Ukraine: Holodomor, Genocides, Crimes of Communism
DATE:     Saturday, February 28, 2009
Denies that Ukrainians were targeted for starvation during Stalin era
By Steve Gutterman, Writer, Associated Press (AP)
Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, February 25, 2009
By Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia, Vienna, Thu, Feb 26, 2009 
Ukrainian and Russian scholars interpretation of the 1932-1933 famine in the USSR 
"It is not my goal to strive for a compromise. A scholar’s task is to show the past the way it actually was."
Article by Stanislav Kulchytsky, noted Historian, Professor, Scholar, Researcher of the Holodomor,
Deputy Director, Institute of Ukrainian History at the National Academy of Science of Ukraine (NAN)
Part I -   The Day Weekly Digest in English #3, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, 03 Feb 2009
Part II -  The Day Weekly Digest in English #4, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, 10 Feb 2009
Part III - The Day Weekly Digest in English #5, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, 17 Feb 2009
Part IV - The Day Weekly Digest in English #6, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, 24 Feb 2009
Denies that Ukrainians were targeted for starvation during Stalin era

By Steve Gutterman, Writer, Associated Press (AP)
Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MOSCOW - Russia issued a DVD and a thick book of historical documents on Wednesday to dispute claims that the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s amounted to genocide.

Russian archivists and historians pressed the Kremlin's case that the Stalin-era famine — which killed millions of people — was a common tragedy across Soviet farmlands, countering efforts by Ukraine's pro-Western president to convince the world that Ukrainians were targeted for starvation.

"Not a single document exists that even indirectly shows that the strategy and tactics chosen for Ukraine differed from those applied to other regions, not to mention tactics or strategy with the aim of genocide," said Vladimir Kozlov, head of Russia's Federal Archive Agency.

He said the famine was a direct result of Josef Stalin's brutal collectivization campaign and the widespread confiscation of grain that was exported to secure equipment needed for the Soviet dictator's frenetic industrialization drive.

Kozlov said the policy was class-based, targeting the kulaks — wealthy farmers seen as enemies of Communism — and was implemented virtually identically across the Soviet Union. "There were no national or ethnic undertones," he told a news conference at the headquarters of state news agency RIA-Novosti.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko contends the famine was aimed at rooting out Ukrainian nationalism. "Hunger was selected as a tool to subdue the Ukrainian people," he said at a November ceremony marking the anniversary of what Ukrainians consider the onset of the 1932-1933 famine.

Ukrainian lawmakers and a U.S. commission have labeled the famine an act of genocide, and Yushchenko has pushed for more governments and international bodies to follow suit. However, neither the United Nations nor the European Union has done so.

The heated dispute over the past comes amid a mounting tug-of-war over the future of Ukraine, whose European aspirations and tight historical ties to Russia make for a potentially volatile mix.

Yushchenko is pushing for NATO membership, a prospect Russia has said it will do its utmost to prevent.  Russian officials have cast the genocide claim as part of an effort by Yushchenko to discredit Russia in he eyes of Ukrainians and the West.

Months before his death last summer, the renowned writer and Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn dismissed the genocide claim as a "fable" that could only fool the West.

On Wednesday, Alexander Dyukov, director of Historical Memory, a Moscow-based foundation that helped organize Wednesday's news conference, said: "It is aimed, among other things, at inciting ethnic hate, at tearing Ukraine away from Russia."

Journalists were given an English-language DVD and a 500-page book reproducing documents — some of them recently declassified — that are to be included in a three-volume study of the famine in the U.S.S.R. from 1929 to 1934.

They include letters portraying the dire situation at the time in what is now Russia and in other ex-Soviet republics and orders — some with Stalin's stamped signature in red ink — denying pleas for a letup in grain procurement quotas. Other documents suggest officials in Ukraine misled Moscow about the extent of hunger there.

The famine's death toll is disputed, but it is widely believed that it killed between 3 million and 7 million people in Ukraine.

Yushchenko has said as many as 10 million Ukrainians died, while Russian historian Valery Tishkov said more conservative estimates of 3.5 million deaths in Ukraine and 3.5 million in Russia are likely about twice the true toll.

AP Photograph – The head of the Russian Federal State Archives agency Vladimir Kozlov holds up a book entitled, 'Famine …

By Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia, Vienna, Thu, Feb 26, 2009 

VIENNA - In order to counter Kyiv’s insistence that Stalin carried out a genocide in Ukraine in the 1930s, an insistence that is at the core of the definition of the Ukrainian nation, Moscow has released new documents suggesting that the Soviet dictator engaged in a criminal campaign of mass murder cross the entire Soviet Union.

Yesterday, Vladimir Kozlov, the head of Russia’s Federal Archives Agency, told a Moscow press conference that the famine in Ukraine and elsewhere in the USSR was “the result of [Stalin’s] criminal policy” but that “of course, no one planned any famine” or singled out any ethnic group as its victim
Instead, he said, “the famine was the result of the errors and miscalculations of the political course of the leadership of the country in the course of the realization of collectivization.” And he insisted that he and his researchers had not found “a single document” showing that Stalin planned “a terror famine” in Ukraine.

Instead, Kozlov said, “absolutely all documents testify that the chief enemy of Soviet power at that time was an enemy defined not on the basis of ethnicity but on the basis of class,” in this case the peasantry which Stalin wanted to force to join collective farms throughout whatever means he could.

Kozlov’s comments came as he presented a new collective of documents, entitled “The Famine in the USSR,” and a DVD which contained a selection of those documents and others, which he said will total some 6,000 items, to be published in three volumes that are to be published this year.

The Russian archivist and others in Moscow said they were convinced of two things,
     [1] first, that these documents undercut all Ukrainian claims to the contrary and,
     [2] second, that the evidence these documents provide about the much broader but class rather than ethnic based crimes of the Soviet regime are not a
           problem for the contemporary regime.

But despite t his self-confidence, it is almost certainly the case that they are wrong. On the one hand, the extent of regime violence that these documents show is likely to energize rather than demobilize Ukrainian views about the way in which Stalin attacked the core of their nation nearly 80 years ago.

And on the other, the evidence the Moscow archivists provide is likely to lead others, including Kazakhs, Belarusians and many ethnic Russians to see that their communities too were the victims of mass murder, an act of violence that at least some of these groups are certain to view as directed against their nationhood and thus to see as genocidal whatever Moscow says.

Because that seems so likely, the arguments advanced yesterday by Valery Tishkov, an academician who heads the Institute of Ethnology and serves in the Russian Social Chamber, that the Ukrainian arguments will collapse, almost certainly will prove to be without any sustainable foundation.

And the reason for that conclusion is that Russians, Ukrainians and indeed the rest of the world are almost certain to be struck by one of the fundamental weaknesses of the position that Kozlov and Tishkov advance: Somehow they appear to believe that everyone will accept their notion that mass murder is somehow not as serious a problem as genocide.

That such an argument may convince some is beyond question, given the political use to which deaths in the past are often put, but that it will convince all is highly improbable. Indeed, when a regime kills as many people as Stalin’s did, most people of good will, including many Russians, will question Moscow’s latest effort to politicize history in this way.

Indeed, it is virtually certain not only that this latest compilation by Russian authors will not dissuade Ukrainians from their view that their nation was a victim of the Soviet system but also will lead many others, including ethnic Russians, to dismiss Moscow’s current efforts to restore the image of Stalin as a wise and effective manager.

Consequently, this latest Russian effort to downplay the human tragedy of collectivization will have at least three effects, none of which Moscow will want. 
     [1] First, it will lead many to see that Ukrainians, as one Russian put it, “deserve respect” for focusing on this tragedy

     [2] Second, it will call attention to the ways in which Moscow is manipulating history for its own purposes even more than the Ukrainians are.  After
            all, despite the enormous number of documents put forward, there will inevitably remain questions about what documents were NOT published.

     [3] And third, this Russian effort will call attention to something that many would prefer not to confront: Mass murder is wrong whether conducted 
             in the name of ethnic cleansing, the class struggle or anything else. The dead and their memory call out for a human response very different than the
           political one Moscow offered yesterday.
FOOTNOTE:  Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. While there, he launched the “Window on Eurasia” series. Prior to joining the faculty there in 2004, he served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
He writes frequently on ethnic and religious issues and has edited five volumes on ethnicity and religion in the former Soviet space. Trained at Miami University in Ohio and the University of Chicago, he has been decorated by the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for his work in promoting Baltic independence and the withdrawal of Russian forces from those formerly occupied lands. Mr. Goble can be contacted directly at [email protected].
Ukrainian and Russian scholars interpretation of the 1932-1933 famine in the USSR 
"It is not my goal to strive for a compromise. A scholar’s task is to show the past the way it actually was."

Article by Stanislav Kulchytsky, noted Historian, Professor, Scholar, Researcher of the Holodomor,
Deputy Director, Institute of Ukrainian History at the National Academy of Science of Ukraine (NAN)
Part I -   The Day Weekly Digest in English #3, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue,  03 Feb 2009
Part II -  The Day Weekly Digest in English #4, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, 10 Feb 2009
Part III - The Day Weekly Digest in English #5, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, 17 Feb 2009
Part IV - The Day Weekly Digest in English #6, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, 24 Feb 2009
PART I - The Day Weekly Digest in English #3,
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The different approaches of Ukrainian and Russian scholars to the interpretation of the 1932–33 famine in the USSR first manifested themselves fifteen years ago. Practically from the very beginning this essentially scholarly issue turned into a political one.

In 2008, the Year to Remember the Victims of the Holodomor, the dispute between politicians and scholars in both countries over this tragic page in our common history had become a quarrel, and the Ukrainian citizens of the Russian Federation were not allowed to carry out the memorial project “Inextinguishable Candle.”

Can both sides reach an understanding? What does it take? While formulating my answers to these questions, it is not my goal to strive for a compromise. A scholar’s task is to show the past the way it actually was.


The staggering amount of new information about the Holodomor is the main result of 2008. The publication of the National Book of Memory with information about the 1932-33 Holodomor in Ukraine was an unprecedented event.

The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory succeeded in organizing this publication, which consists of 19 large-format volumes, each with up to 1,000 pages of text, including analytical essays, documents, photos, eyewitness accounts, and a martyrology.

Furthermore, other collections of documents were published, including the four-volume collection of findings of the US Congress Commission on the Ukraine Famine Velykyi holod v Ukraini 1932–1933 rr. (The Great Famine in Ukraine, 1932–1933), monographs, collections of articles, albums, memoirs, and popular books.

Scholarly conferences were held in a number of Ukrainian cities and major European and North American universities. Exhibits of Holodomor documents took place in Ukraine and abroad. An impressive monument to the Holodomor victims was unveiled in Kyiv.

Nevertheless, we failed to convince the UN to recognize the Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people (primarily because of Russia’s counteraction). Nor did we succeed in convincing a considerable part of our fellow citizens that it was indeed so.

Moreover, on Dec. 17–24 the Razumkov Center’s sociological service carried out a poll that revealed a large-scale social allergy to the Holodomor subject. The findings indicated that a mere three percent of the respondents believed that the Holodomor was an event of the national scope.

This kind of allergy has a logical explanation. Not doubting the fact that millions died in the Holodomor, society, nevertheless, rejects political confrontation over this issue, both inside the country and in relations with Russia. What can be done in this situation? First, set forth our arguments and hear the arguments of the other side. Second, bring to the court of international public opinion the refusal of those who lend a deaf ear to the arguments.


One can single out the main topic in the Ukrainian-Russian debate on the Holodomor: the presence or absence of fundamental distinctions between the Holodomor in Ukraine and the famine elsewhere in the Soviet Union. In blocking the recognition of the Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people on an international level, Russia chose to deny the regional distinctions in the all-Union famine of 1932–33.

Even a long newspaper article will not suffice to describe all aspects of the Ukrainian-Russian debate. In order to formulate the stand taken by each side and assess it from the scholarly point of view, it is necessary to provide one’s own system of conclusions, along with the most important underlying facts. Therefore, it is necessary to choose the main topic of this debate. I will try to demonstrate how the Ukrainian Holodomor was different from the all-Union famine.


The Institute of History at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (NANU) collectively published an 888-page-long book dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Holodomor. We took copies to Moscow to discuss this study with Russia’s leading experts on agrarian history. The discussion took place on March 29, 2004, at the Institute of General History of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The Russian scholars’ response was that the famine in Ukraine was no different from that all over the Soviet Union. Later, V. Danilov and I. Zelenin published an article in the periodical Otechestvennaia istoria (History of the Fatherland).

The closing paragraph reads: “If one were to characterize the Holodomor of 1932–33 as a ‘deliberate act of genocide against the Ukrainian peasantry,’ as certain Ukrainian historians insist, then it would be necessary to bear in mind that this act of genocide was in equal measure aimed against the Russian peasantry.”

The above quote has a dear price. Many instantly reject the possibility of genocide against the Soviet people on the part of the functionaries of the workers and peasants’ government. An answer to this could be as follows: “Study the events that took place in Russia, while we will focus on Stalin’s repressions in Ukraine.” But this answer would be purely formal because the famine of 1932–33 is part of our common history.

On the face of it, the Ukrainian SSR and the Russian Federation appear to have suffered from the famine in equal measure. Estimates published in 2001 by the Australian demographer Stephen Wheatcroft indicate that the famine-related excessive death rate in each of the two union republics was approximately the same, totaling 3.5 million. (The Tragedy of the Soviet Village, 1927-1939, vol. 3, pp. 866–887).

Calculations made in 2008 by the NANU’s Institute of Demography yielded approximately the same figures that indicate direct losses. These figures tally with my own estimates published in 1990. When analyzing demographic data, which requires special training, I used the help of a Harvard researcher who is known in the international scholarly quarters under the pseudonym of Maksudov. (His real name is Aleksandr Babionyshev. As a dissident, he was expelled from the USSR.)

However, this similarity between the death toll numbers in the two republics is deceptive. At the time, the Russian Federation included the Kuban district of the Northern Caucasus territory and the Kazakh Autonomous Republic, which took the lion’s share of the losses.

If we regard the Ukrainian-speaking Kuban area as part of Ukraine (abortive reunion attempts were made in the 1920s) and Kazakhstan as a country outside the Russian Federation (it received the status of a union republic in 1936, and the famine there had its own distinct features), then the excessive death rate in the Russian regions would be equal to hundreds of thousands of lives. In fact, this is enough to speak of genocide, but millions of people starved to death in Ukraine means that some other factor was at play.

After discussing our monograph on the Holodomor in Moscow, I left the city with a firm resolution to find out why Ukraine’s losses were an order of magnitude greater than Russia’s. I admit that I knew even then that the difference in the losses was the result of a carefully camouflaged NKVD operation, which was carried out only in the Ukrainian SSR and Kuban. The only thing I was not sure of was whether this could be proved with documentary evidence. When planning the most heinous act of terrorism in his lifetime, Stalin made sure all tracks were covered.

The task I set myself took many years to fulfill. My research was like a routine police investigation. At times documents I had long known acquired an altogether new meaning when compared with the newly discovered ones. I seldom worked in the archives, mostly using sources that were put in scholarly circulation in sufficient quantities. After all, hundreds of regional ethnographers, archivists, and scholars were tackling the topic of the Holodomor.

Den’/The Day promptly published the first results of my work. These articles would later serve as the basis of a book in the newspaper’s Library Series. Other books were published in 2007-08.

Then I wrote the analytical essay “This is how it was,” which opens the concluding volume of the National Book of Memory devoted to the 1932-33 Holodomor in Ukraine. However, the shortest way to the reader in and outside Ukraine is through Den’/The Day, which combines quick access to information, as a newspaper should, with an opportunity to buttress the conclusions with sufficient evidence.


Both the Ukrainian and Russian sides agree that the famine of 1932-33 was caused by state-run grain procurement campaign. To arrive at this conclusion, it is enough to browse through the literature on the subject; its list keeps expanding, now also in Russia.

I am convinced that if the Ukrainian side continues to speak in unison with the Russian side on the subject of grain procurement, it will not be able to convince the opponent that it has a valid point about the genocide. While it is true that the grain procurement policy caused countless deaths, it is very difficult, actually impossible, to prove that this policy was used by the government as a method of deliberate annihilation of fellow citizens.

It is an established fact that initial cause behind the famines in the 1920s and 1940s was a natural disaster, a colossal drought. We also know that in 1930-33 the weather conditions were favorable for the crops. When the leadership of the Communist Party of Ukraine allowed documents relating to the famine of 1932-33 to be published, it had to offer an explanation for the tragedy.

A resolution of the CC CPU of Jan. 26, 1990 read: “Archival materials show that the direct cause of the famine in the early 1930s in the republic was the forced grain procurement policy that involved large-scale repressions and proved to be disastrous for the peasantry.”

The state was procuring grain to feed the cities and the army. It also sold grain abroad in order to receive hard currency and purchase the equipment required for the new construction projects that were carried out according to the five-year plan. Grain procurement quotas, disastrous as they were for the peasants, were enforced in all grain-producing regions. The result was a famine in these rural areas, as well as in cities which experienced cuts in bread rations or were denied centralized food supplies altogether.

Famine can undoubtedly serve as an instrument of genocide. However, the Ukrainian politicians who are struggling to have the Holodomor internationally recognized as an act of genocide are using only one argument: considerably more people died of hunger in Ukraine than in Russia. It does not take a stretch of imagination to predict the reaction of the other side when this doubtlessly strong argument is “enhanced” with concrete figures.

I say “enhanced” because they speak of the death toll of 10-million and more, without any facts to prove it. For reasons best known to themselves, some politicians push aside demographers and come up with numbers spun out of thin air. This is a naive stand, considering that demographic statistics have been in the public domain since 1989 and that researchers in many countries in the West have spent years assessing and analyzing these excessive death rates.

Our opponents in Russia recognize the difference in the excessive death rates in the Ukrainian SSR and the neighboring regions, but they refer to an outwardly convincing argument: “The Ukrainian SSR and the Kuban region were the main producers of grain for export, so this is one and only reason why grain procurements were especially damaging there.” One is reminded of the lines from Ivan Krylov’s fable The Wolf and the Lamb: “You are guilty if only because I’m hungry.”

Yet it works when it comes to determining whether or not it was an act of genocide. If the state wanted to supply grain to the cities or export it, this government can only be accused of criminal neglect of the peasants’ pressing needs. This neglect resulted in starvation and mass deaths, but in this context it is impossible to speak about death by famine as the ultimate objective of the grain procurement policy. In other words, the Russian side perceives no signs of genocide here.

In contrast to this, the Ukrainian side is only too well aware that grain procurements can be used to step up industrialization (as was the case in Ukraine) and suppress the national liberation struggle. “The rawboned hand of famine” combined with grandiloquent declarations of friendship among peoples was a good way to keep the Ukrainian republic under the Kremlin’s control.

They tell us about Dniprohes (Dnipro Hydropower Plant) and Magnitka [Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works], and we, in turn, quote from Stalin’s confidential letter to Kaganovich dated Aug. 11, 1932: “If we don’t set about correcting the situation in Ukraine now, we may lose Ukraine… I repeat, we may lose Ukraine.” (Stalin and Kaganovich. Correspondence, 1931–1936., Moscow, 2001, p. 274— in Russian.) Then what? Each side holds to its view.

Will we succeed in convincing Russian politicians and scholars that Stalin used the grain procurements policy as a form of terror by famine aimed at keeping Ukraine within the boundaries of the Soviet Union? Regrettably, we cannot find out what criteria the Kremlin was guided by when setting grain delivery quotas for the regions. Stalin was not in the habit of putting down motives behind actions.

There are only two cases when the impenetrable curtain behind which he stayed was lifted: the letter to Kaganovich of Aug. 11, 1932 quoted above and his well-known May 6, 1933 letter to Mikhail Sholokhov in which he accused grain-growers in the Don region of sabotaging the grain procurement campaign.

Therefore, we only have indirect evidence of the punitive role played by the grain procurements. The personae of the drama that was played out at the time, they could only wonder about the causes behind so badly exaggerated quotas. Here is an example. On July 6, 1932, the GPU commissioner of Novopskovsk raion (Donetsk oblast) submitted a secret report to the head of the GPU of the Ukrainian SSR. This document enables us to see the train of thought of the raion party committee secretary Gorshkov.

Commenting on the exaggerated grain procurement quota for the 1931 harvest set for the Ukrainian SSR by Moscow, he noted: “They could have been mistaken about ten to twenty raions, things like that happen, but such mistakes in calculations for nearly all raions of Ukraine is something else altogether. If only they wrote a brief memo explaining the reasons. Now we have to rack our brains, trying to figure all this out. Look at the CChO (Central Chernozem Oblast, then part of the RSFSR and bordering on Ukraine — S.K.)— they have lots of grain, while here people are starving.”

Without doubt, such ruthless procurement of the 1931 and 1932 harvest crops killed hundreds of thousands of peasants in Ukraine and other grain-producing regions of the USSR. It would serve everyone’s benefit if together with Russian scholars we would search Russia’s presidential archives, trying to find documentary evidence that such grain procurements were used as a means of terror by famine at a certain time and in certain regions. Meanwhile, until we can ascertain all circumstances, we have to abandon efforts to characterize the famine of 1932–33 in the USSR as an act of genocide.

Does this mean that we must discard our legislatively fixed concept of the Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people? By no means! We must learn to distinguish between the famine in Ukraine in the first half of 1932, which in every way resembles the all-Union famine of 1932, and the Holodomor that took place in the first half of 1933, against the background of the all-Union famine.

Using two years as the dates of the Holodomor is absolutely acceptable, but only because Stalin’s regime took punitive measures, which were not directly related to grain procurements, in the blacklisted Ukrainian villages in November–December 1932. The same measures were applied in January 1933 to all of Ukraine, leading to the Holodomor.

PART II - The Day Weekly Digest in English #4,
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Holodomor, death by hunger, is also a famine except that it is the worst of its kind. The famine in the USSR was caused by grain procurements, while the Holodomor — by the confiscation of all foodstuffs af­ter the state took away all peasants’ grain. People died of hunger both be­fore all food was confiscated and during the Holodomor. The circumstances in which they died me­ant nothing to them.

But to us, their descendants, they do. Otherwise it is impossible to say that the government was saving the working class or itself from default by exporting grain, because default threatened the loss of property abroad. Ano­ther case is the use of famine in or­der to massacre people. This is what we call genocide.

In the grain-stripped villages pe­­­ople who did not have private plots and kitchen gardens — beggars and poor peasants — were dy­ing of hunger. Those who had could make it to the next harvest using produce from their plots. After 1928 the food stores and shops turned into di­stribution centers whe­re foods we­­­re available only to people with ra­tion cards for foodstuffs or industrial goods. The only other sources of su­pply was the village bazaar or a To­rgsin state-run hard-currency sto­­re (Torgsin is an acronym for torgo­vlia s inostra­n­t­sami, trade with fo­reigners).

Here locals could also buy food, but only with hard curre­n­cy or in return for pieces of jewelry. The­re­fore, collective and indivi­dual far­mers’ food re­serves acqui­red strategic importance for them. Villages without such reserves were doomed to death by hunger. Large-scale confiscation of foodstuffs au­to­­matically eliminated bazaars, whi­le the peasants had no hard currency.

It is necessary to ascertain whe­ther the state resorted to the confiscation of all foodstuffs before the Holodomor. So far this question has not been raised for the simple reason that no one distinguished be­tween the all-union famine (Uk­ra­ine in­cluded) from the Holodomor. It ap­pears that confiscation of foods was used by the government previously as a punitive measure, al­though not all foodstuffs were taken away.

Here is what Pastushenko, secretary of the Komsomol cell in the village of Polonyste (currently in Ho­lovanivsk raion, Kirovohrad ob­last), wrote in a letter to Stalin on Feb. 10, 1932: “Now we have one setback after the next; a team of 86 men has been out searching [for gra­in] for three months with nothing to show for it. Day after they se­arch one [peasant] home after the next. Since the start of the campa­ign they have ransacked every home sixty ti­mes over. They have taken away eve­­­­ry pound of produce, leaving each collective farmer two poods of po­tatoes. The rest has been procu­red.”

On Oct. 22, 1932, the Politburo of the CC VKP(B) dispatched a grain procurements commission to the Ukrainian SSR headed by Viache­slav Molotov, Chairman of the Sov­narkom (Council of People’s Com­missars) of the USSR. Another one, headed by CC VKP(b) Secretary Lazar Kaganovich, was sent to the Northern Caucasus. The Kremlin organized ad hoc central emergency authorities in these regions. Their resolutions were signed by regional party functionaries.

In accordance with the instructions received from Stalin, Molotov wrote the resolutions of the republi­can party and government institutions and sent them to Stalin (Ho­lo­domor 1932-1933 rokiv v Ukraini. Dokumenty i materially — 1932-1933 Holodomor in Ukraine. Do­cu­ments and Materials, Kyiv, 2007, p. 207).

Approved by the Kremlin, they were published as a resolution of the CC CP(B)U of Nov. 18, and a resolution of the Radnarkom of the Ukrainian SSR of Nov. 20, under the same title: “On Measures to En­hance Grain Procurements.” Both resolutions demand confiscation of grain stolen in the course of the harvest campaign, threshing, and tran­s­portation. This sinister clause me­ant that the state was sanctioning searches of peasant homes to confiscate what grain was found there.

In addition to the requirement to carry out searches, these resolutions contained an equally vicious cla­use on in-kind fines — those who failed to meet their grain quota had to compensate the deficit with meat and potatoes. The Komsomol acti­vist Pastushenko had complained to the party general secretary about such in-kind fines, but now Stalin was applying them and turned them into a law. They are the Holodo­mor’s calling card.

Our Russian colleagues say time and time again that the same happened in Russia, and the most radical-minded of them add that if it was genocide, then it affected the rural population in all grain-producing regions. Therefore, I hasten to admit that in-kind fines were applied as a means of stepping up grain procurements in the Volga region (Povolzhie), Central Grain-Producing District, and districts in the Northern Caucasus territory adjacent to the Kuban region.

One should not, however, mistake terror by famine for grain procurements that could involve such methods as in-kind fines or confiscation of ho­mesteads and exile to the northern regions of the USSR — these were applied in certain individual cases. There was no other single region, except the Ukrainian SSR and the Kuban, where in-kind fines were imposed all over the countryside.


In their declarations Stalin’s te­am of internationalists recognized the supremacy of the class only in the area of their repressive policy. Stalin could afford to declare collective responsibility on the basis of ethnic origin only during the war of extermination against Nazi Ger­ma­ny (slogans “Kill a German!”, deportation of ethnic Germans and the so-called small peoples [ethnic minorities] to Kazakhstan’s deserts). The ethnic component of repressions in the 1930s was carefully camoufla­ged.

The deportation of tens of tho­usands of “German fascists” and “Pil­sudski’s Poles” from the Ukra­i­nian territories along the Polish bor­der in 1934–35 was carried out as a top secret military operation. The blow dealt to the Ukrainian SSR and the Kuban region in 1932–33 was disguised as a campaign against kulak sabotage, which was claimed to be causing the cities and the army to starve. The only thing on record is the censoring of statements indi­cative of repressions on an ethnic basis in the articles published by the free press.

In the second half of 1932, the USSR was on the verge of an economic catastrophe. Agriculture was degrading, the grain procurements campaign had been bungled, and a large-scale famine was raising its ugly head. A group of ranking party members headed by A. Smirnov declared that the “general line” of the CC VKP(B) in Stalin’s interpretation was a threat to the party and the entire country.

On Nov. 27, 1932, Stalin called a joint meeting of the highest bodies of the party, whose members had already become puppets on his strings: the Polit­buro of the Central Committee and the Presidium of the Central Con­trol Commission of the VKP(B). The general secretary raised the matter of the Smirnov-led “counterrevolutionary” group. The dissenters were punished and copies of the minutes were sent to party activists as guidelines in combating dissidence.

In 2007 the Russian State Archives of Social and Political History and the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace published the edited minutes (sent to party activists) and the original document that recorded what was actually said. By comparing these documents one can understand what message Stalin sent to the activists and what he thought was best to conceal from them.

The edited version sent to the par­ty committees said that collective and state farms had been infiltrated by anti-Soviet elements in or­der to organize sabotage. “It would be foolish for the communists not to respond to the blows dealt by these individual collective farmers and col­lective farms with a devastating blow of their own only because the col­lective farms are a socialist form of management,” declared Stalin. And so the government wanted to deliver a “devastating blow” to indivi­dual collective farmers and farms, but the target turned out to be vague in all respects.

In his unedited speech Stalin was more forthcoming. He listed the regions where the emergency gra­in procurements commissions were operating (the Northern Cau­casus, Ukraine, and the Lower Vol­ga region) and the enemy — the White Guards and the Petliurites.

The Northern Caucasus then consisted of 11 districts. A protocol of the Politburo of the CC VKP(B), dated Nov. 1, 1932, formulated the tasks set before Kaganovich’s emergency grain procurements commission as follows:

“The whole group of comrades, jointly with the regional party committee, is hereby instructed to step up grain procurements in the Nor­thern Caucasus, especially in the Ku­ban, and to unconditionally carry out the plan for the winter sowing campaign.

“The main task of the said group of comrades is to work out and take measures in the course of the sowing and grain procurement campaigns to overcome sabotage organized by counterrevolutionary kulak elements in the Kuban.”

If one analyzes the objectives set before this emergency commissi­on by comparing a part (the Ku­­ban) to the whole (the Northern Caucasus), the part is obviously predominant. Stalin’s envoys had to communicate with the territorial party committee, so they seemed to target the entire territory. How­ev­er, the first paragraph stresses “es­pecially in the Kuban,” while the se­cond paragraph clearly identified the emergency commission’s field of action: the Kuban.

Addressing a meeting of the regional committee of the VKP(B) on Nov. 23, Kaganovich defined his commission’s geographical priorities in no less clear terms, although he explained them as follows: “We do not have to take the Northern Caucasus as a whole. After all, the northern part has fulfilled the sowing plan and supplied more grain. The emphasis must be on the Ku­ban.” Indeed, other [administrati­ve] districts did a better job of meeting their grain procurement quotas. Kaganovich, however, did not say what considerations the Kremlin had in mind when these quotas were set for different regions.

It is safe to assume that the es­pe­cially high grain procurement qu­otas for Ukraine and the “devastating blow” aimed at the Ukrainian SSR and the Kuban were explained by Stalin’s desire to nip in the bud any opportunity of reunification of the two Ukrainian regions or Ukra­i­ne’s secession from the Soviet Uni­on.

On the face of it the USSR was a federation of union republics, each having the constitutional right to secede from the federation. How­ever, in a totalitarian country with maximum centralization of political power this development seemed unthinkable. It is also true, however, that in the early 1930s Stalin’s rule was shaken by the economic and political crisis caused by the forced rate of industrialization and reckless agrarian policy.

With the country in a grave crisis, the central government’s ability to keep the situation in the peripheral regions under control was sharply reduced. In the­se circumstances constitutional de­clarations could become a reality (as they did decades later, in 1989–91).

The foregoing discussion helps understand Stalin’s motives. How­ev­er, my goal is not to study the mo­tives, because it is hardly possible to find documentary evidence to prove them, but to reconstruct the malfeasance that triggered the Holodo­mor. Such reconstruction appears to be possible.

PART III -  The Day Weekly Digest in English #5
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 17 February 2009


On the day Stalin announced he was going to deliver a devastating blow to “individual collective farmers and farms,” he made two important appointments within the OGPU system. Yevdokimov, OGPU’s polpred (plenipotentiary representative; in this context, head of the regional OGPU directorate — Ed.) for Central Asia, became polpred for the North Caucasus, whereas OGPU deputy head Balytsky was posted as polpred to the Ukrainian SSR.

Both had worked in these regions: Yevdokimov in 1924–29, and Balytsky in 1919–31. On December 1, Balytsky was co-opted onto the Politburo of the CC CP(B)U. These Cheka officers had to orchestrate an unprecedented act of terrorism sired by the secretary general. We do not know how Stalin conveyed his instructions to Balytsky , but they are easy to construe from Directive No. 1 signed by the head of the GPU of the Ukrainian SSR on Dec. 5, 1932.

After lumping together sabotage of grain procurements, mass theft of grain in collective and state farms, penetration of Petliura’s emissaries from abroad, and the distribution of Petliurite leaflets in the countryside, Balytsky (Stalin, to be precise) arrived at the conclusion that “there undoubtedly exists an organized counterrevolutionary insurgent underground network in Ukraine that maintains contacts with other countries and foreign intelligence services, mostly with the Polish general headquarters.”

On the face of it, there was something strange about the directive: the state security police were told to accept a version about the activities of foreign secret agents and even their contacts with the Polish general headquarters. All the OGPU had to do was “materialize” counterrevolutionary organizations and fill them with arrested members. However, there was nothing strange about the reverse order of these actions.

The Chekists had to detect possible resistance hotbeds and destroy them even before they could manifest themselves in any way. Having a staggering number of stool pigeons and agents provocateurs at their disposal, they were capable of a preemptive strike. In this case it was important for Stalin to link the possible resistance to the “devastating blow” on the part of the local party and Soviet apparat with the activities of the Polish secret police. This linkage paralyzed the local apparatchiks, making it impossible for them to resist a planned massacre of millions of people.

The next step that made Stalin’s plan even more obvious was taken by the Kremlin on Dec. 10, 1932, when a meeting of the Politburo of the CC VKP(B) summoned the political leadership of the Ukrainian SSR. Secretary General Stalin gave CC CP(B)U Secretary General Stanislav Kosior a severe dressing down for his spineless stand in combating saboteurs and accused Mykola Skrypnyk of having contacts with the “nationalist elements.” This meeting resulted in the Dec. 14 resolution “On Grain Procurements in Ukraine, Northern Caucasus, and Western Region” of the CC VKP(B) and Sovnarkom of the USSR.

This act was not so much about grain procurement (now the Ukrainian SSR’s procurements deadline was the end of January) as about Ukrainization. As a kind of indigenization policy, i.e., implanting the Soviet rule in the ethnic regions, the Ukrainization campaign was being carried out consistently and energetically. It transpired, however, that it was facilitating a rapid enhancement of national identity among the populace in the Ukrainian SSR and the Kuban region.

And so, Ukrainization was divided into the Bolshevik kind and Petliurite kind. Ukrainization in the Ukrainian SSR was as the former by waging a struggle against “Ukrainian bourgeois nationalism,” which was proclaimed as the biggest threat. Outside the Ukrainian SSR, Ukrainization was prohibited. The residents of the Kuban were ordered to identify themselves as Russians. During the 1937 and 1939 censuses only those who had settled in the Northern Caucasus after the 1926 census were registered as Ukrainians.

The devastating-blow program included what Kaganovich first formulated on Nov. 1, 1932: a proposal to blacklist the villages lagging behind in terms of grain procurements. Judging by the decrees published by the press, such blacklisting did not seem a deadly threat. Officially, it boiled down to the suspension of consumer goods supplies, denying credits, demanding payments on previous loans ahead of schedule, and so on.

On December 8, reporting to Stalin on six large villages blacklisted by the CC CP(B)U and the Radnarkom of the Ukrainian SSR, and that the apparatchiks in charge of oblasts had blacklisted up to 400 villages, Kosior was skeptical about the effectiveness of this punitive measure: “In-kind fines and confiscation of the homestead land produce the best results as compared to other repressive measures.”

I have no documented proof of whether Kosior’s remark was taken into account by anyone. Perhaps such documents are stored in the secret archives of Russia’s FSB. However, there are eyewitness accounts to the effect that Kosior’s remark was taken into account in the simplest possible way, by combining this punishment with in-kind fines. The blacklisted villages were cordoned off by the Cheka troops and there were constant searches for concealed grain, along with in-kind fines. Deprived of all food, people were beginning to starve to death.

The devastating blow was dealt the Ukrainian peasantry under the guise of a winter grain procurement campaign. The city, angered by the spreading hunger, had to be shown the guilty party and the kulak saboteurs who had penetrated the kolkhozes. The peasants’ unwillingness to work without pay for the third year running could be portrayed as spontaneous sabotage.

Stalin, however, wanted this to be presented in terms of class struggle, even more so as a struggle against the Petliurite underground network in Ukraine that had contacts with the Polish general headquarters. His mouthpiece Kaganovich wrote from Krasnodar on November 5: “Here the main task is to overcome sabotage which is undoubtedly organized and controlled by a single center.”

The city had to be shown the results of this struggle against sabotage, including underground “grain towns” the reporters kept writing about. True, peasants tried to conceal from the procurement teams the miserable remainder of their crops, lest they die of hunger. The Cheka [i.e., GPU: Cheka was reorganized as GPU in 1922 — Ed.] used the still existing komnezams (committees of poor peasants), the rural militia, and grain procurement officials — tens of thousands of them were herded to the rural from the urban areas — and, of course, their own numerous agents in order to search for grain buried underground.

 Soviet newsreels showed scenes of unearthing pits with grain, rather than scenes of starvation. Russia’s documentarians are now gladly using this footage. Balytsky told a meeting of the Politburo of the CC CP(B)U on December 20 (with Kaganovich in attendance) that since the start of December the GPU men had discovered 7,000 such pits and 100 “dark pantries” containing a total of 700,000 poods of grain. In other words, the large-scale search campaign had yielded miserable results. The amount of grain thus obtained meant nothing on the level of the state. Ukrainian peasants would later prove that there were no “towns of grain” when they starved to death.

At the said Politburo meeting, head of the Ukrainian government Vlas Chubar pointed out that the insufficient scope of in-kind fines was a shortcoming of the grain procurement campaign. Kosior, for his part, believed that comprehensive yet ineffective searches were the shortcoming. By comparing their opinions, one can infer that in-kind fines and searches were not a single repressive operation in mid-December. One ought to date the beginning of the Holodomor as November and December 1932, when searches and in-kind fines were taking place in hundreds of blacklisted and cordoned-off villages.


On Jan. 1, 1933, Kharkiv received a telegram from Stalin. It is worth quoting in full:

“Let the CC CP(b)U and the Radnarkom of the Ukrainian SSR widely inform collective farmers and independent farmers through village councils and collective farms that:

“(a) those who voluntarily hand over to the government previously stolen and concealed grain will not be subject to repressions;
“(b) as for those collective farmers, collective farms, and independent farmers who stubbornly continue to hide stolen and concealed grain, they will be subject to the severest degrees of punishment.”

What is the import of this message? No one has answered this question since 1990 when this document was published for the first time. Nor did I pay sufficient attention to this telegram when preparing for publication my first book on collectivization and the famine in 1991.

I remember asking myself how the head of state could have possibly communicated with the peasants of one of the national republics through the village Soviets. It was only after the skillfully scattered fragments of Stalin’s actions in 1932 were pieced together did it transpire that the beginning of the Holodomor in Ukraine can be dated within an hour — when this telegram was received in Kharkiv.

Those of my readers who know about in-kind fines and searches for grain will understand this telegram’s implicit message by simply comparing points (a) and (b). Whereas the first one demands that grain be supplied to the state, the second one threatens those who fail to comply with severe punishment. How could one determine who was ignoring Stalin’s requirement? By the good old method of searching. Stalin’s telegram signaled the beginning of mass searches.

The general secretary knew from the Cheka that there were no grain reserves of state importance in the Ukrainian countryside. Then what was the need for a telegram that actually authorized searches for the sake of searches? The answer to this question is obvious: to use the law on in-kind fines and carry out a punitive operation under the guise of a grain procurement campaign, something people in the villages and cities had grown accustomed to, so as to take away all foodstuffs from the peasants following the previous confiscation of grain.

The Russian side has time and again told me (including during a debate with Prof. V. Kondrashin on the pages of Den’) that there are no documents with instructions to confiscate all foodstuffs in the Ukrainian rural areas, thus dooming the peasantry to death by famine. I agree that Stalin’s telegram cannot be qualified as direct documented evidence pointing to the Kremlin as the culprit in this case of food confiscation.
It is evidence that Stalin made threats to the Ukrainian peasantry in conjunction with grain procurements. However, this telegram did signal the start of mass searches in the Ukrainian countryside. Add to this the law on in-kind fines.

Finally, we all know the consequences of Stalin’s telegram. Thousands of surviving eyewitness testify that in the course of such searches all food was confiscated from the “debtors.” In many cases a family’s cow was left as the CC VKP(B)’s Resolution “On Forced Collectivization of Cattle” of March 26, 1932, was still in effect.

There is no need to quote from eyewitness accounts. Some of them are found in the National Book of Memory of Holodomor Victims and in numerous other publications. Some are stored as manuscripts. Eyewitnesses state that komnezam people, led by Chekists, went through the motions of searching for concealed grain while in fact they took away not only fatback, meat, and potatoes — as envisaged by the law on in-kind fines — but also all the other foodstuffs. Is this not documented proof?

Some people testify that there were no such confiscations in their villages. One should not shrug off such testimonies. The Chekist punitive operation covered a large territory, yet it did not reach as far as the villages in the borderland and remote areas in Polissia; nor did it affect the kolkhozes that had met the grain procurements quotas. According to statistics, 1,403 out of 23,270 kolkhozes had met the year’s quotas as of October 1932.

Confiscating all food under the guise of grain procurements was only a part of the operation. Peasants starved to death only when this campaign was combined with a ban on information about the famine and when the starving people were blockaded. There is no documented proof of this ban on information, but it is an established fact that the Kremlin refused to acknowledge the 1932-33 famine until Dec. 25, 1987. Even top secret files contain no wording related to the famine. It was used only in a closed segment of office documents with the status “Special Folder.”

There is sufficient documented evidence of the blockade of villages were all foodstuffs were confiscated. On Dec. 22, 1933, the CC VKP(B) and the Sovnarkom of the USSR sent a coded message to the regions bordering on Ukraine. It read: “It has become known to the CC VKP(B) and the Sovnarkom of the USSR that peasants in the Kuban and Ukraine have started leaving these territories en masse ‘in search of bread,’ head for CChO, Volga, Moscow oblast, Western region, and Belarus.

The CC VKP(B) and the Sovnarkom of the USSR have no doubt that this exodus of peasants, like the one last year in Ukraine, has been organized by the enemies of Soviet power, Socialist Revolutionaries, and Polish agents in order to conduct propaganda, through peasants in the northern territories of the USSR, aimed against the kolkhozes and the Soviet authorities in general.”
I. Zelenin, the editor of the third volume of the collection Tragediia sovetskogo sela (Tragedy of the Soviet Village), included a comment saying that Stalin wrote it himself (the signature has been preserved) and that Molotov’s signature appeared only in a reprinted copy.

A few words about Stalin’s reference to the 1932 exodus of Ukrainian peasants are in place. It is true that some three million peasants left Ukraine and headed for neighboring regions in search of food after the famine struck the Ukrainian SSR, caused by the 1931 grain procurement campaign. Confiscation of all foodstuffs practically instantly transformed peasants, who had long been starving and boiling with anger, into an inert mass.

Stalindorf’s district party committee secretary Kiper informed the Dnipropetrovsk oblast Communist Party committee on Feb. 25, 1933: “The collective farmers’ despair has reached the limit; people have stopped asking for help; they are lying around in their cold unheated homes, awaiting death.” That is precisely the consequences Stalin had sought.

How long did the Cheka food confiscation operation last? It is reasonable to assume that it ended with the start of a large-scale campaign to aid the starving peasants. On February 7 the Politburo of the CC VKP(B) adopted the first resolutions providing for food aid for Dnipropetrovsk and Odesa oblast, 200,000 poods of rye in each case. This aid, however, was meant for the “party and non-partisan activists in the collective farms.” After the “devastating blow” rendered any social outbursts impossible, Stalin’s wording changed; now the “kulak saboteurs” were “non-partisan activists in the collective farms.”

PART IV -  The Day Weekly Digest in English #6
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Prior to the consideration of the Holodomor bill at the Verkhovna Ra­da of Ukraine, the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Fe­de­ration handed over to Vesti a number of declassified materials from its ar­chives.
On Nov. 24, 2006, these documents appeared in print, along with a commentary by the journalist Yele­na Loria who scolded the Ukrainian politicians for demanding recognition of the Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people, while trying to avoid mentioning the fact that the famine struck the Volga region, the Northern Cauca­sus, the Urals, Kazakhstan, and the Far East.
Why? It would seem only natural for Russian scholars and po­liticians to mention the famine in the above-mentioned regions of the USSR. As though forestalling this counterargument, Loria ended her bri­ef commentary with a paragraph worth being quoted in full: “There is one undeniable plus to this attempt of the Ukrainian politicians to ‘privatize’ the tragedy and rewrite history: an increasing number of people in Uk­raine are learning about the Ho­lodomor and remember their history. In Russia’s textbooks this topic re­ceives only superficial treatment, as though seven million people (one-third Russians) never died.” As they say, no comment.

In 2008 the foreign ministries of Russia and Ukraine exchanged un­diplomatically harsh words after the latter tried to draw the attention of international organizations to the Holodomor. In September the Rus­sian foreign ministry’s official website published 197 documents from the Central Archives of the FSB and three other central Russian archives, concerning the 1932-33 famine. In a short foreword the compilers did not comment on the contents, welcoming the readers to figure out everything themselves.

Needless to say, people who compiled these documents had an idea in mind. Sergei Lozunko voiced it in his article published by the newspaper 2000 on October 17: “These documents refute the concept of an ‘engineered genocide against Ukrai­ni­ans.’“ Following the topics covered by the documents, the article consisted of two large sections: “Famine gripped all of the USSR” and “Aid to starving Ukraine.”

There is no denying the fact that the famine gripped all of the Soviet Union, and that aid was given to starving people in Ukraine. Without this aid almost all of the 25 million people who lived in the rural areas of the Ukrainian SSR would have died. Some time after confiscating all their foodstuffs, the government started “hand-feeding” those who were able to work and secure the 1933 harvest.

Every newspaper has its readership, so I prepared my own commentary on the documents from the Russian foreign ministry’s website and sent it to the weekly 2000. They published it in full, for which I am grateful.

The editors published Lozunko’s reply in that same issue. A gifted polemicist, he built his article on misrepresentation, without ever touching on my concept of the Holodomor. Oleg Kachmarsky took notice of this in his commentary published on the website of the NGO “Edinoe otechestvo” on Dec. 13, 2008 and took the field to refute the genocide thesis. I agreed that the grain procurement campaign had a “cover-up” in the form of the government’s obligations to feed the cities and the army and pay on loans for imported equipment, which makes it hard to prove that the confiscation of grain was an act of genocide.
In his opinion, it was then reasonable to refuse to qualify the confiscation of non-grain foodstuffs as genocide. He wrote: “Didn’t workers and soldiers eat onions, cabbage, fatback, and beets? One can assume that precisely this food was meant for them, whereas grain was mostly sold for hard currency.” No comment needed here, either.


I agree with Dr. Viktor Kon­dra­shyn from Penza, who keeps insisting that the famine of 1932-33 was our common tragedy, and that it must unite rather than disunite us. How­ever, the verb “unite” does not mean “dissolve” or “merge” in our per­ception. The party center in the Kremlin did not depend on the will of the population and manipulated the destinies of all peoples of the USSR; it was guided by its own interests in treating each one of them.
To avoid head-on collision with the national liberation movement of the op­pres­sed peoples in the former Russian em­pire, the Bol­sheviks built their state-commune on an ethnocratic ba­sis, as a federation of union and auto­nomous republics, ethnic territories, oblasts, raions, and even village co­un­cils. When the Soviet regime be­came firmly establi­shed the ethnic raions and village co­uncils were discarded, but the status of union re­pub­lics and their right to secession remained untouched.
The­refore, Dr. Kondrashyn has to understand that the Kremlin was then faced with the task of preventing Ukraine, a “titular nation” with a right to secession and ethnic identity, from turning in­to a polity. Regrettably, many people still do not realize the special character of the Soviet Union’s national and political system or the meaning of the artificial notion “titular nation” that emerged in conditions of the totalitarian regime. This notion is still being used.

For the Kremlin, all nations were equal, except that some were “more equal,” to quote from George Orwell. In the Soviet “parade of nations” Rus­sians came first as the “titular na­tion” of both the Russian Federa­tion and the rest of the country. Uk­rainians and the other nations that gave their names to the union re­pub­lics came second.
Moldovans in the Moldavian Autonomous SSR and the rest of the primary nations in the autonomous republics did not have the status of status were on the third rung of the hierarchical ladder. Pe­ople who represented nations outside the USSR were in the worst position. After the sharpening of the international situation Stalin deported the “German fascists” from Puliny ethnic raion and “Polish Pilsudkites” from Markhliovsk ethnic raion.

There is no denying the fact that the Kremlin had its own national policy, and that the Kremlin leadership could demonstrate its attitude to so­me or other “titular nations” in a va­riety of ways. I realize that many people simply refuse to accept such attitude in the form of genocide. The So­viet rule did not change its nature after it built, by means of terror and propaganda, a political system it cal­led socialism.
However, it essentially changed its attitude to citizens. The­re was no need for what Lenin called mass-like terror after the citizens of the “world’s first country of socialism” found themselves in the conditions of total economical dependence on the state and after the first generation of people raised in Soviet schools entered adult life.

It is impossible for the current ge­neration to imagine the Soviet re­gime the way it was in 1933 or 1937. One ought to realize, however, that Soviet power had dual nature: it represented workers and peasants but at the same time it was totalitarian to the maximum extent. By rising to the top of the hierarchical ladder, the leader could do whatever he wished to the ruling party and the peoples that inhabited the country.
It follows from this that not a single nation can be held responsible for the crimes committed by the leader. All peoples, regardless of their status in the hierarchy of “titular nations,” were victims of a perfidious political system invented by Lenin.

After spending four and a half decades studying national history of the interwar period, I have become con­vinced that there was a very narrow circle of people involved in the Stalin-organized Holodomor: Lazar Ka­ganovich, Viacheslav Molotov, Pa­­vel Postyshev, Vsevolod Balytsky, and Yefim Yevdokimov.
The rest of the personae of this drama held mi­nor posts in the pyramid of power bu­ilt by Stalin. The Russian side accuses Stanislav Kosior and Vlas Chubar of organizing the Holodomor, but at the time the leaders of the Ukrainian SSR had virtually no say, so they can only be blamed for complicity in that act of genocide.

Stalin knew better than leave any traces on paper or in people’s memories. Postyshev, Balytsky, and Yev­do­kimov perished in the next purge, whereas Molotov and Kaganovich survived because Stalin trusted them as much as he did himself. He was right. Both wrote memoirs after Stalin’s death (Molotov’s are in the form of dialogues with F. Chuiev who secretly recorded their conversations). However, these memoirs never mention the Holodomor.

After many years of searching, I pieced together a puzzle that was documented proof pointing to Stalin and several of his henchmen as the architects of the Holodomor. I hastened to share these facts with Russian TV journalists. On April 4, 2008, a film crew of the First National Channel that was working on the documentary “Holodomor 1933: The Unlear­ned Lessons of History” recorded a who­le video cassette in my study.
Yet there was no trace of it in the film. I am grateful to Andrei Akara who defended me in his commentary on the documentary against journalists who once again accused me of changing my opinions and said that I could hardly be trusted (Telekrytyka, Nov. 12, 2008). What I told them was, in fact, the story about my long and winding road to the comprehension of the Holodomor and, in connection with it, the political system and entire history of the USSR.

When that same channel invited me to take part in the talk show Su­dite sami (Judge Yourself) scheduled for November 27 and dedicated to the Holodomor, I agreed, expecting to ha­ve an opportunity to tell the viewers live about what actually happe­ned in 1933 and who was responsible for the crimes of that government.
I was sure it was necessary to counter the accusations of our marginal poli­ticians that were addressed to Russia and were happily picked up there to build a negative image of Ukraine in the Russian public eye. I had enough documented proof: two volumes of the National Book of Memory of Victims of the Holodomor.

On board the jet I spotted an issue of the weekly Stolichnyie novosti, which is published in Kyiv. There was a lead-in to the article “Holo­do­mor 2008” with this caption: “As ad­vised by old Communist Party lackeys, the current government continues to falsify history, confusing the citizens, while many of them don’t give a hoot about budget-financed pompous rituals — they are simply hungry.”
The article itself, written by the well-known Vadim Dolganov, ap­peared on the centerfold supplemented with a close-up photo of me and my bibliography and biography. It boiled down to the same thing: previously I said that, now I’m saying this. The author was especially outraged by my article “Holodomor 1933. Stalin’s Plan and Its Ful­fill­ment” and the fact that it has been in­cluded in the Ukrainian grade school curriculum. Was the publication of this article prior to the talk show “Judge Yourself” a coincidence?

Iryna Herashchenko, who also to­ok part in the talk show, later shared her impressions with Den’ (Dec. 5, 2008). There is no use repeating what she had to say in the article “Conversation between a Deaf and a Mute.” I would like to stress that I was the mute.
The host, Maksim Shev­chenko, kept trying to find out more about a certain episode in my biography, borrowed from Stolich­nyie novosti, but never let me say anything on the subject being discussed. It was a shame, but I realized one thing: Russia doesn’t want to be drawn into a debate on the Holo­do­mor. Is this for want of arguments?

The organizers of the television project Imia Rossii (The Name of Ru­s­sia) that ended in late December 2008 succeeded in pushing Stalin off the pedestal and placing him third. Russia would look too odious if it identified itself with the name of Stalin.

I cannot understand people in today’s Russia who are scared stiff of discussing Stalin’s role in starving to death millions of Ukrainian peasants. Nor can I understand those of my fellow countrymen who refuse to accept obvious facts simply because they adhere to a certain political line. Quite a few among them lost close and dear ones during the Holodomor. What political line can justify such attitude?
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Director
Government Affairs, Washington Office
SigmaBleyzer Private Equity Investment Group
President/CEO, U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC)
Publisher & Editor, Action Ukraine Report (AUR)
Founder/Trustee: Holodomor: Through The Eyes of Ukrainian Artists
1701 K Street, NW, Suite 903, Washington, D.C. 20006
Telephone: 202 437 4707; Fax: 202 223 1224
[email protected]; [email protected];