Both the U.S. Ukraine Famine Commission and the Ukrainian Parliament have agreed that the forced Famine in Ukraine was
Genocide. A senate resolution (S.R. 202) was recently introduced by Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R; CO) "expressing the sense of the
Senate regarding the genocidal Ukraine Famine of 1932-1933." A similar resolution (H.R. 356) was introduced in the House of Representatives
by Congressman Henry Hyde (R; IL). Both resolutions state that the forced famine was a genocide perpetrated against the Ukrainian people by
the Soviet government.
According to Radio Liberty, officials in the Russian Embassy in Washington have contacted officials at the U.S. Department of State and in
Congress in an effort to block passage of the resolutions arguing, among other things, that the resolution "testifies to the lack of
understanding on the part of American lawmakers of the juridical essence of the term 'genocide'.”(20)
What really is the "juridical essence of the term genocide”?
The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide of December 9, 1948, has this to say:
"Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical,
racial or religious group, such as: a) killing members of the group; b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to
members of the group; c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical
destruction in whole or in part; d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) forcibly
transferring children of the group to another group."
The French Criminal Code goes even further defining genocide as:
"The deed of executing a concerted effort that strives to destroy, totally or partially, a national, ethnic, racial or a group that has been
determined on the basis of any other arbitrary criterion"(21)
Clearly, the forced Famine in Ukraine meets all of the U.N. criteria, as well as the French definition if we consider the Soviet designation of
"kulak" as an "arbitrary criterion."
"Here the genocide of a 'class' may well be tantamount to the genocide of a 'race,'" writes Martin Malia. "The deliberate starvation of a
child of a Ukrainian kulak as' a result of the famine caused by Stalin's regime 'is equal to' the starvation of a Jewish child in the
Warsaw ghetto as a result of a famine caused by the Nazi regime."(22)
The question that has yet to be answered revolves around punishment for Communist crimes against humanity. The world is still searching for
Nazi war criminals almost sixty years after the Nazi empire was crushed.
"In contrast to the Jewish Holocaust," writes Martin Malia, "it has been impossible for victims of Communism and their legal
advocates to keep the memory of the tragedy alive, and any requests for commemoration or demands for reparation are brushed
Martin Malia believes there are three reasons for this:
1) Fascination with the whole notion of revolution. It is fashionable, even today, to nostalgically remember the International, the red
flag, the raised fist, even the hammer and sickle. Che Guevera still lives as a symbol of revolution and change for the better.
American intellectuals still praise Fidel Castro.
2) The participation of the Soviet Union in the destruction of Nazi Germany. The defeated Nazis became the "Supreme Evil" while
the Allies, the Soviets included, became symbols for the "Great Good." Soviet jurist sat in judgment of Nazis during the Nuremberg
trials. Even today people speak about the "liberation" of Eastern Europe by the "glorious" Red Army.
3) The immortalization of the Jewish genocide. This "single-minded focus on the Holocaust as a unique atrocity has also prevented
an assessment of other episodes of comparable magnitude in the Communist world. After all, it seems scarcely plausible that the
victors who had helped bring about the destruction of a genocidal apparatus might themselves have put the very same methods into
(20)The Ukrainian Weekly (September 21, 2003)
(21)Cited in Martin Malia, “Forward: The Uses of Atrocity,” Stephane Courtois, et. al, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,
1999) pp. 7-8.
(22) Ibid, pp. 8-9.
(23)Ibid, p. 19.
(24)Ibid, pp. 22-23.
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A Teacher's Curriculum Guide
WAS UKRAINE'S FORCED FAMINE REALLY GENOCIDE?