Ukrainian News | 29Oct2009 | Marco Levytsky

"Okradena Zemlya" provides graphic evidence that 1932-33 famine was genocide

(UkrNews) -- The new Ukrainian-language documentary "Okradena Zemlya" (Stolen Land), which held its Edmonton premiere, sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Edmonton branch) at the Ukrainian Youth Unity complex, Oct. 22, 2009 provides graphic evidence that the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine [Holodomor] was, in fact, an act of genocide against ethnic Ukrainians.

Citing newly released documents, among them memorandums signed by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, Producer/Director Yurij Luhovy's 75 minute film conclusively proves that the famine was directed at Ukrainians in order to break their rebellious spirit.

It was also especially directed at the Ukrainian peasantry -- the backbone of the nationally conscious spirit -- and the intellegentsia, who provided the linguistic and cultural sustenance of the national renaissance of the 1920s.

The current Russian regime denies this was an act of genocide on the grounds that, in addition to Ukraine, areas of southern Russia, the south Volga region and Kazakhstan, were also affected.

What "Okradena Zemlya" points out, however, is that these were regions where Ukrainians had been resettled during tsarist times. And it was these ethnic Ukrainians who were targeted by Soviet authorities.

The officially imposed famine in the Kuban and South Volga regions of Russia and northern Kazakhstan were accompanied by a series of directives by Stalin to eliminate the hundreds of Ukrainian schools and newspapers in those regions and replace them with Russian ones.

"(Russian Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin knows exactly why it was done, but he will deny it to the end. Maybe it's a question of compensation -- who knows?" commented Luhovy in an interview with Ukrainian News.

Other points noted in the film include these facts:

- Entire villages comprised entirely of ethnic Ukrainians were wiped out in such regions as Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv and Odesa;
- These areas were resettled by ethnic Russians, changing the demographics and the political orientation to a pro-Russian one;
- By specifically targeting ethnic Ukrainians, Moscow destroyed their sense of national consciousness, instilling a sense of fear for simply admitting their national identity, thus reinforcing the pro-Russian political orientation;
- Stalin introduced an internal passport system for the entire USSR in December 1932, however Ukrainian peasants were never given these passports, effectively preventing them from any travel beyond their villages to seek food;
- A special commission covered up the truth concerning the high number of deaths resulting from the Famine. In a secret document in April 1934, all the official registries of Soviet Ukraine were ordered destroyed. Stalin accused the registrars of falsifying numbers and arrested them;
- Article "a" of the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948 addresses the intentional "killing of members of the group".

Luhovy says the project is currently $55,000 in debt. He hopes to raise funds to cover that, as well as producing English, French, Spanish and Russian versions of the film.

The English version would be 52 minutes long and he plans to have it distributed both to television networks and to schools.

"Our aim is to have it accessible not only to universities, but for high schools as well," he told Ukrainian News.