May 1-15, 1934
On May 1, the headlines in Svoboda read: “A New Famine Catastrophe in Ukraine.” According to reports from a Swiss newspaper, Ukraine, the richest land in the Soviet Union, once abundant with flour, buckwheat, sugar, fish, butter and fat, now lacked all of these products. The population continued to starve.
The Ukrainian Bureau in Geneva commented on the Swiss story, stating that once again the people would go hungry and wondered whether once again the good deeds of the capitalist “bourgeois countries,” would have to rescue the Soviets from a famine as they did 12 years earlier.
On May 2, Svoboda reported that the purges of Ukrainians continued. Pravda wrote that Stalin had once again instigated a purge in the Kiev city party organization.
Svoboda reported on May 4 about news from the newspaper Visti in Kharkiv. Part of the Soviet plan was to make the regions of Dnipropetrovske and Odessa textile-producing land by planting cotton. However, Visti reported, the first harvest of these products was bad. The climatic conditions and the workers’ poor organization contributed to this.
News reports from Kharkiv were printed in Svoboda on May 5. They stated that at the Council of Commissars, reports on new construction said that a lack of needed materials had hampered progress.
On May 8 Svoboda printed news reports from the Polish press about a revolutionary-terrorist organization existing in eastern Ukraine. The Polish press reported that in the last few months, the organization, headed by an officer of the Ukrainian Army, had performed hundreds of acts of sabotage. Over 20 members of this organization had been arrested and threatened with the death penalty.
According to new reports from Kharkiv, a wave of pre-Easter arrests took place in Soviet Ukraine. Among the people arrested were Ukrainian activists and young Ukrainian nationalists, Svoboda reported.
Also on May 8, Svoboda printed a news item it had received from Paris. A French correspondent from Moscow reported that 150 people had been arrested in Kiev and charged with cannibalism.
On May 9 Svoboda published a report from the Ukrainian News Bureau in London. The report stated that lately the English-language press in Britain had been publishing detailed reports about famine in Ukraine. The Soviets, worried about these reports, published denial statements in the London newspapers denying that there was famine.
If indeed there were problems in Ukraine, the Soviets attributed them to bad organization and uneducated workers, the Communist reports said.
On May 14, Svoboda printed news headlined: “In Ukraine There is Great Drought.” Reports from Moscow stated that in Ukraine and the Caucasus there has been drought for two months. The Soviets stated that this drought would mean a bad sowing season. They said that the populace was very worried because the drought would also mean famine. Officials in Moscow were also worried, the reports stated, because the drought would mean bad repercussions for them as well.
That same day Svoboda reported on the bloody massacre which took place along the Dniester River on Easter. According to the story, datelined Bucharest, the Soviets shot the people who were praying during Easter on the Soviet side on the river. The people had heard the bells of the churches on the Rumanian side toll, and they had dropped to their knees to pray. They were all shot dead by the Soviet border guards.
On May 15, Svoboda printed news reports that Vlas Chubar was forced to resign as head of the government of the Ukrainian SSR by Pavel Postyshev and was transferred to a government post in Moscow. His place was taken by Panas Liubchenko, a Ukrainian.
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Around the world:
Engelbert Dollfuss became the dictator of Austria as the new Austrian Constitution took effect.
Germany began buying up arms; the plan to arm Germany with fighter planes and guns was scheduled to be completed by 1936.