January 29, 1984

Media reports on famine. XXIII


Courier Times

LEVITTOWN, Pa. – The Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33) was mentioned in a letter to the Bucks County Courier Times by Alexander P. Tatomyr. The letter, which dealt primarily with Ukrainian Independence Day, was published on January 19.

Noting that January 22 marked the 66th anniversary of Ukrainian Independence Day, Mr. Tatomyr wrote that the Soviets have employed various forms of repression to thwart the aspirations of the Ukrainian nation.

“During the 63 years of Russian occupation, Ukraine lost over 30 million of her population,” he wrote. “In the time of the Great Famine in 1932-33, organized by the Kremlin, not fewer than 7 million Ukrainians were starved to death and another 6 million deported to Siberia, where they perished.”

Calgary Herald

CALGARY, Alta. – In a letter to the editor published in the November 18 issue of the Calgary Herald, Robert V. Bulmer challenged an earlier letter in which a reader compared the U.S. invasion of Grenada with the Nazi takeover of Europe.

In defending the U.S. intervention, Mr. Bulmer wrote that the action was necessary in light of Soviet and Cuban designs in the Caribbean and in view of the Soviet Union’s history of oppression and conquest exemplified by such events as the Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33), which killed an estimated 7 million people.

Mr. Bulmer called the famine, which was orchestrated in Moscow to help break peasant resistance to collectivization, “complete premeditated murder,” noting that the regime “starved to death 7 million Ukrainians because they didn’t cooperate the way the USSR dictatorship desired them to.”

Globe and Mail

TORONTO – The December 16 issue of The Globe and Mail carried an editorial on the Soviet protest against Opposition Leader Brian Mulroney’s December 4 appearance at a memorial rally in memory of the 7 million victims of the Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33).

The editorial, headlined “A 100 percent truth,” dismissed Soviet allegations, made in a written protest delivered to the External Affairs Department, that Mr. Mulroney’s speech at the rally constituted a violation of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The rally was sponsored by the World Congress of Free Ukrainians, which the Soviets claim is a subversive group.

The Soviet protest, which was delivered by Alexander Podakin, a press attache at the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa, called Mr. Mulroney’s statement, which condemned the Soviet government’s role in masterminding the famine, a “100 percent lie.”

The editorial said that Mr. Podakin “does not understand” the workings of a free press or a free parliamentary system.

“He presumes that the Department of External Affairs can chastise the Leader of the Opposition for the statements he makes,” the paper said. “It would be amusing, except that nothing about the deaths of 3 to 10 million people can be amusing.”


EDMONTON – The Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33) was the subject of a lengthy centerfold article by Ken Shipka published in the January 12 issue of Gateway, the University of Alberta student newspaper.

The centerfold also included an accompanying interview with Yar Slavutych, a famine survivor and a former professor at the university.

In the articles, Mr. Shipka summarizes the reasons for the famine, which killed an estimated 7 million Ukrainians. Citing such experts on the subject as Dr. James Mace of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, Prof. Bohdan Krawchenko of the University of Alberta, and Malcolm Muggeridge, one of the only Western journalists to report accurately on the famine, Mr. Shipka wrote that the famine was the result of deliberate Soviet policies aimed at eradicating a nationally conscious Ukrainian peasantry.

“With the relentless drive toward collectivization, state-owned farms destroyed productive incentives for the farmers,” wrote Mr. Shipka. “To make matters worse, Moscow sent troops to requisition virtually all the grain grown by the farmers who worked on either the individual or collective farms.”

The result of these policies was mass starvation, which, in turn, led to such barbarous acts as cannibalism and the eating of carrion, according to eyewitness accounts.

Yet, despite the slow death of millions, few in the West were informed of the tragedy ravaging Ukraine because, according to Mr. Shipka and other specialists, many Western journalists were sympathetic to the Soviet experiment while others were simply forbidden from traveling into the afflicted areas.

Experts such as Toronto author Marco Carynnyk believe that political consideration also played a role in Western indifference to the famine, particularly in light of the rising threat of Nazi Germany and the desire on the part of many Western governments to maintain good relations with Moscow.

The Ukrainian Weekly, January 29, 1984, No. 5, Vol. LII