Bitter Harvest - Story of the Holodomor - Soviets Cover-up Ukrainian Starvation

O. Bily created this political poster, entitled "From Genocide of Culture to Genocide of Nation." 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.


A journalist working for the New York Times—Walter Duranty—takes a different approach than Malcolm Muggeridge in his reports about famine in the Ukraine. Denying that any famine exists, Duranty’s articles extol the Soviets’ progress.

Muggeridge tells us that he could never figure-out how Duranty’s articles were so wrong and so disgraceful. Duranty wrote things like:

The writer has just completed a 200-miles auto trip through the heart of the Ukraine and can say positively that the harvest is splendid and all talk of famine now is ridiculous.

Yet, in private documents, Duranty writes that “as many as 10 million people” have died.

And ... in private conversations ... Duranty tells colleagues, and at least one British official (William Strang, the charge d'affaires working in Moscow), that he estimates 10 million have died. (See, for example, footnote 46 in Marco Carynnyk’s article, “The New York Times and the Great Famine,” published in The Ukrainian Weekly, September 25, 1983, No. 39, Vol. LI.) 

Muggeridge claims that when America officially recognized the USSR, in 1933, Duranty’s articles played a role in that recognition.

In 1933, the Soviet ambassador meets with the U.S. government and reaches, among other things, a trade agreement. The Soviet Union also gets a seat in the League of Nations—despite the fact that Western governments know about the famine.

Governments, recognizing the Soviet Union, seemingly take a “passive” attitude toward the Soviets’ treatment of their citizens—particularly the people in Ukraine. Young German attaches serving in the USSR disagree with such an approach. They believe their government should have nothing to do with the “criminal” government that was starving its own people.

In the world of politics, however, trade relations take precedence over moral discussions. Famine is considered to be an internal Soviet matter.

To protest what is happening, high-profile Communists within the Soviet Union commit suicide. They hope that by taking their own lives, their actions will cause light to shine on the atrocious conditions inside Ukraine.

Other Soviet activists believe, at the time, that their actions—and those of their comrades—are necessary to create a new Socialist country. Years later, some examine their earlier beliefs and consider them plainly wrong.

Then ... having broken the Ukrainian people ... Stalin finally decides that the famine is over. He issues a single decree and—with that decree—he gives out grain to the farm collectives during the harvest of 1933.

By 1934, Stalin decides that Ukrainian Communists will not be involved in running their own country. Following more purges, they are mostly replaced with Russians. As a different kind of terror intensifies, Ukrainian nationalism becomes a crime punishable by death.

Stalin’s purges, in Ukraine, continue until the Nazis attack Ukraine in June of 1941. Hitler attempts to replace Stalin’s shackles with his own.

Attempting to lessen the impact of their own crimes, such as the killing of Ukrainian Jews at Babi-Yar, the Nazis show the world mass graves left over from the Soviet’s rule in Ukraine. In one town alone, excavators uncover the remains of around 9,000 people who had once been farmers, poets, scholars, priests.

No one can estimate what happened to all the others who had disappeared during Stalin’s reign of terror.

It is fair to ask: What was Ukraine’s crime?

The answer appears to be: That she, and her people, never adapted to tolerating Soviet control.

The Soviet Union—while it existed—continued to deny that there ever was a famine of any sort, let alone man-made, in Ukraine during those troubled years of 1932-33.

Was this genocide?

James Mace, an American Holodomor scholar, makes this observation:

I remain convinced that for Stalin to have complete centralized power in his hands, he found it necessary to physically destroy the second-largest Soviet republic, meaning the annihilation of the Ukrainian peasantry, Ukrainian intelligentsia, Ukrainian language, and history as understood by the people; to do away with Ukraine and things Ukrainian as such.

The calculation was very simple, very primitive: no people, therefore, no separate country, and thus no problem. Such a policy is Genocide in the classic sense of the word. (See Holodomor: Ukrainian Genocide in the Early 1930s, at page 14.) 

In 2003, the official Russian view of what happened in Ukraine changed. The Russian Federation, led at the time by Vladimir Putin, signed-on to a UN Joint Statement about the Ukrainian disaster.

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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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"Soviets Cover-up Ukrainian Starvation" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 23, 2017. Jan 19, 2020.
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