The Holodomor of 1932-33. Why Stalin feared Ukrainians

The holodomor memorial in Kyiv stands near the Mykhailivskyi monastery. 


Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

The memory of Holodomor entered the Ukrainian national consciousness only during the perestroika years. It is difficult to imagine now, but the communist regime succeeded in hiding the fact that the mass murder had been planned from its own citizens, even from those who had lost loved ones during the Holodomor years, even from those who had lived through the famine themselves. The curtain on the scene of the Stalinist crimes rose slowly and reluctantly. People began to talk about the murder of Soviet citizens only in the late ’50s and the early ’60s of the past century, after the appearance of Nikita Krushchev, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, at the 20th Party Congress. As a sinister irony of fate, the rehabilitated party leaders included the direct participants and organizers of the Holodomor: Stanislav Kosior, Pavel Postyshev, Vlas Chubar, Panas Lyubchenko. Miraculously, the former formal head of Soviet Ukraine, the sinister torturer Grigory Petrovsky, survived. And during these years of Communist rule, he even received the title of Hero of Socialist Labor, becoming the canonical “Senior Bolshevik.”

Public opinion has accepted the view that Soviet security forces on the orders of Stalin and other thugs from the Bolshevik leadership had organized mass repressions against the people. Anyone who tries to deny that these repressions took place is now viewed as an exception. Even Stalin’s followers do not deny these repressions; they simply talk about their inevitability, trying to justify their bloody idol.

Much less is said about the organization of the Great Famine than about the Great Terror. In the mind of the average Soviet resident, the famine has been associated with the consequences of the civil war and the economic policies of the Bolshevik leadership. The fact that is was organized deliberately to murder hundreds of thousands of people is not part of general consciousness up to this day. People find it especially difficult to believe that this famine could have been organized for a specific purpose — the destruction of ethnic and social groups, as happened during the Holodomor. It is strange that the same people who know about the deliberate expulsion by the Stalin regime of the peoples of the Caucasus or the Crimean Tatars — on the basis of their nationality — do not believe that the policy of the Bolshevik Central Committee could be directed specifically against Ukrainians. The first big lie in the perception of Holodomor lies in this unwillingness to see and acknowledge obvious facts.

The core motivation: fear of the Ukrainian people

But there is one big lie that perhaps is even more dangerous than the first. Because this second lie regards not the Russian or the Communist versions of what happened on Ukrainian lands in the ’30s. This second lie is tied to the perception of what happened by the Ukrainians themselves, and even by the leadership. If you ask the average person why Stalin decided to destroy Ukrainians, he is unlikely to tell you that the Communist leader feared them. People will talk about the desire to drive the peasants into collective farms, to provide bread for the cities, to obtain grain to sell abroad. They will mention the brutal logic of class warfare, which was driving the Bolshevik repression. In this interpretation, millions of Ukrainian peasants, destroyed by Stalin and his sycophants, will appear as the innocent victims of repression, who represented no threat to Bolshevism and were simply murdered by their rulers.

But this is not at all the reality that defined the Holodomor. The truth is that it was Stalin’s fear. It was this fear of the Ukrainian people that was the main motive that determined the dictator’s actions.

When Stalin wrote to his collaborators that “we may lose Ukraine,” he was by no means expressing a paranoid suspicion. Stalin’s own analysis of future developments in Ukraine is revealing. His letter to Kaganovich about the possibility of losing Ukraine was dated August 11, 1932. From our modern perspective, Stalin had been ruling the Soviet Union for many years. But this was not the case at all. Alexei Rykov resigned as chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union only in December 1930, when he was replaced by Stalin’s ally Vyacheslav Molotov. This is the date that marks the beginning of Stalin’s absolute power. In 1931 Stalin began constructing his own empire. Unlike other Soviet leaders, he was an expert on the national question, having served as the first nationalities commissar in the Soviet government. He could not fail to remember that the Bolsheviks had established control over Ukrainian lands only a decade earlier, after a bloody war. And this was not a civil war as in Russia. This was a war of the Russian Red Army and its henchmen in Ukraine against Ukrainians. If one is to use the modern political vocabulary, it was a war against Ukraine with the help of the “Donetsk People’s Republic.” Only then the “Donetsk People’s Republic” won.

Stalin knew that most Ukrainians had never supported the Bolsheviks. That the population of the large cities during the elections to the Russian Constituent Assembly had voted for different political parties in the Russian Empire but not for the Bolsheviks. And that the Ukrainian village population supported the same Ukrainian national parties that had declared the Ukrainian National Republic. These people that formed the electoral basis for renewing the Ukrainian state were still alive and wanting to work on their land. And, despite heavy losses during the Bolshevik occupation, they had not been broken.

Stalin was convinced by a series of peasant uprisings that were a response to the policy of collectivization. Any awareness of these uprising was carefully concealed by the regime. Even the possibility of an uprising and victory over authoritarianism is its greatest defeat. It is not by accident that Nazis razed to the ground the Sobibor concentration camp where the prisoners had defeated the SS. Afterwards, the Soviet authorities ignored the success of this uprising for years. The logic of both the Stalin and Hitler regimes was that evil cannot be overcome and power cannot be resisted. This is what they were protecting. This is why they were hiding the truth.

Yes, it is possible that these uprisings cannot be viewed as having been carefully organized; most of them were a social phenomenon. They were a protest against the policy of collectivization and the barbaric “grain procurement.” After all, the organized centers of peasant resistance had been destroyed after the Bolshevik occupation still in the early ’20s. But the fact that even after this terrible reprisal in Ukraine there were still thousands of people who were ready to oppose the regime could not fail to frighten Stalin. Holodomor was his conscious decision to destroy the Ukrainian village as a political and civilizational foundation of the Ukrainian nation. The fact that the village was the first to undergo the attack was completely natural. The journalists of the time wrote about the invincibility of the Ukrainian peasant. An example was the excellent article written by the future ideologue of Zionism, the Odesa writer Vladimir Zhabotinsky  (Ze’ev Jabotinsky). They were convinced that the peasant would outlive all his oppressors, all those who encroach on the very foundations of his existence, on the structure of Ukraine, on its values.


Stalin decided to conquer this peasant. He decided to starve him to death. To destroy him. As long as this peasant was alive and ready to fight, the Bolshevik dictator could not be sure of his power over Ukraine. And in the certainty that his empire would last.

Stalin did not win, but the blow was devastating. It was this blow that brought about the civilizational shock that has affected millions of people. That led to the disappearance of Ukrainian life for many long years, even decades. That generated the fear of everything Ukrainian, of the peoples’ own historical memory. This blow was one of the important components of the political heritage of modern Ukraine. This is what is keeping the country from moving forward. This is what up to this day has allowed two identities to exist in one country — the Ukrainian identity and the Soviet one. And moreover, the second identity is one of fear.

This was a blow to the enemy


“Holodomor. Genocide. Let us remember.” Kyiv, November 23, 2013.

But at the same time it must be understood that Stalin’s blow was not a blow against innocent victims that were ready to accept his cannibalistic policies. No, it was a blow against the enemy. It was a blow against the people who were ready to fight back and who were capable of rebelling. I have no doubt that as historians begin to concentrate on the era of the ’20s and ’30s they will find more direct confirmation of this readiness to resist.

Since time immemorial Ukrainians have been a rebellious people. The rejection of evil, the readiness to resist, marked the very development of Ukrainian civilization during the era of the Republic of Poland as well as during the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian empire. The perception of Ukrainians as a rebellious people became the main theme in the works of Taras Shevchenko and marked the creative self-awareness of his readers — the Ukrainian people themselves. And years after the collapse of the Russian Empire, there has been a continuous wave of uprisings and a readiness to confront oppressors even when the oppressor is much stronger.

For Stalin as well, the Ukrainians were also a rebellious people. This is precisely what he wanted to destroy — their will to rebel. This is why the Holodomor took place. This was not only the desire to take away bread. This was the desire to steal the heart and will. And despite the millions of victims, this is precisely what Stalin and his successors have failed to do. They took away the bread, but they could not take away the heart and will.

Even after the most terrible trial in their national history, the Ukrainians remained a rebellious people. Events during the recent decades of national history–the two Maidans, the national war against Russian invaders– attest to that with complete clarity. If Stalin had magically appeared among us on during the Maidan of 2013-2014, if he had seen the descendants of those he had tried to starve to death, he would have realized that he had lost irreparably.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Source: Radio Svoboda

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  1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    Putin today is continuing Stalin’s evil policies.

  2. Avatar Turtler says:

    “Don’t be fooled by clever Jewish propagandists… ”

    Ah yes, those insideous Israelis. Its’ not like they’ve had a number of survivors from Soviet terror and even the Holodomor.

    “so many Soviet jew commissars. And chekist-GPU killers.”

    The number of actual, practicing Jews in the Soviet terror apparatus numbers somewhere around Zero,. Being an explicitly atheist totalitarian ideology has something to do with it. The most that can be said about wolves in human skin like Kaganovich is that they were of Jewish descent. And even then they were in a minority.

    They still today cover up their role in Soviet terror gulag state”

    what role?

    The fact that some morons of Jewish descent but otherwise utterly divorced from tany definition of Jewishness helped found the Bolshevik party alongside plenty of Gentiles?

    “financed and built with full Anglo-American fascist bankroll of Stalin”

    Let me make this as clear as possible.


    And they did NOT give the full bankroll to the Soviets. In fact before 1941 relations were tense and distant at BEST. It is true a number of private American and British companies and economists werec contracted (oh the Capitalist irony) to work in the SOviet Union.

    But they were not acting on behalf of the state.

    “in war plan to destroy Germany.”

    Oh this is rich.

    * Moron accuses the Western Democracies of being Fascist

    * Moron indulges in Neo-Nazi apologia for an actual Fascist dictatorship.

    Newsflash hack: Hitler and Stalin spent the inter war period AS ALLIES. Distrustful and competetive allies, but allies nontheless.

    Rapallo Treaty ring any bells in your Jew hating, historically illiterate, Neo-Nazi bellfry?

    “Get smart today. Read & learn”

    Oh but I have.

    And frankly even if you weren’t a bigot of the worst kind save those with blood on their hands, I think you still should be flagged half to death for your relentless spamming about yoru misspent paper.

    1. Read the book. Open your very tightly closed mind

      1. Avatar Turtler says:

        I’m not interested in reading a book whose author already gets things blatantly, blatantly wrong.

        And contrary to your drivel, the Soviet Secret Police wasn’t dominated by Jews. Even the *Very First Politburo* wasn’t dominated by them (even if we bastardize the definition to merely be “Ethnic descendants of practicing Jews” or “Descendants of Jews”0.

        I know because I crunched the numbers myself, while looking at a guide for Jewish heredity . People like Lenin don’t even make a blip since their entire female line of descent was gentile.

        But you sprouted nonsense anyway, spamming on this site without knowing any better. So why should I spend a single red cent of my hard earned money to appease YOUR own desire that I should read the book?

  3. Avatar Turtler says:

    “The post by Turtler is ignorant”

    So ignorant you chose not to reply to it directly, because you knew that would result in it pinging me. And thus me replying.

    If you’re so convinced of your secret knowledge, why the farq don’t you feel comfortable confronting those who contradict you?

    “of the shadow secret activities diplomatic financial and political political of how American corporations and Rothschild front banks ”

    Dude, even aside from the content this is a freaking abomination of English grammar.

    It should look something like “of the secret shadow activities: diplomatic, financial, and political. Of how American corporations…” and so on.

    You claim to be a writer, but this is the kind of stuff that my Middle School English teacher would have flogged my score over. And you claim to be a writer?

    Now on to the actual *content*, which if anything is even worse.

    The truth is no, I am not ignorant of the activities of various Western corporations in the Soviet Union or how the Soviets solicited them for technical support that the Workers’ Paradise somehow couldn’t conjure up on its’ own. I am aware they played a large role in building up the infrastructure of Stalin’s terror state, often using slave labor. I am also aware of how they got chronically screwed by their Soviet partners using tools like fake unionization dictatored by the Secret Police.

    I don’t need a conspiracy theory idiot to tell me that, I can often times read the firsthand accounts of people responsible on both sides. For instance “A Businessman Looks at Communism” by Fred Koch.

    As for the Rothschilds, they are a favorite of Jew hating conspiracy theory nutjobs who have little idea of how banking works. The mention of “Front Banks” for the Rothschilds prior to WWII is as gratuitous as it is stupid. The Rothschilds didn’t **NEED* Front banks and they generlaly (there were a handful of exceptions) didn’t HAVE them. They were by far the wealthiest bankers in France and Britain, and had a significant amount of business interests in Vienna that had only been diluted by defeat in WWI and the rise of Austrofascism. This was not secret. It was a point of PRIDE for them at how they had succeeded in the most inhospitable of climates short of Russia itself.

    It is also why the family fortune basically went extinct when the nuclear family suffered shattering defeats. Firstly when the Nazis invaded Austria and promptly subjugated that branch of the family to the Holocaust, and later when the Anglo-French Rothschilds suffered badly from WWII and were told by their medical professionals that the incestuous way they kept the money in the family was going to render them extinct if they didn’t stop.

    As for sustaining the Soviet Terror regime, don’t kid yourself. This might be somewhat noteworthy if it had happened in the 1910’s when the Soviet Empire was fighting massive total wars both internally and with the rest of its’ neighbors. But it didn’t.

    By the 1930’s the Soviets had developed a massive enough terror apparatus that was well oiled enough to basically crush any serious prospects of resistance to the regime. That is why the Holodomor happened.

    Truth be told, some of the more substantial- and truly wrongheaded- ways Western entities supported the Soviet Union was NOT under the Stalin era private business agreements with the state, but by charity. Well meaning humanitarians like Herbert Hoover gave countless tons of food and medical equipment when the regime suffered famine in the 1920’s and later in the 1930’s, under the hope that if the Russian people were not starving they would become disenchanted with apocalyptic totalitarianism.

    The truth is the exact opposite happened, and as can be guessed the Soviets simply rationed the foodstuffs out to consolidate their own power.

    Does your piece of chickenscratch detail that?

    “Holodmoor was a taboo subject in the Roosevelt administration”

    True, mostly because Roosevelt was a Leftie and some of his freakshows like Wallace were even further than him.

    And anotehr thing is that a number of American workers actually went to the Soviet Union during the Depression to work there, in what I can only call was a monumentally stupid lapse of judgement or karma. So for its’ own selfish, petty reasons that do not require blaming DA JOOZ the Roosevelt Administration decided to sweep things like the Holodomor under the rug in order to continue engaging with the Soviets and prevent the possibility of Stalin retaliating against American nationals on his turf.

    Like he had against Latvians just years earlier.

    And even though this was a monstrous act of cowardice, it did not translate into utter censorship. You did not get hauled into prison or shot for mentioning the Holodomor, I know because my family has stories and evidence from then. Those who decided to play genocide denier (like you probably do for Hitler) did so of their own sickening free will, like the New York Times.

    “Read Eustace Mullins.”

    Seriously? Eustace Mullins?

    I’m not even going to focus on the fact that the man was a poisonous Jew Hater and historical illiterate. That goes without saying.

    Let me instead focus on how one of his books compared Hitler to *JESUS CHRIST* of all People. A fact that becomes especially hilarious if you know ANYTHING about Adolf Hitler’s true feelings about Christianity and how he would have HATED that comparison.

    “Antony Sutton ”

    For once I’ll actually agree with you.

    Because unlike you, Sutton wasn’t a pseudohistorian or a bigoted idiot.

    He was a real historian and savvy technical mind. He objectively and brilliantly categorized how the West and other non-communist nations and business interests was selling the Soviets and other intrinsically hostile totalitarian nations the rope they would use to try and hang the free world from. And unlike you he does not attribute this to nutjob boogeymen like the Rothschild, instead detailing the far more real but if anything scarier network of the Fellow Travelers, the Short Sighted, the Opportunists, and the Misguided.

    Of course I have scant reason to believe you have done justice to his work in the least.

  4. Avatar Turtler says:

    “Don’t be fooled by clever Jewish propagandists…”

    A first indication that you are a very stupid, un-clever Jew hating propagandist.

    “so many Soviet jew commissars. ”

    Already refuted this nonsense before. Essentially every single one of the Soviet upper management right on down to the district level were militant atheists who condemned every form of religion.

    “They still today cover up their role in Soviet terror gulag state ”

    What role?

    You probably can’t cite a single practicing Jew that was in the Soviet Union’s upper echelons.

    “with full Anglo-American fascist bankroll of Stalin in war
    plan to destroy Germany.”

    F*cking He*l you stupid man.


    And for the record of all the many, many things I can call Fred Koch he was not a Fascist by any stretch of the imagination. Neither was he a communist, and he came to condemn both and regret the role he played.

    As can be confirmed by even cursory research.

    “Get smart today. Read & learn”

    Dude, you cited Eustace Mullins. A man so hateful and stupid he compared Hitler to Jesus Christ without realizing snot only how thoroughly inaccurate that comparison was but how unwelcome it would have been to BOTH people.

    You are not in any position to lecture about getting smart or learning.