Sunday, December 30, 2007

Perspectives on the Famine-Terror in Soviet Ukraine

(above) Orange Revolution supporters gather in front of the Russian Consulate on Bloor St. in Toronto. Photo by R. Bobak, Nov.30, 2004.


I recall the whisperings back in the 1970’s in Canada as the word of Stalin’s famine terror began to grow more pronounced. It was as if a deeply-held, terrible secret desperately wanted to let itself be known, yet was somehow suppressed from belief, not only obviously from within what was then the USSR, but even within the western mainstream press.

Here are two articles from the early 1980’s which show the ‘view of the day’ then of the Holodomor, as it was developing into a larger issue and how it had to battle to gain wider recognition and acceptance within a cold-war era western establishment.


The Ukrainian Weekly wrote in “1983: A LOOK BACK, Great Famine memorial observances” (Dec.25, 1983):

“It was a year during which solemn commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the Great Famine of 1932-33 overshadowed all else in the Ukrainian community as Ukrainians on the local, state or provincial, national and international levels concentrated their energies on organizing various events in order to ensure that the world would become aware of this unknown holocaust.

Dozens of local committees were formed from San Francisco to Detroit to Albany, N.Y., in order to commemorate the tragic anniversary; scores of feature articles and news stories appeared in the press throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in England, France and Australia; hundreds of events - demonstrations, rallies, memorial services, food drives, lectures, seminars - were held; many special publications, ranging from leaflets to books, appeared to memorialize the 50th anniversary; and countless public officials on all levels of government recalled the famine's 7 million victims in addresses, resolutions and proclamations.

Details of the myriad observances and press coverage could fill volumes. What follows is a brief run-down of the major events.

In the United States, anniversary commemorations got rolling with the formation on January 29 of a national famine committee called the National Committee to Commemorate Genocide Victims in Ukraine 1932-33, whose motto became "Let us remember and make others aware." The committee included representatives of over 50 Ukrainian organizations and local communities and was headed by Dr. Peter G. Stercho of Philadelphia. The conference at which the committee was formed was called on the initiative of Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan Mstyslav who had organized a preparatory committee to mark the famine anniversary five years earlier.

The national famine committee organized two major events to mark the 50th anniversary of the Great Famine during 1983. The first, a memorial service at the Ukrainian Orthodox Center of St. Andrew the First-Called Apostle, was held on St. Thomas Sunday or "Providna Nedilia" (Seeing Off Sunday), a day traditionally set aside by Ukrainians to honor the dead.

Some 13,000 persons participated in the day's events which began with an archpastoral divine liturgy inside St. Andrew's Memorial Church and continued with an outdoor ecumenical requiem service on the church's steps offered by Ukrainian Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant hierarchs and clergy. A memorial concert at the Home of Ukrainian Culture capped the commemoration.

The national famine committee's second major event, held in Washington on October 2, attracted 18,000 Ukrainians from all over the United States and Canada. They came to attend a rally at the front of the Washington Monument, a march through the nation's capital, a demonstration near the Soviet Embassy and a memorial concert at the Kennedy Center in order to mourn the 7 million famine victims and to renew their pledge to never allow the world to forget the holocaust inflicted upon the Ukrainian nation by the Soviet regime. The rally participants were addressed by various government officials, religious and ethnic leaders, and Ukrainian community leaders.

The October 2 events were the culmination of a series of events held in the capital during the Great Famine Memorial Week beginning September 25. Other events were: candlelight vigils near the Soviet Embassy, exhibits about the famine and the destruction of Ukrainian churches by the Soviet government, a scholarly symposium at the American Enterprise Institute, a press conference featuring eyewitnesses and scholars, a special order in the House of Representatives, a reception on Capitol Hill, statements in the U.S. Senate, special liturgies and a ceremony before the Taras Shevchenko monument that stands in Washington.

On November 17, the bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States gathered at their national meeting issued a condemnation of the 1933 forced famine. In a statement endorsed without opposition by some 300 bishops, the National Catholic Conference of Bishops said that the Stalin-perpetrated famine was motivated "by the desire of the Soviet Union to destroy the national identity of the Ukrainian people." The statement was submitted by Bishop Basil H. Losten of the Stamford Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy, who had earlier sent letters and information packets about the famine to members of the bishops' conference.

Meanwhile, in Canada, the first international symposium on the Great Famine in Ukraine was held in Canada at the University of Quebec at Montreal on March 25-26 with 14 top scholars from Canada, the United States and France participating. Seventeen papers were delivered at the symposium which was sponsored by the Inter-University Centre for European Studies, which encompasses the University of Quebec, the University of Montreal, McGill University and Concordia University, and the Canadian institute of Ukrainian Studies based in Edmonton.
The Ontario Council of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee marked the famine anniversary with a five-day, 230-mile bike-a-thon from Toronto to Ottawa. Thirty-seven Ukrainian students pedaled the distance in order to draw public attention to the Great Famine of 50 years ago and to raise funds for refugees from Afghanistan and Kampuchea. Along the way the students, clad in highly visible blue and yellow T-shirts emblazoned with the words "In Memory of the Millions" and "Artificial Famine in Ukraine 1933," distributed leaflets outlining the purpose of their trek. The bike-a-thon concluded with a demonstration organized by the Canadian Ukrainian Students' Union (SUSK) near the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa. The bikers raised over $3,000 and presented this sum to the International Red Cross during a luncheon at the Fourth World Congress of Free Ukrainians.

Edmonton's Ukrainian community decided to observe the Great Famine anniversary by erecting a monument to its victims. A design called "The Broken Life Cycle" by artist Ludmilla Temertli, whose mother had survived the famine, was selected; dedication ceremonies took place on October 23. The monument stands on city land in front of Edmonton City Hall.

Canadians also led the way in preparing documentaries about the Great Famine of 1932-33. Radio-Quebec TV, Quebec's educational television network, presented a documentary titled "10 Million Victims: Ukraine 1933 - The Unknown Holocaust" on its "Planete" series. Researcher-consultant Taras Hukalo, director Claude Caron and "Plarlete" executive producer Karel Ludvik were each given awards for their outstanding work on the half-hour film by the Ukrainian Canadian Committee.

CBC-TV's award-winning series "The Fifth Estate" presented a 20-minute probe into the events surrounding the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33 on its April 27 broadcast. The producer of the segment was Oleh Rumak.

The Ukrainian Famine Research Committee in Toronto was in the process of preparing a one-hour documentary film on the famine. The committee engaged Slavko Nowytski as producer-director, Yuriy Luhovy as associate director and editor, and Marco Carynnyk as chief researcher. The project was initiated by Mr. Carynnyk, and the committee operates under the auspices of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee.

At the end of the year, there was more good news from Canada, as the Toronto Board of Education announced that it was preparing a teaching unit on the Ukrainian famine. Directed at students in grades 11 to 13, the unit will be prepared by Dr. Orest Subtelny of York University.
An international commemoration of the Great Famine anniversary was held in conjunction with the Fourth World Congress of Free Ukrainians in Toronto. A mammoth ecumenical service and rally were held at Maple Leaf Gardens on December 4 with some 10,000 persons - Toronto area residents and WCFU delegates from around the world - in attendance. The requiem service was offered by some 20 hierarchs and clergy of the Ukrainian Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Churches.

The keynote address was delivered by Brian Mulroney, leader of the Progressive Conservative opposition in the Canadian Parliament, who scored the Soviets for creating the famine that killed 7 million men, women and children in Ukraine. The Soviet Embassy responded to Mr. Mulroney's speech by filing an official protest with Canada's Department of External Affairs and calling Mr. Mulroney's statement that 7 to 8 million had died in a man-made famine a "hundred percent lie."”

Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was 100% correct then, and should forever-more be recognized as having stood up to rightfully scorn and confront the Soviet terror-propaganda machine’s lies.

Another story was from the National Review, Apr.11, 1986, written by Peter Paluch, “SPIKING THE UKRAINIAN FAMINE, AGAIN”:

“ASIDE FROM the climate, the 28th International Film & TV Festival of New York was as lush and glamorous as any Hollywood bash. The festival is one of the most highly regarded in the world, with 44 countries represented in 1985. The two thousand people seated for the awards-presentation banquet in the Imperial Ballroom of the Sheraton Centre hotel represented 5,313 entrants and the cream of the industry. The BBC, ABC, NBC, and CBS were there in force. So were HBO and Turner Broadcasting.

The gold medalist in the TV Documentaries category was announced halfway through the braised beef borderlaise--Harvest of Despair, a 55-minute Canadian production disinterring the story of the man-made Ukrainian famine buried half a century ago beneath layers of Soviet propaganda and Western venality. After the presentation of the gold medals in the ten categories included in the overall TV Entertainment Programs and Specials Group, it was time for the ice-cream log assorti in meringue crown and the announcement of the winner of the Grand Award Trophy Bowl. Again, it was Harvest of Despair, judged the "most outstanding entry" of all 837 films in the group. These two awards gave the film enough points in international competitions to make it eligible for an Oscar, although too late for this year's Academy Awards.

This was last November 15. Ten months earlier, Peter Foges, Public Affairs Programming Director at New York's PBS affiliate, WNET, was pressed to explain why he had rejected the film. After a long silence he replied that it was "technically deficient" and of "dubious quality," and that it did not meet PBS's "production standards." Pressed for an explanation of what that meant, Foges stumbled for a moment and said, not entirely convinced himself, that the sound of horses' hoofbeats should have been dubbed into a still scene showing human corpses being carted away. (Those effects are included.)

These two incidents typify the whipsaw reaction to an extended effort to call to the American media's attention the untold story of how Soviet authorities deliberately starved to death at least seven million people in the traditional "breadbasket of Europe." Harvard University's Ukrainian Research Institute recently concluded a monumental three-year research project on the subject, headed by British Sovietologist Robert Conquest; the resulting book will be published this spring by the Oxford University Press. The Harvard project coincided with the production in Toronto of Harvest of Despair, a private effort that soon attracted the attention and support of the National Film Board of Canada. Independent of each other, the Canadian film and the Harvard study were simultaneous firsts concerning a subject that Harvard's James Mace said "remains as the least understood cataclysm of this century, a tragedy that has disappeared from the public consciousness so completely that it represents the most successful example of the denial of genocide by its perpetrators."

The importance and timeliness of the issue seemed obvious enough, and any one of the several threads in this story would make it a natural for broader dissemination.

There is most obviously the purely human-interest aspect--nothing less than the systematized murder of seven million human beings in less than a year, three million of them children under the age of seven. That is the conservative figure, extrapolated from Soviet statistics. That the actual number is significantly higher must be assumed, since the compilers of the first Soviet census after the famine was lifted were summarily shot for "undermining Socialism by deliberately undercounting the population." A "correct" census was immediately prepared. It is on the "corrected" version that the seven-million figure is based. The true extent of the human cataclysm is perhaps more accurately suggested by Dr. W. Horsley Gantt, a British physician who was in the Soviet Union at the time and who relayed private estimates by Soviet officials of as many as 15 million killed, fully half the Ukrainian nation, and equal to the population of all of Central America today.

In testifying before the Senate shortly after the destruction of KAL flight 007, Robert Conquest remarked that Soviet policy in Ukraine druing 1932-33 could be placed in a clearer perspective by recognizing that Soviet MiGs would have a shoot down a 747 airliner every day for seventy years in order to approximate the death toll in Ukraine.

The novelty in all this is that the famine in Ukraine was modern history's first example of "famine on command." It was not brought about by drought, or crop activitists, brought in for the task from Russia, physically removed virtually all of the food from the region. Dogs and cats vanished from the streets, as the state abruptly realized a need for their skins. Ukraine's symbol, the nightingale, was trapped and slaughtered en masse by the secret police. The famine was the realization of Soviet Foreign Minister Maksim Litvinov's dictum, "Food is a weapon." It was also the precursor of starvation politics in Afghanistan and Ethiopia.

The second thread of the story, which the producers hoped the media half a century later would have the integrity to address, was the Western media's responsibility for spiking the story originally in order to curry favor with the Kremlin. Among the luminaries of the time, Walter Duranty of the New York Times was the acknowledged dean of Western reporters in Moscow. He categorically denied the existence of any famine, prompting Stalin to compliment him--"You have done a good job in your reporting of the USSR"--and to reward his efforts with the Order of Lenin.

Pulitzer Journalism

THE PULITZER PRIZE Committee was of like mind and bestowed its own coveted award upon Duranty for his "dispassionate, interpretative reporting . . . marked by scholarship, profundity, impartiality, sound judgment, and exceptional clarity . . . excellent examples of the best type of foreign correspondence." In order to promote such journalism, Duranty was permitted by Soviet authorities to accompany Litvinov on his triumphant trip to the United States, when we negotiated the diplomatic recognition of the USSR at the very height of the famine.

To be sure, a few European papers, such as France's Le Matin, decided to publish the truth. But the American media were damningly silent, both about the genocide and about Soviet manipulation of the foreign press.

The third thread of the story is summed up in George Orwell's observation, "We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men." It may sound tautological to repeat that "the Soviet Union" is not "Russia," but it is nonetheless necessary to do so. The USSR is a multinational federation of formerly independent nations. It is not a monolithic state, any more than is any empire. An Uzbek in Samarkand or a Latvian in Riga has about as much similarity to, or affinity for, a Russian in Leningrad as does an Afghan in Kabul. The Red Army's occupations of Lithuania and Georgia were little different from its occupation of Afghanistan, with the exception that with the passage of time the former have been absorbed into a "Soviet Union" as constituent republics. Afghanistan may yet become the 16th installment. In this light, the man-made famine in Ukraine speaks volumes about Moscow's relationship with the non-Russian nations of the USSR, which account for 50 per cent of its population. That event thus offers the West a glimpse into the practical consequence of the structuring of the Soviet Union and the centrifugal forces in it.

None of these issues has proved attractive to the media in the United States. At this writing Harvest of Despair has been shown only on two small U.S. television stations; and virtually no press attention has been given to the discoveries of the Conquest group. This has not been for lack of trying by either the Harvest producers or the Harvard Institute. But all their efforts have been met with the sort of embarrassingly inarticulate--or silent--rejection that suggests people are unwilling to explain their reasons for not doing the obviously right thing.

Thus, for instance, the three commercial television networks did not see fit to articulate any reason whatsoever for their rejection of the story. We have reason to believe that, at least in the case of one of the networks, a fawning concern, at the highest level, with maintaining the good graces of the Kremlin led to the network's self-censorship.

When we approached the major news weeklies, Time, for example, answered that "at the present time" it was not planning any stories on the subject. Asked when would be a more opportune occasion than the fiftieth anniversary of the tragedy, Time (after repeating that it "is not considering such an article at this time") made an abrupt change of course and said that its mandate was only to cover immediate news. This was immediately followed by another twist--"We do occasionally report historical events when they bear directly on current news . . . or if the event itself becomes the subject of renewed controversy or discussion."

The repetition of the Ukrainian pattern in Cambodia, or Afghanistan, or Ethiopia did not qualify. Nor did the recent establishment of a Joint Congressional Commission to investigate the famine and its coverup. As to waiting for a "renewed controversy or discussion," that was a rather incestuous excuse, since a discussion cannot be renewed when the story was never reported in the first place. The disclosures of the Harvard project shatter some long-held assumptions concerning the formative years of the USSR. That, certainly, should satisfy even Time's tortured criteria. Presented with these arguments, Time made no response.

The Harvard group hoped the release of Harvest of Despair might make a difference. A recognized film-distribution firm in Washington, D.C., viewed the film and expressed enthusiastic interest in serving as its exclusive agent in the United States and Canada. But after the firm discussed the matter with its industry contacts on the East and West Coasts, a wall of silence descended. No explanation. No replies to inquiries. Nothing.

And then there is PBS. Its legislative mandate requires that it serve as an accessible alternative to commercial broadcasting, to provide an outlet for productions that couldn't win a place in the ratings game. Controversy, the unknown, the unorthodox were to be PBS's mainstay.

The initial reaction of PBS, summarized above, came before Harvest of Despair was awarded the gold medal in the first of what soon became an unbroken succession of international awards. In a follow-up discussion, the reason given for WNET's rejection predictably changed. Now, the film was "inadequately documented." This is hardly less transparent than was Foges's first excuse. It is also untoward, given that the production has been critically acclaimed as "exceedingly well documented." More than one and a half million feet of rare archival film footage were viewed, of which 720 feet were incorporated into the production. The critics wrote that "the historical documentation has been vividly assembled. One can see that tremendous research was part of making Harvest of Despair."

So, when we asked what "inadequate documentation" meant, WNET said the film lacked "journalistic integrity." When we asked what that meant, we finally got to the heart of the matter--the "other side" of the story was not presented. We replied that this was the other side of the story. PBS's airing of Harvest of Despair would be the first time, after half a century, that the "other side" of the story finally was made available to the American public, in fullest accord with PBS's own mandate. Alas, to no avail.

In a remarkable parallel, on November 5, 1985, WPBT, the PBS affiliate in Miami, also rejected the film on the grounds that it has "a perceived bias in terms of the viewing public." (WPBT did acknowledge that the film was "interesting and well produced.") The film was submitted to WPBT after that station broadcast a documentary on Stalin covering the period from 1934 onward. Harvest of Despair treats the period through 1933 and seemed a logical adjunct. A request to Candace Carlisle, WPBT's Director of Program Acquisition, for an explanation or example of the film's bias has remained unanswered.

Finally, after a ten-month blackout, and on the heels of WPBT's rejection, the main office of PBS in Washington opined that the film presents only "one point of view" and that it is "subjective." This, of a film that now is in the running for an Academy Award as a documentary. Unembarrassed, a few weeks ago the PBS affiliate in Boston, WGBH, also fell into line.

PBS thus remains adamant. Harvest of Despair is fatally flawed because it violates Solomonic impartiality by not giving equal time to Moscow's point of view. But what would the Soviets say? Perhaps, like those who deny the Nazi Holocaust, they would claim the famine never occurred. But no one suggests that Holocaust films be routinely accompanied by a rebuttal from the editors of Spotlight. Or perhaps they would use the war criminal's lament: It happened, but it was nobody's fault.

Indeed, in a Canadian television production shown on April 27, 1983, the Soviet Union was given equal time and said absolutely nothing new. CBC's Fifth Estate series, Canada's answer to 60 Minutes, produced a twenty-minute segment on the Ukrainian famine, a full 18 months before the public release of Harvest of Despair. Aleksandr Podakin, from the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa, appeared in the segment and was cool, calm, and collected, countering with sober reflections on the tribulations of Americans and Canadians during the Depression. The day after the broadcast of the Fifth Estate Program, the Soviet Embassy put out a virulent three-page press release "On the So-Called 'Famine' in Ukraine," replete with the predictable litanies. In December of that year, Aleksandr Podakin finally lost his cool, after Canadian Conservative leader Brian Mulroney mentioned the Ukrainian famine in a speech. The Soviet Embassy filed a formal protest with the Department of External Affairs, branding Mulroney's speech "a 100 per cent lie." It accused Canada of violating the Helsinki Accords by attempting the overthrow of the Soviet government.

There was nothing to prevent PBS or any of the U.S. networks, for that matter, from similarly airing Harvest of Despair and then having a post-mortem with a Soviet representative. Certainly, the Soviet Embassy in Washington will not broach the issue so long as, in the U.S., it remains submerged.

Lost in America

PERHAPS THE strangest aspect of the story is the contrast between the silence of the media in the United States concerning Harvest of Despair and the critical acclaim elsewhere. In addition to its sweep in the international film competitions, the film has been lauded as "a searing 55-minute documentary," "powerful," "an eye-opener," "an important film . . . it should be seen by everyone," "an unquestionably sobering film which rightfully deserves wide distribution on television," "A riveting account," "a superb chronicle," "un film eminemment necessaire." CBC broadcast the film throughout Canada last September, and European, Australian, and Japanese rights are being negotiated.

The only important exception among the critics is the New York Times's Vincent Canby. Writing on the occasion of the screening at the New York Film Festival last October 10, Canby defended the Times's Walter Duranty. He did not deny that Duranty lied; he criticized the film for not explaining why Duranty did it. He excused Duranty's perfidy by explaining (citing Harrison Salisbury) that Duranty was not a Communist ideologue but merely a "calculating careerist," as if that were a valid defense for fraud.

Canby continued: Harvest of Despair was visually "full of generalities." An astonishing statement. The New York Times first censors the printed news and then, fifty years later, complains that the visual record is too general. The remarkable thing is that there is any visual record extant in the West. (Shoah, the recent documentary of the Nazi Holocaust, was applauded by the critics even though it runs for nine and a half hours without using any archival footage.)

Canby ruled, ultimately, that Harvest of Despair is a "frankly biased, angry recollection" of a "hugely emotional subject." "Biased" is a serious charge to hurl at a documentary. But what does it mean here? That the producers disapprove of genocide" Or that they twisted the facts to make genocide appear where there was none? If it was the latter, Canby gave not a single example, nor the slightest substantiation. A letter requesting substantiation remains unanswered.

What is to be made of the particular resistance of the U.S. media? The story is clear enough. After 15 years of trying, Moscow had been unable to solidify Communist rule in Ukraine, the largest non-Russian republic in the Soviet Union. Soviet reaction to Ukrainian opposition was simple--starve the opponents. A quarter, perhaps half, of the population was driven to madness, cannibalism, and death. During the whole process, Moscow was able to muzzle the Western media, enthrall Western intellectuals, and entrance Western governments. For half a century the story remains entombed. Then, a major university study and an award-winning film expose the genocide and its cover-up, and the U.S. media do not respond. Why?

Lap Dogs of the Press

AS ONE OF the few Western journalists who remained true to his public trust, Malcolm Muggeridge wrote at the time that "the man-made famine in Ukraine is one of the most monstrous crimes in history, so terrible that people in the future will scarcely be able to believe it ever happened." But, of the myriad excuses given by the American media, disbelief was never even intimated. Nor would we expect to see the line of demarcation between belief and disbelief to be so sharply drawn between the United States on the one hand, and Canada, Western Europe, and Australia on the other. Quite beyond Harvest, over the last three years, the famine itself has been the focus of extensive editorial and reader discussion in the major publications of those countries.

Part of the reason must surely lie in the American media's refusal publicly to admit to its especially disgraceful delinquency. But the ultimate reasons can only be the same ones that prompted the media to spike the story in the first instance. One of those is a fawning concern to maintain their good standing with the Kremlin. An indirect example of this is found in the Wall Street Journal, which does not maintain an office in Moscow and whose editorial policy has earned Moscow's ire. Moscow thus has no leverage on the Journal, and the Journal has publicized the direct connection between the man-made famine in Ukraine and present-day developments in Afghanistan and Ethiopia.

The other, more important reason is the pervasiveness of the very political bias that PBS was so quick to ascribe to Harvest of Despair. It isn't simple conscious complicity, but unknowing gullibility, that is behind the acceptance of Soviet horrors. Because this bias is often subliminal, it is all the more insidious. David Satter wrote in the October 22, 1985, Wall Street Journal: "The Soviet authorities understand that concessions to their view of reality weaken an adversary's ability to insist on the absolute value of anything. This is why the effort to induce the world to take their ideological lying literally is not just a question of prestige for the Soviet leaders but also a matter of political strategy. The Soviet authorities do not expect Western journalists to believe Soviet propaganda, but only to repeat it uncritically, without any effort to analyze what it means, so that, over time, the Soviet Union's ideological lying and officially sanctioned misuse of language, enhanced by the credibility of important American publications, begin to have the same numbing effect on Westerners as on Soviet citizens."

Were, say, ABC to air Harvest of Despair or its own documentary on the subject, it would freeze for an hour the Soviet phantasmagoria. The new image: The famine in Ukraine was not the unfortunate but unintended by-product of the overall collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union, as soporifically recited by those in the West who even concede its occurrence. In Ukraine, collectivization was completed long before the Central Statistical Office ceased publication. Long before doctors were forbidden to record deaths as due to starvation. Long before holod, the Ukrainian word for famine, was outlawed. Long before the Ukrainian-Russian border was sealed, preventing anyone from leaving Ukraine for Russia in search of food. Ukrainian villages starved. Russian villages a few hundred yards across the border did not.

The ensuing half-century of worldwide silence testifies to the effectiveness of the Soviet disinformation effort on a global scale. Eugene Lyons wrote bitterly that "the most rigorous censorship in all of Soviet Russia's history has been successful. It had concealed the catastrophe, until it was ended, thereby bringing confusion, doubt, contradiction into the whole subject." Concurrently, the Soviet Union achieved its greatest foreign-policy goals--America extended diplomatic recognition and the international community invited it to join the League of Nations.

Soviet brutality has never been exploited by its enemies as a way of undermining Soviet power. Indeed, its brutalities have increased its might, helping to transform it into a global superpower. "The Soviet Union is not only the original killer state, but the model one," wrote Nick Eberstadt of the Harvard Center for Population Studies.

For American newsmakers, such an image remains awkward, untimely, impolitic, inexpedient. Yet the man-made famine in Ukraine represents, as much as any one event can, the USSR's most precarious fault lines, domestically and globally. That event, half a century ago, today bears directly on issues of national self-determination, land and social reform, and indigenous cultural and religious values that are of burning concern in those areas of the world that lie in the path of Soviet influence. An understanding of the Ukrainian famine may well be the critical first step in a popular assimilation of the interaction between Soviet domestic and foreign policies, American media coverage of the Soviet Union, and our own consequential formulation of policy toward the Soviet Union.

Until that step is taken, Mikhail Gorbachev has good reason to be pleased. True to form, his cover-story interview in the September 9, 1985, issue of Time magazine began with Time's own insights: "Gorbachev looks well tanned, just a bit ruddy in the cheek. . . . He laughs easily . . . . [His eyes] are an intense dark brown. . . . The voice is extraordinary, deep but also quite soft . . . low and melodious." That voice then broadcast to us his concern about the "hundreds of millions of people going hungry . . . We, all of us, just have no right to ignore the situation." So spoke the man who forged his career in the crucible of the once heavily Ukrainian North Caucasus.”


It is no wonder that several years later, this socialist dream of population control disintegrated in a collapse of its own lies and contradictions.

The wonder is that the murderous socialist charade lasted as long as it did.

What do we say to the millions of souls who perished?

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