Saturday, August 15, 2015

Current Crisis in Ukraine has Its Roots in Stalin’s Terror Famine and Ethnic Engineering

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 15—The current crisis in Ukraine has its roots in Stalin’s terror famine in the 1930s because the Soviet government in an act of genocide exploited its destruction of the peasantry of eastern Ukraine to change the ethnic mix of the region by sending in Russians and Belarusians to what had been Ukrainian areas.

            Not surprisingly, most attention has been directed at the murderous effects of Stalin’s war against the peasantry generally and in Ukraine in particular, as in the late Robert Conquest’s now classic study, Harvest of Sorrow. That was one aspect of the genocide the Soviet conducted, but the other aspect, exploiting these deaths to change the ethnic mix, has received less attention.

            That is now being redressed by an exhibit at Kyiv’s Holodomor Museum, in which the curators have put on display documents showing that Moscow artificially resettled Russians and Belarusians on territories where Ukrainians had been wiped out (

            Those documents, according to Radio Liberty, had long been classified to hide what the Soviet state did. Museum officials are convinced that this Soviet policy of forcible assimilation “can partially explain separatism in the east of contemporary Ukraine,” which would have been far more Ukrainian had there been no famine or forcible transfer of people.

            According to the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, approximately 4.5 million people died in Ukraine in the Golodomor of 1932-33. The number of Belarusians and Russians moved in was less, but as a result of Stalin’s actions, the share of those two Slavic groups in the Ukrainian population increased from 9.5 percent in 1926 to 14 percent in 1939.


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