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 Why Stalin wanted to destroy the Ukranain People



AWAKENED by a national revolution in 1917–21, Ukraine – with its 1,000-plus-year history and a rich cultural heritage, strivings for an independent state, and experience of fighting for its freedom – continued its fast-paced revival. In 1920s–30s, some of the Ukrainian communists began to seek more autonomy from Moscow and by the late 1920s Stalin felt that the policy of Ukrainization had overstepped the limits set by the Kremlin and lost its usefuleness for the regime. Ukraine began to pose a serious threat to the integrity of the Soviet empire and its geopolitical aspirations. Against this backdrop, Stalin’s regime unleashed an open war against Ukrainians as a nation. 

If we do not start rectifying
the situation in Ukraine now,
we may lose Ukraine”.

 Stalin’s letter to Lazar Kaganovich
dated 11 August 1932, which shows
his determination to break the growing
opposition to his policy of genocide
from the Ukrainian peasantry and,
in their wake, the Communist
Party of Ukraine

THE OBJECTIVE of the engineered famine was to destroy the Ukrainian national idea by wiping out the national elites and their social support base, and then by turning the peasants who survived the Holodomor into obedient collective farm workers – virtually slaves of the state.

AFTER MILLIONS of Ukrainians died in their own native land, the authorities resettled tens of thousands of families from Russia, Belarus, and other parts of the USSR to the depopulated lands of Soviet Ukraine. By the end of 1933 over 117,000 people were resettled in Ukraine, at a 105% fullfilment rate.


Heorhiy Shevtsov. What Kind of Harvest Will Be (T. Shevchenko).
Private Collection of Morgan Williams

“It was Stalin who gave the order to
pillage Ukraine, to take away the
grain, and export it while our
children died by the thousands”.

 Mykhailo Prokopenko, Holodomor
eyewitness, Cherkasy region

“I remain convinced that for
Stalin to have complete
centralized power in his hands,
he found it necessary to
physically destroy the second-
largest Soviet republic,
meaning the annihilation of the
Ukrainian peasantry, Ukrainian
intelligentsia, Ukrainian
language, and history as
understood by the people;
to do away with Ukraine and
things Ukrainian as such. The
calculation was very simple,
very primitive: no people,
therefore, no separate
country, and thus no problem.
Such a policy is Genocide in
the classic sense of the word”.

 James Mace, Holodomor scholar (USA)

CONCURRENTLY WITH THE HOLODOMOR, Stalin totalitarian regime conducted large-scale repressions against Ukrainians. The number of arrests in Ukraine was 2.5 times higher in 1932 than in 1929 – and four times higher in 1933, reaching a record of almost 125,000 people.

“Both nations (the Jews and
Ukrainians) were exterminated
due to political reasons and
only because they were what
they were”.

 US Congressman David Roth


Excerpt from the telegram –
Report on the dispatch of the
first resettlers group
(26,000 persons with
households) from Russia to
the devastated by the
Holodomor areas of Ukraine
(December 1933)

“The aftermath of the present
tragedy in Ukraine will be
Russian colonization of this
country, which will affect its
ethnic makeup. In the future, or
even in the near future, no one
will speak about Ukraine or the
Ukrainian people – and, hence,
about the Ukrainian problem –
because Ukraine will de facto
become a territory with a
predominantly Russian population”.

 Letter from the Italian consul in
Kharkiv, Sergio Gradenigo, to his
Ambassador in Moscow (1933)



Joseph Stalin, Secretary General of the USSR Communist party, the highest-ranking member of the Communist hierarchy and the de facto dictator of the USSR from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953.

Viacheslav Molotov, head of the Council for People’s Commissars of the USSR (Soviet government). One of Stalin’s closest allies, Molotov personally monitored the confiscation of grain in Ukraine.

Lazar Kaganovich, Stalin’s loyal henchman; Secretary of the USSR Communist party in 1928–39; Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist party of Ukraine (1925–28); special envoy to monitor grain confiscation in the Northern Caucasus and inspect grain procurement in Ukraine, specifically in the Odesa region.

Stanislav Kosior, First Secretary of the Communist party of Ukraine in 1928–38, the actual ruler of Soviet Ukraine.

Mendel Khataievich, Second Secretary of the Communist party of Ukraine in 1932–33, vested with “special powers” to monitor the grain confiscations.

Pavel Postyshev, Second Secretary of the Ukraine’s Communist party Central Committee. Vested with extraordinary powers in January 1933, his main task, as defined by Stalin, was “unconditional fulfilment of the grain procurement plan”. After the “plan” was fulfilled, Postyshev became the major initiator and direct manager of the terror and repressions that were directed against the Ukrainian cultural, social, and political elite.

Stanislav Redens, head of the GPU – State Political Directorate (secret police) in Soviet Ukraine. He was the chief investigator on the first criminal cases fabricated against starving Ukrainian peasants.

Vsevolod Balytsky, replaced S.Redens as a head of the GPU in Soviet Ukraine. He initiated most of the cases against starving peasants, sentencing them to death on trumped-up charges. He played a leading role in exterminating the Ukrainian intelligentsia during the “Terror” of the mid-to-late 1930s.