The New York Times–Walter Duranty–Useful Idiots–Denial of the Holodomor–Ukraine Famine Genocide–Videos
How Stalin Starved His Own People in 1932-1933. Holodomor in the UKRAINE
The Terrible Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33
The dreadful famine that engulfed Ukraine, the northern Caucasus, and the lower Volga River area in 1932-1933 was the result of the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin’s policy of forced collectivization. The heaviest losses occurred in Ukraine, which had been the most productive agricultural area of the Soviet Union. Stalin was determined to crush all vestiges of Ukrainian nationalism. Thus, the famine was accompanied by a devastating purge of the Ukrainian intelligentsia and the Ukrainian Communist party itself. The famine broke the peasants’ will to resist collectivization and left Ukraine politically, socially, and psychologically traumatized.
The policy of all-out collectivization instituted by Stalin in 1929 to finance industrialization had a disastrous effect on agricultural productivity. Nevertheless, in 1932 Stalin raised Ukraine’s grain procurement quotas by 44%. This meant that there would not be enough grain to feed the peasants, since Soviet law required that no grain from a collective farm could be given to the members of the farm until the government’s quota was met. Stalin’s decision and the methods used to implement it condemned millions of peasants to death by starvation. Party officials, with the aid of regular troops and secret police units, waged a merciless war of attrition against peasants who refused to give up their grain. Even indispensable seed grain was forcibly confiscated from peasant households. Any man, woman, or child caught taking even a handful of grain from a collective farm could be, and often was, executed or deported. Those who did not appear to be starving were often suspected of hoarding grain. Peasants were prevented from leaving their villages by the NKVD (secret police) and a system of internal passports.
The death toll from the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine has been estimated at between 6 to 7 Million. According to a Soviet author, “Before they died, people often lost their senses and ceased to be human beings.” Yet one of Stalin’s lieutenants in Ukraine stated in 1933 that the famine was a great success. It showed the peasants “who is the master here. It cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay.”
New York Times Concealed Ukrainian Genocide
Talking Through My Hat Burning Down The New York Times Act 1
Burning Down The New York Times: Act II “What Holocaust?”
Burning Down The New York Times in Three Acts
New York Times Concealed Ukrainian Genocide
The Ukraine Famine 1932-1933
Holodomor Ukraine 1933 (the real holocaust)
“…The killing of 10 million Christians by the jewish bolsheviks under Joseph Stalin 1932-1933 in Ukraine. These events are also known as Holodomor. …”
Ukraine famine genocide survivor interviews
Background Articles and Videos
1915 AGHET – The Armenian Genocide (In English)
AGHET — A Genocide [produced by NDR (German public television)] is a new award-winning documentary made by German filmmaker Eric Friedler which compellingly proves the truth of the genocide of the Armenian people. Using the actual words of 23 German, American and other nationals who witnessed the events, and armed with archival materials, AGHET expertly takes on the challenge that PM Erdogan hurled at the world by stating: »Prove it.«
AGHET incorporates never-before-seen footage and documents — making it one of the best researched and presented documentaries on the Armenian Genocide. More than just a historic retelling of the Genocide, the film also delves into the ongoing campaign of denial that the Turkish government has mounted since these events occurred in World War I.
AGHET was debuted on NDR in April, 2010. Friedler has assembled an impeccable cast, who bring to life the original texts of German and U.S. diplomatic dispatches and eyewitness accounts, interspersed with never-before-seen footage of the Genocide and its political aftermath. The film, applauded by Nobel Prize laureate Gunter Grass, has sparked renewed debate throughout Europe. It is now being showcased around the world on television, in major film festivals and has been seen by members of the U.S. Congress.
AGHET represents a significant contribution to political and cultural awareness not only for Armenians worldwide, but also more importantly for the non-Armenian world community.
Genocide: Worse Than War | Full-length documentary | PBS
“By the most fundamental measure — the number of people killed — the perpetrators of mass murder since the beginning of the twentieth century have taken the lives of more people than have died in military conflict. So genocide is worse than war,” reiterates Goldhagen. “This is a little-known fact that should be a central focus of international politics, because once you know it, the world, international politics, and what we need to do all begin to look substantially different from how they are typically conceived.”
WORSE THAN WAR documents Goldhagen¹s travels, teachings, and interviews in nine countries around the world, bringing viewers on an unprecedented journey of insight and analysis. In a film that is highly cinematic and evocative throughout, he speaks with victims, perpetrators, witnesses, politicians, diplomats, historians, humanitarian aid workers, and journalists, all with the purpose of explaining and understanding the critical features of genocide and how to finally stop it.
History of Genocides
The Holocaust and Genocide – part 1
The Holocaust and Genocide – part 2
What is the Definition of Genocide?
Denial of the Holodomor
“…Denial of the Holodomor (Ukrainian: Заперечення Голодомору, Russian: Отрицание Голодомора) is the assertion that the 1932-1933 Holodomor, a supposedly artificial famine in Soviet Ukraine, recognized as a crime against humanity by the European Parliament, did not occur.
This denial and suppression was made in official Soviet propaganda from the very beginning and until the 1980s. It was supported by some Western journalists and intellectuals. It was echoed at the time of the famine by some prominent Western journalists, including Walter Duranty and Louis Fischer. The denial of the famine was a highly successful and well orchestrated disinformation campaign by the Soviet government. Stalin “had achieved the impossible: he had silenced all the talk of hunger… Millions were dying, but the nation hymned the praises of collectivization”, said historian and writer Edvard Radzinsky.
According to Robert Conquest, that was the first major instance of Soviet authorities adopting Hitler’s Big Lie propaganda technique to sway world opinion, to be followed by similar campaigns over the Moscow Trials and denial of the Gulag labor camp system.
The famine’s existence is still disputed by some, despite a general consensus. The causes, nature and extent of the Holodomor remain topics of controversy and active scholarship.
Cover-up of the famine
Soviet leadership undertook extensive efforts to prevent the spread of any information about the famine by keeping state communications top secret and taking other measures to prevent word of the famine from spreading. When Ukrainian peasants traveled north to Russia seeking bread, Joseph Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov sent a secret telegram to the party and provincial police chiefs with instructions to turn them back, alleging Polish agents were attempting to create a famine scare. OGPU chairman Genrikh Yagoda subsequently reported that over 200,000 peasants had been turned back.
Stalin’s wife, Nadezhda Allilueva, learned about the famine from Ukrainian students at the technical school she was attending. They described acts of cannibalism and bands of orphaned children. Allilueva complained to Stalin, who then ordered the OGPU to purge all the college students who had taken part in collectivization.
Soviet President Mikhail Kalinin responded to Western offers of food by telling of “political cheats who offer to help the starving Ukraine,” and commented that, “only the most decadent classes are capable of producing such cynical elements.”
In an interview with Gareth Jones in March 1933, Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov stated, “Well, there is no famine”, and went on to say, “You must take a longer view. The present hunger is temporary. In writing books you must have a longer view. It would be difficult to describe it as hunger.”
On instructions from Litvinov, Boris Skvirsky, embassy counselor of the recently opened Soviet Embassy in the United States, published a letter on January 3, 1934, in response to a pamphlet about the famine. In his letter, Skvirsky stated that the idea that the Soviet government was “deliberately killing the population of the Ukraine” “wholly grotesque.” He claimed that the Ukrainian population had been increasing at an annual rate of 2 percent during the preceding five years and asserted that the death rate in Ukraine “was the lowest of that of any of the constituent republics composing the Soviet Union”, concluding that it “was about 35 percent lower than the pre-war death rate of tsarist days.”
Mention of the famine was criminalized, punishable with a five-year term in the Gulag labor camps. Blaming the authorities was punishable by death.
Falsification and suppression of evidence
The true number of dead was concealed. At the Kiev Medical Inspectorate, for example, the actual number of corpses, 9,472, was recorded as only 3,997. The GPU was directly involved in the deliberate destruction of actual birth and death records, as well as the fabrication of false information to cover up information regarding the causes and scale of death in Ukraine. Similar falsifications of official records were widespread.
The January 1937 census, the first in 11 years, was intended to reflect the achievements of Stalin’s rule. It became evident that population growth particularly in Ukraine failed to meet official targets—evidence of the mortality resulting from the famine and from associated indirect demographic losses. Those collecting the data, senior statisticians with decades of experience, were arrested and executed, including three successive heads of the Soviet Central Statistical Administration. The census data itself was locked away for half a century in the Russian State Archive of the Economy.
The subsequent 1939 census was organized in a manner that certainly inflated data on population numbers. It showed a population figure of 170.6 million people, manipulated so as to match the numbers stated by Joseph Stalin in his report to the 18th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party that March. No other census in the Soviet Union was conducted until 1959.
Campaigns of disinformation
The Soviet Union denied all existence of the famine until its 50th anniversary, in 1983, when the world-wide Ukrainian community coordinated famine remembrance. The Ukrainian diaspora exerted significant pressure on the media and various governments, including the United States and Canada, to raise the issue of the famine with the government of the Soviet Union.
While the Soviet government admitted that some peasantry died, it also sought to launch a disinformation campaign, in February 1983, to blame drought. The head of the directorate for relations with foreign countries for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), A. Merkulov, charged Leonid Kravchuk, the chief idealogue for the Communist Party in Ukraine, with finding rainfall evidence for the Great Famine. This new evidence was to be sent to the Novosti press centers in the U.S. and Canada, denouncing the “antidemocratic base of the Ukrainian bourgeois Nationalists, the collaboration of the Banderists and the Hitlerite Fascists during the Second World War.” Kravchuk’s inquiry into the rainfalls for the 1932-1933 period found that they were within normal parameters. Nevertheless, the official position regarding drought did not change.
The United States Congress created the Commission on the Ukraine Famine in 1986. Soviet authorities were correct in their expectation that the commission would lay responsibility for the famine on the Soviet state.
Increased international awareness of the famine did not dissuade Soviet authorities from further disinformation in anticipation of the 55th anniversary of the famine. In Canada, the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians (a cultural and educational organization founded in 1918 and still preserving its original pro-Communist leanings) published numerous articles denying the famine in its publications, available to the public through its bookstore outlets. In 2007, newly released correspondence confirmed instructions for the content of these materials had come directly from Soviet authorities.
Ultimately, as President of Ukraine, Kravchuk exposed the official cover-up attempts and came out in support of recognizing the famine, named the “Holodomor,” as genocide.
From glasnost to post-Soviet standoff
In an open letter to Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1987, veteran dissident Viacheslav Chornovil wrote about the denial of the famine:
“The biggest and most infamous blank spot in the Soviet history of Ukraine is the hollow silence for over 50 years about the genocide of the Ukrainian nation organized by Stalin and his henchmen … The Great Famine of 1932-33, which took millions of human lives. In one year—1933—my people lost more than throughout all of World War II, which ravaged our land.”
It was during this period of glasnost that Soviet authorities admitted that agricultural policies played a direct role in the causing the famine.
In the post Soviet era, an independent Ukraine has officially condemned the Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. The Russian Foreign Ministry counters that not only Ukrainians died in the Great Famine, that to single out Ukrainians as victims insults others who died, that the
- “declaration of the tragic events of that time as act of genocide against the Ukrainian nation is a unilateral misinterpretation of history in favor of modern conformist political and ideological principles.”
Contemporary denial outside of the USSR
Walter Duranty and The New York Times
According to Patrick Wright, Robert C. Tucker, Eugene Lyons, Mona Charen and Thomas Woods  one of the first Western Holodomor deniers was Walter Duranty, the winner of the 1932 Pulitzer prize in journalism in the category of correspondence, for his dispatches on Soviet Union (called incorrectly Russia) and the working out of the Five Year Plan. While the famine was raging, he wrote in the pages of The New York Times that “Any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda”, and that “There is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation, but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition.”
In his reports, Duranty downplayed the impact of food shortages in Ukraine, although in private he told Eugene Lyons and reported to the British Embassy that the population of Ukraine and Lower Volga had “decreased” by six to seven million. While other Western reporters reported the famine conditions as best they could due to Soviet censorship and restrictions on visiting areas affected by the famine, Duranty’s reports frequently echoed the official Soviet view. As Duranty wrote in a dispatch from Moscow in March 1933, “Conditions are bad, but there is no famine… But—to put it brutally—you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”
Duranty wrote articles denying that the Holodomor was taking place in Ukraine. He also wrote denunciations of those who wrote about the famine, accusing them of being reactionaries and anti-Bolshevik propagandists. Duranty repeated Soviet propaganda without verifying its veracity. As the New York Times notes: “Taking Soviet propaganda at face value this way was completely misleading, as talking with ordinary Russians might have revealed even at the time.”
In August 1933, Cardinal Theodor Innitzer of Vienna called for relief efforts, stating that the Ukrainian famine was claiming lives “likely… numbered… by the millions” and driving those still alive to infanticide and cannibalism. The New York Times, August 20, 1933, reported Innitzer’s charge and published an official Soviet denial: “in the Soviet Union we have neither cannibals nor cardinals”. The next day, the Times added Duranty’s own denial.
Some historians consider Duranty’s reports from Moscow to be crucial in the decision taken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to grant the Soviet Union diplomatic recognition in 1933. Bolshevik Karl Radek said that was indeed the case.
British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge (who went hopefully to live in the New Civilization in 1932, but soon became disillusioned) said of Duranty that he “always enjoyed his company; there was something vigorous, vivacious, preposterous, about his unscrupulousness which made his persistent lying somehow absorbing”  Muggeridge characterised Duranty as “the greatest liar of any journalist I have met in 50 years of journalism.” Others have characterized Duranty as “the number one Useful Idiot for Lenin first, and later for Stalin.
Campaigns were launched in 1986 for the retraction of the Pulitzer Prize given to The New York Times. The paper, however, declined to relinquish it, arguing that Duranty received the prize for his reporting several years before the occurrence of the famine. While conceding that Duranty’s coverage of the famine has since been “largely discredited”, the Times noted that:
Duranty’s cabled dispatches had to pass Soviet censorship, and Stalin’s propaganda machine was powerful and omnipresent. Duranty’s analyses relied on official sources as his primary source of information, accounting for the most significant flaw in his coverage – his consistent underestimation of Stalin’s brutality.
The New York Times also acknowledges that “some of Duranty’s editors criticized his reporting as tendentious”, and that “collectivization was the main cause of a famine that killed millions of people in Ukraine, the Soviet breadbasket, in 1932 and 1933 – two years after Duranty won his prize.”
Louis Fischer and The Nation
Next to Duranty, the American reporter most consistently willing to gloss Soviet reality was Louis Fischer, who had a deep ideological commitment to Soviet communism dating back to 1920. When Fischer traveled to Ukraine in October and November 1932, for The Nation, he was alarmed at what he saw. “In the Poltava, Vinnitsa, Podolsk and Kiev regions, conditions will be hard”, he wrote, “I think there is no starvation anywhere in Ukraine now — after all they have just gathered in the harvest, but it was a bad harvest.”
Initially critical of the Soviet grain procurement program because it created the food problem, Fischer by February 1933 adopted the official Soviet government view, which blamed the problem on Ukrainian counter-revolutionary nationalist “wreckers.” It seemed “whole villages” had been “contaminated” by such men, who had to be deported to “lumbering camps and mining areas in distant agricultural areas which are now just entering upon their pioneering stage.” These steps were forced upon the Kremlin, Fischer wrote, but the Soviets were, nevertheless, learning how to rule wisely.
Fischer was on a lecture tour in the United States when Gareth Jones’ famine story broke. Speaking to a college audience in Oakland, California, a week later, Fischer stated emphatically: “There is no starvation in Russia.” He spent the spring of 1933 campaigning for American diplomatic recognition of the Soviet Union. As rumors of a famine in the USSR reached American shores, Fischer vociferously denied the reports.
Fischer’s article entitled “Russia’s Last Hard Year”, stated, “The first half of 1933 was very difficult indeed. Many people simply did not have sufficient nourishment.” Fischer blamed poor weather and the refusal of peasants to harvest the grain, which then rotted in the fields. Government requisitions drained the countryside of food, he admitted, but military needs (a potential conflict with Japan) explained the need for such deadly thoroughness in grain collections.
Fischer maintained his general optimism about the Soviet Union through the publication of his Soviet Journey in 1935. The book devoted three pages to a discussion of the famine of 1932-1933, in which Fischer described his October travels through Ukraine. He told of food left rotting in the fields as the result of peasants’ “passive resistance.” Fischer blamed the peasants directly for having “brought the calamity upon themselves.” Fischer stressed the positive results ensuing from Bolshevik victory in the countryside, and connected the famine to peasant action (or inaction).
Holodomor denial by prominent visitors to the USSR
Prominent British writers who visited the Soviet Union in 1934, such as George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells, are also on record as denying the existence of the Famine in Ukraine.
In 1934 the British Foreign Office in the House of Lords stated that there was no evidence to support the allegations against the Soviet government regarding the Famine in Ukraine, based on the testimony of Sir John Maynard, a renowned famine expert who visited Ukraine in the summer of 1933 and rejected “tales of famine-genocide propagated by the Ukrainian Nationalists”.
The height of manipulation was reached during a visit to Ukraine carried out between August 26 and September 9, 1933, by French Prime Minister Édouard Herriot, who denied accounts of the famine and said that Soviet Ukraine was “like a garden in full bloom”. The day before his arrival, all beggars, homeless children and starving people were removed from the streets. Shop windows in local stores were filled with food, but purchases were forbidden, and anyone coming too close to the stores was arrested. The streets were washed. Just like all other Western visitors, Herriot met fake “peasants”, all selected Communists or Komsomol members, who showed him healthy cattle. Herriot declared to the press that there was no famine in Ukraine, that he did not see any trace of it, and that this showed adversaries of the Soviet Union were spreading the rumour. “When one believes that the Ukraine is devastated by famine, allow me to shrug my shoulders”, he declared. The September 13, 1933 issue of Pravda was able to write that Herriot “categorically contradicted the lies of the bourgeoisie press in connection with a famine in the USSR.”
The lack of knowledge of the famine was observed by English writer George Orwell, who commented that “huge events like the Ukraine famine of 1933, involving the deaths of millions of people, have actually escaped the attention of the majority of English Russophiles”. In 1945, Orwell wrote,
[I]t was considered equally proper to publicise famines when they happened in India and to conceal them when they happened in the Ukraine. And if this was true before the war, the intellectual atmosphere is certainly no better now.
Nigel Colley has written on the influence of the Ukrainian Famine, and the Holodomor denial of Duranty, on Orwell’s book Animal Farm.