feduschak to The Washington Times. The Washington Times carried this piece on the front page of its March 29, 2003 issue. The same article was picked up and printed on March 31, 2003 by the Agency France Press.

Other news agencies, such as Radio Liberty, have conducted interviews with UCCA Executive Board members on the activities of the UCCA in trying to revoke Duranty's Pulitzer Prize. This media attention is necessary to bring further awareness not only of the Duranty campaign, but also as a means of furthering knowledge about the horrors of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide within the general public.


The statement by the UCCA about Walter Duranty was monitored by the Ukraine Market Refrom Group and the  Information Service in Washington, D.C. and Kyiv, Ukraine.