Molotov, and Kaganovich; letters; memoranda to the above three; drafts of decisions of leading regional organs edited by Stalin's emissaries; and their speeches at various gatherings. The book also contains Kaganovich's unique diaries of his journeys to Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus, which record his day-to-day activity during these trips; speeches; and instructions aimed at "stimulating" grain procurement.
This publication, which includes materials from Molotov and Kaganovich's personal fonds in Moscow, is only one example illustrating the importance of making documentary sources in particular accessible. Such documents do not merely facilitate the reconstruction of events and the paradigm of the communist leaders' thinking. Juxtaposed against regional testimonies about the famine, these documents enable scholars to recreate the situation on the macro- and micro-levels, which is crucially important for a general, objective assessment. Publication of these kinds of documents is crucial to the repudiation of statements about the alleged absence of specific details and characteristics in the government's actions in this or that region of the former USSR in 1932-1933.
The particular set of circumstances that distinguished Ukraine was the fact that, together with the Northern Caucasus, Ukraine supplied more than half the grain grown in the entire USSR. In discussing the Soviet Ukrainian republic in 1931, Stalin noted, "A number of fertile, grain-producing raions are in a state of devastation and famine".29 At the same time, however, the Kremlin leaders believed that Ukraine had huge grain reserves that collective farms and independent homesteads (i.e., those that did not belong to a cooperative) were supposedly hiding from the state. For that reason, the government applied intensified methods to carry out grain procurements. As early as 1931, plans for these procurements were reduced for a number of oblasts in the Urals, the Middle Volga, and Kazakhstan, yet Ukraine and the Northern Caucasus were virtually unaffected by these reductions.
In 1931 Ukraine supplied less grain than in 1930. Then, a special resolution of the CC of the All-Union Communist Party (b) proclaimed February 1932 as the critical, accelerated month for concluding grain procurements. As a result, more than 150,000 people in Ukraine died as early as 1931. By March- April 1932 large numbers of starving people were appearing in Ukrainian villages, while cities became the dumping ground for children abandoned by their parents. This was an obvious precursor of the coming disaster.
However, this did not stop the government, which began blaming the problems on the actions of local leaders. For any attempt to resist the harsh
29 lbid., p. 23.