(1/2) by /u/flesh_eating_turtle

- Introduction -

Hello comrades. I recently added a section on the Ukrainian famine to the Soviet masterpost, and I decided to post in separately here so that people can see it.

- The Ukrainian Famine -

Let us address perhaps the most infamous of anti-Stalin myths, the allegation that Stalin deliberately caused the 1931-1933 famine to starve Ukrainians. This idea has been consistently rejected by the most esteemed scholars on the topic. The following quotes are compiled in an article from the Village Voice, cited below.

Alexander Dallin of Stanford University writes:

There is no evidence it was intentionally directed against Ukrainians… that would be totally out of keeping with what we know – it makes no sense.

Moshe Lewin (perhaps the most esteemed 20th century scholar of Soviet history) stated:

This is crap, rubbish… I am an anti-Stalinist, but I don’t see how this [genocide] campaign adds to our knowledge. It’s adding horrors, adding horrors, until it becomes a pathology.

Lynne Viola of the University of Toronto writes:

I absolutely reject it… Why in god’s name would this paranoid government consciously produce a famine when they were terrified of war [with Germany]?

Mark Tauger, Professor of History at West Virginia University (reviewing work by Stephen Wheatcroft and R.W. Davies) has this to say:

Popular media and most historians for decades have described the great famine that struck most of the USSR in the early 1930s as “man-made,” very often even a “genocide” that Stalin perpetrated intentionally against Ukrainians and sometimes other national groups to destroy them as nations… This perspective, however, is wrong. The famine that took place was not limited to Ukraine or even to rural areas of the USSR, it was not fundamentally or exclusively man-made, and it was far from the intention of Stalin and others in the Soviet leadership to create such as disaster. A small but growing literature relying on new archival documents and a critical approach to other sources has shown the flaws in the “genocide” or “intentionalist” interpretation of the famine and has developed an alternative interpretation.

More recent research has discovered natural causes for the Ukrainian famine. Tauger notes:

…the USSR experienced an unusual environmental disaster in 1932: extremely wet and humid weather that gave rise to severe plant disease infestations, especially rust. Ukraine had double or triple the normal rainfall in 1932. Both the weather conditions and the rust spread from Eastern Europe, as plant pathologists at the time documented. Soviet plant pathologists in particular estimated that rust and other fungal diseases reduced the potential harvest in 1932 by almost nine million tons, which is the largest documented harvest loss from any single cause in Soviet history.

Thus, we can see that the Ukrainian famine was not intentional, and should not be attributed to Stalin or the socialist policies he implemented.

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