Soviet Analyst LONDON – The commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33) by Britain’s Ukrainian community as well as a brief overview of events leading up to the man-made tragedy that left some 7 million Ukrainians dead of starvation were the subjects of a recent article by Stephen Courtier in Soviet Analyst, a fortnightly commentary. “To mark the anniversary, a national committee set up by Ukrainians in London has published a 72-page booklet, with illustrations depicting some of the emaciated victims of the famine, resembling scenes from Belsen,” wrote Mr. Courtier. The book’s author, Stephen Oleksiw, said he wrote the book to tell the world of Moscow’s responsibility for the famine and “to prevent similar policies of mass extermination from occurring ever again.” Mr. Courtier also mentioned a recent demonstration in London commemorating the famine, during which organizers demanded that the United Nations and other organizations set up an international tribunal to investigate the famine. According to Mr. Courtier, the “terror for Ukrainians” began with Soviet resistance to Ukrainian independence shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution, which culminated with the collapse of the Ukrainian National Republic in the early 1920s.
Winnipeg Sun WINNIPEG – The Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33) was the subject of an article by Peter Warren in the July 15 issue of The Winnipeg Sun. In the piece, headlined “Ukraine slaughter recalled,” Mr. Warren argues that the famine, which killed an estimated 5 to 7 million Ukrainians, was just part of a pattern of repression suffered by the Ukrainian nation at the hands of the Soviets and, later, the Nazis. It is a pattern that continues to this day, Mr. Warren wrote, citing the persecution of Ukrainian dissidents and the Ukrainian Catholic Church. As to the famine, Mr. Warren wrote that Joseph Stalin’s attempt to eradicate an entire nation, largely ignored by the Western press at the time, must be remembered to preclude a recurrence. “But it is well to remember what went on 50 years ago in Ukraine, just as we cannot allow the story of the Holocaust to be whitewashed from the history books,” he said.
September 16-30, 1933 On September 16, Svoboda printed a news item, datelined Moscow, which revealed that the Soviet regime was sending children, age 6 to 16, as well as the elderly, age 60 to 80 to harvest the crops. The regime mentioned that the elderly would act as grain inspectors. News reports from Kharkiv were printed in Svoboda on September 18. According of The New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty, the Soviet regime had broken the resistance of the peasants. Now, he wrote, the grain elevators were overflowing with wheat; along the railroad tracks, one could find seeds, spilled over from the transport cars.
September 1-15, 1933 On September 2, Svoboda reported news from Prague which revealed that Moscow was exporting all the grain from Ukraine. Refugees and people writing letters to their families outside eastern Ukraine had reached Prague. The news reports said the harvest in Ukraine was picked as members of the secret police, Red Army and youth cavalry brigades stood guard over the peasants to make sure nothing was stolen for their families. The peasants had to give a portion of the grain to Moscow for export, a portion to the state (for planting in the spring and fall), and a portion for other purposes. By the time all these quotas were filled, the peasants had no grain, or very little, for themselves.
August 15-31, 1933 On August 17, Svoboda reported on commentaries about Ukraine published by the French press. After the suicide of Mykola Skrypnyk, a correspondent for the French press stationed in Riga, Latvia, wrote the following in regard to the situation in Ukraine: “What the rest of the world would call a national movement, the Soviet Union labels a counterrevolution, opportunism, sabotage and opposition.” The correspondent wrote that Ukraine – one of the richest agricultural countries in the world – was constantly on the brink of a famine. He added that Bolshevik Russia is the reason for the hunger in Ukraine. On August 18, the headline in Svoboda read: “Irregular harvests in the Soviet Union.”
(Publication date: Sunday, August 14, 1983) Teacher cries for starving children Iryna Medvid told the following story of her experiences as a teacher in famine-torn Ukraine. On the orders of the People’s Commissar of Education Mykola Skrypnyk, the third course in Kharkiv University in the academic year 1931-32 was divided into two parts. On the surface this seemed a logical move for students were graduating from the pedagogical institute to practice teaching in schools. In reality, authorities had ulterior motives. Arrests and escapes of many school teachers in Ukraine had resulted in a serious teacher shortage, and the order was issued to relieve the situation.
The Plain Dealer CLEVELAND – George Kulchycky, writing in the June 27 issue of The Plain Dealer here reported on the Great Famine in Ukraine in an article titled “Ukraine Famine was planned in Moscow.” Mr. Kulchycky, a professor of Soviet and East European studies at Youngstown State University, said that the famine is only recently receiving media attention. He added that most famines have been caused by natural disasters, whereas the Great Famine in Ukraine “was planned and executed by Moscow.” In his article, Mr. Kulchycky argues that Stalin intentionally launched the famine to “destroy peasant opposition to communism in Ukraine,” and because he needed money and goods to finance his industrialization program. Mr. Kulchycky noted that a natural famine did occur in Ukraine in 1921.
August 1-15, 1933 Commentaries in Svoboda By August 1933, the famine in Ukraine was peaking. More and more Ukrainians outside the Soviet Union realized the devastating impact the famine was having on the population, and began to comment on the tragedy in the Ukrainian press. In August, Svoboda carried several commentaries about the situation in Soviet Ukraine. One such commentary, published in two parts, was written by Prof. R. Rosova and Dr. S. Kononenko, president and secretary, respectively, of the Ukrainian National Women’s Council. It appeared in the August 4 and 5 editions of Svoboda.