Monday, March 16, 2009

75 Years Later, Ukraine Seeks Famine Awareness

In the early 1930s, while the United States was busy wrestling the great depression, Ukraine suffered a famine that left roughly 10 million Ukrainians dead. Today, Ukraine seeks to promote awareness of the episode. And they also seek recognition of the famine as something deliberately carried out by Stalin's regime, rather than a mere peacetime accident. I would urge anyone interested in knowing more about this period in Soviet history to read this article by Clifford J. Levy that appeared in today's International Herald Tribune.

There is also a sobering new exhibit making the case that the Ukrainian famine was genocide. "Holodomor: Genocide by Famine," is a traveling exhibition comprised of 101 dramatic, informative laminated panels. The exhibit will be on tour until November 2009, and is already scheduled for openings at universities and churches throughout Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Lithuania, Ukraine, and the United States. Thus far, 14 nations have labeled the famine as genocide.

1 comment:

  1. The famine-genocide interpretation of the famine of 1932-33, which affected areas far beyond Ukraine, as well non-Ukrainians living in the Ukrainian SSR, is highly flawed and tremendously politicized. The closest thing to an objective account of the events is Wheatcroft and Davies' The Years of Hunger. Proponents of the famine-genocide interpretation ignore all evidence that doesn't conform to their assumptions. The fact is that the people of the Soviet Union endured numerous famines, with the major ones coming in 1921-23, 1931-33, and 1946-47. The early 1920s has been explored thoroughly. The famine of 1946-47 has recently received more attention, with the release of Ganson's The Soviet Famine of 1946-47 in Global and Historical Perspective. These famine were largely a product of disastrous agricultural policies and an ideology hostile to the peasantry, though also climatic factors. The famine-genocide will increasingly be exposed as a politicized and highly subjective interpretation and not the product of sound scholarship.