Investigation of the Ukrainian Famine 1932-1933
COMMISSION ON THE UKRAINE FAMINE
Hon. Daniel A Mica, M.C. (D-FL), Chairman
Dr. James E. Mace, Staff Director
Report to the United States Congress
Washington, D.C., April 22, 1988
Commission Efforts and Accomplishments
Based on testimony heard and staff research, the Commission
on the Ukraine Famine makes the following findings:
1) There is no doubt that large numbers of inhabitants of the Ukrainian
SSR and the North Caucasus Territory starved to death in a man-made
famine in 1932-1933, caused by the seizure of the 1932 crop by
2) The victims of the Ukrainian Famine numbered in the millions.
3) Official Soviet allegations of "kulak sabotage," upon which all
"difficulties" were blamed during the Famine, are false.
4) The Famine was not, as is often alleged, related to drought.
5) In 1931-1932, the official Soviet response to a drought-induced
grain shortage outside Ukraine was to send aid to the areas
affected and to make a series of concessions to the peasantry.
6) In mid-1932, following complaints by officials in the Ukrainian SSR
that excessive grain procurements had led to localized outbreaks
of famine, Moscow reversed course and took an increasingly hard
line toward the peasantry.
7) The inability of Soviet authorities in Ukraine to meet the grain
procurements quota forced them to introduce increasingly severe
measures to extract the maximum quantity of grain from the
8) In the Fall of 1932 Stalin used the resulting "procurements crisis"
in Ukraine as an excuse to tighten his control in Ukraine and to
intensify grain seizures further.
9) The Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 was caused by the maximum
extraction of agricultural produce from the rural population.
10) Officials in charge of grain seizures also lived in fear of
11) Stalin knew that people were starving to death in Ukraine by late
12) In January 1933, Stalin used the "laxity" of the Ukrainian
authorities in seizing grain to strengthen further his control
over the Communist Party of Ukraine and mandated actions which
worsened the situation and maximized the loss of life.
13) Postyshev had a dual mandate from Moscow: to intensify the grain
seizures (and therefore the Famine) in Ukraine and to eliminate
such modest national self-assertion as Ukrainians had hitherto
been allowed by the USSR.
14) While famine also took place during the 1932-1933 agricultural year
in the Volga Basin and the North Caucasus Territory as a whole,
the invasiveness of Stalin's interventions of both the Fall of
1932 and January 1933 in Ukraine are paralleled only in the
ethnically Ukrainian Kuban region of the North Caucasus.
15) Attempts were made to prevent the starving from traveling to areas
where food was more available.
16) Joseph Stalin and those around him committed genocide against
Ukrainians in 1932-1933.
17) The American government had ample and timely information about the
Famine but failed to take any steps which might have ameliorated
the situation. Instead, the Administration extended diplomatic
recognition to the Soviet government in November 1933,
immediately after the Famine.
18) During the Famine certain members of the American press corps
cooperated with the Soviet government to deny the existence of
the Ukrainian Famine.
19) Recently, scholarship in both the West and, to a lesser extent, the
Soviet Union has made substantial progress in dealing with the
Famine. Although official Soviet historians and spokesmen have
never given a fully accurate or adequate account, significant
progress has been made in recent months.
The Commission's reasoning is as follows:
(NOTE: The text in the Commission report now goes into considerable detail
about each of the nineteen points above.)
- The Commission on the Ukraine Famine has sought to fulfill its
legislative mandate by attempting to answer some of the questions arising
from one of history's worst crimes against humanity. In so doing, it may
well have helped to make such crimes less likely in the future by
demonstrating that, thought it may take more than half a century, the truth
will come out. Yet, it is hoped that the lessons learned about collective
victimization, the use of food as a weapon for political ends, and the
concealment of criminal policies by those who perpetrate them, might
provide insights which can be of use in confronting the challenges of
similar events. Sadly, collective victimization, the use of food as a
weapon, and disinformation campaigns by oppressive regimes are far
from being a thing of the past. During the Commission's existence, the
world has seen Marxist regimes carry out not dissimilar policies in
Ethiopia and Afghanistan. Sadder still, it would be naive to assume these
most recent instances are the last.
INVESTIGATION OF THE UKRAINIAN FAMINE 1932-1933,
REPORT TO CONGRESS, COMMISSION ON THE UKRAINE
FAMINE, Adopted by the Commission, April 19, 1988, Submitted to
Congress, April 22, 1988. U.S.Government Printing Office: 1988