MainPublications -

​Hunger as a Weapon

In the current war against Ukraine, Russia is actively using methods of the communist totalitarian regime. Mass shootings of civilians, deportations.

But Putin does not stop with imitating Stalin and is ready to move forward with using hunger as a weapon.

On April 27, a decision from the Legislative Assembly of the Krasnoyarsk Territory of the Russian Federation about the «expropriation of surpluses of last year’s and this year’s harvest from farmers of the Kherson region» was published online.

Even the language of this report (which later disappeared) is reminiscent of the communist party documents of 1933, which organized the Holodomor.

But Russian attempts to use hunger as a weapon are not limited to this case alone.

The blockade of Ukrainian ports and the mining of waterways threaten the world’s food security. The UN estimates that about 1.7 billion people are living in poverty and hunger due to the food disruptions that result from the full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine.

In addition, Russia is trying to disrupt the sowing of Ukraine by destroying agricultural machinery and launching missiles throughout the entire country.

The Luhansk Oblast Military Administration said that the Russians had stolen or destroyed three years of grain stocks from the region.

The Kremlin is now committing genocide against Ukrainians once again. And the famine, which took the lives of millions of our compatriots in 1932–33 has proved to be an effective tool for this crime.

And so it was not in vain that Russian propaganda has made such tremendous efforts to lie to the world about the seemingly natural causes of the Holodomor. It blocked Ukraine’s diplomatic efforts to internationally recognize the Holodomor as genocide.

The truth about the use of the famine as a weapon was concealed for the possible use of famine in the future.

In 1932–33, it was not only grain that was taken from Ukrainian peasants who had already been driven into collective farms — the Soviets expropriated or destroyed anything edible. The so-called «Buksyriv» brigades (popularly known as the «Red Brooms») took vegetables and sowing seeds from the peasants, everything that could have been considered food — even leftovers from the oven.

Mykhailo Savchenko, a Holodomor survivor recalled that «the ‘Buksyriv’ brigades went around the yards, looking for bread in houses, attics, chests, barns, sheds. They walked with iron probes for the beds, in barns — if it was hidden. The found grain was taken away, potatoes, beets were also taken. Grinders, millstones, stools were destroyed. No one helped, no persecution, no crying out.»

In November 1932, the communists introduced a «blackboard» regime. These were special lists of settlements that didn’t implement the unrealistic procurement plans or were politically unreliable.

The village, listed on this «blackboard», was doomed to death. It was turned into a hungry ghetto. Every product and industrial good was exported from there and people were isolated from the outside world.

The whole of Ukraine was isolated from the world. Internal troops and police surrounded the entire border and hungry Ukrainians had no right to leave their doomed land.

Isolation had another purpose: it prevented the dissemination of information and hid these crimes. Soviet propaganda denied any reports of mass deaths of Ukrainians, and this was done through the hands of American journalists like Pulitzer prize-winner Walter Duranty.

It was then that Stalin succeeded in getting the United States to recognize the Soviet Union, which was a great diplomatic success for the communists.

Meanwhile, by mid-1933, the Holodomor had peaked with 24 Ukrainians dying every minute in June. We still do not know the exact number killed (and probably will never know because traces of this crime were hidden immediately) — academics believe it was about 4–7 million.

Such terrible losses occurred because the Ukrainians lost the war with the Bolsheviks in 1921 and did not have their own state, their own army and the world could not or did not want to help us in any way.

Today, we have a Ukrainian state, a Ukrainian army that is effectively destroying the Russian aggressor. We have a whole free world that is helping not only with resources but also with weapons. And that is why Putin will not be able to repeat what Stalin has done — there will not be another Holodomor. In particular, because we remember the victims of 1932–33 and that memory makes us strong in this new war.

Volodymyr ViatrovychVolodymyr Viatrovych, PhD, historian and member of Parliament of Ukraine
Read news on social networks Facebook, Twitter and Telegram