Denial of the Holodomor

Denial of the Holodomor
A photograph widely believed to depict Holodomor victims.[1] Holodomor denialists like Douglas Tottle and Alexander Dyukov claim that it in fact originates from the Russian famine of 1921,[2][3] and was published as a postcard to raise funds by the High Commissioner for the Soviet famine relief effort Fridtjof Nansen[3]
An article by journalist Thomas Walker in The New York Evening Journal on February 19, 1935 – one of many published in Hearst syndicated newspapers[4] – containing his eyewitness account and photographs of the Ukrainian famine in 1934. Holodomor deniers like Douglas Tottle and Mario Sousa claim that Walker never visited Ukraine and was in fact a convicted fraudsters and a fugitive from Colorado state prison.[2][5]
This image of a starving girl in Kharkov in 1933 is used internationally to illustrate the devastating effects of the Holodomor.[6]
Holodomor deniers claim that Ukrainians have used photo manipulation to exaggerate the severity of the food shortage by removing the goat from the image.[7]

Denial of the Holodomor (Ukrainian: Заперечення Голодомору, Russian: Отрицание Голодомора) is the assertion that the 1932-1933 Holodomor, an artificial famine in Soviet Ukraine,[8] recognized as a crime against humanity by the European Parliament,[9] did not occur.[10][11][12][13]

This denial and suppression was made in official Soviet propaganda from the very beginning and until the 1980s. It was supported by some Western journalists and intellectuals.[11][12][14][15][16] It was echoed at the time of the famine by some prominent Western journalists, including Walter Duranty and Louis Fischer. The denial of the famine was a highly successful and well orchestrated disinformation campaign by the Soviet government.[10][11][12] 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.[12]

According to Robert Conquest, that was the first major instance of Soviet authorities adopting Hitler's Big Lie propaganda technique to sway world opinion, to be followed by similar campaigns over the Moscow Trials and denial of the Gulag labor camp system.[17]

The famine's existence is still disputed by some, despite a general consensus. The causes, nature and extent of the Holodomor remain topics of controversy and active scholarship.


Soviet Union

Cover-up of the famine

Soviet leadership undertook extensive efforts to prevent the spread of any information about the famine by keeping state communications top secret and taking other measures to prevent word of the famine from spreading. When Ukrainian peasants traveled north to Russia seeking bread, Joseph Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov sent a secret telegram to the party and provincial police chiefs with instructions to turn them back,[18] alleging Polish agents were attempting to create a famine scare. OGPU chairman Genrikh Yagoda subsequently reported that over 200,000 peasants had been turned back.

Stalin's wife, Nadezhda Allilueva, learned about the famine from Ukrainian students at the technical school she was attending. They described acts of cannibalism[19] and bands of orphaned children. Allilueva complained to Stalin, who then ordered the OGPU to purge all the college students who had taken part in collectivization.[20]

Soviet President Mikhail Kalinin responded to Western offers of food by telling of "political cheats who offer to help the starving Ukraine," and commented that, "only the most decadent classes are capable of producing such cynical elements."[13][21]

In an interview with Gareth Jones in March 1933, Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov stated, "Well, there is no famine", and went on to say, "You must take a longer view. The present hunger is temporary. In writing books you must have a longer view. It would be difficult to describe it as hunger."[22]

On instructions from Litvinov, Boris Skvirsky, embassy counselor of the recently opened Soviet Embassy in the United States, published a letter on January 3, 1934, in response to a pamphlet about the famine.[23] In his letter, Skvirsky stated that the idea that the Soviet government was "deliberately killing the population of the Ukraine" "wholly grotesque." He claimed that the Ukrainian population had been increasing at an annual rate of 2 percent during the preceding five years and asserted that the death rate in Ukraine "was the lowest of that of any of the constituent republics composing the Soviet Union", concluding that it "was about 35 percent lower than the pre-war death rate of tsarist days."[24]

Mention of the famine was criminalized, punishable with a five-year term in the Gulag labor camps. Blaming the authorities was punishable by death.[13]

Falsification and suppression of evidence

The true number of dead was concealed. At the Kiev Medical Inspectorate, for example, the actual number of corpses, 9,472, was recorded as only 3,997. The GPU was directly involved in the deliberate destruction of actual birth and death records, as well as the fabrication of false information to cover up information regarding the causes and scale of death in Ukraine.[25] Similar falsifications of official records were widespread.[13]

The January 1937 census, the first in 11 years, was intended to reflect the achievements of Stalin's rule. It became evident that population growth particularly in Ukraine failed to meet official targets—evidence of the mortality resulting from the famine and from associated indirect demographic losses. Those collecting the data, senior statisticians with decades of experience, were arrested and executed, including three successive heads of the Soviet Central Statistical Administration. The census data itself was locked away for half a century in the Russian State Archive of the Economy.[26][27]

The subsequent 1939 census was organized in a manner that certainly inflated data on population numbers. It showed a population figure of 170.6 million people, manipulated so as to match the numbers stated by Joseph Stalin in his report to the 18th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party that March. No other census in the Soviet Union was conducted until 1959.

Campaigns of disinformation

The Soviet Union denied all existence of the famine until its 50th anniversary, in 1983, when the world-wide Ukrainian community coordinated famine remembrance. The Ukrainian diaspora exerted significant pressure on the media and various governments, including the United States and Canada, to raise the issue of the famine with the government of the Soviet Union.

While the Soviet government admitted that some peasantry died, it also sought to launch a disinformation campaign, in February 1983, to blame drought. The head of the directorate for relations with foreign countries for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), A. Merkulov, charged Leonid Kravchuk, the chief idealogue for the Communist Party in Ukraine, with finding rainfall evidence for the Great Famine. This new evidence was to be sent to the Novosti press centers in the U.S. and Canada, denouncing the "antidemocratic base of the Ukrainian bourgeois Nationalists, the collaboration of the Banderists and the Hitlerite Fascists during the Second World War."[28] Kravchuk's inquiry into the rainfalls for the 1932-1933 period found that they were within normal parameters.[29] Nevertheless, the official position regarding drought did not change.

The United States Congress created the Commission on the Ukraine Famine in 1986. Soviet authorities were correct in their expectation that the commission would lay responsibility for the famine on the Soviet state.[30]

Increased international awareness of the famine did not dissuade Soviet authorities from further disinformation in anticipation of the 55th anniversary of the famine. In Canada, the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians (a cultural and educational organization founded in 1918 and still preserving its original pro-Communist leanings) published numerous articles denying the famine in its publications, available to the public through its bookstore outlets. In 2007, newly released correspondence confirmed instructions for the content of these materials had come directly from Soviet authorities.

Ultimately, as President of Ukraine, Kravchuk exposed the official cover-up attempts and came out in support of recognizing the famine, named the "Holodomor,"[31] as genocide.[29]

From glasnost to post-Soviet standoff

In an open letter to Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1987, veteran dissident Viacheslav Chornovil wrote about the denial of the famine:[32]

"The biggest and most infamous blank spot in the Soviet history of Ukraine is the hollow silence for over 50 years about the genocide of the Ukrainian nation organized by Stalin and his henchmen ... The Great Famine of 1932-33, which took millions of human lives. In one year—1933—my people lost more than throughout all of World War II, which ravaged our land."

It was during this period of glasnost that Soviet authorities admitted that agricultural policies played a direct role in the causing the famine.

In the post Soviet era, an independent Ukraine has officially condemned the Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. The Russian Foreign Ministry counters that not only Ukrainians died in the Great Famine, that to single out Ukrainians as victims insults others who died, that the

"declaration of the tragic events of that time as act of genocide against the Ukrainian nation is a unilateral misinterpretation of history in favor of modern conformist political and ideological principles."[33]

Contemporary denial outside of the USSR

Walter Duranty and The New York Times

According to Patrick Wright,[34] Robert C. Tucker,[35] Eugene Lyons,[36] Mona Charen[37] and Thomas Woods [38] one of the first Western Holodomor deniers was Walter Duranty, the winner of the 1932 Pulitzer prize in journalism in the category of correspondence, for his dispatches on Soviet Union (called incorrectly Russia) and the working out of the Five Year Plan.[39] While the famine was raging, he wrote in the pages of The New York Times that "Any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda", and that "There is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation, but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition."[36]

In his reports, Duranty downplayed the impact of food shortages in Ukraine, although in private he told Eugene Lyons and reported to the British Embassy that the population of Ukraine and Lower Volga had "decreased" by six to seven million.[40] While other Western reporters reported the famine conditions as best they could due to Soviet censorship and restrictions on visiting areas affected by the famine, Duranty's reports frequently echoed the official Soviet view. As Duranty wrote in a dispatch from Moscow in March 1933, "Conditions are bad, but there is no famine... But—to put it brutally—you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs."[41]

Duranty wrote articles denying that the Holodomor was taking place in Ukraine. He also wrote denunciations of those who wrote about the famine, accusing them of being reactionaries and anti-Bolshevik propagandists. Duranty repeated Soviet propaganda without verifying its veracity. As the New York Times notes: "Taking Soviet propaganda at face value this way was completely misleading, as talking with ordinary Russians might have revealed even at the time."[41]

In August 1933, Cardinal Theodor Innitzer of Vienna called for relief efforts, stating that the Ukrainian famine was claiming lives "likely... numbered... by the millions" and driving those still alive to infanticide and cannibalism. The New York Times, August 20, 1933, reported Innitzer's charge and published an official Soviet denial: "in the Soviet Union we have neither cannibals nor cardinals". The next day, the Times added Duranty's own denial.

Some historians consider Duranty's reports from Moscow to be crucial in the decision taken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to grant the Soviet Union diplomatic recognition in 1933.[42] Bolshevik Karl Radek said that was indeed the case.[11]

British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge (who went hopefully to live in the New Civilization in 1932, but soon became disillusioned) said of Duranty that he "always enjoyed his company; there was something vigorous, vivacious, preposterous, about his unscrupulousness which made his persistent lying somehow absorbing" [43] Muggeridge characterised Duranty as "the greatest liar of any journalist I have met in 50 years of journalism."[44] Others have characterized Duranty as "the number one Useful Idiot for Lenin first, and later for Stalin.[45]

Campaigns were launched in 1986 for the retraction of the Pulitzer Prize given to The New York Times. The paper, however, declined to relinquish it, arguing that Duranty received the prize for his reporting several years before the occurrence of the famine.[46] While conceding that Duranty's coverage of the famine has since been "largely discredited", the Times noted that:

Duranty's cabled dispatches had to pass Soviet censorship, and Stalin's propaganda machine was powerful and omnipresent. Duranty's analyses relied on official sources as his primary source of information, accounting for the most significant flaw in his coverage - his consistent underestimation of Stalin's brutality.

The New York Times also acknowledges that "some of Duranty's editors criticized his reporting as tendentious", and that "collectivization was the main cause of a famine that killed millions of people in Ukraine, the Soviet breadbasket, in 1932 and 1933 - two years after Duranty won his prize."[41]

Louis Fischer and The Nation

Next to Duranty, the American reporter most consistently willing to gloss Soviet reality was Louis Fischer, who had a deep ideological commitment to Soviet communism dating back to 1920. When Fischer traveled to Ukraine in October and November 1932, for The Nation, he was alarmed at what he saw. "In the Poltava, Vinnitsa, Podolsk and Kiev regions, conditions will be hard", he wrote, "I think there is no starvation anywhere in Ukraine now — after all they have just gathered in the harvest, but it was a bad harvest."

Initially critical of the Soviet grain procurement program because it created the food problem, Fischer by February 1933 adopted the official Soviet government view, which blamed the problem on Ukrainian counter-revolutionary nationalist "wreckers." It seemed "whole villages" had been "contaminated" by such men, who had to be deported to "lumbering camps and mining areas in distant agricultural areas which are now just entering upon their pioneering stage." These steps were forced upon the Kremlin, Fischer wrote, but the Soviets were, nevertheless, learning how to rule wisely.

Fischer was on a lecture tour in the United States when Gareth Jones' famine story broke. Speaking to a college audience in Oakland, California, a week later, Fischer stated emphatically: "There is no starvation in Russia." He spent the spring of 1933 campaigning for American diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union. As rumors of a famine in the USSR reached American shores, Fischer vociferously denied the reports.

Fischer's article entitled "Russia's Last Hard Year", stated, "The first half of 1933 was very difficult indeed. Many people simply did not have sufficient nourishment." Fischer blamed poor weather and the refusal of peasants to harvest the grain, which then rotted in the fields. Government requisitions drained the countryside of food, he admitted, but military needs (a potential conflict with Japan) explained the need for such deadly thoroughness in grain collections.[47]

Fischer maintained his general optimism about the Soviet Union through the publication of his Soviet Journey in 1935. The book devoted three pages to a discussion of the famine of 1932-1933, in which Fischer described his October travels through Ukraine. He told of food left rotting in the fields as the result of peasants' "passive resistance." Fischer blamed the peasants directly for having "brought the calamity upon themselves." Fischer stressed the positive results ensuing from Bolshevik victory in the countryside, and connected the famine to peasant action (or inaction).[47]

Communist Party of the USA

The Ukrainian American community in November and December 1933 organized marches in a number of U.S. cities to protest against American recognition of a government which was starving millions of Ukrainians.[48][dead link][49] American Communists resorted to violence in an attempt to silence the Ukrainians.[48][49][50][not in citation given] On November 18, 1933, in New York City, 8,000 Ukrainians marched from Washington Square Park to 67th Street, while 500 Communists ran beside the parade and snatched the Ukrainians' handbills, spat on the marchers and tried to hit them.[48][49] Five persons were injured.[48] Only the presence of 300 policemen on foot and a score on horseback leading the parade and riding along its flanks prevented serious trouble.[48][49]

In Chicago, on December 17, 1933, several hundred Communists mounted a massed attack on the vanguard of 5,000 Ukrainian American marchers, leaving over 100 injured in what The New York Times called "the worst riot in years":

"Brick, clubs, rotten eggs and other missiles rained on the marchers from the Hermitage Avenue elevated station bridging Madison Street. The street fight which followed saw brass knuckles, blackjacks, fists and rifle butts used until a dozen squads of police restored order."[24][dubious ]

Holodomor denial by prominent visitors to the USSR

Prominent British writers who visited the Soviet Union in 1934, such as George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells, are also on record as denying the existence of the Famine in Ukraine.[12][51]

In 1934 the British Foreign Office in the House of Lords stated that there was no evidence to support the allegations against the Soviet government regarding the Famine in Ukraine, based on the testimony of Sir John Maynard, a renowned famine expert who visited Ukraine in the summer of 1933 and rejected "tales of famine-genocide propagated by the Ukrainian Nationalists".[citation needed]

The height of manipulation was reached during a visit to Ukraine carried out between August 26 and September 9, 1933, by French Prime Minister Édouard Herriot, who denied accounts of the famine and said that Soviet Ukraine was "like a garden in full bloom".[10] The day before his arrival, all beggars, homeless children and starving people were removed from the streets. Shop windows in local stores were filled with food, but purchases were forbidden, and anyone coming too close to the stores was arrested. The streets were washed. Just like all other Western visitors, Herriot met fake "peasants", all selected Communists or Komsomol members, who showed him healthy cattle.[52] Herriot declared to the press that there was no famine in Ukraine, that he did not see any trace of it, and that this showed adversaries of the Soviet Union were spreading the rumour. "When one believes that the Ukraine is devastated by famine, allow me to shrug my shoulders", he declared. The September 13, 1933 issue of Pravda was able to write that Herriot "categorically contradicted the lies of the bourgeoisie press in connection with a famine in the USSR."[53]

The lack of knowledge of the famine was observed by English writer George Orwell, who commented that "huge events like the Ukraine famine of 1933, involving the deaths of millions of people, have actually escaped the attention of the majority of English Russophiles".[54] In 1945, Orwell wrote,

[I]t was considered equally proper to publicise famines when they happened in India and to conceal them when they happened in the Ukraine. And if this was true before the war, the intellectual atmosphere is certainly no better now.[55]

Nigel Colley has written on the influence of the Ukrainian Famine, and the Holodomor denial of Duranty, on Orwell's book Animal Farm.[56]

Modern denial

Modern Soviet denial

In February 1983, Alexander Yakovlev, the Soviet Ambassador to Canada, in a secret analysis "Some thoughts regarding the advertising of the Ukrainian SSR Pavilion held at the International Exposition "Man and the world" held in Canada" put forward a prognosis for a campaign being prepared to bring international attention to the Ukrainian Holodomor which was spearheaded by the Ukrainian nationalist community. A. Yakovlev proposed a list of concrete proposals to "neutralise the enemy ideological actions of the Ukrainian bourgeoise nationalists".[57]

By April 1983, the bureau of the Soviet Novosti Press Agency had prepared and sent out a special press release denying the occurrence of the 1933 Famine in Ukraine. This press release was sent to every major newspaper, radio and television station as well as University in Canada. It was also sent out to all members of the Canadian parliament.[58]

A Holodomor monument in Edmonton, Canada

On July 5, 1983 the Soviet Embassy issued an official note of protest regarding the planned opening of a monument in memory of the victims of the Holodomor in Edmonton[59] attempting to smear the opening of the monument.

In October 1983, the World Congress of Ukrainians led by V-Yu Danyliv attempted to launch an international tribunal to judge the facts regarding the Holodomor. At the 4th World Congress of Ukrainians held in December 1983, a resolution was passed to form such an international tribunal.[59]

A. Makarov from the Soviet Consulate in a discussion held December 3, 1984 with the Canadian minister for foreign affairs Ron Halpin demanded that the Canadian government "use concrete measures to stop the anti-soviet campaign of provocations regarding the so-called "Famine", and stop aggressive actions of the Ukrainian emigre centres against the Soviet Union and to take legal action against "war criminals" who had committed crimes on temporarily occupied Soviet territory.[60]

Further, the Soviet Communist Party approached the Canadian Communist Party to engage journalist Douglas Tottle to prepare counter-propaganda materials under the title "Fraud, Famine and Ukrainian Fascism". Before final publication, the official reviewers of the tome in Kiev suggested that the name of the book be changed, as stated in their explanation "Ukrainian fascism never existed". They also suggested removing from the publication the citations of Soviet authors K. Dmytriuk and V. Stryrkula.[59]

In the chapter "Peredden" (The day before) of his autobiography, President Leonid Kravchuk recalls the shake-up that occurred in the Communist Party of Ukraine after Volodymyr Ivashko was elected leader and replaced Volodymyr Shcherbytsky in September 1989. Earlier in his career as a communist ideologist, Leonid Kravchuk was responsible for countering the Ukrainian Diaspora's public education campaign of the 1980s, marking 50 years of the Soviet terror famine in 1983. That's when Kravchuk, by his own words, first learned the truth of the matter:

"Thanks to the position of the new leader of the republican communist party, Ukraine saw its first book on the Holodomor. That was, without exaggeration, a bold move. I do not want to speak ill of Shcherbytsky, but I could not imagine a similar publication appearing when he was first person of the republic. Ivashko instructed me to collect the necessary materials. I was already familiar with this bitter subject. In the early 1980s many publications began appearing in the Western press on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most horrific tragedies in the history of our people. A counter-propaganda machine was put into motion, and I was one of its "wheels." It was then, in 1984 I believe, that I first had an opportunity to study a small selection of archival materials. What I read and saw astonished me. It was total terror and I constantly chased away the idea that these pitiful people were doomed to torture by design. That understanding came several years later."
"It soon became apparent that neither Ivashko nor I (already somewhat familiar with these materials) could grasp the entire scope of the evil. With an opportunity to study the materials more closely, I felt a second shock, far more powerful than the one experienced in 1984. The crime was so horrible and the Communist Party's guilt so apparent, that I lost the ability to think about anything else. I had always enjoyed a strong sleep, even in hostile conditions. But now I first encountered insomnia: the faces of the children killed by famine stood before my eyes constantly. I began to feel remorseful as I realized that I belong to an organization that can justifiably be called criminal. At the same time I did not want to associate the monsters guilty of murdering millions of my countrymen with many of the honest and respectable communists whom I knew and worked with."
"The selected materials and photographs (one and half thousand, I believe) were passed on to the first secretary. Ivashko telephoned me soon thereafter. His voice was trembling: ‘This can’t be so!’ He refused to believe and I understood why. He ordered a publication ban until such time that evidence was found that the famine was not artificial. Ivashko ordered me to see if there were droughts in Ukraine in those years. I sent a request to the republican Hydromedtsentr state hydrological center, but they did not keep those kinds of records. I sent requests to appropriate services in Moscow and they provided very detailed information. It showed that rainfall levels for those years were not lower than acceptable norms. This was a very serious argument and Ivashko decided to raise the issue at a meeting of the politburo. The discussion was not easy, but thanks to the principled nature of the first secretary, the book's publication was approved. Many were understandably displeased with the decision. However, the most terrifying photographs were not approved for print, and their number was reduced from 1,500 to around 350."[61]

Douglas Tottle

In 1987, the Canadian trade-unionist and activist Douglas Tottle, published the controversial book Fraud, Famine, and Fascism: the Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard, in which he asserts that claims the Holodomor was an intentional genocide are "fraudulent", and "a creation of Nazi propagandists".[2] He downplays the responsibility of what he calls "mistakes" by Stalin and "amateurish Soviet planning", and suggests blame can be placed on Ukrainian saboteurs, resisting collectivization. Nonetheless, Tottle puts significant emphasis into denying the validity of photographs of the famine, suggesting a conspiracy.[62] In fact, very little of Tottles book deals with the Holodomor at all, as he devotes most of it to claims of conspiracy and fascist cover-ups.[62]

His book, published by the pro-Communist Progress Publishers in Toronto, appeared practically at the same time Ukrainian Communist party leader Volodymyr Shcherbytsky publicly acknowledged the Famine, in December 1987. As a result the book was subsequently withdrawn from circulation.[63] Nevertheless, the book is available on the internet, and continues to be cited as an "invaluable" and "important" book by groups such as the Stalin Society in Great Britain, author Jeff Coplon, and others.

In a review of Tottle's book in the Ukrainian Canadian Magazine, published by the pro-Communist Association of United Ukrainian Canadians, Wilfred Szczesny wrote: "Members of the general public who want to know about the famine, its extent and causes, and about the motives and techniques of those who would make this tragedy into something other than what it was will find Tottle's work invaluable" (The Ukrainian Canadian, April 1988, p. 24).[62]

In his book, Searching for place, Lubomyr Luciuk comments: "For a particularly base example of famine-denial literature, see Tottle, Fraud, famine, and fascism...".[64]

In 1988 the International Commission of Inquiry Into the 1932–33 Famine in Ukraine was set up to establish whether the famine existed and its cause. Tottle was invited by the commission to attend the hearings, however he ignored the request. While the commission was organized along judicial lines, it had no judicial power to compel witnesses to attend or testify. However Tottle's book was examined during the Brussels sitting of the commission,[65] held between May 23–27, 1988, with testimony from various expert witnesses. The commission president Professor Jacob Sundberg subsequently concluded that Tottle was not alone in his enterprise to deny the famine on the basis that material included in his book could not have been available to a private person without official Soviet assistance.[66]

Other similar writings include an article by Wilfred Szczesny ("Fraud, Famine and Fascism", The Ukrainian Canadian, April 1988); an unsigned article ("The Ukrainian Famine: Fact or Fiction"), which appeared in the McGill Daily, November 22, 1988,[62] and Challenge-Desafio's article ("The Hoax of the Man-Made Ukraine Famine of 1932-33"),[67] which appeared in a newspaper of the Progressive Labor Party in 1987.[68]

Jeff Coplon

Tottle's book inspired a number of articles such as Jeff Coplon's article "In Search of a Soviet Holocaust".[69] This article denies the Holodomor, and also tries to associate those who continued to bring the Holodomor to the attention of the public with the Nazis, even giving quotes from Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf to stress this point.

Just as the Nazis used the OUN for their own ends, so has Reagan exploited the famine, from his purple-prosed commemoration of "this callous act" to his backing of the Mace commission... But if people could be convinced that Communism is worse than fascism; that Stalin was an insane monster, even worse than Hitler; that the seven million died in more unspeakable agony than the six million... One cannot appease an Evil Empire, after all.[69]

Coplon also penned the article "Rewriting History - How Ukrainian nationalists imposed their doctored history on High School Students", heavily relying on Tottle with his additional comments regarding the inclusion of the Holodomor as one of a number of subjects included in the curriculum for social studies classes in New York. In the article published in the magazine "CAPITAL Region" March 1988, he wrote:

The losers, of course, are the New York state schoolchildren, who will absorb this disinformation between algebra and chemistry - and may even be asked to parrot the fraud for a higher score on their regents exam. [70]

Other similar writings include an article by Wilfred Szczesny ("Fraud, Famine and Fascism", The Ukrainian Canadian, April 1988); an unsigned article ("The Ukrainian Famine: Fact or Fiction"), which appeared in the McGill Daily, November 22, 1988, and Challenge-Desafio's article ("The Hoax of the Man-Made Ukraine Famine of 1932-33"),[67] which appeared in a newspaper of the Progressive Labor Party in 1987.[68]

Stephan Merl

In 1989, Stephan Merl (a professor at Bielefeld University) published "Entfachte Stalin die Hungersnot von 1932-1933 zur Auslöschung des ukrainischen Nationalismus?".[71] This publication, relying heavily on Tottle, describes the work of James Mace and Robert Conquest as part of a campaign by Ukrainian nationalists to discredit the Soviet Union and pillory liberal journalists like Walter Duranty.[72]

Mario Sousa

In 1998 Mario Sousa, a member of the Swedish Communist Party, published Lies Concerning the History of the Soviet Union.

Sousa's arguments against the Holodomor are based on his interpretation that the early Holodomor campaign was started by the Nazis and was later taken up and funded by Ukrainian refugees who he states were Nazi collaborators. It was later supported by the CIA during the Cold War specifically aimed at slandering and discrediting the Soviet government.

The Hearst press articles asserting that millions were dying of famine in the Ukraine - a famine supposedly deliberately provoked by the communists — went into graphic and lurid detail. The Hearst press used every means possible to make their lies seem like the truth, and succeeded in causing public opinion in the capitalist countries to turn sharply against the Soviet Union. This was the origin of the first giant myth manufactured alleging millions were dying in the Soviet Union. In the wave of protests against the supposedly communist-provoked famine which the Western press unleashed, nobody was interested in listening to the Soviet Union's denials and complete exposure of the Hearst press lies, a situation which prevailed from 1934 until 1987! For more than 50 years several generations of people the world over were brought up on a diet of these slanders to harbour a negative view of socialism in the Soviet Union
The Nazi disinformation campaign about the Ukraine did not die with the defeat of Nazi Germany in the Second World War. The Nazi lies were taken over by the CIA and MI5, and were always guaranteed a prominent place in the propaganda war against the Soviet Union. The McCarthyite anti-communist witch hunts after the Second World War also thrived on the tales of the millions who died of starvation in the Ukraine. In 1953 a book on this subject was published in the US. This book was entitled 'Black Deeds of the Kremlin'. Its publication was financed by Ukrainian refugees in the US, people who had collaborated with the Nazis in the Second World War and to whom the American government gave political asylum, presenting them to the world as 'democrats'.
—Mario Sousa[5]

Similar denial is promoted by other communist organizations of the world. In such sources, the Holodomor is typically claimed to be a Nazi invention furthered by Western imperialists and anti-communists.[73]

John Puntis

"'The Ukrainian famine-genocide myth", a pamphlet penned by British physician John Puntis, was published in July 2002 by the Stalin Society based in London.[74] This pamphlet heavily relies on Tottle's book. Facts are reinterpreted and sources and numbers questioned with the whole history of the famine interpreted as the continuation of the Cold War.[citation needed]

Boris Borisov

In 2008, Russia Today published an article by Russian historian Boris Borisov in which he argued that the condemnation of the Holodomor by the U.S. House of Representatives was unjustified, that the number of victims were exaggerated by sloppy analytical methods and that the accusations of intentional causation of the famine were politically motivated and not based on fact. He argued that if the same methods used by researchers of Holodomor were applied to the Great Depression, it would lead to the conclusion of "seven to eight millions of American victims of the man-made catastrophe" in the same post-1929 era. The article further compared the policies of presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt with the policies of Stalin and the New Deal Public Works Administration with the communist Gulag.

Symposia about Holodomor denial

In November 2007, an International Conference entitled The Ukrainian Holodomor and the Denial of Genocides was organized by the Guarini Institute, and held at John Cabot University, in Italy. The Ukrainian Ambassador, Heorhiy Cheriavskyi, addressed the conference and spoke about the importance of international education and recognition of the Ukrainian Holodomor. Federigo Argentieri, from the Guarini Institute, read the paper: "Ideology and Diplomacy: How the Ukrainian Famine Was—and Still is—Denied." In his presentation, Argentieri introduced the history of denial of the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33. Conflicting reports on the events in 1933 highlighted the willingness of the Great Powers to ignore the plain facts witnessed by British government officials in the Soviet Union. At the time, political and economic interests took precedence over internal human rights matters. Argentieri noted that today, the famine remains virtually ignored, even in academic circles in the West.[75]

Holodomor denial and Ukrainian law

Holodomor monument in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.

On November 28, 2006, Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, passed a law recognizing the 1932–1933 Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. The voting figures were as follows: supporting the bill were BYuT—118 deputies, NSNU—79 deputies, Socialists—30 deputies, 4 independent deputies, and the Party of Regions—2 deputies (200 deputies did not cast a vote). The Communist Party of Ukraine voted against the bill. In all, 233 deputies supported the bill—a minimum of 226 votes were required for it to be passed.[76][77]

A draft law "On Amendments to the Criminal and the Procedural Criminal Codes of Ukraine" was submitted by President Viktor Yushchenko for consideration by the Ukrainian Parliament. The draft law envisages prosecution for public denial of the Holodomor Famine of 1932–1933 in Ukraine as a fact of genocide of the Ukrainian people, and of the Holocaust as the fact of genocide of the Jewish people. The draft law foresees that public denial as well as production and dissemination of materials denying the above shall be punished by a fine of 100 to 300 untaxed minimum salaries, or imprisonment of up to two years.[78]

See also


  1. ^ "1932–1933 The Ukrainian Holocaust". A Chronicle of the Communist Inquisition in Ukraine 1917-1991. Memorial Society. 
  2. ^ a b c Douglas Tottle (1987). Fraud, famine, and fascism: the Ukrainian genocide myth from Hitler to Harvard. Toronto: Progress Books. ISBN 0919396518. 
  3. ^ a b Dyukov, Alexander (2008) (in Russian and English). «The Soviet Story»: Механизм лжи / «The Soviet Story»: Forgery Tissue (2nd ed.). Moscow: Фонд "Историческая память". Retrieved 2010-11-18. 
  4. ^ The 'Thomas Walker' Conspiracy Photos – from Hearst's newspapers in 1935
  5. ^ a b Mario Sousa (April, 1998). "Lies concerning the history of the Soviet Union". Proletären (Communist Party (Sweden)). 
  6. ^ Anna Alekseyenko; & al. (2007). Holodomor – Ukrainian Genocide in the Early 1930s. office of the President of Ukraine. p. 12. Retrieved 2010-11-18. updated version
  7. ^ Zenon Zawada (November 2, 2008). "Russian TV network carries distortions about Holodomor". The Ukrainian Weekly (44): 8. 
  8. ^ Execution by Hunger: The Hidden Holocaust pp xv By Miron Dolot Published by W. W. Norton & Company, 1985 ISBN 0393304167, 9780393304169
  9. ^ "MEPs recognize Ukraine's famine as crime against humanity". Russian News & Information Agency. 23/ 10/ 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  10. ^ a b c Nicolas Werth, Karel Bartošek, Jean-Louis Panné, Jean-Louis Margolin, Andrzej Paczkowski, Stéphane Courtois, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-674-07608-7, pages 159-160
  11. ^ a b c d Richard Pipes Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime, Vintage books, Random House Inc., New York, 1995, ISBN 0-394-50242-6, pages 232-236.
  12. ^ a b c d e Edvard Radzinsky Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives, Anchor, (1997) ISBN 0-385-47954-9, pages 256-259
  13. ^ a b c d Robert Conquest Reflections on a Ravaged Century (2000) ISBN 0-393-04818-7, p. 96
  14. ^ Famine denial The Ukrainian Weekly, July 14, 2002, No. 28, Vol. LXX
  15. ^ The Soviet Union dismissed all references to the famine as anti-Soviet propaganda. Denial of the terror-famine declined after the Communist Party lost power and the Soviet empire disintegrated @ Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity By Dinah Shelton; Page 1055 ISBN 0028658485
  16. ^ After over half a century of denial, in January 1990 the Communist Party of Ukraine adopted a special resolution admitting that the Ukrainian Famine had indeed occurred, cost millions of lives... Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts - Page 93 ISBN 0415944295
  17. ^ Robert Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine Oxford University Press (1987), ISBN 0195051807, p. 308. [1]
  18. ^ Robert Conquest The Dragons of Expectation. Reality and Delusion in the Course of History, W.W. Norton and Company (2004), ISBN 0-393-05933-2, page 102.
  19. ^ There were numerous incidents of cannibalism, both killing for food and the consumption of corpses. Davies & Wheatcroft. The Years of Hunger, p 421.
  20. ^ (Harvest of Sorrow, page 325)
  21. ^ How Liberals Funked It
  22. ^ Gareth Jones, Interview with Maxim Litvinov, March 1933
  23. ^ Marco Carynnyk, "The New York Times and the Great Famine", The Ukrainian Weekly, September 25, 1983, No. 39, Vol. LI
  24. ^ a b James E. Mace, "Collaboration in the suppression of the Ukrainian famine" (paper delivered at a conference on "Recognition and Denial of Genocide and Mass Killing in the 20th Century", held in New York City on November 13, 1987), The Ukrainian Weekly, January 10, 1988, No. 2, Vol. LVI
  25. ^ Boriak, Hennadii (Fall 2001). "The publication of sources on the history of the 1932-1933 famine-genocide: history, current state, and prospects". Harvard Ukrainian Studies 25 (3-4): 167–186.
  26. ^ Lisa Shymko, "The Politics of Genocide", The American Spectator, November 14, 2007
  27. ^ Catherine Merridale, "The 1937 Census and the Limits of Stalinist Rule" Historical Journal 39, 1996
  28. ^ ЦГАООУ. Ф.1. Оп. 25 Д. 2719. Л.27-28. Подлинник.
  29. ^ a b Stephen Bandera, "Holodomor as a source of national unity", Ukrainian Echo, February 5, 2007
  30. ^ The Great Famine of 1932-33 - A Symposium, 22 October 2003, pp.4-5
  31. ^ Oleksa Musienko first used the term Holodomor on February 18, 1988. retrieved February 29, 2008
  32. ^ "Soviet crimes remain unpunished"
  33. ^ "Foreign Ministry to invite Counsellor[sic]-Minister of Russian Embassy in view of developments happened in Ukrainian cultural center in Moscow during Holodomor 1932-1933 exhibition" at [2] retrieved March 5, 2008
  34. ^ Wright, Patrick (2007). Iron Curtain. Oxford University Press. pp. 306, 307. ISBN 0199231508. "He (Duranty) had become creatures of the Soviet censors" 
  35. ^ Tucker, Robert (1992). Stalin in Power. Norton & Company. p. 191. ISBN 0393308693. 
  36. ^ a b Lyons, Eugene (1991). "The Press Corps Conceals a Famine". Assignment in Utopia. Transaction Publishers. pp. 572, 573. ISBN 0887388566. 
  37. ^ Charen, Mona (2004). Useful Idiots. HarperCollins. p. 87. ISBN 0060579412. 
  38. ^ Woods, Thomas (2004). "The New York Reporter who covered up Stalin's crimes". The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History. Regnery Publishing. p. 165. ISBN 0895260476. 
  39. ^ "Correspondence between Markian Pelech and the Board of the Pulitzer Prizes regarding Walter Duranty's 1932 Pulitzer Prize" (December 30, 2002–April 28, 2003)
  40. ^ Embassy dispatch dated 30 September 1933 included the following: "According to Mr. Duranty the population of North Caucasus and the Lower Volga had decreased in the past year by three million, and the population of Ukraine by four to five million" (cited from "Reflections on the ravaged century", p. 123)
  41. ^ a b c "New York Times Statement About 1932 Pulitzer Prize Awarded to Walter Duranty"
  42. ^ John Berlau, "Duranty's Deception", Insight, July 22, 2003
  43. ^ Muggeridge, Malcolm: The Green Stick: Chronicles of Wasted Time Volume I Chapter 5 (1972).
  44. ^ Robert Conquest. The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine Oxford University Press (1987), ISBN 0195051807, page 320. [3]
  45. ^ Mark Y. Herring, "Useful Idiot" (a review of Stalin's apologist: Walter Duranty, the New York Times man in Moscow, by S.J. Taylor), Contra Mundum, nr. 15, 1995
  46. ^ Correspondence between Markian Pelech and the Board of Pulitzer Prizes
  47. ^ a b Louis Fisher, at
  48. ^ a b c d e Collaboration in the suppression of the Ukrainian famine
  49. ^ a b c d Letter to Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., Publisher, NY Times
  50. ^ Dushnyck, Walter. 50 Years Ago: The Famine Holocaust in Ukraine: Terror and Human Misery as Instruments of Russian Imperialism
  51. ^ Stalin-Wells talk / the verbatim record and a discussion by G.B. Shaw, H.G. Wells, J.M. Keynes, E. Toller and others
  52. ^ Reflections, p. 122
  53. ^ "France, Germany and Austria Facing the famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine"
  54. ^ George Orwell, "Notes on Nationalism" in "The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell" (London, 1968), Vol. 3, p. 370.
  55. ^ Was Gareth Jones's surname behind George Orwell’s naming of ‘Farmer Jones' in Animal Farm?.
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  58. ^ Сергійчук В. Як нас морили Голодом 1932-1933 - Київський Національний Університет, Київ, 2006 с.323 (In Ukrainian) Serhiychuk, V. How we were tired by Famine 1932-33 - Kiev University, Kiev, 2006 page 323
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  61. ^ Kravchuk, Leonid Mayemo te, shcho mayemo: spohady i rozdumy, Kiev, 2002, Stolittya (392 p.) ISBN 966-95952-8-2, pp. 44-46,
  63. ^ link Letter from David R. Marples
  64. ^ Lubomyr Luciuk, Searching for place: Ukrainian displaced persons, Canada, and the migration of memory, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000, p. 413. ISBN 0802042457
  65. ^ International Commission of Inquiry Into the 1932–33 Famine in Ukraine by Prof. Jacob Sundberg
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  69. ^ a b Jeff Coplon, "In Search of a Soviet Holocaust", The Village Voice, January 12, 1988.
  70. ^ Rewriting History - How Ukrainian nationalists imposed their doctored history on High School Students
  71. ^ Stephan Merl, "Entfachte Stalin die Hungersnot von 1932-1933 zur Auslöschung des ukrainischen Nationalismus?", Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas 37 (1989), vol. 4, p. 569-590
  72. ^ Letters of David Marples
  73. ^ E.g. an article in a Brazilian newspaper -
  74. ^ John Puntis, The Ukrainian famine-genocide myth. Stalin Society.
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  76. ^ "Holodomor and Holocaust denial to be a criminal offense", 3 April 2007
  77. ^ "What the Verkhovna Rada actually passed", February 28, 2007
  78. ^ "Public denial of Holodomor Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine as genocide of Ukrainian people to be prosecuted", December 12, 2007

Additional reading

  • Andreopoulos, George J., Ed. Genocide: conceptual and historical dimensions, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994. ISBN 0812232496
  • Colorosa, Barbara. Extraordinary evil: a brief history of genocide, New York: Penguin Group, 2007. ISBN 0670066044
  • Conquest, Robert. Reflections on a Ravaged Century (2000) ISBN 0-393-04818-7
  • Conquest, Robert. The Dragons of Expectation. Reality and Delusion in the Course of History, W.W. Norton and Company, 2004. ISBN 0-393-05933-2
  • Crowl, James William. Angels in Stalin's Paradise. Western Reporters in Soviet Russia, 1917 to 1937. A case study of Louis Fisher and Walter Duranty, University Press of America, 1982. ISBN 0819121851
  • New Internationalist. Justice After Genocide. December (385). 2005.
  • Mace, James. Collaboration in the suppression of the Ukrainian famine, paper delivered at a conference on "Recognition and Denial of Genocide and Mass Killing in the 20th Century", New York, November 13, 1987.
  • Paris, Erna. Long shadows: truth, lies, and history, New York: Bloomsbury, 2001. ISBN 1582342105
  • Springer, Jane. Genocide, Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2006. ISBN 0888996810
  • Sullivant, Robert S. Soviet Politics and the Ukraine: 1917-1957. New York: Columbia University Press, 1962.
  • Tauger, Mark B. The 1932 Harvest and the Famine of 1933, Slavic Review, Vol. 50, No. 1 (Spring, 1991), pp. 70–89
  • Taylor, Sally J. Stalin's apologist: Walter Duranty, the New York Times's Man in Moscow, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. ISBN 0195057007
  • Totten, Samuel, William S. Parsons, and Israel W. Charney, ed. Genocide in the Twentieth Century: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts. Introduction by Samuel Totten and William S. Parsons. The Garland Reference Library of Social Science, Vol. 772. London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1995.
  • Waller, James. Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 0195148681

Video resources

  • Harvest of Despair. (1983), produced by the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre.

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