1. The deaths of tens of thousands of people from starvation in Ukraine from January – October 1932 were as a result of a crime against humanity organized by the Party-Soviet leadership of the USSR.
2. The death of millions of people in Ukraine from starvation and political repression during the period from November 1932 to August 1933 corresponds to the definition of genocide in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted on 9 December 1948, in particular Article II (c) «Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part».
3. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of people from starvation and political repression in Kuban during the period from November 1932 to August 1933 corresponds to the definition of genocide in the UN Convention from 9 December with respect to Article II (c) «Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part» and (e) “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”. .
4. Holodomor was the result of deliberate and systematic action by the totalitarian Soviet regime for which there is documentary evidence which was aimed at “the destruction of the Ukrainian people as a political factor and as a social organism” (James Mace).
5. The terrible consequences of Holodomor 1932-1933 require legal classification of Holodomor as a crime of the totalitarian regime of the USSR.
6. Some researchers believe it possible to apply the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted on 9 December 1948,to make a legal classification of Holodomor 1932-1933 as the crime of genocide, while others deny this. The issue has yet to be finally resolved.
7. In order to establish the legal classification of Holodomor as a crime, it is proposed that an International Tribunal be set up to make a legal classification of the famine of 1931-1933 as a crime of the totalitarian regime of the USSR. The decision to create such a tribunal could be approved by inter-state organizations – the UN, the Council of Europe, OSCE.
Brief description of the historical facts 1930 - 1933
The 1930 harvest
1. The requisition quota for 1930 for Ukraine was set in April 1930 at 440 million poods (this despite the fact that the Ukrainian Grain Centre was expecting a harvest of 425-430 million poods),and in September was increased to 472 million poods. However this quota could also not be met since there were already no grain reserves in the villages. On 27 January 1931 the Politburo of the Central Committee of the All-Soviet Communist Party (Bolshevik) [hereafter Politburo] stated that the villages owed 34 million poods. Stalin reduced the debt to 25 million poods and ordered the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine (hereafter CC CPU) to declare February a month of accelerated grain requisitions and to fulfil the quota.
2. Sowing began, yet the previous year’s quota could still not be met. At the beginning of May V. Molotov reported that the harvest quota for 1930 was returning to the previous figure of 490 million poods (“geeing up”). The leadership of the republic was forced to recommence a requisition campaign for the previous year’s grain. After taking away all grain reserves, Ukraine achieved the previous version of the quota which in February 1931 seemed unattainable. By June 1931, in the agricultural sector (kolkhozes and independent farmers) 393 million poods from the 1930 harvest had been gathered, and in all for the republic – 471 million poods. This was 167 million poods more than the figure for 1929.
The 1931 harvest. The first wave of famine
3. In the requisition quota for 1931 even more demands were imposed on Ukraine. The agricultural sector was set a quota for 434 million poods, i.e. 41 million poods more than the amount of grain actually handed over for 1930. The overall requisition quota was set at 510 million poods. At the end of 1931 this quota had only been 79% met Molotov was sent to Kharkiv to intensify the requisition process. As the reports of the Party leaders indicate, this “intensification”, in accordance with Molotov’s directives and the Resolution of the CC CPU from 19 December 1931 turned into searches by local activists to confiscate “grain squandered or stolen from kolkhozes”. Until the quota was fulfilled, kolkhoz workers could not receive grain for their labour therefore any grain found in a peasant’s home was a priori considered squandered or stolen. However the grain was confiscated regardless of whether the kolkhoz workers had fulfilled their obligation to the State. The requisition quota could still not be achieved. As of 25 June 1932 the quota was only 86.3% met.
4. The confiscation of grain during the first half of 1932 resulted in hunger which in some regions turned into real famine. A similar situation was seen in other agricultural regions of the USSR, however in Ukraine the famine was on a wider scale since the quota, being more excessive, was achieved to a worse extent and therefore considerably more pressure was brought to bear. Tens of thousands died in this famine. In 1931-1932 it was only in Kazakhstan that the famine was on a greater scale. There hundreds of thousands of people died.
5. A large number of peasants left their villages in search of food. As of the middle of July 1932, according to OGPU figures in some rural areas of Ukraine up to half of the population had left. 116 thousand peasants had left 21 raions. If you extend this figure to cover the entire number of raions – 484, then the approximate number of peasants fleeing starvation would be around 2 million, 700 thousand. This migration elicited strong irritation among the Soviet Party leaders, however at that time they did not obstruct wide-scale moves in search of food.
6. We can cite testimony about the situation with starvation in the countryside. In April 1932 the Deputy People’s Commissar of Agriculture in the USSR A. Hrynevych arrived in the Zinovyevsky raion (now the Kirovohrad region) in order to see how the sowing was getting on. In a reporting note to the People’s Commissar Y. Yakovlev he says that the raion has been 98% collectivized, since 1 January 28.3 thousand peasants have left, including all the qualified tractor drivers (the total population of the raion was about 100 thousand). Those who’ve remained are mostly going hungry with kolkhoz workers’ grain having run out back in March, and there are cases of people bloated from starvation. Within the raion several dozen food points for the children of kolkhoz workers have been organized. Those working in the field have State assistance of 200 g. of bread a day, with tractor drivers having 400 g. The supply of food stuffs for providing food aid to the population among raion organizations was exhausted by 5 May. The productive forces of the raion are so undermined that the raion will not be able to cope with harvesting the grain without assistance in the form of forage for the cattle and food for the kolkhoz workers, without purchasing draft animals, without the provision of tractors and loading vehicles..
7. Worrying about the fate of the future harvest of 1932, the State began providing assistance in the form of seeds, forage and food grain o the countryside which was starving as the result of its policy. On 6 March 1932 the grain requisitions campaign was halted. At the end of April 15 thousand tonnes of maize and 2 thousand tonnes of wheat intended for export were returned from ports. 9.5 million poods of grain were purchased from China, Persia and Canada for the needs of the Requisitions Committee. At the end of May 1932 those starving began receiving dried fish, sardelle, cereals, and other food products. Stalin, however, considered that “Ukraine has been given more than it should get” (from a letter to Kaganovich from 15 June). On 23 June the Politburo passed a decision to stop the supply of grain to Ukraine..
8. Stalin’s irritated reaction and the decision of the Politburo of 23 June were in total contradiction to the conclusions in the letters from Petrovsky and Chubar to Molotov and Stalin on their impressions from travelling about raions in the republic. Both letters reached the Kremlin on the same day – 10 June. Hryhory Petrovsky wrote that the CC CPU was to blame for having unconditionally agreed to a requisition quota of 510 million poods of grain that was unrealistic for the republic. Meeting this quota had caused starvation and many villages were still gripped by famine. Petrovsky warned that there was still a month or 6 weeks to the new harvest and in that time the famine would intensify unless the State provided the villages with more food aid. Vlas Chubar in his letter pointed out that at the beginning of June at least 100 raions were in need of food aid (against 61 at the beginning of May). Due to the severe situation of these raions the sowing campaign was not being carried out satisfactorily. Chubar asked for the republic to be provided with at least 1 million poods of food cultures as aid. He suggested rejecting a quantitative extension of the tasks and basing themselves on qualitative indicators.
9. Stalin reacted to Chubar and Petrovsky’s letters in a letter to Kaganovich from 15 June in the following way: “The first is trying on “self-criticism” so as to get new millions of poods of grain from Moscow, the other is playing self-righteous, and sacrificing himself to the “directive” of the Central Committee of the Communist Party” so as to get a reduction in the grain requisition quota. Both the first and the second are unacceptable.”". The Ukrainian village in 1932 once again faced an unrealistic quota and new waves of famine.
The Harvest of 1932: the second wave of famine
10. The new grain requisition quota from the harvest of 1932 for Ukraine was approved on 6 July at the III All-Ukrainian Party Conference at 356 million poods, 40 million poods less than from the 1931 harvest. Yet this quota was also beyond the capacity of the republic’s weakened agricultural economy. On the eve of the conference, the Politburo of the CC CPU demanded that Molotov and Kaganovich who had been sent by Stalin to Kharkiv reduce the quota. The Ukrainian communists also tried in vain to influence Molotov and Kaganovich during the conference. For example, Mykola Skrypnyk directly said that in the villages of Ukraine everything that could be taken had already been taken away. Yet Molotov and Kaganovich declared that “there will be no concessions, no vacillation in implementing the tasks imposed on Ukraine by the Party and Soviet government” and that the party forces must mobilize to fight losses and squandering of grain”. The Ukrainian Party leadership gave in and the quota was passed.
11. In July 1932 2 million poods of grain from the new harvest was requisitioned (against 16.4 million poods in July 1931). The leadership of the Soviet Communist Party was convinced that the peasants were stealing grain. In response and on Stalin’s initiative, on 7 August 1932 the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR [Sovnarkom] passed the Resolution “On the protection of property of State enterprises, kolkhozes and cooperatives, and the consolidation of socialist property” which was known among the population as the “5 ears of corn law”. This imposed the death penalty for theft of kolkhoz and cooperative property – execution (by shooting) and confiscation of all property. For “mitigating circumstances” execution could be commuted to a sentence of no less than 10 years.
12. After the publication of this resolution the “Pravda” editorial office, together with the Communist Party local machine organized a mass-scale two week raid aimed at fighting thefts of grain in which 100 thousand “press udarniki” [udarnik was the term for ultra-productive and enthusiastic workers – translator]. They searched for an “underground wheat city”, but in vain, since they found nothing.. At the same time Stalin understood that he had forced the Ukrainian leadership to take on a clearly unrealistic grain requisition quota. On 24 July, in a letter to Kaganovich and Molotov, he wrote that overall the position of unconditional fulfilment of the quota was correct, but that it would be necessary to make an exception for “particularly affected raions of Ukraine”. However he preferred to announce the reduction of the quota later “so that the sowing of winter crops will be more energetic”. And the peasants didn’t want to work in the sovkhozes, rightly considering that they would again receive nothing for their labour.
13. In the third quarter of 1932 starvation continued in Ukraine’s villages. This is demonstrated, for example, in the statistics for mortality recorded in registrar offices. For the period from March to June they recorded 195,411 deaths, while from July to October the number was 191,105.. In order to escape starvation, the kolkhoz workers even resorted to such measures as uncovering mouse burrows. Workers from the “Peremoha” [“Victory”] Kolkhoz in the Barvinkovsky raion of the Kharkiv region through superhuman efforts uncovered mouse burrows over an area of 120 hectares. As a result they received 17 centners of good-quality grain. Each burrow had between 2 and 6 kilograms of wheat..
14. The August “assault” on Ukraine’s villages gave the State 47 million poods of grave, and in September they squeezed out another 59 million. As of 5 October from 23,270 kolkhozes only 1,403 had met the requisition quota. After staff changes in the Ukrainian local leadership and the plenum of the CC CPU, on 12 October 1932 the entire Party organization was mobilized for the gathering of the harvest. Nevertheless, the year’s requisition quota had been 39% met as of 25 October..
15. Not wishing to admit that his policy of the “first commandment” and “geeing up” had not worked, Stalin laid all the blame for the failure of the grain requisitions on the peasants who had supposedly sabotaged the collection of the grain. He considered that through the use of ever more force the harvest could be gathered. For this he decided to send committees with special powers to the main agricultural regions of the country. On 22 October 1932 the Politburo passed a decision to send the Molotov Commission to the Ukrainian SSR for 20 days, and the Kaganovich Commission to the North Caucasus Territory. The commissions set off at the end of October.
The activities of the Molotov Commission
16. On 29 October 1932 at a session of the Politburo of the CC CPU, together with the first secretaries of the regional committees of the Party, the Commission reported that the Kremlin had agreed to a reduction of the quota. On 30 October the final quota task divided up into regions, sectors and grain cultures was passed. The Ukrainian SSR had to provide 282 million poods of grain: the kolkhozes 224.1 million, independent farmers – 36.0 million, and sovkhozes – 21 million poods. At the same time, Molotov managed to get a directive passed by the CC CPU on increasing help from the justice bodies to those carrying out the grain requisitions. The courts were ordered to examine this category of case first during outreach sessions at local level and applying harsh repressive measures..
17. On 5 November Khataevych and Molotov sent secretaries of the regional committees of the Party a telegram with the following: “In reports from the regional bodies of the OGPU there are a lot of accounts of theft, criminal squandering and concealment of kolkhoz grain with the participation and under the leadership of the kolkhoz management, including some communist members who are in fact kulak agents who are dividing the kolkhozes. Despite this, the Central Committee of the CPU does not know what the regional committees are doing to fight this phenomenon. Noting the unacceptable inaction of the courts and prosecutor’s office and the passivity of the press with regard to the relevant specific facts, the CC CPU categorically demands that regional committees take immediate and decisive measures to fight this phenomenon with mandatory and swift undertaking of judicial repression and merciless punishment of criminal elements in the kolkhoz management on the basis of the well-known decree on the protection of public property, with coverage of these facts in the press and issuing of decisions of kolkhoz meetings which condemn these facts.”.
18. On 18 November 1932 the CC CPU and on 20 November the Council of People’s Commissars of the Ukrainian SSR passed resolutions with the same name “On measures to increase grain requisitions» prepared by the Molotov Commission. These resolutions demand that the grain requisition quotas be met by 1 January 1933 and that seed funds be created by 15 January 1933. It is prohibited to spend the natural funds created in kolkhozes which have not settled with the State. The district executive committees must immediately check these funds and appoint people in cooperatives responsible for their preservation. The district executive committees were given the right to count all natural funds of the kolkhoz as part of the grain requisition quotas. And those kolkhoz debtors who issued advances for people’s labour or for public food over the established norm (15% of the actual amount threshed) had to immediately organize the return of “unlawfully issued grain” in order to direct it towards meeting the quota. The district executive committees were instructed to organize the confiscation from kolkhozes, those not part of a collective and workers of sovkhozes grain stolen when cutting, threshing or transporting. In order to crush sabotage in the management ranks, it was required that accountants, bookkeepers, storekeepers, managers etc be held to answer if they concealed grain from the inventory, on the basis of the resolution from 7 August 1932, as thieves of State and public property..
19. In Item 9 of the Resolution of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Ukrainian SSR of 20 November it is stated that “With respect to kolkhozes that have allowed the theft of kolkhoz grain and maliciously sabotage the grain requisition quota, fines in kind are applied in the form of an additional quota from the meat requisitions of the size of the 15-month norm of the meat task for the given kolkhoz, both of the common cattle, and that of the kolkhoz workers.. The Party resolution duplicated this item, however added to it the following: “In kolkhozes which do not satisfactorily meet the grain requisition quota, with regard to kolkhoz workers who have grain sown on their garden plots, all grain which they get from these garden plots as natural issue for labour with the removal of the excess of grain handed over to fulfil the grain requisition quota”. The Party resolution included yet another item not in the government’s resolutions: those farming not in a collective who did not meet their grain quotas could be fined by the imposition of extra demands not only from the meat requisitions of the 15 month norm, but also from potatoes (the annual norm)..
20. Furthermore, the resolution further pushed the idea that there was grain and that it was communist saboteurs and former petlurites who were obstructing implementation of the quota. “Since a number of agricultural party organizations, especially during the period of cattle requisitions there has proved to be unity between whole groups of communists and some leaders of party branches with kulaks, petlurites, etc which in fact turns such communists and party organizations into agents of the class enemy and is clear proof of how far removed these branches and communists are from the poor and middle-level kolkhoz masses, the Central Committee and the Central Controlling Commission decrees that a purge be carried out immediately of a number of village party organizations which are clearly sabotaging the implementation of the grant requisition quotas and are undermining fact in the Party among the workers.”.
21. On 21 November Molotov, Chubar, Stroganov and Kalmanovich addressed a request to Stalin to provide the CC CPU, as represented by a special commission (the General Secretary of the Central Committee, the Head of the GPU of the UkrSSR, and a representative of the Central Controlling Committee) for the duration of the grain requisitions with the right of decision with regard to using the death penalty. The Special Committee of the CC CPU needed only to report once every 10 days before the Central Committee of the CPSU on its decisions in these cases..
22. Similar commissions at the regional (oblast) level, made up of the First Secretary of the regional committee, the head of the regional division of the GPU and the regional prosecutor were created in order to accelerate the repressions in accordance with the Resolution of the CC CPU from 5 December 1932. The courts had to consider cases within 4-5 days under the direct leadership and surveillance of the commission. Analogous “troikas” and Special Commissions were created in regional divisions of the GPU (Order of the GPU UkrSSR from 11 December 1932).
Holodomor 1932-1933 in Ukraine
23. In order to force the peasants to give up their grain, the Party bosses made examples of villages which for a long time could not settle with the State, putting them on the so-called “black board”. This term was first used in Kaganovich’s diary during his visit to Kuban. It entailed closure of all State and cooperative shops with the confiscation of all reserves, total ban on trading, kolkhoz or private, a purge of counter-revolutionary and kulak elements and ban on leaving the village.. The idea was supported in Ukraine and already on 6 December 1932 a resolution of the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the UkrSSR placed six villages on the black board, while local authorities applied this against 400 villages.
24. Despite the exceptional measures, the rate of grain requisitions fell. As S. Kosior wrote to Stalin on 8 December 1932, the hay threshing had ended almost everywhere, and therefore the Ukrainian Party organization should be redirected “towards uncovering concealed, wrongly issued and stolen grain”. Grain could be taken from kolkhoz workers or independent farmers either through searches or repression. Kosior considered the best means to be repression in the form of “fines in kind” (“a kolkhoz worker and even an independent farmer is now holding tight to a cow or pig”) or depriving them of their garden plots.
25. Displeased with the activities of the Ukrainian and Kuban leaders, Stalin subjected them to severe criticism at a meeting of the Politburo on 10 December 1932. On 14 December a secret resolution of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party and Sovnarkom “On grain requisitions in Ukraine, North Caucuses and in the Western Region” was passed. This changed the deadline for fulfilling the grain requisition quota for Ukraine to the end of January, and in the North Caucasus Territory to 10-15 January. The resolution again asserted that as the result of the poor work of the Party leadership, former kulaks, officers, petlurites, etc had penetrated the kolkozes and were trying to organize “a counterrevolutionary movement and the sabotage of the harvest and sowing campaigns”. The Central Committee of the All-Soviet Communist Party and Sovnarkom issue the order “to resolutely extirpate these counterrevolutionary elements by means of arrests, long-term deportation to concentration camps, without stopping short of capital punishment for the most malicious of these elements”. The Resolution also stated that “the worst enemies of the party, working class, and collective farm peasantry are saboteurs of grain procurement who have party membership cards in their pockets” and ordered that they apply “severe repressions, five- to ten-year deportation to concentration camps, and, under certain circumstances, execution by shooting”.
26. The Central Committee Resolution of 14 December 1932 sharply criticized the policy of Ukrainization. It asserted that it “was carried out mechanically, without taking into consideration the peculiarities of every raion and meticulous selection of the Bolshevik cadre. This made it easier for bourgeois-nationalistic elements, Petliurites and others to create their legal cover-ups and counterrevolutionary cells and organizations”. The Central Committee and Sovnarkom suggest “paying serious attention to the correct implementation of Ukrainization, eliminating its mechanical implementation, expelling Petliurite and other bourgeois-nationalistic elements from Party and government organizations, meticulously selecting and raising Ukrainian Bolshevik cadre, and ensuring systematic Party management and supervision over Ukrainization”. The Resolution basically contained the instruction to stop Ukrainization in the North Caucasus Territory (more about this in Items 46, 47, and 48). And on 15 December 1932 a telegram signed by Stalin and Molotov was sent to the Central Committees of the republic communist parties; the territory and regional (oblast) committees, the heads of the councils of people’s commissars of the territory and regional committees. This contained yet another secret resolution which ordered the immediate cessation of Ukrainization in al places with Ukrainians living together throughout the entire territory of the USSR. As well as the North Caucasus Territory (3,106 million Ukrainians), this included such regions as the Kursk region (1.3 million), Voronezh region (1 million); the Far East, Siberia and Turkestan (with around 600 thousand Ukrainians each).
27. No longer relying on Ukrainian leaders, on 18 December 1932 Stalin sent Kaganovich and P. Postyshev to Ukraine with special powers to use “all necessary measures of an organizational and administrative nature for fulfilling the grain requisition quota”. The Deputy Head of the OGPU of the USSR V. Balytsky had been sent to Ukraine at the end of November 1932. On 20 December 1932 during a meeting of the Politburo of the CC CPU Balytsky stated that from the beginning of December through blanket searches 7 thousand pits and 100 concealed storing places had been uncovered, holding 700 thousand poods of grain.. It followed from this that it was impossible to meet the quota in this way. Nonetheless Kaganovich considered that it was necessary to uncover “an underground grain city” in Ukraine. On 29 December he forced the CC CPU to adopt a decision on confiscating all kolkhoz funds, including seed funds. Chubar deemed the lack of fines in kind a failing of the grain requisitions..
28. At the Politburo meeting, Balytsky reported that from the middle of July to the middle of November 11 thousand people had been arrested on “grain cases” and from 15 November to 15 December 1932 – 16 thousand people, including 409 heads of kolkhozes and 107 heads of district executive committees. The “troika” had issued 108 death sentences and a further 100 cases were presently under examination..
29. On 1 January 1933 the UkrSSR leadership received the following telegram signed by Stalin:
“Be informed of the Central Committee Resolution from 1 January 1933: “Suggest that the CPU and the Council of People’s Commissars of the UkrSSR widely inform, via their village councils, kolkhozes, kolkhoz workers and working individual farms that:
a) those of them who voluntarily hand over to the State grain previously stolen and hidden from inventory, shall not be repressed;
b) with regard to kolkhoz workers, kolkhozes and individual farmers who stubbornly persist in hiding grain previously stolen and hidden from inventory, the most severe measures of punishment set out in the Resolution of the Central Executive Committee and Sovnarkom of the USSR from 7 August 1932 “On the protection of property of State enterprises, kolkhozes and cooperatives, and the consolidation of socialist property” will be applied.
30. The telegram notified the peasants that they must hand over all grain and if they don’t do this, they faced blanket searches aimed at rooting out “grain stolen and hidden from inventory”. If grain was found, punishment would be according to the “5 ears of wheat law” (the death penalty or no less than 10 years deprivation of liberty), and if none was found, there would be a fine in kind, that is confiscation of meat, including “in live” weight, and potatoes..
31. At the present time many oral accounts from survivors have been gathered, and a lot published. This testimony coincides with the historical facts. After Stalin’s telegram the searches and confiscation of grain were merged into a single campaign of repression. Brigades of activists were organized who removed from the kolkhoz workers and independent farmers not only grain, meat and potatoes, but all food that they found, even cabbage, pickled beetroot, a handful of wheat – absolutely everything, and if they found food cooked, they destroyed it. In this way they saved themselves from starvation, since they got to keep a part of what they found. The three volume work Oral History Project on the Ukrainian Famine which fills 1,734 pages and published by the US Congress Commission on the Ukrainian Famine 1932-1933 led by James Mace, is full of such accounts from all regions of the country.
32. As in 1932 the peasants tried to leave for other areas of the USSR in search of food. Yet now the Soviet State organized a real blockade to not let them leave Ukraine. On 22 January 1933 a directive was issued by the Sovnarkom and the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party on preventing the wide-scale exodus of starving peasants in Ukraine and Kuban to find food. It was written by Stalin personally. On the very next day an identical letter of instruction was issued by the CC CPU and the Ukrainian Council of People’s Commissars, signed b Khataevych and Chubar. It was to all regional party committees and regional executive committees and spoke of the unacceptability of wide-scale moves by kolkhoz workers and independent farmers beyond Ukraine.
«Following last year’s example a mass exodus has begun from some raions of Ukraine to the Moscow, Western regions, Central Chernozem [Black Earth] Region, Byelorussia “for grain”. There have been cases where almost all individual farmers and some of the kolkhoz workers have left their village. Without a doubt some mass exoduses are being organized by enemies of the Soviet regime, social revolutionaries [esery], and agents of Poland in order to campaign “because of the peasants” in the northern regions of the USSR against the kolkhozes and against the Soviet regime. Last year the Party, Soviet and chekist bodies in Ukraine failed to pay heed to this counter-revolutionary trick by enemies of the Soviet regime. This year there must be no repeat of this mistake. The CC CPU and the Council of People’s Commissars propose:
1. that decisive measures are taken with no delay in each raion to prevent the mass exodus of individual farmers and kolkhoz workers, on the basis of the directive from Balytsky sent around through the GPU line.
2. the work of all recruiters of labour for travel beyond Ukraine is checked, that they are held under strict control, and that all suspicious counter-revolutionary elements are dismissed from this work and removed;
3. that widespread explanatory work is undertaken among individual farmers and kolkhoz workers against wilfully leaving and abandoning their households, and that they are warned that if they leave for other regions they will be arrested there;.
4. that measures are taken to stop the sale of tickets beyond Ukraine for peasants who do not have permission to travel from the raion executive committee or a document from industrial, construction or State organizations confirming that they have been recruited for a particular job outside Ukraine. The relevant instructions should be sent to the People’s Commissariat of Communications and the transport sections of the GPU;
5. that brief reports be provided no later than 6 p.m. on 24 January about the actual situation with mass exodus of peasants for your oblast”
33. Special patrols and operations groups, as well as filter points, were created at railway stations. Chekists [secret police], police officers and local activists monitored the roads. According to figures from the OGPU, during 50 days following the issuing of the directive 219.5 thousand peasants were stopped, this including 38 thousand in the UkrSSR, 47 thousand in the North Caucasus Territory , in the Central Chernozem Region – 44 thousand, in the Western Region – 5 thousand and at railway stations – 65 thousand peasants. Of those detailed, 186.5 thousand were sent home under convoy, and almost 3 thousand had been convicted, while the rest were awaiting trial or under investigation in filtration camps..
34. Ukrainian peasants, tormented by the endless searches, confiscation of food productions, and blockade were starving en masse. Those who survived testify that beginning from February 1933 the famine became particularly horrific. Whereas up till January tens of thousands were dying, from February to May the numbers were in the millions. According to a document from the GPU of the UkrSSR, during the entire period from 1 December 1932 to 25 January 1933 14,956 pits, 621 “black cellars” and 1,359 other hiding places were found, with 1,718.5 thousand poods of grain confiscated..
35. On 5 February a resolution of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party concluded the requisitions from the 1932 harvest. The UkrSSR had in total fulfilled 83.5% of a quota which had twice been reduced. A total of 4,171.4 thousand tonnes of grain had been requisitioned against 7,047.1 thousand tonnes of grain from the 1931 harvest. Up to 1 November 136.1 million poods were handed over, and from November through January 1933 – another 87 million poods of grain.
36. At the end of January 1933 Postyshev was again sent to Ukraine to prepare the spring sowing which against a background of mass starvation and the lack of seeds was problematical. Back on 23 September, on Stalin’s initiative, the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party and Sovnarkom passed a resolution according to which all proposals to provide seed loans were rejected, and sovkhozes and kolkhozes were warned that there would be no loan either for the winter crops or for the spring sowing. Therefore on 4 February Postyshev stated that seeds would be gathered by means of grain requisitions. Since there was no grain among the starving peasants, the party leaders resorted to rewards for denunciations. Each person who informed where a neighbour was hiding grain received between 10 and 15% of the grain discovered. On 17 February 1933 these “measures” were approved by a government resolution..
37. In February the Ukrainian leadership began providing aid to the starving in order to safeguard the sowing. On 19 February 1933 Postyshev received Stalin’s consent to unblock 3 million poods of State grain reserves to provide food aid to the peasants. However the scale of the famine was increasing by the day. Therefore Postyshev decided that it wasn’t worth giving food to those not working. A CC CPU Resolution from 31 March 1933 on the preparations for the spring sowing contained the following: “Suggest that the Kyiv regional committee carry out the following measures for organizing food aid to kolkhoz workers and independent farmers in need: a) stop any food from the food aid for non-able-bodied kolkhoz workers and independent farmers even if they ask for such assistance; b) divide all those hospitalized into the ill and those recovering, and considerably improve the food supplied to the latter so that they can be discharged and back to work as quickly as possible.”. Thus, the peasants were divided into those who could provide labour and those weakened by hunger and unable to work. The first survived, the second died. This was the “charitable” State assistance.
38. Mortality in the first half of 1933 increased each month. And despite the fact that the work of the registrar offices was partly paralyzed, from March to August 1933 they registered hundreds of thousands of deaths.. Overall for 1933 registrar offices registered 1,678 deaths in rural areas, 1,552 of these being Ukrainians. These statistics cannot give an idea of the scale of Holodomor as they are incomplete.
39. Against a background of mass starvation in the villages in 1933 Postyshev began an offensive against the Ukrainian intelligentsia and Ukrainian Communist party. 1933 became a year of unabated political repression. It was impossible to conceal a disaster on the scale of the famine and the deaths of millions of people, and therefore the regime tried to fend off possible accusations by diverting them against “saboteurs”, in the first instance at agricultural specialists. In 1933 Stalin blamed agrarian professors of deliberately “injecting the cattle in the kolkhozes and sovkhozes with plague or anthrax; of encouraging the spread of meningitis among horses, and others”. In March 1933 a panel board of the OGPU of the USSR examined the cases (“according to a list”) of 75 civil servants of people’s commissariats for agriculture and sovkhozes of Ukraine, Byelorussia and the North Caucasus Territory. Less than a day was spent on example the case of the 75 officials. 35 were shot on the basis of the examination into the case. A real pogrom was carried out in the Kharkiv agricultural and zootechnical institutes. Scientific research institutes and universities in Ukraine lost up to 270 professors and lecturers.
40. At the beginning of 1933 the fabrication began of a “Ukrainian Military Organization” which they “included” three writers in – Oles Dosvitniy, Serhiy Pylypenko and Ostap Vyshnya. The first extrajudicial “terrorist” trial behind closed doors in Ukraine took place in Kharkiv on 3 March 1934. Dosvitniy, Pylypenko and Vyshnya were accused of planning the murder of Postyshev, Chubar and Balytsky. Only Ostap Vyshnya was “pardoned”, receiving a sentence of 10 years labour camp. The other nine people charged in the “Ukrainian Military Organization” Case (still unfinished, in all 148 people were arrested) were shot. There were also trumped up cases over the “Polish Military Organization” [POV] and the “Bloc of Ukrainian Nationalist Parties”.
41. At the end of February 1933 a campaign was launched against Mykola Skrypnyk and the communists supporting him. Skrypnyk was removed from his post as Minister of Education. Everything that was linked in Ukraine with the literary renaissance, introduction of the literary language standards, creation of new dictionaries, development of Ukrainian theatre, historical research and Ukrainization of schools was all stigmatized as “skrypnykovshchyna” [i.e. connected with Skrypnyk], became the target of political repression which did not abate through 1933 and 1934. People carrying out Ukrainization – from rural teachers to members of the Academy of Sciences - were repressed on a wide scale as bourgeois nationalists. On 13 May 1933 the well-known writer Mykola Khvylyovy committed suicide. In June 1933 at the plenum of the CC CPU Postyshev blamed Skrypnyk and his nationalist “deviation” for all the “difficulties of the previous year”, and accused him of harbouring in the People’s Commissariat of Education “deviationists, saboteurs, counter-revolutionaries”.. On 7 July 1934, unable to withstand the hounding, Skrypnyk killed himself. His death spelled the end to Ukrainization and nationalism as a whole (overall the CPU was halved, while the members of the Ukrainian Politburo were later, during the Great Terror of 1937-1938 all eliminated). Another leader of Ukrainization and People’s Commissar of Education Oleksandr Shumsky was also arrested, together with communists connected with him. On 5 September 1933 Shumsky was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. In November 1933 the Director of the “Berezil” Theatre Les Kurbas was arrested. In 1934 first-class writers who were later to become known as “rozstrilyane vidrodzhennya” [“Executed Renaissance”] were repressed, being labelled as “bourgeois nationalists” and “terrorists”. In total the OGPU arrested 199 thousand people in Ukraine in 1932-1933, against 119 thousand in 1929-1931, and 71 thousand in 1934-1936. Death from starvation coincided with repression of the national Ukrainian cultural, intellectual, creative and political elite.
Holodomor 1932-1933 in Kuban
42. Just as Ukraine received the most onerous grain requisition quota among agricultural regions in 1931-1932, so to were the planned figures for grain requisitions in Kuban for 1931-1932 higher than for the other 10 districts of the North Caucasus Territory. It was for this reason that the rural population of Kuban, together with Ukraine, had the worst results for grain requisition quotas and became the target of efforts by the Party-State leadership of the USSR aimed at extracting grain. As stated in the decision of the Soviet Politburo from 1 November 1932 with regard to the commission headed by Kaganovich: “the main task of the said group of comrades is to devise and carry out measures aimed at breaking down sabotage of the sowing and grain requisition, organized by counter-revolutionary kulak elements in Kuban.”.
43. The Kaganovich Commission immediately began punitive measures. A resolution of the politburo of the North Caucasus Territory Communist Party from 4 November 1932 added three stanitsas to the “black board” and the population was warned that if it continued to sabotage the sowing and grain requisitions, they would all be exiled North, and the stanitsas would be taken over by diligent kolkhoz workers who work in conditions where there is little arable land or on uncomfortable land in other areas. The resolution also contained measures analogous to the measures in the Resolution of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party from 18 November 1932: intensifying the struggle against saboteurs, especially those with Party tickets in their pocket, the confiscation of grain previously distributed in payment for labour and the introduction of fines in kind.
44. Kaganovich’s threat was carried out, and from four large stanitsas – Poltavska, Medvedovska, Urupska and Umanska – 51.8 thousand people were exiled to the North of the country. and from other stanitsas – no less than 10 thousand. All of their property and livestock was left for those “diligent kolkhoz workers” who would settle in these stanitsas. In fact, the inhabitants of those stanitsas, already emaciated, were deported to a sure death.
45. Those who refused to rob the peasants and Cossacks themselves ended up within the machine of repression. Even before the arrival of the Kaganovich Commission, the OGPU had arrested 5 thousand communists of Kuban, and overall around the territory – 15 thousand. On 4 November 1932 another decision was adopted by the North Caucasus Territory Committee, this being to carry out a purge of the Party organizations of the Territory, and first and foremost, Kuban. Throughout November and December 1932 and in 1933, approximately 40 thousand people were expelled from the Party, while up to 30 thousand other members of the Party fled beyond the Territory..
46. The people of Kuban faced the same fate as the Ukrainian peasants – blanket searches, confiscation of food, and after 22 January 1933 – a blockade with it being impossible to leave in search of food. Earlier, however, discrimination had been added on ethnic grounds. Item 7 of the Resolution of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party “On grain requisitions in Ukraine, North Caucuses and in the Western Region” from 14 December 1932 stated that “the irresponsible, non-Bolshevik “Ukrainization,” which was at variance with the cultural interests of the population and which affected nearly half of the raions in the Northern Caucasus, as well as the complete lack of supervision on the part of territorial agencies over the Ukrainization of schools and the press, had provided the enemies of the Soviet power with a legal form for organizing resistance to the Soviet authorities’ measures and tasks on the part of kulaks, officers, Cossack resettlers, members of the Kuban Rada, etc.».
47. “For the purpose of crushing the resistance to grain requisitions mounted by kulak elements and their party and non-party menials”, the Central Committee and Sovnarkom among other things, issued orders to: “immediately switch Soviet bodies, cooperative societies, and all newspapers and magazines in the Ukrainized raions of the Northern Caucasus from Ukrainian to Russian, as being more understandable to Kuban residents, and to prepare and change the language of instruction in schools to Russian by the autumn. The Central Committee and Sovnarkom oblige the Territory Party and Executive Committees to urgently examine and improve the composition of school teachers in the Ukrainized raions”.
48. This resulted in the destruction of all ethno-cultural forms of life led by Ukrainians in the Northern Caucuses, the closing of Ukrainian schools, newspapers, journals, other Ukrainian cultural structures. Added to the physical suffering from starvation in Kuban, was the psychological suffering caused by the denigration of the honour and dignify of the inhabitants of Kuban – ethnic Ukrainians who made up more than two thirds of the population of Kuban.