November 20, 1983

Media reports on famine. XVI


New York Tribune

NEW YORK – The September 29 issue of the New York Tribune ran two articles about the role of The New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty in covering up Stalinist crimes, including the Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33).

The articles, by Lev Navrozov and Marco Carynnyk, appeared under the headline “New York Timesmen who forgave genocide.” Mr. Navrozov, a Soviet emigre, is the author of a forthcoming book, “The New York Times as a Specimen,” while Mr. Carynnyk has edited and translated nine books on the Soviet Union.

In his piece, subheaded “Stalin’s sycophant Walter Duranty made Kremlin line acceptable in U.S.,” Mr. Navrozov described Mr. Duranty’s reports from the USSR as “a cascade of wild fantasies,” and accused him of inventing “his own fantastic pro-Soviet propaganda for Western consumption.”

“Duranty concealed or justified all crimes of Stalin’s regime as long as it was possible to conceal or justify them without ruining his credibility in the West,” wrote Mr. Navorozov. “In all such cases he lied with amazing ease, abandon and impudence.”

In his article, subheaded “N.Y. Timesman Duranty excused and covered up Ukraine Famine,” Mr. Carynnyk noted that Mr. Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize for his Soviet reporting, despite being, in Malcolm Muggeridge’s words, “the greatest liar of any journalist that I have met in 50 years of journalism.”

Mr. Carynnyk said that there is now new evidence that Mr. Duranty “deliberately misrepresented the facts about the Soviet Union.” He said that information available in the archives of the British Foreign Office proves that Mr. Duranty, in his dispatches, willfully covered up the scope of the famine, which killed an estimated 7 million Ukrainians.

According to Mr. Carynnyk, Mr. Duranty privately acknowledged to journalist Eugene Lyons and to the Polish consul that as many as 10 million people may have starved to death in Ukraine, but never mentioned the figure in any of his articles or books. He continued to ignore the famine even after a highly placed Communist official had confirmed that it was happening, Mr. Carynnyk said, adding that Mr. Duranty’s successor, Harold Denny, “proved to be no more honest a reporter of the famine than his predecessor.”

Calgary Herald

VANCOUVER – The October 11 issue of the Calgary Herald carried an op-ed page article about the Great Famine in Ukraine by Ilya Gerol, a former Soviet journalist who is now a foreign affairs analyst with the Vancouver Province.

“I owe this article to my Ukrainian friends – and to those Ukrainian people I do not know,” Mr. Gerol wrote in his opening paragraph.

He said that he first learned of the famine 15 years ago while still in the Soviet Union when he and a fellow journalist went to visit the latter’s father in Chernihiv. The old man, who was the only one they met in the city who spoke Ukrainian, said that most of the city’s residents were newcomers. When asked what happened to the others, he took Mr. Gerol and his friend to an empty field where the only things standing were 30 or so dead trees and a big wooden cross.

“That is how I learned of one of the 20th century’s most incredible crimes – the Great Ukrainian Famine of 1931-33, in which at least 8 million people, mostly women and children, perished,” wrote Mr. Gerol.

He said that the famine was engineered by the Stalin regime to smash Ukrainian resistance to collectivization and Russification. To illustrate the brutality of the regime in implementing collectivization, Mr. Gerol quoted from the memoirs of Nikolai Krutin, a former secretary of the Communist Youth League in Kiev. In the memoirs, which were published in 1969 in the samizdat, Mr. Krutin wrote:

“Each family was informed that their children would be taken away from them if they did not voluntarily sign within 24 hours applications to join (the) kolkhoz. Despite this threat, most peasants were stubborn enough not to sign. Their children were tortured in front of them. Girls were raped. Houses burned. This continued week after week and sometimes month after month.”

According to Mr. Gerol, these tactics failed, and more radical measures were undertaken, including the seizure of foodstuffs, grain and livestock in the hands of the peasantry.

“By the end of 1932, people were starving,” he wrote.

Although the final estimate of the number who perished during the famine is difficult to determine, Mr. Gerol said that research done by Ukrainian dissidents in the 1970s put the figure as high as 18 million.

Harrisburg Evening News

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The September 28 issue of The Evening News carried an article focusing on the preparations of one Ukrainian family for the October 2 commemoration of the Great Famine in Washington.

Vince and Anita Dopko and their 5-month-old daughter, Zoryana, visited the paper to discuss what the Dopkos called “the forgotten holocaust.”

“Famine is a misnomer because it was actually the deliberate murder of 7 million people carried out by forced starvation,” said Mr. Dopko, a lawyer with the attorney general’s office.

He said Moscow’s purpose in organizing the famine was to “crush the Ukrainian national spirit” and to help the government “embark upon its plan of industrialization.”

Mrs. Dopko said that the most important part of the commemoration in Washington was to dispel “the naivete some people have about the Soviet Union,” which she said “cannot be trusted.”

The Dopkos told The Evening News that Soviet leaders continue to deny that the famine was politically motivated or that hunger was widespread, and insist that deaths among the peasantry in 1932-33 can be attributed to crop failure and bad weather.

“The fact that there was a bountiful crop in Ukraine and no ‘famine’ in any other part of the Soviet Union shows that such was not the case,” Mr. Dopko said.

Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON – The Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33) was the subject of a page one article by Tom Barrett in the October 20 issue of the Edmonton Journal.

Noting that Edmonton’s 68,000 Ukrainians would be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the famine on October 23, Mr. Barrett wrote that the images of millions of starving peasants, many reduced to cannibalism and infanticide, “literally defy comprehension.”

He said that the famine was not caused by natural forces, but was “conceived in the Kremlin to break the back of Ukrainian nationalism and peasant resistance to collectivization.”

Mr. Barrett called the famine, which he said killed more than 25,000 people a day – about 17 a minute – a “season in hell that staggers the imagination.”

Intelligencer Journal

LANCASTER, Pa. – Area resident Dr. Dmytro Nalywayko’s participation in the October 2 commemoration in Washington of the Great Famine in Ukraine was featured in an October 4 article in the Intelligencer Journal.

Dr. Nalywayko, a research analyst at the Pennsylvania House of Representative’s Educational Committee, said that he took part in the march with thousands of others of Ukrainian descent to honor the memory of the estimated 7 million victims of the famine, engineered by the Kremlin to crush Ukrainian national resistance to Soviet policies.

“When we consider the loss of 269 unfortunate people on the Korean 747 flight recently, and compare it to the loss of millions in the past, we can only conclude the Soviet government has no regard for human life,” said Dr. Nalywayko, who came to the United States as a 20-year-old in 1949.

Bethlehem Bulletin

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The October 13 issue of the Bethlehem Bulletin carried 10 photographs of the October 2 demonstration in Washington marking the 50th anniversary of the Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33).

The photos, by John Yawney, were accompanied by a caption, which noted that several busloads of Ukrainians from the Lehigh Valley area were among the 18,000 who took part in the rally.

The Ukrainian Weekly, November 20, 1983, No. 47, Vol. LI