Famine

Victims of the Famine-Genocide of 1932-3 in Ukraine. Famine: Collecting corpses in a village in eastern Ukraine, 1933 Famine: Starving boy in the Poltava region, 1933 (Photo: H. Pshenychny Archives) Famine: Starving child in the Poltava region, 1933 (Photo: H. Pshenychny Archives) Famine: Starving children in the Poltava region, 1933 (Photo: H. Pshenychny Archives) Monument to the victims of the Man-made Famine of 1932-33 (Kyiv). Transporting corpses of starved peasants in Southern Ukraine during the Famine of 1921-22. A starving child during the Famine of 1921-22. Corpses of starved children during the Famine of 1921-22. The Famine of 1921-22: feeding starving children in Katerynoslav.
A victim of the Famine-Genocide of 1932-3.

Famine. Ukraine has experienced years of famine, notwithstanding the fact that it has some of the richest soil in the world. Historically this was related to climatic conditions or disruptions caused by military conflicts. But in the 20th century Ukraine experienced several famines that clearly were politically motivated.

The medieval chronicles and other literary sources (eg, the Kyivan Cave Patericon) mention famine caused mainly by crop failures or war. The 1090s, 1193 (or 1195), and 1219 were ‘hungry years.’ Of the great famine in 1230–1, a chronicler wrote ‘there was famine throughout Rus’ except Kyiv.’ Famine was not as frequent in Ukraine as on Russian or Belarusian territories because of more favorable natural conditions. As well, sometimes when famine struck one region (eg, Volhynia in 1219), the other regions had good harvests. The devastation caused by Tatar incursions led to famine in areas of Ukraine.

In the Hetman state there were ‘hungry years’ in Bohdan Khmelnytsky's time and during the so-called Ruin. There was also a great famine in 1698 and after the Battle of Poltava (1709). The causes were crop failures, locusts, war, Tatar incursions, and Muscovite and Polish military expeditions. However, it was generally the population of certain regions or a part of Ukraine, not of all Ukraine, that suffered famine. The regions that experienced hunger most frequently in the 18th century were the steppes, Polisia, and the Carpathian Mountains.

In the 19th century there were a few difficult years of famine in Ukraine (among them, 1833–4, 1844–6, and 1855), but many fewer than in the gubernias of Russia proper (which had 40). Crop failures and hunger led to great unrest among the peasantry in 1901–7 and stimulated emigration.

In the Russian Empire famine relief was organized by the government, zemstvos, and philanthropic societies. However, the tsarist government restricted the initiative of the societies, believing that they encouraged opposition. The government lent grain to certain categories of the population on the strength of future harvests.

In Western Ukraine, mainly in the mountain regions of Subcarpathia and Transcarpathia, malnutrition was practically chronic in the 1930s. In 1930–1 famine struck these areas. The governments of Poland and Czechoslovakia failed to provide adequate relief. In 1935, when the Ukrainian population of southern Bessarabia was stricken with famine caused by drought, the Ukrainians of Bukovyna furnished aid.

The Ukrainian SSR experienced three severe famines, during which millions perished. These occurred in the wake of reduced grain yields caused by poor harvests. But the major contributing factor in each case was food ‘requisitions’ (ie, seizures) by Soviet authorities that left the population without enough to sustain itself over any extended period of time (see Grain procurement). The Famine of 1921–3 and Famine of 1946–7 previously were largely regarded as the results of poor harvests. However, research undertaken since the late 1980s has established the centrality of Soviet grain procurement) policies in transforming the existing food shortfalls into calamitous famines. The general contours of the Famine-Genocide of 1932–3 (the Holodomor) were known to Ukrainians outside the USSR for many years, particularly after the arrival in the West of postwar émigrés. But this famine-genocide remained largely unknown to the general public and a matter that was barely dealt with by scholars until the 1980s. This situation was acerbated by the USSR’s categorical denial of the very existence of that famine, let alone any acknowledgement of the manner of its creation. There have been significant developments in the knowledge and public awareness of the Famine-Genocide of 1932–3 since the major commemoration of its fiftieth anniversary by Ukrainians in the West, increased research on the topic by Western scholars, and the emergence of this national tragedy as a public and scholarly issue in post-Soviet Ukraine.

During the Second World War the urban population of Ukraine experienced hunger, especially in 1941–2 in central and eastern Ukraine. The food shortage was initially caused by the destruction of supplies by the retreating Soviet Army and the obstruction of supply deliveries by the Germans. The occupying Germans then established a regimen that deliberately provided the urban centers of Ukraine with an inadequate supply of food, leading to chronic malnutrition. Rural areas were spared this treatment because the inhabitants there were regarded as useful insofar as they provided the Third Reich with food provisions. In the spring of 1942 Subcarpathian Galicia experienced a partial famine as a result of floods and crop failure. The Ukrainian Central Committee in the Generalgouvernement organized relief, especially for children.

As mentioned earlier, Ukraine experienced the postwar Famine of 1946–7.

In post-independence Ukraine there have been claims by Communists opposed to revelations about the Holodomor that contemporary Ukraine has seen famine conditions. These are without substance.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Tarasevich, L. O golodanii (Kyiv 1907)
Arnautov, V. Golod i deti na Ukraine (Kharkiv 1922)
Herasymowytsch, I. Hunger in der Ukraine (Berlin 1922)
O golode: Sbornik (Kharkiv 1922)
Quisling, V. La Famine en Ukraine (Geneva 1922)
Chamberlin, William .H. Russia's Iron Age (Boston 1934)
United Ukrainian Organizations of the USA. Famine in Ukraine (New York 1934)
Ammende, Ewald. Human Life in Russia (London 1936; Cleveland 1984)
Sova, H. Holod na Ukraïni 1933 r. (Munich nd)
Pidhainyi, S. (ed). The Black Deeds of the Kremlin: A White Book, 2 vols (Toronto 1953; Detroit 1955)
Pigido-Pravoberezhny, F. The Stalin's Famine: Ukraine in the Year 1933 (London 1953)
Solovey, Dmytro (ed). The Golgotha of Ukraine: Eyewitness Accounts of the Famine in Ukraine Instigated and Fostered by the Kremlin in an Attempt to Quell Ukrainian Resistance to Soviet Russian National and Social Enslavement of the Ukrainian People (New York 1953)
Kubiiovych, Volodymyr. ‘Zminy v stani naselennia Soviets’koï Ukraïny,’ Ukraïns’kyi zbirnyk, no. 16 (1959)
Haliy, M. Organized Famine in Ukraine 1932–1933 (Chicago 1963)
‘Holod 1933 roku na Ukraïni,’ in Svidchennia pro vynyshchuvannia Moskvoiu ukraïns’koho selianstva, ed Iu. Semenko (Munich 1963)
Stadniuk, I. Liudi ne angely (Moscow 1963)
Dalrymple, D. ‘The Soviet Famine of 1932–1934,’ Soviet Studies 15 (1964), no. 3
—‘The Soviet Famine of 1932–1934: Some Further References,’ Soviet Studies 16 (1965), no. 4
Conquest, Robert. The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties (London 1968)
Grossman, V. Foreover Flowing (New York 1972)
Medvedev, Roy. Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism (New York–London 1972; revised and expanded edn 1989)
Pluschtsch, W. Mord am ukrainischen Volk (Künstliche Hungersnot in den Jahren 1932–34) (Munich 1973)
Dando, W. ‘Man-Made Famines: Some Geographical Insights from an Exploratory Study of a Millennium of Russian Famines,’ Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 1976, no. 4
Ethnocide of Ukrainians in the USSR: The Ukrainian Herald, issue 7–8 (Baltimore 1976)
Hryshko, V. Ukraïns’kyi ‘holokost’ 1933 (New York–Toronto 1978)
Holubnychy, V. ‘The Causes of the Famine of 1932–33,’ Meta (Toronto), no. 2 (1979)
Kopelev, L. The Education of a True Believer (New York 1980)
Maksudov, S. ‘Losses Suffered by the Population of the USSR, 1918–1958,’ in The Samizdat Register II, ed R. Medvedev (London–New York 1981)<
Hryshko, W. The Ukrainian Holocaust of 1933 (Toronto 1983)
Mace, James. Communism and the Dilemmas of National Liberation: National Communism in Soviet Ukraine, 1918–1933 (Cambridge, Mass 1983)
Woropay, O. The Ninth Circle: In Commemoration of the Victims of the Famine of 1933 (Cambridge, Mass 1983)
Ammende, E. Human Life in Russia. repr (Cleveland 1984)
Dolot, Myron. Execution by Hunger: The Hidden Holocaust (New York 1985)
Marunchak, M. Natsiia v borot’bi za svoie isnuvannia: 1932 i 1933 v Ukraïni i diiaspori (Winnipeg 1985)
Conquest, Robert. The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror–Famine (New York—Edmonton 1986)
Procyk, O.; Heretz, L.; Mace, J. Famine in the Soviet Ukraine: A Memorial Exhibition (Cambridge, Mass 1986)
Serbyn, R.; Krawchenko, B. (eds). Famine in Ukraine 1932–1933 (Edmonton 1986)
United States. Commission on the Ukraine Famine. Investigation of the Ukrainian Famine: Report to Congress (Washington 1988)
Zlepko, D. Der ukrainische Hunger-Holocaust: Stalins verschwiegener Völkermord 1932/33 an 7 Millionen ukrainischen Bauern im Spiegel geheimgehaltener Akten des deutschen Auswärtigen Amtes. Eine Dokumentation (Sonnenbühl 1988)
Kul’chyts’kyi, Stanislav. Demohrafichni naslidky holodu 1933 r. na Ukraïni (Kyiv 1989)
Pyrih, Ruslan et al (eds). Holod 1932–1933 rokiv na Ukraïni: Ochyma istorykiv, movoiu dokumentiv (Kyiv 1990)
United States. Commission on the Ukraine Famine. Mace, James; Heretz, Leonid (eds). Oral History Project of the Commission on the Ukraine Famine (Washington 1990)
Kovalenko, L.; Maniak, V. (eds). 33-yi: Holod. Narodna knyha-memorial (Kyiv 1991)
Serbyn, Roman (comp and ed). Holod 1921–1923 i ukraïns’ka presa v Kanadi (Toronto–Kyiv 1992)
Kul’chyts’kyi, Stanislav; Movchan, Ol’ha. Nevidomi storinky holodu 1921–1923 rr. v Ukraïni (Kyiv 1993)
Kul’chyts’kyi, Stanislav. (ed). Holodomor 1932–1933 rr. v Ukraïni: Prychyny i naslidky. Mizhnarodna naukova konferentsiia, Kyiv, 9–10 veresnia 1993 r.: Materialy (Kyiv 1995)
Veselova, Oleksandra et al (eds). Holod v Ukraïni, 1946–1947: Dokumenty i materialy (Kyiv–New York 1996)
Iermak, O. et al (eds). Holod 1946–1947 rr. na Poltavshchyni (do piatydesiatyrichchia trahedii): Materiialy i dokumenty (Poltava 1996)
Kul’chyts’kyi, Stanislav et al (eds). Holod 1946–1947 v Ukraïni: Prychyny i naslidky (Kyiv–New York 1998)
Veselova, O.; Marochko, V.; Mochan, O. Holodomory v Ukraïni 1921–1923, 1932–1933, 1946–1947: Zlochyny proty narodu (Kyiv 2000)
Bur’ian, L. (ed). Holodomor v Ukraïni 1932–1933 rr.: Bibliohrafichnyi pokazhchyk (Odesa–Lviv 2001)
Martin, Terry. The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923–1939 (Ithaca, New York 2001)
Vasyliev, Valerii.; Shapoval, Iurii (eds). Komandyry velykoho holodu: Poïzdky V. Molotova i L. Kahanovycha v Ukraïnu ta na Pivnichnyi Kavkaz, 1932–1933 rr. (Kyiv 2001)
Vallin, J.; Meslé, F.; Adamets, S.; Pyrozhkov, S. ‘A New Estimate of Ukrainian Population Losses during the Crisis of the 1930s and 1940s,’ Population Studies 56, no. 3 (November 2002)
Madden, Cheryl (comp). ‘The Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor) of 1932–1933 and Aspects of Stalinism: An Annotated Bibliography-in-Progress in the English Language’ (2002–)
(<http://shevchenko.org/famine/index.htm>)
Isajiw, Wsevolod (ed). Famine-Genocide in Ukraine, 1932–1933: Western Archives, Testimonies, and New Research (Toronto 2003)
State Committee on Archives of Ukraine. Holodomor v Ukraïni 1932–1933. CD-ROM (Kyiv 2003)
Ukraïna. Parlaments’ki slukhannia shchodo vshanuvannia zhertv holodomoru 1932–1933 rokiv 12 liutoho 2003 r. (Kyiv 2003)
Madden, Cheryl (ed). Holodomor: The Ukrainian Genocide, 1932–1933, vol. 37, no. 2 (Fall 2003) of Canadian American Slavic Studies
Kul’chyts’kyi, Stanislav. Demohrafichni naslidky Holodomoru 1933 r. v Ukraïni (Kyiv 2003)
Smolii, Valerii et al (eds). Holod 1932–1933 rokiv v Ukraïni: Prychyny i naslidky (Kyiv 2003)
Mytsyk, Iurii (ed). Ukraïns’kyi holokost 1932–1933: Svidchennia tykh, khto vyzhyv, 6 vols (Kyiv, 2003–2007) [4 vols forthcoming]
Luciuk, Lubomyr (ed). Not Worthy: Walter Duranty's Pulitzer Prize and the New York Times (Kingston, Ont 2004)
Holodomor 1932–1933 rokiv: Osnovni diiovi osoby i mekhanizmy zdiisnennia. Materialy Druhoï Mizhnarodnoï naukovoï konferentsiï, Kyïv, 28 lystopada 2003r. (Kyiv 2004)
Vernichtung durch Hunger: Der Holodomor in der Ukraine und der UdSSR, special issue (2004, no. 12) of Osteuropa (Berlin)
Ellman, Michael. ‘The Role of Leadership Perceptions and of Intent in the Soviet Famine of 1931–1934,’ Europe-Asia Studies 57, no. 6 (Sept 2005)
Jahn, Egbert. ‘On the Phenomonology [sic] of Mass Extermination in Europe: A Comparative Perspective on the Holodomor,” in Sketches of Europe: Old Lands, New Worlds (Berlin 2005), special English issue of Osteuropa (Berlin)]
Shapoval, Yurii (ed). The Famine–Genocide of 1932–1933 (Kingston, Ont, 2005)
Kuśnierz, Robert. Ukraina w latach kolektywizacji i Wielkiego Głodu (1929–1933) (Toruń 2005)
Kul’chyts’kyi, Stanislav. Holod-henotsyd 1932–1933 rr. v Ukraïni: Materialy dlia navchal’noho kursu (Kyiv 2006)
Serbyn, Roman. “The Ukrainian Famine of 1932–1933 as Genocide in Light of the UN Convention of 1948,” UQ 62, no. 2 (Summer 2006)
Serhiichuk, Volodymyr. Ukraïns’kyi khlib na eksport—1932–1933 (Kyiv 2006)
Borysenko, Valentyna et al (eds). Rozsekrechena pam’iat’: Holodomor 1932–1933 rokiv v Ukraïni v dokumentakh GPU-NKVD (Kyiv 2007)
Gratsiozi[Graziosi], Andrea (ed). Lysty z Kharkova: Holod v Ukraïni ta Pivnichnomu Kavkazi v povidomlenniakh italiis’kykh dyplomativ 1932–1933 roky (Kharkiv 2007)
Kul’chitskii, Stanislav. Pochemu on nas unichtozhal? Stalin i ukrainskii Golodomor (Kyiv 2007)
Pyrih, Ruslan (ed). Holodomor 1932–1933 rokiv v Ukraïni: Dokumenty i materialy (Kyiv 2007)
Veryha, Wasyl. A Case Study of Genocide in the Ukrainian Famine of 1921–1923: Famine as a Weapon (Lewiston, New York 2007)
Madden, Cheryl (ed). Holodomor: The Ukrainian Genocide, 1932–1933, vol. 42, no. 3 (fall 2008) of Canadian-American Slavic Studies
Bruski, Jan Jacek (comp and ed). Hołodomor 1932–1933: Wielki Głód na Ukrainie w dokumentach polskiej dyplomacji i wywiadu (Warsaw 2008)
Hryn, Halyna (ed). Hunger by Design: The Great Ukrainian Famine and Its Soviet Context (Cambridge, Mass 2008)
Hrynevych, Liudmyla. Khronika kolektyvyzatsiï ta Holodomoru v Ukraïni, 1927–1933, vol 1, bk 1 (Kyiv 2008)
Kotliar, Iurii; Mironova, Iryna. Holodomory 1921–1923 rr. ta 1932–1933 rr. na Pivdni Ukraïny: Etnichnyi i mizhnarodnyi aspekty (Mykolaiv 2008)
Kuśnierz, Robert. Pomór w raju bolszewickim: Głód na Ukrainie w latach 1932–1933 w świetle polskich dokumentów dyplomatycznych i dokumentów wywiadu (Toruń 2008)
Luciuk, Lubomyr (ed). Holodomor: Reflections on the Great Famine of 1932–1933 in Soviet Ukraine (Kingston, Ont 2008)
Morochko, Vasyl’. Holodomor 1932–1933 rokiv v Ukraïni: Khronika (Kyiv 2008)
Natsional’na knyha pam’iati zhertv Holodomoru 1932–1933 rokiv v Ukraïni (a multi-volume work from the Ukrainian National Institute of Memory with separate editions for individual oblasts that has been in production since 2008; the existing volumes can be accessed electronically at <http://www.memory.gov.ua/ua/publication/content/1090.htm>)
Papuha, Iaroslav. Zakhidna Ukraïna i holodomor 1932–1933 rokiv: Moral’no-politychna i material’na dopomoha postrazhdalym (Lviv 2008)
Suchasnist’, 2008, no. 11, special issue with a section featuring the famine-genocide
The Holodomor of 1932–33, vol. 16, no. 2 (November 2008) of The Harriman Review, special issue featuring papers from a 75th-anniversary conference on the famine-genocide held at the University of Toronto
UI, 45, nos. 3–4 (2008), special issue on the Famine-Genocide of 1932–3
UR, 64, no. 1–2 (spring–winter 2008), special issue on the Famine-Genocide of 1932–3
Zakharov, Ievhen. Can Holodomor 1932–1933 in Ukraine and Kuban be classified as a genocide? (Kharkiv 2008) (accessible at <http://www.khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1204069771&w=famine>)
Boriak, Hennadii. Sources for the Study of the Great Famine in Ukraine (Cambridge, Mass 2009)
Graziosi, Andrea. Stalinism, Collectivization and the Great Famine (Cambridge, Mass 2009)
Holodomor Studies 1, no. 1 (2009)

Andrij Makuch, Vasyl Markus

[This is an abridged version of the ‘Famine’ article that originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984). The bibliography has been updated.]