During the winter of 1932-33, some ten million Ukrainians living in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) died of forced starvation. They perished
during a Genocide Famine engineered by the Soviet government which had three major objectives in that part of its expanding empire:
1. To annihilate a significant portion of that segment of the Ukrainian population which had most vociferously and openly resisted increasingly oppressive
2. To terrorize the surviving Ukrainian population into submission to Soviet totalitarian domination.
3. To provide funds for Soviet industrial expansion from the sale of expropriated Ukrainian wheat and other foodstuffs to the rest of the world.
Just as the Jewish Holocaust is not simply a "Jewish issue", the Genocide Famine in Ukraine is not simply a "Ukrainian issue". Both genocides have universal
implications. The Holocaust is an example of genocide perpetrated by an overtly racist, fascist regime which had as its avowed purpose the annihilation of the
Jewish people. The Ukrainian Genocide Famine is an example of genocide perpetrated by a Communist regime which, while calling itself internationalist, was
contaminated by Russian chauvinism. For Russian Bolsheviks, Ukrainian ethnocultural self-assertion was a threat to both the primacy of Russian culture in
Soviet affairs, and to the centralization of all authority in the hands of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
Although the Genocide Famine in Ukraine is one of the greatest crimes ever perpetrated against a single nation in the 20th century, the West is hardly aware
of it ever having taken place. This is so for four reasons:
1) consistent denial by Soviet officials;
2) a conscious cover-up by influential Western correspondents reporting from Moscow;
3) a dearth of information about the Soviet Union's crimes within its own borders, crimes that since the collapse of the Soviet Union appear to be fading from
public consciousness both here and abroad;
4) an information vacuum regarding Ukraine and its people among American universities and the general public where the prevailing view was that Ukrainians
were Russians who spoke a Russian dialect.
Among the many conclusions reached by the United States Government's Commission on the Ukraine Famine in their 523-page report in 1988,
the following are the most significant:
1. "The Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 was caused by the maximum extraction of agricultural produce from the rural population."
2. "Stalin knew that people were starving to death in Ukraine by late 1932."
3. "Attempts were made to prevent the starving from traveling to areas where food was more available."
4. "While the famine also took place during the 1932-1933 agricultural year in the Volga basin and North Caucasus Territory as a whole, the
invasiveness of Stalin's interventions of both the fall of 1932 and January 1933 in Ukraine are paralleled only in the ethnically Ukrainian Kuban
region of the North Caucasus."
5. "Official Soviet allegations of 'kulak sabotage' upon which all 'difficulties' were blamed during the Famine are false."
6. "The Famine was not, as is often alleged, related to drought."
7. "The victims of the Ukrainian Famine numbered in the millions."
8. "Joseph Stalin and those around him committed genocide against Ukrainians in 1932-1933." (1)
If we are ever to comprehend genocide in all of its dimensions, it is imperative that this sordid chapter in the history of man's inhumanity to man be brought to
light, especially since this tragedy is still being denied by the new Russian government.
The Russian government which "has inherited the Soviet Union's diplomatic and foreign policies, its embassies, its debts, and its seat at the United Nations
continues to act as if it has not inherited the Soviet Union's history," writes Anne Applebaum in Gulag: A History. "Russia inherited the trappings of Soviet
power - - and also the Soviet Union's great power complex, its military establishment, and its imperial goals." (2)
(1) "Executive Summary", Investigation of the Ukrainian Famine, 1032-1933: Report to Congress (Washington, D.C.:United States Government Printing Office, 1988), pp. vi-vii.
(2) Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History, (New York: Doubleday, 2003), pp. 568-572.
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