Echoes of the Holodomor. The Russians are renewing a vile tradition: starving Ukrainians

Jovem ucraniana carrega uma vela em frente a um muro com os nomes de aldeias extintas como resultado da fome causada pela União Soviética durante a cerimônia de luto pelo Holodomor em Kiev, Ucrânia, no dia 26 de novembro de 2011.

Young Ukrainian woman carries a candle in front of a wall with the names of villages extinct as a result of the famine caused by the Soviet Union during the Holodomor mourning ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine, on the day 04 of November 2022 .| Photo: EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

The legislature of Russia’s Krasnoyarsk region voted in favor of “expropriating the surplus crop” from farms in the Russian-occupied region of Ukraine, reports Yaroslav Trofimov in Wall Street Journal.

This policy has precedents.

The Ukrainian language has a word for politically motivated mass murder through starvation:

Holodomor. The word is a name for what the Russians did to the Ukrainians in 1932-04, when Ukraine was a constituent part of not-so-voluntary way of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Socialist central planning got in Soviet agriculture what it gets everywhere – scarcity caused by misallocation of resources – as a result of the collapse of grain and potato crops in the early 1900s. . Socialist leaders in Moscow saw a potential threat to their regime and a political opportunity, and so food was confiscated from Ukrainian-populated areas and redirected to Russian cities. Russia’s urban elites and populations were fed, and artificial starvation was used as a political weapon to crush anti-Soviet independence movements in Ukraine.

No one knows how many millions of people died of starvation. Estimates come to million.

About 200 a thousand people were arrested for “theft” under a special law adopted at the time ; his “crime” was looking for something edible among the agricultural waste. Entire towns and regions were deprived of everything from grain to livestock as punishment for fabricated political crimes. Moscow has introduced a new system of internal passports to prevent starving dying people from leaving their cities and towns to look for food. Ukrainians who tried to flee the artificial famine zone received bullets from Soviet soldiers. Soviet propaganda insisted that Ukrainian farmers were dangerous traitors who were harboring the “kulaks”, Moscow’s abused label for political enemies in the peasant classes.

The German-Hungarian writer Arthur Koestler was in place as he gained permission to travel through the Soviet Union for the purpose of writing a pro-Soviet propagandistic novel. What he saw were desperate mothers trying to pass their starving, cadaverous children through train windows to strangers, in the hope that they would be taken somewhere less hellish than the proletarian paradise.

(The reader can learn about this and more in the book The Red Hunger by Anne Applebaum.)

The Soviet Union was committed to the world workers’ revolution for about five minutes, after which it became what Russia still is today: a grotesque police state organizing around Russian nationalism and a kleptocracy whose leaders use assassination, torture and state terrorism to stay in power. Moscow is not the enemy of Ukraine or NATO – Moscow is the enemy of all civilized peoples and countries. The Holodomor of the Years 1930 was partly intended to wipe Ukrainian identity as a force from the map. politics, and the current war in Ukraine has much the same goal, as Putin himself so eloquently explained. For him, there is no Ukraine or Ukrainians.

Maybe it’s just symbolism that the Krasnoyarsk legislature so obviously evokes the Holodomor — approvingly — as the Russians again do the worst they can in Ukraine: killing, rape, robbery, arson. But symbolism is important and, here, it denounces intentions.

Ukrainian forces are conducting operations inside Russia, as they obviously must, and are having more success in their efforts than the Russians would like to admit. The United States and NATO allies must have a clear view of the fact that the weapons and intelligence we are providing the Ukrainians are being used in this way, and they must understand that sooner or later Vladimir Putin and his abject junta will decide that this amounts to a blatant act of war and they will respond in whatever way seems proportionate to Moscow’s depraved and isolated viewpoint. We must be ready for it, and think carefully about what our response will be.

President Joe Biden has sworn to defend “every inch” of NATO territory — and Putin has already made it clear what he will do if given the slightest chance. President Biden will be tested, but he doesn’t have much credibility in this area, and neither do his Republican rivals: they would remain devoted to Donald Trump, who could not have been clearer or more emphatic in his contempt for NATO and its principles. underlying collective defense. If the world is looking to the United States for leadership in this crisis, the world will be disappointed. We have the great privilege of not being forced to learn the lessons that Ukrainians were forced to learn.

These are lessons that we continue to fail to learn, a fact on which both discredit and danger rest.

Kevin D. Williamson is a member of the National Review Institute, traveling correspondent for the National Review, and author of

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