Friday, 23 November 2012

Ukraine's Genocide: 'The Big Lie' - Stalin's Secret Blacklist

No Sign of Simon Danczuk M.P. or his party colleague the Ukrainian, Stefan Cholewka
AT the Ukrainian Club on Mere Street, Rochdale I've just been to see a smashing documentary film about the Holodomor or the Genocide in 1932-1933 in the Ukraine of 7-10 million innocent victims of the man-made famine enforced by Joseph Stalin.  It was produced in the USA by Bobby Leigh and Marta Tomkiw and it is called 'HOLODOMOR:  Ukraine's Genocide - 'The biggest lie, the best kept secret'.  But though the Rochdale MP, Simon Danczuk, was down to address the commemorative event on the program there was no sign of him at either the Rochdale Memorial Gardens for the ceremony in Rochdale town centre or at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre on Mere Street.  Nor was there any sign of his Labour Party Ukrainian colleague, Stefan Cholewka.  

The film was put by the Rochdale Friends of Lviv & the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (Rochdale Branch).  I'd just been to the memorial ceremony in the Rochdale Memorial Gardens and was invited back as my cousin is married to a Ukrainian lass.  The opening footage was mostly newsreel shots in black and white covering the run up the the Russian Revolution, and Lenin's early policy of Russification of the Ukraine after the Revolution attempting the crushing of the Ukrainian language and identity.  The film showed that this policy was later dropped by Lenin, when it became apparent that it was not working and the agricultural yield declined. 

Years later, Stalin introduced a program of forced integration of all republics within the Soviet Union.  This involved the forced collectivisation of the peasants, restrictions on the use of the Ukrainian language, and the absorbing of the Ukrainian civilisation into the Soviet system.  The literature suggests this led to economic declines in crop yields and weaking of agricultural productivity in the 1930s.  State intervention resulted in the undermining of productivity of farming.  This caused conflict between the government and the farmers. 

In 1932, the Soviet regime decided to punish the Ukraine.  A booklet published by Kyiv Olena Telina Publishing House in 2008 that I got at the showing of the film states:  'Bolshevik polices in Ukraine were goal-orientated and systematic in nature.. the goal was to create conditions that doomed millions of Ukrainian farmers to stavation.'    This was done by confiscation of all food resouces, the isolation of the population and the prevention of escape insearch of food.  This document claims:  'In the fall (Autumn) of 1932, the Bolshevik government's actions began to clearly display the essence of what is defined as genocide by Article II of the Convention of the Prevention & Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, as adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9th, 1948. 

In July 1932, the Kremlin demanded unrealistic grain procurement quotas for the Ukraine.  These absurdly high quotas, set so high that they were impossible to achieve, gave the government the legal basis for applying repressive measures against all who failed to meet the targets.  On August 7th, 1932, the Soviet government adopted a resolution in which 'embezzlement of collective farm property' was punishable death through shooting or 10-year prison terms.  This law became known as the 'Law of Five Wheat Ears'.  On the 8th, December 1932, the General Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party, Stanislaw Kosior, reported to Stalin that the republic's Party had authorised a blacklist of six villages and that 400 collective farms had been blacklisted by decision of oblast executive committees:  certain villages remained blacklisted until the end of 1933.  Blacklisting collective farms, villages and entire regions resulted in their complete isolation and expropriation of all food resources, which often meant death for all their residents.

Famine was the result and in the spring of 1932, nearly a third of the population of the Zinoviev region, or 28,000 people, fled their homes.  Records suggest that there were 3 million refugees by the spring of 1932.  By February 1933, thousands of farmers were starving and local government bodies got a strict order:  'All organisations, except GPU strutures, are prohibited from keeping records on incidents of swelling from starvation and death from famine.'  Village councils were ordered not to specify causes of death in their registries.  And, In a new order issued in 1934:  all civilian registry office death records for 1932-33 were to be destroyed.

Both the film and the booklet state:  'Responsibility for the death of millions of Ukrainians during the man-made Holodomor rests entirely with the top leadership of the Communist Party of the USSR and the Soviet Ukraine.'  The booklet in a chapter entitled 'The Guilty Party' declares: 
'In addition to extracting all food resources... (t)he scale of the judicial repressions applied in Ukraine in 1933 was comparable to the Great Terror of 1937-38.  According to official data, more people were arrested in the republic in 1933 than were in 1938.' 

The booklet concludes:  'In the long list of Soviet crimes, the Holodomor of 1932-33 stands out as the most grave and horrific crime committed in 70-years the USSR existed.'  And, that '(t)he famine was man-made and led to deaths of millions of Ukrainians.  Responsibility for the crime rests entirely with the top leadership of the Communist Party of the USSR and the Soviet Ukraine.  Stalin was responsible above all.'

Fortunately, the Ukrainians in Rochdale since 2009 have been bringing this issue of the famine to the public attention.

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