Telling the truth about the famine of the 1930s, known in Ukraine as “Holodomor“, becomes dangerous not only in Ukraine itself.
Historical discussion about this difficult period of history of our country (and, recall, the famine touched many republics of the Soviet Union) has long been effectively banned. As early as 2006, the Verkhovna Rada passed a law imposing the term “genocide” on the famine. And since then there have been repeated attempts to criminalise the denial of that definition.
Various authorities, including law enforcement, have effectively banned any alternative opinion. For example, in 2008 the-then head of the SBU Valentin Nalivaychenko demanded the closure of the Ukrainian branch of the Institute of CIS countries for organising a scientific conference in Kiev, during which scientists from different countries dared to deny the theory of “genocide of the Ukrainian people”. So Ukraine will not be surprised by the ban on the freedom of scientific discussion about the famine of the 1930s.
But now the repression is spreading to abroad. The first foreign victim of “Holodomor” totalitarianism may become the Canadian historian and University of Alberta lecturer Dougal MacDonald. His fault is that he posted in a closed Facebook group, limited to a rather narrow circle of his colleagues and students, an extract from his own article about the origins of the myth that the famine of the 1930s was the artificial “genocide of the Ukrainian people”. No one would’ve noticed this post if the Ukrainian Student Society of the University had made it public, in an ultimatum demanding that the University take tough measures against the lecturer.
What was so terrible about the statement made by the Canadian teacher, causing a storm of emotions? He re-posted part of his small study published as early as 2015 in a bulletin of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), of which he is a member. Based on the facts, MacDonald argues that the myth of “genocide” was built by Hitler’s Nazis “to discredit the Soviet Union, the enemy they most feared”. “The Nazis published articles on the front pages of German newspapers, which were then reprinted in the reactionary British press,” says the Canadian lecturer.
In particular, he recalls that the information about millions of deaths in Ukraine has been distributed worldwide since the publication of the American newspaper “Chicago American” in February 1935 (when the famine was no longer). On the front page it published an alleged “exclusive report” by journalist Thomas Walker entitled “Six million perish in Soviet famine”. In fact, since then, this number of deaths has appeared in many myths spread by Ukrainian propaganda. Moreover, doubts are caused by the photos brought by Walker and if he was even in Ukraine at all. In any case, he mentions settlements there with the names “Tambov” and “Veronezh”. It is also undeniable that both Walker and some of his other colleagues who were the first to write in the English-language press about the “genocide of Ukrainians”, visited Nazi Germany more than once and praised its chiefs.
McDonald suggests on this basis that the legend, like the fake photos, was made in Germany. He also recalls that the notorious newspaper “Chicago American” belonged to American millionaire William Hearst, who for many years had praised Italian fascists and German Nazis, and who had personally met Hitler and Goebbels. According to MacDonald, it was at this meeting that Hearst concluded a contract on the PR promotion of Nazi propaganda in the American media, which resulted in Walker’s first-hand sensation of “six million famine deaths”, which formed the basis of the myth of “genocide”.
MacDonald points out that in Britain another yellow newspaper, the Daily Mail, the owner of which (Lord Rothermere) was also a fan of Mussolini and Hitler, was the first to rush to spread the myth of “genocide”. “Herr Adolf Hitler, the German Chancellor, has saved his country,” this newspaper happily trumpeted after the “Night of Long Knives”. But this did not prevent many researchers from referring to the materials of such a press about famine in the USSR.
It is no secret that the Goebbels press of occupied Ukraine inflated this myth. And the works about famine, which the Nazis actively distributed as propaganda, are now studied in Ukrainian schools almost as historical textbooks. For example, the cannibalistic novel “Mariya” by Ulas Samchuk, published in the Nazi newspaper “Volyn” in 1941, in which the same Samchuk glorified Hitler and rejoiced at “Kiev’s cleansing of the eastern barbarians”, describing the tragedy of Babi Yar.
I.e., MacDonald certainly did not exaggerate the importance of Nazi propaganda in inflating the scale of the Soviet famine of the 1930s and the associated “genocide” myth. However, this does not stop the organisers of the harassment of the Canadian lecturer. At the University of Alberta there are protests against him. The campaign was even joined by Alberta Provincial Prime Minister Jason Kenney, who made it clear that MacDonald was a “useful Communist idiot”, and expressed outrage that “some people in Canada still deny genocide”.
The quintessence of all accusations against, and attacks on, the lecturer was an article by Jars Balan, director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, under the title “No alternative facts about Ukraine’s Holodomor”. According to the author, the research into the causes and extent of the famine has already been done, and therefore alternative conclusions are simply unacceptable. And any attempt to direct people towards other facts that do not fit into the official concept amounts to “fake news”. At the same time, it does not matter whether these facts are true or not. The alternative is simply not allowed. Balan gives a list of publications about the famine that should be believed, effectively cutting off the opportunity for further scientific research. Not to mention if they reveal falsifications of Ukrainian historians and propagandists.
Timid voices about academic freedom and about the need to continue scientific discussions drown in the noise of protests against, and the harassment of, a Canadian scientist. It’s hard to tell if he will be fired in the end or not. But there is no doubt that fanatical followers of the “Ukrainian genocide” theory will create conditions for MacDonald in which he will not be able to conduct normal teaching activities. Perhaps not only at his university, but at any other university in Canada.
Thus, any scientific research regarding the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s is a priori driven underground already in the West. If you do not repeat the prepared propaganda theses (as we see, generated also by the Goebbels media), you will be harassed, discredited, and deprived of the opportunity to teach. And the truer your conclusions, the stronger and more powerful you will be swept aside. A modest Canadian lecturer was convinced of this via his own experience.
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