Tuesday, 27 April 2010

President of Ukraine Denies Stalin-Era Soviet Holocaust

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The Russian state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reported on April 27 that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, in a statement made to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said it is "unjust" to call the Stalin-era famine that killed millions of the Ukrainian people a genocide.

"We consider it incorrect and unjust to consider the Holodomor [Ukrainian for "death by hunger"] a fact of genocide of a certain people," Yanukovych said. The Ukrainian President called the death of millions of people by starvation "a common tragedy" of the Soviet people.

Yanukovych said not only Ukrainian, but also Russian, Belarusian, and Kazakh people starved during the famine. "Those were consequences of Stalin's totalitarian regime, his attitude to people.”

RIA Novasti notes that Yanukovych’s statement “marks a complete reversal of the policy of his predecessor, Viktor Yushchenko, who sought international recognition of the 1932-1933 Great Famine, known to Ukrainians as the Holodomor, as genocide.”

The report continues: “More than 3 million people perished in Ukraine due to the famine, and Ukrainian nationalists say Russia, as the legal successor of the Soviet Union, should bear responsibility.”

In late 2006, Ukraine's Parliament recognized the Holodomor as an act of genocide by the 1930s Soviet authorities.

In “Holodomor: was it ethnocide?” an opinion and analysis piece published by RIA Novosti on October 16, 2007, Andrei Marchukov, Ph.D., who was identified as a staff researcher of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Russian History, began his essay with the point-blank statement: “The Soviet famine of 1932-33 was an act of genocide against Ukrainians.”

Continuing, Marchukov wrote: “In 1984, the U.S. Congress established an ad hoc commission to investigate the causes of the Great Famine in Ukraine in 1932-33. Its 1988 Report to Congress described the famine as ‘man-made’ and denied any causal connection with drought. ‘Joseph Stalin and those around him committed genocide against Ukrainians in 1932-1933,' the report says.”

In his summary of the Holodomor, Marchukov capably documents the government-caused famine, but believes that it was not genocide or ethnocide because Soviet residents suffered as well as Ukrainians:

Was it really genocide or ethnocide against Ukrainians? The U.S.S.R. owed the terrible famine of 1932-33 to agricultural collectivization. The rapid creation of a thoroughly new type of farming went together with the cruel dispossession of well-to-do farmers, so-called "kulaks." Peasant resistance inevitably followed. Bloated grain procurement quotas envisaged total confiscations — seed, food and fodder grain.... Peasants were dying of starvation as early as October 1932, and the famine went on up to the next year's end.

Those two years saw 2.9-3.5 million deaths from starvation in Ukraine alone, according to various estimates. Yet it was not ethnocide proper.... People were doomed not on the grounds of ethnicity, but merely because they lived in rural areas....

Peasantry as a social class was the victim of the cruel policy. This point clearly follows from the geography of the Great Famine. It spread throughout the Soviet breadbasket areas-Ukraine, the middle and lower reaches of the Volga, the North Caucasus, the central part of the Black Earth Zone, the Urals, part of Siberia, and Kazakhstan — with a total population of 50 million. The Famine killed 6-7 million people nationwide. All Soviet peoples were victims.

If Marchukov’s analysis shows anything, it is that communist regimes are “equal opportunity” persecutors, and practice their brutality without regard to race or ethnic origin.

If coverage of the Holodomor in the Russian press at least allows for the possibility that the mass deaths, if not genocide — were at least a geographic-based holocaust, one would hope that the Western press would have done a better job of exposure. But, alas, one hopes in vain. This suppression of the truth is addressed in Thomas R. Eddlem’s article posted online on June 26, 2009, entitled, “How the New York Times Helped Tyrants.”

In one section of his article headed “Ukrainian Famine Fakery,” Eddlem writes:

Decades ago, New York Times reporter Walter Duranty served as the primary American press cover for a holocaust in the Ukraine that cost some 7-10 million lives. Called “holodomor” in Ukrainian (“death by hunger”), the 1932-33 famine was caused when Joseph Stalin ordered all the grain in the nation of Ukraine confiscated for the Soviet Union to export. 

Duranty misinformed New York Times readers that "any report of a famine is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda." Meanwhile, British journalists Malcolm Muggeredige and Gareth Jones courageously reported the truth of the state-managed famine. Muggeridge labeled Duranty “the greatest liar I have met in journalism,” but Soviet dictator (and famine architect) Joseph Stalin praised him because, in Stalin’s words on Chrismas Day 1933, “You have done a good job in your reporting the U.S.S.R."

For his lies on behalf of Stalin, Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and remained a New York Times correspondent until 1940.

As William F. Jasper noted in an earlier article, “Ukrainian Genocide: NY Times Still Covering Up,” on November 24, 2008:

The Times neglect of the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor is especially inexcusable, inasmuch as the Times served as an indispensable handmaiden to Stalin as he carried out this horrendous crime against humanity. While the communists carried out the mass annihilation of the Ukrainian farmers, the Times assured the Western world that all reports of starvation in Ukraine were merely anti-Soviet propaganda....

The Times' defense in recent years — that Duranty pulled the wool over the eyes of the Times — is shown to be likely false. The Gordon Dispatch indicates that it was the Times itself, not merely Duranty, that was responsible for the pro-Stalin, pro-Soviet slant in the Times' pages. But in the case of Holodomor the Times was guilty of far worse than "slanting" the news; it was a willful collaborator in a "crime of the century," a willful collaborator in blatant propaganda to cover up that crime.

It is ironic to consider that an American might receive a better education about the history of Soviet atrocities and mass murder from the writings of a Russian history professor published by the official Russian state-owned news agency than in the pages of the most prestigious U.S. newspaper.

And Yanukovych’s assertion that to call the deliberate starvations out if existence of millions of Ukrainians in the Holodomor “genocide” is to commit an “injustice” against the Russians is to miss the point. One might as well say that calling the deaths at Auschwitz and Buchenwald and other Nazi-run concentration camps the “Holocaust” is an “unjust” indictment of the German people.

In both cases, the inescapable fact is that millions of victims died, call it what you want. However, there is a label that could aptly be used to describe both of these mass atrocities. That label served as the title of an extraordinarily revealing exposé by R.J. Rummel: Death by Government.

It is what happens when government, by whatever label one applies to it (communist, national socialist, fascist), is allowed to become too big, too powerful, too intrusive — in a word: totalitarian.

For more information, see:
"Remembering Holodomor: The Ukrainian Famine"

"Duranty's Lethal Lies"

"The Other Holocaust"

Photo: President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych addresses the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg eastern France, April 27, 2010: AP Images



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