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There was famine in the Ukraine in 1932--1933. But it was
provoked mainly by the struggle to the bitter end that the Ukrainian far-right
was leading against socialism and the collectivization of agriculture.
During the thirties, the far-right, linked with the
already fully exploited the propaganda theme of `deliberately provoked
famine to exterminate the Ukrainian people'. But after the Second World
War, this propaganda was `adjusted' with the main goal of covering up
the barbaric crimes committed by German and Ukrainian Nazis, to protect
fascism and to mobilise Western forces against Communism.
In fact, since the beginning of the fifties, the reality of the
extermination of six million Jews had imposed itself on the world
conscience. The world right-wing forces needed a greater number of
deaths `caused by communist terror'. So in 1953, the year of triumphant
a spectacular increase in the number of deaths in Ukraine
took place, twenty years previous. Since the Jews had been killed
in a scientific, deliberate and systematic manner, the `extermination'
of the Ukrainian people also had to take the form of a genocide
committed in cold blood. And the far-right, which vehemently denies the
holocaust of the Jews, invented the Ukrainian genocide!
The 1932-1933 Ukrainian famine had four causes.
First of all, it was provoked by civil war led by the kulaks and the
nostalgic reactionary elements of Tsarism against the collectivization
traveled as a tourist in Ukraine during the famine
period. Once he became professor at Williams College, he published a
book in 1957 about the Soviet Union. He spoke about famine.
`Their [kulak] opposition took the initial form of slaughtering their
cattle and horses in preference to having them collectivized. The
result was a grievous blow to Soviet agriculture, for most of the
cattle and horses were owned by the kulaks. Between 1928 and 1933 the
number of horses in the USSR declined from almost 30,000,000 to less than
15,000,000; of horned cattle from 70,000,000 (including 31,000,0000 cows)
to 38,000,000 (including 20,000,000 cows); of sheep and goats from
147,000,000 to 50,000,000; and of hogs from 20,000,000 to 12,000,000.
Soviet rural economy had not recovered from this staggering loss by 1941.
`... Some [kulaks] murdered officials, set the torch to the property of
the collectives, and even burned their own crops and seed grain. More
refused to sow or reap, perhaps on the assumption that the authorities
would make concessions and would in any case feed them.
`The aftermath was the ``Ukraine famine'' of 1932--33 .... Lurid accounts,
mostly fictional, appeared in the Nazi press in Germany and in the
press in the United States, often illustrated with photographs that
turned out to have been taken along the Volga in 1921 .... The ``famine''
was not, in its later stages, a result of food shortage, despite the sharp
reduction of seed grain and harvests flowing from special requisitions in
the spring of 1932 which were apparently occasioned by fear of war in Japan.
Most of the victims were kulaks who had refused to sow their fields or
had destroyed their crops.'
, pp. 93--94.
It is interesting to note that this eyewitness account was confirmed by
a 1934 article by
leader of the Ukrainian Nationalist
movement, former Premier under
in 1918. He boasted that
in Ukraine, the right had succeeded in 1930--1932 in widely sabotaging
the agricultural works.
`At first there were disturbances in the kolkhosi [collective farms] or
else the Communist officials and their agents were killed, but later a
system of passive resistance was favored which aimed at the systematic
frustation of the Bolsheviks' plans for the sowing and gathering of the
harvest .... The catastrophe of 1932 was the hardest blow that Soviet
Ukraine had to face since the famine of 1921--1922. The autumn and spring
sowing campaigns both failed. Whole tracts were left unsown, in addition
when the crop was being gathered ... in many areas, especially in the
south, 20, 40 and even 50 per cent was left in the fields, and was either
not collected at all or was ruined in the threshing.'
, p. 94.
The second cause of the famine was the drought that hit certain areas
of Ukraine in 1930, 1931 and 1932. For
Professor James E. Mace,
defends the Ukrainian far-right line at Harvard, it is a fable created
by the Soviet régime. However, in his A History of Ukraine,
described by the Nationalists themselves as
`Ukraine's leading historian', writing of the year 1932, claimed that
`Again a year of drought coincided with chaotic agricultural conditions'.
, p. 91.
who taught at the Russian Research Center
at Harvard, wrote that the years 1931 and 1932 saw drought conditions.
Professor Michael Florinsky,
who struggled against the Bolsheviks during
the Civil War, noted:
`Severe droughts in 1930 and 1931, especially in the Ukraine, aggravated the
plight of farming and created near famine conditions'.
, p. 92.
The third cause of the famine was a typhoid epidemic that ravaged
Ukraine and North Caucausus. Dr. Hans
respected city planner and recipient of the Order of Canada, worked
as an architect in Makayevka, Ukraine during the famine. He wrote:
`There is no doubt that the famine claimed many victims. I have no basis on
which to estimate their number .... Probably most deaths in 1933 were
due to epidemics of typhus, typhoid fever, and dysentery. Waterborne
diseases were frequent in Makeyevka; I narrowly survived an attack of
, p. 96.
Horsley Grant, the man who made the absurd estimate of 15 million dead
under the famine --- 60 per cent of an ethnic Ukrainian population of
25 million in 1932 --- noted at the same time that
`the peak of the typhus epidemic coincided with the famine ....
it is not possible to separate which of the two causes was more important in
, p. 97.
The fourth cause of the famine was the inevitable disorder provoked by the
reorganization of agriculture and the equally profound upheaval in
economic and social relations: lack of experience, improvization and
confusion in orders, lack of preparation and leftist radicalism among
some of the poorer peasants and some of the civil servants.
The numbers of one to two million dead for the famine are clearly important.
These human losses are largely due to the ferocious opposition of the
exploiting classes to the reorganization and modernization of
agriculture on a socialist basis. But the bourgeoisie would make
Stalin and socialism responsible for these deaths. The figure of one
to two million should also be compared to the nine million dead caused by the
1921--1922 famine, essentially provoked by the military
intervention of eight imperialist powers and by the support that they
gave to reactionary armed groups.
The famine did not last beyond the period prior to the 1933 harvest.
Extraordinary measures were taken by the Soviet government to guarantee
the success of the harvest that year. In the spring, thirty-five
million poods of seeds, food and fodder were sent to Ukraine. The
organization and management of kolkhozy was improved and several
thousand supplementary tractors, combines and trucks were delivered.
presented, in his autobiography, a résumé of
what he experienced during the famine in Ukraine:
`[The famine was caused by] a conjunction of a number of factors.
First, the hot dry summer of 1932, which I had experienced in northern
Vyatka, had resulted in crop failure in the semiarid regions of the south.
Second, the struggle for collectivization had disrupted agriculture.
Collectivization was not an orderly process following bureaucratic rules.
It consisted of actions by the poor peasants, encouraged by the Party.
The poor peasants were eager to expropriate the ``kulaks,'' but less eager
to organize a cooperative economy. By 1930 the Party had already sent out
cadres to stem and correct excesses .... After having exercised restraint
in 1930, the Party put on a drive again in 1932. As a result, in that year
the kulak economy ceased to produce, and the new collective economy did not
yet produce fully. First claim on the inadequate product went to urban
industry and to the armed forces; as the future of the entire nation,
including the peasants, depended on them, it could hardly be
`In 1933 rainfall was adequate. The Party sent its best cadres to help
organize work in the kolkhozes. They succeeded; after the harvest of 1933
the situation improved radically and with amazing speed. I had the feeling
that we had been pulling a heavy cart uphill, uncertain if we would succeed;
but in the fall of 1933 we had gone over the top and from then on we could
move forward at an accelerating pace.'
underscored that the famine also struck the Russian
regions of Lower Volga and North Caucasus.
`This disproves the ``fact'' of anti-Ukrainian genocide parallel to Hitler's
anti-semitic holocaust. To anyone familiar with the Soviet Union's
desperate manpower shortage in those years, the notion that its leaders
would deliberately reduce that scarce resource is absurd ....'
, p. 100.
Next: Ukraine under Nazi
Up: Collectivization and the
Previous: Conquest's fascist sources
Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995