As measured by any standard, the artificially created famine of 1933-34 has been recognized as one of the most barbarous crimes against humanity of the last century. But Boriss Grõzlov disagrees:
“Many countries, foremost being Ukraine, try to label the situation as genocide. It did not have any earmarks of genocide,” Grõzlov said prior to a possible declaration by the Duma addressing the general famine that struck the Soviet Union in the early 1930’s. Grõzlov claims that Ukraine was not deliberately targeted. Amongst others, Grigori Karassin, the deputy foreign minister publicly agreed.
Many nations, including Estonia, have formally declared the Ukrainian famine (holodomor) to have been genocide. Their decision was based on the following:
The extreme scarcity of food in the USSR, spawned a special commission headed by Vyacheslav Molotov, which oversaw the confiscation of grain from Ukrainian farms. The territory was surrounded by regular Soviet forces. Ukrainians were trapped. This was followed by the seizure of root and other vegetables.
Party officials, regular troops and secret police waged a merciless war of attrition against peasants who refused to give up their grain. Even seed grain was forcibly taken. Any man, woman or child caught with a handful of grain could be executed or deported. Those who appeared not to be starving were suspected of hoarding.
Ukraine was the breadbasket of the USSR of the time. It could have fed all of the empire.
Moscow’s policy of all-out collectivization had a disastrous effect on agricultural productivity. Those who resisted or were expected to resist collectivization – approximately 300,000 - were deported to labour camps. The Ukrainian intelligentsia and the Ukrainian Communist Party itself were purged. The Soviets were determined to savagely crush Ukrainian nationalism.
The Soviet secret police confiscated local Ukrainian birth/death registers and agriculture production records to conceal the enormity of the crime. Foreigners were forbidden to write accounts of the situation. The 1937 census figures went unrevealed.
The famine has been thoroughly researched now that archives are accessible and historians are allowed to pursue the truth. The famine claimed some 6 to 7 million lives. If the evidence is so overwhelming, why deny? Moscow fears that as the legal successor of the Soviet Union, Ukrainians and others would demand reparations for losses. The genocide is so ugly in the telling that it doesn’t fit the image the Kremlin wants to portray.
To draw the debate away from the Ukrainian genocide, the former occupied republics such as the Baltic States and Belarus are coloured as “liberated” territories, freed from the Nazi scourge by the Red Army. Moscow says that it is heresy to suggest that Joseph Stalin aimed to eliminate Ukraine as a nation. As expected, Russian history texts carry the Kremlin version of the famine.
In view of Moscow’s scurrilous denial of the stark reality of the Ukrainian genocide, one can see the Herculean task of getting it to admit its aggressor role in the occupation and forcible annexation of the Baltic States.
Ukrainian famine wasn’t genocide, says Russian State Duma chairman (1)