In carrying out Stalin's directive proclaimed in a radio speech on July 3, 1941 — "Make life in the rear of the enemy
unbearable" — the Soviet armies and special party detachments, when retreating, destroyed industrial plants,
railroads, communal buildings, stores of food, water reservoirs, other resources, and the harvest in the field.
Because of their hurried retreat at the beginning of the war this destruction did not reach the proportions desired by
the Bolsheviks, but advantage was taken of the German halt in August-September, 1941, on the Dnieper to effect
great planned destruction in Kiev — the Khreshchatyk (the main artery of the city) and major buildings in other
parts of the city were mined to explode some time after the Germans' entrance — and on the Left Bank. The greater
part of the mine shafts in the Donbas were flooded and the Dnieper Hydroelectric Works and all of the fifty-four
blast furnaces in Ukraine were blown up. Kharkiv also experienced great destruction before the Bolsheviks
The large-scale evacuation of people and equipment from Ukraine to the Urals and Central Asia was carried on
without plan and was accompanied by enormous losses.
The people of Ukraine, for the most part, did not want to be evacuated to the East and avoided evacuation. Those
evacuated consisted primarily of party and government officials, skilled industrial workers, and specialists of all
kinds. Special care was taken to evacuate members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia (scholars, writers, research
workers, and actors); the government feared that if the Germans should favor the Ukrainian cause, these people
might become politically active if left behind. Altogether about 3.8 million men, women, and children and about
850 large industrial establishments were removed from the Ukrainian SSR to the East.
While the movement to the East was taking place, the NKVD carried out mass arrests and executions, chiefly of
Ukrainians — especially those who tried to avoid evacuation. In the jails most prisoners whose period of
imprisonment was more than three years were shot; others were evacuated if possible. In several cities the NKVD
burned prisons with prisoners in them. (Vsevolod Holubnychy and H. M. wrote this section, Volume I, p. 878)