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- 1474. March 15, 1933
- 1559. April 28-29, 1933.
- 1. D isarm am ent and independence
on the style of the Nuremberg trials. But such a trial appears to be a real
and in esca p a b le ev en t. T h e first w arning b ell w as so u n d ed by the
Resolution of the Security Council of the UN regarding Russian pretensions
to Ukrainian Sevastopil, while the establishment of an influential tribunal on
the atrocities of the aggressors in Yugoslavia means that it is already knock
ing at the door. So far there is no sign that official Russia has heard these
historical signals o f fate. We have seen no signs of repentance for the reduc
tion by half of the Ukrainian nation over the last 75 years. But we would
wish our northern neighbours to pay heed to our warning; the Ukrainian
nation retains the right to demand that Moscow bear the responsibility, in
particular for the famine of 1933. The lime is coming, and 8 or 12 million
witnesses, two or three times more than the number of Ukrainians who fell
in World War II, will rise up from their graves in every Ukrainian village and
demand that there be no Statute of Limitations for their murder, in accor
dance with international law.
At a conference organised by our Embassy in Moscow in the spring of
this year, most o f the Russian participants voiced the opinion that the
Famine did not select its victims according to genotype; Lhat in the face of
the famine and Stalin all were equal. There was only one person, Serhiy
Adamovich Kovalyov,5 the former dissident and current head o f the commis
sion of Human Rights of the ill-famed Russian Parliament, found the courage
to state that the Russians must say to the Ukrainians: “Forgive us!”. In these
words there is a sound of hope.
5 This is nol the first time that Kovalyov has stood up for the rights of the non-Russian peo
ples of the USSR. In the 1970s, he publicly gave his support to the underground "Chronicle of
the Lithuanian Catholic Church" for which he received a 7-year prison sentence.
THE UKRAINIAN REVIEW
1 9 3 3 — A V IE W FR O M L O N D O N
During the early 1930s, ihc Catholic weekly The Tablet, kept up an
unremitting battle against the Soviet Union (usually referred to as Russia),
advocating a trade boycott,, in particular of foodstuffs. The T ablet’s primary
motive for the campaign was religious — Moscow had, at this time, declared
a five year plan for the extirpation of religion. But during the course o f 1932
and 1933, references to the famine began to make their appearances in its
pages. A boycott o f “Russian" produce was now advocated, not only in
protest against the Soviet Union’s blatant disregard of what are now called
Human Rights, but also because the food being offered to Britain was taken
from the starving.
The editors of 'the 'Tablet do not seem to have grasped that what was
going on in Ukraine was an engineered famine. They assume rather that it
was caused by a gigantic planning blunder.
“More men, women and children have lately starved to death in Russia
than there are in all Portugal", The Tablet wrote on September 16, 1933.
The worst of it is that the Famine of 1933 is no inscrutable Act of God, but a
hideous and blatant Act of Man. Rather than admit that their policies were
wrong, the Moscow despots have calmly allowed millions of their lellow-
Russians (sic) to die the most ghastly of deaths”.
was, and indeed, still is a sober journal, not given to colourful
writing or horror stories. Indeed, in the note just cited, it slates that the latest
reports from the “Ukrainian Bureau” are so horrifying that the editors cannot
take the responsibility of publishing them without independent verification!
But however sober the writing, the sheer horror of the reportage comes
through. In early spring, 1933, it evokes a haunting image of the bodies of
Ukrainians “whose names arc known only to God”, shot by border guards
as they tried to escape over the river-ice to Romania, and now floating
downstream in the spring floods. (The use of the formula employed on
World War I war-graves of those too maimed to be identifiable must have
been particularly striking in 1933). And on 1 July, th e Tablet published the
words of the some of the victims of the famine themselves.
The Fditors of the day appear to have been somewhat apprehensive of
their readers' reactions. The leading article is entitled “Russia once more”,
and is largeltcd at readers who have expressed their weariness with the
“If the reader who tells us that she has ‘got a bit tired o f reading about
Russia’ were the only person to have said so, a plain reply through the post
would meet her case”, the editorial begins. “We are grieved to say, however,
that there arc millions of persons in Great Britain to whom ihe most dread
60th ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1932-33 FAMINE
ful messages from starving Russia are merely something to read and there
fore something which has becom e stale.
We should indeed be despicable creatures if the many articles and notes
on Russia which we have been publishing nearly every week for years were
no more than news-m ongering or a journalistic exploitation o f human
wrongs and miseries. If Russia under the Soviets were no more than a ‘stunt’
for The Tablet, we too should have 'got a bit tired’ of the topic long before
this. There is no lack, week by week, of interesting and fresh and often con
genial matter for Catholic Editors to write about; and such writing would be
far easier than our Russian articles, in which there would be tiresome repeti
tions if we did not lavish pains upon them. We have spoken literally hun
dreds of times against the Muscovites, simply because we regard their tyran
ny as the most gigantic in history and their militant atheism as the worst
affront ever offered by His creatures to the Creator, and we shall go on
speaking, whether we bore the public or not, until the tyrants are unhorsed
and their blasphemies are ended...
....[Wle re-affirm our oft-made declaration that Muscovite rule is a curse
not only to Christianity but to our common civilisation. For proof of this
indictment, we need do no more today than point to the present state of the
Russian people, after a decade and a half of Soviet administration. Overleaf
will be found an account of the heartrending ordeal of the millions who are
doomed to live wretchedly and die prematurely under Moscow’s misrule. If
anyone who has ‘got a bit tired of reading about Russia’ can read right
through our contributor’s fully authenticated story without his boredom giv
ing place to indignation, we shall not envy him his heart of stone...”.
The article so introduced is from a certain G.M. Godden, and is partly
based on material published in what he describes as “a non-political
German magazine (Allg. Ev. Luth. K irchenzeitung, No,
requires a knowledge of German to identify this as a Lutheran publication
— and in those pre-ecumenical days, the very fact that The Tablet dared to
reproduce material of Lutheran provenance, is itself evidence of the impor
tance placed by the editors on authenticating their m aterial. For the
K irch en zeitu n g
material — eyewitness accounts from a visitor recently
returned from the Soviet Union — are only there to substantiate the princi
pal material — the letters of the starving.
These letters, we are told, have been edited to protect the writers from
even greater suffering, so that names and places of origin are omitted. We
are assured that “(e)vidence of the b on a fid e s of the transmission is in the
hands of 'lbe Tablet’, but has almost certainly not survived the past 60 years.
Some letters are clearly come from those deported as “Kulaks”, others
appear to come from people still in their home villages but trapped by the
famine. The identification numbers attached to the documents by those who
transmitted them suggest something of the size of the original package.
THE UKRAINIAN REVIEW
1 4 9 0
What shall I tell you about our life in the encampment? It is an unbroken round
of misery. When we arrived, all our money was taken from us. If we had
money we could buy tickets and try to escape. We have, for doing the full out
put of work, a little over one pound of bread in the morning and some groats;
weak soup at midday; and water for tea. Every month we get less than one
pound of sugar. [The editors have presumably converted the original units to
those familiar to their British readers]. Those who cannot reach the standard of
work get less food. All dead horses are eaten. As most of the Kulaks are elderly
men it is harder for them. Young criminals, with whom we are placed, cannot
help stealing. They have stolen from me all the little I have, except the shoes I
stand up in and my lapli (bast shoes). We are given old worn clothes. We lie
close together on a wooden staging, in our bitterly cold barracks, which are
infested with lice and bugs. We get wet through and have nowhere to dry our
clothes. A guard always accompanies us when we are put to “general work”.
1475. M arch 19,1933-
We were unloaded from a wagon on the open steppe (Siberia). At first we
had no shelter from rain and snow, and fifty people were lodged in a hovel
fourteen yards long by six yards wide. Typhus and smallpox soon broke
out. Our food is decreased constantly.
1492. M arch 26, 1933
We don’t believe we shall ever again have enough to eat; our faces and feet
are swelling from hunger. Out of the fifty-one persons sent here (W est
Siberia) twenty-three have died.
1495. M arch 4, 1933
You cannot imagine how the people hunger. All who do not receive food
parcels from abroad die.
1474. March 15, 1933,
jMy husband died from hunger two weeks ago; my two children are already
swollen with hunger; we shall soon follow him.
1475. M arch 10, 1933-
My father died on Friday, and the baby is now dead. The little one was only
skin and bones. We shall bury them together... We have just come back, moth
er is so weak that she fell off the wagon in which was the coffin. Mother is left
with five children; we are all so swollen with hunger that we can scarcely see
out of our eyes. Father and the little one will not suffer from hunger any more.
60th ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1932-33 FAMINE
1476. M arch 27, 1933.
Day by day the distress becomes greater, many of my parishioners will die,
before long, from hunger; two hundred families in my parish have no hope
of escaping death unless help is sent.
1477. M arch 12, 1933
Now that the snow is melting, many corpses are appearing which the snow
1482. April, 1933-
have becom e like hungry beasts.
1478. April 12, 1933-
Men are eating dead beasts; they are also eating human bodies.
1479. April 11, 1933-
The entrails, liver and lungs are removed from bodies of the dead; from those
that are not too emaciated the flesh is taken. Dead animals are also eaten.
1571. April 18, 1933-
My husband died of hunger on April 4; he cried for food until he was dead.
1 have eight children, who are already dying.
1572. April 25, 1933.
Most of the people, even those working on the collective farms, have no
bread; it is all delivered up, we are compelled to give it. Those who refuse
to give up com [in the British sense of all cereal crops and, in particular,
wheat] are sentenced to imprisonment. Many men are dying here. Many are
all swollen; then they die of hunger.
1520, April 23, 1933.
We were all swollen with hunger, and had nothing more to eat, Then my
son found some potatoes left in the ground from the autumn, all frost bitten
and soft; they saved us.
1559. April 28-29, 1933.
My husband is swollen and has lost all hope of living; our strength is at an
end... Many men are dying, here, of hunger.
THE UKRAINIAN REVIEW
1529. A pril 26-27, 1933-
We are all so weak and swollen that we can hardly move. We have six
ounces of bread per day. Six of our family have died of'hunger... This week
two died at the Co-op. They were standing in the Bread Queue, and fell
down, and were found to be dead.
During the past few decades, stories of the Gulag and other horrors of
the Soviet system have become commonplace to Western readers. In 1933,
however, this litany of suffering would have had an audience not yet blunt
ed by familiarity.
To validate the above picture, Mr. Godden refers on ce more to the
K irch en zeitu n g ,
and then to a recent report from a certain Mlonsieurj
Sabline. “The people, in what was once the grain-store of Europe, are starv
ing”, Godden notes, while “Mlonsieurj Litvinov [USSR Commissar for Foreign
Affairs] as the effrontery to suggest to the Economic Conference now sitting
in London that vast sums can be paid by the Soviet Government to foreign
countries in order to secure potential war material, raw products and
machinery, nay, worse, large quantities of food are being exported from
Russia and sold throughout the world. ‘Will no one save us from death?’ cry
In G odden’s opinion, “[TJhe first immediate response to that appeal
should be a boycott of all Russian food-stuffs, on sale, in those happier
lands where mass-starvation is unknown. Such a boycott would influence
the callous Soviet rulers, to whom human life and human misery are as
nothing, and money to carry out their grandiose schemes of a mechanized
Russia is everything”.
And now, Godden notes, there is a new threat, as the harvest o f 1933
ripens, the peasants are making “new efforts... to ward off death from them
selves and their children. Ears of grain are being cut from the standing
crops; and the hungry men and women, driven to this expedient, are
becoming known as ‘grain-barbers’. Although the grain is not yet ripe, ‘bar-
bering’ has already begun in many districts. Against these ‘grain barbers’ the
Soviet Governm ent has proclaimed a new campaign. Patrols of young
Communists, with dogs, are sent out to hunt down the starving people. Two
years ago ( T ablet, August 22, 1931), the Christians in the Soviet Union
declared: ‘We are all like hunted game’. Today, ten thousand ‘selected Town
Communists’ with dogs, have been sent out to keep the starving peasants
from the ripening corn which they themselves have planted...".
C u rren t A ffairs
U K R A IN E A N D TH E PROBLEM S OF
NUCLEAR W EAPO NS
Lt.-Colonel Anatoliy Hlushchenko
Over the last two years the question of the deployment o f nuclear mis
siles in Ukraine has constantly attracted the attention of politicians, econo
mists, the military, and journalists. This is not surprising, since there are two
diametrically opposed views on the matter. One side sees these weapons as
a guarantee of its security, while the other perceives in these weapons a cer
tain threat. Nevertheless, a solution to the problem will surely be found pro
vided that both sides manage to understand each other’s point o f view, and
are prepared to act in a constructive manner, on the basis of their common
1. D isarm am ent and independence
The first step should be an objective analysis of the current situation
regarding nuclear missiles in Ukraine. Here, the starting point must be
Ukraine’s declaration of independence. For, paradoxically, a number of for
eign politicians see this event as a set-back to the international process of
Those who think this way should be reminded of the following facts. The
nuclear arms reduction process can be conventionally divided into three
phases. The first is the 1960s, when a number of treaties were signed on
non-proliferation and partial test-bans. The second — the 1970s - was
marked by strategic arms limitation treaties. (We may note that, today, inde
pendent Ukraine is complying with all the terms o f these treaties, unlike cer
tain other countries, which to date have not renounced nuclear testing, and
which are the source of a leakage of technological information concerning
nuclear weapons production).
Lt.-Colonel Anatoliy Hlushchenko graduated from the Kharkiv Military Academy for Rocket
Forces in 1969.
Subsequently, he entered the Lenin Military-Political Academy, following which he worked
as a political officer at divisional and army level in Ukraine. In 1991 he was transferred to the
reserve with the rank of Lt.-Colonel.
THE UKRAINIAN REVIEW
The greatest interest in nuclear disarmament, however, came in the third
phase — the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s. In 1987 a
treaty was signed on the elimination of medium-range and short-range mis
siles, followed, in July 1991, by a treaty on the reduction and limitation of
strategic forces. If we track the course of the strategic forces limitation talks,
then we see at on ce that the stum bling-block was always what were
referred to as the “heavy missiles” based in Ukraine. However, in the sum
mer o f 1991 the situation changed drastically, since the military plants which
produced this class of missiles were situated in what now becam e the terri
tory of independent Ukraine.
In this situation the former political and military leadership of the USSR
was obliged to reach a compromise with the USA and agree to the reduction
o f nuclear arms. Thus, willy-nilly, one has to recognise that the reduction of
these weapons of mass destruction became possible because Ukraine had
becom e an independent state.
Tracking Ukraine's over-all implementation of the treaties of 1987 and 1991
also reveals some interesting facts. According to these treaties, the general
reduction of strategic rocket forces should have been around 50 per cent, as
senior military officials have stated on a number of occasions. What is the situ
ation today? Firstly, we may note that during this period (in addition to tactical
nuclear missiles) 4 out of 6 of the rocket divisions stationed in Ukraine have
been cut, and more than l60 strategic missiles targeted on Europe have been
decommissioned. Therefore Ukraine today is the only state in the world which
has reduced her strategic rocket forces by more than 50 per cent in reality, and
not merely in words. A legal point arises here: would it not be more equitable
for other states, instead o f urging Ukraine to total disarmament, to emulate her
by also reducing their rocket forces in the same proportion?
Secondly, since Ukraine has totally eliminated one class of missiles which
were targeted against European cities, her leaders should declare this pub
licly to the peoples of Europe. Certainly this will by no means satisfy the
countries of Europe, since one may confidently assume that the targets pro
grammed into the missiles formerly deployed in Ukraine, have now been
plotted into the trajectories o f the missiles deployed in Russia. But this is a
different issue, which, perhaps, the countries of Europe should take up not
with Ukraine, but with Russia.
One cannot of course discount the problem of the rest of the missiles in
Ukraine. Today there remain 120 SS-19s (with 6 warheads apiece) and 56 SS-
24s (with 10 warheads apiece). Naturally, one can and, indeed, should under
stand the concern o f the USA that in Ukraine there are missiles which could
be launched against it. Furthermore, anyone who is involved in thèse matters
is well aware that it is by no means Ukraine which would take the decision to
launch them. The chain of command from these missile bases does not lead
back to some mythical “strategic forces’ unified command”, under the joint
control of the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia, but to the command posts
and general headquarters of the strategic rocket forces of Russia.
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