Amidst an uprising raging in all but two provinces of Ukraine, dissidents inside and outside the beleaguered nation are pushing an effort to immortalize the crimes they suffered at the hands of Communism, leading Ukrainian-American scholars working with the dissidents told Breitbart News.
They are renewing their push to have the Communist Terror-Famine in the Ukraine (known as the Holodomor) branded as “genocide” by the United Nations.
Central to this effort is the text of a long forgotten 1953 speech by Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term “genocide” and dedicated his life to bringing the crime to an end. In this speech to the Ukrainian community of New York commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Soviet-orchestrated Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 that left somewhere between seven and twelve million dead, Lemkin addressed “the classic example of Soviet genocide, its longest and broadest experiment in Russification – the destruction of the Ukrainian nation:”
As long as Ukraine retains its national unity, as long as its people continue to think of themselves as Ukrainians and to seek independence, so long Ukraine poses a serious threat to the very heart of Sovietism. It is no wonder that the Communist leaders have attached the greatest importance to the Russification of this independent member of their ‘Union of Republics,’ have determined to remake it to fit their pattern of one Russian nation. For the Ukrainian is not and has never been a Russian. His culture, his temperament, his language, his religion – all are different. At the side door to Moscow, he has refused to be collectivized, accepting deportation, even death. And so it is peculiarly important that the Ukrainian be fitted into the Procrustean pattern of the ideal Soviet man.
Ukraine is highly susceptible to racial murder by select parts, and so the Communist tactics there have not followed the pattern taken by the German attacks against the Jews. The nation is too populous to be exterminated completely with any efficiency. However, its leadership, religious, intellectual, political, its select and determining parts, are quite small and therefore easily eliminated, and so it is upon these groups particularly that the full force of the Soviet axe has fallen, with its familiar tools of mass murder, deportation and forced labour, exile and starvation.
Lemkin describes a long term, “systematic” program to destroy the Ukrainian “national spirit” stretching back to the early 1920s. It had three phases:
- An attack “aimed at the intelligentsia, the national brain, so as to paralyze the rest of the body.”
- The “offensive against the churches, priests, and hierarchy, the ‘soul’ of Ukraine.”
- “The third prong of the Soviet plan was aimed at the farmers, the large mass of independent peasants who are the repository of the tradition, folklore and music, the national language and literature, the national spirit, of Ukraine. The weapon used against this body is perhaps the most terrible of all – starvation.”
On this last point, Lemkin did not mince words:
There has been an attempt to dismiss this high point of Soviet cruelty as an economic policy connected with the collectivization of the wheat lands, and the elimination of the kulaks, the independent farmers, was therefore necessary. The fact is, however, that large-scale farmers in Ukraine were few and far-between. As a Soviet politician Kosior [Stanislav Kosior, First Secretary of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine] declared in Izvestiia on 2 December 1933, “Ukrainian nationalism is our chief danger,” and it was to eliminate that nationalism, to establish the horrifying uniformity of the Soviet state that the Ukrainian peasantry was sacrificed.
In the years since Lemkin spoke these words, much has come to light to prove his thesis. In 1996, Yale University Press’s Annals of Communism series published a collection of documents from Vladimir Lenin’s secret archive. On March 19, 1922, amid a mass famine in the Ukraine, Lenin issued the following orders:
It is precisely now and only now, when in the starving regions people are eating human flesh, and hundreds if not thousands of corpses are littering the roads, that we can (and therefore must) carry out the confiscation of church valuables with the most savage and merciless energy, not stopping [short of] crushing any resistance.
This kicked into high gear under Stalin. On September 11th, 1932, Stalin wrote to one of his henchmen that “at this point the question of Ukraine is the most important. The situation in Ukraine is very bad. If we don’t take steps now to improve the situation, we may lose Ukraine. The objective should be to transform Ukraine, in the shortest period of time, into a real fortress of the U.S.S.R.” A year later, Pavel Postyshev, another one of Stalin’s henchmen, told a meeting of the Central Committee in Ukraine, “Under the direct leadership and directions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and personally of comrade Stalin, we smashed the Ukrainian nationalist counterrevolution.”
In the United States, the most infamous part of this atrocity is its cover up by the New York Times. What is not popularly known is why Times reporter Walter Duranty knowingly lied about the Famine. The full truth is revealed in a comment Duranty made to a State Department official in 1931, a year before the Famine. In a document known as the “Kliefoth Memo” – a copy of which was provided to Breitbart News – State Department official A. W. Kliefoth reported on the contents of a conversation he had with Duranty. The memo states, “Duranty pointed out that, ‘in agreement with the NEW YORK TIMES and the Soviet authorities,’ his official dispatches always reflect the official opinion of the Soviet regime and not his own.”
To return to Lemkin’s address, he eloquently explained:
These have been the chief steps in the systematic destruction of the Ukrainian nation, in its progressive absorption within the new Soviet nation. Notably, there have been no attempts at complete annihilation, such as was the method of the German attack on the Jews. And yet, if the Soviet program succeeds completely, if the intelligentsia, the priests, and the peasants can be eliminated, Ukraine will be as dead as if every Ukrainian were killed, for it will have lost that part of it which has kept and developed its culture, its beliefs, its common ideas, which have guided it and given it a soul, which, in short, made it a nation rather than a mass of people… This is not simply a case of mass murder. It is a case of genocide, of destruction, not of individuals only, but of a culture and a nation.
The people of Ukraine have learned this lesson well. They know what their fate might be if they remain in the shadow of Putin’s neo-KGB puppet empire.