1. First, be sympathetic. There was a Ukrainian Famine. It was bad. People did go hungry because food was scarce. These people did suffer. It makes no sense to say they didn’t.
2. From their perspective, they saw Soviet workers collecting all the grain, every drop. They were hungry and grain was being taken from them. Naturally they are going to wonder why. And there are kulaks telling them it is because Stalin is trying to starve them.
Some of the officials who collected the grain were acting under extreme stress given the conditions and could be brutal, sort of like American cops.
3. Ukrainian nationalists hate communism. There are even thousands who form militias to fight beside the Nazis.
4. The Ukraine and Russia have a long history of famines going back millennia. Under the Tsar, famines were a regular occurrence.
5. So why was the grain taken? Why every last drop? Because the famine extended far beyond the Ukraine. The grain was collected and centrally sorted to be rationed for all people, including those in cities and for the Red Army. Stalin faced a dilemma — the U.S. would not accept gold or currency for payment. It insisted on receiving grain as payment. Originally Stalin was for keeping the NEP, kulak based farming system of private production. But it became clear that this wouldn’t produce enough grain. So Stalin switched and endorsed the collectivization of agriculture. This was to be a more efficient system utilizing economies of scale and modern farming tractors and techniques. Stalin needed all the farmers he could get to produce grain, but at the same time needed people to move to the cities to work in the factories. Starving millions of people while he was desperately trying to collectivize and industrialize would be suicidal. Of course he wouldn’t do that, even from a selfish perspective. The kulaks who owned the land were hoarding grain and selling it on the black market while people were hungry. They intentionally left the grain to rot in the fields and sabotaged the harvest out of spite against the collectivization plans. They slaughtered half the livestock needed to farm.
6. So why industrialize so quickly? Because it became obvious to Stalin and others that another war was inevitable with Germany given the political conditions of the day. Stalin predicted another war in 1929, and he was absolutely correct. Had the Soviet Union not industrialized so quickly, the Germans would have won. And their plans were total extermination of the Soviet populace to make room for Aryans. The Hunger Plan was no joke. This was a war of survival, and Stalin had no time to play games.
Measures were taken to alleviate the famine by the government, and the relief measures were very serious: Your personal share link | GMX Cloud
This is a letter written by Stalin translated into English:
Letter from Stalin to Mikhail Sholokhov, May 3, I933, on sabotage by the grain growers of the Veshenskii raion
Dear Comrade Sholokhov:
As you already know, all of your letters have been received. The help for which you are asking has been approved. To investigate the matter, I am sending Mr. Shkiriatov to the Veshenskii mion to see you. I earnestly request you to render him assistance. So that’s that. But not all, Comrade Sholokhov. The problem is that your letters create a somewhat one-sided impression. I would like to write you a few words about that. I am thankful to you for your letters, as they reveal the open sores in party and Soviet work; they reveal how our officials, in their ardent desire to restrain the enemy, sometimes inadvertently beat up their friends and sink to the point of sadism.
But this does not mean, that I completely agree with you on everything. You see one side of the situation, and you do not see it too badly. But this is only one side of the matter. In order not to make political mistakes (your letters are not fiction, but outright politics), you must observe widely; you must be able to see things from both sides. The other side is that the esteemed grain growers of your region (and not only from your region) have conducted a “sit-down strike” (sabotage!) and were not against leaving workers and the Red Army without bread. The fact that this sabotage was peaceful and outwardly harmless (bloodless) does not change the fact that the esteemed grain growers actually carried on a “quiet” war against Soviet authority. A war of starvation, dear Comrade Sholokhov. Of course, this circumstance cannot to any degree justify those terrible acts that were allowed to happen, as you are convinced, by our officials. Those guilty of these terrible acts should be punished accordingly. But it is clear as day that these esteemed grain growers are not as innocent as they appear to be from a distance. Well, so long, shaking your hand
J. Stalin May 5,1933
Another is a resolution passed by the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian Communist Party, November 27, 1932 concerning the harvest and measures to combat sabotage.
These collectivization farmers are praising the collectives and asking for the elimination of the kulaks as a class.
The Holomodor was a famine caused by drought, a higher birth rate prior to the famine, sabotage from kulaks and the intentional hiding of grain, resulting crop failure. The famine occurred not just in Ukraine, but other areas as well. Goebbels and Hearst fabricated a story that Stalin caused the famine and intentionally starved millions of people. This is against the facts. Hearst was a pro-Nazi newspaper publisher close to Goebbels. A fake news story about the famine being intentional was created and published. Old photos from the famine in 1917 were used. The idea was to stir up Ukrainian nationalism ahead of a German invasion. Goebbels was big on these types of psy-ops. Further, there is documented proof that Stalin ordered relief measures to Ukraine. Independent journalists also visited and confirmed that the famine was unintentional.
The details can be found here: Alexander Finnegan’s answer to What is the history of famines and starvation in Russia 1850-present day?
In this photo Soviet workers find grain hidden by kulaks.
Before collectivization farming plots were small.
Sadly, the conflicts with the kulaks has been politicized to vilify Stalin and the Soviets. The reality was much more nuanced than “Stalin killed and starved 20 million Ukrainians and kulaks.” In the modern day Ukrainian nationalists have been trying to get the Holomodor listed as a genocide because then the Ukraine could get reparations via the U.N. from Russia. It also serves as a useful victim card to play for political purposes. Interestingly, the Ukrainians received the same relief measures as others, including neighboring areas that were affected.
Goebbels at work
“It is a matter of some significance that Cardinal Innitzer’s allegations of famine-genocide were widely promoted throughout the 1930s, not only by Hitler’s chief propagandist Goebbels, but also by American Fascists as well.
It will be recalled that Hearst kicked off his famine campaign with a radio broadcast based mainly on material from Cardinal Innitzer’s “aid committee.” In Organized Anti-Semitism in America, the 1941 book exposing Nazi groups and activities in the pre-war United States, Donald Strong notes that American fascist leader Father Coughlin used Nazi propaganda material extensively. This included Nazi charges of “atrocities by Jew Communists” and verbatim portions of a Goebbels speech referring to Innitzer’s “appeal of July 1934, that millions of people were dying of hunger throughout the Soviet Union.”
Tottle, Douglas. Fraud, Famine, and Fascism. Toronto: Progress Books,1987, p. 49–51″
“This is Stalin urging the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine to take appropriate measures to prevent a crop failure.
The Political Bureau believes that shortage of seed grain in Ukraine is many times worse than what was described in comrade Kosior’s telegram; therefore, the Political Bureau recommends the Central Committee of the Communist party of Ukraine to take all measures within its reach to prevent the threat of failing to sow [field crops] in Ukraine.
Signed: Secretary of the Central Committee — J. STALIN
From the Archive of the President of the Russian Federation. Fond 3, Record Series 40, File 80, Page 58.
Excerpt from the protocol number of the meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist party (Bolsheviks) “Regarding Measures to Prevent Failure to Sow in Ukraine, March 16th, 1932.”
“This is the response of Anna Louise Strong, an American journalist famous for reporting on the Soviet Union, to a question about the supposed genocide.
QUESTION: Is it true that during 1932–33 several million people were allowed to starve to death in the Ukraine and North Caucasus because they were politically hostile to the Soviets?
ANSWER: Not true. I visited several places in those regions during that period. There was a serious grain shortage in the 1932 harvest due chiefly to inefficiencies of the organizational period of the new large-scale mechanized farming among peasants unaccustomed to machines. To this was added sabotage by dispossessed kulaks, the leaving of the farms by 11 million workers who went to new industries, the cumulative effect of the world crisis in depressing the value of Soviet farm exports, and a drought in five basic grain regions in 1931.
The harvest of 1932 was better than that of 1931 but was not all gathered; on account of overoptimistic promises from rural districts, Moscow discovered the actual situation only in December when a considerable amount of grain was under snow.
Strong, Anna Louise. Searching Out the Soviets. New Republic: August 7, 1935, p. 356
Here is Strong again on the harvest of 1933.
The conquest of bread was achieved that summer, a victory snatched from a great disaster. The 1933 harvest surpassed that of 1930, which till then had held the record. This time, the new record was made not by a burst of half-organized enthusiasm, but by growing efficiency and permanent organization … This nationwide cooperation beat the 1934 drought, securing a total crop for the USSR equal to the all-time high of 1933.
Strong, Anna Louise. The Stalin Era. New York: Mainstream, 1956, p. 44–45
This is what a study of the Russian Archives led to.
Recent evidence has indicated that part of the cause of the famine was an exceptionally low harvest in 1932, much lower than incorrect Soviet methods of calculation had suggested. The documents included here or published elsewhere do not yet support the claim that the famine was deliberately produced by confiscating the harvest, or that it was directed especially against the peasants of the Ukraine.
Koenker and Bachman, Eds. Revelations from the Russian Archives. Washington: Library of Congress, 1997, p. 401
Another confirmation after a search of the Russian archives.
In view of the importance of grain stocks to understanding the famine, we have searched Russian archives for evidence of Soviet planned and actual grain stocks in the early 1930s. Our main sources were the Politburo protocols, including the (“special files,” the highest secrecy level), and the papers of the agricultural collections committee Komzag, of the committee on commodity funds, and of Sovnarkom. The Sovnarkom records include telegrams and correspondence of Kuibyshev, who was head of Gosplan, head of Komzag and the committee on reserves, and one of the deputy chairs of Komzag at that time.
We have not obtained access to the Politburo working papers in the Presidential Archive, to the files of the committee on reserves or to the relevant files in military archives. But we have found enough information to be confident that this very a high figure for grain stocks is wrong and that Stalin did not have under his control huge amounts of grain, which could easily have been used to eliminate the famine.
Stalin, Grain Stocks and the Famine of 1932–1933 by R. W. Davies, M. B. Tauger, S.G. Wheatcroft.Slavic Review, Volume 54, Issue 3 (Autumn, 1995), pp. 642–657.”
This newspaper was published by Hearst as part of his deal with Goebbels to promote the Nazis. Hearst was also a Nazi supporter. The photos were found to be from other famines, one of them 10 years earlier. The “reporting” was fabrication. Other reporters that actually looked into it report that while there was a famine it was not intentional.
“The CIA believed that Ukrainian nationalism could be used as an efficient cold war weapon.While the Ukrainian nationalists provided Washington with valuable information about its Cold War rivals, the CIA in return was placing the nationalist veterans into positions of influence and authority, helping them to create semi-academic institutions or academic positions in existing universities.
By using these formal and informal academic networks, the Ukrainian nationalists had been disseminating anti-Russian propaganda, creating myths and re-writing history at the same time whitewashing the wartime crimes of OUN-UPA.
“In 1987 the film “Harvest of Despair” was made. It was the beginning of the ‘Holodomor’ movement. The film was entirely funded by Ukrainian nationalists, mainly in Canada. A Canadian scholar, Douglas Tottle
, exposed the fact that the film took photographs from the 1921–22 ‘Volga famine’ and used them to illustrate the 1932–33 famine. Tottle later wrote a book, ‘Fraud, Famine, and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard,‘ about the phony ‘Holodomor’ issue,” Professor Furr elaborated. “
“In the last 15 years or so an enormous amount of new material on Stalin … has become available from Russian archives. I should make clear that as a historian I have a strong orientation to telling the truth about the past, no matter how uncomfortable or unpalatable the conclusions may be. … I don’t think there is a dilemma: you just tell the truth as you see it.
The common or “mainstream” view of Stalin as a bloodthirsty tyrant is a product of two sources: Trotsky’s writings of the 1930s and Nikita Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech” to the XX Party Congress in February, 1956. This canonical history of the Stalin period — the version we have all learned — is completely false. We can see this now thanks mainly to two sets of archival discoveries: the gradual publication of thousands of archival documents from formerly secret Soviet archives since the end of the USSR in 1991; and the opening of the Leon Trotsky Archive at Harvard in 1980 and, secondarily, of the Trotsky Archive at the Hoover Institution (from where I have just returned).” Id.
But what about the Wikipedia page?
Later I discover that most of the early history about the Holodomor came from Robert Conquest. So I decide to look into him. Who is he? Turns out he is a British intelligence services agent and paid propagandist:
In 1948 Conquest joined the Foreign Office’s Information Research Department (IRD), a “propaganda counter-offensive” unit created by the Labour Attlee government in order to “collect and summarize reliable information about Soviet and communist misdoings, to disseminate it to friendly journalists, politicians, and trade unionists, and to support, financially and otherwise, anticommunist publications.” The IRD was also engaged in manipulating public opinion.
WTF! So this is the guy the “reputable academics” in the West use as their primary source for why the Holodomor was a genocide?
And it doesn’t end there. Modern authors like Simon Sebag Montefiore and Stephen Kotkin do the same thing. Look at the citations of their books and they either don’t have them or they cite each other in a kind of self-referential loop untethered from reality. Any time you question it then you are a “Stalin apologist,” so nobody considers it worth the effort.