ACTION UKRAINE HISTORY REPORT (AUHR) #8
Kyiv, Ukraine, D.C., Saturday, July 25, 2009

TWO ARTICLES:

1. "UKRAINE'S SUFFERING STILL OVERLOOKED BY WORLD"
OP-ED: By Alexander J. Motyl, Special to Kyiv Post (with famine photograph)
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, July 24, 2009
2. STARVING CHILDREN PHOTOGRAPH WITH KYIV POST'S
ARTICLE "UKRAINE'S SUFFERING STILL OVERLOOKED BY
WORLD" IS NOT KHARKIV OR UKRAINE OR 1932-1933
Action Ukraine History Report (AUHR), Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, July 25, 2009
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1. UKRAINE'S SUFFERING STILL OVERLOOKED BY WORLD
 
OP-ED: By Alexander J. Motyl, Special to Kyiv Post (with famine photograph)
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, July 24, 2009 
  
Nazi Germany’s greatest war crime is the Holocaust, of course, but the genocides against Ukrainians and Belarusians constitute a close second. And yet, while the Holocaust is common knowledge, few know much about the extermination of Ukrainians and Belarusians — and Germans may know about this least of all. The tragedy of these peoples’ suffering in the war has been compounded by the world’s almost complete ignorance and indifference.

That lamentable condition may be about to change, if only among professional historians. In a ground-breaking article that was published in the July 16 issue of The New York Review of Books, Yale University historian Timothy Snyder describes in excruciating detail just how Nazi policy was directed at exterminating first the Jews and then the Slavs. Since Belarus and Ukraine were occupied for almost four years, they suffered enormous population losses.

According to Snyder: “Half of the population of Soviet Belarus was either killed or forcibly displaced during World War II: nothing of the kind can be said of any other European country. … The peoples of Ukraine and Belarus, Jews above all but not only, suffered the most, since these lands were both part of the Soviet Union during the terrible 1930s and subject to the worst of the German repressions in the 1940s. If Europe was, as Mark Mazower put it, a dark continent, Ukraine and Belarus were the heart of darkness.”

The devastation that affected both countries is even greater when one considers their experiences in the Stalinist 1930s and in World War I. Ukraine lost at least 3 million people in the genocidal famine of 1933. Both countries also served as the main killing fields of the Eastern Front during World War I (1914-18), the Civil War in Russia (1918-21) and the Polish-Russian War (1919-21).

According to a recent study of the Moscow-based Institute of Demography, Ukraine suffered close to 15 million “excess deaths” between 1914 and 1948:

     1.3 million during World War I?

     2.3 million during the Civil War, the Polish-Soviet War, and the famine of the early 1920s

     4 million during the genocidal famine of 1933?

     300,000 during the Great Terror and the repressions in Western Ukraine

     6.5 million during World War II?

     400,000 during the post-war famine and the destruction of the Ukrainian nationalist movement

Ukraine and Belarus experienced nearly 40 consecutive years of relentless death and destruction, starting in 1914 and ending with Stalin’s death in 1953.
Although Soviet Russia bears a great deal of responsibility for the killing, the lion’s share falls on Germany.

And yet Germany, which so assiduously remembers its crimes during the Holocaust, has still to build one monument to the millions of Belarusians and Ukrainians its armies killed in the 20th century.

How can this blindness be explained?

Partly, it’s a function of ignorance. The German media devote almost no coverage to Belarus and Ukraine. It is also partly because Germans just don’t “see” these countries.

Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Boll’s 1949 novel “The Train Was Punctual” provides a good example of this cultural mindset. The novel describes a young German soldier’s return to the front in southern Ukraine. As he travels eastward from his furlough, he traces his route on a map and “visits” various cities, towns and villages in Ukraine.

He speaks of Poles and Jews and Russians in great detail, but he doesn’t mention Ukrainians once, even though they formed the vast majority of the country and were the people whose farms he and his comrades probably plundered on a daily basis. Imagine a trip through the American South without a single reference to the black population.

But why don’t Germans “see” people who are so manifestly there? To some degree it’s because the “Untermenschen have remained Untermenschen” — economically underdeveloped peoples with silly cultural practices who either can’t get their political act together (Ukraine) or are proud to be Europe’s only dictatorship (Belarus).

The more important explanation is that German elites have traditionally viewed their neighbors to its east through the prism of great-power politics. Russia is big and strong and therefore demands respect. Its ruler may be a dictator, and its policies may be neo-imperialist, but these matters are easily overlooked.

Former German Chancellor Gerard Schroeder still managed to describe former President Vladimir Putin as a “true democrat” at precisely the time that Putin was doing all he could to crush Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. Poland may be prone to polnische Wirtschaft (the derisive term for Poles’ inability to do things efficiently), but they’re right next door and have to be dealt with.

But Belarus and Ukraine? They’re just places with pipelines that carry Russian gas to German homes and factories.

NOTE: Alexander J. Motyl is professor of political science at Rutgers University-Newark in New Jersey and can be reached at ajmotyl@hotmail.com.

LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com:80/opinion/op_ed/45795
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2. STARVING CHILDREN PHOTOGRAPH WITH KYIV POST'S
ARTICLE "UKRAINE'S SUFFERING STILL OVERLOOKED BY
WORLD" IS NOT KHARKIV OR UKRAINE OR 1932-1933

Action Ukraine History Report (AUHR), Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, July 25, 2009

KYIV - There is a photograph of two starving children with the article in the op-ed article entitled, "UKRAINE'S SUFFERING STILL OVERLOOKED BY WORLD," by Alexander J. Motyl, published by the Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday, July 24, 2009.
 
The photograph is quite large in the print edition of the Kyiv Post found here in Kyiv and is also shown in the on-line version found at http://www.kyivpost.com:80/opinion/op_ed/45795.

In the print edition the description of the photograph is as follows: " Ukrainian children, starving from hunger during the Stalin-ordered famine of 1932-33, find something to eat in Kharkiv Oblast.  An estimated 7 million Ukrainians died as a result of Holodomor, which is now widely recognized as genocide against Ukrainians (Courtesy).
 
NOTHING TO DO WITH KHARKIV OR UKRAINE OR 1932-1933
The truth is the photograph has nothing to do with Kharkiv, has nothing to do with Ukraine and has nothing to do with 1932-33.  The photograph is a very well-known, widely distributed, rather famous photograph taken in Russia during the 1921-22 famine.  The photograph shows up in many books from the 1920's and on a series  of postcards issued in Paris, Brussels, and Geneva in 1921-22 to raise money for famine relief in Russia.  I have copies of the original postcards in my collection. 

The set of fundraising postcards depicting famine related images from Russia in 1921-22, including the postcards with the photograph used in the Kyiv Post article and said to be from Kharkiv, Ukraine, 1932-1933, can be seen at http://www.artukraine.com/famineart/famine10.htm.

Is it important that the use of photographs from the 1921-22 famine in Russia not be used over and over again, as they have in the past 50 years, mainly in the USA and Canada, to depict the Holodomor. It is really an outrageous error for the Kyiv Post to continue to do this. 

Unfortunately there are no known photographs of the type shown in the Kyiv Post article that were taken in Ukraine in 1932-1933 which show naked starving children or adults who are alive or dead.
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NOTE:  If you do not wish to be on the Action Ukraine History Report (AUHR) e-mail list please send an e-mail to morganw@patriot.net.
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Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Director, Government Affairs,
Washington Office, SigmaBleyzer,
Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group;
President/CEO, U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC)
Publisher & Editor, Action Ukraine Report (AUR)
1701 K Street, NW, Suite 903, Washington, D.C. 20006
Telephone: 202 437 4707; Fax: 202 223 1224
Ukraine Mobile: 380 50 689 2874
mwilliams@sigmableyzer.com; mwilliams@usubc.org
www.sigmableyzer.com; www.usubc.org