Was Ukrainian Famine a Genocide

Was the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 a genocide?

Raphael Lemkin photoMany of the resources listed on this website discuss the genocide question; here is a selection of articles, books and a documentary film that  specifically focus on the topic.  For links to laws and the US Famine Commission reports, see:  Reference, Government Reports, Laws: Part B.  Most Holodomor educational resources also include a discussion of the Holodomor as genocide related to the UN convention on Genocide or to Stanton’s stages of genocide: Holodomor Resources for Teachers.

Key Genocide Documents:

~ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948.
Complete, clearly presented text as displayed on the Organization of American States (OAS) website. To see the primary source document: Original UN presentation with notes and signatories.

~ “The Ten Stages of Genocide,”  by Gregory H. Stanton. Genocide Watch. 2013.

Holodomor as Genocide – click to view:

Soviet Genocide in the Ukraine by Raphael Lemkin, 1953.

Original paper located in the Raphael Lemkin Papers archive, New York Public Library. Lemkin, who coined the word genocide and authored the UN Convention on Genocide, asserts from the outset that “the classic example of the Soviet genocide” is the “destruction of the Ukrainian nation.” After laying out a clear description of the 4 pronged attack against the Ukrainian people: destruction of its intelligentsia, its spiritual leadership, its farmers, and its ethnic unity, he concludes “This is not simply a case of mass murder. It is a case of genocide, of the destruction, not of individuals only, but of a culture and a nation.”

“Was the Ukrainian Starvation a Genocide?”  by Bohdan Klid. Original title: “Holodomor and UN Genocide Convention Criteria,” Modern Genocide: Understanding Causes and Consequences.  ABC-CLIO, 2013. Subscription web resource. 21 Nov. 2013. Reprinted on the HREC website by permission.
Brief summary.

~ “Lemkin on Genocide of Nations.” by Roman Serbyn. Originally published in:  Journal of International Criminal Justice 7 (2009), 123-130.
Brief essay on Lemkin’s life and work on defining genocide, along with the full annotated text of his 1953 speech: “Soviet Genocide in the Ukraine.”

“The Great Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33”, by Nicolas Werth.  Mass Violence & Resistance (MV&R); formerly the Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, 18 April 2008.
Meticulously documents the implementation of the famine by Stalin and his cadres, with numerous references to actual communiques. Concludes with one of most clearly presented arguments for defining the Holodomor as genocide.

~ “Ukraine (Famine)” by Roman Serbyn. Reprint of the original article in the subscriber based online Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, edited by Dinah L. Shelton, (digitally accessible in the Gale Virtual Reference Library), Macmillan Reference USA. Detroit. 2005, pp. 1055-1061.
Detailed overview of the implementation of the Holodomor, and how it meets the definition of genocide. Also discusses earlier famines that occurred in Ukraine and elsewhere in the USSR, and how they differed from the Holodomor.

~ “Was the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 Genocide?” by Yaroslav Bilinsky. Journal of Genocide Research. 1999: 1(2), pp. 147-156. (reprint of the original article).
Provides a review of writings on the Holodomor as genocide, in addition to his own scholarly assessment.

The Ukrainian Holodomor of 1932-33 as a Crime of Genocide: A Legal Assessment, by Volodymyr Vasylenko.  Kyiv: Olena Teliha Publishing House, 2009.
In-depth scholarly essay.

~ “Legal Recognition of the Holodomor as Genocide: International Covenants, Agreements, and Court Decisions,” by Bohdan A. Futey.  Presented at the Zenowia & George Jurkiw Ukrainian Historical Encounters Series Special Event: Taking Measure of the Holodomor, New York, NY, Nov 5-6, 2013.
Documented analysis of the evolution of the definition of genocide, the precedents of prosecutions for acts of genocide before various tribunals, the enactment of legislation in Ukraine, as well as prosecution based on the legislation.

~ “A classification of denials of the Holocaust and other genocides.” by Israel W. Charny.  in The Genocide Studies Reader, ed. by Samuel Totten and Paul R. Bartrop. New York: Routledge, 2009. pp. 518 -537.
The Holodomor presents the classic case of denial.  Although Charny does not mention the Holodomor specifically, his classification provides a perfect structure for demonstrating in detail how the Holodomor was denied or ignored over the years, along with pertinent countermeasures.

Holodomor as Genocide – via libraries and booksellers:

~ The Holodomor Reader; a Sourcebook on the Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine, compiled and edited by Bohdan Klid and Alexander J. Motyl. Toronto: CIUS Press. 2012.
Particularly,chapter 2: “Legal assessment, Findings, and Resolutions,” pp. 65-97.  Includes key excerpts from official documents and scholarly research on the subject of genocide.

~ Encyclopedia of Genocide, by Israel W. Charny. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 1999.
Particularly: “Ukrainian Genocide,” Vol. II, pp. 565-567; and “On the Ukrainian Famine and the Definition of Genocide,” Vol. II, pp. 382-383, which presents an extended quotation by eminent genocide scholar Leo Kuper asserting the Ukrainian Famine as genocide.

~ Stalin’s genocides, by Norman M Naimark. Princeton University Press. 2010.
Particularly, Chapters 3: “Dekulakization” and chapter 4 , “Holodomor,” pp.51-79; and “Conclusions,” pp.131- 137. Straightforward and readable; presents a fresh challenge to the application of the UN definition of genocide. Table of contents and introduction.

“The Soviet 1931–1933 Famines and the Ukrainian Holodomor: Is a New Interpretation Possible, and What Would Its Consequences Be?”, by Andrea Graziosi.  Harvard Ukrainian Studies 27 (2004–2005), pp. 97–115.

Defines a particular point in time during late 1932, when the actions of Stalin’s regime turn deliberately from criminal repression to genocide.

~ The Ukrainian Holocaust of 1933, by  Vasyl Hryshko and Marco Carynnyk. Toronto: Bahriany Foundation, 1983.
One of the earliest (after Lemkin’s) detailed discussions of the “Soviet genocide” both against the peasant in general, and specifically against the Ukrainian nation.

~ Genocide; a Comprehensive Introduction, by Adam Jones. New York: Routledge. 2011 (2nd ed.)
Particularly, the first half of Chapter 5: “Stalin and Mao,” pp. 188 -204f.

~ The Historiography of Genocide, by Dan Stone. Palgrave Macmillan. 2010.
Particularly, Chapter 15, by Nicolas Werth, “The Crimes of the Stalin Regime: Outline for an Inventory and Classification,” pp. 400-419, with specific focus on the Famine genocide in Ukraine on pp. 406-408 and 414-415.

~ Genocide Revealed, directed by Yurij Luhovy. Quebec, MML Inc. 2011. 7 min. film clip and review by historian and educator Cheryl Madden.
Full length documentary film that utilizes the latest archival evidence, academic commentary and eyewitness accounts to affirm the Holodomor as genocide. Winner of 12 US and international awards