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Famine-Genocide in Ukraine Marker

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Historic Landmark)

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During the Holodomor, which is also known as the "Terror-Famine in Ukraine" and "Famine-Genocide in Ukraine", millions of citizens of the Ukrainian SSR, the majority of whom were ethnic Ukrainians, died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine. Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by the independent Ukraine and many other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet Union.

Early estimates of the death toll by scholars and government officials varied greatly; anywhere from 1.8 to 12 million ethnic Ukrainians were said to have perished as a result of the famine. Recent research has since narrowed the estimates to between 2.4 and 7.5 million. The exact number of deaths is hard to determine, due to a lack of records, but the number increases significantly when the deaths inside heavily Ukrainian-populated Kuban are included. Older estimates are still often cited in political commentary. According to the findings of the Court of Appeal of Kiev in 2010, the demographic losses due to the famine amounted to 10 million, with 3.9 million direct famine deaths, and a further 6.1 million birth deficit.


The Famine-Genocide in Ukraine Marker.
signage on the Mass. Avenue side of the monument where visitors continue leaving flowers and icons in remembrance of those who died in the famine-genocides of the 1930s under Jos. Stalin.
Famine-Genocide in Ukraine Memorial

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The famine had been predicted as far back as 1930 by academics and advisers to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic government, but little to no preventive action was taken. The famine affected the Ukrainian SSR as well as the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (a part of the Ukrainian SSR at the time) in the spring of 1932 and from February to July 1933, with the greatest number of victims recorded in the spring of 1933. Between 1926 and 1939, the Ukrainian population increased by 6.6%, whereas Russia and Belarus grew by 16.9% and 11.7%, respectively.

From the 1932 harvest, Soviet authorities were able to procure only 4.3 million tons as compared with 7.2 million tons obtained from the 1931 harvest. Rations in town were drastically cut back, and in the winter of 1932–33 and spring of 1933 people in many urban areas were starved. The urban workers were supplied by a rationing system (and therefore could occasionally assist their starving relatives of the countryside), but rations were gradually cut; and by the spring of 1933, the urban residents also faced starvation. At the same time, workers were shown agitprop movies, where all peasants were portrayed as counterrevolutionaries hiding grain and potatoes at a time when workers, who were constructing the "bright future" of socialism, were starving.

The first reports of mass malnutrition and deaths from starvation emerged from two urban areas of the city of Uman, reported in January 1933 by Vinnytsya and Kiev oblasts. By mid-January 1933, there were reports about mass "difficulties" with food in urban areas, which had been under supplied through the rationing system, and deaths from starvation among people who were withdrawn from the rationing supply. The withdrawal was to comply with the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine Decree of December 1932. By the beginning of February 1933, according to reports from local authorities and Ukrainian GPU, the most affected area was Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, which also suffered from epidemics of typhus and malaria. Odessa and Kiev oblasts were second and third, respectively. By mid-March, most of the reports of starvation originated from Kiev Oblast.

By mid-April 1933, Kharkiv Oblast reached the top of the most affected list, while Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa, Vinnytsya, and Donetsk oblasts, and Moldavian SSR were next on the list. Reports about mass deaths from starvation, dated mid-May through the beginning of June 1933, originated from raions in Kiev and Kharkiv oblasts. The "less affected" list noted Chernihiv Oblast and northern parts of Kiev and Vinnytsya oblasts. The Central Committee of the CP(b) of Ukraine Decree of 8 February 1933 said no hunger cases should have remained untreated. Local authorities had to submit reports about the numbers suffering from hunger, the reasons for hunger, number of deaths from hunger, food aid provided from local sources, and centrally provided food aid required. The GPU managed parallel reporting and food assistance in the Ukrainian SSR. (Many regional reports and most of the central summary reports are available from present-day central and regional Ukrainian archives.) The Ukrainian Weekly, which was tracking the situation in 1933, reported the difficulties in communications and the appalling situation in Ukraine.


Sources

Davies & Wheatcroft 2010, pp. 479–484. Jones, Adam (2010). Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction. Taylor & Francis. p. 194. ISBN 9780415486187. Andrea Graziosi, "Les Famines Soviétiques de 1931–1933 et le Holodomor Ukrainien.", Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique, 46/3, p. 457 Nicolas Werth, "La grande famine ukrainienne de 1932–1933" in Nicolas Werth, La terreur et le désarroi: Staline et son système, Paris, 2007, p. 132. ISBN 2262024626 Graziosi, Andrea (2005). LES FAMINES SOVIÉTIQUES DE 1931–1933 ET LE HOLODOMOR UKRAINIEN. Cahier du Monde Russe. p. 464. Davies 2006, p. 145. Baumeister 1999, p. 179. Sternberg & Sternberg 2008, p. 67

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  • Food History
  • Labor History
  • Urban History
This location was created on 2015-11-23 by Ernest Barker .   It was last updated on 2015-11-23 by Ernest Barker .

This entry has been viewed 219 times within the past year

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