Bread for gold: a queue in Kharkiv during the time of Great Famine: photographer unknown, 1932 (State Archive of Ukraine)
Historians explain the genocide in the Ukraine (and in the northern Caucasus) in various ways. Russian historians see it as an instrument of the destruction of traditional society and the construction, in its place, of a formless, docile, half-enslaved mass of Homo sovieticus. Ukrainian historians (among them Valentin Moroz) believe that Stalin's goal was to save the Imperium: the Imperium cannot exist without the Ukraine. Yet the twenties witness a renascence of Ukrainian nationalistic ambition, which develops under the slogan "Far from Moscow!" The main repository of the Ukrainian spirit is the peasantry. To break that spirit, Stalin must destroy the peasantry. At the time, there were around thirty million Ukrainian peasants. Technically, one could have annihilated a significant portion of them by building a network of gas chambers. But that is an error Stalin did not commit. He who builds gas chambers bears all the blame, brings the disgrace of being a murderer down upon himself. Instead, Stalin saddled the victims of the crime with all the guilt for it: You are dying of hunger because you do not want to work, because you do not see the advantages of the kolkhoz. Furthermore, he complained, because of you the inhabitants of the cities are going hungry, women cannot nurse because they have no milk, children cannot go to school because they are too weak.
The Ukrainian countryside died in silence, isolated from the world, gnawing on the bark of trees and on the leather laces of its own shoes, looked upon with contempt by people from the cities, who stood in the streets in unending lines for bread.
Ryszard Kapuściński (1932-2007): from Pomona of the Little Town of Drohobych (1991), in Imperium, 1994
"Die Leichen der in den Straßen Charkovs Verhungerten erwecken anfangs Anteilnahme." ("The corpses in the streets of the Charkov at the beginning arouse the sympathy of the famished""): photo by Alexander Wienerberger, 1933, from "Muss Russland Hungern?"' ["Must Russia Starve?"], published by Wilhelm Braumüller, Wien [Vienna], 1935
"Die Anteilnahme schwindet." ("The sympathy shrinks!"). Kharkiv, Ukraine: photo by Alexander Wienerberger, 1933, from "Muss Russland Hungern?'" "[Must Russia Starve?"], published by Wilhelm Braumüller, Wien [Vienna], 1935
Passers-by no longer pay attention to the corpses of starved peasants on a street in Kharkiv [Ukraine]: photo by Alexander Wienerberger, 1933, in Famine in the Soviet Ukraine, 1932-1933: a memorial exhibition, Widener Library, Harvard University; initially published in "Muss Russland Hungern?" ["Must Russia Starve?"], published by Wilhelm Braumüller, Wien [Vienna] 1935
Joseph Stalin and Maxim Gorky in Red Square, 1931: photo from Pravda, 1940; image by Eugene Zelenko, 13 April 2005
Map of Holodomor (Ukrainian Famine/Genocide) of 1932-33.The Holodomor (literal translation Death by hunger) was a man-made famine in the Ukrainian SSR, part of the Soviet famine of 1932–1933. During the famine, which is also known as the "terror-famine in Ukraine" and "famine-genocide in Ukraine", millions of Ukrainians died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine: photo by Oleksy (Alex) Tyazhkyy, 3 November 2008