The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)

Ukrainian-Americans demonstrate against the Soviet Union

By Edmond Jacoby, Washington Times Staff
Washington Times, Washington, D.C., October 3, 1983

Thousands of Ukrainian-Americans from more than 50 American cities trekked to within a few hundred feet of the Soviet Embassy yesterday afternoon to read a "Letter to the Kremlin" accusing the Soviet Union of murdering 7 million of their fellow Ukrainians 50 years ago.

The demonstration timed to coincide with a similar march on the Soviet Embassy in Paris, was the culmination of a nine-month organizational effort by the National Committee to Commemorate Genocide in Ukraine.

Although yesterday's march was without incident and no effort was made by marchers to breach police lines around the embassy, some of the demonstrators were openly angered at being prohibited from carrying their letter to the embassy itself. Instead, the statement was read through a bullhorn at 16th and K street NW by Orest Deychakiwsky of Beltsville.

Ukrainian-Americans demonstrate against the Soviet Union at 16th & K streets NW
William Sanders Washington Times
(Click on image to enlarge it)

More than 1,000 of the protesters were teens enrolled in one of three organizations that fielded uniformed marching units, the Ukrainian Scouts (boys and girls) and the Ukrainian Democratic Youth. They were kept on the periphery of the crowd during the confrontation at the barricades, one organizer said, "because there are some hotheads there."

Most of the crowd was unable to hear Deychakiwsky read the letter over the public-address system set up for the purpose, and began chanting, "Svoboda Ukraini! Svoboda Ukraini!---Freedom for Ukraine!"

Metropolitan Police Capt. Louis Widawski said the official estimate of the crowd at the embassy was 8,000. March organizers claimed 15,000 to 20,000 at the Sylvan Theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument earlier in the day. They said they thought as many as 12,000 were at the embassy.

The march, and a concert at the Kennedy Center afterward, marked the end of a week of events in Washington commemorating the 50th anniversary of a devastating famine that Ukrainians have called "the forgotten holocaust."

That famine was brought about largely by policies of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin--policies that led to collection of virtually the entire farm output of food and seed grain in the Ukraine, leaving the farmers who opposed communist collectivization of their farms, to starve.

Oscar Kain, chairman of the book of Monarch Mirror Door Co. of Chatsworth, Calif., a guest at the Capital Hilton were many of the marchers massed, said he was impressed with the turnout.

'I've got two Russians who work for me." Kain said. "They told me what happened to them when they tried to leave the Soviet Union. It makes me believe every word the Ukrainians say, America needs to remember this.

By Edmond Jacoby, Washington Times Staff
Washington Times, Washington, D.C., October 3, 1983