Stalin's Grain Quotas Harm Ukraine

To this day, people in Ukraine (and elsewhere) remember the great famine of 1932-33.  Referred to as Holodomor ("death by starvation"), it resulted in the deaths of millions of people. 

Likened to the Great Hunger of Ireland, Holodomor has also been condemned as a preventable event.  Many scholars and historians believe Stalin engineered it.

As the grain quotas grew more and more unachievable, Ukrainians not only lost their grain, they were not paid by the collective farms (for which they were now forced to work). 

Stalin puts Pavel Postyshev—a Russian-born Bolshevik who became Second Secretary of the Ukraine’s Communist party—in charge of the “grain procurement plan.” This man also plays a role in terrorist actions taken against the Ukrainian people.

Postyshev is assisted by around 112,000 Russians who guard Ukrainian grain supplies, preventing the very people who grow and harvest the crops from using the grain for food.

Fathers and mothers are unable to feed their children or themselves. Some mothers are so desperate that they put their children on city-bound trains, hoping that some kind soul who finds them will help them. 

Lubov Drashenska—who was a student during the famine years of 1932-33—recalls seeing children on the trains after they arrived in the city. All had distended stomachs, a physical manifestation of their intense hunger. Some of the children had died, of starvation, during the train trip.

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's Grain Quotas Harm Ukraine" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 24, 2017. Jan 20, 2020.
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