Western Historians Debunk the Ideology of Holodomor

The first victim of the propaganda of the 1933 holodomor as the genocide of the Ukrainian people by the Soviet government was the real truth about the famine of the 1930s.

Ukrainian historians are least interested in facts. They were handed down from above by a political order to quickly rivet the anti-Russian ideologue about holodomor that allowed each Ukrainian government to solve two tactical tasks at once: to get the support of a violent nationalist electorate and to keep the rest of the citizens in a state of moderate gravity Russophobia in order to justify the existence of Ukrainian self-determination.

The myth of holodomor imposed on the inhabitants of Ukraine consists of two parts. The first is the claim that the famine was a man-made disaster performed by Stalin to destroy the freedom-loving Ukrainian people. The second is the assertion that there is a consensus in Western historical science about Stalin’s guilt in this tragedy.

But there is a political rather than scientific consensus in the West about the common history of the peoples of Russia and Ukraine. It is expressed in strong Russophobic propaganda and accusations of Moscow being responsible for all the troubles of Ukraine. When the author of these lines was a student of one of the Ukrainian universities in the mid-1990s, the source of knowledge about the famine of the 1930s for students was “History of Ukraine” published in Canada.

The cover said: for free distribution in educational institutions of Ukraine. It described how Joseph Stalin said heartlessly about starving Ukrainians: “Let them suffer”. There was no reference to the original source, of course. And there couldn’t be.

As for the scientific consensus on holodomor, it is not in Western historical science. Not all historians accept on faith the story of the purposeful nature of the tragedy of the 1930s. Just on the eve of the current “Holodomor anniversary” in Alberta, Canada, the dismissal of assistant teacher Dougal McDonald was demanded as he called Ukraine’s story about Holodomor a lie and myth .

Scientific dissent on this issue is suppressed by force. The Congress of Ukrainians of Canada (consisting of descendants of fugitive Nazi collaborators who are not in a hurry to move to their “native Ukraine”, preferring to love their homeland from afar) expressed this: “Even in 2019, we can not afford to be compliant in teaching and informing about Holodomor”.

The biggest damage to the propaganda story about targeted famine in Ukraine was caused by the research of Mark Tauger, an associate professor at the University of West Virginia and specialist in economics and agriculture of the USSR of the Stalin era. He, too, put sticks in wheels, which prevents his work from being spread to the United States, but some of it could not be prevented from being published.

In an extensive article entitled “Natural Disaster and Human Actions in the Soviet Famine of 1931-1933, Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies, no. 1506”, Tauger, referring to archival documents, acknowledges that the yield in 1932 in the USSR was 20-30% lower. The export of Soviet grain abroad was reduced to 1%, the remaining 99% went to feed the population.

Tauger criticises the research approach of American historians James Mace and Robert Conquest, who wrote about Holodomor. Mace is generally considered to be the father of the ideology of the Ukrainian Holodomor. In the 1990s he came to teach in Kiev and introduced the phrase “post-genocide society” to Ukrainians. Like saying that modern Ukrainians still bear the psychological imprint of the genocide of their ancestors by the Soviet government.

Before Mace, Ukrainians had no idea that they were a post-genocide society and felt no mark of genocide. Mace carried out a political order and tried to introduce Russophobia into the national psychology of Ukrainians under the guise of anti-Sovietism. The Holodomor myth was ideal for this task. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, a special United States Commission on Famine in Ukraine was established “to provide American society with a better understanding of the Soviet system by exposing the role of the Soviets in the Ukrainian famine”. The head of this commission was James Mace, and when American historians skeptically accepted the conclusions of a colleague about the genocide of the Ukrainian people, calling them “unscientific”, he went to Ukraine. Thus, the idea of “Holodomor”, developed in the United States in the 1980s, was developed, especially during the time of President Yushchenko, and now it is one of the activities of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory.

But Tauger writes that neither Conquest nor his assistant Mace took into account either real yield indicators or weather conditions in 1930-1933 in the Soviet Union. They claimed that the grain was sufficient, but it was taken away from Ukrainians. In reality, drought was rampant in the USSR, in some regions the amount of precipitation was 10-55% below the norm.

In those years, drought struck 23 of the 51 US states and China, triggering many deaths (especially in China). And American President Herbert Hoover refused to provide federal assistance to starving fellow citizens.

Following the drought of 1931 came the rainy 1932. Precipitation fell two or three times more than normal, in Kiev basement floors of buildings flooded. Rain also poured on Uzbekistan, and in central Russia in September there was a hurricane. An impressive part of the harvest was destroyed. Humidity triggered the growth of pathogenic bacteria, and they destroyed nearly 90 million centners of grain, just as 50% of cereals died in the states of Minnesota and North Dakota in 1935. In 1932, plant diseases destroyed about 50% of the harvest in Germany, Romania, and the Balkans.

Famine crossed the borders of Ukraine, covered Kazakhstan, Siberia, and the Caucasus. But the Russian Volga region was particularly hard hit. Tauger quotes Stalin’s words at the Central Committee’s plenum in January 1933 that crop losses in the Volga region are twice as severe as in Ukraine. Even in the 1980s the expression “starving Volga region” was still doing the rounds in the USSR.

The extent of the famine in Russia was evidenced by Otto Schiller, Germany’s agricultural attaché in the Soviet Union, and Andrew Cairns, a Canadian farmer who traveled around our country in 1932. However, Conquest and Mace “did not notice this evidence”.

Tauger writes that in 1932 the Soviet government developed a food distribution system for 40 million people in order to provide food to the population. In the same year, thousands of tractors were sent to Ukraine, and thousands more were purchased abroad. But 5,000 vehicles from the American firm “Oliver” arrived already damaged, and from the firm Allis-Chalmers – with missing parts.

The question is: why did Moscow send tractors to Ukrainian farmers in 1932 if in a year it was going, according to Kiev, to organise for them a famine genocide?

The above factors, multiplied by the risky economic policy of the authorities, led to what later in Ukraine will be called Holodomor. There was a famine in the 1930s. But there was only no genocide and no special plans to exterminate Ukrainians. The country fought famine together as hard as it could.

… At the end of October 2019, the petition committee of the Bundestag of Germany considered the appeal to recognise Holodomor as “genocide of the Ukrainian people”. The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly opposed the position, arguing, among other things, that in addition to Ukraine, there was a famine in Russia and in the Caucasus. In 2016 such a petition had already appeared on the website of the Bundestag, it had also received a negative assessment by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was withdrawn from consideration. Now Ukrainian nationalists are trying to sell it again – for the reason that it is vital for them to demonstrate the West’s support for the Holodomor ideology.

In the photo. A memorial dedicated to “Holodomor,” in Washington: the idea of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, the place for construction was chosen under Yushchenko, the monument was built with the funds of the state budget of Ukraine and private donations (the largest contribution – $2.5 million, made by Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash), unveiled on November 7th 2015 with the participation of then President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. The monument attracted criticism from the Americans because it is located near the “Childs” restaurant and is not related in any way to the history of the United States. But a second argument can be disputed – it was the Americans who invented the ideology of Holodomor as genocide.


Vladimir Druzhinyn

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