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Transcript of "Holodomor"
I decided to do my ISP project on this historical event because, “Holodomor” was a very tragic event that hasn’t got the attention it deserves. Due to the Soviet Union trying to hide the facts of their plan to starve Ukraine, not many details were found, only until recently which meant, that I had to do a lot of "investigating", interviewing/questioning, and add some of my thoughts and inferences. So not everything is based on research. I want to bring awareness to what happened and how it affected peoples lives in the past, and present. This will also help us prevent such gruesome events happening anywhere else in the world.
Soviet and Western Denial
The Soviet Union denied the famine from 1932-1933 and claimed that the event did not occur or did occur but was not a premeditated act.
Denying such a huge event was the soviet state’s position and reflected in both soviet propaganda and the work of some Western journalists and intellectuals including Walter Duranty and Louis Fischer.
In the Soviet Union, authorities banned discussion of the famine, but according to Ukrainian historian Stanislav Kulchytsky, he was ordered by the Soviet government to falsify his findings on the event, and to describe the famine as an unavoidable, natural disaster; the goal of which was to absolve the Communist Party of blame and uphold the legacy of Stalin.
Who Didn't Support Ukraine?
This denial and suppression was made in official Soviet propaganda from the very beginning until the 1980s. The Soviet Union/Russia was supported by some Western journalists and intellectuals. It was echoed at the time of the famine by some prominent Western journalists, including Walter Duranty and Louis Fischer.
Sadly, the denial of the famine was successful and well planned out. Stalin "had achieved the impossible: he had silenced all the talk of hunger... Millions were dying, but the nation hymned the praises of collectivization", said historian and writer Edvard Radzinsky.
Remembrance in Ukraine
Ukraine officially marks a memorial day for Holodomor on the fourth Saturday of November. During the memorial day, all people who support Ukraine should stand for a minute of silence at 4:00 PM on that fourth Saturday of November while lighting a candle in memory of all those who died.
In 2007, the 74th anniversary of the Holodomor was commemorated in Kyiv at Maidan Nezalezhnosti. Many videos were taken, and experts and scholars gave lectures on the topic. As part of the memorial, the National Bank of Ukraine issued a coin as a symbol of Ukrainian resistance, on November 23, 2007.
As of 2009, Ukrainian schools provide more education on Holodomor, the history of it, and also learning about the fighters in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and Ukrainian Insurgent Army.
The Memorial in Commemoration of Famines' Victims in Ukraine was erected on the slopes of the Dnieper river in 2008. The ceremony of the opening was dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor. Each year, on the fourth saturday of November, tens of thousands of patriotic Ukrainians visit the memorial to pay their respects and tribute to those who perished.
By: Tanya Misra, 8A
This image is a statue of a girl, starving. This represents how the Ukrainians starved to death and is used as a memorial of the tragic event.
Holodomor, happened in Ukraine in 1932 to 1933. During this time, the communist regime of USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics / Soviet Union) started forced collectivization of all agricultural lands to form the so called “collective farms”. This was an instrument used by USSR to crush the nationalistic Ukrainian farmers and prevent their revolt.
The people of Ukraine were against the communist methods and refused to give up their lands. The army of the USSR therefore, forcibly acquired all farmlands from the peasants of Ukraine and, prevented them from owning land and domestic animals. As the farmers deprived of the use of their land and domestic animals, they were forced into starvation.
All of this happened because Ukrainian stood up for their rights and refused to follow the USSR rules and ways.
How it all Started and Why?
In short words, the Ukrainian government and its people did not want to follow the Soviet Union (or Russia in modern day) rules and join their country, so the Soviet Union decided to take away all farms, animals, food, and starve Ukrainians until they decided to side with the Soviet Union.
Death Total / Analysis
In the early stage of 1933, the Ukrainian population was decreasing immensely. People were dying at a rate of 25,000 people/day, half of them were children.
Although this isn’t an accurate number because the Soviet Union denied the famine/genocide, due to that, the exact number of victims are unknown, only a possible estimation.
The estimations go as high as 10 million people. Former Ukrainian president Yushchenko stated in a speech that Holodomor “took away 20 million lives of Ukrainians”, while the Canadian Prime Minister issued a public statement stating that the death toll is “about 10 million”.
In just 2 years, over 7,000,000 people died.
That is about:
11.5 times more people than the American Civil war from 1861-1865,
About 14 times more than the Spanish Civil war from 1936-1939
About 6 times more than the Mexican Revolution from 1910 -1920
Joseph Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953
The Soviet Union denied the famine that happened. Any reporters (or anyone in general) who knew/found out about the famine would have to keep quiet about the matter, if any reporters were caught telling others about the famine, they would pay a horrible price.
When the information of the famine reached the Ukrainian Diaspora in the United States and Europe, many food and other supplies were sent to Ukraine to help the starving people. However, the Soviet authorities denied and rejected all the shipments. Since the famine was denied, all outside assistance was refused as well. Even reporters, journalists and visitors were not allowed in Ukraine, because the Soviet government feared that the media would reveal the crimes against Ukrainian people.
To this day, Russia does not recognize the Ukrainian Famine or Holodomor, as a genocide. The Russian State Duma stated that the starvation happened in many places of the Soviet Union, and are saying that it is insulting and incorrect for the ukrainians to claim that they were directly targeted and that the authorities were planning this to happen.
Who Supported Ukraine?
Despite Russia’s constant denial of the Famine, many countries around the world have recognized the crimes committed against the Ukrainian people as genocide.
Countries include; Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Estonia, Ecuador, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, United states of America and Canada have recognized the Ukrainian Famine from 1932-1933 as a genocide.
Argentina, Czech Republic, Chile, Slovakia, Spain, Balearic Islands, Spain, and Vatican consider Holodomor as a deliberate act of famine.
Responsible parties: Soviet Union:
Joseph Stalin Vyacheslav Molotov Lazar Kaganovich
Pavel Postyshev Stanislav Kosior Vlas Chubar
NKVD (Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennih Del)
And The Communist Party
Statements by Government
Many countries today, have recognized the fact that the acts of the Soviet government at that time, amounted to deliberate genocide. The United Nations, in 2003, defined the famine as the result of actions and policies of USSR’s totalitarian regime which caused millions of deaths of Ukrainians, Russians, and other nationalities in that nation.
On November 28, 2006, the Ukrainian Parliament-Verkhovna Rada made a law which defined Holodomor as a deliberate act of genocide and also, made it’s public denial illegal.
On 23 October 2008, Holodomor was recognized as a crime against humanity by the European Parliament.
On January 12, 2010, the court of appeals in Kiev opened hearings into the "fact of genocide-famine Holodomor in Ukraine in 1932–33".
In May 2009, a criminal case was opened- "in relation to the genocide in Ukraine in 1932–33" by the Security Service of Ukraine.
“On 13 January 2010, the court found Joseph Stalin and other Bolshevik leaders guilty of genocide against the Ukrainians. The court dropped criminal proceedings against the leaders: Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, Lazar Kaganovich, Stanislav Kosior, Pavel Postyshev, Vlas Chubar and others, who all had died years before. This decision became effective on 21 January 2010.
On 27 April 2010, a draft Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe resolution declared the famine was caused by the "cruel and deliberate actions and policies of the Soviet regime" and was responsible for the deaths of "millions of innocent people" in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Russia. Even though PACE found Stalin guilty of causing the famine, it rejected several amendments to the resolution, which proposed the Holodomor be recognized as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.” (Wikipedia)
Holodomor which took place in the last century and which has been recognized as a famine/genocide of the Ukrainian people, is one of the worst human tragedies of the 20th century.
Due to the false propaganda of Soviet Union (modern Russia), this tragedy was ignored. The truth about the holodomor and the horrors associated with it were hidden from the public glare. Only after Ukraine became an independent country (1991), the true picture of Holodomor become clear and known to the world.
It is very significant that Canada was one of the very few countries in the world which recognized Holodomor as a famine/genocide, way before it was recognized by other countries.
Holodomor is a poignant symbol of the spirit of resistance of the Ukrainian people and their desire to remain free even under the most difficult conditions. Holodomor also is a lesson for all that violence, coercion, and dictatorships can cause a lot of misery and death but, the truth and a will for freedom, always triumphs.
Remembrance in Canada
This is a picture of a memorial monument in Kiev, Ukraine. Many people come on the forth saturday of November to the monument and pray, pay respects, and place flowers. It is one of the worlds most well known memorial monument for Holodomor.
On the 50th anniversary of the famine-genocide, the first public monument to the holodomor was made and dedicated in 1983 outside of The first public monument to the Holodomor was erected and dedicated in 1983 outside City Hall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Since then, the fourth Saturday in November has been set the official Holodomor memorial day.
On 22 November 2008, Ukrainian Canadians marked the beginning of National Holodomor Awareness Week. In November 2010, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the Holodomor memorial in Kiev.
“Saskatchewan became the first jurisdiction in North America and the first province in Canada to recognize the Holodomor as a genocide. The Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day Act was introduced in the Saskatchewan Legislature on May 6, 2008 and received royal assent on May 14, 2008.”
Since then, all the other provinces/territories in Canada have recognized Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people.
“A monument to the Holodomor has been erected on Calgary's Memorial Drive, itself originally designated to honour Canadian servicemen of the First World War. The monument is located in the district of Renfrew near Ukrainian Pioneer Park, which pays tribute to the contributions of Ukrainian immigrants to Canada.”
This is yet another memorial monument in Canada. Many people come to the monument to pray, listen to speeches from fellow Ukrainians (or anyone in general) and place lit candles/lanterns.
Pankaj Misra (Father)
Lyudmyla Shkura (Mother)