Bitter Harvest - Story of the Holodomor - Stalin Cracks Down on Ukraine

Y. Luniov created this political cartoon, entitled "Stalin and the Bones of Ukraine." It is part of the collection "Holodomor; Through the Eyes of Ukrainian Artists," initiated by Founder/Trustee E. Morgan Williams. The image is online via Holdomor Research & Education Consortium.


By 1928, Stalin is a law unto himself. He is a ruthless administrator and has no effective opposition within the ruling body (known as the Politburo). The Bolshevik dream, of a worldwide communist revolution, has not materialized.

Russian nationalism is increasingly part of Stalin’s polices. This is particularly true in Ukraine.

In 1929, and over the next few years, a systematic elimination of Ukrainian intellectuals, scientists and scholars occurs. These individuals are arrested for allegedly belonging to a subversive organization, the SVU.

An abbreviation of “Union for the Liberation of Ukraine,” the SVU is a non-existent entity. Invented by the secret police as a means to justify arresting intellectuals for subversive activities, it is wholly fictitious. Only some of the arrested—45 in all—are given a public trial.

Mass arrests continue into the 1930s. Even the Ukrainian Church is accused of participating in these alleged plots.

Many people are sent to Siberian concentration camps, or are shot, without trials. Church bishops are martyred, thousands of priests are killed. Parishioners also disappear, and no one really knows for sure where they’ve gone (or what’s happened to them).

A survivor of an attack, on a church, describes what it was like when Russians, on horseback, rode into a church packed with people. Refusing to answer the soldiers’ questions, the priest is pistol-whipped across his back. He, at least, has survived.

Russians smash religious icons in Ukrainian churches. The people stand outside, crying because they can do nothing to stop the madness. A church bell, falling to the ground, causes people to burst into tears.

The bell—individually for the local church and symbolically for the national church—has rung for the last time. By 1930, only the Russian Orthodox church is allowed in Ukraine.

Stalin is not just cracking-down on Ukrainian culture. He is imposing his own economic system on the country.

Stalin’s five-year plans, beginning in 1928, are designed to make the USSR an industrial powerhouse. The unchallenged Soviet leader orders the compulsory collectivization of agriculture, including in Ukraine.

Farmers, Stalin decrees, will be like workers in a factory—except they will work the land. This devastates Ukrainian farmers and their families.

For Stalin to achieve his goal of quickly industrializing the USSR, he needs Western technology. To pay for it, Stalin will use Ukrainian grain.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 23, 2017

Updated Last Revision: Sep 01, 2017

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"Stalin Cracks Down on Ukraine" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 23, 2017. Feb 26, 2020.
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