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Ukraine famine "not genocide"

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Soviet cogitations: 4764
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jul 2007, 06:59
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
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Post 28 Apr 2010, 18:47
...but it was still the product of "premeditated actions and policies" of the Soviet Union.

Pace: Ukraine famine not genocide

The Political Commission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has turned down amendments to a draft resolution that describe the 1930s famine in Ukraine as genocide. According to the head of the Russian delegation Konstantin Kosachev, the abolition of the amendments, strongly opposed by Russia, draws a final line under ex-President Yushchenko’s political project that describes Holodomor as genocide of Ukrainians. As he addressed a PACE session on Tuesday, President Yanukovich said that the 1930s famine, imposed by Stalin’s totalitarian rule, was a common tragedy in which people of Ukraine suffered along with the people of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The resolution states that the Stalin regim is guilty for the widespread famine that hurt the Soviet Union in the 30s.
"Stalin's totalitarian regime was guilty of the terrible famine in the years 1932-1933 in the Soviet Union," states the document.
The assembly said that the famine was provoked by the premeditated actions and policies of the Soviet regime and that affected millions in Russia, Belorus, Ukraine, Moldavia and Kazakhstan.

---------

The resolution comes after Ukraine's reversal on their position:

Yanukovych reverses Ukraine's position on Holodomor famine
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"You say you have no enemies? How is this so? Have you never spoken the truth, never loved justice?" - Santiago Ramón y Cajal
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 05 May 2010, 02:52
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Post 06 May 2010, 07:37
In Search of a
SOVIET HOLOCAUST
A 55-Year-Old Famine Feeds the Right


By Jeff Coplon

Originally published in the Village Voice (New York City), January 12, 1988.

"Something therefore always remains and sticks from the most impudent lies.... The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed."
-- Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

The girl is dying. She looks about five years old, but we know she may be older, diminished by hunger. She leans wearily against a gate. Her long hair falls lank about bare shoulders. Her head rests against her arm. He neck is bent, like a stalk in parched earth. Her eyes are the worse -- large and dark, glazed yet still wistful. The child is dying, starving, and we feel guilty for our witness...

The Ukrainian émigrés who made Harvest of Despair knew a gripping image when they saw one. The black-and-white still, played over an arching, minor-mode chorus, was chosen to close the Canadian documentary on the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33. The same photography was used to promote the film, to symbolize a long-dormant cause célèbre: a "man-made" famine, "deliberately engineered" by Stalin to crush Ukrainian nationalism and cow a stubborn peasantry into permanent collectivization. Seven million Ukrainians were killed, the narrator tells us, as "a nation the size of France [was] strangled by hunger."

The result, intoned William F. Buckley, whose Firing Line showed the film last November, was "perhaps the greatest holocaust of the century."

The term "holocaust" still burns the ears, even in our jaded time. As we watch the film and see corpses piled in fields, bloated bodies sprawled in streets, pale skeletons grasping for bits of bread, we wonder: How can such a terrible story have been suppressed so long?

Here is how: The story is a fraud.

The starving girl, it turns out, wasn't found in 1932 or 1933, nor in the Ukraine. Her pictures was taken from a Red Cross bulletin on the 1921-22 Volga famine, for which no one claims genocide. Rather than an emblem of persecution, the photograph advances the most cynical of swindles -- a hoax played out from the White House and Congress through the halls of Harvard to the New York State Department of Education. Pressing every pedal, pulling all the strings, is a Ukrainian nationalist lobby straining to cloak its own history of Nazi collaboration. By revising their past, these émigrés help support a more ambitious revisionism: a denial of Hitler's holocaust against the Jews.

There was indeed a famine in the Ukraine in the early 1930s. It appears likely that hundreds of thousands, possibly one or two million, Ukrainians died -- the minority from starvation, the majority from related diseases. By any scale, this is an enormous toll of human suffering. By general consensus, Stalin was partially responsible. By any stretch of an honest imagination, the tragedy still falls short of genocide.

In 1932, the Soviet Union was in crisis. The cities had suffered food shortages since 1928. Grain was desperately needed for export and foreign capital, both to fuel the first Five-Year Plan and to counter the growing war threat from Germany. In addition, the Communist Party's left wing, led by Stalin, had come to reject the New Economic Plan, which restored market capitalism to the countryside in the 1920s.

In this context, collectivization was more than a vehicle for a cheap and steady grain supply to the state. It was truly a "revolution from above," a drastic move towards socialism, and an epochal change in the mode of production. There were heavy casualties on both sides -- hundreds of thousands of kulaks (rich peasants) deported to the north, thousands of party activists assassinated. Production superseded politics, and many peasants were coerced rather than won to collective farms. Vast disruption of the 1932 harvest ensued (and not only in the Ukraine), and many areas were hard-pressed to meet the state's grain requisition quotas.

Again, Stalin and the Politburo played major roles. "But there is plenty of blame to go around," as Sovietologist John Arch Getty recently noted in The London Review of Books. "It must be shared by the tens of thousands of activists and officials who carried out the policy and by the peasants who chose to slaughter animals, burn fields, and boycott cultivation in protest."

Such a balanced analysis, however, has never satisfied Ukrainian nationalists in the United States and Canada, for whom the "terror-famine" is an article of faith and communal rallying point. For decades after the fact, their obsession was confined to émigré journals. Only of late has it achieved a sort of mainstream credibility -- in Harvest of Despair, shown on PBS and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and at numerous college campuses; in The Harvest of Sorrow, an Oxford University Press account by Robert Conquest; in a "human rights" curriculum, now available to every 10th-grade social studies teacher in New York State; and in the federally-funded Ukraine Famine Commission, now into its second year of "hearings."

After 50 years on the fringe, the Ukraine famine debate is finally front and center. While one-note faminologists may teach us little real history, they reveal how our sense of history is pulled by political fashion until it hardens into the taffy of conventional wisdom. And how you can fool most of the people most of the time -- especially when you tell them what they want to hear.
The Film

Harvest of Despair was the brainchild of Marco Carynnyk, a Ukrainian translator and poet who lives in Toronto. In 1983, Carynnyk found a sponsor in St. Vladimir's Institute, which formed a Ukrainian Famine Research Committee of well-to-do émigrés. The committee raised $200,000 for the documentary, including a major grant from the Ukrainian Canadian Committee (a spiritual descendant of the fascist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists), and a loan from the similarly right-wing World Congress of Free Ukrainians.

As chief researcher for the film, Carynnyk had two major functions -- to locate and interview famine survivors, and to find archival photographs. Talking heads would not be enough to make a case for genocide. To gain its intended shock value, the film would have to show what the famine was like. "There can be no question," assessed the Winnipeg Free Press, "that without the films and photographs uncovered from the 1932-33 famine, the film would lose much of its authority."

"I gave them two sets of photographs," Carynnyk said. "I told them, `Here are the ones from the 1930s, and here are the ones from 1921-22.' But in the cutting of the film, they were all mixed up. I said this can't be done, that it will leave the film open to criticism... My complaints were ignored. They just didn't think it was important."

One problem, Carynnyk said, was that producer Slawko Nowitski faced an impossible five-month deadline to ready the film during the famine's 50th anniversary. (In fact, Harvest of Despair would not be completed until late 1984). But the researcher believes it was more than mere sloppiness at work. "The research committee was more interested in propagandistic purposes than historical scholarship," said Carynnyk, who has sued the Famine Research Committee for copyright violation. "They were quite prepared to cut corners to get their point across."

In October 1983, Carynnyk left the project -- "relieved of his duties," according to Nowitsky, "because he did not produce the required material." Three years and seven awards later, the lid blew last November at a meeting of the Toronto Board of Education, where terror-famine proponents were pressing to include the film in the city's high school curriculum. The show stopped cold when Doug Tottle, former editor of a Winnipeg labor magazine, stood up and declared that "90 per cent" of the film's archival photographs were plagiarized from the 1921-22 famine.

Tottle traced several of the most graphic photos, including that of the starving girl, to famine relief sources of the 1920s. (Some of these resurfaced in 1933 as anti-Soviet propaganda in Völkischer Beobachter, an official Nazi party organ). Other pictures were lifted from the 1936 edition of Human Life in Russia, by Ewald Ammende, an Austrian relief worker in the earlier Volga famine. Ammende attributes them to a "Dr. F. Dittloff," a German engineer who supposedly took the photos in the summer of 1933. The Dittloff pictures have their own bastard pedigrees --three from 1922 Geneva-based relief bulletins, others from Nazi publications. Still other Dittloffs were also claimed as original by Robert Green, a phony journalist and escaped convict who provided famine material to the profascist Hearst chain in 1935. Green, a convicted forger who used the alias "Thomas Walker," reported that he took the photos in the spring of 1934 -- almost a year after the Ukraine famine had ended, and in direct contradiction of Dittloff.

Although Green was exposed by The Nation and several New York dailies by 1935, right-wing émigrés have used his spurious photos for decades. "It's not that these pictures were suddenly discovered in 1983 and accidentally misdated" in the film, Tottle noted.

Tottle had done his homework. Carynnyk confirmed that "very few" photos in Harvest of Despair could be authenticated, and that none of the famine film footage was from 1932-33. But the Ukrainian Famine Research Committee decided to stonewall. At first they insisted that any photos from the 1920s were used only when the film discussed the Volga famine -- a blatant evasion, since that segment lasts a scant 28 seconds and uses only two still photos, neither especially potent. Committee chairman Wasyl Janischewskyj recently softened that stance: "We have researched further and made discoveries that some photos we thought were from 1932-33 were not ... We are now having further deep investigations of these pictures."

In the main, however, the filmmakers have sought to justify their fraud. "You have to have visual impact," said Orest Subtelny, the film's historic adviser. "You want to show what people dying from a famine look like. Starving children are starving children." A documentary, added producer Nowitski, must rely on "emotional truth" more than literal facts.

"These people have never attempted to refute my claims," said Tottle. (His book on the subject, Fraud, Famine, and Fascism, will be published this fall by Toronto's Progressive Books, an outlet for Soviet releases). "They have tried to lie and cover it up, but they have not tried to refute it."

Nor have the nationalists refuted Tottle's contention that several "witnesses" in the film were Nazi collaborators, including two German diplomats who served in the Third Reich and an Orthodox Church layman who blessedly rose to bishop while the Third Reich occupied the Ukraine in 1942.

"Just because they're collaborators," countered Nowitski, "does that mean we cannot believe anything they tell us? Just because they're Nazis is no reason to doubt the authenticity of what happened."

This slant pervades émigré research on the famine. Soviet sources are rejected out of hand, while Nazi sources (or known liars like Walker and Dittloff) are accepted unconditionally. In the Göbbels tradition, the nationalists' brief always serves their anti-Communism --no matter how many facts twist slowly in the process. Harvest of Despair follows unholy footsteps, and never breaks stride.
The Book

According to a 1978 article in The Guardian of London, Robert Conquest got his big break shortly after World War II, when he joined the Information Research Department of the British Foreign Office. Staffed heavily by émigrés, the IRD's mission was a covert "propaganda counter-offensive" against the Soviet Union. It was heady, hands-on work for a young writer, a chance to slant media coverage of Russia by adding political "spin" to Eastern bloc press releases and funneling them to top reporters. The journalists knew little about the IRD, beyond the names of their mysterious contacts. The public knew nothing at all, even as their opinions were being sculpted.

After Conquest left the IRD in 1956, the agency suggested that he package some of his handiwork into a book. That first compilation was distributed in the US by Fred Praeger, who had previously published several books at the request of the CIA.

The shy and courtly Conquest has come a long way since then, from gray propagandist to éminence grise. He is now a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford, as well as an associate of Harvard's Ukrainian Research Institute. But his heart and his pen never left the IRD. The Soviet Union would be Conquest's lifetime obsession. He churned out book after book on the horrors of communism: The Nation Killer, Where Marx Went Wrong, Kolyma: the Arctic Death Camps. His landmark work of 1968, The Great Terror, focused on Stalin's purges of the late 1930s. But by 1984, his work had turned surreal; What To Do When the Russians Come was the literary equivalent of that politico-teen-disaster flick, Red Dawn. Yet he remained a mainstream heavyweight, coasting on reputation, his excesses accepted as Free World zeal.

In 1981, the Ukrainian Research Institute approached Conquest with a major project: a book on the 1932-33 famine. The pot was sweetened by an $80,000 subside from the Ukrainian National Association, a New Jersey-based group with a venerable, hard-right tradition; the UNA's newspaper, Swoboda, was banned by Canada during World War II for its pro-German sympathies. (The grant was earmarked for Conquest's research expenses, including the assistance of James Mace, a junior fellow at the URI).

The nationalists knew they'd be getting their money's worth. At the time, faminology was virgin ground. There was little source material available, since the Soviet archives remain sealed. More to the point, most non-émigré historians viewed the 1932-33 famine as an outgrowth of collectivization, not a political phenomenon of itself, much less a stab at genocide. But Conquest was different. In his Terror book, he'd already concluded that more than three million Ukrainians were killed by the famine. Here, clearly, was the right man for the job, a man who once stated: "Truth can thus only percolate in the form of hearsay ... basically the best, though not infallible, source is rumor." And with no one on record to dispute the issue, Conquest's rumors could rule.

In The Harvest of Sorrow, Conquest outdoes himself. He weaves his terror-famine from unverifiable (and notoriously biased) émigré accounts. He leans on reportage from ex-Communist converts to the American Way. He cites both "Walker" and Ammende. Black Deeds of the Kremlin, a period piece published by Ukrainian émigrés in 1953, is footnoted no less than 145 times.

Conquest can be deftly selective when it suits his purpose. He borrows heavily from Lev Kopelev's The Education of a True Believer, but ignores Kopelev when the latter recalls Ukrainian villages that were relatively untouched by famine, or relief efforts by a Communist village council.

By confirming people's worst suspicions of Stalin's rule, The Harvest of Sorrow has won favorable reviews from The New York Times, The New Republic, and The New York Review of Books. But leading scholars on this era are less impressed. They challenge Conquest's contention that Ukrainian priests and intelligentsia -- two major counterrevolutionary camps -- were repressed more ruthlessly than anywhere else in the country. They point out that the 1932-33 famine was hardly confined to the Ukraine, that it reached deep into the Black Earth region of central Russia. They note that Stalin had far less control over collectivization than is widely assumed, and that radical district leaders made their own rules as they went along.

Most vehemently of all, these experts reject Conquest's hunt for a new holocaust. The famine was a terrible thing, they agree, but it decidedly was not genocide.

"There is no evidence it was intentionally directed against Ukrainians," said Alexander Dallin of Stanford, the father of modern Sovietology. "That would be totally out of keeping with what we know -- it makes no sense."

"This is crap, rubbish," said Moshe Lewin of the University of Pennsylvania, whose Russian Peasants and Soviet Power broke new ground in social history. "I am an anti- Stalinist, but I don't see how this [genocide] campaign adds to our knowledge. It's adding horrors, adding horrors, until it becomes a pathology."

"I absolutely reject it," said Lynne Viola of SUNY- Binghamton, the first US historian to examine Moscow's Central State Archive on collectivization. "Why in god's name would this paranoid government consciously produce a famine when they were terrified of war [with Germany]?"

These premier Sovietologists dismiss Conquest for what he is -- an ideologue whose serious work is long behind him. But Dallin stands as a liberal exception to the hard-liners of his generation, while Lewin and Viola remain Young Turks who happen to be doing the freshest work on this period. In Soviet studies, where rigor and objectivity count for less than the party line, where fierce anti-Communists still control the prestigious institutes and first-rank departments, a Conquest can survive and prosper while barely cracking a book.

"He's terrible at doing research," said veteran Sovietologist Roberta Manning of Boston College." He misuses sources, he twists everything."

Then there are those who love to twist, and shout --to use scholarly disinformation for their own, less dignified purposes. In the latest catalogue for the Noontide Press, a Liberty Lobby affiliate run by flamboyant fascist Willis Carto, The Harvest of Sorrow is listed cheek-by-jowl with such revisionist tomes as The Auschwitz Myth and Hitler At My Side. To hype the Conquest book and its terror-famine, the catalogue notes: "The act of genocide against the Ukrainian people has been suppressed [sic] until recently, perhaps because a real `Holocaust' might compete with a Holohoax."

For those unacquainted with Noontide jargon, the "Holohoax" refers to the Nazi slaughter of six million Jews.
The Curriculum

In 1982, the New York State Department of Education set out to blaze a new trail: a definitive curriculum on the Nazi holocaust. The department assembled a distinguished review committee, including such Holocaust experts as Terrence Des Pres and Raul Hilberg. It assigned the actual writing to three top-rated social studies teachers. The finished two- volume project, which went to classrooms in the fall of 1985, does credit to everyone involved. It is a balanced mix of archival documents, survivor memoirs, and scholarly essays.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the high schools: The Ukrainian nationalists stole the show. Their point man was Bohdan Vitvitsky, a New Jersey attorney and author who was invited to join the state's advisory council, which would steer the curriculum's development. Vitvitsky's first move was to gain inclusion of an excerpt of his book on Slavic victims of the nazis. His second victory was to eliminate all but passing mention of Ukrainian war criminals.

"I took the position they should be dealt with, "said Stephen Berk, a Union College history professor and advisory council member, "but Vitvitsky insisted there should be no dwelling on [Nazi] collaborators." (The Catholic lobby didn't fare so well: over its protests, the curriculum includes a critical assessment of Pope Pus XII's inaction.)

But Vitvitsky's major coup, helped along by a nationalist letter campaign, was to install material on the Ukraine famine of 1932-33. In the curriculum's second draft in 1984, the famine was treated as a 17-page precursor chapter to the second Holocaust volume -- a plan which met heated resistance from Jewish groups. By the time the material reached the schools last fall, however, it had swollen into a separate third volume, with 90 pages on the "forced famine," and another 52 on "human rights violations" in the Ukraine.

A key player in the transition was Assemblyman William Larkin (Conservative Republican, New Windsor), a retired Army colonel, assistant minority whip, and old friend of Gordon Ambach, then the state commissioner of education. Larkin had ample incentive to help; his district contains about 8000 ethnic Ukrainians. He arranged "four or five" meetings between the state education staff and 20 upstate Ukrainian nationalists in 1985. He also enlisted other Republican assemblymen to press for the famine book, and says he spoke personally to Ambach.

The commissioner "offered to do anything he could," Larkin said. "But if we didn't go up there in force, if we didn't push it, it wouldn't have happened."

By most accounts, the political pressure was intense -- enough to squeeze a department deemed relatively apolitical. The Ukrainians mounted "an enormous letter-writing campaign with the Board of Regents," said Robert Maurer, the executive deputy commissioner. "There were phone calls and visits. There's not often that much interest in curriculum matters; it was very unusual."

The famine boosters found an especially sympathetic ear in Regent Emlyn I. Griffith, then chairman of the committee that unanimously endorsed Volume Three in 1985 -- a vote which ensured its future use. "As a member of a minority people put down by a majority government, I empathized" with the Ukrainian nationalists, said Griffith, an ethnic Welshman. "There was s significant lobbying effort ... It was persuasive. It wasn't threatening, it was positive."

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly who made the fatal decision on Volume Three. Griffith said his committee acted on a strong staff recommendation. Ambach failed to return phone calls for this story. Maurer lodged responsibility with Deputy Commissioner Gerald Freeborne, who in turn pointed to Program Development Director Edward Lalor, who referred questions to a low-level official named George Gregory, the chairman of the Human Rights Series advisory committee.

Shrouded by this corporate haze, Vitvitsky ran in an open field. No one challenged his basic premise. The famine `certainly does represent another example of genocide," Gregory asserted. "It was a planned attempt by Stalin to eliminate the Ukrainian people."

("George is the consummate bureaucrat," said one educator involved with the series. "His experience is mainly in grade- school -curricula -- like `Appreciating Our Indian Heritage,' or `The importance of the Finger Lakes Region.' when I started up there, he really didn't know anything about the Holocaust.")

To write the famine material, Gregory hired Walter Litynsky, a Troy High School biology teacher and a local chairman of Americans for Human Rights in Ukraine. For the job of principal reviewer Litynsky recommended James Mace, the Conquest protégé who also directs the Ukraine Famine Commission under a $382,000 congressional appropriation. Mace and Litynsky proceeded to stack the review committee with Ukrainian academics, the omnipresent Vitvitsky, and four upstate nationalists. "No contrary [review] letters were either solicited or received," Berk acknowledged. "I'm sorry this came out, because it was distorted -- but I felt it was a fait accompli."

When asked about contrasting viewpoints from such scholars as Lewin and Viola, Gregory was unmoved. "Quite frankly, we have not heard of any of them," he said. "We tried to present a balanced point of view. We didn't ask for the soviet opinion, since the soviet view was that the famine never happened. [In fact, the Soviets now concede that a famine was "impossible to avoid," because of drought, mismanagement, and kulak sabotage.] We relied heavily on James Mace; he's the leading historian of that time period."

This paean would startle academe, where Mace's work is infrequently read and rarely found in footnotes, the baseline of a scholar's importance. He is widely regarded as a right-wing polemicist, an indifferent researcher who has made a checkered career out of faminology.

"I doubt he could have gotten a real academic job," Manning said. "Soviet studies is a very competitive field these days -- there's much weeding out after the Ph.D. If he hadn't hopped on this political cause, he would be doing research for a bank, or running an export-import business."

The Mace-Litynsky partnership yielded a predictable end product -- the undistilled nationalist line. The state curriculum on the Ukraine famine apes both Harvest of Despair and The Harvest of Sorrow. (The education department now supplies the embattled documentary, as an audiovisual supplement, to any interested teacher.) Like the film and the book, the curriculum features faked photos from Ammende, dubious atrocity tales (including 16 selections from Black Deeds of the Kremlin), and sections of the "Walker" Hearst series, all without caveat. Like Conquest and Nowitski, the famine volume red-baits anyone who challenged the genocide scenario, such as New York Times reporter Walter Duranty. It goes Conquest one better by referring to the region as Ukraine, with no article, in deference to a sovereignty that exists only in nationalist fables.

The curriculum is most obviously exposed in its estimate of the famine death toll: "..it is generally accepted that about 7 million Ukrainians or about 22% of the total Ukrainian population died of starvation in a government- planned and -controlled famine."

How did Litynsky arrive at this talismanic figure, cited over and over again in émigré literature? "I don't pretend to be an expert on this subject," the biology teacher said. "This is not my field. I had a list of people who went from 1.5 million to 10 million. In my reading I saw seven million used more than any other figure, and I decided that was realistic. It got to the point where it was so confusing that you had to decide." (Mace has opted for 7.9 million Ukrainian famine deaths in his own work, with an "irreducible minimum" of 5.5 million. Conquest fixes on seven million famine deaths, including six million Ukrainians, with no appendix to show how his numbers are derived.)

But the magic number, like the genocide theory it shoulders, simply can't pass scrutiny. Sergei Maksudov, a Soviet émigré scholar much cited by Mace and Conquest, has now concluded that the famine caused 3.5 million premature deaths in the Ukraine -- 700,000 from starvation, and the rest from diseases "stimulated" by malnutrition.

Even Maksudov's lower estimates are open to challenge. Writing in Slavic Review, demographers Barbara Anderson and Brian Silver maintain that limited census data make a precise famine death count impossible. Instead, they offer a probable range of 3.2 to 5.5 million "excess deaths" for the entire Soviet Union from 1926 to 1939 -- a period that covers collectivization, the civil war in the countryside, the purges of the late `30s, and major epidemics of typhus and malaria. According to these experts, and Maksudov as well, Mace and Conquest make the most primitive of errors: They overestimate fertility rates and underrate the impact of assimilation, through which many Ukrainians were "redesignated" as Russians in the 1939 census. As a result, the cold warriors confuse population deficits (which included unborn children) with excess deaths.

Which leaves us with a puzzle: Wouldn't one or two or 3.5 million famine-related deaths be enough to make an anti- Stalinist argument? Why seize a wildly inflated figure that can't possibly be supported? The answer tells much about the Ukrainian nationalist cause, and about those who abet it.

"they're always looking to come up with a number bigger than six million," observed Eli Rosenbaum, general counsel for the World Jewish Congress. "It makes the reader think: `My god it's worse than the Holocaust.'"
Hidden Agendas

Your husband's courage and dedication to liberty will serve as a continuing source of inspiration to all those striving for freedom and self-determination.
-- letter from President Reagan to the widow of Yaroslav Stetsko, ranking OUN terrorist, murderer, and Nazi collaborator, read by retired general John Singlaub at a conference of the World Anti-Communist League, September 7, 1986.

In the panel discussion that followed Harvest of Despair on PBS last fall, Conquest addressed the issue of Ukrainian war crimes. "It's not the case," he said blandly, "that the Ukrainian nationalist organizations collaborated with the Germans."

Once again, the aging faminologist had tripped on the public record. It is one thing to suggest, rightly, that Ukrainian nationalism had little popular support among the peasantry. (It was actually a narrow, urban, middle-class movement.) Millions of Ukrainians fought with the Red Army and partisans. Many others can be accused of nothing worse than indifference, and a smaller number risked their lives to save Jews from the Germans. But on the matter of the OUN, the principal nationalist group from the 1930s on, the record is quite clear: It was fascist from the start.

In its original statement of purpose in 1929, the OUN betrays a raw Nazi influence: "Do not hesitate to commit the greatest crime, if the good of the Cause demands it ... Aspire to expand the strength, riches, and size of the Ukrainian State even by means of enslaving foreigners." This sentiment was echoed in a 1941 letter to the German Secret Service from the OUN's dominant Bandera wing: "Long live greater independent Ukraine without Jews, Poles, and Germans. Poles behind the [river] San, Germans to Berlin, Jews to the gallows."

As the authoritative John Armstrong, a staunch anti- Communist and pro-Ukrainian, has written: "The theory and teachings of the Nationalists were very close to Fascism, and in some respects, such as the insistence on `racial purity,' even went beyond the original Fascist doctrines."

But the OUN storm troopers, like any terrorist group, prized action over theory. Their wartime brutalities have been amply documented (Voice, February 11, 1986, "To Catch a Nazi,"). They recruited for the Waffen SS, pulled the triggers at Babi Yar and Sobibor, ran the gas chamber at Treblinka. During their brief interludes of Nazi-sponsored "independence" (in the Carpatho-Ukraine in 1939 and in Galicia in 1941), pogroms were the order of the day, in the spirit of their revered Simon Petlura. They strove to outdo the Nazis at every turn.

And when the Third Reich fell, the nationalists fled -- to Munich, to Toronto, and (with the covert aid of the US State Department, which viewed them as potential anti-Soviet guerrillas) to New York and Chicago and Cleveland.

This is not ancient history. The Ukrainian émigré groups still contain more than a few former OUN members, and many of their sons and daughters. The nationalists still heroize their wartime past. On occasion their old passions surface as well -- as in Why Is One Holocaust Worth More Than Others?, recently published by "Veterans of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army: "In 1933, the majority of the European and American press controlled by the Jews were silent about the famine."

From this perspective, the "conspiracy" lives on: "In (February) 1986 the Jewish newspaper Village Voice ... published one-and-one-half pages of accusations against a high-standing member of the Ukrainian nationalist movement, Mykola Lebed."

And finally, most transparently: "Tens of millions of people have been killed since the Zionist Bolshevik Jews, backed by the Zionist-oriented Jewish international bankers, took over Russia."

Not surprisingly, Ukrainian émigrés are among the harshest and most powerful critics of Nazi-hunting. They have sought to kill both the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations and the Canadian Deschenes Commission -- and with good reason. Sol Littman, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Toronto, recently presented the commission with the names of 475 suspected Nazi collaborator. He reports that Ukrainians were "very heavily represented" on the list.

It may not be sheer coincidence that faminology took wing just after the OSI was commissioned in 1979. For here was a way to rehabilitate fascism -- to prove that Ukrainian collaborators were helpless victims, caught between the rock of Hitler and Stalin's hard place. To wit, this bit of psycho-journalism from the March 24 Washington Post, in a story on accused war criminal John "Ivan the Terrible" Demjanjuk: "The pivotal event in Demjanjuk's childhood was the great famine of the early 1930s, conceived by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin as a way of destroying the independent Ukrainian peasantry ... Several members of [Demjanjuk's] family died in the catastrophe."

Coupled with the old nationalist canard of "Judeo- Bolshevism," faminology could help justify anti-Semitism, collaboration, even genocide. An eye for an eye; a Nazi holocaust in return for a "Jewish famine."

Just as the Nazis used the OUN for their own ends, so has Reagan exploited the famine, from his purple-prosed commemoration of "this callous act" to his backing of the Mace commission. Faced with failing fascist allies around the world, from Nicaragua to South Africa, the US war lobby needs to boost anti-Communism as never before. Public enthusiasm to fight for the contras will not come easy. But if people could be convinced that Communism is worse than fascism; that Stalin was an insane monster, even worse than Hitler; that the seven million died in more unspeakable agony than the six million ... Well, we just might be set up for the next Gulf of Tonkin. One cannot appease an Evil Empire, after all.

As Conquest noted on PBS, after the starving girl's image finally faded from the screen: "This was a true picture we saw ... It instructs us about the world today."

It turns out that the picture is far from true -- that the purveyors of a famine genocide are stealing a piece of history and slicing it to order. It's a brash bit of larceny for Conquest and company, even within the prevailing vogue of anti-Stalinism. But if they say it loud enough and long enough, people just might listen. Lie bold enough and large enough, and -- as the man once said -- it just might stick.

Back to Table of Contents of Grover Furr's Politics and Social Issues Page.
http://chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/vv.html / last modified 11 May 98 / furrg@alpha.montclair.edu /
"It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness."

-Karl Marx's 1859 Preface to the Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
Soviet cogitations: 25
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 05 May 2010, 02:52
Pioneer
Post 06 May 2010, 07:41
FOI Request: The academic materials relating to the Holodomor
Internal Document – dated 30 November 2006

SUBJECT: UKRAINE: THE FAMINE (HOLODOMOR)

Quote:
..."There are two major problems with the genocide interpretation, however. One is the undisputed fact that the famine hit several parts of the USSR, notably Kazakhstan, where the death toll as a proportion of the local population was even higher than in Ukraine, and certain agricultural areas of Russia, notably the lower Volga region and the northern Caucasus. Nor is there any evidence that non-Ukrainian peasants in Ukraine were singled out for better treatment. It therefore seems judicious to conclude, as one UK historian did several years ago, that Stalin 'starved to death those whom he believed to be recalcitrant peasants, many of whom were Ukrainians, rather than Ukrainians, many of whom were peasants.'4
8. The other major problem with the genocide argument is its tendency to portray the famine implicitly, and sometimes even explicitly, as a crime inflicted on Ukraine by Russia. Such a claim is deeply misleading. It suggests that the USSR was simply the continuation of the pre-revolutionary Russian Empire and that the non-Russian inhabitants of the Soviet Union were no more than victims of Russian imperialism. Yet one of the foundations of the Soviet system was a supra-national ethos, which aimed to foster a sense of 'Soviet internationalism' among its peoples and the eventual creation of a 'Soviet man'. This of course involved colossal hypocrisy and humbug, not least because of periodic bouts of russification of political and cultural life in the non-Russian republics, yet millions of Soviet citizens still genuinely saw themselves as more than their national and ethnic identities (although any sense of 'Soviet' identity would have been less well developed in the 1930s). Successive Soviet leaderships also hailed from a variety of backgrounds, not just Russian, although Russians, as the largest national group, tended to predominate.


http://foi.fco.gov.uk/content/en/foi-re ... -holodomor
"It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness."

-Karl Marx's 1859 Preface to the Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
Soviet cogitations: 25
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 05 May 2010, 02:52
Pioneer
Post 06 May 2010, 07:47
While fully recognizing the Ukrainian tragedy, there is no explicit proof that the famine was provoked by the Kremlin and intended to exterminate the Ukrainian nation. The holodomor concept first arose amongst the Ukrainian Diaspora. Many
books and press publications appeared in the West in the 1940s-70s describing the Famine as a Kremlin plot to kill off Ukrainians and undermine the survivors' spirit. Public attention to the holodomor skyrocketed in the 1980s. This was the time when President Ronald Reagan was referring to the U.S.S.R.
as the Evil Empire. Ukrainian emigres added fuel to the fire with their reminiscences and analyses of the holodomor. In 1984, the U.S. Congress established an ad hoc commission to investigate the causes of the Great Famine in Ukraine in 1932-33. Its 1988 Report to Congress described the famine as "man-made" and denied any causal connection with drought.
"Joseph Stalin and those around him committed genocide against Ukrainians in 1932-1933," the report says. Perestroika, with its outspoken spirit, brought the concept to Ukraine. Mourning the millions starved to death went hand-in-hand with wrathful denunciations of genocide.

Today's propaganda aims to make the holodomor part of the Ukrainian world-view. President Viktor Yushchenko called on politicians of his generation to "preserve historical memory and spare no efforts to make the world qualify the Famine of 1932-33 as genocidal". Why is such sensation whipped up over bygones? On the one hand, Ukrainian propaganda has found a satanic enemy, the epitome of Absolute Evil, and is now out to develop a guilt complex in Russians to make them feel morally and materially responsible for the tragedy. On the other hand, it seeks to make Ukrainians feel like innocent victims,
and spread this assumption worldwide. Tellingly, Ukrainian leaders are evermore frequently referring to the Famine as the "Ukrainian Holocaust" - thus putting the U.S.S.R. on a par with Nazi Germany. Cardinal Lubomir Husar, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, concisely described the goal of the campaign: "Memory of the holodomor is what our nation shall stand on." Words of equal aptitude belong to former President Leonid Kuchma: "Ukrainian national consolidation has a long way
to travel yet. We have made Ukraine. Now is the time to make Ukrainians."

"Making Ukrainians" implies a new national ethic and mentality, with the idea of Ukrainians and Russians as two nations apart. What several Ukrainian generations firmly believed in has been turned on its head. The young regard their country's recent past as a time of colonialism, when Ukrainians were ruthlessly exterminated. It is hard to find a more graphic example than the Famine. Was it really genocide or ethnocide against Ukrainians? The U.S.S.R. owed the terrible famine of 1932-33 to agricultural collectivization. The rapid creation of a thoroughly new type of farming went together with the cruel dispossession of well-to-do farmers, so-called "kulaks". Peasant
resistance inevitably followed. Bloated grain procurement quotas envisaged total confiscations-seed, food and fodder grain. The 1932 quota for Ukraine was 400 million poods, or 6.4
million metric tons, but even the severest possible confiscations brought only 261 million poundds, so extra procurements were launched, with searches, ruinous fines-and firing squads.

Peasants were dying of starvation as early as October 1932, and the famine went on up to the next year's end. Those two years saw 2.9-3.5 million deaths from starvation in Ukraine alone,
according to various estimates. Yet it was not ethnocide proper.
Registry office statistics for 1933 show death rates in urban localities no higher than average, in contrast to an exorbitant death toll in the countryside not only in Ukraine but all over the Soviet Union. People were doomed not on the grounds of ethnicity, but merely because they lived in rural areas.
Grain shortages were exacerbated by a rapid increase of the urban population. It swelled by 12.4 million nationwide in the four years 1929-32, and by 4.1 million in Ukraine within 1931, mainly because persecuted peasants fled their villages.

Nothing could have been easier for the regime than to starve townspeople, who depended on food supplies from elsewhere for their survival. Yet, it was not done. The regime made do with harsh food rationing. Peasantry as a social class was the victim of the cruel policy. This point clearly follows from the geography of the Great Famine. It spread throughout the Soviet breadbasket areas-Ukraine, the middle and lower reaches of the Volga, the North Caucasus, the central part of the
Black Earth Zone, the Urals, part of Siberia, and Kazakhstan - with a total population of 50 million. The Famine killed 6-7 million people nationwide. All Soviet peoples were victims.

Arguments cited to prove that the famine was a deliberate act of genocide do not hold water. Still, many Ukrainians do not want to turn the tragic page of history. This is understandable. If they did, public attention would turn to their own, present-day, policy and its dire fruit. The Ukrainian population shrank by 4.3 million in 1991-2003-3.6 million died, and over 1.2 million emigrated, while only 500,000 former emigres
returned. If we extrapolate the figures to the end of 2006, the population decline exceeds 5.4 million-this without wars, famine, or the Kremlin's imperialism. Don't these statistics give food for uneasy thought?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NOTE: Andrei Marchukov, PhD (History), is staff researcher of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Russian History. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LINK: http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20071016/84171679.html
"It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness."

-Karl Marx's 1859 Preface to the Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 4764
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jul 2007, 06:59
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Forum Commissar
Post 08 May 2010, 00:02
Lots to chew on. Thank you very much.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 May 2010, 07:43
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 17 May 2010, 06:30
pinkocommie wrote:
Peasants were dying of starvation as early as October 1932, and the famine went on up to the next year's end. Those two years saw 2.9-3.5 million deaths from starvation in Ukraine alone,
according to various estimates. Yet it was not ethnocide proper.
Registry office statistics for 1933 show death rates in urban localities no higher than average, in contrast to an exorbitant death toll in the countryside not only in Ukraine but all over the Soviet Union. People were doomed not on the grounds of ethnicity, but merely because they lived in rural areas.
Grain shortages were exacerbated by a rapid increase of the urban population. It swelled by 12.4 million nationwide in the four years 1929-32, and by 4.1 million in Ukraine within 1931, mainly because persecuted peasants fled their villages.

Nothing could have been easier for the regime than to starve townspeople, who depended on food supplies from elsewhere for their survival. Yet, it was not done. The regime made do with harsh food rationing. Peasantry as a social class was the victim of the cruel policy. This point clearly follows from the geography of the Great Famine. It spread throughout the Soviet breadbasket areas-Ukraine, the middle and lower reaches of the Volga, the North Caucasus, the central part of the
Black Earth Zone, the Urals, part of Siberia, and Kazakhstan - with a total population of 50 million. The Famine killed 6-7 million people nationwide. All Soviet peoples were victims.

Arguments cited to prove that the famine was a deliberate act of genocide do not hold water. Still, many Ukrainians do not want to turn the tragic page of history. This is understandable. If they did, public attention would turn to their own, present-day, policy and its dire fruit. The Ukrainian population shrank by 4.3 million in 1991-2003-3.6 million died, and over 1.2 million emigrated, while only 500,000 former emigres returned. If we extrapolate the figures to the end of 2006, the population decline exceeds 5.4 million-this without wars, famine, or the Kremlin's imperialism. Don't these statistics give food for uneasy thought?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NOTE: Andrei Marchukov, PhD (History), is staff researcher of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Russian History. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LINK: http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20071016/84171679.html


The part that I put in bold is what really struck me and also reminded me of something mildly amusing from my personal life.

I know a girl who's a hardcore Ukrainian patriot. Hates the USSR. Not a big fan of the Russians, either. Once accused me of romanticizing the Soviet Union and told me to take a class to "see what they were really like." (I had been romantically interested in her before that, but after that point, I kind of knew things weren't going to work out...) The ironic thing is that by taking a class on the USSR at my uni, it actually helped me verify my belief that the USSR was not the absolute hellhole the West and some emigres from the former Soviet states would like to have me believe it to be. Also ironic is what Marchukov highlighted, and this is particularly applicable to this same girl, who not only speaks Russian and holds a Russian citizenship (because Russia, unlike Ukraine, permits dual citizenship, which she wanted, because it would make travel to both Western Europe and to visit her family easier), and whose immediate family emigrated from Ukraine to the United States, all these despite her assertions of how much she loves her, um, glorious fatherland. OK, so I admit that last part wasn't exactly something that she was directly responsible for, but still...

So, thank you both for posting all these, praxicoide and pinkocommie. That's pretty good stuff.
“Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals” - Mark Twain
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Nov 2007, 06:31
Embalmed
Post 17 May 2010, 19:18
I have a ukrainian friend that claims to be nazi, believes russians and ukrainians are worlds apart in difference, and that Kiev is home to aryans in the east (he lives there).
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Sep 2009, 00:56
Ideology: Democratic Socialism
Unperson
Post 17 May 2010, 19:53
I bet there's an interesting story behind that encounter.
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Soviet cogitations: 2298
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 25 Aug 2010, 14:32
According to the French communist historian Annie Lacroix-Riz (she worked with many records), the famine in Ukraine is a myth created by the Vatican, Germany and Poland. She says : "only the reports of German and Italian consuls reported an Ukrainian "famine" killing millions of peasants". She believes that they was no starvation but an important shortage.

See in French
Code: Select all
http://www.forum-unite-communiste.org/forum_posts.asp?TID=2134&PN=1


And she also gives some references :

Tottle Douglas, Fraud, Famine and Fascism. The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard, Toronto, Progress Book, 1987.
You can download the full book there.

R.W. Davies and S. Wheatcroft The years of Hunger, Soviet agriculture 1931-1933, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004
(they explain that it was not a genocide)

She discusses Lynn Viola article "La famine de 1932-1933 en Union soviétique", (Viola says that the famine was not specifically ukrainian)

And you can also read Tauger works online.

Have you ever read "Tintin in the Land of the Soviets" ?
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Oct 2004, 22:04
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Resident Soviet
Post 25 Aug 2010, 19:13
There definitely was a famine. The issue debated is whether it was deliberate or not. R.W. Davies and Stephen Wheatcroft explain the systemic reasons for the famine, which include local administrative overzealousness, extreme speed of collectivization, and the resistance of the peasants themselves (destroying crops and animals). Tauger is another good source, and I believe he focuses on the weather and biological factors of the grain. Tottle's book is still a good source in that it discusses the way in which the Western media began reporting the famine, and the role of Hersh's newspapers in spreading Nazi propaganda about the famine.

I don't understand how Ms. Lacroix-Riz can talk about the famine as merely a shortage. It was a genuine disaster, in which millions died, and was one of the worst historical events that occurred under Bolshevik rule. The fact that she uses the sources described, which all note (apart perhaps from Tottle) that the famine killed millions, makes her claim all the more strange.
"The thing about capitalism is that it sounds awful on paper and is horrendous in practice. Communism sounds wonderful on paper and when it was put into practice it was done pretty well for what they had to work with." -MiG
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 25 Aug 2010, 21:05
She does not uses these sources. She only gives the references of some interesting books that do not agree with the official version of a "stalinist genocide". Her paper was written in 2003 and she didn't knew at the time what Tauger said about the so-called famine. This is an annotaded compilation of some archive documents from the Foreign Office, the Ministère des Affaires étrangères and the French military attachés in USSR and Poland. She also discusses Alain Blum statistics. She says that there is no evidence of a 6-million dead famine, while the archives refute the famine myth. Anyway, she remains prudent and does not preclude any possibility of famine. She would probably disagree with your statement: "the famine killed million". I can send you her e-mail if you want. She reads English, but I can also translate for you.

And Tauger also said:

I also show that even these data, which imply in Ukraine a harvest of less than 5 million tons instead of the 8 million-ton official figure, overstate what must have been a famine harvest. I show that these annual-report data are the only reliable data on Soviet grain production in the 1930s, and that peasants used them to resist outside officials' demanding high procurements based on Soviet biological yields.
[...]The evidence that I have published and other evidence, including recent Ukrainian document collections, show that the famine developed out of a shortage and pervaded the Soviet Union, and that the regime organized a massive program of rationing and relief in towns and in villages, including in Ukraine, but simply did not have enough food. This is why the Soviet famine, an immense crisis and tragedy of the Soviet economy, was not in the same category as the Nazis' mass murders, which had no agricultural or other economic basis.
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
"I am one of the better read Marxists on this site" Gred
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Soviet cogitations: 209
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 11 Dec 2010, 00:06
Ideology: Juche
Pioneer
Post 31 Dec 2010, 16:19
The whole world was hungry at this time. The Soviet Union was the only country going forward. Dont be taken in by these Nazi lies.
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Thier is such a party!"
"Есть такая партия!"
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Soviet cogitations: 455
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Nov 2010, 01:24
Komsomol
Post 31 Dec 2010, 16:46
Quote:
The whole world was hungry at this time. The Soviet Union was the only country going forward

yup , i just want to share this article
http://rt.com/news/prime-time/where-did-americas-missing-millions-go-holodomor-lessons/
We need to make revolution so our kids wont grow up in corporate prostitution
Sky was the limit. Then the communists came!
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