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Heroes and Villains

David R. Marples

Chapter 2. The Famine of 1932-33

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1For independent Ukraine, no event has greater significance in the history of the developing nation-state than the Famine of 1932-33. It brought about a period of intensive suffering on a hitherto unimagined scale. Yet, although the Famine is becoming part of Ukraine’s new national history, its progress to that status has been uneven, littered with public disputes and academic dissension, and with no consensus among historians as to its scale or even its origins. In part, these disputes illustrate the continuing relevance of the Soviet period to life in Ukraine, despite the material and practical steps taken in forging an independent state. As noted in Chapter 1, the Famine has generated an emotional debate in the West, and no consensus has resulted. Ironically, the historians and economic historians who have worked most extensively on this period and published their results are much closer to the former Soviet perspective that emerged from the earlier period of silence on the Famine, namely that it was a result of environmental or climatic conditions rather than part of an official state policy aimed at eliminating Ukrainians as a nation. This chapter explores the genesis of the Famine debate in Ukraine, examining several different aspects and ending with the campaign in independent Ukraine for recognition of the Famine as genocide.

  • 1 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Skeletons in the Closet in the Light of Perestroika,” Den’; The Day Week (...)
  • 2 Mark Tol’ts, “Skol’ko zhe nas togda bylo?” Ogonyok, No. 51 (December 1987): 10-11.
  • 3 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Pam’yat’ pro trydtsyat’ tretii,” Istoriya Ukrainy, No. 24 (June 1998): 4

2In the former Soviet Union, the Famine was a state secret for decades. Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi has chronicled the background to the crucial decision to end this secrecy.1 In 1966, Kul’chyts’kyi notes, the then Ukrainian party leader Petro Shelest reportedly gave permission orally for the Famine to be mentioned in an article to be published in the newspaper for Ukrainians abroad, News from Ukraine. However, Ukrainian journalists were fearful of taking such a step without explicit written permission from the authorities. Under Gorbachev, a new critique of Stalinism was initiated in the official media that included rehabilitation of the victims of the 1930s Purges, and formerly taboo subjects were increasingly challenged. On 16 July 1987, an article in the writers’ weekly Literaturna Ukraina twice mentioned the existence of the Famine. On 11 October of this same year, Russian historian Viktor Danilov made reference to a famine of 1932-33 that had resulted in “huge losses,” in the newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya. The following month, demographer Mark Tolts wrote an article in Ogonyok about the banned 1937 census in the USSR, citing losses incurred during the 1933 Famine as the main reason for a reported shortfall of the population.2 These three examples form the prelude to the official revelation about the Famine in Ukraine. It was first revealed publicly by Ukrainian Communist Party leader Volodymyr V. Shcherbytsky during a speech of December 1987, when he declared that it had been caused by a drought and a poor harvest. The catalyst for such a revelation from a party leader, hardly at the forefront of the Glasnost reforms, was the completion of work of the US Commission on the Ukraine Famine, which was about to release its findings. Shcherbytsky’s speech therefore was intended mainly to pre-empt any information that might be forthcoming from Washington. The news that a major famine had indeed occurred followed some four years of intensive publicity work in Western countries, starting with the 50th anniversary of the Famine in 1933. Shcherbytsky’s speech had the approval of Gorbachev, and provided Ukraine’s historians with a green light to investigate the issue further, albeit with some caution.3

Soviet Revisionism, 1988-1991

  • 4 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Do otsinky stanovyshcha v sil’s’komu hospodarstvi URSS u 1931-1938 rr.” (...)

3In March 1988, Kul’chyts’kyi published a pioneering article on the Famine in the monthly Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal. Part of his conclusions also appeared in abbreviated form in the media in the newspaper Visti z Ukrainy. The article was noticeably cautious and conservative in tone. He noted the “food difficulties” in various parts of the country in the early 1930s: Western Siberia, South Urals, North Kazakhstan, North Caucasus, the Kuban, the Volga region from Gorky to Astrakhan, Rostov, Tambov, part of Kursk Oblast, and the grain growing regions of Ukraine. In villages embraced by famine, the inhabitants moved to the cities, and by the end of December 1932, the authorities introduced a passport system for urban residents to re-strict the migration process. At that point the refugees were effectively in an illegal situation. Kul’chyts’kyi then adds that the scale of the 1932-33 famine was relatively small compared to the catastrophic famine of 1921 and “nationalists” tended to downplay the scale of the Famine of 1932-33 in other areas of the Soviet Union in order to add weight to their key thesis, i.e., that ethnocide occurred only in Ukraine. This point, he adds, was encapsulated in the “pseudo-documentary” film Harvest of Despair, directed by Yurii Luhovyi and released in Canada in 1984, which maintained that the goal of the famine was to destroy a large portion of the Ukrainian nation because of its opposition to Socialism. He cites as an example of this misguided view the book “of the former Fascist collaborator” V. Hryshko, published in Canada in 1983.4

  • 5 Ibid.
  • 6 Ibid., p. 17.

4Kul’chyts’kyi also points out the importance of assimilation in the “loss” of the Ukrainian population between the census of 1926 and that of 1939 (a total decline of 3 million people—at that time the existence of the banned 1937 census was not known). He adds that the two peoples (Ukrainians and Russians) derive from a single ancient Rus’ nationality, have similar languages and cultures, and an almost identical “psychic composition.” Because of the colonization of large swathes of territory (Slobids’ka Ukraine, the Kuban, today’s Kursk and Voronezh oblasts) by both national groups, a portion of the population that resided in these regions in the first decade of the 20th century was in an “ethnically transient state.” The rise in the number of Russians in the USSR as a whole between 1926 and 1939, from 77.8 to 99.6 million, cannot be attributed to a natural increase, particularly when one notes that even representatives of Central Asia, which traditionally had much higher birthrates, could not match the increasing number of Russians. And whereas the 1926 census focused on place of birth, the census of 1939 gave more weight to nationality.5 Thus only assimilation could explain the apparent demographic decline of Ukrainians and increase in those of Russian nationality. Much of the assimilation was about language issues, he continues, for it was because Ukrainians began to speak Russian more widely that their numbers in the North Caucasus dropped from 3.1 million in 1926 to 170,000 by the time of the 1959 census.6

  • 7 Ibid., p. 22.

5Kul’chyts’kyi also describes how the collective farms in Ukraine were weak and badly organized, because the peasants were not convinced psychologically of the advantages of collective work over individual farming. In some instances peasants concealed property and destroyed their livestock before entering. However, the key factor, in the author’s view, was that the introduction of “socialist consciousness” could only occur under conditions of an existing kolkhoz order. In short, the peasants were in almost all cases unwilling to join collective farms unless they had no land or livestock in the first place. The situation was exacerbated by the administrative structure in Ukraine, which in contrast to other areas of the Soviet Union lacked an oblast section, so that orders were transmitted directly from the center to the rayon (district level). Though oblasts were created between February and October 1932, they were not sufficiently organized to prevent anarchy in the collective farms. The situation was made worse by the incompetence of the republic’s party organs. Ukrainian party leader Stanislav Kosior was cited as declaring that in several regions, especially on the steppe, fields remained unsown and about half of the harvest was lost at the time of threshing, and sabotage by the collective farmers was quite common.7 To this point, Kul’chyts’kyi’s analysis does not stray far from the official party line. However, on one issue, this historian already began to forge a new path.

  • 8 Ibid., pp. 24-25.

6Because of the failure of farms in Ukraine to fulfill grain procurement quotas, he comments, Stalin sent Extraordinary Commissions into Kharkiv, Rostov-on-Don, and Saratov, which led to repressions and confiscation of natural and seed funds. However, such methods did not produce the desired results because the new farms lacked supplies of grain. The Commissions established quotas based on so-called biological harvests of grain. When quotas were still unfulfilled, the explanation provided was that collective farms were exploiting the anarchy in order to take grain into their own homes. This statement, Kul’chyts’kyi writes, ignored the fact that the lack of order on the farms had led directly to harvest losses. The food requisitions only made the situation worse. On 19 January 1933, the Soviet government issued a new decree stipulating which part of the harvest would be for the farmers’ own use and restored the concept of a flat tax. Also, in the winter of 1933, the state made an effort to help the peasants, and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CC CPU) created a centralized fund for aid to children, but state resources were soon exhausted, and it was not possible to buy food abroad.8 In short, the situation in the villages was now so critical that an emergency could not be averted.

  • 9 Dr. Yurii Shcherbak, a medical doctor and writer, was a founder and former chairman of the Ukraini (...)
  • 10 V. Savel’ev, “V poiske istiny: k voprosy o prichinakh goloda 1932-1933 godov na Ukrainy,” Pravda U (...)
  • 11 See, for example, Yar Slavutych, “Holodomor buv splanovanyi,” Za vil’nu Ukrainu, 3 November 1990, (...)

7Notably in this first detailed article about the causes of the Famine, the national question did not enter the discussion and the factors cited were basically economic and administrative issues, affecting the delivery of grain from the villages to the towns. In a similar vein, writing in the newspaper Pravda Ukrainy (July 1989), historian V. Savel’ev, in providing an overview of the main historiographical trends of the time, highlighted the significance of forced collectivization and the arbitrary nature of the administrative command system established under Stalin. He points out the difference of views between those who emphasized these factors and those—like Yurii Shcherbak9—who stressed the genocidal intentions of the all-Union leadership. Interestingly, Savil’ev supports his argument with citations from Western scholars writing on the USSR in this period, such as Alexander Dallin. He also cites American scholar Mark Tauger for what he terms the successful balance of a natural disaster with the human agency.10 Both Savel’ev’s and Kul’chyts’kyi’s 1988 articles were understandably tentative. Historians had to test the ground to see what was acceptable and what would be considered presumptuous. However, more radical newspapers, like the L’viv Za vil’nu Ukrainu, were already publishing articles by Diaspora scholars and activists about the Famine and its consequences.11

  • 12 Grigoriy Koinash, “Etot strashnyi 32-i,” L’vovs’kaya pravda, 15 May 1990, p. 3.

8Though many articles of 1989-90 had begun to criticize Soviet methods in the Stalin period, their chief focus was the inefficiencies of the administrative command system and/or what was termed Stalin’s criminal policy toward peasants. Writing in May 1990, Grigoriy Koinash, who experienced the famine, declares that the situation in 1932 was much worse than that in 1921. His family lived in Krivyi Rih and was well acquainted with peasants from nearby villages. The author recalls conversations of his father with peasants about the state of agriculture. He maintains that collectivization was unpopular in all quarters and everyone sympathized with the kulaks who had been deported to Siberia. Though one kulak in the region—a “bloodsucker”—merited such treatment, the same was not true for the other victims. Koinash also recalls the drought in 1932, noting that in this summer no rain had fallen, and the earth was covered with cracks. Children had to put on footwear in order not to burn their feet. Most of the harvest was lost to fires. By the summertime, residents in some of the neighboring villages were starving, and peasants no longer appeared in the town because they had nothing to bring to the market. Instead of coming to the aid of the peasants, the government persecuted them for stealing state property. What was the main cause of the famine, which reached its height in the spring of 1933? Koinash is unequivocal: [it arose because of] “the inhuman adventurist policy of the Stalinist leadership, drunk with plans for industrialization.”12

  • 13 Viktor Polozhin, “Fil’m ‘Holod-33’ u roboti,” Literaturna Ukraina, 21 March 1991, p. 6.
  • 14 Yelena Pozdnyakova, “Narodnyi fil’m: Snimayut ukrainskiye kinematografisty o golode 1933 goda,” Pr (...)
  • 15 Volodymyr Tatarenko, “A koshty peredaty zhertvam…,” Literaturna Ukraina, 20 June 1991, p. 2.

9By 1991 there were a number of plans in Ukraine to commemorate the Famine more appropriately. In the village Yaroslavka (Ruzhyn Rayon, Zhytomyr Oblast) residents decided in the spring to erect a memorial plinth to famine victims and a film about the events was in progress.13 Serhii Dyachenko, a writer and scriptwriter and holder of the Shevchenko State Prize, already had a screenplay in mind for such a film, which would portray the famine through the eyes of a child. He had published a short essay about his plans and readers had responded with a flood of letters as well as R500,000 in contributions. The author promised to publish a script as a separate book.14 Also involved in such work was the Vasyl Stus’ Ukrainian Voluntary Historical-Memorial Association, which was founded in 1989. It organized actions such as the all-Ukrainian Memorial week for the victims of the Famine of 1932-33 and the Stalinist repressions, an International Symposium called “Holodomor-33”, and established the location of some of the mass graves of victims of Stalinism. A member from Ivano-Frankivs’k, P. Arsenych, noted that it was necessary to issue a decree concerning the establishment of a Book of Memory for all those who were victims of repression. Concerning the Famine, M. Lysenko of Kyiv proposed a monument in the center of Kyiv to the “victims of Communist terror,” which should be located close to the former headquarters of the NKVD, the October Palace.15

  • 16 Commission on the Ukraine Famine, Report to Congress: Investigation of the Ukraine Famine 1932-193 (...)

10By December 1991, however, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Famine became a critically important issue for any analysis of the Stalinist past. Ukrainian historians, further, had a broader task to compose for the first time a non-Soviet version of Ukrainian history. For earlier periods they already had the 11-volume history written by Mykailo Hrushevs’kyi. But Hrushevs’kyi had died in 1934 at the very beginning of Stalin’s assault on Ukrainian national culture and its political elite. The Famine quickly came to symbolize the period of Soviet rule at its cruelest, and Ukraine’s persecution at the hands of a centralized Soviet regime based in the capital of Russia. In short time the national and political dimensions of the Famine became more critical than the economic chaos and upheaval caused by the introduction of mass collectivization in 1929-32, with its composite policy of grain procurements and attacks on real and alleged kulaks. In this respect the work of the late American historian James E. Mace has arguably been more influential than those of more established experts on the period of collectivization in the USSR, such as R. W. Davies and Lynne Viola. Whereas they have been hesitant to attribute the origins of the Famine solely (or at all) to the national question, the US Commission on the Ukraine Famine, chaired by Mace, concluded that the Famine was an act of genocide directed against Ukrainians as a nation—oddly, the statement was not the first or prime finding of the commission, it was listed 16th out of 19 major points.16 In turn, this position signified that those persons responsible for the onset of the Famine were, by implication, non-Ukrainians.

  • 17 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Vitchyznyana istoriya u shkolakh i VNZ Ukrainy: ostannye desyatyrichchya (...)

11The reanalysis of the Famine as a topic of history took place at a time of dramatic changes in the Soviet Union. The political circumstances posed some problems for Ukraine’s historians. Kul’chyts’kyi has remarked elsewhere that he and his colleagues were heavily reliant on Orest Subtelny’s book, Ukraine: a History, for several years.17 Why was there such reliance on a scholar from the West? Subtelny points out that his colleagues in Ukraine, having witnessed the removal of the suffocating restraints of adherence to the official Soviet line, lacked both directions and guidelines. In addition, the teaching of the history of the USSR was de facto the history of Russia, with that of Ukraine limited to about 30 hours of the academic load. However, in the transitional period, prior to the issuance of new Ukrainian history textbooks and with the need to come to terms with the recent history of the USSR, Ukrainian historians had to turn to Western scholars of Ukraine for guidance. The work of the latter was elevated to a new authority, ironically perhaps given the inability of these same scholars to gain access to any primary source materials during most of the Soviet period. Thus it became the new practice in Ukraine to cite Western works to add credibility to any article.

  • 18 Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 3rd edition (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000), p. 4 (...)
  • 19 Cited in Serhiy Makhun, et al, “History as Taught in Schools: time to decide,” Den’; The Day Weekl (...)

12Subtelny’s book went through three Ukrainian editions between 1991 and 1993. However, what did Subtelny say about the Famine of 1932-33? The answer is: very little. The central point about the Famine, reports Subtelny, is that it was an event that did not have to happen. He cites the well-known quotation by Viktor Kravchenko in his book I Chose Freedom: “It’s a struggle to the death… It took a famine to show who is master here. It has cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay.” Subtelny continues by commenting that because of the tradition of private land ownership, Ukrainians tended to resist collectivization more fiercely than Russians.18 The introduction to an article on teaching history in schools in the Ukrainian newspaper Den’ commented that Subtelny’s book cannot be considered an academic work, but should be regarded rather as “an outstanding textbook of the Western type.”19 It could not satiate the need for more definitive studies of the Famine of 1932-33. It was thus left to Ukrainian historians to fill the requisite gaps by new investigations into the Famine. Foremost among them has once again been Kul’chyts’kyi, but there have been numerous others, writing in both in the academic milieu and in the popular press.

  • 20 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Mizh dvoma viinamy (1921-1941 rr.),” Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal, No (...)
  • 21 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Mizh dvoma viinamy (1921-1941 rr.),” p. 6.

13Gradually, Ukrainian writers and scholars began to delve more deeply into the events of the early 1930s. Kul’chyts’kyi, now recognized as Ukraine’s senior scholar on the Famine, published several more articles. Here we will highlight another piece in Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal in September 1991, entitled “Between two wars.”20 The article focuses on dekulakization, and the role of Stalin and his two main associates in the field of agriculture: Kaganovich and Molotov. He cites the loss of “hundreds of millions” of poods of grain at the time of threshing and delivery, which he claims was the result of the collective farmers’ lack of interest in their work,21 but he concentrates most closely on the establishment of the grain procurement commission under Premier Vyacheslav Molotov which was given extraordinary powers. In late January, P. P. Postyshev, a secretary of the CC CPSU was also sent into Ukraine with “dictatorial powers.” Kul’chyts’kyi cites Molotov’s insistence in November 1932 that a further procurement quota be placed on Ukraine that equaled in dimension the original quota for the period June-October. Reports about the lack of any grain were ignored because the focus was on the “struggle for grain.” Because of the failure, even under these stringent conditions, to meet the required targets, Molotov’s Commission took from Ukraine all available supplies down to the straw and chaff left after threshing.

  • 22 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Mizh dvoma viinamy (1921-1941 rr.),” p. 7.
  • 23 Yurii Shapoval, “Stalinizm i Ukraina,” Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal, No. 8 (August 1991): 32.

14In adopting such a policy, the requisition teams were guided by the decree of the Ukrainian government, accepted at the insistence of Molotov, “About measures to raise grain procurements,” of 20 November 1932, which contained a clause about applying “natural penalties” of meat for shortfalls in grain. The inference, says Kul’chyts’kyi, is clear. The government was creating the conditions for the complete physical destruction of the rural population, including women and children. Archival documents and newspapers testify that in all localities of Ukraine searches took place for the confiscation not only of grain, but also of sugar, potatoes, beets, and lard as a punishment for “kulak sabotage” of grain procurements.22 The “Holodomor”—Kul’chyts’kyi uses that term—was now in place, and the Soviet government refused all foreign aid for the starving, while Stalin placed police forces on the Ukrainian border to prevent peasants from crossing into areas that had some supplies of food. In addition, as was pointed out in an August 1991 article by Yurii Shapoval, the decree of 14 December, signed by both Molotov and Stalin, not only applied measures of extraordinary severity for failure to meet grain procurements in Ukraine, but also demanded that regional authorities “turn attention to the correct implementation of Ukrainization” and the removal of so-called “Petlyurites and other bourgeois nationalists from party and Soviet organizations.”23

Transition of Interpretations, 1992-95

  • 24 Vitol’d Kyrylyuk, “Chas hromadyty kaminnya: rozmova s holovoyu Ukrains’koi asotsiatsii “Holod-33” (...)

15The change in tone and emphasis between Soviet-period and post-Soviet articles is evident as Ukrainian historians were now much freer to pursue independent research. They also benefited from direct collaboration with researchers from the West. In August 1992, for example, a world forum of Ukrainians was announced that would conduct a round-table discussion on “Genocide in Ukraine,” with the participation of Robert Conquest, author of Harvest of Sorrow, and James E. Mace, as well as several well-known leaders from the Ukrainian Diaspora.24 For the first time, Ukrainian scholars and publicists began to give free rein to the topic of victimization of Ukraine by the Soviet authorities, particularly in the influential literary weekly, Literaturna Ukraina. This development is not surprising since the literary leaders of Ukraine were the initiators of the Ukrainian Popular Movement for Perestroika (Rukh) and had spearheaded the movement for autonomy and ultimately independence. The Famine now became the focal point of the early independence writing, which often took on literary and emotional forms.

16An important article in this regard was written by Ivan Drach under the title “The Genocide of Ukraine” in the fall of 1992. Drach provides first of all the image of Chornobyl: “We are living on the ruins and have not been able to finish counting all our losses.” Likewise the Famine “is hidden in our genetic depths” like some sort of nuclear monster and brings forth negative energy that leads to constant bickering and inability to comprehend even simple things among the Ukrainian people. Voices are sometimes heard, he writes, that complain about the “victim mentality” in the national discourse.

  • 25 Ivan Drach, “Henotsyd Ukrainy—vyklyk XX stolittya,” Literaturna Ukraina, 3 September 1992, p. 3.

The phenomenon of the nation-Christ, which is being crucified endlessly, with only the executioners and guards rotating at the site of the crucifixion has not been fully comprehended by mankind or us. Human civilization has yet to apologize to Ukrainians for their services paid in blood and flesh… This is the century through the main calamities of which— world wars, communism, fascism, nuclear energy—comes the main message of the new era: genocide against Ukrainians.25

17Ukrainian losses in the 20th century, Drach continues, are numbered not in hundreds of thousands, but in millions and “dozens of millions.” It is possible to lose track of the count because no one knows how many were liquidated by the White and Red guards or perished in the famines of 1921-22 and 1932-33, or how many were dispersed around Siberia. Stalin’s plan for a “final solution” to the Ukrainian question cited by Khrushchev was just a symptom of this paranoia. Here in its most simplistic form is the victim theory of what might be termed the “permanent persecution” of Ukrainians. With the open communication with Western scholars about the Famine, it was now possible to develop a new interpretation of an event that had long been hidden officially from the Ukrainian public.

  • 26 Ivan Drach, “Henotsyd Ukrainy—vyklyk XX stolittya,” p. 1.
  • 27 V. Kyrylyuk, “I vdaryat’ dzvony pam’yati,” Literaturna Ukraina, 25 March 1993, p. 1.

18The first notable occasion for a commemoration was the 60th anniversary of the Famine in 1993. After decades of neglect, Ukrainian newspapers and journals could direct their focus to the event. An editorial in Literaturna Ukraina stated that it was now known that “millions upon millions” of Ukrainians and members of other nationalities had perished from hunger. Therefore every oblast, district, town, and village of the newly independent country should honor the sacred memory of the innocent victims of hunger. Crosses should be erected and mass gravesites properly maintained, and most important, young people and children should know and remember the “horrendous crime of the Communist clique” against the Ukrainian nation. Parents, teachers, and museum guides must be responsible for narrating the story of the Famine. Officially the occasion was to be known as Days of Sorrow and Remembrance. The editorial remarked that the horrific events of sixty years ago should serve as a warning what can happen when a “freedom-loving and industrious nation” lacks its own state.26 Two days later, the editor of the same newspaper V. Kyryluk declared that the Famine was an attempt to “liquidate the Ukrainian nation” thus completing the “dirty work of Russian autocrats” through an unheard of genocide that had accounted for the deaths of up to 15 million people.27

  • 28 Vasyl Mazorchuk, “Henotsyd na Chornozemakh,” Osvita, No. 21-22, (1993): 10-12.
  • 29 Ivan Drach, “Chy pokaets’ya Rosiya?” in Taras Hunczak, ed. Tysyacha rokiv Ukrains’-koi suspil’no-p (...)

19The theme of Soviet persecution of Ukraine and Ukrainians was also taken up by Vasyl Mazorchuk, who maintained that the objective of Lenin and his associates in the Russian Revolution was to turn Russia (including Ukraine) into a source of cheap labor and mineral resources for the developed countries of the world. How did the Famine fit into this argument? The Bolsheviks believed that by using tractors in agriculture, they would be able to dispense with the large number of excess peasants. A food surplus would be created by reducing the number of consumers, which could then be exported. The famine in his view was the ultimate manifestation of racism, and one can perceive a historical parallel between the Ukrainian victims and the Native Americans who are victims of US government policies.28 Racism is also the subject of an impassioned article by Ivan Drach, one of the founders of Rukh, who in a speech delivered at a conference on the 50th anniversary of the Famine, stated that the first lesson is that Russia in the past, present, and future has only a destructive and negative attitude toward Ukraine. Many Russians, he writes, “suffer from a fatal Ukrainophobia.” At the present time, Drach laments, Russia is not considering any repentance for severing the Ukrainian nation in half over the past 75 years. He and like-minded Ukrainians would like the northern neighbor to turn its attention to the condition of Ukraine. The Ukrainian nation has survived and now demands of Moscow that it take responsibility for its misdeeds of the past, especially for the Holodomor of 1933, which brought losses of 8-12 million, double those incurred during the war of 1941-45.29

  • 30 Vasyl Marochko, “Holodomor v Ukraini: prychyny i naslidky (1932-1933),” Osvita, No. 21-22, (1993): (...)
  • 31 Ibid.

20A more balanced analysis was provided by historian Vasyl’ Marochko in a series of articles in the newspaper Osvita, also published to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Famine. At the outset he counters claims that the Famine constituted a war of one nation against another. Clearly it took on an anti-Ukrainian direction, but its real organizers—the Soviet political elite— were made up of different nationality groups. However, the Famine was man-made and consciously organized by the Soviet political leadership even though its purpose, in his view, was to physically exterminate the peasants of Ukraine. The Famine occurred, he states, as a result of “the forcible introduction of the Communist doctrine in agriculture, a doctrine that remained alien to Ukrainian peasants” since the latter were attuned to the tradition of individual farming.30 Without doubt, he says, the Famine was genocide; a fact, he adds incorrectly, long established by foreign scholars. The actions of the authorities were illegal because they persecuted peasants who did not commit any crimes, but simply refused to join the kolkhozes and surrender their bread (of which frequently they had none). In the fall of 1933, following the famine, a large number of Belarusian and Russian peasants were settled in the empty villages of Ukraine. Marochko also provides his assessment of the number of victims of the Famine, arriving at the conclusion that losses in Ukraine amounted to around 2.9 million people, a very different total from that of Kyrylyuk cited above.31


21In the early 1990s the Ukrainian press, and particularly informal newspapers, began to publish memoirs from those who had lived through the famine. Some of the stories are worth relating because they provide an indication of how the attempts to acquire knowledge about the Famine from official materials and documents were supplemented by eyewitness accounts that often provide harrowing stories of suffering and hunger. The memoirs also added weight to the very emotional outpourings of figures like Drach, and to the theory that the Famine was genocide perpetrated on the Ukrainians as a people by their masters in Moscow. Memoirs have sometimes been criticized as unreliable by Western scholars, and in turn defended by historians such as James E. Mace, who was one of the earliest collectors of such accounts as head of the US Commission on the Ukraine Famine in 1986-90. After the passage of sixty years and more, the memories of survivors are often less than clear (unless they kept diaries). There is also the added dimension of the way interviews are conducted, particularly if the goal is to chronicle past suffering or commemorate rather than analyze an event. However, in the case of the Famine in Ukraine, memoirs have provided some of the most significant impressions, resurrecting a tragedy that had long been concealed, denied, and then distorted.

  • 32 Dmytro Brylins’kyi, “Ya perezhyv Holod,” Samostiina Ukraina, No. 25, (June 1992): 3.
  • 33 Oleksii Kuz’menko, “Na Holod pishly svidomo,” Osvita, No. 21-22, (1993): 12.

22An early post-Soviet memoir was written by Dmytro Brylins’kyi, who had lost his parents at the age of three and was raised, together with his sister, by his grandmother. He recalled the grain collection campaign in 1932 and how the family sometimes managed to find some rotten potatoes in the garden, as well as eating grass and weeds. His arms and legs began to swell from lack of food. He also describes instances of cannibalism. Though he survived the Famine, his teacher N. S. Shurovs’kyi was arrested as an enemy of the people because his wife received a letter from some relatives in Poland.32 Another author related what he had heard from a retired teacher called Hryhorii Konovalenko, who was 18 years of age in 1932 and worked at an elementary school in the district of Reshetylivka. During the grain collection campaign, it was recalled, activists were walking about the village piercing the ground with special metal spikes looking for hidden grain. They took away everything, including the last handful of beans. Konovalenko survived thanks to the aid of a skilled fisherman who would share his catch. However, fish was not available on a daily basis. By the spring of 1933, villagers were adding grass to the ersatz flour they used to make bread. As a result many died from intestinal problems. By the end of the school year, out of a class of 83 school pupils, only 3 survived, all of whom came from the same family. The school was closed for lack of students and Konovalenko was transferred to a different school.33

  • 34 Yaryna Mytsyk, “Holod u Vyshnopoli,” Osvita, 10 September 1993, pp. 14-15.

23The famine experience in the Cherkasy region was related by Yaryna Mytsyk, a famine survivor. The first collective farm appeared in her village of Vyshnopil in 1931, and some people joined voluntarily, whereas others joined because they had been robbed of all their possessions during the collectivization campaign. The 1931 harvest, she recalls, was so poor that her family had to switch to a diet of potatoes, along with borscht. In 1932 the harvest was worse, and potatoes were now in short supply, too. Frequently people had to roast beets and squash as well as some oil seeds. A type of cookie was manufactured from fragmented buckwheat, but usually the food surrogates were barely edible, and many people began to suffer from acute stomachache after eating them. The kolkhoz provided a cart for the transport of corpses to the cemetery, and as many were in an advanced state of decomposition, men would use pitchforks to lift them onto the cart. Mytsyk also relates some stories of cannibalism, particularly of a number of farmers who killed their children. In the spring, people ate whatever they could find, including a poisonous variety of mushrooms, which caused them to lose their senses before dying. The author cites the materials of a Famine Commission organized in 1983 by the Ukrainian Congress in Toronto, another indicator of the direct influence of events and pressure from outside Ukraine affecting the views of those within the country, including famine survivors themselves.34

  • 35 Oles’ Berdnyk, “Na rynkakh u Kyevi likari provodyly lektsii,” Za vil’nu Ukrainu, 2 October 1993, p (...)
  • 36 Ivan Rudenko, “Trahediya Kozats’koho,” Za vil’nu Ukrainy, 23 October 1993, p. 4.

24A description of the famine in the Kyiv region cites one incident in which the members of the grain requisition commission left a small sack of grain upon discovering that the mother of the house was pregnant. This same eyewitness recalls a cart traveling down the street with a human leg sticking out of it. The cart took the corpses to the cemetery and deposited them in a prepared deep pit. Mad and hungry dogs jumped into the pits and tore the bodies to pieces, resisting the efforts of the gravediggers to drive them away. This source relates one horrific example of an old woman and her daughter who induced travelers to stay for the night, then killed them and used their bodies for meat. The article suggests that there were several people who indulged in acts of cannibalism in this fashion.35 A similar report from the Cherkasy region begins with the de-kulakization campaign of 1930 and the establishment of a special commission headed by the chairman of the village council. Once the commission took grain from the village of Kozats’ke, many people chose to commit suicide rather than starve. Some tried to retake their former cattle from the kolkhoz but were met with gunfire. Over 600 people reportedly died in this village from hunger in 1932-33, and the writer’s aunt warned him not to roam the village for fear that he would be caught and eaten. Communists and activists did not die, writes the author. They watched guiltily as other peasants died.36

  • 37 Kateryna Marchenko, “Mama proty ‘chervonoi’ valky,” Ukraina moloda, 26 June 2003, p. 11.

25More recent memoirs appear to elaborate rather than provide fewer details as one might anticipate with the passage of time. Kateryna Marchenko bases her account on the memories of her parents and grandparents, as well as her own. She outlines the historical context, starting with collectivization, the deportation of the kulaks, and finally grain requisitions. The scale of the latter, she stated, was exceptionally high. It was carried out by lazy residents and drunkards, including in the village Kyshentsi, Uman district of the Cherkasy region, by two brothers with the name of Marochko. She remembers the socalled “red caravans” (several carts that took away the grain and which bore red flags). In her recollection, the harvest of 1932 was a good one—a statement contradicted by several other accounts—and she blames the famine directly on the subsequent requisitions. Local women tried to prevent the red caravans from leaving the village and in one instance got into a brawl with the activists. Her father had died during the Russian Civil War, but her mother managed to preserve her family by exchanging some goods such as beads, handkerchiefs, and towels in return for grain. When spring came, the children would go into the fields and steal straw from the kolkhoz. They also collected bark from the trees, sought frozen potatoes in the fields, and consumed new shoots of grass. Many of her extended family died during this period: uncles, aunts, and cousins. In her opinion, the figure of deaths for the whole of Ukraine must have been around 14 million, a total she claims was corroborated by a number of historians, and the famine occurred because “Ukraine did not want to be in chains and put up with occupiers.”37

  • 38 Tamara Ruchko, “A bratyk plakav, prosyv isty…” Ukrains’ke slovo,” 24-30 July 2003, p. 13.

26This style of memoir may not be very convincing in terms of historical accuracy, but the detail of the description provides a counterweight to the depiction of a nation in chains. An even more detailed account from Tamara Ruchko reads like something out of a horror movie. It is worth recounting as an exceptionally emotive example of the Famine memoir genre. Ruchko’s father had been a victim of the early purge in 1932, and when the famine occurred the family consisted of the mother and three children: Borys, Tamara, and Yurii. Tamara was taken to stay with an uncle and aunt because of the hardship at home. However, the uncle died shortly afterward. One day, she recalls, the aunt left her alone and forgot to lock the door. Suddenly the door opened and an emaciated man entered the house, with “glass eyes gleaming from inside their orbits.” Assuming no one was present he began to search the house, drinking a jug of soup that had been left on the stove before collapsing in a heap on the floor. The young girl screamed once she realized he was dead and ran outside to seek help. Along the way she tripped over a dead woman. Later Tamara’s aunt contracted typhus. The girl tried to barter some clothes for food but was attacked and beaten by two men who took her bundle. Later she was housed with her aunt’s father who treated her brutally. However, she does provide some examples of neighborly assistance. She also recounts some narratives from others, such as the story of how in the neighboring village of Baryshivka, stray dogs and cats would be used for soup as also sometimes were children.38

Transition of Interpretations after 1995

  • 39 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Pam’yat’ pro trydtsat’ tretii,” Istoriya Ukrainy, No. 24 (June 1998): 4.

27The second half of the 1990s saw a plethora of new interpretations of the Ukrainian Famine, led once again by Kul’chyts’kyi, Ukraine’s leading authority on this event. These studies concentrated on several specific aspects: the number of victims, the relationship between Stalin’s collectivization campaign and the Famine, and the motives behind the tragedy. They varied in tone and quality, but in general by this period, historians in Ukraine were convinced of the malevolent nature of the tragedy, and that it was directed from above. However, it took longer to reach a consensus on whether the Famine was a phenomenon deliberately engineered to target Ukrainians as a nation, rather than as one of the most important grain growing regions of the country. The analyses benefited from the opening of Ukrainian archives in 1989, but according to Kul’chyts’kyi the demographic data from 1933 proved to be of extremely low quality and therefore statistics about the Famine had to be reconstructed using indirect methods. As in the earlier article, Kul’chyts’kyi also felt it necessary to take into account the migration processes as well as archival data for years other than the pivotal 1933 year. In turn, he considered that Western media and some local authors tended to exaggerate the number of casualties. According to his scientific deductions and based on the number of recorded victims each month, the losses on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR in the year 1933 amounted to 3-3.5 million.39

  • 40 Ibid.
  • 41 Mykhailo Hoyan, “Na rodyuchii zemli pomyraly khliboroby,” Ukraina moloda, 8 September 1998, p. 12.

28Once again, the focus of the research is on the activities of the Grain Commissions. The most severe grain procurements were imposed on those regions that had failed to fulfill the state annual targets. The “extraordinary commission” led by Molotov in Ukraine was unable to find any grain in the peasant households of most districts of Soviet Ukraine, and therefore began to confiscate other food products as a form of punishment. These policies were more severe than those introduced elsewhere, says Kul’chyts’kyi, particularly those of Postyshev in the Volga region, where only grain was confiscated. Harsher policies were also imposed in the North Caucasus and particularly the Kuban region by Kaganovich. By 1998, Kul’chyts’kyi had fallen into line with the theory of a “terror-famine”—the term used by Robert Conquest earlier—that had rendered the Ukrainian peasantry entirely obedient.40 This theory, however, was still some distance from those who attributed the Famine solely to reasons linked to recalcitrant nationalism. One such example from this period is that of Mykhailo Hoyan, who relies heavily on the book Holod-33 by Lidiya Kovalenko and Volodymyr Manyak, published in 1991. According to Hoyan, the famine was not a consequence of drought, flood, or epidemic, but rather caused by the evil designs of one group of people against another, i.e., Russians against Ukrainians. In a vitriolic attack on Russians, he claims that the “free world” has long understood that the mentality of the Muscovite is one of expansionism and that the Famine should be regarded in this context. However, some Ukrainians living in the eastern and southern regions of the country are ignorant of this fact because they do not know their own history, and thus hapless people sometimes still vote for traitors and “janissaries nourished by the bloody system of Lenin and Stalin.” Hoyan calls for a tribunal to judge those who have damaged the “genofond” of the Ukrainian people and who are responsible for 7.5 million deaths.41

  • 42 Dana Romanets’, “Pochatkom 1937-ho roku v Ukraini stav 1933-i,” Ukraina moloda, 1 December 2000, p (...)

29Generally, however, in these early post-independence writings, the Famine was attributed chiefly to policies of terror and retribution rather than an allout attempt to eliminate Ukrainians as a national group. Many authors overtly debate such issues in trying to assess the status of the Famine in contemporary Ukraine. Some are downright muddled. Dana Romanets, for example, concurs that despite the efforts of some intellectuals to organize a Nurembergstyle tribunal for those who committed crimes against Ukrainians, the state cannot compensate victims so the only plausible recourse is to remember them. She believes that the Famine was genocidal because the state created the conditions in which the deaths of masses of people were inevitable. Because there was no drought in 1932, in contrast to the years 1921 and 1946 when famines also occurred, the Holodomor of 1933 was unique. However, the harvest of 1932 was low because the peasants lacked motivation to cultivate the fields in the wake of collectivization. Ostensibly this article tries to link the Famine of 1932-33 directly with the Purges of 1937, so one suspects that she is adhering to the line that the Famine was an act of terror. However, her conclusions could be interpreted in several ways, and thus they exhibit the lack of a clear thesis on the causes of the Famine.42

  • 43 Yaroslava Muzychenko, “Z choho pochynalasya ‘Rodina’?” Ukraina moloda, 17 May 2002, p. 5.

30Similarly, Yaroslava Muzychenko’s article, which tries to relate the Famine to the emergence of the new Ukrainian state, struggles to corroborate her conclusion, which is that the Famine was introduced to “teach Ukrainian peasants a lesson.” She makes a clear demographic distinction between the suffering peasants and the relatively unaffected urban dwellers, going on to comment that because most peasants were of Ukrainian ethnicity, they were overrepresented among the victims, who included residents of Bulgarian, German, and Greek villages. Because they were city dwellers, Russians and Jews did not suffer unduly during this period. Though she claims to recognize that the Famine knew no ethnic boundaries, she is convinced that Ukrainians’ situation was the most severe: “Only in Ukraine did severe terror accompany famine.” She laments the lack of or superficial character of Famine commemoration in the new Ukrainian state, which is limited to laying flowers on the symbolic monument in Kyiv. She approves the idea of Roman Serbyn (a history professor from Montreal, Canada) to establish a research center for the Famine similar to the Yad Vashem Institute in Israel (for the study of the Holocaust) or the Polish Institute of Memory. But her appeal is weakened by the lack of a clear conception on the causes and meaning of the Famine. In particular, there is little discussion of what the Ukrainians did wrong in order to be the victims of punishment from the Soviet state. Unlike Romanets, she does not dwell on the national issue, restricting her argument to a few comments about the ethnic backgrounds of sufferers.43

  • 44 Yaroslava Muzychenko, “Holod proty voli,” Ukraina moloda, 22 November 2002, p. 4.

31Six months later, Muzychenko returns to her theme in an article that documents episodes of resistance to collectivization and the Famine, as well as contemporary attitudes of the public toward the commemoration of the past. Using oral testimonies of Ukrainians, she constructs a fairly unrealistic picture of universal resistance to the first collectivization campaign through her description of an opposition “band” in the Hadiach district of Poltava region. The group was led by Yukhym Shcherban who lived together with his brothers in the forest to avoid deportation. An informant maintained that Shcherban’s band had been designated as rich peasants. By contrast the poor peasants donned leather jackets and became Communists and started to order people how to live their lives. The band reportedly tried to persuade collective farm members to abandon the enterprise but eventually all the bandits were killed. Muzychenko then goes on to portray the Famine as Stalin’s attempt to subdue resistance, citing Kul’chyts’kyi’s theory of Terror with Famine. Those peasants who took on the role of activists for the Soviet regime, she says, ate well in contrast to the rest of the village residents. She also comments on the concealment of the Famine by the authorities, arguing that if the Soviet leaders refused to divulge news about the event, then they must have been the ones to organize it—a statement that requires a leap in logic. She relies also on the work of the Diaspora to commemorate the Famine, citing the Commission for the Study of the Ukraine Famine in the USA, which delivered “30 volumes of documents” to the Ukrainian Parliament. One week before this article appeared, an all-Ukrainian conference on the Famine was held at the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management (MAUP) in Kyiv, which proposed to send a petition to the UN to acknowledge the Famine as an act of genocide. The problem is that Muzychenko’s article failed to prove that point.44

  • 45 M. Savchenko, “70-richchya holodomoru v Ukraini: metodychni porady do provedennya zakhodiv pam’yat (...)

32A more scholarly paper of this same period pinpoints some signposts on the road to famine: forced industrialization at the expense of the countryside and collectivization marking the starting point. Collectivization in Ukraine, the author posits, was carried out faster than elsewhere, and was followed by confiscation of grain, livestock, and farm equipment. The main thesis of this article is that despite the official awareness of drought, low harvest, and famine in some localities, the central authorities still endorsed truly fantastic plans for grain procurements. The author cites specifically the activities of the Molotov Commission, which in October 1932 managed to squeeze another 89.5 million poods of grain out of peasant households. The purge of the Ukrainian party and state apparatus took place simultaneously: in November and the first days of December 1932 the authorities arrested 340 kolkhoz chairmen and 140 book-keepers. Through the law for the protection of the harvest, over 20,000 people were imprisoned. Stalin and his associates were fully aware of the Famine but continued to ship grain abroad in order to promote the image of a Bolshevik paradise and to earn income to support the industrialization campaign. The author proposes a series of events, particularly in schools, to commemorate the Famine, including conferences and drawing competitions. This writer more explicitly endorses the theory of a Famine-Genocide, but does not elaborate on the possible reasons behind it, though he has explained clearly that Ukraine as a republic was singled out for very harsh treatment.45

The 70th Anniversary of the Famine

33The 70th anniversary of the Famine in Ukraine was commemorated widely in 2003. It included official recognition of the Famine as an act of genocide by the government and parliament of Ukraine, as well as various foreign governments, including the Senate of Canada and the government of the United States. In contrast, the United Nations offered a watered-down resolution that offered condolences to various groups that suffered from starvation in the Soviet Union, including the Kazakhs and the Russians. In Ukraine also, a national day of mourning was recognized on the fourth Sunday of November. There were conferences, exhibits in museums, and lengthy discussions in academic forums and the media. By now, several clear trends could be delineated in world opinion about the nature of the Famine:

  • 46 Robert Conquest, Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine (New York: Oxfor (...)
  • 47 The chairman of the commission and (as noted in Chapter 1) one of the initiators of the campaign w (...)
  • 48 On Duranty, see, for example, Sally J. Taylor, Stalin’s Apologist: Walter Duranty, the New York Ti (...)

34a) That of the academics, writers, and publicists of Ukrainian ancestry, who commemorated the Famine as an act of genocide (as indeed they had done for decades), using the term that Kul’chyts’kyi had applied in his article ten years earlier—Holodomor, or death by hunger. North Americans of Ukrainian ancestry had commemorated the Famine ten years earlier in significant fashion, including the commissioning by the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute of the definitive work on the Famine to date by Robert Conquest, a historian based at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, in 1986.46 In 2003, the campaign benefited from increased awareness and knowledge of the Famine and the scale of the catastrophe engendered by the Conquest book, and the work of James E. Mace and his colleagues on the US Commission on the Ukraine Famine, which had published its findings in several volumes by 1990. It coincided also with a campaign discussed earlier, taken up by the Ukrainian Civil Liberties Association,47 to persuade the New York Times to revoke the Pulitzer Prize it had awarded to its Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty in 1932 for his reporting from the USSR. This latter campaign, though never attaining its ultimate goal, resulted in a sustained effort that involved letters to the media and a number of editorials in various newspapers. Duranty, an admirer of Stalin, had misled readers over a period of several years regarding the nature of the Soviet regime, including the existence of the Famine of 1932-33.48

  • 49 Though the distinction between academics of Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian ancestry is somewhat arbit (...)
  • 50 See, for example, Mark B. Tauger, “The 1932 Harvest and the Soviet Famine of 1932- 1933,” Slavic R (...)

35b) That of Western academics, not of Ukrainian ancestry, who still hesitated to delineate national motives to Stalin’s collectivization and grain collection campaigns.49 Key among them has been Mark Tauger of the University of West Virginia, who has maintained that the 1932 harvest was much poorer than believed hitherto.50 Notably, Western academics were paying much more attention to the topic. In contrast to earlier works that never even cited the Famine—Moshe Lewin’s Russian Peasants and Soviet Power being the classic example—new studies discussed the issue carefully. Most notable in this regard was Terry Martin’s much heralded book, The Affirmative Action Empire, which argues that:

  • 51 Terry Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union (Ithaca, (...)

The Politburo’s development of a national interpretation of their grain requisitions crisis in late 1932 helps explain both the pattern of terror and the role of the national factor during the 1932-1933 famine. The 1932-33 terror campaign consisted of both a grain requisitions terror, whose primary target was the peasantry, both Russian and non-Russian, and a nationalities terror, whose primary target was Ukraine and subsequently Belarus. The grain requisitions terror was the final and decisive culmination of a campaign begun in 1927-1928 to extract the maximum possible amount of grain from a hostile peasantry. As such, its primary targets were the grain-producing regions of Ukraine, the North Caucasus, and the Lower Volga, though no grain-producing regions escaped the 1932-1933 grain requisitions terror entirely. Nationality was of minimal importance in this campaign. The famine was not an intentional act of genocide specifically targeting the Ukrainian nation. It is equally false, however, to assert that nationality played no role whatsoever in the famine. The nationalities terror resulted from the gradual emergence of an anti-korenizatsiia hard-line critique combined with the immediate pressures of the grain requisitions crisis in Ukraine and Kuban, whose particularly intense resistance was attributed to Ukrainization.51

  • 52 Martin, who is preparing a book on the Ukrainian Famine, has since amended his views somewhat in t (...)

36In other words, the denationalization campaign came after the Famine rather than alongside it and when it did take place it affected Ukraine and Belarus more or less equally.52

37c) The work of academics in Ukraine, led by Kul’chyts’kyi, Shapoval, Marochko, and Danilov, and also the writings of James E. Mace, resident in Ukraine for the last decade of his life. There remain subtle but very distinct differences in the interpretation of the Famine by historians in Ukraine. Kul’chyts’kyi, Mace, and Shapoval emphasize the importance of the 11 August 1932 letter from Stalin to Kaganovich, which complained about the weakness of the CPU and the presence within it of Petlyurites working in the interests of Polish leader Pilsudski. Though it seems reasonable to assume a fear of Ukrainian nationalism, oddly neither of them remark on Stalin’s startling paranoia and fear of Poles, illustrated in this document most vividly. They also lay emphasis, correctly in my view, on the formation of an extraordinary commission under Molotov on 22 October 1932 (other leaders policed different areas: Kaganovich was sent to the North Caucasus and Pavel Postyshev to the Volga region) and the Molotov decree of 18 November 1932 extending requisitions for failure to meet the assigned grain quotas. Shapoval, as noted earlier, believes that the decision to abort the policy of Ukrainization of 14 December 1932 was tied directly to the grain requisitions policy. Mace notes that the problems were blamed on kulaks and wreckers in order to “unleash a reign of terror on party officials” (The Day, 25 November 2003).

  • 53 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Velykyi holod,” Istoriya v shkolakh Ukrainy, No. 3 (2003): 51-52.

38According to Kul’chyts’kyi, in a March 2003 article in the journal Istoriya v shkolakh Ukrainy, the causes of the Famine are impossible to comprehend without a study of the nature of the Soviet social-economic transformation that occurred after 1929. After the abandonment of the New Economic Policy in 1928, the new political leadership under Stalin moved to the forced creation of the Communist order under slogans of socialist construction. The key goal was to transform the peasantry into an engaged work force that could labor through a command system on the collective farms. This drive was more successful than Lenin’s attempt of 1918-21 and relied on three factors. First, says Kul’chyts’kyi, in the 1920s and 1930s the authorities proved stronger than the peasantry. The state prepared for several years for a campaign of full collectivization, having eliminated the kulak sector from the villages. The GPU organs made a list, and neutralized the most mutinous element among the peasantry. Second, Stalin introduced a policy change in March 1930. He refused to force peasants into Communes as demanded by Communist doctrine and switched to the “artel” form of collectivization, which was much looser. The logical result was the legalization of free commodity circulation in May 1932, which was prohibited by Communist doctrine. There thus arose a kolkhoz trade sector and the monetary form of wages was retained for workers and employees. The third factor was the use of terror, and the division of peasants into rich, middle, and poor, with the expropriation and deportation of kulaks. Such a fate befell all those who were hostile to collective farms.53

  • 54 Ibid., p. 52.
  • 55 Ibid.

39Kul’chyts’kyi also focuses once again on the Grain Commissions that began to operate from November 1932. He believes that these commissions functioned with unusual force and venom in Ukraine and the Kuban/North Caucasus, where two-thirds of the population was of Ukrainian ethnicity. Here, the commissions took not only grain. When they could not find any grain, a new penalty—the requisitioning of meat and potatoes—was applied to the peasantry. Those who were “in debt” for grain procurements thus saw the confiscation of all food supplies accumulated from the new harvest, such as sugar, fruits, onions, etc.54 “Stalin acutely struck out at these ‘debtors’ in order to teach them a lesson,” he continues, and the goal was not so much revenge as intimidation. This phrase “teaching a lesson” echoes a report of Ukrainian party secretary Stanislav Kosior in the spring of 1933 when he complained that the tempo of spring sowing in Ukraine was unsatisfactory and that the peasants needed to be punished. Kul’chyts’kyi goes on to note that once grain was taken from the village, the weakest farmers, with no other food supplies, were the ones to perish, whereas those with some food stored away might survive until the next harvest. But when all stocks of food were confiscated then death from starvation rose by “tens of times.”55

40Notable here is less a difference in interpretation than in emphasis. Kul’chyts’kyi chooses once again to highlight a “terror-famine” imposed by the Soviet authorities as a form of punishment, which together with excessive grain procurements ensured that Ukraine suffered large losses of its rural population. Stalin responded to the Famine as a phenomenon that never existed. The word was never used in party documents, but is found only in special papers that were not for discussion. This ban on use of the word was for strategic reasons, i.e., to avoid the necessity of organizing aid to the hungry. Internal military police were installed to prevent starving peasants from crossing the republican border. According to Kul’chyts’kyi, Western governments were aware of the Famine but chose not to intervene directly because they put their national interests first—in the case of the United States, because such an intervention would compromise the diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union by Washington, and as a potential ally given the coming to power of Hitler in Germany. Many of the Soviet leaders, including Khrushchev, were reportedly unaware of the scale of the Famine, he writes. In summary then, Kul’chyts’kyi has used the traditional explanations of the collectivization campaign to explain how Famine occurred in Ukraine in 1932-33, adding emphasis on the punishment of Ukraine to his old 1988 explanation of how the Famine occurred. The national question as an issue is excluded from his analysis.

  • 56 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Kryza kolhospnoho ladu,” Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal, No. 5 (May 200 (...)

41This theory is refined in an article Kul’chyts’kyi wrote in this same year in Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal, which explores conditions in collectivized agriculture in 1930-31 with the goal of establishing a “genetic link” between allout collectivization and the Famine. According to this paper, although the state successfully managed to coerce peasants into collective farms, in the years following it failed completely to organize effective management of the kolkhoz economy. Peasants also felt alienated from the results of their labor. The authorities bungled by moving to a two-tier form of administrative control of center-district, eliminating the middle sector of regions, which made it difficult to oversee operations. The result was administrative chaos. Two other factors are considered: first the 25,000ers, or urban volunteers who moved from towns to the villages to create the leadership cadres in the kolkhozes. Their results, says Kul’chyts’kyi, were mixed. The Machine-Tractor Stations, on the other hand, which were supposed to provide the collective farms with technical support during the sowing campaign, were a failure because they lacked skilled machine operators. Finally he describes the grain procurement campaign and highlights the discrepancy between the projected harvest and the actual yield.56 Though detailed, one could advance an argument that there is little in Kul’chyts’kyi’s explanation in this article that could not be applied to other republics subjected to collectivization, including Russia and Belarus. What was distinctive about the campaign in Ukraine, and was collectivization really the main cause of the Famine?

  • 57 Yurii Shapoval, “The Famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine: What do we know about it today?” Paper presente (...)

42In a research paper delivered in Canada during the 70th anniversary period, Yurii Shapoval addressed the issue of the Famine through various primary documents, including exchanges between leaders and Stalin, letters, reports, and diary entries to emphasize the role of Stalinist leaders in the Famine, particularly Molotov and Kaganovich. He points out that at the third conference of the Communist Party of Ukraine, held during the summer of 1932, and attended by the two leaders in question, CPU leaders and local officials tried to draw the attention of the Kremlin to the catastrophic situation in Ukraine, but to no avail. Conversely, in his letter to Kaganovich of 11 August 1932—a letter recognized by several historians as pivotal to the issue—Stalin outlined his suspicions about the Ukrainian peasants and questioned the loyalty of the Ukrainian party leadership in Kharkiv. He believed that it was un-der the influence of the late Symon Petlyura as well as agents of the Polish leader Jozef Pilsudski. He was afraid that the Soviet Union might “lose” Ukraine and that it required prompt attention so that it could be drawn into the fortress of the USSR. Shapoval believes that the letter indicates Stalin’s desire to squeeze the maximum grain out of Ukraine to feed the urban population, as well as his intention to conduct a purge at all levels of Ukrainian society to eliminate nationalists and other enemies.57

43Shapoval’s second major point is that what made the situation in Ukraine quite distinct from that in Russia was a sudden shift in nationality policy on 14 December 1932 by Stalin and Molotov who issued a resolution on behalf of the Central Committee of the CPSU that called for a decisive struggle against recalcitrant elements in Ukraine. Shapoval perceives this event as the end of official Ukrainization (the implementation of a national culture with a socialist content begun in the 1920s) and the beginning of purges directed against Ukrainians. Thus in 1933 a purge was introduced and Pavel Postyshev was appointed Second Secretary of the CPU with plenipotentiary powers. Documents demonstrate that party officials from Moscow, including Postyshev, took an active role in requisitioning grain from the Ukrainian villages. Later the purges became part of the Great Terror that encompassed the entire Soviet Union in 1936-38. Thus we have an added element to the outline provided by Kul’chyts’kyi and others, namely a terror-punishment that was linked to Soviet nationality policy. Evident from this account, but never explicitly stated by Shapoval or any other Ukrainian historian in the discussion to this point, is Stalin’s fear of Poland and its intentions toward Ukraine, a holdover from the war of 1920-21, and reflected in Stalin’s subsequent purge of the Communist Party of Poland, the Katyn massacre of 1940, and other events. Were Ukrainians feared because of nationalism or because they had allied in the past with Poles against the Soviet leadership? If the Poles are taken into account as a factor in Stalin’s thinking, then what impact does that have on the theory of the Famine as genocide?

  • 58 V. M. Danylenko and M. M. Kuz’menko, “Naukovo-pedahohichna intelihentsiya v roky holodu,” Ukrains’ (...)

44The national issue is given further emphasis in another article on the 70th anniversary by two well-known Ukrainian historians, V. M. Danylenko and M. M. Kuz’menko. They concentrate on Stalinist repressions against two groups in the period of 1929-33: the upper scientific intelligentsia and village teachers. The political aspects of the “terror-famine,” they argue, are to be found not only in punitive operations of state organs against the peasants, but also in the attack by the party leadership on “national-cultural deviationism,” i.e., the campaign for Ukrainization and the “socio-spiritual self-organization of Ukraine,” particularly in the rural areas. In 1932-33, they point out, 1,649 Ukrainian scholars were purged. In reality, the accusations of nationalism lacked substance as Stalin was seeking scapegoats for his own errors—the Ukrainian intelligentsia had tried to sabotage collectivization and was thus responsible for the onset of famine. After the Famine was organized, the leadership, in the opinion of the two authors, began to be fearful of food riots and therefore embarked on further repressions and deportations. These repressions were soon extended to organizations with members who were prominent Ukrainian intellectuals, such as the Ukrainian Association of Cultural and Scientific Workers for assistance to Socialist Construction, as well as rank-and-file teaching cadres. By February 1933, the purge had extended to the People’s Commissariat for Education and some 200 “nationalists,” “enemies,” and unreliable elements were removed. Teachers were linked to the events in the villages because by this time the economic support of teachers had become the responsibility of the collective farms.58

45Aside from the example of teachers, however, Danylenko and Kuz’menko fail to explain the links between the Famine in the villages and Stalin’s clamp-down on intellectuals and the reversal of Ukrainization. That there was such a link seems plausible, but the authors fail to come up with any conclusions; and this article in Ukraine’s most authoritative historical journal is unconvincing because it fails to deal adequately with the social situation and the relationship between the towns and the villages. Indeed, in general, despite the close attention to the subject of the Famine by 2003 and the plethora of published works, Ukrainian historiography is notable for its absence of clear conclusions or convincingly argued theories about why events took the course they did. The most important figure—at least as determined by standing and productivity—Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi continued to seek economic explanations whereas others began to turn to the national question. Others still took a very narrow view that laid the blame on other ethnic groups, principally the Russians, thus perceiving the Famine purely in ethnic terms. As we have seen, some writers took this conception further, and sought explanations from hundreds of years of history, maintaining that Russian persecution of Ukrainians was a centuries-old tradition. That the Famine was a more complex issue was evident from the works of other writers who attempted to provide a portrait of how the Famine affected non-Ukrainian regions of the republic.

Famine in Non-Ukrainian Villages

  • 59 Vasyl Marochko, “Holodomor v Ukraini: prychyny i naslidky (1932-1933),” Osvita, No. 21 (1993): 3-9

46Writings and discourses that maintain there was no ethnic element to the Famine are found infrequently in Ukraine in the period since 1988. Nevertheless, they are worth recounting briefly because they offer a new dimension to the topic that may eventually be explored more fully. It should be recalled that there were several large ethnic communities living in Ukraine during the Stalinist period, of which the German and Jewish communities were the most notable. Both of them suffered considerable losses during the years 1932-33. Very little has appeared on the Germans, but in a lengthy article on the causes and consequences of the Famine, Vasyl’ Marochko asserts that the situation in the national districts essentially did not differ from the plight of Ukrainian villages. He observes that the only outside country that recognized the scale of the Famine was Nazi Germany, which organized broad assistance for ethnic Germans living in Ukraine. However, some Germans refused to accept this aid because they were fearful of Soviet reprisals.59 Clearly, Hitler’s regime may have had more selfish motives than aiding kin in the Soviet Union, and some Volksdeutsche offered a warm welcome to the invading forces of the Wehrmacht in 1941. A more detailed picture has emerged of the Jewish settlements, principally from Jewish regional newspapers in contemporary Ukraine.

  • 60 Yakov Konigsman, “Golodomor 1933 goda i upadok yevreiskogo zemledeliya,” Evreiskiye vesti, No. 17- (...)

47Thus Yakov Konigsman contests the theory that the Famine in Ukraine was the deliberate policy of the Soviet government, which singled out Ukrainians for destruction—this theme represents the more extreme version of the genocide theory. He argues that the Famine affected different areas of the Soviet Union, such as Kazakhstan and the Volga region, and encompassed members of different nationality groups. His main thesis is that the Famine resulted from the criminal policies of Stalin’s regime which, despite a relatively poor harvest, tried to requisition as much grain as possible from the villages for export. The Famine, in Konigsman’s view, signaled the decline of Jewish settlements in Ukraine. The start of such habitation dated back to Imperial Russian times, and Russia’s efforts to convert Jews to Orthodoxy by tying them to the land. By the late 19th century, he points out, only 3 % of almost 2 million Ukrainian Jews, were working in agriculture, whereas 97 % resided in towns and cities. The revolution and Civil War had a devastating impact on Jewish settlements, reducing the Jewish population by about half compared to the numbers in 1914. However, the years 1921-22 saw a revitalization of colonization efforts by Zionist activists, who favored settlement in the Ukrainian south and the Crimean peninsula. Zionist cooperatives received support from Jewish organizations in the United States. A number of such cooperatives emerged in Crimea and employed over 1,600 Jewish peasants by 1923.60

  • 61 Ibid.

48By August 1924, the Soviet authorities were overtly supporting the policy of settling Jewish working people, and as a result Jewish colonies began to develop in Crimea and South Ukraine, based on the administrative districts of Freifeld, Neufeld, Blumenfeld, Kalinindorf, and Stalindorf. Similar colonies appeared in other parts of the USSR, such as Belarus, the Smolensk region of Russia, and the Caucasus. Jewish settlers were hostile to collectivization and the upheaval it posed for their settlements. However, by 1930, 93 Jewish collective farms had been founded in Ukraine, with a population of 156,000 peasants, which was 10 % of the entire Jewish community of the republic. Konigsman maintains that collectivization was a destructive process. People lacked motivation, and requisitions undermined the stability of the kolkhoz and brought famine to the Jewish regions. Some American Jewish organizations (Agrojoint, Komzet), upon learning of the outbreak of famine in the Kherson region, attempted to help the communities, but their support was not accepted by the Soviet authorities. Konigsman reports that starving Jews attempted to escape to the cities and even to the Jewish region of Birobidzhan in the Soviet Far East. By 1937, only 68 Jewish kolkhozes remained, and the number of peasants in them had fallen to 109,000, a decline of 30 %.61

  • 62 Etia Shatnaya, “Pod rodnym nebom,” Evreiskiye vesti, No. 21-22 (November 1993): 15.
  • 63 Iosif Shaikin, “Na yuge Ukrainy,” Evreiskiye vesti, No. 1-2 (January 1994): 6.

49One memoir relates the Jewish experience of the Famine in Kherson region. The author is a native of the village Sudnyakove in Khmel’nyts’kyi region, but moved with her parents to Kherson as part of a Jewish colonization venture organized by Agrojoint in 1928. They settled in the village Rodonsk and the company built them houses. When the Soviet authorities collectivized the region, the settlers were deprived of their horses and tools, but retained their cattle. In 1932-33 the father received 30 poods of grain for his labor on the kolkhoz, and 22 poods were exchanged for some sheep. When requisitions began, the family had to make bread from mustard flour, the grandfather died, and the author became swollen from hunger, although she survived. The malnourished children received one meal a day at school—some thin soup with beans.62 Another author takes issue with those who have maintained that the Famine in Ukraine was organized by Jews (see below) and argues that Jews suffered from the event as much as any other group. In Ukraine, she states, the death toll for Jews was second only to that for Ukrainians and Russians, because the Famine targeted people based not on national identity but on the region and class affiliation, i.e., peasantry. Mikhail Siganevich from Kalinindorf recalled that the harvest in 1932 was satisfactory. His family received 20 poods of grain, but this amount was requisitioned in the fall of that year. The village schoolteacher ordered all children to bring 5 kilograms of grain to donate to the state, and his mother was obliged to give up what grain remained. The family endured the winter eating rotten vegetables. Though the Siganevich family survived, many of the neighbors perished.63 There is little to distinguish such stories from those of Ukrainian villages.

  • 64 Vasyl Marochko, “Holod u natsional’nykh rayonakh Ukrainy,” Evreiskiye vesti, No. 15-16 (August 199 (...)

50Another article by Marochko is worth citing as a final example in the category of non-Ukrainian victims during the Famine. Though the Famine was not limited to Ukraine, he remarks, starvation tended to affect primarily those areas in which many Ukrainians lived, such as the Kuban region, along the Don River, and Kazakhstan. Though members of other nationalities suffered, it was primarily because they were unfortunate enough to reside in Ukraine (Russians, Jews, and Germans). In 1932, he points out, there were 2.6 million Russians in Ukraine, and most Russian peasants lived in nine national districts. Like their Ukrainian counterparts, they resisted collectivization and by 1932 those in all the Russian national districts were starving. The 1932 famine was also unique in that it affected cities as well as villages. Thus various cities were facing crises: Kyiv, Berdyakhiv, Zhytomyr, Uman, Zaporizhzhya, and others. He challenges the perspective that Jews occupied the prominent party and government posts and played some role in organizing the Famine by observing that they were also sufferers, but also somewhat absurdly participates in this discussion by suggesting that Russians and Ukrainians occupied more of such positions than Jews.64 This article overall seems to contradict his earlier contribution to the debate in that it suggests that the Famine may well have been directed primarily against Ukrainians, but affected other groups by the simple factor of geography; that these peoples happened to be in the locality and therefore suffered as well. On the other hand, a regime that intended to eradicate Ukrainians for their nationalist views, or for their potential alliance with the Poles, might have taken steps not to alienate other national groups living in the republic. In general, this question has received little attention from historians and requires a fuller treatment.

Anti-Semitic Tracts

  • 65 See, for example, the article by my PhD student at the University of Alberta: Per Anders Rudling, (...)
  • 66 V. M. Chyrkov, ed., Holodomor 1932-33 rokiv yak velychezna trahediya ukrains’koho narodu (Kyiv: MA (...)

51The following section looks at some selected articles that are anti-Semitic in tone. Their inclusion does not denote such items as typical or representative of a prevailing view. However, they have been frequent enough to merit attention, and through institutions such as MAUP, publications and conferences in Ukraine sometimes contain a mixture of academic and virulently extremist articles that tend to target Jews.65 The most notable example with regard to the Famine was a collection issued by MAUP from a conference on the Famine-Genocide, which included two overtly anti-Semitic articles within a generally scholarly and objective collection.66 These papers were also issued as individual publications and distributed in bookstores in Ukraine’s major cities at the time of the 70th anniversary of the Famine. MAUP depicts itself as one of Ukraine’s largest higher educational institutions, but has hosted such extremist luminaries as the US activist David Duke, who was teaching in Kyiv at the time of writing. Thus, although peripheral, the anti-Semitic trend in the writing of Ukrainian history cannot be omitted altogether. Among anti-Semitic writings, those on the Famine are probably the most notable in that they attempt to assemble a theory that Jews, as a group, were behind the Famine, which they used as an instrument to undermine and eliminate Ukrainians. Here we will cite several examples, most of which emanate from the former L’viv newspaper, Za vil’nu Ukrainu, one of the more outspoken nationalist sources of the 1990s, although there are other isolated articles that appeared elsewhere as well.

  • 67 Vasyl Mazorchuk, “Henotsyd na Chornozemakh,” Osvita, No. 22, (1993) 10-14.

52An article by Vasyl Mazorchuk on genocide in the black-earth regions is ostensibly about the motives behind the maltreatment of Ukrainians, but it also has a strong political component. He believes there was a serious danger that Ukrainian lands would be sold off to foreigners, leaving Ukrainians without a native land. He lists 13 decrees of the CC CPU and the Ukrainian government that determined the course of genocide. Often he misuses quotations to offer meanings that seem to have no basis in reality; for example, his interpretation of a comment of Ukraine’s Minister of Agriculture, that the population growth would result in a surplus of 5 million people of working age to mean that these people had been singled out for destruction. As for the perpetrators of the Famine, Mazorchuk singles out people from Stalin’s ruling circle, as well as President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the USA, a man who was a mason since 1911, adds the author. The US president failed to provide economic assistance to the starving. The concluding section of the article discusses the ways in which Ukrainians are being oppressed in their own country by “cosmopolitans” (a familiar euphemism for Jews used in the Stalin period) and foreigners. He maintains that the section indicating “nationality” was removed from Ukrainian passports in order to conceal the foreign takeover of key posts in the government and local administration of the country.67

  • 68 Pavlo Chemerys, “Nasha plata ‘nayvnym’…,” Za vil’nu Ukrainu, 11 September 1993, p. 3.

53Even more inflammatory in tone is an article by Pavlo Chemerys from September 1993, which overtly lays the blame for the 1932-33 Famine on Jews. He concludes by stating that in 1932-33, Jews occupied 80-100 % of the leading positions in the USSR and ruled the country “despotically.” He cites the books of US Senator Jack Finney, which purport to show that Zionist billion-aires made an agreement with the Soviet government to deport Ukrainians from their native land and populate it with Jews. Since the mass shootings, arrests, and deportations of Ukrainians to Siberia were proceeding too slowly, these same people advised the regime to organize a famine that killed 12 [!] million people. The Jewish claims to Ukraine, Chemerys continues, date back 1,000 years. Persecuted in Byzantium in the 8th century, they moved to Cri-mea. From 1917 this migration accelerated, and a special “joint agro” committee was established for the colonization of Crimea and Southern Ukraine headed by Lewis Marshall, Meier London, and Felix Warburg. He also main-tains that after the Second World War, the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee demanded from Stalin Southern Ukraine and Crimea for Jewish settlement. The political problems in Crimea at the time Chemerys wrote the article are also attributed to Jewish agitation.68 Though it seems unnecessary to analyze or discount the comments in this far-fetched article, it is worth reiterating that in the southern regions of Ukraine, as already noted by other authors, Jews suffered from the Famine on a substantial scale.

  • 69 Pavlo Chemerys, “Operatsiya Holod,” Za vil’nu Ukrainu, 28 September 1996, p. 2.
  • 70 Erik Margolis, “Zhaduyuchy nevidomyi holokost Ukrainy,” Za vil’nu Ukrainu, 6 February 1999, p. 2.

54Chemerys returned to this same theme three years later in an article that begins with quotations from the Tora, Talmud, and the fabricated Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in which plans for world domination are elaborated by “Judeo-Zionists.” He outlines the onset of death and famine in many parts of the Soviet Union, and asks a rhetorical question: “Why did they take all the grain? Did enemies threaten us? No. On the contrary capitalism was going through the most severe crisis in its history.” Bread requisitions turned into a war with the peasantry in the Soviet Union. The explanation, says the author, is simple. Having attained absolute power in the disguise of Bolshevism, the Judeo-Zionists started to implement their Tora-Talmudic program for the total destruction of alien people. In his postscript, Chemerys accuses Judeo-Zionists of organizing revolutions, two world wars, terror, and the Famine.69 The same newspaper also cited extensively an article in the Canadian newspaper, the Edmonton Sun, in 1999 on the Famine as genocide, even though that article never suggested in any way that Jews were responsible for this event. Author Erik Margolis had also dwelled on the massive reprisals in the Baltic States, deportation of Germans, and persecution of Muslims in the USSR as well as the Famine, blaming the concealment of the latter on the predominance of left-wing public opinion in the wake of German aggression in Europe. Margolis, Chemery editorializes, “is himself a Jew… and Jewish authors themselves cannot deny the truth of history.”70

  • 71 Ibid.
  • 72 Pavlo Skochii, “Nadislannyi tsar-holod,” Za vil’nu Ukrainu, 9 April 1998, p. 2.

55What is this “truth of history” as defined by this former L’viv newspaper? It is that the Jews had penetrated the higher echelons of the Communist Party and the NKVD. For publishing such statements, says one of the editors in this same issue of the newspaper, they were categorized unambiguously as anti-Semitic and periodically harassed by complaints from below and calls to the office of the Prosecutor-General.71 The same theme is also to be found in a quasi-academic article by a “Professor” Pavlo Skochii, who also presents the Famine as artificial and the article begins with a Preface, which declares that the aim of the genocide was to free the land of Ukraine for a future state, the New Jerusalem, for which world Jewry had amassed a sum of $139 million by 1929. Having made these comments, the remainder of the article is a straightforward account of the Famine from the genocide-theory perspective, which leads to the suspicion that the Preface was written by another author—possibly Chemerys—that was simply tacked on to the account by Skochii.72 Like the widely circulated newspaper Sil’s’ki visti in 2004, which was suspended after a series of anti-Semitic articles, Za vil’nu Ukrainu was eventually closed down, ostensibly in part because of its degeneration into a nationalist and anti-Semitic pamphlet that pandered to the most extreme views. One could dismiss these views as peripheral to the analysis of the Famine but for the fact that they appear with some regularity, and works by authors propagating such views can still be found quite easily in major bookstores in cities such as Kyiv and Kharkiv. The quest to find culprits for the Famine has sometimes resulted in simplistic and deeply wounding accusations against the Jews, a small minority group in contemporary Ukraine, but one with a lengthy history.

James E. Mace

  • 73 James E. Mace, Communism and the Dilemmas of National Liberation: National Communism in Soviet Ukr (...)
  • 74 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Why did Stalin exterminate the Ukrainians?” The Day Digest, No. 37 (22 N (...)

56The US-born historian James E. Mace will always be identified with the study of the Famine in Ukraine, a subject that appeared as a chapter in his PhD thesis (later a 1983 book)73 and, was the hallmark of his career that began as chairman of the US Commission on the Ukraine Famine in the period 1984-88. However, Mace is unique in that in addition to being influential in determining the prevailing discourse on the Famine in contemporary Ukraine, he is also a representative of both Western scholarship (some would argue of the Ukrainian Diaspora, too) and the Ukrainian media. Through the Famine Commission’s conclusions, Mace was the first Western scholar to maintain that the Famine was an act of genocide perpetrated against the Ukrainians as a nation, a statement that was also supported by his PhD thesis/book with its focus on national self-assertion in Ukraine during the 1920s and early 1930s. According to his close friend and colleague Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, Mace was unable to get a permanent academic position in the United States because of his outspoken views on the Famine.74 There is little evidence to support such a statement—indeed Mace acquired the prestigious position of Research Fellow at the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Illinois once the Famine Commission completed its work—but it is clear that Mace had strong disagreements with a number of Western scholars working in the area of the first Soviet collectivization campaign who disputed his views and those of the Commission on a number of occasions.

57Mace visited Ukraine in 1990 and moved there permanently in 1993. Though affiliated with a university, his most notable writings were those contributed to the editorial pages of the newspaper Den’, which appears in Ukrainian, Russian, and English. Mace was thus able to write in his native language and at the same time reach a Ukrainian audience through the translated version. His columns coincided with a period when historians and the general public in Ukraine were inquisitive to know more about the Famine. As Kul’chyts’kyi has noted, Mace’s focus on the national question in the Famine added a new dimension to the topic. Gradually—and it is a factor that is difficult to measure precisely—historians in Ukraine came closer to the views propagated by Mace. This was a process that might have occurred without the latter’s presence, but there is little doubt that his writings accelerated matters. Mace died prematurely in May 2004 at the age of 52, and at a time when the program to commemorate the Famine as a national tragedy in Ukraine was reaching a culmination point. His death was marked as a national tragedy and Mace was regarded as a figure irrevocably tied to Ukraine. His contributions to the discourse on the Famine are significant in two areas: first, his relentless emphasis on the national issues as the key factor; and second, his recourse on several occasions to emotional aspects linked to national memory. It appears that this latter issue had the widest appeal, and it is a notable feature of his later writings, in which he would regularly cite his past experiences with Famine victims, as well as those of his protracted disputes with Western scholars who opposed his point of view. Let us recount a few examples of these writings as illustrative of Mace’s contribution to the debate on the Famine.

58In May 2002, Mace commented that as the 70th anniversary of the Famine approached, “presumably tenured professors” from the United States were once again engaged in a discussion with comments that it never occurred or no one had wanted it to occur, without looking at the evidence available. Such comments, he added bitterly, were even appearing in prestigious journals of Slavic studies.75 Later in this same year Mace recounted that in 1981, the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University approached him to take up study of the topic of the Ukrainian Famine. Later he became the director of the US Commission, but the “silence was deafening.” The first assault on his views came in 1985 from the British-born economist Stephen Wheatcroft, who informed Mace that his “sums were off.” However, writes Mace, the real sin he had committed was to connect the destruction of the Ukrainian peasants with that of the nation as a whole. In so doing, according to Wheatcroft, he had debased the field of Soviet studies. Mace makes an appeal to history, to be the judge, and declares that the history of Ukraine will be manufactured in that country as part of the creation of the state. He then reverts back to his tormentors. Though numerous eyewitnesses had appeared to give testimony about the Famine some twenty years earlier, now the American historian Mark Tauger was declaring that such testimony was not reliable, even when there were thousands of such witnesses. Why were Mace’s views so unacceptable in his homeland? His belief is that studies of the USSR were under the control of people who once condemned totalitarianism but now seem linked to the notion of the “great friendship of Soviet peoples.”76

  • 77 James Mace, “Truth and Fact,” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, 26 November 2002, [ (...)
  • 78 Ruslana Pisots’ka, “Inodi treba vse zhadaty, shchob vyduzhaty,” Ukraina moloda, 4 March 2003, p. 5

59Mace denounced Western scholarship for viewing the Soviet period as a single history rather than one of individual nations. In turn, he praised then President Leonid Kuchma for declaring that Ukraine must inform the world of the truth of the events of 1933. It is correct, Mace stated, to link the Famine with the general period of repressions. When Stalin dispatched Kaganovich to the North Caucasus, he [Stalin] made it clear that the difficulties lay in the Ukrainian-speaking regions. In December 1932, Molotov, who had been sent to Ukraine, blamed the failure to collect sufficient grain on Ukrainian nationalism. Tauger, on the other hand, places the blame on a bad harvest “that no one who lived through it seems to have remembered.”77 According to Mace, the Famine must be explained in terms of the totalitarian paradigm—another theme later taken up by his mentor Kul’chyts’kyi—as a consequence of the “zoological anti-peasant hatred of Lenin and Trotsky” and Stalin’s continuation of the same tradition. This was a war with Ukraine, he continues in a leap in logic. To an interviewer’s question as to why Stalin remained popular to the extent that people mourned on the day he died, Mace responds that the mourning was ritualistic and that the cult of Stalin continues to exist in the contemporary era. Turning to Ukrainian society, Mace refers to it as “postgenocidal,” indicating that the survivors of that period remain too afraid to divulge their memories. However, says Mace, memories are the critical factor in order for Ukrainian society to recover from its brutal past.78

  • 79 Tetyana Nykytyuk, “A candle lit in memory and hope,” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, 25 March 2003, [(...)
  • 80 James Mace, “Facing past suffering,” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, 28 November 2000; [http://www.da (...)

60One suggestion offered by Mace was for residents of Ukraine to light a candle in their windows on a national day of commemoration of the Famine. This idea, which was eventually taken up by many (including President Yushchenko), is perhaps the most apposite example of this historian’s focus on the emotional side of the Famine and its memory. One writer considered that the proposal should contribute toward the national idea of the unity of the Ukrainian people, a people that should be living an existence merited by a large European nation with a rich culture.79 At one point Mace declared that the Famine was a tragedy that had long “weighed like a stone on my heart.” As an editor of oral histories in his capacity as director of the US Commission, he had shared the suffering of those who were victims of the tragedy. Though it might be regarded as unusual for an historian to become so emotionally involved in the issues he studies, it was impossible for him to respond otherwise, just as people could not study the Holocaust without being moved to the stage at which one’s spirit becomes “half-Jewish.” Perhaps, continues Mace with regard to his residence in Ukraine “this is why I now live here and spend so much of my energy trying to understand what was done to this people and what scars from it this country still bears.” Again, the reference to a post-genocidal society is offered: Ukraine is a country that still carries “the psychological and physical scars of genocide.” Such a dilemma, and the failure of residents to extricate themselves from it, is the only way to explain the disgraceful things that appear in the press, Mace writes. Sometimes he wonders whether the country “will ever be whole.”80

61In an interview on the Maidan website, Mace was asked two questions: “How did the study of famine change your world view? Do you think the famine belongs only to the past, to just [sic!] history?” He responded to the first question by recalling how like many people of his generation (he was born in 1952) he used to have left-wing political views, but he had recognized how slogans advocating social justice could lead to horrors similar to those generated by a Fascist system. His reply to the second question is worth quoting in full:

I think that these 2 questions should be answered together. The very phrase “just history” leads to a mistake. Every person, every community, every nation, mankind as a whole is the result of its own personal history. But what happened in Ukraine in 1933 and in the 30s overall caused a fundamental breakdown in the normal course of development of a European nation. In this sense we can refer to Ukraine as a post-genocidal society in which there is no agreement as to the basic national values, a problem which does not exist in most European countries.81

62Mace is probably not on solid ground in offering analogies with other European nations. First of all one would have to accept his view that Ukraine was actually a nation in 1933, which makes the assumption that the processes of the 1920s had reached a critical point and distinguished Ukraine from the Soviet Union. Second, one could make a similar argument about Germany after the First World War or during the interwar years, for example. Third, though the losses in Ukraine in the 1930s were catastrophic, the same argument could be made about Belarus, a Slavic republic that arguably never recovered from the elimination of its cultural and national leadership in the 1930s. However, the key point is that Mace was offering a new interpretation of Ukraine’s recent history, with the Famine as the pivotal event, and tragedy and suffering as the hallmarks of Ukraine’s Soviet experience, an experience in which there were two clearly delineated sides namely the Soviet government (and Communist Party) in Moscow, and the national leadership as reflected by figures such as Skrypnyk, and by the Ukrainian peasantry as a whole. The role of the CPU, the ostensible leadership of Ukraine at this time in Kharkiv, is somewhat unclear from this analysis. The interpretation offered by Mace might well have been developed further but for his untimely death. However, it was taken up by two different generations of Ukrainian historians led by Kul’chyts’kyi, who had also pioneered some of the early attempts to have the Famine recognized as a national tragedy and one that merited not only deeper study, but as the pivotal event in the creation of the Ukrainian state.

Kul’chyts’kyi’s Analysis, 2005

63In 2005, Kul’chyts’kyi once again returned to the issue of the Famine with a six-part series in the newspaper Den’, which refined his earlier works and offered a new perspective on why Stalin killed Ukrainians. The title makes it evident that he had rejected some of his earlier views on the economic foundations of the Famine, but the articles tried to cover the whole background to the Famine as the author perceives it. Throughout the paper, which runs to more than 55 pages of text, Kul’chyts’kyi is anxious to portray himself as one steeped in the Soviet period, who had to dispense with past views in order to reach his current understanding. At the same time, he rather ungraciously dismisses those who did not live through the Soviet experience as being un-able to reach the same level of understanding. Throughout the articles, he makes reference to Mace, his junior by a generation, and it is evident that his discussions with the transplanted American caused him to revise his views, adding new elements that he felt were critical to the overall picture. That said, it should be remarked from the outset that Kul’chyts’kyi’s new analysis is disappointing in its failure to answer the question that he poses in the title. By the end of the narrative, the reader emerges with a picture scarcely clearer than that with which he began. Let us look at each of the six parts in turn.

  • 82 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Why did Stalin exterminate the Ukrainians?” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, (...)

64Part one begins with a rather unusual plea to historians, namely that they “must” reach the legal and political conclusion “that the Holodomor was an act of genocide.” They must take on such a task, in Kul’chyts’kyi’s opinion, because politicians failed, in that the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly did not make it explicit that the Soviet regime exterminated Ukrainians. Its conclusion was founded on the testimony of survivors rather than documents. Earlier some progress had been made in this regard after the World Congress of Free Ukrainians prompted the convening in 1989 of an international commission to investigate the causes of mass famine in Ukraine. Led by Professor Jacob Sundberg, the commission concluded that the causes were collectivization and the concomitant elimination of the kulak sector, as well as the government’s intention to eliminate “traditional Ukrainian nationalism.” It declared the Famine to be an act of genocide. However, the question of the perpetrators of this genocide had been distorted, writes Kul’chyts’kyi, by activists such as Levko Lukyanenko, chairman of an association of Holodomor researchers, who unjustifiably expanded the Kremlin to the city of Moscow in his general denunciation of “Muscovites.” Kul’chyts’kyi implicitly links such comments to attempts by individuals to further their careers, observing that the difficult past, rather than uniting a nation, has served to divide it. Citing Mace’s phrase about a “post-genocidal society” in Ukraine, he maintains that people of his generation have yet to comprehend that the civilization in which they lived most of their lives was constructed on the bones of the previous generation.82

  • 83 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Why did Stalin exterminate the Ukrainians? Comprehending the Holodomor,” (...)

65In Part 2, Kul’chyts’kyi notes that leaders of the outside world were made aware of the tragedy in Ukraine but for various reasons they chose to keep silent. Among the main culprits in this regard were the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, and US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Some observers confuse the situation in 1932 and that in 1933, the author continues. In the former, there was no genocidal famine. Some 144,000 people died from hunger in that year, but the government tried to assist the hungry by supplying additional grain. In 1933, however, the situation was very different, and the government tried to conceal the Famine. In the West, there were some channels of information. One was through the US newspaper for Ukrainians, Svoboda. Another was through the journalistic endeavors of Malcolm Muggeridge, who published the findings of his unsanctioned trip through Eastern Ukraine in the Manchester Guardian. This same newspaper also carried an article by a former aide to Lloyd George, the Prime Minister of Britain during the First World War, Gareth Jones. These reports were offset by the editorials of the notorious Walter Duranty, the New York Times correspondent in Moscow. In particular, an article penned by Duranty and published on 31 March 1933 denied explicitly that there were any hunger problems in “Russia” (Duranty never used the term Ukraine). Only some fifty years later did the US Famine Commission led by James Mace and Leonid Herets provide new insights, which they attained by “developing methods that made it possible to ensure the objectivity” of the testimonies provided by witnesses—irritatingly, the author never says what these methods were.83

  • 84 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Why did Stalin exterminate the Ukrainians: Comprehending the Holodomor. (...)

66Part 3 begins with another apparent non-sequitur: Kul’chyts’kyi states that Soviet historians began to recognize Soviet stereotypes and reject them, “which enabled them to elicit the true cause-and-effect relationships in the problem of the Holodomor.” But were Soviet stereotypes the only problem in studying the Famine? He describes how he found himself on an anti-Famine commission established by the Communist Party of Ukraine in the fall of 1986, but sent a report demanding that the tragedy be recognized officially. It is necessary today, he continues, to cease playing on emotions and deal with facts that can be supported. In this respect, the national aspect needs to be highlighted. The first figure of note to pay attention to the national issues in Ukraine, he adds, was the writer Yurii Shcherbak. In July 1988, the Writers’ Union of Ukraine gave Volodymyr Manyak the task of preparing a commemorative book containing the testimonies of Famine survivors, though the initiative for this project came from Maniak himself. Maniak, with the backing of the Writers’ Union, sought the support of the Institute of History, and the two agencies joined forces to produce a large book of memories entitled Famine 1933: the People’s Memorial Book, under the editorship of Maniak and his wife Lidiya Kovalenko. A second book was commissioned with the approval of the then Ukrainian Party leader (1989-90), Volodmyr Ivashko, Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: through the eyes of Historians and the Language of Documents, published in September 1990 by Politvydav Ukrainy for the Institute of Party History of the CC CPU. A third volume of note appeared in March 1991 under Kul’chyts’kyi’s authorship, and was entitled Tsina velykoho perelomu, though the author laments his failure to take into account the national question.84

  • 85 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Why did Stalin exterminate the Ukrainians: Comprehending the Holodomor. (...)

67In Part 4, he recounts how he and two younger colleagues published the book Stalinism in Ukraine, which he feels probably had a limited impact on people of his generation. In general, the impact of the Famine on Ukrainian society is dependent on the actions and propaganda of the state, he feels. A good beginning was made following the August 1991 declaration of independence by the Ukrainian Parliament, when “sovereign communists” led by Leonid Kravchuk tried to persuade voters that they had made the correct decision by using information about the horrors of the Holodomor. However, in the ensuing fifteen years, the Ukrainian leaders have not proved willing to support the republication of the three volumes of testimony gathered by the Mace Commission. The question of Russia is also dealt with in this section and Kul’chyts’kyi commendably offers both a warning against stereotyping of Russian perspectives and an explanation of how the official commemoration of World War II as a Russian legacy has led Russian officials to throw a cloak over Stalin’s crimes. This section also includes comments on Conquest and Mace, again including the statement that Mace was unable to find employment in the United States. Kul’chyts’kyi relates also how a revisionist school in the West, including Wheatcroft, R. W. Davies, and Lynne Viola, has rejected the Famine as genocide theory, even though it was upheld at an important international conference in Vicenza, Italy, in October 2003, which was attended by Ukrainian and Russian historians, as well as Italians.85

68The fifth and sixth parts of the lengthy series are by far the least satisfactory. Part 5 opens positively when Kul’chyts’kyi states that he cannot restrict his analysis to the socio-economic and national dimensions of the genocide, but must also encompass the ideological dimension. He then offers a lengthy and largely superfluous analysis of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath in a quest to emphasize the responsibility of Lenin for its consequences (a task already undertaken on several occasions by Western historians such as Conquest). Collectivization, he continues, was impossible without repressions, but why did Stalin choose the most repressive of measures, namely terror by famine? The reader is hard pressed to discern how this statement links with Kul’chyts’kyi’s main thesis. However, Part 6 fails to elucidate this question and instead offers a protracted narrative on the familiar ground of collectivization and its consequences, repeating the citation of Stalin’s 11 August 1932 letter to Kaganovich about agents of Pilsudski working in Ukraine. The goal of Stalin’s terror, he concludes, “was to educate people by murdering them.” His two orders were to halt the Skrypnyk measures to move Ukraine away from Russia, and second, to save those peasants who could still take part in the sowing campaign. He has not included everything he might have said, the author ends, but “what has been said will suffice to refute the superficial arguments of opponents of the idea of the Holodomor as an act of genocide.”86 One suspects that these opponents will hardly have been overawed by the conclusions and analysis contained in this article.

69Kul’chyts’kyi’s lack of clarity, nevertheless, is an apt reflection of the position of both the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian society on the issue of the Famine and its role as a key event in the modern state. One can draw three main conclusions. First, the Famine of 1932-33 has not yet attained the sort of status in Ukraine that is warranted by the scale of the event and the suffering incurred. Its political implications are evident. Recognition of the Famine as an act of genocide has already alienated some Russians, and the Russian government has declined to accept any responsibility for what occurred under the Soviet leadership. Ukrainians of Communist or pro-Soviet orientation are unwilling to accept the designation of the Famine as genocide because of the highly negative coloration it applies to the history of Ukraine under Soviet rule. The divergence of views on 20th century Ukrainian history is aptly illustrated by the Kharkiv Museum of History, which in the summer of 2003 held an exhibit of the Famine on the first floor, highly critical of Soviet policies, and another on the second floor highlighting the “liberation” of the city by the Red Army and the restoration of Soviet rule after the removal of the occupying Germans. The broad differences in perspective were illustrated by the electoral distinctions manifested in Ukraine at the time of the 2004 presidential election, when during the re-voting of the second round, eastern regions continued to support the candidacy of Viktor Yanukovich, who advocated among other things closer ties to Russia and the elevation of Russian as the second language of Ukraine.

70Second, there remain wide gaps between the perception of the Famine among the Ukrainian Diaspora, non-Diaspora Western scholars, and popular opinion in various parts of Ukraine. Ironically it is in Western Ukraine, an area untouched by the Famine, as it was not under Soviet rule until the outset of the Second World War, that the Famine-Genocide concept is most readily accepted because in Western Ukraine national discourse laced with a distinctly anti-Russian hue has a long history—a factor discussed at some length in Kul’chyts’kyi’s article. Though Diaspora views on the Famine are more widely accepted in Ukraine today, they are far from representing a consensus. In the West, one can say that the two sides are as far apart as ever, i.e., the schools of thought represented by US or British academics (such as Mark Tauger or Stephen Wheatcroft) on one hand; and Diaspora scholars (such as Roman Serbyn and George Liber) and non-Diaspora scholars formerly known for their anti-Soviet views (such as Robert Conquest) on the other. James Mace’s quest to unite Ukrainian views and perspectives on the Famine has had an impact, but it has not been an unqualified success, as the apparent disinterested voting in the Ukrainian Parliament on this issue reflects. Third, various aspects of the Famine have been well covered by Ukrainian academics, including eyewitness accounts and collections of documents that are now appearing at the regional level. However, the metamorphosis from academic text to school curriculum has been both slow and hesitant, as exemplified by the appearance of new national textbooks on Ukrainian history. The 70th anniversary may thus have been a landmark, but one can posit that only with the 75th anniversary in 2008 will some of these issues and debates be resolved, and only after heated discussions.


1 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Skeletons in the Closet in the Light of Perestroika,” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, 4 December 2001; [].

2 Mark Tol’ts, “Skol’ko zhe nas togda bylo?” Ogonyok, No. 51 (December 1987): 10-11.

3 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Pam’yat’ pro trydtsyat’ tretii,” Istoriya Ukrainy, No. 24 (June 1998): 4.

4 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Do otsinky stanovyshcha v sil’s’komu hospodarstvi URSS u 1931-1938 rr.” Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal, No. 3 (March 1988): 16.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid., p. 17.

7 Ibid., p. 22.

8 Ibid., pp. 24-25.

9 Dr. Yurii Shcherbak, a medical doctor and writer, was a founder and former chairman of the Ukrainian ecological association Green World, as well as the Green Party of Ukraine. He has served as Ukraine’s ambassador to Israel, the United States, and Canada.

10 V. Savel’ev, “V poiske istiny: k voprosy o prichinakh goloda 1932-1933 godov na Ukrainy,” Pravda Ukrainy, 8 July 1989, p. 2.

11 See, for example, Yar Slavutych, “Holodomor buv splanovanyi,” Za vil’nu Ukrainu, 3 November 1990, p. 2. Slavutych, a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, is a famine survivor.

12 Grigoriy Koinash, “Etot strashnyi 32-i,” L’vovs’kaya pravda, 15 May 1990, p. 3.

13 Viktor Polozhin, “Fil’m ‘Holod-33’ u roboti,” Literaturna Ukraina, 21 March 1991, p. 6.

14 Yelena Pozdnyakova, “Narodnyi fil’m: Snimayut ukrainskiye kinematografisty o golode 1933 goda,” Pravda Ukrainy, 13 June 1991, p. 3.

15 Volodymyr Tatarenko, “A koshty peredaty zhertvam…,” Literaturna Ukraina, 20 June 1991, p. 2.

16 Commission on the Ukraine Famine, Report to Congress: Investigation of the Ukraine Famine 1932-1933 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1988), p. vii.

17 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Vitchyznyana istoriya u shkolakh i VNZ Ukrainy: ostannye desyatyrichchya,” in Istoriya Ukrainy, No. 15 (2003): 3. See also Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Nerozv’yazani problemy vykladannya istorii u serednii shkoli,” in Istoriya Ukrainy, No. 11 (1998): 1-2.

18 Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 3rd edition (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000), p. 415.

19 Cited in Serhiy Makhun, et al, “History as Taught in Schools: time to decide,” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, 14 October 2003; [].

20 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Mizh dvoma viinamy (1921-1941 rr.),” Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal, No. 9 (September 1991): 3-17.

21 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Mizh dvoma viinamy (1921-1941 rr.),” p. 6.

22 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Mizh dvoma viinamy (1921-1941 rr.),” p. 7.

23 Yurii Shapoval, “Stalinizm i Ukraina,” Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal, No. 8 (August 1991): 32.

24 Vitol’d Kyrylyuk, “Chas hromadyty kaminnya: rozmova s holovoyu Ukrains’koi asotsiatsii “Holod-33” Lidiyeyu Kovalenko-Manyak,” Literaturna Ukraina, 6 August 1992, p. 2.

25 Ivan Drach, “Henotsyd Ukrainy—vyklyk XX stolittya,” Literaturna Ukraina, 3 September 1992, p. 3.

26 Ivan Drach, “Henotsyd Ukrainy—vyklyk XX stolittya,” p. 1.

27 V. Kyrylyuk, “I vdaryat’ dzvony pam’yati,” Literaturna Ukraina, 25 March 1993, p. 1.

28 Vasyl Mazorchuk, “Henotsyd na Chornozemakh,” Osvita, No. 21-22, (1993): 10-12.

29 Ivan Drach, “Chy pokaets’ya Rosiya?” in Taras Hunczak, ed. Tysyacha rokiv Ukrains’-koi suspil’no-politychnoi dumky,” Vol. 9 (1989-2001) (Kyiv: Dnipro, 2001), pp. 282, 284.

30 Vasyl Marochko, “Holodomor v Ukraini: prychyny i naslidky (1932-1933),” Osvita, No. 21-22, (1993): pp. 3-9.

31 Ibid.

32 Dmytro Brylins’kyi, “Ya perezhyv Holod,” Samostiina Ukraina, No. 25, (June 1992): 3.

33 Oleksii Kuz’menko, “Na Holod pishly svidomo,” Osvita, No. 21-22, (1993): 12.

34 Yaryna Mytsyk, “Holod u Vyshnopoli,” Osvita, 10 September 1993, pp. 14-15.

35 Oles’ Berdnyk, “Na rynkakh u Kyevi likari provodyly lektsii,” Za vil’nu Ukrainu, 2 October 1993, p. 3.

36 Ivan Rudenko, “Trahediya Kozats’koho,” Za vil’nu Ukrainy, 23 October 1993, p. 4.

37 Kateryna Marchenko, “Mama proty ‘chervonoi’ valky,” Ukraina moloda, 26 June 2003, p. 11.

38 Tamara Ruchko, “A bratyk plakav, prosyv isty…” Ukrains’ke slovo,” 24-30 July 2003, p. 13.

39 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Pam’yat’ pro trydtsat’ tretii,” Istoriya Ukrainy, No. 24 (June 1998): 4.

40 Ibid.

41 Mykhailo Hoyan, “Na rodyuchii zemli pomyraly khliboroby,” Ukraina moloda, 8 September 1998, p. 12.

42 Dana Romanets’, “Pochatkom 1937-ho roku v Ukraini stav 1933-i,” Ukraina moloda, 1 December 2000, p. 5.

43 Yaroslava Muzychenko, “Z choho pochynalasya ‘Rodina’?” Ukraina moloda, 17 May 2002, p. 5.

44 Yaroslava Muzychenko, “Holod proty voli,” Ukraina moloda, 22 November 2002, p. 4.

45 M. Savchenko, “70-richchya holodomoru v Ukraini: metodychni porady do provedennya zakhodiv pam’yati zhertv holodomoru 1932-1933 rokiv v Ukraini,” Istoriya Ukrainy, No. 3 (January 2003): 17-19.

46 Robert Conquest, Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986). Conquest (b. 1916) is a British born academic and not of Ukrainian ancestry. As such he might more logically be included in group b) below. However, his work belongs more properly in the first group, as it was commissioned by a Ukrainian institute and specifically for the anniversary of the Famine of 1932-33.

47 The chairman of the commission and (as noted in Chapter 1) one of the initiators of the campaign was Dr. Lubomyr Y. Luciuk, a political geographer and professor at the Royal Military College of Canada.

48 On Duranty, see, for example, Sally J. Taylor, Stalin’s Apologist: Walter Duranty, the New York Times’ Man in Moscow (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990).

49 Though the distinction between academics of Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian ancestry is somewhat arbitrary I have opted to use it for convenience. In general, it is fair to say that there are several academics of non-Ukrainian ancestry who do not regard the Famine as genocide; whereas it is extremely rare to find an academic whose ancestry is Ukrainian of the same opinion. Conquest, perhaps the closest to the perspective of the genocide school, does not make such a specific attribution in his book Harvest of Sorrow.

50 See, for example, Mark B. Tauger, “The 1932 Harvest and the Soviet Famine of 1932- 1933,” Slavic Review, Vol. 50, No. 1 (Spring 1991): 70-89, and Tauger’s attack on James E. Mace and Taras Kuzio: Mark B. Tauger, “What Caused Famine in Ukraine? A Polemical Response,” RFE/RL Poland, Belarus and Ukraine Report, 25 June 2002; [http://www.rferl. org/reports/pbureport/2002/06/25-250602.asp].

51 Terry Martin, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 2001), p. 305.

52 Martin, who is preparing a book on the Ukrainian Famine, has since amended his views somewhat in the light of new archival evidence, noting that the nationalities factor in fact played a major role from 1932 in Stalin’s thinking and policies. He cites a letter from Kaganovich to Stalin about the disruption of grain requisitions by “agents of counterrevolutionary Ukrainian organizations and Petlyurites” who were working alongside Pilsudski and other “agents of world imperialism.” Terry Martin, “The Great Famine in Ukraine: New Documentation on the Thought Process of Stalin,” paper presented at Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, October 2003. Dr. Martin provided the author with a copy of this paper. Incidentally, Martin’s revised view brings him closer to a scholar who can be associated with the Ukrainian Diaspora in the United States, George Liber. See George O. Liber, Soviet Nationality Policy, Urban Growth, and Identity Change in the Ukrainian SSR 1923-1934 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 165-166.

53 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Velykyi holod,” Istoriya v shkolakh Ukrainy, No. 3 (2003): 51-52.

54 Ibid., p. 52.

55 Ibid.

56 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Kryza kolhospnoho ladu,” Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal, No. 5 (May 2003): 5-25, and especially page 11.

57 Yurii Shapoval, “The Famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine: What do we know about it today?” Paper presented at the Ukrainian Youth Centre in Edmonton, Canada, 16 November 2003.

58 V. M. Danylenko and M. M. Kuz’menko, “Naukovo-pedahohichna intelihentsiya v roky holodu,” Ukrains’kyi istorychnyi zhurnal, No. 5 (May 2003): 145-155.

59 Vasyl Marochko, “Holodomor v Ukraini: prychyny i naslidky (1932-1933),” Osvita, No. 21 (1993): 3-9.

60 Yakov Konigsman, “Golodomor 1933 goda i upadok yevreiskogo zemledeliya,” Evreiskiye vesti, No. 17-18 (September 1993): 4.

61 Ibid.

62 Etia Shatnaya, “Pod rodnym nebom,” Evreiskiye vesti, No. 21-22 (November 1993): 15.

63 Iosif Shaikin, “Na yuge Ukrainy,” Evreiskiye vesti, No. 1-2 (January 1994): 6.

64 Vasyl Marochko, “Holod u natsional’nykh rayonakh Ukrainy,” Evreiskiye vesti, No. 15-16 (August 1996): 1-2.

65 See, for example, the article by my PhD student at the University of Alberta: Per Anders Rudling, “Organized Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Ukraine: Structure, Influence, and Ideology,” Canadian Slavonic Papers, Vol. 48, No. 1-2 (March-June 2006): 81-118.

66 V. M. Chyrkov, ed., Holodomor 1932-33 rokiv yak velychezna trahediya ukrains’koho narodu (Kyiv: MAUP, 2003).

67 Vasyl Mazorchuk, “Henotsyd na Chornozemakh,” Osvita, No. 22, (1993) 10-14.

68 Pavlo Chemerys, “Nasha plata ‘nayvnym’…,” Za vil’nu Ukrainu, 11 September 1993, p. 3.

69 Pavlo Chemerys, “Operatsiya Holod,” Za vil’nu Ukrainu, 28 September 1996, p. 2.

70 Erik Margolis, “Zhaduyuchy nevidomyi holokost Ukrainy,” Za vil’nu Ukrainu, 6 February 1999, p. 2.

71 Ibid.

72 Pavlo Skochii, “Nadislannyi tsar-holod,” Za vil’nu Ukrainu, 9 April 1998, p. 2.

73 James E. Mace, Communism and the Dilemmas of National Liberation: National Communism in Soviet Ukraine, 1918-1933 (Cambridge, Mass: distributed by Harvard University for the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute and the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the U. S., 1983).

74 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Why did Stalin exterminate the Ukrainians?” The Day Digest, No. 37 (22 November 2005). As noted above, Taras Kuzio has made the same assertion.

75 James Mace, “Denying the undeniable,” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, 28 May 2002; [].

76 James Mace, “Dealing with 1933,” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, 12 November 2002; [].

77 James Mace, “Truth and Fact,” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, 26 November 2002, [].

78 Ruslana Pisots’ka, “Inodi treba vse zhadaty, shchob vyduzhaty,” Ukraina moloda, 4 March 2003, p. 5.

79 Tetyana Nykytyuk, “A candle lit in memory and hope,” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, 25 March 2003, [].

80 James Mace, “Facing past suffering,” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, 28 November 2000; [].

81 “Internet-konferentsiya Dzheymsa Meysa,” [], 11 February 2003.

82 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Why did Stalin exterminate the Ukrainians?” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, Number 33, 25 October 2005; [].

83 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Why did Stalin exterminate the Ukrainians? Comprehending the Holodomor,” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, Number 34, 1 November 2005; [http://www.].

84 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Why did Stalin exterminate the Ukrainians: Comprehending the Holodomor. The position of Soviet historians,” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, 8 November 2005; [].

85 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “Why did Stalin exterminate the Ukrainians: Comprehending the Holodomor. The position of Soviet historians,” Den; The Day Weekly Digest, 22 November 2005; [].

86 Stanislav Kul’chyts’kyi, “].Why did Stalin exterminate the Ukrainians? Socioeconomic and national dimensions of the Famine,” Den’; The Day Weekly Digest, 6 December 2005; [].

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