Holodomor Ivan wakes up to an empty stomach and looks out his window from his destroyed building and sees starving people lying on the ground, moaning in pain, mistakable for the rest of the dead on the ground who were, being carried away to be dug in a grave before the dogs get to them. He takes no notice, as this is Ukraine in the 1930’s, during The Holodomor. He wanders into his barely recognizable kitchen and eats the cold, miniscule roll of green “bread”, or mashed together weeds from his front yard. Later, he walks to the local farm to get his ration, and begins to find his legs swelling up, slowly losing hope. The Holodomor is a highly controversial catastrophe in which Stalin purposefully took millions of tons of crops from the Ukrainian people and left them to starve.
This destroyed Ukrainian culture, killed 3-10 million people but was still obscured from a regular individual’s view because propaganda about it from Stalin was believed by many Westerners. During the Holodomor, many of the Ukrainian elite were personally exiled and executed, which includes but is not limited to poets, scholars, and linguists by Russians. On top of this, Russians “Russified” Ukraine by ignoring the existence of the Ukrainian language and forcing Russian to be taught in schools and to be the primary method of communication. At the same time, the church was dissolved and almost all priests were killed, as well as most of the Bishops. This would dehumanize the Ukrainians, as the Church was a major part of their lifestyle (Kiciuk and Kulynych). The reason for all of this was because of Ukraine trying to localize itself, allowing for its culture to grow, and become less a part of Russia then it used to be. This was also from Ukraine not becoming a part of the collective of farms that Stalin wanted for the USSR.
Furthermore, not until almost thirty years later did Ukraine finally recover from this. Another thing that came from this Russification were the assassinations of blind bards called kobzars who would wander around Ukraine with kobzas, who were a major part of Ukraine as well before they became obsolete from the lacking of them, which came directly from these killings (National Union of Kobzars of Ukraine). This genocide was forced through the deportation of Ukraine’s most wealthy farmers and through the seizing of the grains that the others were making. This may seem obviously horrible and inhumanitarian, but there are still some people who deny the Holodomor was a genocide, or that it even happened at all. This is largely because of Stalin’s big lie. A “big lie” is fake propaganda that is told at such a scale that it is hard for anyone to denounce it, as people would not believe that someone could be so audacious as to distort the truth so much. Stalin used this type of propaganda, and was heard by many, and those that did spread the lies.
As this spread to the Western areas of the world it flourished because of how the actual documents containing the population of Ukraine, which would have shown the amount of deaths, were classified, which lead to much speculation. Another thing that could have contributed to that was the amount of Russian pro-Stalin supporters, who not only believed Stalin’s propaganda, but spread it to other countries. Furthermore, it was only after half a century after the Holodomor happened that the most influential countries fully recognized the Holodomor as a genocide, and five more recognized it as a result of Stalin’s regime (Steciw).
This is one of the main problems with the Holodomor as well, it is that it has been hidden from a normal individuals view because of all of the controversy surrounding it, which lead to many people forgetting about it entirely.