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Holodomor Remembrance Day: Scary Facts About the Genocide of the Ukrainian People

On the fourth Saturday of November, Ukraine honors the memory of the millions of victims of the Holodomors that took place in Ukraine in the 1932th century. The largest of them was in 1933-XNUMX. In the opinion of most historians, the reason for the famine of this period was the coercive and repressive grain procurement policy for the peasants, which was pursued by the communist government. Writes about it Air force.

Photo: Shutterstock

The famine in Ukraine, known as the Holodomor, has killed at least 3,9 million people. The number of victims throughout the USSR, according to experts, is about seven million.

20 countries recognized the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine as genocide of the Ukrainian nation. But this issue still causes fierce discussions among historians and politicians, and a number of countries, in particular Russia, deny the genocide.

1. Genocide

In 2006, the Verkhovna Rada officially recognized the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as genocide of the Ukrainian people. Public denial of the Holodomor is considered illegal, but there is no punishment for such actions.

There is no consensus among historians and politicians as to whether the Holodomor can be considered genocide in the legal sense of the word, enshrined in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

At the same time, the “father of the Genocide Convention,” Dr. Raphael Lemkin, who actually coined this term, said in 1953 that “the destruction of the Ukrainian nation” is “a classic example of genocide”.

The Holodomor was recognized as genocide by Ukrainians from 16 states: Australia, Georgia, Ecuador, Estonia, Canada, Colombia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, USA, Hungary, Portugal, as well as the Vatican (as a separate state).

Eight more countries condemned the Holodomor as an act of annihilation of humanity and honored the memory of millions of Ukrainians killed by famine: Andorra, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Chile.

Russia acknowledged that forced collectivization was the cause of the famine, but many regions of the USSR suffered from it.

“This tragedy does not have and cannot have internationally established signs of genocide and should not be the subject of modern political speculation,” the Russian State Duma said in a statement.

The word "genocide" is not in the documents of the UN, UNESCO and PACE, dedicated to the Holodomor.

A 2008 European Parliament resolution called the Holodomor “a terrible crime against the people of Ukraine and humanity”. The document also contains references to the UN Genocide Convention.

In 2010, the Kyiv City Court of Appeal in its decision declared the genocidal nature of the Holodomor and the intention of the leaders of the USSR, Stalin, Molotov, Kaganovich, Postyshev, Chubar, Khatayevich, Kosior, to destroy part of the Ukrainian nation.

According to a poll by the Rating Group last year, 82% of Ukrainians believe that the Holodomor of 1932-1933 was a genocide of the Ukrainian people.

2. Number of victims

Researchers are still arguing about the exact number of victims of the Holodomor.

The Institute of Demography and Social Research has developed a methodology for assessing the losses of Ukraine as a result of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 based on statistical data and modern methods of demographic statistical analysis.

Scientists have reconstructed the annual basic parameters of the dynamics of the population of Ukraine between 1926 and 1939.

On the basis of these estimates, the Institute of Demography named the death toll from the Holodomor as 3,9 million people. It is this figure that is considered the most scientifically proven.

Among other things, scientists argue that due to the fall in the birth rate during the Holodomor, Ukraine lost 600 babies.

Some historians call significantly large numbers, and the Institute of National Remembrance suggests that the number of deaths in Ukraine is about 7 million.

The decision of the Kiev Court of Appeal regarding the perpetrators of the Holodomor since 2010 indicates the number of 3,9 million.

There is a Unified Register of Holodomor Victims in Ukraine.

3. Geography of hunger

Researchers argue over the total number of deaths from the 1932-1033 famine.

Some foreign historians talk about 5,5-8 million people killed and claim that more than half of them were Ukrainians.

The Ukrainian Institute of Demography has provided an estimate of demographic losses due to the Holodomor of 1932-1933 throughout the USSR and in the former republics.

Losses due to supermortality as a result of hunger during that period in the USSR amounted to 8,7 million people. Among the republics of the former USSR, Ukraine is the leader in absolute amounts of losses due to excess mortality, and Kazakhstan has the highest loss rates in relation to the population.

Ukrainian scientists have established that the relative losses due to supermortality in Ukraine in 1932-1933 are four times higher than in Russia.

Then there was a massive famine in the Volga region and the Kuban (many ethnic Ukrainians lived there), in Belarus, in the South Urals, in Western Siberia and Kazakhstan.

The Institute of Demography claims that in Russia regions with high losses from hunger account for 6% of the rural population and 1% of the territory, while in Ukraine - 41% of the population and 34% of the territory.

On the subject: Ukrainians in the USA commemorated the victims of the Holodomor: how it happened

The highest intensity of hunger losses was in the central forest-steppe regions of Ukraine, which did not play a major role in grain harvesting, and in Russia, in its key grain regions.

Most Ukrainians died in modern Kharkiv, Kiev, Poltava, Sumy, Cherkassk, Dnepropetrovsk, Zhitomir, Vinnitsa, Odessa Chernigov regions, as well as in Moldova, part of which was then part of the Ukrainian SSR.

The Institute of Demography estimates the population loss in the Ukrainian regions from 20% to 10% of the total.

About 81% of those who died of hunger in Ukraine were Ukrainians, 4,5% were Russians, 1,4% were Jews and 1,1% were Poles. There were also many Belarusians, Bulgarians and Hungarians among the victims.

Researchers note that the distribution of Holodomor victims by nationality corresponds to the national distribution of the rural population of Ukraine.

4. Where there was no Holodomor

According to the historian Stanislav Kulchitsky, in the fall of 1932 there were almost 25 collective farms in Ukraine, to which the authorities put forward overestimated grain procurement plans.

Despite this, 1500 collective farms were able to fulfill these plans and did not fall under punitive sanctions, so there was no fatal famine in their territories.

In the 1920s and 1930s, newspapers regularly published lists of districts, villages, collective farms, enterprises, or even individuals who did not fulfill their food procurement plans.

Debtors who got on these “black boards” (as opposed to “red boards” - lists of honor) were imposed various fines and sanctions, up to direct reprisals against entire labor collectives.

In the years of famine, hitting a village on the "black board" meant a sentence to its inhabitants.

The regional representative offices of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine had the right to add villages and collectives to such a list, as suggested by regional and rural cells. In other words, formally it was an initiative from below.

The system of "black boards", besides Ukraine, also operated in the Kuban and Don regions, in the Volga region, in Kazakhstan - territories where many Ukrainians lived.

5. Settlements listed on the "black boards" in 1932-1933.

There was no famine in the Ukrainian lands of Galicia, Volhynia, Western Podolia, which were part of Poland in 1932-1933, as well as in Bukovina, which was then Romanian, as well as in Czechoslovakia at that time Transcarpathia. The famine hardly touched the Crimea, which at that time belonged to the RSFSR.

6. Duranty and the first mention in the press

One of the first to report the famine in the USSR was the English journalist Malcolm Mugheridge in December 1933, writes researcher Stanislav Kulchitsky. In three articles in the Manchester Guardian newspaper, the journalist described his depressing impressions of his trips to Ukraine and the Kuban, and spoke about the famine among the peasants.

Mugheridge showed the mass death of peasants, but did not give specific numbers.

After his very first article, the Soviet government banned foreign journalists from traveling to the famine-stricken territories of the country.

In March 1933, 27-year-old British journalist Gareth Jones traveled to the USSR to interview Stalin. He drove through Ukraine and recorded the horrors that were happening there.

At the end of March 1933, Jones published an article "There Is No Bread Here" about the famine in Ukraine, which was reprinted in the Manchester Guardian and New York Evening Post newspapers. In 2019, Agnieszka Holland's film "The Price of Truth" was released about the tragic fate of Gareth Jones and hunger.

On the subject: Mr. Jones: the story of a journalist who told the world about the Holodomor and interviewed Stalin

In 1934, a special debate on the Holodomor took place in the British Parliament.

Walter Duranty, a reporter for the New York Times in Moscow, tried to object to the sensational discoveries of journalists. His note was titled: "The Russians are starving, but they do not die of hunger." When other American newspapers began writing about the problem, Duranty confirmed the fact of mass deaths from hunger.

Duranty is also known for being the only foreign journalist who managed to interview Stalin and receive the Pulitzer Prize for his work.

In Ukraine, some activists demanded that the Pulitzer Committee posthumously take away this prestigious journalism award from Duranty, but this did not happen.

7. Official recognition

The very word "Holodomor" first appeared in the printed works of Ukrainian immigrants in Canada and the United States in 1978. In the USSR at that time, historians were only allowed to talk about “food difficulties,” but not about hunger.

The word "Holodomor" was first heard from the lips of a party official in December 1987. Then the first secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Vladimir Sherbitsky, speaking at the celebrations on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Ukrainian SSR, admitted the fact of the famine of 1932-1933.

When people began to talk about this topic more and more openly, in 1990 the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine authorized the publication of the book “The Famine of 1932-1933. in Ukraine: through the eyes of historians, the language of documents ”.

According to the historian Stanislav Kulchitsky, the actual circulation of the publication was only 2,5 thousand copies, and it became a library rarity.

The first professional literary work about hunger was Vasily Barka's The Yellow Prince, which was issued by the diaspora in 1962.

In 1981, the memoirs of the Ukrainian dissident and Soviet general Pyotr Grigorenko were published in the United States, in which he described in great detail the horrors of famine and the mechanisms of its implementation in the Kherson region and throughout Ukraine.

In 2006, during Yushchenko's presidency, the SBU declassified more than 5000 pages of state archives about the Holodomor.

Subsequently, a large Holodomor Museum and a memorial complex were erected in Kiev.

Honoring the memory of the victims of the Holodomor is part of the official program during the visits of foreign delegations to Ukraine.

8. In-kind fines

The peasants who did not fit into the grain procurement plans and owed grain to the state were confiscated all the rest of the food.

It was not counted as payment of a debt and was only a punitive measure and a way of enriching representatives of the Soviet government.

The policy of fines in kind was supposed to force the peasants to hand over the grain supposedly hidden from it to the state, which in reality did not exist.

At first, the punitive authorities were allowed to select only meat, bacon and potatoes, but later they took up other long-term storage products.

Fyodor Kovalenko from the village of Lyutenka, Gadyachsky district of Poltava, recalled: “In November and December 1932, they took all the grain and potatoes. They took everything, even the beans, and everything that was in the attic. They were such small dried pears, apples, cherries - they took everything ”.

Nina Karpenko from the village of Matskovtsy, Lubensky district, Poltava region, said that people in the village still remember people who, on behalf of the authorities, took food from their neighbors.

Special detachments with the help of metal "probes" even searched the gardens of the peasants, looking for buried food.

In December 1932, the second secretary general of the Central Committee of the CP (b) U, Stanislav Kosior, reported to Stalin: “The greatest result is given by the use of fines in kind. The collective farmer and even the individual farmer are now holding tight to the cow and the pig. ”

In the Volga region and the North Caucasus, fines in kind were applied sporadically.

9. The law "on five ears"

In August 1932, under the pretext that dispossessed peasants and "other anti-social elements" were stealing goods from freight trains, as well as collective farm and cooperative property, Stalin proposed a new repressive law on the protection of state property.

The law provided for such violations by shooting with confiscation of property, and under extenuating circumstances - 10 years in prison. The convicts were not subject to amnesty.

According to the punitive document, the popular name “the law on five spikelets” was fixed, since virtually everyone who, without permission, collected several ears of wheat on a collective farm field, was guilty of embezzling state property.

In the first year of the new law, 150 thousand people were convicted under it.

The law was in effect until 1947, but the peak of its application fell precisely in 1932-1933.

10. Cannibalism

Holodomor witnesses tell of cases where desperate peasants ate the bodies of their own children or those of their neighbors.

“This cannibalism reached its limit when the Soviet government ... started printing posters with this warning:“ It’s barbaric to have children of our own, ”write Hungarian researchers Agnes Vardi and Stephen Vardy of Ducane University.

According to some reports, more than 2500 people were convicted of cannibalism during the Holodomor.

Doctor of Historical Sciences Vasily Marochko indicates that in the first half of 1932 there were isolated facts of cannibalism, and in the second half of 1932-1933 it became a mass phenomenon in all regions of Ukraine, where famine was raging.

“Usually women resorted to cannibalism most often, perhaps to save the family, when a smaller child is sacrificed for the elders to survive. This was especially common in the spring, ”says Marochko.

Often the victims of cannibalism were street children who wandered around the villages in search of food. Also over the years, several million dogs and cats have been eaten.

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11. Resettlement from Russia

After the Holodomor, they tried to bring peasants from other regions of the Soviet Union to the devastated villages. This was assumed by a secret resolution of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR "On the resettlement of 21 families of collective farmers in Ukraine" of October 000, 25.

15,5 million rubles were allocated for their resettlement.

According to archival documents, they were going to resettle collective farmers from Russia to Donetsk (then spread to the territory of the present Luhansk region), Dnipropetrovsk (to which the present Zaporozhye region also belonged), and to Odessa (then it also spread to the territory of the present Nikolaev and Kherson regions) - from Belarus and Russia.

By the end of 1933, 109 echelons with immigrants and their property were sent from the Western region of the RSFSR to Dnepropetrovsk, 80 echelons from the Central Black Earth region of Russia to the Kharkov region, and 44 echelons from Ivanovskaya to Donetsk.

61 echelons were sent from the Byelorussian SSR to the Odessa region, and 35 echelons with people from the Gorky region.

Although scientists point out that the lion's share of immigrants did not take root in the new place.

“Still, the numbers about migrants from Russia and Belarus are not very large. Thousands of farms on the scale of such large regions as Donbass and Slobozhanshchina are not very impressive, ”says historian Stanislav Kulchytsky.

He also said that, according to research by the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, more than half of those who moved from Russia to the territory of Ukraine in 1933-1934, returned back to Russia due to poor conditions in the then devastated villages.

Read also on ForumDaily:

'The Price of Truth': why the Holodomor film sparked heated discussion in the USA

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Miscellaneous memorial day for victims of the famine The Holodomor At home

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