Holodomor: Stalin's Secret Genocide Against the Ukrainian People
Holodomor is a Ukrainian word meaning “to kill by starvation.” It is often used when referring to the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-33. Many scholars have proof it was planned by Joseph Stalin. The man-made aspects of the genocide were rejecting all offers of help from many other countries. Household foodstuffs were confiscated from hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian families. Ukrainians in areas with no food were prevented from going to any other area to search for food and more.
Many scholars have shown how the Russian leaders under Stalin utilized the man-made famine as a way to crush Ukrainian Nationalism. The starvation of the Ukrainian people was accompanied by regular persecution as well as mass incarceration and mass executions. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, thousands of pages of government documents covering the time of Holodomor have been declassified. These documents have shown how the Soviet regime of the 1930s focused on the Ukraine and crushing Ukrainian nationalism.
Ukrainian farmers were known for their independence. They refused to be part of the collective farming program instituted by the Soviets. In 1929, Stalin put in place a policy to break down the resistance of the Ukrainian farmers who refused to follow collectivization. Successful farmers were labeled as enemies of the state. Brutal enforcement of Stalin's policies was done by regular Soviet troops as well as secret police.
Deportations and Executions
During the early 1930s, the most experienced and knowledgeable farmers in the Ukraine were deported. Executions of Ukraine's cultural leaders, as well as religious leaders, and intellectuals started. Ukraine's political leadership were also deported or executed. Depopulated areas of the Ukraine were then repopulated with Russian ethnic groups. Anyone who tried to speak of the famine was severely punished.
Sent to Siberia
Millions of Ukrainians died as a result of Stalin's policies. Armed Soviet brigades roamed the countryside and went to Ukrainian farms. They would confiscate property, livestock as well as land. Entire families were removed from their farms. Millions of Ukrainians were forced from their homes, placed on trains and taken to remote areas of Siberia. They were then left there with no food or shelter. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children died during this time from the train ride or soon after arriving in Siberia.
The Soviet government dramatically increased the quotas for production of food during the 1930s in the Ukraine. A law was put in place that made it legal for a person to be arrested or executed for even taking a few stalks of wheat or any type of food from a field. This punishment also applied and was carried out against children. Military blockades were placed around entire villages to stop any possible transportation of food. This forced thousands to desperately search for something to eat. Brigades of young soviets were encouraged to continue going to Ukrainian villages and look for hidden grain and any food hidden in a Ukrainian family's home. Documents from that time show Stalin stated how he would teach a lesson to the Ukrainian people with famine. His desire was for the Ukrainians to experience a crushing blow to any desire they had for independence.
Ukrainian Death Rate
The height of the famine was June of 1933. It is estimated Ukrainians were dying at a rate of over 29,000 each day. A third of those dying were children under the age of 10. Over 4 million people died between 1932 and 1934. The majority of the deaths were caused by starvation. This number does not include the Ukrainians executed, deported and more.
During this time, Stalin was telling the world there was no such thing as famine in the Ukraine. The Soviets regularly exported millions of tons of grain to other countries around the world. Many scholars believe the exported grain could have easily fed those starving in the Ukraine. Denial of Holodomor by prominent journalists was common in the west. Any person or journalist who claimed there was famine in the Ukraine was accused of creating anti-soviet propaganda. European governments were aware of the suffering of the Ukrainian people. They took a passive attitude concerning the famine. Europeans believed it could be handled using confidential diplomatic methods.
When the Soviet Union controlled the Ukraine, Holodomor was never part of official discussions. After the fall of the Soviet Union, and Ukrainian independence in 1991, previously suppressed evidence of Holodomor was provided to the world. Soviet governmental archives previously unable to be viewed, as well as oral testimony of many survivors, provided a vast amount of evidence. It provided incontrovertible proof of the genocide of the Ukrainian people by Stalin’s regime. A decree was passed by the Parliament of the Ukraine in 2006 defining Holodomor as an intentional Act of Genocide. This genocide has been accepted by dozens of nations around the world. Scholars from many different countries continue to engage in research and documentation of the events associated with Holodomor.
United Nations And European Union Resolution
In 2003, the United Nations declared the famine in the Ukraine resulted from the policies and actions of a totalitarian regime causing the death of millions of Ukrainians. The European Parliament adopted a resolution on October of 2008. The resolution recognized Holodomor as a crime against humanity. It declared the famine that occurred in the Ukraine during the 1930s was caused by cruel and deliberate actions resulting from policies of the Soviet regime in place at the time. It goes on further to state the Soviet policies were responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people in the Ukraine.
Ukrainian Court of Appeals
During 2010, the known facts concerning the genocide-famine and Holodomor was heard in a court of appeals in Kiev. This court determined that Joseph Stalin and other Soviet leaders were guilty of genocide against the Ukrainian people. Since none of the leaders from that time were alive, the court dropped criminal proceedings.
A movie titled “Bitter Harvest” concerning the Ukrainian genocide was release in 2017. It was written by Richard Bachynsky Hoover, a Ukrainian Canadian screenwriter. It was filmed on location in the Ukraine. One of the film's producers stated the movie is a part of history that needs to be told. This is the first movie to tell about Holodomor in English as a feature film.
National Museum “Holodomor Victims Memorial
This is a world-class museum devoted to the victims of Holodomor. It was opened in 2008 as part of the 75th anniversary of Holodomor. The goal of the museum is to collect, preserve, study and provide information as well as knowledge concerning Holodomor. It makes certain the world remembers Holodomor was an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. The museum is located in Kiev, Ukraine.