HOLODOMOR OF 1932-33 IN UKRAINE
DOCUMENTS AND MATERIALS
Compiled by Prof. Ruslan Pyrih
Translated by Stephen Bandera
Kyiv Mohyla Academy Publishing House
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- Jan. 3, 1932 - Resolution of CC CP(b)U on grain procurement
- Feb. 10, 1932 - Letter to Stalin from Komsomol member Pastushenko, Polonyste village, Baban raion, Vinnitsa oblast, on the requisition of grain and starving collective farmers (excerpt)
- Mar. 12, 1932 - Report from German Consulate in Kharkiv to the Embassy of Germany in the USSR on the agricultural situation (excerpt)
- Apr. 28, 1932 - Summary of letters on grain procurements and famine from the Agitation and Mass Campaigns Department to CC CP(b)U
- May 8, 1932 - Report from Vinnitsa oblast GPU to the CP(b)U oblast committee on famine and death in Trostianets raion
- May 20, 1932 - Letter from CC CP(b)U Deputy Richytsky on mass famine, death and cannibalism in Uman raion, Vinnytsia oblast
- Jun. 10, 1932 - Letter from Petrovsky to Molotov and Stalin on the grave food situation and famine in the Ukrainian SSR (excerpts)
- Jun. 10, 1932 - Letter from Chubar to Molotov and Stalin on agricultural affairs in Ukrainian SSR (excerpts)
- Jun. 12, 1932 - Letter from Kaganovich to Stalin on appeals from Ukrainian SSR leaders to CC AUCP(b) (excerpt)
- Jun. 15, 1932 - Letter from Stalin to Kaganovich on Appeal from Ukrainian SSR leaders to CC AUCP(b) (excerpt)
- Jun. 16, 1932 - Letter from Kaganovich to Stalin on grain procurement preparations in the Ukrainian SSR (excerpt)
- Jul. 2, 1932 - Letter from Stalin to Kaganovich and Molotov on the Ukrainian SSR leadership
- Jul. 6, 1932 - Letter from Molotov and Kaganovich to Stalin on the Ukrainian Party conference and grain procurement plan
- Jul. 6, 1932 - Resolution of the CC CP(b)U Politburo on grain procurement target
- Jul. 6, 1932 - Telegram from Molotov and Kaganovich to Stalin on covering-up the real state of affairs in the Ukrainian SSR
- Jul. 15, 1932 - Letter from Belarusian workers to the CC CP(b)U on starving Ukrainians in their republic
- Jul. 15, 1932 - Letter from Stalin to Kaganovich and Molotov on CC CP(b)U leadership (excerpt)
- Jul. 17, 1932 - Report from Vinnytsia oblast Prosecutor to the Ukrainian SSR Prosecutor on cannibalism in Nove Misto
- Aug. 7, 1932 - Resolution “On safekeeping property of state enterprises, collective farms and cooperatives and strengthening public (socialist) property" (excerpt)
- Aug. 11, 1932 - Letter from Stalin to Kaganovich on changing Ukrainian SSR leadership (excerpt)
- Aug. 16, 1932 - Letter from Kaganovich to Stalin on personnel changes in the Ukrainian SSR
- Aug. 27, 1932 - Telegram from Deputy USSR SNK Chairman ordering faster grain exports from Ukraine
- Sep. 17, 1932 - Resolution of AUCP(b) Politburo on expelling a foreign journalist
- Sep. 23, 1932 - Telegram from SNK USSR and CC AUCP(b) denying sowing seed loans to collective farms
- Oct. 22, 1932 - Resolution of CC AUCP(b) Politburo on grain procurements in Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus
- Nov. 5, 1932 - Resolution of CC CP(b)U on strengthening role of courts in grain procurement
- Nov. 6, 1932 - Telegram from the CC CP(b)U to the oblasts on economic blockade of raions not fulfilling grain procurement plans
- Nov. 18, 1932 - Resolution of the CC CP(b)U Politburo on measures to strengthen grain procurement (excerpt)
- Nov. 22, 1932 - Resolution of the CC AUCP(b) Politburo on establishing a death sentence commission in the Ukrainian SSR
- Nov. 25, 1932 - Resolution of CC AUCP(b) Politburo on silver purchases by Torgsin
- Dec. 3, 1932 - Telegram from USSR SNK Deputy Chairman to the Ukrainian SSR RNK and CC on the unconditional fulfillment of grain export plans
- Dec. 6, 1932 - Resolution of the Ukrainian SSR RNK and CC CP(b)U on blacklisting villages that maliciously sabotage grain procurements
- Dec. 6, 1932 - Telegram from Ukrainian SSR RNK and CC CP(b)U to the heads of Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa and Kharkiv oblasts on blacklisting villages
- Dec. 9, 1932 - Telegram from Chubar to Kuibishev on grain export plan performance
- Dec. 14, 1932 - Resolution of CC AUCP(b) and USSR SNK on grain procurements in Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus and the Western Oblast
- Dec. 15, 1932 - Resolution of the CC AUCP(b) and USSR SNK on ukrainization in the Far East Region, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, the Central Black Earth Oblast and other areas
- Dec. 19, 1932 - Resolution of CC AUCP(b) and SNK USSR on grain procurement in Ukraine
- Dec. 22, 1932 - Telegram from Kaganovich to Stalin on cancelling the CC CP(b)U resolution from November 18, 1932
- Dec. 24, 1932 - Letter from the CC CP(b)U on the mandatory shipment of all collective farm grain reserves, including sowing seed, to complete the grain procurement plan
- Dec.r 28, 1932 - Minutes of the Berdyansk raion executive committee meeting on repressive measures against “blacklisted” collective farms (excerpt)
- Dec. 29, 1932 - Resolution of CC CP(b)U Politburo strengthening repressions against private farmers who maliciously hoard grain
- Dec. 29, 1932 - Letter from CC CP(b)U to oblast and raion Party committees on collecting all available reserves for grain procurement
- Dec. 29, 1932 - Report from OGPU to Stalin on completion of the deportation of villagers from raions in Kuban
- Jan. 1, 1933 - Resolution of the CC AUCP(b) Politburo on grain procurement in Ukraine
- Jan. 1, 1933 - Resolution of Politburo CC AUCP(b) on repressions against villagers in Dnipropetrovsk oblast
- Jan. 4, 1933 - Resolution of Politburo CC AUCP(b) on repressions against villagers in Kharkiv oblast
- Jan. 4, 1933 - Report from the Voroshilov Party committee to the Donetsk oblast committee of the CP(b)U on blacklisting the kolhosp in Horodyshche for the systematic non-performance of January 22, 1933 - grain procurement plans (excerpt)
- Jan. 20, 1933 - Report of the Vice-Consul of Italy in Batumi to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy on the influx of refugees from Ukraine (excerpt)
- Jan. 22, 1933 - Report from Balitsky to the OGPU on the mass exodus of villagers from Ukraine
- Jan. 22, 1933 - Order from the USSR SNK and CC AUCP(b) on preventing the mass flight of starving villagers in search of food
- Jan. 23, 1933 - Resolution of the CC CP(b)U Politburo on executing the January 22 Order from the USSR SNK and CC AUCP(b)
- Jan. 24, 1933 - Resolution of the CC AUCP(b) Politburo strengthening the CP(b)U Central Committee and oblast organizations
- Jan. 29, 1933 - Summary from the Peoples’ Commissariat of Justice, Ukrainian SSR to the CC CP(b)U on the number of verdicts for the evasion of grain deliveries, sabotage and grain speculation (excerpt)
- Feb. 2, 1933 - Report from Yagoda to Stalin and Molotov on measures for preventing mass exodus of villagers from the Ukrainian SSR, Northern Caucasus and Belarusian SSR
- Feb. 26, 1933 - Complaint from Hanna Derevinskaya, Krasnopillya, to the Dnipropetrovsk city council about the requisition of food for grain procurement
- Feb. 1933 - Report from the GPU Ukrainian SSR on the mass exodus from Ukrainian villages and operational measures for combating flight
- Feb. to August, 1933 - Table on deaths and cannibalism due to famine in Havrysh, Sosonka and Yakushinetska villages, Vinnytsia oblast
- Mar. 10, 1933 - Resolution of the CC AUCP(b) Politburo on setting up a special GPU trio in the Ukrainian SSR*
- Mar. 11, 1933 - Report from Vinnytsia oblast GPU to the Ukrainian SSR GPU on the grave conditions with food supplies and population deaths
- Mar. 12, 1993 - Report from the Ukrainian SSR GPU on problems with food supplies and raions affected by famine in Ukraine (excerpt)
- Mar. 14, 1993 - Report from the Peoples’ Commissariat of Land to the CC CP(b)U on famine and death in Kyiv oblast
- Apr. 19, 1933 - Report from the Political Section, Donetsk oblast Land Department to the CP(b)U oblast committee on food hortages, deaths and cannibalism
- Apr. 26, 1933 - Resolution of the USSR SNK on food and fodder assistance to Ukraine
- May 31, 1933 - Report from the Consul of Italy in Kharkiv to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy on “Famine and the Ukrainian Situation” (excerpts)
- Jun. 3, 1933 - Report from the Peoples’ Commissariat of Healthcare to the CP(b)U on the state of public health in Kyiv oblast in connection with famine
- Jun. 14, 1933 - Summary of reports from MTS Political Sections in Kyiv oblast on famine, death and the anti-Soviet moods among collective farmers (excerpt)
- Jul. 10, 1933 - Report from the Consul of Italy in Kharkiv to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy on “Famine and Sanitary Conditions” (excerpt)
- Aug. 31, 1933 - Resolution of SNK USSR on resettlement to Kuban, Terek and Ukraine
- Sep. 11, 1933 - Resolution of CC CP(b)U Politburo on additional resettlement of Steppe raions (excerpt)
- Sep. 18, 1933 - Report from Otto Schiller, agricultural expert, Embassy of Germany in the USSR to the German Ministry of food and agriculture (excerpt)
- Oct. 2, 1933 - Letter from Kaganovich to Stalin on resettlements to areas of the Northern Caucasus and Ukraine depopulated by the Holodomor (excerpt)
- Dec. 9, 1933 - Resolution of the CC AUCP(b) Politburo on the resettlement of collective farmers within the Ukrainian SSR and from other oblasts of the USSR
- Dec. 29, 1933 - Report of the All-Union Resettlement Committee on resettling collective farmers to Ukraine (with table)
#1 Resolution of CC CP(b)U on grain procurement
January 3, 1932
The following telegram shall be sent to all city and raion committees and persons deputized by the Central Committee:
“In disregard of the decision of the Politburo of the CC AUCP(b) from December 29 declaring January to be the month of decisive battle for grain procurements, of the special allocation of 70 million karbovantsi in goods to stimulate grain procurement, 60 percent of which has been sent and is arriving in the raions, and of the dispatch of many workers led by Politburo members: the state of grain procurement in Ukraine remains extremely alarming.
The continued decline of procurements in the first five-day plan of January (down to 2 million 800 thousand poods from 3 million 500 thousand poods in the last five-day plan of December) indicates that raion organizations and local workers have not understood or do not want to understand the utmost importance and necessity of fulfilling the January procurement plan.
We consider the state of affairs with grain procurements to be a disgrace to the Ukrainian party organization and demand that everyone authorized by the Central Committee, all Party organizations and all Party members, immediately use all measures necessary to ensure that Ukraine fully and completely executes the decisions concerning grain adopted by the October Plenum of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (bolshevik).
Secretary CC CP(b)U, Stroganov.”
* The January 3, 1932 CC CP(b)U Politburo meeting addressed the issue of grain procurements raised in a telegram from Stalin and Molotov in this matter.
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 6, file 235, sheets 4-5
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 p.) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv, p.110.
#2 Letter to Stalin from Komsomol member Pastushenko, Polonyste village, Baban raion, Vinnitsa oblast, on the requisition of grain and starving collective farmers (excerpt)
February 10, 1932*
Good day honorable secretary of the AUCP(b), Comrade Stalin!
I am writing you this letter from a remote, out-of-the-way village in Ukraine. On a military map you will find the village called Polonyste on the river Yatran in the Uman region of Baban raion. Listen to this, Comrade Stalin! The village of 317 homesteads is collectivized a full one hundred percent. Do you think we have Soviet rule here?
No, it’s not Soviet, but completely bourgeois. Remember serfdom, six days of work for the master, and the seventh was а Sunday, when you didn’t work because it was a holiday? In the village cooperative, we work every day. There is nothing around the homes but empty buildings, yet we still have to pay taxes from our households for work done on the collective farm, and turn over our own savings; if you sign for a loan of 40 karbovantsi at the collective farm then [you must] pay it back from your homestead. It has been three years since everything has been collectivized by the kolhosp, yet we have to turn in grain procurements for land that we contributed to the kolhosp. Don’t go to the kolhosp for bread, but yourself provide 45 poods from three-tenths of a field, pay 28 karbovantsi for a share in the cooperative and pay a construction advance of 15 karbovantsi from your home; all that is left from three years of food are only kopeks of money — such is life.
Our village has fulfilled the [grain procurement] plan by 65 percent. The kolhosp shipped out the last funt of every sort of grain. There is nothing for the horses, only chopped wheat sprinkled with molasses; 56 horses have died already. Everyday three, four, six horses die of starvation; there is not a kernel left. There were 500 pigs, 184 of which have already died, [the remainder] eat sugar beet residue. There are only 60 cows, of which 46 will go for meat, leaving 14 for the entire village for all of 1932. That’s livestock breeding for you. Ours is a beet-growing and cattle-farming region and there are predictions that all the livestock will die in two months. People are beginning to die of famine, to swell and children ask for “bread, bread.” Do no think, Dear Leader, that people have refused to work… or [that there was] a bad harvest that nobody is considering. Last year’s harvest was average and the population barely survived because the plan was 38,000 poods. This year it’s 57,000 poods…
A brigade of 86 persons has spent three months doing nothing [but] check under every house, day after day. Since the campaign began, every house has been searched 60 times. They took the last funt of vegetables from the kolhosp, [leaving] collective farmers with two poods of potatoes per person; the remaining funts went for procurement. There is no provision for spring sowing, not a funt of seed, not a grain crop left: no potatoes, no beans, no legumes, no lentils, no peas, no buckwheat, no cattle grass, no barley, no oats, no soybeans — everything to the last funt. They have taken our beets and pickled cabbage and are taking away our chickens. Villagers say the secret slaughter of rabbits is taking place because there is nothing to eat. Such is the state of affairs, Comrade Stalin. […]
Komsomolets, Branch secretary,
member of RKM bureau
Personal response to address: Baban raion, Ukrainian SSR, Polonyste, Komsomol branch secretary. **
TsDAVO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 8, file 117, sheets 473-474
Collectivization and famine in Ukraine.1929-1933. (Kyiv, 1992, 734 pp) Kolektyvizatsia i holod na Ukraini 1929-1933 pp. 414-416.
* On this date the letter was transferred from Stalin’s Secretariat to the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee (VUTsVK).
** Chaban raion officials confirmed cases of negligence, livestock reduction and famine; the village council head was dismissed and expelled from the party.
#3 Report from German Consulate in Kharkiv to the Embassy of Germany in the USSR on the agricultural situation (excerpt)
March 12, 1932
The New Year has not brought improvements anywhere; in fact, according to general impressions, the situation has most likely grown worse, not better. Although the numbers of the five-year plan are on the rise, they are skeptically viewed by the population, which does not feel any favorable results at all; the numbers mean little on their own, because the [numbers of the] plans need to be reconciled with the respective states of affairs; only absolute numbers instead of percentages will provide the true picture. People should be resigned to the fact that an end to unprecedented poverty is nowhere in sight, that the road to the better future promised by the end of the second five-year plan is long and burdensome. The government knows that it can demand suffering and sacrifice from the people and is busy with new demands that will crush all hope for the better into nothing.
The significant reduction of bread rations has resulted in noticeable deterioration among the masses. The number of those without access to bread cards has grown. The forceful requisition of grain from the countryside has taken away villagers’ supplies, including their own grain and seed reserves. Villagers are charged stiff penalties, such as forced labor for one to two years, including Reichsgermans who are unable to supply grain according to demands. In two villages, for example, not one of the 1,000 homesteads has any cows, the collective farm livestock is comprised of only 40 half-starved head of cattle and 60 swine. The appeals that we are constantly receiving show the Germans’ despair: [they want] to be recognized as Reich Germans or to acquire [German] citizenship rights and to get help for those that have been exiled. There is not enough bread, villagers are forced to eat unacceptable ersatz [food] and ride into town to buy bread or trade other items (clothes, etc.) for food. On the markets, one kilogram of bread costs nearly 10 rubles. Villagers, who are underfed at the collective farms and workers whose rations are insufficient, are begging for food. Prices in the open markets and cooperative stores are on the rise; the Torgsin outlets have inflated prices. The flow of the Russian population to the Torgsin stores is large; they are primarily purchasing flour since gold is a payment instrument in addition to currency, payments are made using gold items: rings, crosses and scrap pieces of gold. A local Torgsin store is expected to collect two kilograms of gold every day.
The end of grain purchasing indicates that there is no grain left to be extracted from the population. However, because the same minimum volumes are expected as last year, the government will have collected greater reserves for the planned needs of the army and for the event of war. [...]
Der ukrainische Hunger-Holocaust: Stalins verschwiegner Völkermord 1932/33 an 7 Millionen ukrainischen Bauern im Spiegel geheimgehaltener Akten d. dt. Auswärtigen Amtes; e. Dokumentation; aus d. Beständen d. Polit. Archivs im Auswärtigen Amt, Bonn / hrsg. u. eingeleitet von D. Zlepko. – Sonnenbühl: Wild, 1988. – pp. 95-97. Translated from German to Ukrainian by M. Dubyk.
#4 Summary of letters on grain procurements and famine from the Agitation and Mass Campaigns Department to CC CP(b)U
April 28, 1932
To: Secretary of the CC CP(b)U
Comrade [Stanislaw] Kosior
Between January 1 and April 22, 115 letters were sent to the CC CP(b)U, including from the Secretariat of comrade Stalin, concerning misinformation on grain procurements, forced collectivization of livestock, and other issues.
The greatest number of letters was from the month of April: 64.
Some of these letters have been sent for verification to oblast and raion committees… in other cases comrades have been dispatched for on-site investigation.
The most typical statements from the letters received in the month of April are provided in the summaries which I am sending to you, attached.
Director, Agitmass department, Sirko
Summaries of letters sent to CC AUCP(b),
Comrade Stalin and CC CP(b)U
“Honorable comrade Stalin, is there a Soviet governmental law stating villagers should go hungry? Because we, collective farm workers, have not had a funt of bread in our kolhosp since January 1, 1932. It’s not only [the village of] Horby, but also Hlobin and Semeniv, where there is mass famine among the people. We are kolhosp workers and have decided to ask: what will come next?
“The question arises: How can we build a socialist peoples’ economy when we are condemned to starving to death, as the harvest is still four months away? What did we die for on the battlefronts? To go hungry, to see our children die in pangs of hunger?”
(Letter to Comrade Stalin — from Horby, Hlobyn raion, Kremenchuk oblast, from collective farmers — unsigned).
“Our collective farm workers do not have a piece of bread and there are those who have nothing at all and are swelling from famine. The horses on the kolhosps are dying, people take them to eat, which is leading to widespread disease; sanitary conditions are absent. The question arises: Why are there abundant supplies of different inexpensive grains in Voronezh, Annovka, Moscow, Kuban, Tbilisi and Crimea, but there are none in Ukraine?
“It’s currently impossible to implement genuine Leninist Party Bolshevik policies in the countryside. A whole slew of raions are burdened with financial obligations (mobilization of internal resources, loan payment fees… taxes and so on). The political mood among the peasants is unbearable and threatens the strength and unity of the rear guard in the event of war.”’
(Anonymous letter to CC AUCP(b) from Fastiv).
“In Russia I saw a pood of grain for 10 karbovantsi, while in Ukraine [a pood costs] 80 karbovantsi and there is none. Everyone is going to Russia. If a farmer had ten funts left, they even took that away. Collective farm workers currently have a very bad view of kolhosp building. When I worked in the kolhosp for a year on the tractor and had 250 workdays, I received twelve poods of bread and nothing more: How can I survive? I’m torn up, hungry and am not even ashamed of writing you, because I am a young person, I am 19 years old.”
(Letter to comrade Stalin from Krivoshein, Rohoziv, Boryspil raion, Kyiv oblast).
“Fifty percent of people have left my village, 80 percent men. The village was serednyatske [middle class peasant] with 650 homesteads. More than 200 horses, or 50 percent, have died and continue to do so. People are eating horsemeat from the dead or eat pig slop, because there is no bread or potatoes, if not completely, then 95 percent gone.
“Your approach to the countryside… that grain should be taken away and that villagers be made to work like [factory] workers is also necessary, but forcing the starving to work does not make any sense.
“Today, if not three-quarters, then half of Ukraine is going to Russia and Belarus for food because it’s there.”
(Letter to comrade Stalin from V. L. Rozbarsky, Lanintsi village, Prylutsky raion).
“Open letter from villagers of Vinnitsa and part of Kyiv oblasts. Famine gas gripped all the raions in our region.
The peasantry is on the move and fleeing the villages to save themselves from famine. Every day, ten to twenty families die from famine in the villages, children run off and railway stations are overflowing with fleeing villagers. There are no horses or livestock left in the countryside. Famine is forcing starving peasants and collective farmers to leave everything and go into the world [in search of] food. In Shevchenko raion, an entire village was infected by glanders because they ate dead horses. There can be no talk about the completion of sowing, because the ratio of peasants left in our villages is low and all are being killed by famine. It should be noted that there is no political security in these oblasts and Poland could easily pull the peasants over to its side. The bourgeoisie has created a genuine famine here, part of the capitalist plan to set the entire peasant class against the Soviet government.”
(Letter to Comrades Stalin, Kalinin and Molotov from P. S. Krofan, AUCP(b) member since 1925, party ticket number 1271632, city of Vinnitsa).
Agitation and mass campaign department,
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 5254, sheets 1-16;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv pp.151-160.
#5 Report from Vinnitsa oblast GPU to the CP(b)U oblast committee on famine and death in Trostianets raion
May 8, 1932
The latest information signals that famine is on the rise in many villages of Trostianets raion causing swelling and death.
The relief measures by raion organizations of organizing public kitchens are insufficient.
The situation in Trostianets raion deserves the oblast Party organization’s particular attention because a large number of the starving are children.
The following cases have been recorded in several villages in the raion:
In Trostianchik, 40 families are starving, all collective farmers, most poverty-stricken, among them 15 children lie swollen.
In Palanka, famine has engulfed 52 homesteads, 301 collective farm family members, 108 of which are completely swollen.
Famine caused the death of the daughter of collective farmer Feodosiya Matsyhon, aged 24.
Fifteen private farms are reported starving in this same village, seven swollen from famine.
Mykhailo Orhan has died.
In the village of Stratievka several families of collective and private farmers are reported to be starving.
In the village of Severynovka, 23 collective farm family members are starving, eating only [food] substitutes: milled acorn with horseradish scraps, and so on.
Many incidents of famine among private farmers are reported in other villages.
Incomplete numbers show 950 to 1,000 people starving in the raion for whom public kitchens have been organized. However they can only be fed for a short time due to lack of food.
Nineteen incidents of death from famine have been recorded in the raion.
Chief of oblast GPU state political administration Levatsky
Chief of SPO secret political section Osinin
DA Vinnitsa oblast, fond 136, list 3, file 10, sheet 54;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv pp. 160-161.
#6 Letter from CC CP(b)U Deputy Richytsky on mass famine, death and cannibalism in Uman raion, Vinnytsia oblast
May 20, 1932
Among 13 villages visited, I consider seven to be in grave condition, six to be well off. By “well off” I mean those villages with isolated instances of deaths and where the number of swollen does not exceed three to four dozen.
I would thus describe the grave villages:
1. Kuzmina Hreblia – 45 deaths, four to five deaths every day; 25 percent of the village swollen from starvation: around 1,000 people (I consider this number to be exaggerated). The Party organization is falling apart, some activists are also dying and they are eating sugar beet pulp, weeds and dogs. More than 200 children are in the nursery. There is no movement among them: some sit, others recline, pale, weak and swollen.
2. Ryzhivka– Up to 80 deaths, 86 swollen families, mostly collective farm workers, but some private farmers as well.
3. Cherpovodi – 85 deaths, up to 250 swollen, 150 can no longer stand. Fifty percent of the children in the nursery are sick. One brigade member died, but was not reported to be swollen.
4. Horodnytsia – Up to 100 deaths, daily death rate of eight to twelve people, 100 of 600 homesteads swollen from starvation. There are reports that collective farm workers who usually take their meals at the public kitchen are swelling from hunger. There are ten pigs for the entire village. There are only two cows for 200 private homesteads and 18 cows for 450 collective farmers. The kolhosp has a farm for 81 cows (cows acquired by the kolhosp) of which 48 are under yoke. Six children are without parents.
5. Furmanka – 112 deaths (438 homesteads in village). Some homesteads have died out completely. The rate of swelling has diminished, but half the village is swollen from hunger. Ninety poods of sowing seeds were eaten with permission from the raion Party committee secretary. There are nine horses for 60 private farms and 80 families have left the village.
6. Lopotukha – 100 deaths in 500 homesteads.
7. Maksymivka – 30 deaths. 70 collective and 35 private farms are swollen. The number of people swollen from starvation is 25 percent.
An act of cannibalism occurred in Stepkivtsi where a collective farmer killed and ate his child. He was taken to the hospital and died. His family tried to stop him and did not take part in the cannibalism. This was the striking case that the CC requested information about, but I consider the fact that some homesteads have completely died off in the countryside to be more striking. I saw one family fully condemned to death. One child was not moving at all, the second was swollen from hunger but still able to walk. The mother was also swollen and only spoke in whispers. (They take their meals at the collective farm public kitchen). The father died earlier. The doctor diagnosed their cases as hopeless. […]
With communist greetings, Richytsky*
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 5258, pages 79-81.
* This letter was relegated to the archives shortly after being received by the CC CP(b)U.
#7 Letter from Petrovsky to Molotov and Stalin on the grave food situation and famine in the Ukrainian SSR (excerpts)
June 10, 1932
During the sowing campaign in Pryluky, Lokhvytsia, Varva, Chernukhy, Pyriatyn, and Mala Devitsa raions, I came face-to-face, so to speak, with the village. That does not mean that we, Ukrainian communists, did not know what was happening in our villages (although we are still being accused of being detached from the countryside). We knew there would be severe pressure and hell to pay during state grain procurements. In my opinion, the CC CP(b)U is guilty of not objecting to, but beginning to fulfill the state’s grain plan of 510 million poods for Ukraine, in the name of maintaining the pace of building socialism and in light of the tense state of international affairs. It was in this sense that I understood the necessity to execute CC AUCP(b) directives on grain procurements, which we adopted for mandatory implementation.
We knew beforehand that fulfilling state grain procurements in Ukraine would be difficult, but what I have seen in the countryside indicates that we have greatly overdone it, we tried too hard. I was in many raion villages and saw a considerable part of the countryside engulfed in famine. There aren’t many, but there are people swollen from starvation, mainly poor peasants and even middle class farmers. They’re eating food scraps from the bottom of the barrel, if any are available. During well-attended meetings in the villages, I am yelled at for nothing, old women cry and men sometimes do also. At times the criticism of the situation created goes very deep and wide: “Why did they create an artificial famine? After all, we had a harvest. Why did they take away the sowing seeds? That did not happen even under the old regime. Why should Ukrainians make treacherous journeys for bread to non-grain producing areas? Why isn’t grain being brought here?” And so on.
It’s difficult to provide explanations under the circumstances. You obviously condemn those who have committed excesses, but generally feel like a carp squirming on a frying pan. In response to the desperate cry for relief [in the form of] sowing seeds and grain for food I promised something with regard to sowing seeds, but told the farmers to find seed in their own region. Concerning grain for food relief I cannot promise anything, or very little. Mass theft is occurring in the villages because of the famine, mainly for poultry: they steal chickens, ducks, take potato scraps, and butcher calves and cows during the night and eat them.
Right now, the men are sowing millet and buckwheat. The days for sowing millet are ending, but not for buckwheat, and the villagers are expecting it [buckwheat seed] from us. They have always objected to oats because they consider the labor to be a lost cause and because oats will not ripen or even grow into a good grass in this region. There will be insufficient sowing in these raions compared to last year’s area. There is still a month or a month and a half before the new crop. This means that famine will intensify. Therefore, I am asking you directly: Would it not be possible to send relief to the Ukrainian countryside in the amount of two or, if worse comes to worst, one and a half million poods of grain? If this assistance could be provided, then the party would be supported by the poor peasants and even the middle-class farmers against our class enemies, and collectivization would be invigorated. Relief must also be provided because starving peasants will begin removing unripe grain [from the fields] and much of it will perish in vain. The situation among the intelligentsia in the countryside is particularly grave.
[ . . . ]
Because of the general famine, as you know, villagers have started flocking to the Dno station, Central Black Earth oblast [in Russia], Belarus and the Northern Caucasus. In some cases, two-thirds of all men have left their villages in search of food. At the Dno station, grain is 30 to 40 rubles a pood, but here it is 100 to 140 per pood. Naturally, there is mayhem at the stations and on the transport vehicles. Speculation [for profit] is also emerging. The situation can no longer be tolerated. I had suggested promoting the idea of organized trips for grain by the cooperative society and collective farms but, two to three days ago, the Peoples’ Commissariat for Railways [issued] what amounts to a [travel] ban on trips for grain. Tickets are not being issued to villagers at all, or in very limited numbers. Peasants have asked me: Why are trips for grain prohibited? This however plays into the kulaks’ hands. Every such fact is used against the Party and collective farms. In the last while, anti-kolhosp sentiment has grown stronger. In some places people are leaving collective farms, taking away horses and other property.
I wrote this letter in Pryluky. I did not reach anybody in Kharkiv and am sending this letter to you without [the knowledge of] Comrade Kosior and other Politburo members.* In closing, I once again request that you consider all methods and resources available to provide urgent food relief in the form of grain to the Ukrainian countryside, and to supply buckwheat [seed] for sowing as quickly as possible in order to make up for what has not been sown.
RGASPI, fond 82, list 2, file 139, sheets 162-165;
Commanders of the Great Famine: V. Molotov and L. Kaganovich, trips to Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus. 1932-1933. (Kyiv, 2001, 399 p.) Komandyry velykoho holodu: poyizdky V. Molotova i L. Kaganovicha v Ukrainu i na Pivnichnyi Kavkaz. 1932-1933, pp.212-215.
* This was part of the Ukrainian Soviet leaders’ game: Kosior did not dare officially inform Stalin about the situation in the republic, so Petrovsky and Chubar did so semi-officially.
#8 Letter from Chubar to Molotov and Stalin on agricultural affairs in Ukrainian SSR (excerpts)
June 10, 1932
[...] In two trips (with a small break) I spent 15 days in the hardest-hit raions and villages of Kyiv and Vinnytsia oblasts. I became familiar with the state of affairs in 13 raions of Kyiv oblast (visited four villages) and four raions of Vinnytsia oblast (visited eight villages). I should say that I was unable to collect and check statistics for every raion and village to the same extent. Nevertheless, the main facts in all these raions and villages are similar enough that some general conclusions can be made. What, in fact, has happened to those raions that emerged extraordinarily weakened in the spring (some villages destroyed, in the direct sense)?
The failed harvest of legumes and spring crops in those raions was most likely not considered and the crop shortage was compensated by industrial crops earmarked for state procurement. Along with the general weakness of the state grain procurement plan, caused primarily by lower harvests across Ukraine and colossal losses during harvesting (the result of organizationally- and economically-weak collective farms and utterly inadequate control by the raions and center), a system of requisitioning of all grain, including seed reserves, from private farmers was introduced and everything of value was requisitioned from collective farms. Even if collective farms met the targets set by the procurement plan targets, they were issued an additional second and often third [grain quota target]. In many cases, grain issued to collective farmers as advance payment for work was confiscated by [collectivization] brigades for state grain procurement. As a result, the majority of collective farms in those raions were left without grain, without animal feed concentrate for livestock, without food for the disabled, for teachers, etc. […]
The collective farmers with fewest workdays suffered the most, although initially it seemed only private farmers were deprived of grain. In March and April, there were tens and hundreds of malnourished, starving and swollen people dying from famine in every village; children abandoned by their parents and orphans appeared. Raions and oblasts provided food relief from internal reserves, but growing despair and the psychology of famine resulted in more appeals for help. Under these circumstances the collective farms, Soviet state farms and raions should have launched a broad network of public kitchens to deal with the acute shortage of food products in general, and grain in particular.
Cases of malnutrition and starvation were noted in December and January, both among private farmers (particularly whose farms and belongings were sold for failing to meet grain targets) and among collective farmers, especially those with large families. […]
A few words about the excesses of those in charge of economic campaigns and the violations of revolutionary lawfulness that took place in these raions, and, unquestionably, impacted their economic conditions. They were primarily the following:
1) Orders for sowing were received by the raions that contravened crop rotation [practices]; the raions, in turn, assigned absurd tasks to the kolhosps, ignoring the views and experience of collective farmers and [the rules of] agronomy. They were forced to sow winter crops on stubble-fields, which predictably reduced crop capacity, and so on. As a result in Baban raion, for example, with a capacity of 150 to 200 poods of wheat per hectare, they collected only 60 to 70.
2) Raions were overloaded with work, which disrupted fall sowing and winter plowing. The deep tilling of land for sugar beets led to a drop in crop yields and loss of interest among collective farms. Very few collective farms in these raions had fully prepared their fields for beets by the fall; as a result, [only] 30 to 50 percent was prepared.
3) In the battle for bread, the right to sell the property of malicious non-deliverers of grain (the law of 1929) was abused. Private farmers’ harvests were gathered and threshed on so-called “red threshing floors” with threshed grain delivered to grain collectors. This was followed up by rigid “home” targets which were left unfulfilled and resulted in the forced sale of all property, including buildings, domestic goods and chattel, footwear, clothing, etc. In some villages, 20 percent or more of farms have been sold. Add to this the malicious humiliation of private farmers, the majority of who would have become collective farmers, and that of expelled collective farmers, then it becomes clear why independent farmers have no working animals, land allotments or livestock. Those whose livestock was not sold by way of repressions sold or butchered [their livestock] themselves. Leaderless brigades were on the rampage. Those guilty of excesses were tried, but you cannot try all their deeds with one trial.
In addition to grain procurements, the same methods were applied to potato and, especially, meat procurements. A question arises: Is it not time to abolish the system of sales in fully-collectivized raions (since the tools and means of production have been sold off)?
After such actions, it’s clear why so few village council heads and leading [Party] activists from the previous campaigns are left in local areas. Some were tried and removed, while others ran off on their own. Few raion leaders have survived. The new people have lost their heads under the colossal pressure from a public demanding food and the return of illegally-sold property and improperly-collectivized livestock…
[…] The proper functioning of agriculture has been impaired in the Ukrainian SSR over such a large area that special corrections are required to state grain and meat procurement targets and other agricultural goals; in this regard it will be necessary to address the Central Committee and the Council of Peoples’ Commissars separately.
RGASPI, fond 82, list 2, file 139, sheets 144-153.
Commanders of the Great Famine: V. Molotov and L. Kaganovich, trips to Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus. 1932-1933. (Kyiv, 2001, 399 p.) Komandyry velykoho holodu: poyizdky V. Molotova i L. Kaganovicha v Ukrainu i na Pivnichnyi Kavkaz. 1932-1933. p. 206-212.
#9 Letter from Kaganovich to Stalin on appeals from Ukrainian SSR leaders to CC AUCP(b) (excerpt)
June 12, 1932
...5) I am sending you letters from Chubar and Petrovsky.* Chubar’s letter is more businesslike and self-critical and does not contain the same rot found in Petrovsky’s letter. In his very first lines Petrovsky unloads all blame on the CC AUCP(b) by saying that he “understood the necessity to execute CC AUCP(b) directives on grain procurements” as if they were unable to raise all their issues with the CC AUCP(b) in a timely and honest fashion. He (Petrovsky) is engaged in polemics with those who are speaking the truth: they were out of touch with the countryside and did not know the state of affairs. Otherwise he should admit to hiding the truth from the CC AUCP(b). They only began speaking when the CC from Moscow pointed out their flagrant disgraces. His letter amounts to: first, the preparation of grounds for rejecting grain procurement [quotas] this year, which is absolutely unacceptable and, second, both he and Chubar are requesting grain for food relief. In this [latter] matter, we will have to provide help, but the question is one of scale. Can you please provide your thoughts on the matter? Kosior is not writing anything.
RGASPI, fond 558, list 11, file 740, sheet 41;
Stalin and Kaganovich. Correspondence. 1931-1936 (Moscow, 2001, 798 pp) Stalin i Kaganovich. Perepyska. 1931-1936 p.164.
* On June 10, 1932, Chubar and Petrovsky sent letters to the CC AUCP(b) concerning the grave conditions in agriculture, famine and the need for food relief in the Ukrainian SSR. See Documents 7 and 8.
#10 Letter from Stalin to Kaganovich on Appeal from Ukrainian SSR leaders to CC AUCP(b) (excerpt)
June 15, 1932
...4) I did not like the letters from Chubar and Petrovsky.* The former spouts “self-criticism” in order to secure millions more poods of bread from Moscow, the latter is feigning sainthood, claiming victimization from the “CC AUCP directive” in order to reduce grain procurement levels. Neither one nor the other is acceptable. Chubar is mistaken if he thinks that self-criticism is required for securing outside “help” and not for mobilizing the forces and resources within Ukraine. In my opinion Ukraine has been given more than enough. Yet give them grain for nothing and from nowhere. The worst in this case is Kosior’s silence. How is this silence explained? Does he know about the Chubar-Petrovsky letters?
Regards! J. Stalin.
RGASPI, fond 81, list 3, file 99, page 63;
Tragedy of the Soviet countryside. Collectivization and dekulakization, documents and materials in five volumes. Vol. 3. (Мoscow, 2001, 1007 pp) Tragedia sovietskoi derevni. Kolektyvizatsia i raskulachivanie. Dokumenty i materialy: v 5 tomakh p. 169.
* See Petrovsky and Chubar’s June 10, 1932 letters (Documents 7 and 8).
#11 Letter from Kaganovich to Stalin on grain procurement preparations in the Ukrainian SSR (excerpt)
June 16, 1932
...4) As a result of the harvest campaign commission’s work* we have thus far passed one part of the resolutions for the material support of the harvest campaign; a CC or CC and SNK resolution on organizing the harvest campaign is currently being drafted. Because that document will be very important we will send it to you before it is adopted. This year’s harvest campaign will be especially difficult, particularly in Ukraine. Unfortunately, Ukraine is not sufficiently preparing for it, and we face the danger of premature, spontaneous and unorganized harvesting and plundering of grain from the fields. We have spoken to Chubar who is not the problem; it is the timely mobilization of the entire organization, but Kosior maintains silence.
RGASPI, fond 558, list 11, file 740, page 61;
Stalin and Kaganovich. Correspondence. 1931-1936 (Moscow, 2001, 798 pp) Stalin i Kaganovich. Perepyska. 1931-1936 p.173.
* The commission headed by Molotov was created by the Politburo of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) on June 7, 1932
#12 Letter from Stalin to Kaganovich and Molotov on the Ukrainian SSR leadership
July 2, 1932
To Kaganovich. To Molotov.
1) Pay more serious attention to Ukraine. Chubar’s deterioration and opportunistic nature, Kosior’s rotten diplomacy (in relation to the CC AUCP) and a criminally-reckless approach to affairs will lose Ukraine in the end. Running Ukraine today is not for our comrades’ shoulders. If you attend the Ukrainian conference (I insist), use all measures to win over workers’ sentiment, isolate whining and rotten diplomats (regardless of personas!) and ensure a truly-Bolshevik decision [is made] by the conference. I have a feeling (even a conviction), that we will have to remove both Chubar and Kosior from Ukraine. Perhaps I am mistaken. You will have an opportunity to check the matter at the conference.*
2) In am sending back a draft of the CC greeting on occasion of the Clara Zetkin anniversary.**
The draft’s tone was a little too rapturous and pseudo-classical. I toned it down with my corrections.
Regards! J. Stalin
RGASPI, fond 558, list 11, file 740, sheet 41;
Stalin and Kaganovich. Correspondence. 1931-1936 (Moscow, 2001, 798 pp) Stalin i Kaganovich. Perepyska. 1931-1936 p.164.
* On July 3, 1932 the Politburo CC AUCP(b) passed a resolution "On the Ukrainian party conference" ordering Kaganovich and Molotov to take part in the Third All-Ukrainian conference of the CP(b)U.
** German communist Clara Eissner Zetkin was born on July 5, 1857. She died near Moscow less than a year after this letter on June 20, 1933. In 1911, Zetkin initiated “International Women’s Day” which is celebrated to this day every March 8.
#13 Letter from Molotov and Kaganovich to Stalin on the Ukrainian Party conference and grain procurement plan
July 6, 1932
To Comrade Stalin
Today, we discussed the draft of the resolution and the conference with the CC CP(b)U Politburo. We said the resolution was unacceptable in its weak criticism of CC CP(b)U leaders for affairs in the countryside, in failing to provide concrete tasks for fulfilling the grain procurement plan and doing battle with demobilizing sentiments in this matter. All Politburo members, including Skrypnyk,* spoke for reducing the plan, pointing out that 2.2 million hectares have been under-sowed and 0.8 million hectares of winter crop have been lost.
We categorically rejected a revision of the plan, demanded the mobilization of Party forces to combat losses and the squander of grain and to invigorate collective farms. In contrast to his statement during the Politburo [meeting], Kosior defended the position of plan fulfillment during his speech at the conference. We think that the resolution should express dissatisfaction of the CC CP(b)U for affairs in the countryside in the last while. Please provide your thoughts. **
RGASPI, fond 558, list 11, file 78, sheet 16;
Stalin and Kaganovich. Correspondence. 1931-1936 (Moscow, 2001, 798 pp) Stalin i Kaganovich. Perepyska. 1931-1936 p.219.
* Mykola Skrypnyk (1872-1933) was the Ukrainian SSR’s Peoples’ Commissar of Education and a member of the Politburo of the CC CP(b)U. He was publicly discredited and purged for conducting policies of ukrainization and died of an allegedly self-inflicted gunshot wound in July, 1933.
** The following day Stalin agreed to expressing dissatisfaction with the work of CC CP(b)U leaders.
#14 Resolution of the CC CP(b)U Politburo on grain procurement target*
July 6, 1932
To recognize as correct the 356 million pood plan established by the CC AUCP(b) for grain procurement in the [Ukrainian SSR’s] rural sector and accept it for unconditional fulfillment.
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 6, file 236, page 85;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv p. 194.
* The meeting was attended by Molotov and Kaganovich, dispatched by Stalin to enforce the all-Union Communist Party directive.
#15 Telegram from Molotov and Kaganovich to Stalin on covering-up the real state of affairs in the Ukrainian SSR
July 6, 1932
To Comrade Stalin
Criticism of the CC CP(b)U’s work should emerge during the Ukrainian conference for shortcomings that have resulted in grave conditions in several raions. The question arises of raising this issue in the press. In order to avoid feeding the foreign press, we feel it necessary to maintain a reserved tone in our exposition of that criticism without publicizing the facts about the state of affairs in the bad raions. Please provide your thoughts to Kharkiv.*
Skuratov Station, Kursk Railways,
6.VII.1932. 8 hrs, 38 mins.
RGASPI, fond 558, list 11, file 78, page 12;
Stalin and Kaganovich. Correspondence. 1931-1936 (Moscow, 2001, 798 pp) Stalin i Kaganovich. Perepyska. 1931-1936 p. 218-219.
* On July 6, 1932 Stalin agreed to the proposed cover-up measures.
#16 Letter from Belarusian workers to the CC CP(b)U on starving Ukrainians in their republic
July 15, 1932
When has Belarus ever fed Ukraine? There were bad years, but Ukraine always fed Belarus; now it’s the other way around. Belarus is not against helping Ukrainian collective farms and worker-peasants in an organized manner, [but] not the way it’s happening right now: in Belarus [we] cannot go anywhere, travel on the railways and roads because of the Ukrainians. Starving and destitute Ukrainians are everywhere, lying on the streets of Belarusian towns: Zhlobin, Homiel, Bakhmuch, Bykhaw, Mahimt, Orsha, Minsk, Sirotsino. Some live in the woods…
Many Ukrainians are looking for bread near the very border of bourgeois feudal Poland and people are saying that [the government] wants to starve Ukrainians to death, while the newspapers write that everything’s fine. Why don’t they write the truth: millions are starving and grain is rotting in the fields, many of which have been overgrown with grass and left untilled, because able men and women have run off into the world for a piece of bread, to avoid dying from famine.
And it’s a real pity to see the starving Ukrainians and when you ask them: “Why don’t you work at home?” they answer that there is no seed, there’s nothing to do in collective farms and provisions are bad. But fact remains fact: millions of people are wandering naked, starving in the forests, stations, towns and collective farms of Belarus, and begging for a piece of bread. How is the bread problem being solved in Ukraine? Where is the Ukrainian party’s Central and Central Executive Committees? What are the measures? Our hearts hurt for this dismal state of affairs.
Belarus - workers
Petro, Savin, Kuduk
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 5255, sheets 68-69;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv p.209.
#17 Letter from Stalin to Kaganovich and Molotov on CC CP(b)U leadership (excerpt)
No later than July 15, 1932
...2) Concerning Ukraine… Kosior can only be preplaced by Kaganovich. No other candidates in sight. Mikoyan* is unsuitable: not only for Ukraine, he is not even fit to be Peoples’ Commissar for Provisions (limbless and unorganized “agitator”). But we cannot send Kaganovich to Ukraine (impractical!): we’ll weaken the [All-Union] Central Committee secretariat. We’ll have to wait some time. Concerning Chubar: he can stay for now and we’ll see how he works out.
* Anastas Mikoyan (1895-1978) was the USSR Narkomsnab Peoples’ Commissar for Provisions and External Trade (1930-1933).
RGASPI, fond 81, list 3, file 99, sheet 171;
Stalin and Kaganovich. Correspondence. 1931-1936 (Moscow, 2001, 798 pp) Stalin i Kaganovich. Perepyska. 1931-1936 p.225.
#18 Report from Vinnytsia oblast Prosecutor to the Ukrainian SSR Prosecutor on cannibalism in Nove Misto
Before July 17, 1932
I hereby report, that in the last days of June, in the village of Nove Misto, Monastyryshche raion, Citizen Havryliuk, aged 36, and his wife, weak middle-class farmers in terms of their property status, butchered and ate their children, boys aged 9 and 2.
His wife is currently unconscious and unable to speak. From the butchered children one head was found, chopped at the neck and buried in the earth. Several ribs were also found.
The investigation into this case is ongoing. It has been proposed to the local prosecutor that the investigation include holding village leaders responsible for [their] inconsiderate behavior towards the Havryliuk family.
Oblast prosecutor Chernin
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 5488, sheet 49;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv pp.210-211
#19 Resolution “On safekeeping property of state enterprises, collective farms and cooperatives and strengthening public (socialist) property" (excerpt)*
August 7, 1932
1) Make all property belonging to collective farms and cooperatives (harvests in the fields, public reserves, livestock, cooperative stock and stores, etc.) equivalent to state property and fully strengthen the protection of this property against theft.
2) Use judicial repressions of the highest degree as measures of social protection against theft of kolhosp and collective property: execution by shooting and confiscation of all property, variable under mitigating circumstances to ten years imprisonment with confiscation of all property.
3) Amnesty cannot be granted to criminals sentenced in cases of collective farm and cooperative property theft.
1) Conduct decisive battle with all anti-public, kulak-capitalist elements that use violence and threats, or promote the use of violence and threats, against collective farmers, forcing them to leave or purposefully destroy collective farms.
2) Use measures of judicial repressions for protecting collective farms and collective farmers from violence and threats on the part of kulak and other anti-public elements: imprisonment for five to ten years in a concentration camp.
3) Amnesty cannot be granted to criminals sentenced in these cases.
Head, USSR Central Executive Committee, M. Kalinin
Head, Council of Peoples’ Commissars, V. Molotov (Skryabin)
Secretary, USSR Central Executive Committee, А. Yenukidze
Communist newspaper, August 9, 1932; “Collectivization of agriculture: the most important resolutions of the Communist Party and Soviet government, 1927-1935,” Moscow, 1957, pp. 423-424.
* This law made collective farm property equal to state property and provided extremely severe punitive measures for encroaching on the harvest. In popular lore, this resolution became known as “the law of five ears of wheat.” Stalin would later invoke the law in a January All-Union Politburo resolution (see Document 44).
#20 Letter from Stalin to Kaganovich on changing Ukrainian SSR leadership (excerpt)
August 11, 1932
…3) The main issue is now Ukraine. Matters in Ukraine are currently extremely bad. Bad from the standpoint of the Party line. They say that in two oblasts of Ukraine (Kyiv and Dnipropetrovsk, I believe), nearly 50 raion Party committees have spoken out against the grain procurement plan as unrealistic. They say the matter is no better in other raion committees. What does this look like? This is not a Party, but a parliament, a caricature of a parliament. Instead of directing the raions, Kosior is always waffling between CC AUCP directives and the demands of raion committees, and he’s waffled himself to the end. Lenin was right when he said that a person who lacks the courage to go against the flow at the right moment cannot be a real Bolshevik leader. Bad from the standpoint of the Soviet line. Chubar is no leader. Bad from the standpoint of the GPU. [Stanislaw] Redens is incapable of leading the battle with counterrevolution in such a large and unique republic as Ukraine.
If we do not correct the situation in Ukraine immediately, we will lose Ukraine.
Also keep in mind that within the Ukrainian Communist Party (500,000 members, ha, ha) there is no lack (yes, no lack!) of rotten elements, active and latent petlurites and direct agents of Pilsudski. If the situation gets any worse, these elements won't hesitate to open a front within (and outside) the Party, against the Party. Worst of all, the Ukrainian leadership does not see these dangers.
Things should not continue this way any longer.
It is necessary:
a) to remove Kosior from Ukraine and replace him with you [Kaganovich]; you will retain the post of secretary of the CC AUCP(b);
b) after this, transfer Balitsky to Ukraine as chairman of the Ukrainian GPU (or PP [authorized representative] to Ukraine, as it seems the GPU chairman position in Ukraine does not exist) and he will remain deputy chairman of the [All-Union] OGPU; make Redens a deputy to Balitsky in Ukraine;*
c) in a few months replace Chubar with another comrade, say, Hrynko or anybody else, and appoint Chubar to be Molotov’s deputy in Moscow (Kosior can be made one of the secretaries of the CC AUCP(b));**
d) Set yourself the goal of turning Ukraine into a fortress of the USSR, a real model republic, within the shortest possible time. Don't spare money for this purpose.
Without these and similar measures (economic and political strengthening of Ukraine starting with the raions along the border, etc.), I repeat once again: we will lose Ukraine.
What do you think on this matter?
This requires attention as soon as possible, immediately after [your] arrival in Moscow.
Р. S. I have spoken to Menzhinsky about Balitsky and Redens. He agrees and fully supports the changes.***
RGASPI, fond 81, list 3, file 99, sheets 146-151;
Stalin and Kaganovich. Correspondence. 1931-1936 (Moscow, 2001, 798 pp) Stalin i Kaganovich. Perepyska. 1931-1936 pp.273-274.
* Vsevold Balitsky (1892-1937) was dispatched to the Ukrainian SSR by CC AUCP(b) Politburo resolution “On a Special OGPU Commissioner for Ukraine” from November 24, 1932. Balitsky was the deputy head of the OGPU joint state political administration, SNK USSR (1931-1934). He headed the GPU political police in Ukraine (1933-1937) and was a member of the Central Oversight Commission of the All-Union Party. Stanislaw Redens (1892-1938) was a member of the Central Committee of the All-Union party (1927-1934) and the head of the Ukrainian SSR republican GPU (1931-1933). He was replaced by Balitsky as head of the Ukrainian GPU in February 1933.
** Hryhori Hrynko (1890-1938) was the SNK USSR Peoples’ Commissar for Finance (1930-1937).
*** Vyacheslav Menzhinsky (1874-1934) was the head of the SNK USSR OGPU (1926-1934).
#21 Letter from Kaganovich to Stalin on personnel changes in the Ukrainian SSR
August 16, 1932
...4) Regarding Ukrainian affairs:
a) I fully and completely agree with your opinion on the state of affairs in Ukraine. The problem is that, among the leadership, the matter of grain procurement, their talk of the impossibility of carrying out the plan has developed into an issue of attitudes towards Party policies. The lack of confidence and perspective, confusion and the formal performance of “duty” – these are the main elements of the bacteria eating away at some of the [Party] activists and affecting the top “a bit” (slightly). The theory that we, Ukrainians, have innocently suffered, is creating solidarity …among not only the middle leadership, but at the top as well. I think that regardless of the organizational conclusions, the time has come for the CC AUCP(b) to officially, in a political document, assess the state of affairs and call for the organization of a decisive breakthrough. They are not taking their own conference resolution seriously, considering it to be forced to some extent.
An official political resolution from the CC will quickly fix the majority of the [Party] activists and will make it easier to fix the general state of affairs in Ukraine.
You are also correct in connecting the issue to the international situation, to Pilsudski’s efforts; there is a grave danger within Party organizations and the weakness of the ideal of battling with putridity and lack of principles. It was pitiful to look at the Ukrainian activists while at their conference.
b) Concerning the issue of replacing Kosior, I agree that he has shown significant weaknesses and shortcomings. As the head of the largest organization in the party, he made matters easy for its leaders. Can he be corrected? It’s more difficult for me to say than for you. Perhaps it’s worthwhile to take him by the […]*, crack a few ribs to teach him a lesson; however, the situation in Ukraine is so difficult that there is little time for teaching.
c) Regarding my personal issues, I can state the following:
With my vast experience in managing and placing cadres and after analyzing the situation, I realize that there is obviously no other way out. It will naturally be easier for me to take to the task directly because I know the country, economy and the people. Truth be told, the people are not the same; I previously knew them to be different; they have gradually changed for the worse, in other words, changed considerably as a result of “softness” and lightness of management according to the principles of “do not offend” or mutual amnesty. This, by the way, is one of the factors that kill the mood – to have to start from the very beginning with the people in the same Ukraine! However, Comrade Stalin, you have put the question so broadly and clearly from the standpoint of the Party’s interests that there can be no serious hesitation. After all, you have not only the official political right, but also the moral right of a comrade, to do as you see fit with the person You [sic] have formed as a political figure, meaning me, Your student.
d) I agree with you concerning the other proposals, the issue is only one of timeframes, but I intend to speak to you in person (about [Hryhori] Hrynko and [Vlas] Chubar). I currently feel so physically exhausted (terrible headaches) that, without rest and treatment, it will be difficult for me to take on a new major burden.
e) I am also worried about Moscow, i.e. who might be put in [my] place because so much work has already been done, but we will talk about this in person.
f) We will also have to think about other workers, fresh blood (at least some) for Ukraine...
RGASPI, fond 558, list 11, file 740, sheets 155-159;
Stalin and Kaganovich. Correspondence. 1931-1936 (Moscow, 2001, 798 pp) Stalin i Kaganovich. Perepyska. 1931-1936 pp.283-284.
* Illegible word.
#22 Telegram from Deputy USSR SNK Chairman ordering faster grain exports from Ukraine
August 27, 1932
Instead of the established government plan of shipping 190,000 tonnes from the ports during August, you have only shipped 20,000. This situation is leading to significant losses of currency due to unfulfilled contracts, storage of tonnage and also [our] reputation on the markets. I suggest that you immediately stimulate direct deliveries to the ports and ship by the end of the month: 30,000 tonnes of wheat, 20,000 of barley, and 10,000 of rye, on top of what’s been shipped already. Consider daily shipments to be your combat orders, and send telegrams to the procurements committee.
* Valerian Kuibyshev (1888-1935) was the Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Peoples’ Commissars (1930-1934) and the Chairman of the State Planning Commission (1930-1935) responsible for developing and overseeing the Soviet government’s “Five-year Plans.”
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 5446, sheet 23;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv p. 235
#23 Resolution of AUCP(b) Politburo on expelling a foreign journalist
September 17, 1932
Expel the correspondent of “Daily Express” [Rhea] Clyman from the USSR in two days’ time for clearly defamatory, prevocational and completely fabricated information about the USSR (article about “nationalization of women” in a Canadian magazine, article about “uprisings and hunger riots” in the USSR in the “Daily Express”), whose goal was to resentfully discredit the USSR in the eyes of public opinion.
Publish this statement accordingly.
RGASPI, fond 17, list 3, file 901, sheet 6.
#24 Telegram from SNK USSR and CC AUCP(b) denying sowing seed loans to collective farms
September 23, 1932
Resolution of SNK USSR and CC AUCP(b): a number of local organizations have asked for seed loans for Soviet and collective farms. Because this year’s harvest appears to be satisfactory and because the government lowered state grain procurement targets, which should be fully met, the SNK and CC resolve to: First, refuse all requests concerning seed loans. Second, forewarn the Soviet and collective farms that they will not be provided with seeds for winter or spring sowing. Third, hold the chairmen of collective farms, directors of MTS [machine tractor stations] and directors of Soviet farms responsible for issuing all seed for spring sowing by the deadlines established by the SNK and CC (no later than January 15, 1933) and for ensuring its complete safekeeping.
Chairman, SNK USSR, V. Molotov (Skryabin)
Secretary, CC, J. Stalin
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 5362, sheet 8;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv p.238.
#25 Resolution of CC AUCP(b) Politburo on grain procurements in Ukraine and the Norther Caucasus*
October 22, 1932
In order to strengthen grain procurement dispatch [the following persons] for two ten-day periods:
а) Comrade Molotov to Ukraine with a group comprised of Comrades Kalmanovich, Sarkis, Markevich, Krentsel.
b) Comrade Kaganovich to the N. Caucasus with Comrades Yurkin and Chernov in the group.
RGASPI, fond 17, list 3, file 904, sheet 11;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv p.238.
* Distrustful of local leaders, Stalin dispatched his emissaries to these major grain producing areas. Using wide-ranging repressions, they managed to extort all grain and food reserves, resulting in millions of deaths.
#26 Resolution of CC CP(b)U on strengthening role of courts in grain procurement
November 5, 1932
In order to strengthen the battle for grain, the CC CP(b)U proposes the following measures be taken by the Peoples’ Commissariat of Justice, and oblast and raion committees, in order to ensure the decisive strengthening of assistance for grain procurement from judicial bodies.
The Central Committee proposes to:
1. Mandate judicial bodies to hear grain procurement cases out of turn, as a rule during mobile sessions on location, with the application of austere repressions while ensuring a differentiated approach to separate social groups and applying severe measures against speculators and grain resellers.
2. Organize no fewer than five to ten additional traveling judicial sessions of the Peoples’ courts to the raions of every oblast.
Judicial consideration of matters and application of stringent repressions should be accompanied by a mass campaign mobilizing public support for the processes of strengthening the battle for grain.
Order the Peoples’ Commissariat of Justice to staff those hearings with strongly-prepared workers from among former court employees.
The formalities for appointing Peoples’ judges should take place immediately.
3. Charge administrative bodies with quickly taking all measures sanctioned by law for collecting undelivered grain and administrative measures against malicious non-deliverers.
4. Request that oblast and raion committees create the conditions for strengthening the work of judicial and administrative bodies, in particular by immediately relieving all prosecutors, judges and investigators from any mobilization, thus affording them the ability and requiring their full participation in the campaign to ensure the execution of the grain procurement plan from their places of work.
The Peoples’ Commissariat of Justice and Prosecutor should immediately issue detailed orders to judicial bodies on activating their participation in grain procurement.
Make the central, and local press in particular, responsible for broad coverage of the court cases.
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 6, file 237, sheet 177;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv p. 247-248.
#27 Telegram from the CC CP(b)U to the oblasts on economic blockade of raions not fulfilling grain procurement plans
November 6, 1932
CC CP(b)U resolves to reduce the delivery of goods (except for matches, salt and kerosene) to those raions that have fallen the furthest behind in grain procurements.
In your oblasts, the measure will be carried out in the following raions: (list of raions)*
Provide your changes to the list of raions by telegraph no later than 9.ХІ.
Secretary, CC CP(b)U, Kosior
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 5384, sheet 111.
* The list included 8 raions in Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv oblasts, 5 in Kyiv oblast, and 2 in Donetsk oblast. Grain procurement quotas were less than 30 percent fulfilled in these raions.
#28 Resolution of the CC CP(b)U Politburo on measures to strengthen grain procurement (excerpt)
November 18, 1932
III. On grain procurements from collective farms
On collective farm reserves
In accordance with the resolution of the CC AUCP (b) stating that “the fulfillment of the grain procurement plan is the highest priority mission for collective farms, Soviet farms, MTS [machine and tractor stations] and private farmers,” the Central Committee of the Communist Party (bolsheviks) of Ukraine expressly points out to all Party organizations in Ukraine that the full performance of grain procurement plans is the principal duty of all collective farms and MTS before the Party and the working class, the highest priority task to which of all other collective farm tasks are subordinate, including the formation of various collective farm reserves: seed grain, fodder, food supplies and others.
In accordance with the above, the CP(b)U CC informs Party organizations that:
1. The mission of Party organizations is the full performance of the grain procurement plans by January 1 and formation of seed reserves by January 15.
2. A ban shall be immediately instituted on any and all natural reserves stored in collective farms that are failing to perform grain procurement plan; these reserves shall be inspected [to determine] their real size, places of storage, individuals responsible for their safekeeping; this matter shall be placed under the direct control of raion executive and Party committees.
3. Raion executive committees shall be authorized to transfer all reserves stored by collective farms that are failing to perform grain procurement plans to the grain procurement reserves.
4. Where sowing seed reserves are concerned, paragraph 3 shall only be implemented upon prior consent of oblast executive committees for each separate collective farm.
The CC CP(b)U considers following these instructions on natural reserves to be exceptionally important and places political responsibility for their correct implementation upon oblast Party committees, foremost upon the first secretaries and the chairmen of executive committees.
On in-kind fines and combating abuses in collective farms
1. Upon receipt of this decree, the distribution of any in-kind natural [grain] advances to all collective farms failing to perform grain procurement plans shall be discontinued.
2. The return of illegally-distributed grain shall be immediately organized in those collective farms that are failing to perform grain procurement plans and have distributed more than the established quotas designated for public consumption and are engaged in additional distribution of different types of lower grade grains, byproducts, etc.; this grain shall be handed over for the fulfillment of grain procurement plans.
The chairmen of these collective farms (Communists and non-Party members) shall be held responsible for the misappropriation of collective farm grain; incorrectly-distributed grain shall be first seized from the board members and administrative staff of these collective farms (accountants, store-keepers, field workers, etc.).
3. The seizure of grain stolen from collective and Soviet farms during crop harvesting, milling, transportation, storage, etc., by collective and private farmers, especially thieves and loafers without any workdays, and grain reserves, shall be organized immediately in all raions.
In implementing this measure, it is necessary to secure the support of the best collective farmers for working in the fields, milling and other collective farm jobs, without resorting to mass searches of collective and private farmers.
4. In those collective farms failing to perform grain procurement plans, all the grain harvested by collective farmers from their home garden plots shall be counted as their in-kind payment for workdays; any excess grain shall be collected towards grain procurements.
5. Fines shall be levied on those collective farms that permitted the stealing of grain and are maliciously undermining grain procurement plans in the form of additional meat procurement targets: they will supply a 15-month quota of meat from collectivized and privately-owned livestock.
Fines shall be imposed by raion executive committees upon prior consent of oblast executive committees for each separate case. Furthermore, raion executive committees shall establish deadlines and sizes of fines for each collective farm (within the limits of the 15-month meat quota) according to the conditions in each collective farm.
The collection of fines shall not release collective farms from their duties to fully perform grain procurement plans. If a collective farm takes active measures to fully meet its grain procurement targets by a set date, then a fine may be cancelled upon prior consent of the oblast executive committee. [...]
On measures to combat kulak influence in collective farms and village party organizations
For the purposes of overcoming kulak resistance and fully performing grain procurement plans, the CC CP(b)U resolves the following:
1. Collective farms that are maliciously sabotaging state grain procurement plans shall be blacklisted.
The following measures shall be imposed upon blacklisted collective farms:
а) Immediate suspension of delivery of goods, cooperative and state trade activities in these villages and removal of all available goods from cooperative and state stores;
b) Full prohibition of kolhosp trading activities between collective farms, collective and private farmers.
c) Suspension of all crediting activities and a demand for pre-term collection of credits and other financial obligations;
d) Investigation and purging of collective farms in these villages, followed by the removal of counterrevolutionary elements and the organizers of grain-collection disruptions;
e) Oblast executive committees shall blacklist and warn collective farms about being blacklisted by issuing appropriate resolutions.
Oblast executive committees shall immediately report the collective farms being blacklisted to the CC.
IV. On grain procurements from private farmers
1. Fines shall be levied on those private farmers who are maliciously undermining grain procurement plans (be they contractual or voluntary obligations) in the form of additional meat procurement target to supply a 15-month quota of meat.
These fines shall be imposed by village executive committees upon prior consent of raion committees in each separate instance. Furthermore, village councils shall establish the deadlines and size of fines for each household within the limits of 15-month meat and one-year potato quotas, depending on the conditions in each farm.
The payment of fines shall not release the farms from their duty to fully perform the grain procurement plan.
If private farmers fully perform grain delivery plans by established deadlines, then the fines may be cancelled by decision of raion executive committees.
In certain raions (subject to approval by oblast executive committee resolutions) fines may be levied in the amount of a one-year potato quota.
Fines may be doubled in extraordinary circumstances, subject to approval by special resolutions of oblast executive committees.
2. The CC warns all local Party organizations and workers against substituting consolidated work in the battle for grain with the simple administration and wide-scale levying of fines. The purpose of in-kind fines is to ensure full performance of grain procurement plans.
3. To immediately collect seed grain and foodstuff loans given to private farmers by collective farms in their raions without recourse for appeal; in cases where loans issued to private farmers were repaid by collective farms (in Vinnytsia oblast, for example), the loans shall be collected from the private farmers and credited to the collective farms’ grain procurement targets.
4. Organize brigades consisting of collective farm activists (from a given village or those in the area) from collective farms that have fully performed their grain procurement plans, or are on the verge of doing so, to assist in the full performance of grain procurement plans by the private farming sector.
Organize, by December 1, at least 1,100 of these collective farmer brigades throughout Ukraine, according to the following oblasts and numbers:
|Odesa - 50
||Dnipropetrovsk - 50
|Donbas - 50
5. Private farmers who have conscientiously performed their grain procurement duties, especially those who have done so ahead of schedule, shall be recognized by resolutions of village executive committees, assistance commissions, etc., and shall be included in the grain procurement brigades, assistance commissions and so forth.
6. Kulaks who have failed to deliver grain shall be subject to repressions provided by Article 58 of the Criminal Code, either through judicial or administrative proceedings. [...]
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 6, file 237, sheets 207-216;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv p.250-260
#29 Resolution of the CC AUCP(b) Politburo on establishing a death sentence commission in the Ukrainian SSR*
November 22, 1932
To present the CC CP(b)U with a special commission comprised of comrades [Stanislaw] Kosior, Redens and Kisilev (TsKK) who, during the grain procurement period, are authorized to make final decisions in issues of highest punishment, and for the CC CP(b)U to report to the CC AUCP(b) once every ten days concerning its decisions.
RGASPI, fond 17, list 162, file 14, sheet17.
* The proposed resolution was submitted by the Molotov-led commission in Ukraine on November 21.
#30 Resolution of CC AUCP(b) Politburo on silver purchases by Torgsin*
November 25, 1932
To adopt the proposal agreed upon by comrades Rozenholtz, Hrynko and Arkus:
a) Allow Torgsin to accept residential silver and old (pre-revolutionary) silver coins.
b) The Peoples’ Commissariat of External Trade will establish the raions where Torgsin will accept household silver and old (pre-revolutionary) silver coins, under the condition that the measures will not be introduced early in those raions where significant quantities of gold can still be found.
c) Establish the value of silver with a discount on gold parity of 10 to 15 percent.
d) The Peoples’ Commissariat of External Trade, in agreement with the Peoples’ Commissariat of Finance and the State Bank, will establish the list of Torgsin outlets where the sale of silver will occur.
RGASPI, fond 17, list 162, file 14, sheet 17
* Torgsin - All-Union Association for Trade (torgovlya) with Foreigners (s inostrantsyami). The Ukrainian operations of Torgsin began in June, 1932. During the famine, Torgsin traded grain in exchange for precious metals and hard currency from the local population.
#31 Telegram from USSR SNK Deputy Chairman to the Ukrainian SSR RNK and CC on the unconditional fulfillment of grain export plans
December 3, 1932
On orders of the Council of Peoples’ Commissars, 25,000 tonnes of wheat for export was to be collected in 15 days beginning on 20.ХI. As of the first [of the month] only 13,000 have been shipped. Regardless of conditions, you are to completely fulfill the plans for wheat, barley and corn by December 12.
Deputy chairman, Sovnarkom,
RGAE, fond 8040, list 6, file 6, page 36.
#32 Resolution of the Ukrainian SSR RNK and CC CP(b)U on blacklisting villages that maliciously sabotage grain procurements
December 6, 1932
In consideration of the shameful failure of grain procurement in several raions of Ukraine, the RNK and CC charge oblast executive and Party committees, raion executive and Party committees with the tasks of: putting an end to grain procurement sabotage organized by kulak and counterrevolutionary elements, breaking the resistance of rural Communists who have become sabotage leaders, liquidating passivity and indifference to saboteurs, which is incompatible with being a Party member, and ensuring the faster pace and full and unconditional completion of the grain procurement plan.
The RNK and CC resolve:
For the overt undermining of the grain procurement plan and malicious sabotage organized by kulak and counterrevolutionary elements, place the following villages on the blacklist:
Verbka, Pavlohrad raion, Dnipropetrovsk oblast; Havrylivka, Mezhiv raion, Dnipropetrovsk oblast; Lutenka, Hadya raion, Kharkiv oblast; Kamyani Potoky, Kremenchuk raion, Kharkiv oblast, Svyatotritske, Troytsia raion, Odesa oblast and the village of Pisky, Bashtan raion, Odesa oblast.
Concerning these villages, the following measures should be adopted:
1. Immediate suspension of delivery of goods and of local cooperative and state trading activities, and the removal of all available goods from the cooperative and state stores.
2. Fully prohibit kolhosp trading for collective and private farmers.
3. Suspend all crediting activities, conduct pre-term collection of credits and other financial obligations.
4. Inspect cooperative and state apparatuses and [ensure] their cleansing of various alien and enemy elements by RSI [Worker-Farmer Inspection] units.
5. Inspect kolhosps in these villages and purge them of counter-revolutionary elements and organizers of grain procurement sabotage.
The RNK and CC appeal to all honest collective farmers loyal to the Soviet government and proletarian-private farmers with this appeal to organize all your forces in the ruthless battle with kulaks and their supporters, and put an end to the kulak sabotage of grain procurement in your villages – for the diligent performance of grain procurement commitments before the Soviet state, for the strengthening of collective farms.
Chairman, Council of Peoples’ Commissars Ukrainian SSR, V. Chubar
Secretary CC CP(b)U, S. Kosior
Visti VUTsVK newspaper, December 8, 1932;
Collectivization and famine in Ukraine.1929-1933. (Kyiv, 1992, 734 pp) Kolektyvizatsia i holod na Ukraini 1929-1933 p.563.
#33 Telegram from Ukrainian SSR RNK and CC CP(b)U to the heads of Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa and Kharkiv oblasts on blacklisting villages
December 6, 1932
The CC and RNK propose ensuring the full and immediate realization of the CC and RNK resolution on blacklisting villages in your oblasts.
All the measures set forth in the CC and RNK resolution shall be resolutely and fully implemented in order to demonstrate… that the Soviet authorities can mercilessly deal with instigators of grain procurement sabotage, kulaks and their accomplices. Comprehensive preparations for implementing all the planned measures shall be promptly completed. In line with the resolution, a large-scale political campaign against grain procurement saboteurs shall be launched without delay, particularly in the raions directly concerned, including the publication of the village names mentioned in the CC and RNK resolution in all oblast and raion newspapers. The same large-scale work shall be conducted in the collective farms and villages, in accordance with the resolution.
Feedback to this resolution shall be organized from adjacent villages, collective farms and raions to publicly influence the blacklisted villages.
In the villages that have fallen under kulak influence, blacklisted by the CC and RNK resolution, it is necessary to arrange the organizational and political work in such a way that will make it possible to snatch the best collective and private farmers out of kulaks’ hands and, with their active help, finish off the kulaks and their accomplices and eradicate their influence at collective farms and among private farmers, thus achieving fulfillment of the grain procurement program.
In order to perform these tasks, send responsible comrades (provide names to the CC) along with a team of resolute Party members on a mission to establish daily control and effective day-to-day management of activities in these villages.
This directive shall be communicated to all oblast committees and RNK for implementation.
Secretary of CC CP(b)U, S. Kosior
Chairman of RNK of Ukrainian SSR, V. Chubar
RGASPI, fond 17, list 26, file 55, sheets 73-74;
Tragedy of the Soviet countryside. Collectivization and dekulakization, documents and materials in five volumes. Vol. 3. (Мoscow, 2001, 1007 pp) Tragedia sovietskoi derevni. Kolektyvizatsia i raskulachivanie. Dokumenty i materialy: v 5 tomakh pp.563-564.
#34 Telegram from Chubar to Kuibishev on grain export plan performance
December 9, 1932
In response to your [telegram] № 10812,* I hereby inform you thatБ according to statistics from Zahotzerno, as of December 7, Eksportkhlib has fulfilled the plans by 110 percent. According to grain: wheat 23,758 tonnes (95 percent), barley 38,819 tonnes (111 percent), corn 36,920 (121 percent). Categorical orders have been issued to fully fill the wheat plan.
RGAE, fond 8040, list 6, file 6, sheet 31.
* See Document 31
#35 Resolution of CC AUCP(b) and USSR SNK on grain procurements in Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus and the Western Oblast
December 14, 1932
On hearing reports from Comrades Rumiantsev, Secretary of the Western Oblast Party committee; Kosior, Secretary of the CC CP(b)U; Stroganov, Secretary of the Dnipropetrovsk oblast Party committee; and Sheboldaev, Secretary of the North Caucasus regional Party committee, the CC AUCP(b) and the SNK USSR resolve the following:
1. The CC CP(b)U and the Ukrainian SSR RNK, on the personal responsibility of Comrades Kosior and Chubar, shall fully complete the grain and sunflower seed procurement plan by the end of January 1933.
2. The North Caucasus regional Party and executive committees, on the personal responsibility of Comrades Sheboldaev and Larin, shall fully complete the procurement plan for grain by January 10 to 15, 1933, and for sunflower seeds by the end of January 1933.
3. The Western Oblast Party and executive committees, on the personal responsibility of Comrades Rumiantsev and Shelekhes, shall fully complete the procurement plan for grain by January 1, 1933, and for flax by February 1, 1933.
4. In view of extremely poor efforts and the absence of revolutionary vigilance in a number of local Party organizations in Ukraine and the North Caucasus, a significant number of raions has been infiltrated by counterrevolutionary elements: kulaks, former officers, petlurites, supporters of the Kuban Rada, and so on. They have managed to find their way into collective farms as directors and other influential administration members, accountants, storekeepers, threshing floor foremen, and so on. They have succeeded in infiltrating village councils, land management bodies and cooperative societies, and are now trying to direct the work of these organizations against the interests of the proletarian state and Party policy, as well as trying to organize a counterrevolutionary movement and sabotage of the harvest and sowing campaigns. The CC AUCP(b) and SNK USSR order the CC CP(b)U, North Caucasus regional Party and executive committees and the RNK of Ukraine to resolutely root out these counterrevolutionary elements by means of arrest and long-term imprisonment in concentration camps, without stopping short of capital punishment for the most malicious elements.
5. The CC and RNK instruct party and government organizations of the Soviet Union that the worst enemies of the Party, working class, and collective farm peasantry are the saboteurs of grain procurement who have Party membership cards in their pockets. To please kulaks and other anti-Soviet elements, they organize state fraud and double-deals, and fail to complete tasks established by the Party and government. The CC and RNK order appropriate structures to apply austere repressions against these traitors and enemies of Soviet rule and collective farms, who still carry Party membership cards in their pockets: five to ten year terms of imprisonment in concentration camps and, under certain circumstances, execution by shooting.
6. The CC and RNK point out that instead of the correct Bolshevik implementation of nationality policy, “ukrainization” was carried out mechanically in a number of raions of Ukraine, failing to take into consideration the peculiarities of every raion and without the meticulous selection of Bolshevik cadres. This made it easier for bourgeois-nationalist elements, petliurites and others to create their legal facades and counterrevolutionary cells and organizations.
7. The CC and RNK especially point out to the Party and executive committees of the North Caucasus region that the irresponsible, anti-Bolshevik “ukrainization” which affected nearly half of the raions in the North Caucasus do not correspond to the cultural interests of the population. It was carried out with a complete lack of supervision on the part of territorial agencies over the ukrainization of schools and the press, and provided the enemies of Soviet rule with legal facades for organizing resistance to the endeavors of Soviet authorities by kulaks, [czarist] officers, re-emigrating kozaks, members of the Kuban Rada, etc. In order to crush the resistance to grain procurement by kulak elements and their “Party” and non-party flunkeys, the CC and SNK USSR resolve the following:
а) To relocate the entire population of the most counterrevolutionary “Poltava” stanytsia (Northern Caucasus) to the northern oblasts of the USSR in the shortest time possible, with the exception of those collective and individual farmers who are truly loyal to Soviet rule and who have not been implicated in grain procurement sabotage. Populate this village with conscientious collective farmers who are Red Army soldiers and are currently working in territories that suffer from shortages and poor quality of land. Transfer all lands, winter crops, buildings, inventory and livestock from the farmers being expelled to these settlers.
Responsibility for implementing this resolution (paragraph “a”) shall rest with Comrades Yagoda, Gamarnik (with Comrade Bulygin as his substitute), Sheboldaev, and Yevdokimov.
b) Prosecute and sentence traitors of the Party who were arrested in Ukraine for organizing the sabotage of grain procurement to five-ten year terms in concentration camps: former raion secretaries, chairmen of executive committees, directors of land management bodies and chairmen of raion associations of collective farms, specifically: Golovin, Pryhoda, Palamarchuk, Ordelian and Lutsenko in Orikhiv raion; Khoroshko, Us’ and Fishman in Balakliya raion; Yaremenko in Nosiv raion; Liashenko in Kobeliaky raion; Lensky, Kosiachenko, Dvornik, Zyka and Dolgov in Velykyi Tokmak raion.
c) Exile all former communists who were expelled from the Party for sabotaging the sowing and grain procurement campaigns to the northern oblasts as kulaks.
d) Propose that the CC CP(b)U and RNK of Ukraine pay serious attention to the proper implementation of ukrainization, to eliminate its mechanical implementation, to expel petliurites and other bourgeois-nationalist elements from Party and government organizations, to meticulously select and train Ukrainian Bolshevik cadres and to ensure Party management of and supervision over ukrainization on a regular basis.
e) Immediately change the language used in offices of Soviet entities and cooperative societies, as well as all newspapers and magazines in the ukrainized raions of the Northern Caucasus, from Ukrainian to Russian, explaining that Russian is more understandable to Kuban residents. Also, prepare to change the language of instruction at schools to Russian by autumn. The CC and RNK order the regional Party and executive committees to immediately investigate the staff workers of schools in ukrainized raions.
f) In cancellation of a previous resolution, allow delivery of goods to Ukrainian villages and grant Comrades Kosior and Chubar the right to suspend delivery of goods to particularly retrograde raions, until they fulfill the grain procurement plan.
Chairman of the SNK USSR V. Molotov (Skryabin)
Secretary of the CC AUCP(b) J. Stalin
RGASPI, fond 17, list 3, file 911, sheets 42-44;
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 5243, sheets 234-238;
Commanders of the Great Famine: V. Molotov and L. Kaganovich, trips to Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus. 1932-1933. (Kyiv, 2001, 399 p.) Komandyry velykoho holodu: poyizdky V. Molotova i L. Kaganovicha v Ukrainu i na Pivnichnyi Kavkaz. 1932-1933. pp.210-212.
#36 Resolution of the CC AUCP(b) and USSR SNK on ukrainization in the Far East Region, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, the Central Black Earth Oblast and other areas
“On ukrainization in DVK [Far-East Region], Kazakhstan, Central Asia, TsChO [Central Black Earth Oblast] and other areas of the USSR”*
December 15, 1932
The CC AUCP(b) and Council of Peoples’ Commissars firmly condemn the statements and suggestions made by individual Ukrainian comrades about the mandatory ukrainization of entire areas of the USSR (for example, the DVK [Far East Region], Central Asia, the Central Black Earth Oblast, and so on). Statements of this nature only play into the hands of those bourgeois-nationalist elements who, after being chased out of Ukraine as malicious elements, have emerged in newly ukrainized areas and continue their mischievous work.
Authorize the regional Party and executive committees of the DVK, oblast Party and executive committees of Central Black Earth Oblast, Kazakh regional [Party] committee and [regional] Council of Peoples’ Commissars to immediately discontinue ukrainization in [their] regions, print all ukrainized newspapers, printed materials and publications in the Russian language and, by autumn 1933, prepare the introduction of Russian language school instruction.
Secretary, CC AUCP(b), J. Stalin
Chairman, SNK USSR, V. Molotov (Skryabin)
GARF, fond 5446, list 18, file 466, sheet 177;
RGASPI, fond 17, list 3, file 911, sheet 43;
Commanders of the Great Famine: V. Molotov and L. Kaganovich, trips to Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus. 1932-1933. (Kyiv, 2001, 399 p.) Komandyry velykoho holodu: poyizdky V. Molotova i L. Kaganovicha v Ukrainu i na Pivnichnyi Kavkaz. 1932-1933. pp.312-313.
* The SNK USSR documents include A hand-written note: “Original kept by CC AUCP(b)”.
#37 Resolution of CC AUCP(b) and SNK USSR on grain procurement in Ukraine
December 19, 1932
1) In the opinion of CC AUCP(b) and SNK USSR, if a fundamental breakthrough in grain procurements is not organized immediately in Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa and Kharkiv oblasts, then Ukraine will not have the strength to fulfill the plan that has been reduced twice already, and is being openly undermined by Ukrainian workers due to their lighthearted attitude towards their duties before the Party and government.
2) The CC AUCP(b) and SNK USSR order Comrades Kaganovich and Postyshev* to leave for Ukraine immediately in order to provide assistance to the CC CP(b)U and Sovnarkom of Ukraine as authorized representatives of the CC AUCP(b) and SNK USSR in the critical oblasts of Ukraine, sharing the work with Kosior, Chubar and Khatayevich** and adopting all necessary organizational and administrative measures for fulfilling the grain procurement plan.
Secretary, CC, J. Stalin
Chairman, SNK USSR, V. Molotov (Skryabin)
RGASPI, fond 17, list 3, file 912, sheet 54;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv. p.295;
Commanders of the Great Famine: V. Molotov and L. Kaganovich, trips to Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus. 1932-1933. (Kyiv, 2001, 399 p.) Komandyry velykoho holodu: poyizdky V. Molotova i L. Kaganovicha v Ukrainu i na Pivnichnyi Kavkaz. 1932-1933. p.314
* Pavel Postyshev (1887-1939) was Secretary of the Central Committee, All-Union Communist Party (1930-33). He was Secretary of the Central Committee, Communist Party (bolshevik) of Ukraine for two separate terms (1926-1930 and 1933-1937).
** Mendel Khatayevich (1893-1937) was a member of the Politburo, Central Committee of the All-Union party from 1930. He was member a member of the Ukrainian Politburo (1932-1937) and the first secretary of the Dnipropetrovsk oblast Communist Party committee from 1933.
#38 Telegram from Kaganovich to Stalin on cancelling the CC CP(b)U resolution from November 18, 1932*
December 22, 1932
I informed you yesterday that the resolution of the Politburo of the CC CP(b)U dated November 29 has been cancelled. However, the resolution of November 18 is still in effect (I am sending it directly to you).
Although this decree begins with the statement that performance of the grain procurement plan is the top priority, it nevertheless provides grounds for permitting the creation of all sorts of reserves in collective farms that have failed to fulfill their grain procurement plans. The resolution states that seeds reserves can only be submitted as grain procurement with permission from oblast executive committees for each collective farm separately.
According to local workers, collective farms’ seed reserves are being stocked, as are the insurance [reserves], even in those collective farms where the grain procurement plans are only 50 percent fulfilled. The very raising of the issue of creating and securing reserves, as well as prohibiting the transfer of seed reserves for grain procurement, provide the legal grounds and basis for entrenching the widely-held view that the plans cannot be fulfilled, although this is not said openly. Based on our conversations with oblast workers and during visits to raions and collective farms, we are convinced that this “preoccupation” with reserves, including seed reserves, is seriously hampering and undermining the entire grain procurement plan. These views are being reinforced by the resolution of the CC CP(b)U dated November 18.
For these reasons we consider it necessary to also cancel the CC CP(b)U resolution.
Your prompt response will be highly appreciated.
RGASPI, fond 81, list 3, file 232, sheet 62;
Commanders of the Great Famine: V. Molotov and L. Kaganovich, trips to Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus. 1932-1933. (Kyiv, 2001, 399 p.) Komandyry velykoho holodu: poyizdky V. Molotova i L. Kaganovicha v Ukrainu i na Pivnichnyi Kavkaz. 1932-1933 p.335
* This resolution is excerpted in Document 28.
** Mikhail Chernov (1891-1938) was appointed deputy chairman of the SNK USSR Committee for Agricultural Procurements in 1932. In April 1933, he became chairman of that committee.
#39 Letter from the CC CP(b)U on the mandatory shipment of all collective farm grain reserves, including sowing seed, to complete the grain procurement plan
To: Secretaries of Party raion and oblast committees, persons deputized by CP(b)U
December 24, 1932
In accordance with the cancellation of the CC CP(b)U resolution from November 18 concerning kolhosp inventories, we propose:
1. All collective farms that failed to perform grain procurement plans have five days to ship, without exception, all kolhosp reserves, including sowing seeds, to fulfill grain procurement quotas.
2. Everyone resisting this measure, including communists, shall be arrested and tried.
3. Warn all collective farm heads that if any hidden reserves, stores and the like are found after the set date, then the chairman, and other guilty parties will be brought before the courts and severely punished.
4. Order all raion Party council secretaries, chairmen of raion executive committees and persons authorized by oblast committees to deliver this resolution for signing by the heads of collective farms in 24 hours’ time.
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 5384, sheet 230;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv p. 296
#40 Minutes of the Berdyansk raion executive committee meeting on repressive measures against “blacklisted” collective farms (excerpt)
December 28, 1932
2. Listened [to report]: On using measures towards collective farms that have been blacklisted by the oblast executive committee (after surveying presidium members on December 25, 1932).
2. Approved: For the continued malevolent non-performance of the state grain procurement plan, for the kulak-organized sabotage of the Shevchenko collective farm of the Novo Oleksiy village council and the “Red banner” collective farm of the Nohai village council, blacklisted by the oblast executive committee, use the following measures:
a) Completely prohibit any trade between the kolhosps and collective farmers;
b) By December 28, 1932, collect credits and all payments due (agriculture taxes, debts to state, insurance payments) and cash debts owed by these kolhosps should be collected from the collective farmers;
c) Impose and in-kind fine of 15 months of meat and collect it by January 5, 1933, from the collective farmers of these collective farms as pre-term meat procurement and in-kind fines;
d) Immediately prohibit any milling by the kolhosps and collective farmers;
e) Send special brigades to these kolhosps led by Comrades Kovalenko and Vitkin who, together with the village councils and collective farm administrations, are responsible for fully ensuring the implementation of all these measures by January 5, 1933.
Publish this resolution in the press.
Head, raion executive committee, Paliy
Secretary, raion executive committee, Mokshtadt
TsDAVO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 8, file 309, sheet 74
#41 Resolution of CC CP(b)U Politburo strengthening repressions against private farmers who maliciously hoard grain
December 29, 1932
Order the Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv oblast committees to use the following repressions against malicious private farmers in accordance with the RNK Ukrainian SSR resolution from November 11, 1932: sale all their property and appropriate all farm land and buildings. This measure should be used, for example, against 1,000 homesteads in Kharkiv oblast and 500 in Dnipropetrovsk oblast.*
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 6, file 238, sheet 179
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv p.300.
* On January 4, 1933, the CC AUCP(b) approved the deportation of 200 families and 40 expelled communists from Kharkiv oblast. On that day, the Ukrainian SSR Politburo also increased the deportation quota for Dnipropetrovsk oblast to 700 rural families. See Documents 46 and 45.
#42 Letter from CC CP(b)U to oblast and raion Party committees on collecting all available reserves for grain procurement
December 29, 1932
Raion workers have not yet understood that the #1 priority for grain procurement in those collective farms that have failed to perform their duty before the state is the submission of all available seed, including so-called sowing reserves, towards the grain procurement plan.
Accordingly, the CC AUCP(b) has canceled the CC CP(b)U’s decision from November 18 on non-shipment of seed reserves that had weakened our positions in the battle for grain.
The CC CP(b)U orders those collective farms that have not fulfilled the grain procurement plan to immediately hand over all available reserves, including so-called sowing seed, in the course of five to six days, for the fulfillment of the grain procurement plan.
Towards this end, the CC orders the immediate mobilization of all transport vehicles, working animals, automobiles and tractors. In one day’s time, orders should be issued for the daily provision of the necessary number of horses, including for private farmers.
Any delays in the sending out of reserves will be considered by the CC to be sabotage of grain procurement by raion leaders and will be met with commensurate measures.
Secretary CC CP(b)U S. Kosior
TsDAHO Ukraine, fond 1, list 6, file 238, sheet 182;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv p.300-301
Commanders of the Great Famine: V. Molotov and L. Kaganovich, trips to Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus. 1932-1933. (Kyiv, 2001, 399 p.) Komandyry velykoho holodu: poyizdky V. Molotova i L. Kaganovicha v Ukrainu i na Pivnichnyi Kavkaz. 1932-1933 p.611.
#43 Report from OGPU to Stalin on completion of the deportation of villagers from raions in Kuban
December 29, 1932
The deportation operation from the “Poltava” stanytsia in the Northern Caucasus was completed on December 27.
2,158 families (9,187 persons) have been deported in five trains to the Urals, where the necessary preparations for their arrival, lodgings and labor employment have been completed.
I also report that the deportation from 13 raions of Kuban region conducted earlier was completed by December 19.
Currently all 1,992 families (9,442 persons) deported from Kuban have been lodged and employed in Northern Kazakhstan and a special settlement in the Northern Region. The relocation of these communities took place without excesses.
Deputy chairman OGPU Yagoda **
APRF, fond 3, list 30, file 196, sheet 108;
Top Secret: From Lubianka to Stalin on the state of the country in 4 volumes (Moscow, 2001, Volume 4) “Sovershenno sekretno”. Lubianka - Stalinu o polozhenii v strane: v 4 t. p.386.
* The deportation of residents from the Poltava kozak village in the Northern Caucasus was conducted in accordance with the Politburo CC AUCP(b) and SNK USSR resolution “On grain procurements in Ukraine, North Caucasus and Western Oblast” from December 14, 1932. (See Document 35.)
** Genrikh Yagoda (1891-1938) was deputy head of the OGPU (1924-34) and later the head of the NKVD (1934-36).
#44 Resolution of the CC AUCP(b) Politburo on grain procurement in Ukraine *
January 1, 1933
The CC CP(b)U and Ukrainian SSR RNK shall widely inform village councils, kolhosps, collective farmers and proletarian private farmers that:
a) Those who hand in, to the state, any grain that was previously misappropriated or concealed will not be subject to repressions;
b) Those collective farms, collective farmers and private farmers who stubbornly insist on misappropriating and concealing grain will be subject to the strictest punitive measures provided by the USSR Central Executive Committee’s resolution of August 7, 1932 “On the safekeeping of property of state enterprises, collective farms and cooperatives and strengthening public (socialist) property.”
Secretary, CC AUCP(b), J. Stalin
RGASPI, fond 17, list 3, file 913, sheet 11.
* This unprecedented document illustrates Stalin’s demand that Ukrainian farmers voluntarily give up hidden grain. If they failed to do so, he openly threatened them with repressions that included executions by shootings. The resolution was delivered widely by telegraph to local government bodies. It inspired mass inspections and confiscation of food from farmers. The August resolution is excerpted in Document 19.
#45 Resolution of Politburo CC AUCP(b) on repressions against villagers in Dnipropetrovsk oblast
January 1, 1933
To approve the following CC CP(b)U proposal:
1. Deport 700 families from 20-25 villages in the most retrograde raions.
2. Comrades Carlson and Redens will organize the deportation of 700 persons from [among the] malicious elements and kulaks (without families).
3. Compile a list of up to 50 members to be immediately expelled from the party and sent to a concentration camp.
RGASPI, fond 17, list 162, file 14, sheets 44-45.
#46 Resolution of Politburo CC AUCP(b) on repressions against villagers in Kharkiv oblast
January 4, 1933
To approve the following CC CP(b)U proposal:
To deport 400 families, malicious elements and kulaks from Kharkiv oblast to the North, and 40 expelled Communist Party members also for deportation to the North.
RGASPI, fond 17, list 162, file 14, sheet 45;
Top Secret: From Lubianka to Stalin on the state of the country in 4 volumes (Moscow, 2001, Volume 4) “Sovershenno sekretno”. Lubianka - Stalinu o polozhenii v strane: v 4 t. p.391
#47 Report from the Voroshilov Party committee to the Donetsk oblast committee of the CP(b)U on blacklisting the kolhosp in Horodyshche for the systematic non-performance of grain procurement plans (excerpt)
January 4, 1933
Horodyshche village is the largest in Voroshylov raion with more than 1,000 farms, mostly staroveri [old believers] for whom farming has always been a supplementary source of income as the overwhelming majority of homesteads have been traditionally engaged in trade. This village was found to host the largest kulak community.
Thus, the political campaign measures in Horodyshche were implemented with great difficulty and encountered active resistance from most of the population. In addition to the malicious sabotage of Soviet government efforts, groups of bandits, horse thieves, and the like used to live and hide in this village during the civil war.
Over the years, the Horodyshche village has never fulfilled grain procurement plans.
The persistent neglect of activities conducted in the village by Party and Soviet authorities, cover-ups and familial relationships with dekulakized village leaders are well-preserved to this day, despite the three-year existence of the collective farm that includes most of the people in the village.
In 1931, the grain procurement plan was 10,000 centners [100 kilograms] for a grain crop sowing area of 4,647 hectares; it was 64 percent performed, whereas the plan for the [entire] raion was performed 105 percent.
The 1932 plan of 6.5 thousand centners was 23.9 percent performed as of January 2.
In the two months since the collective farm has been blacklisted (November and December), 373 centners, or 5.6 percent of the annual plan, were delivered to the state, including 83 centners of re-threshed grain, 63 centners of what was obtained illegally by farmers and 6 centners of stolen [grain]. [. . .]
A thorough investigation revealed that the trade ban did not produce the desired effect, because the population, acting through family members and relatives who work in industry, continued consuming goods from the workers’ cooperative, factory and village outlets.
Agricultural products are being secretly carried away for sale by, mostly to Debaltsevo station. Horodyshche farmers have 365 cows, 62 heifers, 56 horses, 10 pairs of oxen (in addition to small livestock), 100 hectares of home garden plots, 28 hectares of orchards that provide large incomes for these farms through the sale of agricultural products at the stations that are located relatively close by.
The following measures were used:
1. In addition to the closing of village stores and Donbastorh [Donbas trade network], strict and closed-list distribution of goods was introduced to the coal miners’ and collective farm workers’ cooperatives. One thousand and twenty family members of collective and private farmers engaged in industrial production were taken off the supply list.
2. Credits in the amount of 23,547 rubles were collected ahead of their scheduled repayment.
3. Three MTS [machine tractor station] tractors were seized from the collective farm.
4. An investigation into collective farm personnel was conducted resulting in the purging of 58 persons (3 kulaks, 22 kulak relatives, 32 thieves, slackers, speculators and kulak supporters). This group, which sought to demoralize the collective farm and organized resistance, was expelled at a meeting of collective farm worker teams with the support of the collective farm majority.
5. Forty-three kulak families that had fled their previous place of residence in Horodyshche were returned to the kulak settlement in the raion.
6. The leadership of the collective farm was put on trial. The investigation uncovered serious abuses. The case is now before the oblast court, where it was submitted on December 23. No response has thus far been received.
7. The collective farm’s sowing seed reserves of 356 centners were requisitioned for the grain procurement campaign.
All these measures were implemented in combination with organized work with the public and the participation of the best the collective farm activists in the grain procurement campaign.
A city Party committee team of 10 leading raion activists is working in the collective farm.
In order to deliver a decisive blow to chronic sabotage by kulaks in Horodyshche, we ask the Party oblast committee to authorize the following additional repressive measures for the Horodyshche village collective farm:
1. Levy 15-month meat quota fines upon collective and private farmers.
2. Assign the best plots of the spare 1,300 hectares of land available to the collective farm to coal-mine food producers, as repressions.
3. Dismiss at least 150 Horodyshche village residents from [industrial] operations for taking active part in the sabotage and derailment of the grain procurement campaign under the guise of industrial laborers after discussing the list of those to be dismissed with collective farm organizations and members.
4. Issue a warning to the collective farm and residents of Horodyshche: If the sabotage of grain procurement and the hiding of stolen grain continue, city organizations will ask the government to resettle saboteurs to the northern oblasts and bring in conscientious collective farmers from city suburbs to take their place; the houses of collective farmers in villages situated near industrial sites will be made available to industrial laborers in need of accommodations.
5. Request the speedy dispatch of oblast court personnel in the case of the Horodyshche collective farm leadership.
Secretary, CP(b)U Voroshylov city committee, Kholokholenko
Commissioner of the oblast committee, Lyrev
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 6339, sheets 176-178;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv pp. 311-314
#48 Report of the Vice-Consul of Italy in Batumi to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy on the influx of refugees from Ukraine (excerpt)
January 20, 1933
[...] In the last half-year, the local port has supported the massive resettlement of refugees from Ukraine to these lands that have relatively abundant food supplies. Every steamship that arrives from Odesa – they arrive three per week – usually delivers one to two thousand Ukrainians. In the summer, it did not resemble resettlement; it was more like trips for food supplies. Most of those who arrived… brought with them anything that could be sold or traded; flour and seeds were purchased to consume at home and also for resale in Ukraine, where a deficit of such products provided the opportunity to make substantial profits.
Authorities have prohibited the export of produce on multiple occasions, but sometimes made concessions. Lately, it seems the prohibition is in strict force. And now there is another development that is broader, encompassing the entire USSR.
It was apparent that most of the refugees fled in search of stability. They left the most afflicted areas to settle here, where the means of existence and opportunities to obtain food are more abundant. The effects of the unwanted population growth in these areas did not take long to be felt: the deficit of many sorts of edible goods grows acuter by the day and prices on the markets rise just as quickly. Rumors abound about the number of refugees from different regions of the USSR to Transcaucasia. Some estimate several million refugees, but I think this a great exaggeration. Because Batumi is the most natural and convenient entry point to Transcaucasia from Ukraine and surrounding territories, such a significant movement of refugees cannot take place in a short time without being a catastrophic, uncontrolled resettlement of hordes of people. Their arrival is constant but limited. I think that several hundred thousand is not far from the true number.
[...] Recently, in addition to the general measures Your Excellency knows well, the process of sending these masses back to where they lived is underway. It’s truly a sad scene, even though these are relatively easier times from the tragedy thats lie ahead. While waiting for the steamship, the refugees are gathered in the customs pack house; those who can pay for tickets are separated from those unable to do so. A few hours prior to departure, the latter are taken under police guard to the market, where they are told to sell their clothes in order to make enough [money] to pay for a ticket. Police prevent people from getting close; only those who want to purchase something specific are allowed: a coat, a pair of boots or something else. Naturally, the limited time does not give these wretches any opportunity to barter and the buyers take advantage of this. This all occurs under orders, silently, which does not diminish the sadness of a scene that after a while begins to resemble a slave market. [...]
Lettere da Kharkov, La carestia in Ucraina e nel Caucaso del Nord nei rapporti dei diplomatici italiani, 1932-1933. A cura di Andrea Graziosi. - Torino, 1991, рp. 144-146. Translated from Italian into Ukrainian by M. Varvartsev.
#49 Report from Balitsky to the OGPU on the mass exodus of villagers from Ukraine*
January 22, 1933
The mass exodus of peasants from villages primarily in Kharkiv, Odesa, Kyiv and from parts of Chernihiv oblasts that began in late December, 1932, can be broken down as follows:
Kharkiv oblast: Incidents of flight have been registered in 19 raions and 39 villages. A total of 20,129 people have fled. Among them: 7,423 collective farmers, 12,698 private farmers and eight Party activists.
Odesa oblast: Incidents of flight have been registered in 19 raions, 177 villages and 228 collective farms. A total of 3,447 individuals and 2,642 families have fled. Among them: 1,683 individual collective farmers, 1,259 collective farmer families, 1,320 individual private farmers, 1,007 private farmer families, 438 individual kulaks, 377 kulak families and six Party activists.
Kyiv oblast: Incidents of flight have been registered in 27 raions and 437 villages. A total of 6,576 people have fled. Among them: 1,287 collective farmers, 3,936 private farmers, 1,244 kulaks and 109 Party activists.
Chernihiv oblast: Incidents of flight have been registered in nine raions and 68 villages. A total of 1,541 individuals and 146 families have fled. Among them: 146 individual collective farmers, three collective farmer families, 1,246 private farmers, 124 private farmer families, 141 individual kulaks, 19 kulak families, and five Party activists.
All told, incidents of flight in these oblasts have been registered in 74 raions, 721 villages, and 228 collective farms. A total of 31,693 individuals and 2,789 families have left. Among them: 10,539 individual collective farmers and 1,262 collective farm families, 19,203 individual private farmers and 1,131 private farm families, 1,823 individual kulaks and 396 kulak families and 126 Party activists. In most cases, the incidents of flight can be attributed to the search for work. The fact that malicious non-deliverers of grain prevail among those fleeing is evidence that this exodus is from the countryside. Some of those fleeing from their villages take their families along, boarding up their houses and hiding their grain reserves with neighbors and relatives. Some of those fleeing from the villages have buried their grain in the ground. In some villages, those fleeing are primarily the heads of families. Most of those fleeing their villages are headed to Donbas and large industrial centers. The exodus of collective farmers is occurring on a much lower scale than the flight of private farmers. There also incidents of village council and collective farm chairmen, including “communists,” leaving their villages without permission. “Communists” are fleeing from their villages because they are afraid of facing repressions for the sabotage of grain procurement and failure to perform the tasks set by the Party.
Inspections of the Lozova and Sumy railway junctions in Kharkiv oblast, where flight from villages is particularly large in scale, showed high ticket sales for long-distance trains in January this year: 16,500 tickets were sold at Lozova station and 15,000 at Sumy station in January. The growth of ticket sales has also been observed at the Pomoshchna station, Odesa oblast: in November, 879 tickets for long-distance trains were sold, 3,614 in December and 1,617 in the first half of January. No rapid spikes of long-distance train ticket sales have been observed at other railway junctions. In early January, in order to stop the flight from villages in a resolute manner, Ukraine’s GPU began arresting the organizers and instigators of the exodus and stepped up intelligence and information-gathering efforts in places where mass exodus had occurred. More than 500 malicious instigators of exodus have been arrested.
Ukraine’s GPU has been reporting to the CC CP(b)U and OGPU’s SPO [secret political division] on the mass exodus since December 25, 1932. I am issuing additional orders as per your instructions.
APRF, fond 3, list 30, file 189, sheets 7-10;
Top Secret: From Lubianka to Stalin on the state of the country in 4 volumes (Moscow, 2001, Volume 4) “Sovershenno sekretno”. Lubianka - Stalinu o polozhenii v strane: v 4 t. pp.393-394.
* On January 23, 1933, the Deputy Head of the All-Union OGPU Georgi Prokofiev submitted this report from Vsevolod Balitsky to Stalin. A handwritten note on the cover letter reads: “To Molotov, Kaganovich, Postyshev, Stalin.”
#50 Order from the USSR SNK and CC AUCP(b) on preventing the mass flight of starving villagers in search of food
January 22, 1933
The CC AUCP and the Council of Peoples’ Commissars of the USSR have received reports on the mass flight of peasants “for bread” to the Central Black Earth Oblast, Volga, Moscow Oblast, Western Oblast, and Belarus. The CC AUCP and USSR Sovnarkom do not doubt that the flight of villagers and the exodus from Ukraine last year and this year is [being] organized by the enemies of Soviet government, S[ocial] R[evolutionarie]s and agents Poland with the goal of spreading propaganda “through the peasants” against collective farms and the Soviet government in the northern regions of the USSR. Last year, the Party, Soviet and chekist structures of Ukraine missed that counterrevolutionary undertaking by the enemies of Soviet rule. Last year’s mistakes cannot be repeated this year.
First. The CC AUCP and the USSR Sovnarkom order the Regional Council and the Official OGPU Representative in the Northern Caucasus to prevent the mass departure of peasants from the Northern Caucasus to other regions and entry into the region from Ukraine.
Second. The CC AUCP and Sovnarkom order the CC CP(b)U, Ukrainian SSR RNK, Balitsky and Redens to prevent the mass departure of peasants from Ukraine to other regions and entry to Ukraine from the Northern Caucasus.
Third. The CC AUCP and Sovnarkom order the Official Representatives of the ОGPU in Moscow Oblast, Central Black Earth Oblast, Western Oblast, Belarus, Lower Volga and Mid Volga to arrest “peasants” fleeing north from Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus and, after the filtration of counterrevolutionary elements, return the remainder to their places of residence.
Fourth. The CC AUCP and Sovnarkom order Prokhorov to issue the corresponding commands through the GPU TO [transport division].
Chairman, Sovnarkom USSR, V.M. Molotov
Secretary, CC AUCP(b), J. Stalin*
RGASPI, fond 558, list 11, file 45, sheets 108-109;
Tragedy of the Soviet countryside. Collectivization and dekulakization, documents and materials in five volumes. Vol. 3. (Мoscow, 2001, 1007 pp) Tragedia sovietskoi derevni. Kolektyvizatsia i raskulachivanie. Dokumenty i materialy: v 5 tomakh p. 635;
Top Secret: From Lubianka to Stalin on the state of the country in 4 volumes (Moscow, 2001, Volume 4) “Sovershenno sekretno”. Lubianka - Stalinu o polozhenii v strane: v 4 t. p.391.
* The document is signed by Stalin; Molotov’s signature is missing.
#51 Resolution of the CC CP(b)U Politburo on executing the January 22 Order from the USSR SNK and CC AUCP(b)
January 23, 1933
An order from SNK USSR and CC AUCP(b) in connection with mass exodus of peasants beyond the borders of Ukraine.
1. Send all oblast Party and executive committees the following order (attached).
2. Order the plenipotentiary of the Peoples’ Commissar of Railways (Comrade Lavryshchev) and Yuzhok GPU transport divisions to immediately inform all railway stations about the suspension of ticket sales [for destinations] beyond Ukraine’s borders to villagers who have not secured permission to leave from their raion executive committees or from industrial and construction state structures showing that they have been recruited for one job or another beyond Ukraine’s borders.
Secretary, CC CP(b)U, M. Khatayevich
To oblast committees,
oblast executive committees
Just like last year, a mass exodus of peasants from several raions of Ukraine “for bread” to Moscow, Western, Central Black Earth Oblasts and Belarus is underway. There are incidents of nearly all private, and some collective farmers leaving villages. There is no doubt that the flight of villagers and the exodus from Ukraine, last year and this year, is [being] organized by the enemies of Soviet government, S[ocial] R[evolutionarie]s and agents of Poland with the goal of spreading propaganda “through the peasants” against collective farms and Soviet government in the northern regions of the USSR. Last year, the Party, Soviet and chekist structures of Ukraine missed that counterrevolutionary venture by the enemies of Soviet government. Last year’s mistakes cannot be repeated this year.*
CC CP(b)U and Ukrainian SSR RNK resolve to:
1. Immediately take decisive measures in every raion to prevent the mass exodus of private and collective farmers, in accordance with the GPU directive sent by Balitsky.
2. Investigate the activities of individuals recruiting the labor force to leave Ukraine, place them under strict control, prevent them from working and remove all suspected counterrevolutionary elements.
3. Conduct widespread explanatory work among collective and private farmers against voluntary departures and abandonment of farms, and warn them that they will be arrested if they depart for other regions.
4. Take measures to suspend the sale of tickets [for travel] beyond Ukraine to villagers who do not have permission to leave from their raion executive committees or industrial and construction state structures showing they have been recruited for one job or another beyond Ukraine’s borders.
Corresponding orders have been issued along the line of the Peoples’ Commissar of Railways and GPU transport [divisions].
5. Provide a brief factual report on the state of affairs with the mass exodus of peasants in your oblasts no later than six o’clock the evening of January 24.
Secretary, CC CP(b)U, Khatayevich
Chairman, Ukrainian SSR RNK, V. Chubar
RGASPI, fond 17, list 42, file 80, sheets 9-11;
Tragedy of the Soviet countryside. Collectivization and dekulakization, documents and materials in five volumes. Vol. 3. (Мoscow, 2001, 1007 pp) Tragedia sovietskoi derevni. Kolektyvizatsia i raskulachivanie. Dokumenty i materialy: v 5 tomakh pp.635-636;
TsDAHO Ukrayiny fond 1, list 16, file 9, sheets 115-116;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv pp.341-342
* The last two sentences of this paragraph are the verbatim retelling of the order signed by Stalin on January 22, 1933. (See Document 50).
#52 Resolution of the CC AUCP(b) Politburo strengthening the CP(b)U Central Committee and oblast organizations
January 24, 1933
The CC AUCP(b) considers it to be established fact that the Party organizations of Ukraine have failed to perform the tasks assigned [to them] by the Party for organizing grain procurement and fulfilling the grain delivery plan, even after its threefold reduction.
The CC AUCP(b) considers the critical oblasts that will decide the fate of Ukraine’s agriculture and should be secured to be Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv oblasts.
The CC AUCP(b) resolves to:
1 ) Appoint Comrade Postyshev [to the posts of] Secretary CC CP(b)U, First Secretary of the Kharkiv oblast party committee and CC AUCP(b) Secretary.*
2) Appoint Comrade Khataievich First Secretary of the Dnipropetrovsk oblast Party committee while remaining Secretary of the CC CP(b)U.
Appoint comrade Razumov First Secretary of the Odesa oblast Party committee.**
Relieve comrades Mayorov, Stroganov and Terekhov of their duties and send them to the CC AUCP(b) for further assignment.
Comrades Postyshev, Khataievich and Razumov should begin performing their new duties no later than January 30.
RGASPI, fond 17, list 3, file 914, sheet 13.
* Pavel Postyshev remained secretary of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party until February 1934.
** The resolution concerning Razumov was canceled; Evgeniy Veger (1899-1938) was confirmed as the first secretary of the Odesa oblast committee of the CP(b)U. He was the first secretary of the Crimean ASSR’s Communist Party from 1930.
#53 Summary from the Peoples’ Commissariat of Justice, Ukrainian SSR to the CC CP(b)U on the number of verdicts for the evasion of grain deliveries, sabotage and grain speculation (excerpt)
January 29, 1933
THE BATTLE FOR GRAIN BY JUDICIAL BODIES
Judicial repressions in Ukrainian SSR during the 4th five-day period of January 1933.
1. Non-delivery of grain
A. Number of repressions
In 182 raions of the Ukrainian SSR (data on Vinnitsa oblast not provided), 1,306 people were convicted for non-delivery of grain during the fourth five-day period of January, which is on average more than seven convictions per raion.
The dynamics of judicial repressions for each five-day period in January is based on the following data:
1st five-day period - 6 per raion
2nd five-day period - 8 per raion
3rd five-day period - 6 per raion
4th five-day period - 7 per raion
Thus, in January, the numbers of repressions in quantity were quite high and practically stable for each five-day period. Minor fluctuations in the number of repressions for different five-day periods are completely natural.
The greatest number of repressions were applied in Chernihiv oblast (15 per raion), the fewest in Donetsk oblast (2 per raion). The number of repressions applied in the key grain oblasts is illustrated by the following data:
Dnipropetrovsk oblast - 11 per raion
Kharkiv oblast - 8 per raion
Odesa oblast - 6 per raion
B. Pressure along class lines
Of the 1,306 convicted of non-delivery of bread, 375 people (30 percent) were kulaks, 936 (70 percent) were contract farmers.
Compared to the [rest of] of January, the percentage and number of convicted grain hoarders fell slightly during the 4th five-day period. The breakdown of repressions applied to different social groups for each five-day period in January is illustrated as follows:
1st five-day January - kulaks 30 %
2nd five-day January - kulaks 33 %
3rd five-day January - kulaks 35 %
4th five-day January - kulaks 30 %
C. Severity of judicial repressions
A sufficiently harsh repression was applied to most of those convicted of non-delivery of grain: 1,278 persons of 1,306 (97.7 percent) were sentenced to imprisonment, most for terms over three years. Only 30 convicts (2.3 percent) were sentenced to forced labor.
The breakdown of repressions in terms of severity for each five-day period in January is illustrated by the following data:
1st five-day January 98.6 %
2nd five-day January 98.5 %
3rd five-day January 98.5 %
4th five-day January 97.7 %
Thus, judicial repressions were stable in their severity for each five-day period.
D. Class line of repressions
Repressions have been correctly differentiated towards various social groups of convicts: 99.5 percent of kulaks and wealthy [convicts] were sentenced to imprisonment for more than five years, while most of the 97 percent of contract farmers were sentenced to imprisonment for less than five years. [ . . . ]
Peoples’ Commissar of Justice and Prosecutor General of Ukrainian SSR, Poliakov
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 6353, sheets 67-74;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv pp.345-348
#54 Report from Yagoda to Stalin and Molotov on measures for preventing mass exodus of villagers from the Ukrainian SSR, Northern Caucasus and Belarusian SSR
February 2, 1933
In order to intercept people fleeing en masse from Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus and Belarus, the OGPU’s transport divisions have organized cordons and search groups on the following roadways: N. Caucasus, Ukraine, South-Eastern, Western, Ryazan, Ural, Zlatoustovsk, Oktiabrsk, Moscow-Kazan, Moscow-Belarus-Baltic.
As a result of measures taken from January 22 to 30, 24,961 persons were detained fleeing their places of permanent residence, including 18,379 Ukrainians and 6,225 persons from the Northern Caucasus, and 357 persons from other regions.
The number of people returned to their places of residence is 16,046; 1,016 were arrested; the remaining 7,879 are being investigated
The breakdown of arrests on different roadways is as follows: 2,519 people were detained on the Northern-Caucasian: 2,192 were turned back, 98 were arrested, and 299 are being investigated. On the southern roads 12,842 people were detained, 6,763 sent back, 826 arrested, and 6,250 are being investigated. On the Southeastern, 3,555 people were detained, 2,266 sent back, 32 arrested, and 1,260 are being investigated. On the Western route, 2,274 were detained, 2,270 sent back, and 4 were arrested. On Ryazan-Uralsk, 134 people were detained 134, 7 were sent back, 127 are being checked. On Sam.-Zlat., 45 persons were detained, 22 were sent back and 23 are being checked. On Oktiabrsk, 427 were detained, 412 sent back, and 15 arrested. On Moscow-Kazan, 191 people were detained, 123 were turned back, and 8 were arrested. On Moscow-Kursk 1710 people were detained, 1,672 were sent back, and 18 arrested. On MBB, 264 people were detained, 249 were turned back and 15 were arrested.
Deputy Chairman, OGPU, Yagoda
APRF, fond 3, list 30, file 189, sheets 26-27;
Top Secret: From Lubianka to Stalin on the state of the country in 4 volumes (Moscow, 2001, Volume 4) “Sovershenno sekretno”. Lubianka - Stalinu o polozhenii v strane: v 4 t. p. 398-399
#55 Complaint from Hanna Derevinskaya, Krasnopillya, to the Dnipropetrovsk city council about the requisition of food for grain procurement
February 26, 1933
To the City Council of Dnipropetrovsk oblast
from Citizen Derevinskaya, Hanna,
Please consider my statement on the unruly work of brigades dispatched by the village council and the representative of the Petrovsky factory.
On February 10, a grain procurement brigade came to me and asked that I voluntarily give what beans I could. From what I had left to feed the family I gave three kilograms but they took it all (40 kilograms).
On February 23, another brigade made up of the same group came and requested potatoes which I received for labor in workers’ gardens on days off for a family of four which works at the Petrovsky factory; the potatoes received from the cooperative were only for feeding our families. Despite the fact that the potatoes were issued by the state and equally among the other workers who worked in the gardens, including the head of the Petrovsky factory brigade, they did not realize that they’re undermining spring sowing in the workers’ gardens. Acting on their own, they took 125 kilograms of potatoes and 38 kilograms of beets from the cellar. I have fulfilled the entire grain procurement farming quota. I ask your assistance in returning the confiscated food issued by the cooperative.
Appellant Derevinskaya 26.II.1933
DA Dnipropetrovsk oblast, fond 416, list 1, file 113, sheet 331; Collectivization and famine in Ukraine.1929-1933. (Kyiv, 1992, 734 pp) Kolektyvizatsia i holod na Ukraini 1929-1933, p. 612.
#56 Report from the GPU Ukrainian SSR on the mass exodus from Ukrainian villages and operational measures for combating flight
The mass exodus of peasants from villages, mostly malicious non-deliverers of grain, was observed over the course of the grain procurement campaign in December and January.
In order to prevent flight from villages, GPU units implemented a number of resolute measures, including: the unconditional ban on issuing any travel documents by village councils; the mobilization of secret agents and village activists to uncover exodus organizers; the creation of mobile patrols by GPU transport divisions and raion bodies; the arrest of exodus organizers and instigators; the request for raion authorities to conduct public education campaigns.
The results of the measures from January 23 to February 2 are as follows:
Mobile patrols detained and filtered 3,861 persons in Ukraine’s raions; 3,521 people were returned to their permanent places of residence and 340 were arrested, including kulaks, persons without identification, criminals and those who refused to return to their places of residence.
Kulaks and individuals who refused to return are being prepared for exile while others are being investigated and screened out.
252 exodus organizers and instigators were arrested. Paperwork for sending them to concentration camps is near completion.
During the same period, mobile patrols detained and filtered 16,733 persons on Ukraine’s railways:
Collective farmers - 7,106
Private farmers - 7,870
Kulaks - 507
Among the detainees there are 138 persons from the Belarusian SSR, 450 from the Central Black Earth Oblast, 127 from the North Caucasus region, and 192 from the rest of the Union.
15,109 were returned to their places of permanent residence, 1,610 were arrested and delivered to local GPU units, and nine individuals who refused to return were sent to special settlements in Kazakhstan.
8,257 people were returned to Ukraine from the Central Black Earth Oblast.
As a result of these measures, incidents of flight and the propensity to flee have been significantly reduced. For example, from January 15 to 23, before active measures were implemented, 9,236 people left Donetsk oblast; from January 25 to 31, only 325 persons fled that oblast.
In Dnipropetrovsk oblast, which saw the greatest exodus, 15,210 persons left before active measures were taken; 1,255 left from January 25 to February 1. Although incidents of flight have fallen sharply, the propensity to flee among private and collective farmers still exists in that oblast.
According to statistics for Vinnytsia oblast, the flow of fleeing people is slowing down. From January 30 to 31, not a single person was detained by 11 mobile patrols along that oblast’s railways.
Incidents of people returning after fleeing, which have increased due to the publication of the governmental resolution on mandatory grain deliveries to the state, have been registered in a number of raions in that oblast: 401 people returned from January 28 to 31.
Incidents of people returning after fleeing have also been registered in other oblasts.
According to statistics from GPU divisions, the flight from villages between December 15 and February 2 can be illustrated by the following data:
Mass exodus from villages and collective farms occurred in 215 raions (the number of raions is not specified for the Autonomous Moldovan SSR). In total, 94,433 persons fled. Among them:
Collective farmers - 31,454
Private farmers - 44,454
Kulaks - 8,039
Collective farm activists - 1,017
[…] Most of those fleeing are private farmers and kulaks who have failed to fulfill their grain procurement obligations and are afraid of facing repressions. In the cases of fleeing collective farmers, most have a small number of workdays and attribute their exodus to poor material conditions, shortage of bread and concerns over problems with food supplies.
People fleeing villages are predominantly headed for large industrial centers and areas of new construction.
DA SBU, “Holodomor 1932-1933 v Ukrayini” collection of documents.
#57 Table on deaths and cannibalism due to famine in Havrysh, Sosonka and Yakushinetska villages, Vinnytsia oblast
February to August, 1933
REGISTER OF DEATHSs
Surname, name, patronymic
Place of residence
Place of work
Place of death
Cause of death
|Stashko Vasyl Dmytrov Y ch
|Kopytko Martokha Andriyivna
|Kukhar Ivan Nikiforovich
||"Lenin's Legacy" collective farm
|Paseka Porfyri Tymkovich
||"October 13" collective farm
|Stashko Danylo Martynovych
|Romanenko Ivan Semenovych
||on the road
|Pukas Marko Zakharovych
||village council and police determined that father killed and ate child
|Zakharevich Hryhori Tymkovich
||killed by cannibal
|Kravets Petro Vasylovych
DA Vinnitsa oblast, fond Р-927, list 1, file 181, sheets 5, 9; file 182, sheets 4, 6; file 185, sheets 4, 9; fond Р-2061, list 1, file 292, sheet 13; file 294, sheet 2; file 415, sheet 16; fond Р-2067, list 1, file 93, sheet 8;
Collectivization and famine in Ukraine.1929-1933. (Kyiv, 1992, 734 pp) Kolektyvizatsia i holod na Ukraini 1929-1933, p. 613.
#58 Resolution of the CC AUCP(b) Politburo on setting up a special GPU trio in the Ukrainian SSR*
March 10, 1933
Authorize the trio comprised of Comrades Balitsky, Carlson and Leplevsky with the power to pass rulings of the highest measure to protect society from insurgency and counter-revolution in Ukraine.
RGASPI, fond 17, list 162, file 14, sheet 96.
* The three leaders of the GPU Ukrainian SSR political police had the summary right to pass death sentences without court hearings.
#59 Report from Vinnytsia oblast GPU to the Ukrainian SSR GPU on the grave conditions with food supplies and population deaths
March 11, 1933
Back at the beginning of February, we began registering significant difficulties with food supplies in a number of raions of our oblast: Trostianets, Zhmerynka, Bratslav, Kalynivka, Pishchane, Kopaihorod, Liubar, Berdychiv, Lytin, Stanislavchyk, Makhnov, Nemyriv and others.
To date, Kopaihorod, Lytin, Lypovets, Kalynivka, Bratslav, Kazatyn and Trostianets raions have been hit the worst.
According to recent [but] incomplete data, there are more than 1,000 starving collective farm families, and nearly the same number of private farm families in numerous villages throughout these raions.
There are many people swollen from famine, mostly children, among the above-mentioned families.
156 deaths caused by famine have been registered, including 102 collective farmer deaths.
In Suhaky, Kopaihorod raion, nine people died from famine in one day on March 5, according to a report by that raion administration. More than 100 people are swollen from starvation. Almost all the dogs and cats have been eaten in that village.
Among the starving, we should single out the collective farmers who had 300 to 400 working days but, as a result of outrageous conditions in certain collective farms, received extraordinarily little [food] (300 to 400 grams per day).
Particularly illustrative in this respect are the villages of:
Bahrianovtsi in Lytin raion, Trostianchyk and Severynivka in Trostianets raion, and Nemyrintsi in Makhnov raion, where pay per workday was extremely low due to systematic misappropriation and squandering of grain.
Six incidents of cannibalism caused by famine, in which parents killed their children and used the flesh for food, have been registered.
In Pinkovka, poor collective farmer K., aged 50, killed his two daughters, aged seven and nine, and used their flesh for food. K. blamed the murder of his children on a long period of starvation. No foodstuffs were found during the search.
On February 12 in Nemyriv raion, a 65-year old semi-kulak-private farmer D., a resident of Dubiny hamlet, killed his 7-year old daughter and used the flesh for food together with his 9-year old daughter. On February 15, he killed his second daughter and consumed the flesh as food together with his wife. D. blamed the famine for committing the murders. (There are other analogous incidents).
There is an incident of a father consciously killing his two children because he had nothing to feed them:
In Lytin raion, in the early days of February, poor private farmer K. lit a fire in the stove and closed the chimney in order to kill his children, two daughters, aged five and eight. The children began to suffocate and cry for help because of the fumes then he strangled them with his own hands, after which he went to the village council and declared his murders. During questioning he said that he committed the murders because there was nothing to eat. No foodstuffs were found during a search of his home.
Information received in the last few days shows that there are very serious difficulties in supplying food to the students of a number of educational institutions located in oblast towns. Students are regularly leaving educational institutions because of the difficulties with food supplies.
In Proskuriv, 16 individuals have abandoned studies in the last month. This accounts for 40 percent of all students. In Tulchyn: 163 students, which accounts for 30 percent. In Berdychiv 343 students, and so on.
In Polonne raion, 13 incidents of swelling from famine have been registered among workers at the pulp and paper plant and porcelain factory.
The number of cases of grave difficulties with food supplies and famine is constantly growing and expanding to a larger number of villages and small towns.
Raion organizations have very low food reserves (nothing at all, in most cases) so it is impossible to expect them to provide any real relief.
Attempts by the oblast to find any food resources whatsoever to help the most-affected population centers have thus far yielded no tangible results due to extremely limited opportunities.
I think there is an urgent need to supply food relief in a centralized manner, taking into account that many of the population centers affected by famine are located in immediate proximity to the border.
Head, Vinnytsia oblast GPU
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 6274, sheets 146-148;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv pp.422-424
#60 Report from the Ukrainian SSR GPU on problems with food supplies and raions affected by famine in Ukraine (excerpt)
March 12, 1993
According to data reported in February and March, problems with food supplies were registered in 738 population centers of 139 raions, where 11,067 families are starving.
Among the starving, 17,308 people are suffering from acute illnesses due to malnutrition.
In the same period, 2,487 people died of famine.
The largest number of famine cases was registered at the end of February and at the beginning of March. In some places this phenomenon has grown to be massive in scale.
The following is a breakdown of figures according to separate oblasts of Ukraine:
Number of raions
Number of affected pop. centers
Number of starving families
Including those sick (number)
Dnipropetrovsk and Kyiv oblasts, and the Autonomous Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic are most affected by food supply problems. The number of starving families afflicted by disease and death is particularly striking in Dnipropetrovsk oblast.
Collective farmers prevail among the starving. They primarily include multi-family homesteads that earned a small number of workdays. Incidents of famine among collective farmers who earned a large number of workdays have also been registered, but they did not receive food supplies from the collective farms due to squandering and embezzlement of grain during the harvest campaign.
Among private farmers, multi-family and primarily poor households are experiencing problems with food supplies. Lately, most of them have not been engaged in farming.
Starving families use various food substitutes (corn cobs and stalks, millet pods, dried straw, herbs, rotten watermelons and beetroots, potato peelings, acacia pods, etc.) as food. Incidents of eating the flesh of cats, dogs and dead horses have been registered. Twenty-eight incidents of cannibalism have been registered. Most of them occurred in the last days of February and at the beginning of March: 19 of 28 cannibalism cases occurred in Kyiv oblast.
In February, 13 incidents of necrophagia were also registered.
In the raions where famine was observed, special commissions were set up to find resources and provide immediate aid. Oblast organizations have allotted food resources to the raions most affected by problems with food supplies.
Deputy Head, Ukrainian SSR GPU
Secret Political Department, Aleksandrovsky
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 6274, sheets 149-158;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv pp.429-433;
Tragedy of the Soviet countryside. Collectivization and dekulakization, documents and materials in five volumes. Vol. 3. (Мoscow, 2001, 1007 pp) Tragedia sovietskoi derevni. Kolektyvizatsia i raskulachivanie. Dokumenty i materialy: v 5 tomakh pp.653-655
#61 Report from the Peoples’ Commissariat of Land to the CC CP(b)U on famine and death in Kyiv oblast
March 14, 1933
Further to my report dated March 12 on the state of affairs in Uman and Bila Tserkva raions, I am reporting the following information received today from Comrade Rozanov, head of the GPU for Kyiv oblast, concerning the general state of affairs in the oblast.
Incidents of famine and its consequences have been observed in 32 to 34 raions. In 16 raions – there have been 123 registered incidents of cannibalism and necrophagia (including 64 incidents of cannibalism).
In Bila Tserkva raion – 9,603 people swollen from hunger (1,525 people are immobile).
In Buky raion – 3,878 people are starving (3,736 people are immobile). In February and March, 742 people died from famine.
In Smela raion – 404 people are starving badly (203 people are swelling from starvation).
In Pereyasliv raion – 1,113 people are swollen from hunger. 238 people have died from famine.
In Bohuslav raion – 1,931 families are starving.
In the village of Pishchane, Zolotonosha raion – 639 families are starving.
In the village of Sevastianivka, Khrystynivka raion – 250 people are swelling from starvation.
In Lysianka raion – 57 families are starving (96 people are swelling from starvation).
This data is just an illustration based on various sources. No records are being kept.
Widespread beggary and vagrancy have been observed in the towns. Many workers are starving. The numbers of workers swollen from hunger are as follows: in Zhytomyr – 134 people, in Bila Tserkva – 20 people employed at the May First Factory; in Vasylkiv – 25 people employed at a tannery. The situation is no better in other towns.
In Kyiv, the number of corpses collected off the streets is as follows: 400 in January, 518 in February, 249 in the first ten days of March. In the last few days, parents have been abandoning on average 100 children.
Today, together with the Kyiv oblast committee of CP(b)U, I will complete the assessment of the required volumes of assistance and tomorrow I am going to Kharkiv.
Prior to addressing the issue in general, it is necessary to supply a significant amount of food relief to Kyiv oblast without delay, as I mentioned in my previous report.
The situation here is very serious and requires urgent attention.
Peoples’ Commissar for Agriculture, Ukrainian SSR
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 6274, sheets 176-177;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv pp.440-441
#62 Report from the Political Section, Donetsk oblast Land Department to the CP(b)U oblast committee on food shortages, deaths and cannibalism
April 19, 1933
According to reports from the heads of MTS [machine tractor station] political departments, incidents of death and cannibalism have been observed in a number of raions due to the lack of food supplies, including the following separate incidents:
According to the Belokurakan MTS political report dated April 6, the number of destitute people is roughly 2,452 in the Karl Marx, Comintern, Red Breadwinner, New Life, Stalin, and Red Flag Collective Farms. From January to March, 578 people died of malnutrition at these collective farms. They included 218 children, 82 elderly and 189 able-bodied people. Incidents of cannibalism have been observed, as illustrated by the following facts: on March 28, collective farmer Luka Babenko cut off his deceased brother’s head, threw his hands and legs into the river, and used the rest for food.
Iryna Khrypunova throttled her nine year-old granddaughter and cooked her internal organs. Anton Khrypunov removed his dead eight year-old sister’s internal organs and ate them. A number of other incidents can also be recalled.
According to Starobelsk MTS data, 54 people died due to lack of food in collective farms of the village of Pleshchane and 96 in the village of Shulhine.
According to Osynovo MTS data, in collective farms in the villages of Pysarivka and Bulashovka, 18 and 30 people died. Local and raion organizations provide insufficient assistance. Incidents of absence from work have been registered. There are concerns that the sowing campaign will be impacted if no measures are taken.
Bringing this to your attention, I request you provide appropriate instructions.
Head, Political Section, Oblast Land Department, Kudriavtsev
DA Donetsk oblast, fond 326, list 1, file 130, sheet 47;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv pp.494-495
#63 Resolution of the USSR SNK on food and fodder assistance to Ukraine
April 26, 1933
The USSR Council of Peoples’ Commissars adopts the following resolution:
1. To supply 850,000 poods of rye to collective farms and private farmers in Ukraine for processing sugar beets, including 120,000 poods for the processing of collective farm sugar beets.
Food relief to collective farms and private farmers for processing sugar beets shall be distributed among the oblasts as follows:
An additional 100,000 poods shall be supplied to Kyiv oblast as part of the oblast’s unused seed loan.
2. To supply the following oblasts in Ukraine with rye, in addition to the food relief that has already been provided:
3. To supply 1,800,000 poods of oats to collective farms in Ukraine, in addition to the fodder assistance that has already been provided:
4. Rye and oats shall be supplied from the reserves of the Committee of Reserves; towards this end, the Committee of Reserves shall transfer 1,800,000 poods of oats from Western Oblast to Ukraine.
5. Rye and oats shall be supplied as loans on condition that they shall be returned, in-kind, in the fall of 1933; administrative and transport costs incurred by the state shall be calculated in the amount of 10 poods per every 100 poods of food and fodder loans.
Zahotzerno’s expenses from extending the loans shall be covered from the SNK USSR’s reserve fund.
Chairman, Council of Peoples’ Commissars USSR V. Molotov (Skryabin)
Executive officer, Council of Peoples’ Commissars USSR, I. Miroshnikov
GARF, fond 5446, list 18, file 468, sheets 37-38.
#64 Report from the Consul of Italy in Kharkiv to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy on “Famine and the Ukrainian Situation” (excerpts)
May 31, 1933
Famine continues to threaten massive destruction of the population and it’s simply impossible to comprehend how the world can remain indifferent to such a tragedy; meanwhile the international press, which is persistent in demanding international condemnation of Germany for its so-called brutal persecution of Jews, remains timidly silent about this mass murder organized by the Soviet government where Jews play a fairly important if not leading role.
What is incontrovertible here is that this famine was caused primarily by an artificially bad harvest aimed at “teaching the peasants a lesson” […]
There were three apparent motives for such a policy:
1. Passive resistance among the peasantry to collectivization;
2. Belief that this “ethnographic material” will never be suitable for turning into integral Communists;
3. The more or less openly-acknowledged need and convenience of denationalizing raions where Ukrainian and German self-consciousness has been awakened and the resulting threats of potential political hardships in the future. In order to keep the empire together it is better for the Russian population to be dominant. […]
I believe it imperative to provide a factual account of the situation:
Comrade Frenkel, a member of the GPU collegium, confidentially shared information with a mutual acquaintance that nearly 250 corpses of famine victims are collected in Kharkiv each night. I can personally attest to seeing trucks carrying 10 to 15 corpses pass by the Consulate during the night.
Trucks pulled up to the gates of three large buildings being built near the royal Consulate, and two hired hands with pitchforks went looking for the dead. I saw them use the pitchforks to pick up seven people off the ground: two men, one woman and four children. The others, who woke up in time, quickly disappeared. During this operation one of the workers asked me: “You don’t see this where you come from, do you?”
On the morning of the 21st, around 30 corpses were dumped like dirty rags on a pile of filth and human excrement near the market gates by the river. On the morning of the 23rd, I counted 51 corpses there. One newborn was sucking milk from the breast of its gray-faced, dead mother. […]
A week ago a special service was created to catch unsupervised children. In addition to the villagers streaming to the city, as there is no chance of surviving in the rural areas, there are also children brought here and left by parents who went back to their villages to die. They hope that someone in the city will provide shelter and take care of them. Lately, these children could be seen crawling and crying on the sidewalks. […]
Last week, city workers wearing white aprons were mobilized. Walking through the city, they gather children and bring them to the nearest police precinct, where one will often see scenes of desperation, hear screaming and crying. There is a police precinct in front of the Consulate. Delirious screams emanate from within: “I don’t want to go to the barracks for the dead! Let me die in peace!”
Around midnight they are transported in trucks to the Northern Donets freight station. Those caught during the day in the sweep through the city are joined by children gathered from the villages and trains, peasant families and lone oldsters.
There are health workers at the station responsible for “sorting” (“They are the heroes of the day,” one doctor told me. Among the health workers, 40 percent have died from typhus that they contracted while on the job.)
Those who are not bloated and who stand a chance of revival are sent to the barracks on Kholodna Hora [Cold Mountain] where nearly 8,000 people, mostly children, live in agony on beds of hay in sheds.
A doctor who works there told me that people are given milk and soup, but clearly not in sufficient amounts and irregularly, “as available.” Between 80 and 100 people die there every day. […]
The swollen are shuttled on freight trains to rural areas 50 to 60 kilometres outside the city where nobody can see them die. The railcars are filled up and bolted shut. It often happens that, after the cars are filled up, they stand there for two days. A few days ago, a railroad worker heard a noise while passing one the railcars. Looking closer, he found a poor wretch sitting inside and pleading to be freed because of the unbearable stench of the corpses. It turned out he was the only person left alive; he was taken to die in another car, where some people were still alive.
Upon reaching the destination, the railcars are unloaded and the bodies thrown into large pits. I was assured that people were seen still alive among the dead; they were very weak and tossed into pits still breathing and convulsing in their last spasms. Nevertheless, the gravediggers kept working and unloading the bodies. I learned these details from the health workers and can thus guarantee the reliability of this information.
An average 30 people die daily in the Kholodna Hora prison. In the village of Hrakovo, located 50 kilometres outside of Kharkiv, only 200 of 1,300 residents remain.
It seems that the Poltava area bore the most horrific brunt, even worse than the area outside Kharkiv. In Poltava, even the doctors are beginning to bloat from the lack of food. […]
Conclusion: the current cataclysm will lead to the colonization of Ukraine primarily by Russians. This will change the country’s ethnographic nature. It is quite possible that, in the foreseeable future, nobody will talk about Ukraine or the Ukrainian nation, meaning that the country will be de facto transformed into a Russian region.
With utmost respect,
Lettere da Kharkov, La carestia in Ucraina e nel Caucaso del Nord nei rapporti dei diplomatici italiani, 1932-1933. A cura di Andrea Graziosi. - Torino, 1991, рp. 168-174. Translated from Italian into Ukrainian by M. Varvartsev.
#65 Report from the Peoples’ Commissariat of Healthcare to the CP(b)U on the state of public health in Kyiv oblast in connection with famine
June 3, 1933
The condition of the population of Kyiv oblast due to problems with food supplies can be illustrated by statistics from oblast health commissions and departments in 66 raions considered to be most grave.
Number of affected Villages
Total number of starving
Total number swelling from hunger
Died since January 1
Treated back to health
1. Analysis of these figures shows growing numbers of affected villages and starving people. While the number of starving adults has stabilized, the number of starving children has grown significantly since April 15. The number of those swollen from starvation is in decline, the number of people that require hospitalization remains the same, and hospitalization has increased, particularly of children; deaths have declined noticeably in the last 10 days.
2. The following raions suffered most: Bohuslav (30,917 starving), Bila Tserkva (30,536) Popelnyan (20,000), Stavyshchan (17,129), Oratov (16,338), Buk (14,920), Obukhiv (14,113), Rzhyshchiv (13,987), Uman (13,204), Rokytnia (12,242), Skvir (16,236), Talnov (10,591) Tetiyev (10,480) and Baban (19,064). In other raions, the figures are less than 10,000. The total number of affected Group One raions is 34, Group Two – 17 and Group Three – 15.
3. These figures have to be viewed critically, because the numbers of people actually in distress have been underestimated in some raions (e.g.: Tetiyev raion 10,480 [reported] while there are really more than 22,000) and overestimated in other raions (Bila Tserkva reported 30,536, while in reality no more than 20,000 to 22,000). Although the miscalculations do not have a major impact on the total number of people starving in the oblast, they are important for the allocation of foodstuffs and other forms of government relief.
4. The figures for the people that have died are unreliable, as a review of materials in the regions showed that numbers were much higher. For example, in Skvir raion 802 people were reported to have died from January 1 to March 1, while a review on the ground revealed 1,773 deaths; in Volodarskiy raion 742 deaths were reported as of March 1, when in fact more than 3,000 people had died.
5. The situation with infants, pre-school and young school-aged children should be viewed as the greatest threat; these dangerous conditions are attributable to the bestial attitude of adults to children and grossly insufficient assistance for children in terms of both quality and quantity.
6. Child homelessness requires special attention. There are more than 5,500 children in healthcare institutions alone, representing no more than 40 percent of all homeless children, while the budget has enough to support only 1,000 children. Abandonments [of children] are on the rise and will persist for the next two to three months.
Deputy Peoples’ Commissar of Health, Ukrainian SSR, Kharmandian
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 6276, pages 1-7;
Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Through the eyes of historians, in the language of documents. (Kyiv, 1990, 606 pp) Holod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini: ochyma istorykiv, movoyu dokumentiv pp.525-530
#66 Summary of reports from MTS Political Sections in Kyiv oblast on famine, death and the anti-Soviet moods among collective farmers (excerpt) *
June 14, 1933
[…] This past spring the oblast encountered serious problems with food supplies. The food relief received from the CC AUCP(b) – a total volume of 19,401 tons – played a crucial role in alleviating the enormous food supply problems faced by Kyiv oblast collective farms during the crucial period of preparing and executing the sowing campaign (March and April). Nevertheless, the situation with collective farm food reserves grew significantly worse in many of the oblast’s raions, especially in May and June. In some raions the number of those swollen and dead from famine is growing to dangerous proportions and are having a definite impact on the execution of agricultural and political campaigns... The heads of POs [local Machine Tractor Station political departments] have written the Political Section [of the oblast MTS] about mass starvation and the dying out of entire villages. For instance, the head of the Petrovsky MTS PO, Kamensky raion, writes:
“...In the last month-and-a-half, incidents of death have been massive in scale. In Rozumievka, 37 people died in the month of May. The situation is especially difficult in the Shliakh Kolhospnyka collective farm of this village. In the Bolshevik Collective Farm in Osota, 120 people died in May. Incidents of mass death have become more frequent than before in the villages of Holykovo, Boltyshka and others. In total 3,336 persons have died in the collective farms of 27 villages of this MTS. Very many children are dying. While in March and April we managed to prevent child deaths thanks to oblast and local aid, in May and the first ten days of June, the rate of mortality was unbelievable: 209 persons in 27 villages.”
The PO of Piatihorsk MTS, Tetiyev raion, reports:
“...Mortality is reaching catastrophic proportions. In the small village of Nenadykha alone, 113 people died in 20 days during the month of May. Medical clinics have been closed. Many people, especially children, are swollen from famine. They cannot work. There have been many cases of female workers falling in the fields and dying either at home or in the fields. In nurseries, nearly 80 to 70 percent of children are gaunt and swollen. Many schoolchildren are so swollen that that they have a hard time walking to school. Urgent relief is required, especially for the children...”
“...Lately the mortality rate has increased significantly. Up to 2,000 people died in 10 days of June. This is significantly more than during the whole month of May. Incidents of death at work have become more frequent than before...”
(June 14, 1933 letter from the head of Tetiev MTS PO)
“...The number of villages requiring relief has grown: 15 of 17 villages are afflicted; 1,000 people died in the raion during the month of April; 459 people died in the first five days of May. There have been incidents of death during work in the fields. Feeding stations are being closed due to lack of produce. Urgent food aid is needed.”
(letter from the head of Tarashcha MTS PO)
“...The rate of mortality has increased in collective farms. Not only slackers, but also good collective farmers are dying. In Sloboda, 120 people died in 10 days. The situation is the same in other villages. People are dying right in the fields while working. Child mortality rates have increased as well, which is particularly dangerous. There is no food aid in the raion. Workforce shortages have been reported in some villages and collective farms. Urgent food aid is needed.”
(report from the head of the Tetiev MTS PO)
“...In three villages, Zelena Dubrava, Maidanivka and Hnyzets, acute famine and mortality caused by exhaustion have not been eliminated. In fact their frequency is growing. For instance, in Maidanivka village, 19 people died in March and another 28 in April; 61 people, including 24 able-bodied collective farmers, died in 26 days of May. In these villages there have been incidents of death in the field while working and on the way home from work.”
(report from the head of the Olshanka MTS PO, Petrovsky raion).
Similar incidents have been reported by the MTS stations in other raions. According to statistics from 15 MTS political departments, more than 6,000 people have died from exhaustion. [. . .]
Deputy head, Political section, Kyiv oblast MTS,
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 20, file 6276, sheets 55-60.
* The report was sent to Lazar Kaganovich, Agriculture Department, CC AUCP(b); Stanislaw Kosior, General Secretary of the CC CP(b)U Politburo and the chairmen of the Political Departments of the USSR and Ukrainian SSR Peoples’ Commissariats of Agriculture.
#67 Report from the Consul of Italy in Kharkiv to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy on “Famine and Sanitary Conditions” (excerpt)
July 10, 1933
The current situation in Ukraine is horrific. Apart from larger cities and raions within a fifty kilometer radius of cities, the country is engulfed in famine, typhus and dysentery. There are also cases of cholera and even plague which, until recently, were sporadic in number […]
The famine has decimated half the rural population.
Police apprehend fleeing peasants with livid brutality (I have noticed that the urban population willingly take part in this hunt for villagers, either because of some incomprehensible feeling of self-defense, or under the influence of crafty propaganda, or an overwhelming desire to inflict torture). If somebody tries to escape from the police transports, there are always a dozen city residents prepared to chase him down, beat him up and turn him in to the police. There are orders prohibiting doctors from administering medical treatment to villagers in the cities.
Two thousand such poor souls are rounded up every day and shipped out during the night. Entire families, that came to the city in the last hope of avoiding death from starvation, are mercilessly held in barracks for one or two days and then transported, hungry, 50 kilometers from Kharkiv and thrown into rain-formed gullies.
Many of them can no longer move and simply die on the spot; some manage to escape and others are fortunate enough to make it back to the city where they end up begging for food. One of them told me about an area located between the ponds beyond Rai-Yelenivka, a four-hour walk from the nearest railway station. Every three to four days, a team of gravediggers is dispatched there to bury the dead.
Some doctors whom I know confirmed that death rates in the villages often reach 80 percent, but never less than 50 percent. Kyiv, Poltava and Sumy regions were most afflicted by the famine and can be described as depopulated.
I am adding yet another name to the list of dead villages: Lutova near Kharkiv.* Prior to the famine its population was 1,500. Today, it is just under 90.
As for sanitary conditions, they can be no worse than their current state. Doctors are prohibited from speaking about typhus and death from starvation.
They are also prohibited from compiling statistics that may be interesting from the scientific point of view. Nonetheless, I was able to obtain the following information about pathologies due to undernourishment. People who are unable to secure bread (very black bread with various additives) gradually grow weaker and die of heart failure without any signs of disease. Meanwhile, those that consumed only fluids and milk experience gradual swelling of their joints and legs. They also die from heart failure.
There are frequent cases of hallucinations when people mistake children for animals, slaughter and eat them. Those who managed to regain their strength using this kind of food did not recall wanting to eat their own children and denied ever having such intentions. […]
Royal Consul Sergio Gradenigo
Lettere da Kharkov, La carestia in Ucraina e nel Caucaso del Nord nei rapporti dei diplomatici italiani, 1932-1933. A cura di Andrea Graziosi. - Torino, 1991, рp. 189-191. Translated from Italian into Ukrainian by M. Varvartsev.
* The author was most likely referring to the village of Liutivka, Zolochiv raion
#68 Resolution of SNK USSR on resettlement to Kuban, Terek and Ukraine
August 31, 1933
The Council of Peoples’ Commissars of the Union of SSR resolves:
The All-Union Resettlement Committee of the Council of Peoples’ Commissars of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics shall organize the resettlement of 10,000 families to Kuban and Terek, and 15,000 to 20,000 families to Ukraine (Steppe) by the beginning of 1934.
Chairman, Council of Peoples’ Commissars of the Union of SSR V. Molotov (Skryabin)
Executive Director, Council of Peoples’ Commissars of the Union of SSR I. Miroshnikov
GARF, fond 5446, list 18, file 470, page 185.
#69 Resolution of CC CP(b)U Politburo on additional resettlement of Steppe raions (excerpt)
September 11, 1933
Prepare the following numbers of added resettlements into the steppe regions during the fourth quarter of 1933: 22,000 families to Dnipropetrovsk, 9,000 families to Odesa and 4,000 families to Donetsk oblasts.
Recruit additional resettlers from among those collective farmers, laborers and private farmers who are willing to join the collective farms of the Steppe.
Establish the following recruitment targets: 8,000 families each from Kyiv and Chernihiv oblasts and 6,000 families from Vinnytsia oblast.
Conduct additional resettlement to Dnipropetrovsk oblast from Kyiv and Chernihiv oblasts; to Odesa oblast from Vinnytsia and Kyiv oblasts and into Donetsk from Chernihiv oblast. […]
TsDAHO Ukrayiny, fond 1, list 6, file 321, sheets 6-9.
#70 Report from Otto Schiller, agricultural expert, Embassy of Germany in the USSR to the German Ministry of food and agriculture (excerpt)*
September 18, 1933
FAMINE IN THE SOVIET UNION
[...] The causes of the famine catastrophe will not be found in natural events, that is to say a bad harvest. Even if one disregards official and other harvest estimates and assumes the lowest estimate, then rational distribution would have provided if not a full diet, then at least enough food to avoid large scale death by famine. Grain exports, which villagers often blame for the famine, are not large enough with respect to the general harvest to explain the food catastrophe. Last year, [exports] were 1.3 million tonnes with a general harvest collection of nearly 60 million tonnes. The accusation that large volumes were put away in state reserves for military purposes during the last year is also dubious because the capacity of state storage facilities cannot be expanded so quickly.
The real reasons for the famine are being kept hidden; they can only be explained by enormous organizational and distribution errors and overexertion of grain procurement measures. Everywhere in the starving areas, villagers share the view that the harvest provided enough food and that famine was caused solely through brutal requisition methods. It remains to be seen whether this was due to gross abuses by local government bodies and local chaos, or on orders from the top, the last kernel of grain was systematically extracted from the villages, to bring the villagers to their knees through famine and force them to work in collective farms as was described in my 18.7.1933 report.
It is very difficult to provide even approximate figures for famine deaths. The Soviet government cannot provide any exact information because many of the starving died on the road or were buried without identification and death registration. In many cases, it’s difficult to tell whether starvation or disease was the cause of death. An approximate notion of the scale of famine deaths can be provided by the fact that the above-mentioned zone of famine in territorial size comprises nearly a third of the entire area, and half the entire population, of European Russia. Nearly every village has seen deaths from famine; in the worst areas, 25 to 50 percent of the population died out, while in other villages, only individual cases of death from famine were established. Based on village population reduction ratios, the victims of the hunger catastrophe number in the millions. I would, on the other hand, not consider the quoted number of 10 million deaths to be an exaggeration. In addition, most of the remaining population in starving areas has serious health problems due to the hardships endured. This is foremost the case with children, a significant number of whom, crippled by famine, will never have the chance to develop into normal human beings.
Within the area of starvation, the forms of famine are the same everywhere, but gradation differs significantly according to location. Particularly hard hit was the western part of [Soviet] Ukraine, a large part of the Northern Caucasus and some places of the Lower Volga (left bank and lands along the mountainside). In these worst areas, the famine has caused such significant damage to agriculture through widespread death and destruction of villages, that even should famine disappear, the normal future development of these villages seems impossible without repopulating and rebuilding. But these areas are not significant in size. [...]
Moscow, 18 September 1933
Original signed by Schiller
Der ukrainische Hunger-Holocaust: Stalins verschwiegner Völkermord 1932/33 an 7 Millionen ukrainischen Bauern im Spiegel geheimgehaltener Akten d. dt. Auswärtigen Amtes; e. Dokumentation; aus d. Beständen d. Polit. Archivs im Auswärtigen Amt, Bonn / hrsg. u. eingeleitet von D. Zlepko. – Sonnenbühl: Wild, 1988. – pp. 194-196. Translated from German to Ukrainian by M. Dubyk.
* A copy of this report was also sent to German Ministry of Foreign Affairs
# 71 Letter from Kaganovich to Stalin on resettlements to areas of the Northern Caucasus and Ukraine depopulated by the Holodomor (excerpt)
October 2, 1933
Dear Comrade Stalin.
1) You inquired about the operational tasks we’ve assigned the resettlement committee for 1933. At the end of August, we ordered them to organize the resettlement of 10,000 to Kuban and Terek in early1934 and 15,000 to 20,000 families to Ukraine’s Steppe.*. After Comrade Muralov arrived, we called him out and became convinced that he is currently recruiting from among army units only, and has nothing organized on location. We instructed him to plan out the entire campaign: identify resettlement locations, send people to organize housing and all necessary equipment, provide a timetable with exact deadlines, secure food, and so on.
He is to present all this in a few days. We think that in the remaining three months of 1933 he will not be able to do any more; thus we are not assigning him any additional tasks. It may be necessary to organize spontaneous resettlement beginning with some Middle Volga raions. This will have to be considered...
RGASPI, fond 558, list 11, file 741, sheets 80-81;
Stalin and Kaganovich. Correspondence. 1931-1936 (Moscow, 2001, 798 pp) Stalin i Kaganovich. Perepyska. 1931-1936 pp.370-371
#72 Resolution of the CC AUCP(b) Politburo on the resettlement of collective farmers within the Ukrainian SSR and from other oblasts of the USSR
December 9, 1933
1. Approve the proposal from the CC CP(b)U, RNK Ukrainian SSR and the All-Union Resettlement Committee on the internal Ukrainian resettlement of 16,000 homesteads in the months of January, February and March of 1934 from the oblasts
This resettlement shall provide the same benefits and conditions as resettlements from the Russian SFSR and Belarusian SSR, except for reducing the exemption from paying taxes to one year instead of three.
2. Order the Ukrainian SSR CC CP(b)U, RNK and the Party and executive committees in Chernihiv, Kyiv and Vinnytsia oblasts to complete recruitment of willing resettlers by 1.1.1934 and for the Party and executive committees in Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Odesa oblasts to repair 16,000 homes and yards for the resettlers no later than 15.1.34.
3. Request the SNK USSR to supply the materials necessary for the repairs of homes (glass, nails, timber) and the money necessary for organizing resettlement.
4. Authorize the All-Union Resettlement Committee to additionally resettle*, under the previously-established terms, 3,000 homesteads from the Central Black Earth Oblast to Kharkiv oblast and 300 Jewish farms from Western Oblast to Dnipropetrovsk oblast.
RGASPI, fond 17, list 3, file 936, sheets 12-13.
* In August, 1933, the SNK USSR initially ordered 20,000 families resettled in Ukraine’s Steppe. On December 29, 1933, the RNK reported the plan for resettling collective farmers in Ukraine was over-performed at 104 percent (See Documents 68 and 73.)
#73 Report of the All-Union Resettlement Committee on resettling collective farmers to Ukraine (with table)
December 29, 1933
To Head of GULAG OGPU Comrade Berman
The All-Union Resettlement Committee of the SNK USSR is sending operational report No. 38 on resettlement to Ukraine as of December 28 this year. In addition, the AURC of the SNK reports that the proposed resettlement plan was performed by 104.76 % *. In total 21,856 collective farms, 117,149 persons, 14,879 horses, 21,898 cows and 38,705 heads of other livestock (the latter includes only swine and sheep) have been relocated. The report is attached.
Deputy Chairman, All-Union Resettlement Committee,
USSR SNK Rud’
SUMMARY DATA ON ECHELONS OF RESETTLERS SENT TO UKRAINE AS OF DECEMBER 28, 1933:
% Plan Completion
1. On 28 December 1933, 329 echelons were dispatched, 21,856 households, 117,149 family members, 14,879 horses, 21,898 cows and 38,705 heads of small livestock.
2. The plan for transporting collective farmers into Ukraine is complete and fulfilled by 104.7%.
Deputy chairman, All Union Resettlement Committee,
USSR SNK Rud’
RGAE, fond 5675, list 1, file 33, sheet 56;
Collectivization and famine in Ukraine.1929-1933. (Kyiv, 1992, 734 pp) Kolektyvizatsia i holod na Ukraini 1929-1933 p. 642.
* As stated in the document. Further calculations show 104.076%
Famine-Genocide Commemorative Committee
Ukrainian Canadian Congress
© November 2002