Stalin Ends the Grain Quotas in the Fall of 1933

Stalin ends the man-made harvest by lifting the quota restrictions for the harvest of 1933, including in Ukraine.

Soon after, however, Stalin makes Ukrainian nationalism an offense punishable by death. Many Ukrainian Communists are purged from the government in Ukraine.

Other people, whom Stalin perceives as threats, are also also arrested, tried and executed. Still more people disappear, never to be heard from again (or are sent to the regime's forced-labor camps to build such things as an Arctic railway, never finished, which became known as the "Dead Road").

It is a time of internal terror in the Soviet Union.

No one is really sure how many people die during "Stalin's Reign of Terror" (not just in Ukraine but in other parts of the Soviet Union, including Moscow). No one is really sure how many people disappear (or are sent to labor camps in the GULAG).

Today scholars and historians still debate whether the famine—which devastated parts of the North Caucasus, the Volga Basin and Ukraine between 1932 and 1933—was man-made. Political agendas have a way of impacting people and shaping "the facts." 

At least on the issue of reporters, James William Crowl—in his 1982 book, Angels in Stalin's Paradise—offers a kind of explanation on why journalists stuck to the agenda instead of reporting the facts:

Most of the reporters took shelter behind the censorship and kept quiet about the famine. They wrote about it only when they left Russia, and even then they found that their accounts were met with disbelief.

Eugene Lyons, for instance, returned to New York late in 1933 and began to write cautiously about the famine. Soviet sympathizers and liberals treated him as a renegade, he recalls, though his first descriptions of the famine fell far short of the horrible conditions that he knew had existed.

A few correspondents, among them [Walter] Duranty and [Louis] Fischer, went beyond mere compliance with the censorship. While most of their colleagues passively accepted the famine cover-up, they echoed Soviet denials of the famine and blasted anyone who carried word of conditions to the West.

Their distortion of the news, then, went beyond the demands of the censorship and was a vital factor in convincing the West that there was little or no truth to the famine stories. Moreover, by their active role in the cover-up they made it more unlikely that the foreign press in Moscow might force some kind of showdown with the censors or confront the West with the truth about Soviet conditions. (See Crowl, at pages 141-142.)

Fake news, one can fairly conclude, is not just a 21st-century phenomenon.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 24, 2017

Updated Last Revision: Feb 27, 2017

Media Credits

Clip from "Harvest of Despair:  The Unknown Holocust."


Produced and directed by Slavko Nowytski for the Ukrainian Famine Research Committee in Canada, with the assistance of the National Film Board of Canada. 

Narration writer and story consultant, Peter Blow

Photography by Thomas Burstyn and Yuri Denysenko

Edited by Yurij Luhovy

Music by Zenoby Lawryshyn

Distributed by International Historic Films, Inc. 

Released, 1984

Online, courtesy Google Video.


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"Stalin Ends the Grain Quotas in the Fall of 1933" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 24, 2017. Dec 07, 2019.
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