The man-made famine of 1933 in Soviet Ukraine: what happened and why

(The Ukrainian Weekly, January 16-February 13, 1983)
The event which Ukrainians call “shtuchnyi holod,” the man-made famine, or sometimes even the Ukrainian holocaust, claimed an estimated 5 to 7 million victims. Purely in terms of mortality, it thus was of the same order of magnitude as the Jewish holocaust. It was, however, a very different kind of genocide in that it was not motivated by a quest for racial purity and was not an attempt to destroy a nation by means of the physical murder of all its members. For one thing, Stalin had far too many Ukrainians under his sway for him to ever take the idea of physical annihilation seriously. Nor was it necessary for his purpose, which was to destroy a nation as a political factor and social entity. A far closer parallel is offered by events which took place after the Communists seized power in Cambodia and unleashed a reign of terror on the population designed to utterly destroy the nation as it had hitherto existed so that the new regime might recreate it in its own image.