[Aaus-list] Fw: Responses to article on Holodomor recognition, Jerusalem Post

Chernetsky, Vitaly A vchernetsky at ku.edu
Wed Feb 14 15:46:53 EST 2018

Dear Colleagues,




Vitaly Chernetsky
Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Director, Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66045
tel. (785) 864-2359
vchernetsky at ku.edu
From: Holodomor Research and Education Consortium <hrec at ualberta.ca>
Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 2:40 PM
Subject: Responses to article on Holodomor recognition, Jerusalem Post


Responses from Marta Baziuk and from the Ukrainian MP Volodymyr Ariev to The Jerusalem Post article re recognition of the Holodomor. The link to the original article is at the bottom of this email.

Letter to the Editor by Marta Baziuk, Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (February 14, 2018) (scroll down through letters)

Knesset’s Holodomor bill
With regard to “Bill to remember mass-starvation of Ukrainians under Stalin treads tricky ground” (February 7), reporter Lahav Harkov writes that the facts are disputed when actually the causes and outcomes of the Holodomor have been established.

The famine in Ukraine of 1932-33 began with forced collectivization followed by imposition of impossibly high grain requisition quotas that demanded more than the peasant farmers had to give. When the quotas could not be met, the authorities raised them and sent troops house to house to seize not only grain, but remaining foodstuffs.

Stalin voiced concern that Ukraine could be lost and intensified his repression against the republic’s leadership. The borders were closed, preventing the starving from seeking food elsewhere. In June 1933, at the height of the famine, 26,000 people were dying every day while grain they had grown was sold abroad to finance Soviet industrialization. At the same time, the Kremlin unleashed a campaign of repression against Ukrainian cultural, religious and political leaders. One in six people in the Ukrainian countryside would perish. Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum eloquently and persuasively described these events in Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine.

Members of minority communities in Ukraine also suffered, particularly those living in rural areas. The Kazakhs were also victims of a brutal famine, caused largely by the confiscation of their livestock, redirected to feed the citizens of Moscow and Leningrad. That an even greater percentage of Kazakhs died demonstrates Stalin’s ruthlessness and willingness to inflict more than one genocide in achieving his aims, as Norman Naimark explains in his book Stalin’s Genocides.

There is no question that the authorities knew what the consequences of their actions would be. The Holodomor was a calamity for Ukraine and Ukrainians (the effects of which are felt to this day), and it should be recognized, as at least 14 nations have already done, including Canada. All the rest is politics and scare tactics.

The writer is executive director of the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta.

Lahav Harkov responds: When I said there were details of the Holodomor that are disputed, I was referring to the number of Ukrainians it killed, as I made clear in that same paragraph.

Volodymyr Ariev, Ukrainian MP and Vice President of PACE


My grandfather is Jewish, my grandmother is Ukrainian. I never thought it was necessary to rank tragedies. No atrocity from the past should be repeated, and each should be understood and named for what it was. Hitler officially called to eliminate the Jewish people; although Stalin didn’t put his plan down in words, he declared his goal of crushing Ukraine as he unleashed a genocidal famine against its inhabitants.

Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jewish lawyer from western Ukraine who coined the term genocide, called “the destruction of the Ukrainian nation” the “classic example of Soviet genocide, its longest and broadest experiment in Russification.”

Calling for the recognition of the Holodomor is a matter of justice, an act of remembering the four to five million Ukrainians who died. Stalin and his associates starved to death one in six people living in rural Ukraine in 1932-33.

Those who suffered and died in the Holodomor were our grandparents, great-grandparents, great-aunts and -uncles. The Holodomor was a calamity for the Ukrainian people that Ukrainians have a responsibility to study, understand and commemorate. It isn’t about comparisons to other genocides. Acknowledgment of the horrible crime against these victims – that is all that Ukrainians want.

On the state level, we commemorate the victims of both crimes on the appropriate dates, and I would like to express my gratitude to my colleague from the Knesset for raising the matter of commemorating the Holodomor in Israel. We are restoring our state as the Jewish people have restored Israel. Unfortunately, Ukraine has a powerful neighbor to the east that is intent on preventing us from living in peace and prosperity.

Ukrainians and Jews have much in common. Of course, Hitler’s racist policies destroyed millions of Ukrainians and Ukrainian Jews died in large numbers in the Holodomor. And many Ukrainians risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, and many Jews helped their Ukrainian neighbors during the Holodomor.

It is my sincere hope that the Israeli people will recognize the Holodomor for what it was as we in Ukraine recognize the Holocaust. Mutual recognition deepens our humanity. It is as natural for me as the Ukrainian and Jewish blood that harmoniously flows in my veins.

The author is a member of the Ukrainian Parliament and of vice president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

"Bill to Remember "Ukrainian Genocide" under Stalin Treads Tricky Ground"

Marta Baziuk
Executive Director
Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC)
Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies
416 923-4732
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