March 19, 2022

Subject: The Holodomar: The History of Communist Russia Genocide against Ukraine

Isaiah 3:15 “What do you mean by crushing My people and grinding the faces of the poor?”

Ed Croteau

As the invasion into Ukraine continues into its third week, Putin announced that he wants to “denazify” Ukraine, knowing full well that Ukraine fought alongside Russian against Nazi Germany in World War II. On top of that, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is Jewish whose family members survived the Holocaust.

Communist and Nazi propaganda follow the playbook out of Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels: “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.” This has been the campaign of Communist Russia at the invasion began on February 24, when Putin accused Ukrainians of genocide of “Russian-speaking civilians” in Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. Why would Putin accuse Ukraine of genocide against Russians?

To ensure we are not taken in by Putin’s lies, we need a history lesson on the true act of genocide. It has been given a name – Holodomar, the Communist Russia genocide against Ukraine.

The Holodomor means “death by hunger” in Ukrainian. It was Joseph Stalin’s attempt at genocide against the Ukrainian people from 1932-1933. Anywhere from 3-7 million people were systematically starved to death as Stalin took over Ukraine’s small farms and prohibited farmers from selling their crops. While Putin denies the charge, there is plenty of evidence to prove Russian genocide against Ukraine.

James Mace, former of Professor of Political Science at National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, explained Stalin’s goal at the 1982 International Conference on the Holocaust and Genocide in Tel Aviv: “In order to centralize the power in the hands of Stalin, what was needed was to destroy the Ukrainian peasant, the Ukrainian intellectuals, the Ukrainian language, Ukrainian understanding of their history and to destroy Ukraine as such. This was simply calculated and primitive: No people, as a result no country, and the result – no problem.”

Under Stalin’s orders, farmers not only had their land taken away, but many were exiled to Siberia to die in camps. Those farmers remaining who tried to escape the zones of famine were ordered to be shot. Arthur Koestler, a Hungarian-British journalist, witnessed the atrocities during the height of Holodomor:

“At every train station there was a crowd of peasants in rags, offering icons and linen in exchange for a loaf of bread. The women were lifting up their infants to the compartment windows—infants pitiful and terrifying with limbs like sticks, puffed bellies, big cadaverous heads lolling on thin necks.”

The Communists introduced “identity cards” in December 1932 to stop starving Ukrainians from leaving their land. Any civilian without an approved card would be sent to the Gulags (forced labor camps) to die.

As requests for food flooded in, Stalin signed the January 1933 decree “Preventing the Mass Exodus of Peasants who are Starving”, restricting all Ukrainian travel. In one month in 1933, 220,000 Ukrainians were either sent back or arrested and sentenced, with at least 150,000 innocent Ukrainians murdered.

Between January and April 1933, Stalin’s army searched through Ukrainian households, confiscating any food the people might be hiding. He sent a telegram on January 1, 1933 to the Ukrainian government reminding the farmers of the severe penalties for not surrendering their grain.

This is a major reason Ukrainians are so fiercely defending their nation. It is more than their passion to remain free. It is also because unlike the rest of the world, they have not forgotten who the Russians are.

Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at