Famine of 1946–7

Famine of 1946–7. A year after the end of the Second World War, many of the inhabitants of central and eastern Ukraine experienced hunger as a result of a drought that exacerbated the general wartime collapse of agriculture. But the Soviet government refused to lower delivery quotas on grain and other products that it had imposed on the peasants. Moreover, the authorities pushed hard for the delivery of foodstuffs and threatened local officials for hoarding or sabotage if they failed to meet their quotas. A substantial amount of the foodstuffs that were requisitioned were exported to Soviet-controlled Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria. As a result of the onerous food confiscations, famine conditions emerged.

The famine did not occur in newly annexed Western Ukraine because the collective-farm system (see Collective farm) had not yet been introduced there and the resistance of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army rendered food procurement difficult. Therefore many peasants traveled there from Ukraine’s central and eastern oblasts to beg for bread, and in the summer of 1946 trains going westward were crammed with starving people. The authorities tried to stop the exodus by police methods, forbidding western Ukrainian peasants to sell food to newcomers and spreading rumours of epidemics and poisoned food in the western oblasts.

The Soviet regime did not acknowledge that a famine occurred in Ukraine in 1946–7. Estimates of the number of people who died vary widely, ranging from 100,000 to upwards of one million.

Maksudov, S. ‘Losses Suffered by the Population of the USSR 1918–1958,’ in The Samizdat Register II, ed R. Medvedev (London–New York 1981)
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 trahediï): 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)
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)
Horburov, Kyrylo. Holod 1946–1947 rokiv na terytoriï pivdnia URSR: Monohrafiia (Mykolaiv 2006)

Andrij Makuch, Vasyl Markus

[This is a new edition of the article that appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984). The bibliography has been updated.]

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