Joseph Stalin and Ukrainian Genocide Commemoration
Genocide is the deliberate and organized annihilation of a racial, ethnic, religious, or national group of people. The term “genocide” was not used until after 1944, when it was created by a Polish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin, who combined “geno”, meaning race or tribe, with “cide”, which means killing. The Holodomor refers to the famine of the Ukranian people from 1932 to 1933 under the rule of a Josef Stalin. Under his leadership, the Soviet Union persecuted the Ukrainian people by denying them their basic needs. An estimated 7,000,000 people died in this genocide, which is also known as Holodomor, meaning “death by hunger.” The events that led up to Holodomor began in 1917 when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, took power in Russia. He helped form the Soviet Union with the Ukraine as one of its republics. The Communists knew that Ukrainians were a people with nationalistic pride who could potentially resist soviet control. To keep them content, Moscow allowed them a great deal of independence. This changed in 1924 when Lenin died and Josef Stalin came into power (Mischenko-Mycyk).
Stalin is known as one of the most brutal and ruthless dictators in human history. He feared that the Ukraine, the largest of the non-Russian republics, was a threat to his Communist empire. In 1929, Stalin eliminated any threat from Ukrainian nationalists. Over 5,000 spiritual and intellectual leaders such as priests, bishops, writers, professors, and scientists were arrested and either murdered or sent to prison camps in Siberia. They were falsely blamed of planning a rebellion, but Stalin’s motive was to eliminate those who could organize and resist. This left the common citizens without any guidance or direction (Gavin).
Stalin was determined to exterminate Ukraine’s farmers for two reasons. First, the Ukraine had the potential to rise up and resist against the Communist regime. Second, he needed more money to industrialize the country, and the
Cited: Babij, Lana. "Holodomor Facts and History." Holodomor 1932-1933. Connecticut Holodomor Committee, 6 Apr. 2008. Web. 30 Apr. 2013. <http://www.holodomorct.org/ pastevents.html>. Dolot, Miron. Execution by Hunger: The Hidden Holocaust. New York: W.W. Norton, 1985. Print. Gavin, Philip. “Stalin 's Forced Famine 1932- 33." The History Place. Philip Gavin publishing, 2000. Web. 30 Apr. 2010. <http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/ stalin.htm>. Mischenko-Mycyk, Katya. “Key Figures in the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933.” Ukrainian Genocide Famine Foundation. UGFF- USA, Inc. 2008. Web. 01 May 2013. <http://www.ukrainiangenocide.org/dbackgroundonthegenocide.html>.