I think I know who Mister Furr is, but I didn’t know that he had written a response to Bloodlands. Mister Furr is not really a scholar in the field; rather he is someone with firm political (pro-Stalinist) commitments.

-Dr. Snyder, to me, swampman, in an email, 2016

I'm transcribing this book for your perusal and commentary. The first few chapters discuss the Holodomor so even if I flame out and die, we will still get to some of the interesting bits.

-Furr prints his original Russian and Ukrainian in the Cyrillic alphabet, which I can't type in. If there's ever any interest, then later, I will add scans of the pages which some enterprising polyglot can tackle on my behalf.
-His webpage supposedly contains all the links needed to back everything up. I'd eventually have to go back in and add footnotes / citations somehow; for now I've added only footnotes that contain Furr's own useful commentary, in the 'code' tags.

Introduction: What is Bloodlands and Why Do We Need to Expose It?

In 2010 a book was published that rewrites the history of the Soviet Union, Poland, and Ukraine between the years 1932 and 1945. Its title is Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. Its author is Timothy Snyder, a professor of Eastern European history at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. In Bloodlands Snyder equates the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany and Stalin with Hitler.

Although Snyder concludes that the Nazis did kill somewhat more people than did the Soviets, he still equates them in a moral sense.

Bloodlands is a worldwide success. It has been lavished with praise in dozens of book reviews worldwide, "praised as a work of near-perfect history by many critics." A selection of the awards and praise can be seen at the special web page created for this book.

Editor's Pick, New York Times Book Review; Die Welt, Book of the Week, El País, Book of the Week; NDR Sachbuch des Monats; New York Times non-fiction bestseller; Der Spiegel non-fiction bestseller (Germany); Gazeta Wyborcza non-fiction bestseller (Poland), Wall Street Journal #1 hardback history bestseller.

It has received high praise not only from predictable right-wing sources but from liberal outlets like The Nation (New York City). It has been translated into at least 25 languages, including Ukrainian, Polish, Hungarian, Romanian, and all three Baltic languages, plus German, French, Spanish, and all three Scandinavian languages.

And yet it is a complete fraud, false from beginning to end. It is no exaggeration to say that Snyder's Bloodlands is a litany of falsehoods. That fact is exemplified by the following story.

"Petro Veldii"

During 2011 and 2012 Snyder had a standard book talk on Bloodlands that he delivered many times. Here are some passages transcribed from the Youtube video of that standard talk as delivered in Chicago in 2011:

This is a difficult book to introduce, and I'd like to introduce it by way of what's most important to me - namely, the individuals who are its subjects.

In early 1933, in what was then the Soviet Ukraine, a young man dug his grave. The reason he dug his grave was that he was sure he was going to die of starvation - and he was right. The other reason he dug his own grave was that he knew that once he died his body would lie in a field beside the road until it was picked up, thrown in the back of a cart, and then dumped with a number of other corpses in a mass grave where there would be no marker. So he knew that he was going to die but he wished to preserve some element of dignity. So he dug his own grave. Then when the day came he went there.

Snyder returns to this story at the end of the talk:

So 14 million is not just 14 million but it is 14 million times one, where that one is not just an interchangeable unit but that one is an individual who is different than the individual that came before and the individual who came after. In other words, the book is ultimately about people and it succeeds insofar as it turns numbers back into people. I can't succeed with a lecture like this but what I would like to leave you with is the names of the three people that I mentioned at the beginning. The young man in Ukraine who dug his own grave is Petro Veldii...

This incident is described in Bloodlands on page 47, where it reads as follows:

To die of starvation with some sort of dignity was beyond the reach of almost everyone. Petro Veldii showed rare strength when he dragged himself through his village on the day he expected to die. The other villagers asked him where he was going: to the cemetery to lay himself down. He did not want strangers coming and dragging his body away to a pit. So he had dug his own grave, but by the time he reached the cemetery another body had filled it. He dug himself another one, lay down, and waited.

Synder's source for this story (n. 69, p. 466) is as follows: "On Vel'dii, see Kovalenko, Holod, 132." Snyder spells the man's name "Veldii" in the text but "Vel'dii" in the footnote (the apostrophe is the transcription of a Ukrainian letter.) As we shall see, neither is correct.

Kovalenko's book is rare in the United States, so few if any readers will check this story.

Here is the original, at page 132:

(Бачу як сьогоднi: йде селом Бельдiй Петро, несе в руках якийсь клуночок. Люди стоять бiля сiльради, на майданi. Йде Петро у святковiй полотнянiй сорочцi, штанах полотняних, з цiпком у руках. «Куди?» - питають люди. «На цвинтарь.» - «Чого?» - «Умирати. Таки не хочу, щоб мене на гарбi вивозили, йду сам». Пiшов, але яма, яку сам для себе ще ранiш був виколав, була уже зайнята. Петро ще виколав собi ямку i таки помер на цвинтарi.)


I can see like today: Petro Bel'diy is going to the village and is carrying in his hands some kind of little bundle. People stand by the village Soviet, in the square. Petro is walking in a festive linen shirt, linen trousers, with a tsipok in his hands. "Where are you going?" - the people ask. To the cemetery." "Why?" "To die. Since I do not want to be carried in a cart, I will go myself." He went, but the pit that he had dug earlier for himself was already occupied. Petro dug himself another grave and so died at the cemetery.

'Tsipok' can mean a stick or cane. Bel'diy is dressed in his best! The cane would suggest he was elderly or infirm. I have been informed that [i]tsipok [/i]can also mean one of several different kinds of digging implements depending on the specific area in the Ukraine where the word is used. Since Bel'diy thinks his grave has already been dug, he would probably not bring a digging implement. But then how does he dig himself another grave?

Snyder has seriously distorted this story.

  • The man's name was not "Veldii" or "Vel'dii" but "Bel'diy."
  • There is nothing at all about starvation or famine in the story. There is no indication that Bel'diy is even hungry.
  • The original has nothing about Bel'diy "dragging himself through his village." It simply says that he walked to the village.
  • Snyder's phrase "dragging himself" suggests weakness, and is no doubt also intended to suggest starvation and the famine. It permits Snyder to claim that "Veldii" "showed rare strength." But the original suggests nothing of the kind. In it the villagers standing around the village Soviet (local government headquarters) just wonder what he is doing.
  • In the original Bel'diy is carrying a "little bundle." This account does not say what was in it. One likely possibility would be food. Snyder omits the bundle altogether.
  • In the original Bel'diy is dressed in his holiday clothes. Clearly he wants to be buried looking his best. Snyder omits this detail.
  • Snyder claims that Bel'diy "did not want strangers coming and dragging his body away to a pit." But there is nothing like this in the original. Kovalenko quotes Bel'diy as telling some of his fellow villagers that he did not want to be carried away in a cart. Since this is what normally happens when a person dies - the body is taken away in a cart - it means that Bel'diy has some private reason for not wanting this.
  • In the original Bel'diy dies in the cemetery after digging himself a second grave. In Snyder's version he "lay down and waited."
  • In his book talk Snyder calls "Veldii" a "young man." But in Snyder's source there is no indication at all of his age.

Snyder has falsified this story. He has appropriated it to the famine by adding some details that are not in the original story while omitting other details that are in it.

Even in Kovalenko's book the story says nothing at all about the cause of the 1932-33 famine, or anything about any famine at all. But more than that - Snyder's version simply can't be true. This man who, in Snyder's version, was starving to death - starving so badly that he thought he would die on that very day - dug not just one grave, but two!

It's no good to dig a shallow grave - the body would probably by dug up by dogs. Digging a deep grave is hard work. It shows exactly the opposite of the lassitude that accompanies slow starvation. But according to Snyder "Veldii" was not just starving - he was so far gone that expected to die that very day!

This is impossible. A starving person would not have had the energy to dig up these two graves - one some days before, when he must have been starving as well (or why dig the grave?) and another on the very same day he expected to actually die of starvation (in the original story, he does die). Sure enough, the original story has nothing about starvation, famine, "dragging himself," "strangers dragging his body to a pit," or even anything that suggest hunger.

This story has the form of a legend or folklore: "The man who dug his own grave and then waited for death to come." Here is a similar story about a legendary French Canadian voyageur, preserved in a ballad or folk-song:

Pursued by the Indians through the forest, Cailleux gradually weakened; he dug his own grave, erected a cross above it and composed a ballad about his misfortune, which he wrote in blood on birchbark; it was found by those who came to look for him.

In any case, no conclusion can be drawn from this rumor, or from any rumor. It does not even mention famine or starvation. Even if the original version in Kovalenko's book could somehow be verified it would not prove anything relevant to Snyder's book.

Kovalenko's Book

This book was the first collection in Ukraine of testimonies about the famine. Under the prodding of the anticommunist "Memorial" association Stanislav Kul'chyts'kyy, a Ukrainian scholar, published an advertisement in the widely-circulated newspaper Sil's'ki Visti ("Rural News") in which he solicited letters from those who had experienced the famine. He obtained 6,000 replies. According to Ukrainian scholar Heorhiy Kas'ianov:

Paradoxically, these questions and the memories they stimulated, regardless of the motives that led to their appearance, could have become one important element in a more adequate reconstruction in the picture of the events of 1932-33. However, the final product, that is the book created on the basis of the materials thus gathered, testified to the fact that at the turn of the 1990s the concept of the project had changed fundamentally. For the book they selected only information from eyewitnesses who painted terrible pictures of people dying in their own homes and related excesses.

Though Kovalenko's book, from which Snyder took this story before falsifying it, is hard to find in the USA it is famous and widely available in Ukraine.

In fact it is famous as the first collection in Ukraine, still at that time a Soviet Republic, of stories by those who lived through the famine of 1932-33. The book is so well known that we might expect that the Ukrainian translation of Snyder's book would reprint the original story from Kovalenko's volume. But instead, it translates Snyder's distorted version, even to the point of getting Bel'diy's name wrong as Snyder did!

Петро Вельдiй виказав рiдкiсну силу волi й з останнiх сил пiшов у село в день, коли чекав, що по нього прийде смерть. Односельчани питали його, куди вiн iде: на цвинтар - лягати в могилу. Вiн не хотiв, щоб чужi люди тягнули його тiло у яму. Тож вiн викопав собi могилу, але коли дошкандибав до цвинтаря, там уже лежало iнше тiло. Вiн викопав собi ще одну, лiг i почав чекати (69).


Petro Vel'diy showed rare strength of will and with his last strength went into the village on the day that he was waiting for death to come for him. His fellow villagers asked him where he was going: to the cemetery, to climb into a grave. He did not want strangers to drag his body to a pit. So he dug himself a grave, but when he reached the cemetery, another body was already lying in it. He dug himself another grave, lay in it, and began to wait.

Anyone who checks the original version of this story against Snyder's version would see immediately that Snyder has seriously falsified it. It is hard to believe that no one - the translator, the Ukrainian publisher, the Ukrainian historians who work with Snyder, those who arranged for his many talks to Ukrainian audiences in Ukraine, the US, Canada - has ever done this. But they chose to remain silent about it.

The "Petro Veldii" story is an example of something we will see a great many times in this book: Snyder cannot be trusted to use his sources honestly. When Snyder makes an assertion of fact, or fact-claim, about something involving communists, the Soviet Union, or Stalin, the sources for this fact-claim must be double-checked.

Upon checking Snyder's source we normally find either (1) that his source does not support what Snyder's text says or imply that it does; or (2) that the source does reflect what Snyder says in his text but that source itself is dishonest, in that (a) it does not reflect what its own evidence states or (b) its source is yet another secondary source which, when examined, does not support the fact-claims given; or (c) it cites no evidence at all.

In his standard book talk Snyder names three people who were, supposedly, victims of Hitler and Stalin. He claims that two of these were in fact victims of Stalin. One is "Petro Veldii." That story is a fabrication. In fact the falsification goes far beyond the story of this one man. We shall show that there was no "Holodomor" at all - no "deliberate" or "man-made" famine in 1932-33.

Synder's "Petro Veldii" falsification ought to make us curious about the second "victim of Stalin" whom Snyder features at the start of his book talk. He is Adam Solski, one of the Polish officers whose corpse was disinterred by the Nazis at Katyn in April-June 1943. Unlike "Veldii / Vel'dii / Bel'diy" there is no doubt about Solski's identity: he was a real person whose corpse was indeed unearthed by the Germans at the Katyn forest. However, the evidence available today points to the German rather than Soviet guilt in the murders of Solski and the other Polish prisoners. We will discuss the "Katyn massacre" later in this book.

* *

The present book presents a detailed, heavily documented critique of Bloodlands. It concludes that virtually all of Snyder's charges and statements about Stalin and the Soviet Union are false. I prove this by checking the evidence Snyder cites; by including when appropriate the evidence Snyder's sources cite; and by citing other evidence he omits.

Snyder's book has become a Bible for East European neo-Nazis and right-wingers generally. Here is a collection of articles from the Holocaust research site "Defending History" (collected February 2014):

Foreign Minister of Lithuania invokes Timothy Snyder in launch of newest European Union campaign for Double Genocide

Vytautas Magnus University professor tells Lithuanian daily that Timothy Snyder is the one great hope...

Kaunas Professor tells the leading Lithuanian daily that the reburial of the wartime Nazi puppet prime minister reconfirms the "drama of Lithuanian history" while attacking "the Jews" who allegedly threatened university and national officials with "getting hit over the head with a club" over the reburial. He also refers to Timothy Snyder as his one great ray of hope.

Book Event for Lithuanian Edition of Bloodlands at Lithuanian Foreign Ministry; Historians Use the Occasion to Besmirch Holocaust Survivors who Joined the Anti-Nazi Partisans and to Cement Red-Equals-Brown Equation

Professor tells Lithuanian radio audience that 'It's not all hopeless' thanks to - Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands.

At a symposium of historians speaking for a wider Lithuanian audience, one accomplished professor put on the record, when discussing the difficulties in selling the revisionist history to the West: 'But it's not all hopeless. Timothy Snyder has written an important book called Bloodlands'.

Some Holocaust researchers have appealed to Snyder to dissociate himself from the political uses of his book:

List of Experts Cited during Preparation of Lithuanian Parliament Sponsored Film Glorifying the Local Holocaust Killers

For the record, I do sincerely regret the inclusion of Professor Snyder's name in the planning stages of a 2011 ultranationalist film, supported by the Lithuanian parliament, which glorifies the Holocaust-perpetrating LAF (Lithuanian Activist Front) as 'freedom fighters'. Its Vilnius premiere on 22 June 2011 included swastika stamped souvenir tickets (report on the event here; review of the film by the longtime editor of the last Jewish newspaper in Lithuania here; image of the souvenir ticket here).

I respectfully call on Professor Snyder to publicly disavow and/or sever any links to the planning for the film (which would have simply been naive), and to now condemn the final product as the product of ultranationalist, anti-Semitic East European Holocaust revisionism designed to glorify the perpetrators and deflect attention from local participation in the Holocaust in the making of state-sponsored revisionist history.

Good luck with that! There is no way that Snyder is not completely aware of the political tendency of Bloodlands and whom the falsehoods and distortions in his book benefit.

The page in question is titled "East European Nationalist (Ab)use of Timothy Snyder's 'Bloodlands'." But it is not an "abuse" at all. This is in fact the political terror of Bloodlands. The East European "nationalists" and neo-Nazis have understood it all too well.

I have specialized in researching the history of the Soviet Union during the Stalin years, particularly the crucial decade between 1930 and the Nazi invasion of June 22, 1941. I first became acquainted with Snyder's research some years ago when studying the Volhynian massacres, the mass murders by Ukrainian Nationalist forces of 50,000 to 100,000 or more Polish civilians in the Western part of the Ukrainian SSR then under German-occupation. In the 1990s Snyder published the only scholarly studies in the English language of these horrifying slaughters, although his anti-communism and tendency to minimize the crimes of anticommunist nationalists are already evident in these articles.

Several years ago a friend and colleague asked me what I thought about one of Snyder's essays in the influential American journal The New York Review of Books. There Snyder asserted, without evidence of any kind, that the famine of 1932-33 was "man-made" and deliberately directed by Stalin to kill and terrorize Ukrainians.

Serious students of Soviet history have long known that there is, in fact, no evidence of any "Holodomor", any deliberate famine. This has been described as a fiction by mainstream Western anticommunist scholars since at least Robert Conquest's book Harvest of Despair was published in 1987. Conquest himself has withdrawn his accusation that the famine was deliberate. We discuss this matter thoroughly in Chapters One through Three of the present book.

It is clear to any objective student of Soviet history that Snyder is wrong about the famine. But non-specialists like my friend and colleague do not know it. So I began collecting Snyder's essays. He publishes widely in intellectual and semi-popular journals, where he is assumed to be an expert on Eastern European history. It soon became clear to me that Snyder's book gives a false account not only of the famine of 1932-33 but virtually every point of Soviet history with which I was familiar.

It is the professional responsibility of historians to acknowledge disputes and disagreements in the fields they research. But Snyder never informs his readers about the scholarly disputes that exist over many of these issues, whether it be famine, the Ezhovshchina or "Great Terror," the "Katyn massacre," the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the partisan war, the Warsaw Ghetto revolt, the Warsaw Uprising, or others. Without exception Snyder repeats an anti-Soviet, anticommunist position without any qualification.

It is not only that many statements in Snyder's book are factually false. There are so many such false statements that they could not be the result of carelessness. Moreover, there is a systematic quality to all of them: every one is tendentiously anticommunist. I realized that I would have to systematically check every factual statement about the Soviet leadership or Soviet actions that had a negative tendency, every allegation of a crime or an atrocity.

In April 2012 Snyder was invited to speak at a Holocaust commemoration event at Kean University of New Jersey, not far from my own university. I wrote a two-sided flyer detailing a small number of Snyder's most brazen falsehoods and distributed 100 copies of it at the talk. The flyer was well received by the audience of students (who had been required to attend) and others interested in the Holocaust. I am pleased that the present book, in which Snyder's falsehoods about Soviet history are exposed and refuted in a more detailed and complete manner, is now available to readers.

Like any work of history Bloodlands contains a great many assertions of fact - statements that affirm that something occurred. The present book examines and checks all of the assertions of fact that have a clearly anti-Soviet or anticommunist tenor. It does not verify other of Snyder's fact-claims, in particular, Snyder's statements about Nazi Germany. There are a great many experts on the history of Nazi Germany. If Snyder has made any factual errors in his discussion of Nazi war crimes it is unlikely that this will escape notice.

My working hypothesis was as follows: I would find that many of Snyder's anti-Soviet assertions or "fact-claims" were false, not supported by the evidence Snyder cites or indeed by any other evidence. My further hypothesis was that the secondary sources Snyder cites in support of these statements would either not support Snyder's fact claims, or would themselves be fallacious, unsupported by the evidence (if any) that they cited.

My research has fully corroborated both of these hypotheses. In fact, I discovered that my initial hypothesis was too cautious. I have found not that many, but that virtually all of Snyder's fact-claims of an anti-Soviet and/or anticommunist tendency are false. In this book I present the results of that research.

Organization of This Book

The chapters in this book adhere to the following method of presentation. After an introductory section I quote every passage in which Snyder makes a fact-claim that accuses the Soviet Union or one of its leaders (e.g. Stalin) or communists generally of some crime or that tends to reflect negatively upon Stalin or Soviet actions. Then the evidence Snyder cites to support his statement(s), normally found in a footnote, is identified and, where possible, reproduced. Then each of the sources in that footnote, whether primary or, usually, secondary, is checked and verified in order to assess whether that source provides support for Snyder's fact-claim.

In the case of secondary sources I have checked further for the primary sources that these secondary sources use. This is essential because the fact that one historian agrees with another does not constitute evidence. Only primary sources are evidence. Accordingly, in each instance where Snyder cites another secondary source in his footnote I have obtained and studied the primary source evidence upon which that secondary source relies. This procedure continues until we reach the primary sources upon which all other secondary sources are based, or until we discover that, in reality, there is no primary source evidence supporting the series of fact-claims, which are thereby revealed to be falsifications. This method is essential in order to verify Snyder's fact-claims concerning Soviet "crimes" - or, as it turns out, in order to demonstrate that they are false virtually without exception.

Whenever possible a summary title, or subheading, has been given to each of the passages from Snyder's book. The purpose of this subheading is to aid the reader in deciding whether he or she wants to examine these fact-claims, or wishes to pick and choose, examining some and passing over others.

In the case of the most famous alleged Soviet or "Stalinist" crimes: the 1932-33 famine, the "Ezhovshchina" or "Great Terror," the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the "Katyn massacre," the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, and Stalin's alleged antsemitism - I have preceded my investigation of Snyder's account with a section titled "What Really Happened."

No one else has taken the trouble to do this. This would not be a bad thing if Snyder's book were generally ignored. Historians of the USSR, like historians generally, should spend their time in discovering the truth rather than in double-checking every fact-claim and allegation made by other historians. But Snyder's book is very influential, as are his published articles in semi-popular journals. Snyder's fact-claims are normally assumed to be true while the reality is that they are virtually always false. Through books such as Bloodlands falsehoods become accepted as truths, the current of historical understanding polluted.

The Anti-Stalin Paradigm

In the present book I demonstrate, using Snyder's own sources and other evidence, that the fact-claims in Bloodlands are false; that not a single one of the accusations Snyder levels against Stalin, the Soviet leadership, or pro-communist forces such as partisans, is true. Such a conclusion demands explanation, and I outline my own views in the Conclusion. One important element of that explanation is what I call the "anti-Stalin paradigm", about which a little should be said here at the outset.

Since the Bolshevik Revolution itself the academic field of Soviet history has been dominated by anticommunist bias. In February 1956, at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushschev, First Secretary of the Party and leader of the Soviet state, gave a "secret speech" in which he accused Stalin (and Lavrentii Beria) of great crimes. Khrushchev and other Party leaders under him went ever further in their attacks on Stalin at the 22nd Party Congress in 1961. After that and until Khrushschev's ouster in October 1964 a flood of pseudo-scholarly Soviet works were published in which accusations about Stalin's "crimes" multiplied wildly.

Khrushchev's 1956 "Secret Speech", the anti-Stalin speeches at the end of the 22nd Part Congress and the ensuing torrent of Khrushchev-orchestrated fabrications became the basis for the avalanche of anti-Stalin books that followed. Notable among them was, for example, Robert Conquest's tome The Great Terror, which drew heavily upon these Khrushchev-era materials (although Conquest also used, indiscriminately, any and all anti-Stalin works he could find, including many that preceded Khrushchev's speech). In an earlier article Vladimir L. Bobrov and I examined the last chapter of Stephen F. Cohen's book Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution (1973), another of the anti-Stalin books based on Khrushchev-era materials. There we showed (a) that Cohen relied entirely upon Khrushchev-era "revelations" in this chapter of Bukharin's fate between 1930 and 1938; and (b) that every single "revelation" Cohen makes in that long chapter is demonstrably false, thanks to evidence from Soviet archives now available to researchers.

The Khrushchev-era Soviet works were not simply the result of bias. Rather, they were deliberate lies. Khrushchev and his men had all the evidence of the Soviet archives - everything we have today plus much, much more. The same is true of Gorbachev's people, who churned out another and even larger avalance of anti-Stalin falsehoods after 1987, an avalanche that continues to the present day.

The academic field of Soviet history of the Stalin period has been constructed around the more or less uncritical acceptance of, first, Khrushchev-era, and second, of Gorbachev-era and post-Soviet-era lies. These lies cannot be sustained in the face of the evidence now available from former Soviet archives. However, to admit this would entail exposing the fact that the work of dozens of historians of the USSR are poisoned at the root.

Therefore the "anti-Stalin paradigm," as I call this model of Stalin-era Soviet history, goes unchallenged. As long as it continues to serve anticommunist ideological purposes, and as long as the truth can be ignored, buried, hidden, or otherwise disregarded, the demonization of Stalin, the Soviet leadership of his day, and the communist movement continues to perform its useful function in the economy of anticommunist propaganda, propped up by the prestige of academic experts in many countries. This is the tradition that has produced works like Snyder's Bloodlands.

Books like Snyder's do not have to fear that their falsehoods will be exposed by their peers in the field of Soviet history because anti-Stalin lies are very seldom exposed as such. In such an atmosphere, where the historian can accuse Stalin and the USSR of almost any crime, can say virtually anything as long as it has an anti-Stalin bias, a kind of "Gresham's Law" comes into play. Bad research drives out the good or - at the very least - makes the good research very cautious, very careful not to challenge the prevailing paradigm. This is the academic and political environment that makes completely fraudulent works like Bloodlands possible.

Concerning the portrayal of Stalin by anticommunist historians like Snyder Professor Domenico Losurdo of the University of Urbino, Italy, writes:

Les philosophes aiment à s'interroger en évoquant non seulement les événements historiques mais aussi les catégories avec lesquelles nous interprétons ces événements. Aujourd'hui, quelle est donc la catégorie avec laquelle on interprète Staline ? Celle de folie sanguinaire. Cette catégorie a été déjà utilisée contre Robespierre, contre la révolution de 1848, contre la Commune, mais jamais contre la guerre, ni contre Louis XVI, ni contre les Girondins ou Napoléon. Pour ce qui concerne le XXème siècle, nous avons des études psychopathologiques sur Lénine, Staline, Trotski, Mao, mais pas, par exemple contre Churchill. Or, tout le groupe dirigeant bolchevik se prononçait contre l'expansionnisme colonial, tandis que Churchill écrivait « la guerre est un jeu auquel il faut sourire. » Il y eut ensuite le carnage de la Première Guerre mondiale, le groupe dirigeant bolchevik, Staline compris, est contre ce carnage, mais Churchill déclare encore : « la guerre ast le plus grand jew de l'histoire universelle, nous jouons ici la mise la plus élevée, la guerre constitue l'unique sense aigu de notre vie ». Alors, pourquoi l'approche psychopathologique dans un cas et pas dans l'autre?


In their discussions philosophers like to evoke not only historical events but also the categories with which we interpret these events. Today, what is the category with which Stalin is interpreted? That of bloodthirsty madness. This category has already been used against Robespierre, against the Revolution of 1848, against the Paris Commune, but never against war, or against Louis XVI, or against the Girondins or Napoleon. Regarding the twentieth century, we have psychopathological studies of Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Mao, but not, for example, of Churchill. However, all of the Bolshevik leaders spoke up against colonial expansionism, while Churchill wrote: "War is a game at which one should smile." Then there was the carnage of the First World War. The Bolshevik leadership group, including Stalin, was against this carnage, but Churchill said again: "War is the greatest game in world history, here I play with the highest stakes, war is the sole acute sensation of our lives." So why the psychopathological approach in the one case and not in the other?

Fabrications, Falsifications, and Lies

It will surprise, even shock, many to learn that a major work by a prominent historian can be, at base, nothing but a chain of untruths, its scholarly trappings a demonstrable fraud, a trap intended to lure the unwary or the hopelessly biased into believing falsehoods. Yet Bloodlands is precisely such a book. That is the inevitable conclusion of my study.

It will appear to readers that many of Snyder's fact-claims are almost certainly "lies" in the strict sense. That is, they must have been made by conscious decision rather than as the expression of bias coupled with ignorance. At the same time many readers will assume that the word "lie" should only be used when deliberate dishonesty by a writer can be clearly demonstrated.

For this reason I am reluctant to have recourse to the word "lie." IN all cases where the deliberate intent to deceive cannot be clearly demonstrated by the evidence I use another term such as "fabrication" or "falsification" that connotes something made up, not contained in any of the evidence cited. As I have previously written elsewhere,

(I)t is easy to underestimate the power of a well-established, privileged preconceived framework of analysis on the minds of any researcher who is himself seriously biased. The pressures, both psychological and academic, to reach a conclusion acceptable to leading figures in the field of Soviet history, as well as to officials in Russia who control access to archives, are considerable indeed. Consequently, the disadvantages, professionally and otherwise, of reaching a conclusion that, no matter how well demonstrated, will be displeasing to powerful forces in the archival, political, and academic communities, are clear to anyone who is familiar with the highly politicized nature of the field of Soviet and indeed of all communist history.

Accordingly I consider the word "lie" to be appropriate only when the evidence clearly shows that Snyder has made a statement in flagrant disregard for the truth, such as a statement that is not supported in the source Snyder cites in support of it or is even contradicted by that source. Yet even in such cases we should not rule out the power of a preconceived framework plus a strong bias to "blind" a non-objective historian like Snyder to inconvenient evidence and conclusions.

Objectivity and the Truth

It is a commonplace today that Stalin committed mass murders and gross atrocities. This belief is like the notions almost universal before the 20th century (and by no means dead today) that women and non-whites were "intellectually inferior." Those notions were "common sense", taken for granted by almost every "white" male of European ancestry, including scientists. They were questioned by few, firmly rejected by fewer still. Yet they were never true. They were (and are) avidly promoted because they served (and, in some circles, still serve) definite political and economic interests.

An objective study of the evidence now available shows that, contrary to "whatever everybody knows" - what I call the "anti-Stalin paradigm" - none of the mass murders and atrocities alleged against Stalin and the Soviet leadership of his day can be verified by the evidence.

Because this conclusion will strike many readers as outrageous, the evidence supporting it must be more fully expounded than is normally the case in historical studies. After all, a major conclusion of this book is that, on any important matter, the fact-claims of historians should not be simply "believed" - accepted as true - but must be verified. Why, then, should any reader believe the fact-claims in this book - namely, that some statement in Bloodlands is false - when the same book cautions them not to believe Snyder?

Accordingly, the footnotes, references, and - where necessary - the primary documents essential for any reader to check my conclusion, are reproduced here. This adds to the length of this study. But there is no other way to document such a travesty of historical scholarship as Bloodlands presents us with. In some cases I have put longer passages from primary or secondary sources on the Internet as web pages and provided URLs to them.

The aim of the present study is to examine the allegations by Snyder against Stalin, the Soviet leadership, and pro-communist forces. Although Bloodlands reads something like a "prosecutor's brief" against Stalin and the USSR the present study is fundamentally different. It is not a "defense attorney's brief." Is is not an attempt to prove either guilt or innocence. Rather, it is an attempt to find the truth.

I have tried hard to do what an investigator does in the case of a crime in which has has no parti pris but only wishes to solve the crime. This is what all historians are supposed to do, and what most historians who investigate the more distant past do all the time. I wish to persuade the fair-minded, objective reader that I have carried out a competent, honest investigation. Namely, that I have done the following:

  • collected all the evidence that Snyder has cited to prove his allegations against Stalin et al., and also any "negative" evidence that contests those allegations;
  • studied all this evidence carefully and honestly;
  • drawn my conclusions on the basis of that evidence.

Political prejudice predominates in the study of communism and in particular of Soviet history. Conclusions that contradict the dominant anti-Stalin paradigm are routinely ignored or dismissed. Conclusions that cast doubt upon accusations against Stalin or whose implications tend to make him look either "good" or even less "evil" than the predominant paradigm holds him to have been, are called "Stalinist." Any objective study of the evidence now available is bound to be called "Stalinist" simply because it must reach conclusions that are politically unacceptable to those who have a strong anticommunist bias, those who are in thrall to the false "anti-Stalin paradigm."

I wish to persuade the objective reader that I have reached my conclusions on the basis of evidence and its analysis and not on any other basis such as political bias. My aim is neither to arraign or "convict" Snyder nor to "defend" Stalin, the Soviet leadership, or pro-communist forces. Specifically, I assure the reader that I remain ready to be convinced that Stalin et al. did commit the atrocities alleged by Snyder if and when evidence is disclosed that supports that conclusion and that evidence can withstand the scholarly scrutiny to which all evidence should be subject.


Before proceeding to study the relevant evidence we must briefly consider the question of evidence itself. Whereas "documents" are material objects - in our case, writing on paper - "evidence" is a relational concept. In the present study we are concerned with investigating Snyder's allegations in Bloodlands of criminal, atrocious activity by Stalin, the Soviet leadership, and pro-communist forces.

There is no such thing as "absolute" evidence. All evidence can be faked. Any statement - a confession of guilt, a denial of guilt, a claim one has been tortured, a claim one has not been coerced in any way - may be true or false, an attempt to state the truth as the speaker (or writer) remembers it or a deliberate lie. Documents can be forged and, in the case of Soviet history, often have been. False documents have on occasion been inserted into archives in order to be "discovered." Or it may be alleged that a given document was found in an archive when it was not. Photographs can be faked. Eyewitnesses can lie, and in any case eyewitnesses are so often in error that such evidence is among the least reliable kind. In principle there can be no such thing as a "smoking gun" - evidence that is so clearly genuine and powerful that it cannot be denied.

Identifying, locating, gathering, studying, and interpreting evidence are skills that can be taught to anyone. The most difficult and rarest skill in historical research is the discipline of objectivity. In order to reach true conclusions - statements that are more truthful than other possible statements about a given historical event - a researcher must first question and subject to doubt any preconceived ideas she may hold about the event under investigation. It is one's own preconceived ideas and prejudices that are most likely to sway one into a subjective, inaccurate interpretation of the evidence. Therefore, the researcher must take special steps to make certain this does not happen.

This can be done. The techniques are known and widely practiced in the physical and social sciences. They can and must be adapted to historical research as well. If such techniques are not practiced the historian will inevitably be seriously swayed from an objective understanding of the evidence by her own pre-existing preferences and biases. That will all but guarantee that her conclusions are false even if she is in possession of the best evidence and all the skills necessary to analyze it.

Nowhere is a devotion to objectivity more essential or less in evidence than in the field of Soviet history of the Stalin period. As it is impossible to discover the truth absent a dedication to objectivity, the present study strives to be objective at all costs. Its conclusions will displease, even outrage, a good many persons who are dedicated not to objectivity and the truth but to promoting some nationalist anticommunist narratives or to defending the Cold War-anticommunist paradigm of Soviet and European history.

The Role of Appropriate Skepticism

Throughout this essay I have tried to anticipate the objections of a skeptical critic. This is no more than any careful, objective researcher should do. In the body of the essay I follow each presentation of evidence with a critical examination.

Scholarship is the attempt to ascertain the truth. Arguments that proceed not from an objective search for truth but from some other motive, such as an attempt to attack or defend some specific allegation or historical paradigm, may fairly be labeled "propaganda." When accompanied by the trappings of scholarship - references, bibliography, assurances of objectivity devoid of its essence - such writing in reality constitutes not scholarship but "propaganda with footnotes." It is the conclusion of the present study that Bloodlands is precisely such a work.

I am aware that there is a subset of readers for whom evidence is irrelevant, for whom - to put it politely - this is not a matter of evidence but one of belief or loyalty. In any historical inquiry as in any criminal case "belief" and "loyalty" are irrelevant to the truth or falsehood of the hypothesis. By definition, a belief that is not rationally founded on evidence cannot be dispelled by a sound argument and evidence.

However, those who cannot bring themselves to question their preconceived ideas may nevertheless by provoked by those same prejudices to look especially critically at the evidence and to find weaknesses in its interpretation that might escape other readers for whom there is less at stake. This sometimes makes objections from such quarters worthy of attention. I have tried hard both to anticipate and to deal with such objections in an objective and satisfactory manner.

True Fact-Claims Are Acknowledged

The results of my study of Bloodlands are so overwhelmingly negative that some readers may suspect that this study lacks objectivity. I wish to assure the reader that I have done my best to point out those very few cases in which Snyder makes a fact-claim about the Soviet Union that both is of a negative tendency and is true.

Polish and Ukrainian "Nationalism"

In this chapter and the conclusion I have put scare quotes around the words "nationalism" and "nationalist." I do so because the right-wing "nationalists" claim that [i]only [/i]anti-communists can be really "nationalist." Communist Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, and others claim "nationalism" too - "national in form, socialist in content" is one formulation. There is no reason that the right-wing, conservative, fascist, etc. definition of "nationalist" should be conceded to be the only "legitimate" nationalism. In fact the very concept of nationalism has long since been deconstructed, though we cannot go into that here.

Snyder's falsehoods about Soviet history are not original to him. Snyder is a captive, albeit a willing one, of right-wing Polish and Ukrainian nationalists who have ruled these countries since the end of the Soviet Union and Soviet bloc. The lies and other falsehoods Snyder repeats come mainly from those sources.

This fact can be most easily seen from the books Snyder cites. When writing about Soviet history Snyder almost never cites Russian-language sources. His main sources are in Polish, secondarily in Ukrainian. But Snyder also frequently cites Ukrainian and Belarusian works in Polish translation. Polish nationalist, anticommunist writers, then, are the main fount from which Snyder draws.

I ask the reader to imagine how competent research on, say, the history of the United States could be done without citing a great many sources in the English language, or the history of France written without a preponderance of French sources. Yet Snyder seldom uses a Russian-language source. The blatant fraudulence of such an approach should be obvious - though many reviewers, sympathetic to Snyder's anti-Stalin and anticommunist bias, seem not to have remarked on it at all!

Snyder repeats and thus conveys to an unsuspecting audience the mythology of Polish and, secondarily, of Ukrainian nationalists. This is the distortion of history that is taught as truth in today's Poland and Ukraine, but also in Eastern Europe generally and increasingly, thanks to books like Bloodlands, in the rest of the world as well.

Here are some of the chief elements, the principal falsehoods, of Polish and Ukrainian historical mythology that compose the framework around which Bloodlands is constructed. We will examine all of them in the course of the present study.

  • The USSR was an "ally of Hitler's."
  • The "Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics," popularly known as the "Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact" and called "The Hitler-Stalin Pact" by anticommunists, was an agreement to "attack" and "divide up" Poland and the Baltics.
  • Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia were integral "parts of Poland", the "kresy wschodnie" or Eastern territories.
  • The Soviets aimed to "eliminate the Polish elites" - a kind of "genocide" not unlike that of the Nazis.
  • The Soviets shot about 22,000 Polish prisoners of war in the massacres called the "Katyn Massacre."
  • The Polish "Home Army" (Armia Krajowa, AK), loyal to the Polish exile government in London, fought the Nazis but was duplicitously betrayed by their supposed ally the USSR.
  • The Red Army stood by and allowed the German Army to suppress the Warsaw Uprising.
  • Polish Home Army soldiers who remained armed and underground after June 1945 were fighting for "independence" and were unjustly hunted down and "repressed" by communist security forces.
  • The Polish government and civilians were no more anti-Semitic than many other Europeans.


  • Stalin and his henchmen created the famine of 1932-33 by their criminal plan to collectivize agriculture.
  • Then they deliberately starved Ukrainian peasants in order to "punish" Ukraine and/or to sell its grain abroad.
  • The Volhynian Massacre during the war of 50,000-100,000 or more Polish civilians by armed forces of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), who were armed by, allied with, and loyal to Nazi Germany, was a minor episode unworthy of more than the briefest attention.
  • The Ukrainian nationalists in the OUN were "freedom fighters", "against both Stalin and Hitler." They were not significantly implicated in the Jewish Holocaust or other mass murders.
  • The armed Ukrainian nationalist forces who remained after the war in the underground, killing Soviet civilians, soldiers, and policemen, were not terrorists but "heroic freedom fighters."

It is hard to exaggerate the vehemence with which these false historical mythologies are officially propagated in Poland and Ukraine, as well as in the rest of Eastern Europe. Snyder feeds them to a largely Western public that is unaware of the history of Eastern Europe and has been indoctrinated over many years to accept as true any accusations of crimes against Stalin and the Soviet Union.

Both nationalist mythologies are based on historical falsehoods. Both mythologies are aimed to cover up the crimes of the Polish and Ukrainian nationalists of the 1930s and wartime period. These crimes include:

  • Poland's imperialist invasion of Soviet Russia in 1919.
  • Poland's seizure by conquest of Western Ukraine and Belorussia, ignoring the Curzon Line drawn by the Allies to show were Poles were in the minority.
  • Poland's killing of between 18,000 and 60,000 Russian prisoners of war in Polish POW camps.
  • Poland's imperialist seizure by force of Lithuania's capital Vilnius in 1922, restored to Lithuania by the USSR in October 1939.
  • The sending of Polish veterans as "settlers" (Polish "osadnicy") to "Polonize" the conquered territories.
  • Polish racist oppression against Ukrainians, Belorussians, and Jews, and suppression of their languages and cultures.
  • The pervasive nature of anti-Semitism in Polish society during the Second Republic (1919-1939), an anti-Semitism officially promoted by the Polish government and Polish Roman Catholic Church, which made Poland perhaps the most anti-Semitic country in the world at that time.
  • The Polish government's deliberate sabotage of the Soviet attempts to build collective security against Hitler's Germany.
  • Poland's participation with Germany in the partitioning of Czechoslovakia.
  • The Polish government's abandonment of the country by fleeing to internment in Rumania on September 17, 1939, thus destroying the Polish state and condemning the Polish people to Nazi occupation and mass murder.
  • The Polish Home Army's collaboration with the German Army against Soviet partisans and the Red Army.
  • The Polish Home Army's murderous anti-Semitism and anticommunism.
  • The Polish Home Army's failure to help the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943.
  • The crime of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.
  • The Polish Home Army's clandestine terrorism, murder and sabotage in socialist Poland after 1945.

Ukrainian "Nationalism"

Since the Second World War the two pillars of Ukrainian nationalism have been (a) the "Holodomor", or deliberate starvation of several million Ukrainians by Stalin in the so-called "mad-nade famine" 1932-33; and (b) the supposed "heroism" of the armed forces of the OUN as "freedom fighters" against both Germany and the Soviet Union, for independence.

Both are myths. No "Holodomor" occurred. The terrible famine of 1932-33 was caused by natural phenomena. The OUN forces were Nazis and Nazi-like mass murderers. We discuss the 1932-33 famine, and Snyder's lies about it, in a separate chapter. The principle characteristics of Ukrainian nationalism, all of which Snyder either omits or mentions only in passing, include the following:

  • The fascist nature of Ukrainian Nationalism.
  • The collaboration of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) with the Nazis during the invasion of the USSR in 1941 and during the war.
  • The OUN's participation in the mass murder of Soviet Jews (the Holocaust) and of a great many other Soviet citizens.
  • The mass murder by Ukrainian Nationalist forces of 50,000 to 100,000 Polish civilians.
  • The OUN's underground terrorism against Soviet citizens after the war, including collaboration with the American OSS/CIA.

Why Now?

During the period of the Cold War Polish and Ukrainian nationalists pushed this mythology hard. It is easy to understand why they did so. Their aim was to try to help the Western capitalist powers to weaken and perhaps overthrow socialism in the USSR and Eastern Europe. Following the principles of the "Big Lie" outlined by Hitler they considered any means - in this case, any degree of lying and falsehood - to be legitimate towards this goal.

After 1990 (Poland) and 1992 (Ukraine) the nationalists found themselves in power in capitalist states. The goal of capitalists is to enrich themselves by extracting value from the working class. This meant lowering the standard of living of the working class of Poland and Ukraine. Nationalism - the myths of the "heroic past" and of the "two Holocausts", one by Nazis, the other by the Soviets - has been the main way the economic and intellectual elites of Poland and Ukraine have attempted to "create a history" useful to the new anticommunist ruling elites. By constructing nationalist lies they also cover up the shameful truth about the past. Such national mythology also serves the important function of distracting the population away from the fact that its own rulers, through their government, are exploiting them more, lowering their standard of living. Most other "post-Soviet" countries, from the Baltics to Hungary have witnessed the imposition of similar false nationalist and anticommunist historical constructions by their new capitalist rulers.

Until recently this nationalist mythology was virtually unknown outside Eastern Europe. Why is it now being popularized in the rest of the world? There appear to be several reasons.


The anticommunist motive is simplest to understand. Polish and Ukrainian nationalist mythologies, like those of the other former Soviet and Soviet bloc countries, rely on pushing anticommunist lies, the more the better. They do this in order to disguise or minimize the fascist, racist, and pro-Nazi crimes of their nationalist predecessors, most of whom are praised as "heroes" today.

For capitalists anywhere it is always logical to promote anticommunism in order to disarm protests against the injustices of exploitation. By demonizing communism, and then by describing protests against socio-economic inequality as "communist", capitalists attempt to delegitimize any protest against their exploitative policies. Militant trade unionists, students fighting for lower tuition or free education, struggles against imperialist wars and military expenditures - all can be, and are, condemned as "communist." If communism can be equated with Nazism, then anti-communism - and, thereby, exploitation - can be portrayed as praiseworthy, even virtuous. Meanwhile the essential similarity between Nazi-type anticommunism and ordinary capitalist anti-communism can be obscured, as can the fact that fascism was and is another form of capitalism.

Twenty years after the end of the Soviet bloc many citizens of Eastern Europe look back upon it with some, often much, nostalgia. Like the USSR these were social welfare states that provided basic benefits and jobs to all, or almost all, citizens: free or low-cast medical care, education, job training, retirement pensions, and many benefits for the youth. This basic economic security is entirely lacking in capitalist states, leaving most citizens vulnerable and fearful. Cultural activities were popular, free or low-cost, and encouraged by the government. Racism - the ethnic hatreds and rivalries that have been the curse of Eastern Europe in the 20th century and are now coming back - was a a minimum. The sense of internationalism within the socialist bloc, taken for granted at the time, is often remembered now with fondness.


The United States encouraged and aided the breakup of the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc in an effort to weaken its main political and economic rival. An important ideological weapon in this effort was the demonization of the Soviet Union generally and especially of the Stalin era. Since then the United States and NATO have engaged in wars and killed civilians on a scale that no one could blame the Soviet Union for - a million civilians, mostly children, by the war and then boycott on Iraq from 1991-2003, and another several hundred thousand at least since then. This boycott and these invasions would have been impossible if the USSR and Soviet bloc had still been in existence.

Stimulated once again by the US and NATO ethnic hatreds have flared up again throughout Europe - hatred against immigrants, gypsies, and anybody of the "wrong" national background. These have led to terrible wars and anti-civilian atrocities in the former Yugoslavia, and to racist violence and murders and the rise of fascist parties throughout Europe.

When the USSR sent an army into Afghanistan in December 1979 the USA and Western capitalist governments howled with protest, cancelled the 1980 Olympic Games, and armed and trained the future Al-Qaida terrorists. In 2001 the United States invaded Afghanistan, in 2003 it invaded Iraq. Now the USA has gone far beyond what the Soviet Union ever did in the Middle East. The US is more heavily involved in military imperialist ventures in Africa as well. American influence has been challenged in Latin America by mildly reformist governments in Venezuela (Hugo Chavez), Ecuador (Rafael Correa), Bolivia (Evo Morales), and throughout the region.

In the Eurasian area one of the United States' main obstacles to expansion is Russia, still a major regional military and economic power now that the period of collapse and shrinkage of the post-Soviet period had ceased. China is now another major economic and military rival to American power - a fact which threatens to drive Russia and China into closer alliance against the United States.

US Competition with Russia

This is the geopolitical context for the escalation of hostility in American scholarship and elite discourse concerning Soviet history, especially history of the Stalin period. The United States did not split up the Soviet Union. Top figures in the Soviet Communist Party did that. But the United States ruling elite has benefitted tremendously from the way the USSR broke up. Most of the countries that had previously been in the Soviet bloc, plus most of the new countries that had been part of the USSR itself, instantly became anti-Russian, more closely allied to the United States and Western Europe (NATO) than to Russia. This was a great geopolitical victory for the US ruling elite. It is presumably helpful to their interests to accept large parts of the nationalist mythology promoted by Polish and Ukrainian elites.

Russia is blamed as the successor state to the Soviet Union. The more crimes that can be attributed to the USSR, the more negative, even criminal Russia can be made to appear. The campaign to associate the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany serves to obscure the far more accurate parallels between the prewar capitalist states and Nazi Germany, and the fascist mass murders by capitalist states before and after World War 2. It is similar to the French and American "rewriting" of their wars to preserve colonialism in Vietnam by calling them "wars of liberation against communist aggression", since the anti-colonial movement in Vietnam was indeed led by the communist party.

One could argue that there has indeed been a "second Holocaust" - not by the Soviet Union during 1930-1945 but by the Western imperialist nations in their colonial empires during their final century of roughly 1880-1975, with tens of millions of victims. This "second Holocaust" has only escalated since the demise of the Soviet bloc.

Method of Presentation

The present book takes upon itself the task of examining and checking every single statement in Bloodlands that has an anti-Soviet or anticommunist tendency, and reporting the results of this research of verification. It presents for the reader's consideration the proof that virtually every fact-claim of an anti-Soviet tendency in Snyder's book is false.

Most people rely upon the statements by supposedly "authoritative" figures such as Snyder. They trust that scholars from respected institutions of learning with renowned academic reputations do not fabricate evidence and conspicuously lie about important historical events. It is this trust that enables false scholarship to shape opinion on important historical questions.

Most of the chapters in Snyder's book focus on a single event or chain of events; the famine of 1932-33 (Chapter 1); the Ezhovshchina (the anticommunist term is "Great Terror") (Chapter 2); the so-called "national operations", part of the Ezhovshchina (Chapter 3); the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (Chapter 4); the Resistance (Chapter 9); the post-war deportations intended to separate people of different nationalities (Chapter 10); Soviet suppression of Zionism within the USSR during the period up to 1953 (Chapter 11). Chapters 5 through 7 are not organized about a single event but deal with a number of events related to the war. Only Chapter 8, "The Nazi Death Factories", which is devoted solely to Nazi crimes, contains no fact-claims of an anti-Soviet tendency.

It is no exaggeration to state that, as concerns Soviet history, Snyder's Bloodlands is a work of falsification from beginning to end. I have established that this is so through an exhaustive process of checking every footnote, every reference that Snyder cites in support of any fact-claim or statement of an anti-Soviet tendency.

The "Big Lie" Technique

A normal practice for those who intend to deceive others is to mainly tell the truth, and smuggle in the falsehoods intermingled among the true statements. Snyder did not choose to follow this technique of deception. Rather, Snyder employs the method of "The Big Lie." Though it is ostensibly not a work of propaganda Snyder's book follows the technique of propaganda recommended by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, such as the following:

The function of propaganda is, for example, not to weigh and ponder the rights of different people, but exclusively to emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for. Its task is not to make an objective study of the truth, in so far as it favors the enemy, and then set it before the masses with academic fairness; its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly.

It was absolutely wrong to discuss war-guilt from the standpoint that Germany alone could not be held responsible for the outbreak of the catastrophe; it would have been correct to load every bit of the blame on the shoulders of the enemy, even if this had not really corresponded to the true facts, as it actually did.

The "Big Lie" was not original with Hitler. He learned of it by studying the anti-German propaganda put out by the Western Allies during the First World War. After the war a number of books were written, often by shocked and deceived journalists, exposing these Allied falsifications.

There is a large literature about these Allied lies. ...In the USA the so-called "Creel Committee" co-ordinated false propaganda for the American home front.

Thus there was no need for Snyder to learn the "Big Lie" technique from Hitler. That Snyder does utilize this technique is beyond questions. The present book establishes this fact by carefully checking every one of the references Snyder uses to support his anti-Soviet fact-claims.

Snyder makes no attempt at objectivity. Indeed, his anti-Soviet hostility often boils over in passages of heated rhetoric, fervent moralizing, and moral condemnation that serve no analytical purpose. Yet objectivity is first among the requirements of any historian worthy of the name. If one does not strive for objectivity from the outset of one's study one will never discover the truth. The truth was never Snyder's goal in the first place.

Hitler also succinctly explained why the "Big Lie" technique is so effective:

In this they proceeded on the sound principle that the magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil, and that, therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big. Such a falsehood will never enter their heads and they will not be able to believe in the possibility of such monstrous effrontery and infamous misrepresentation in others; yes, even when enlightened on the subject, they will long doubt and waver, and continue to accept at least one of these causes as true. Therefore, something of even the most insolent lie will always remain and stick - a fact which all the great lie-virtuosi and lying-clubs in this world know only too well and also make the most treacherous use of.

Some readers may think that it is inappropriate to compare Snyder's method to Hitler's regardless of the apparent accuracy of that comparison. As understandable as such reluctance may be, the reader should note that Snyder often compares Joseph Stalin to Adolf Hitler but utterly fails to demonstrate that similarity because the "evidence" he cites in support of this "Stalin-Hitler" comparison is not evidence at all but is based on falsification.

Consciously or not, Snyder uses the "Big Lie" technique to compare Stalin to Hitler, the communists to the Nazis, communism to Nazism. This comparison falls apart if one sticks to the truth - the truth dismantles it entirely. Hence the lies and falsehoods, "deliberate" or not.

A full professor at Yale University, publishing with a major American commercial publisher, can rely on "credibility" - the only coin in the propagandist's purse. The present study shows this coin to be counterfeit.

Edited by swampman ()

[account deactivated]
Get Herr Doktor Schneider an account
so the authors of the book asked the public for accounts of the famine, but because the specific passage snyder cited doesn't mention famines the account could be about something else?


we're through the looking glass here, people

Panopticon posted:

so the authors of the book asked the public for accounts of the famine, but because the specific passage snyder cited doesn't mention famines the account could be about something else?

I think Furr's point is that Snyder tells this story a lot - relies on it to set the mood for his message - but there are a lot of lies in it, and there is not even a real attempt to conceal the lies.


tpaine posted:

you can type russian. it's just like pychnna no6vog

mnamNba, npabda ahuj9

new features for chapter 1:
-square brackets are not permitted by the BBS, so I have the curly ones { instead
-small text for citations allows me to include more of them. Also, both URLs to Furr-uploaded PDFs have worked so far... congtuatlions!

Chapter 1. The "Man-Made" Famine and "Deliberate Famine" Arguments in Bloodlands, Chapter 1.

More pages of Bloodlands are devoted to the subject of the famine of 1932-33 than to any other single event. Though he has never done research on the famine Snyder promotes a view that contradicts all the evidence as well as the view of the best scholars of this subject: that the famine was "man-made" and "deliberate." We present the conclusions of these scholars here.

In the course of studying Snyder's account of the famine and proving it wrong we also consider, and disprove, the works of scholars who are motivated not by objectivity and a desire to discover the truth but by ideological partisanship: anticommunism and Ukrainian nationalism.

Snyder devotes the whole first chapter of Bloodlands to insistence that the famine was deliberate. This is all wrong. Moreover, Snyder ought to be aware that it is wrong because the unanimous conclusion of the best experts who have studied this question is that the famine was a secular one caused by weather conditions and plant diseases. Snyder cites the works of these scholars. But he never informs his readers that they reject entirely the "deliberate starvation" notion that is central to Snyder's book.

There are two distinct though related parts to the "man-made famine" allegation. First, it is asserted that the Soviet government - "Stalin" - deliberately "murdered" the several million people, mainly Ukrainian peasants, who died from the famine. The reasons alleged for the decision to "murder" vary. Sometimes it is claimed that starvation was used to crush Ukrainian nationalism. Sometimes it is suggested that the Soviet government decided to export grain to fuel the program of crash industrialization in full knowledge that this meant death of millions by starvation. These two explanations are not mutually exclusive and are raised in an inconsistent manner, an inconsistency attributable to the fact that there is not the slightest evidence to support either one of them.

As a preface to our detailed critique of Snyder's account in Chapter One of Bloodlands we note the following passages from Snyder's articles in influential American and British intellectual journals. These passages attest to the fact that Snyder promotes this false position with great energy and persistence. We have emphasized some phrases for the reader's convenience.

A. The Famine Itself Was Deliberate Murder

Jewish communist partisans in Belarus or Ukraine obviously seem heroic as enemies of the Nazis and avengers of their families. Their legacy is muddled by the fact that they bore arms to defend a system that had killed 3.5 million Ukrainians and a similar number of Kazakhs by famine 10 years before, and a million other Soviet citizens by execution in 1937-1938 (2004-2)

The Soviets hid their mass shootings in dark woods and falsified the records of regions in which they had starved people to death... (2009-2)

...the Soviet policies that killed people directly and purposefully, by starvation... (2009-2)

Of the Stalinist killing policies, two were the most significant: the collectivization famines of 1930-1933 and the Great Terror of 1937-1938. It remains unclear whether the Kazakh famine of 1930-1932 was intentional, although it is clear that over a million Kazakhs died of starvation.It is established beyond all reasonable doubt that Stalin intentionally starved to death Soviet Ukrainians in the winter of 1932-1933. Soviet documents reveal a series of orders of October-December 1932 with evident malice and intention to kill. By the end, more than three million inhabitants of Soviet Ukraine had died. (2009-2)

Here Snyder says "over a million Kazakhs" died. In the previous quotation, from the same article, he says "3.5 million Ukrainians and a similar number of Kazakhs."

...millions of Ukrainians were deliberately starved by Stalin. (2009-2)

The preoccupation with Ukraine as a source of food was shared by Hitler and Stalin. Both wished to control and exploit the Ukrainian breadbasket, and both caused political famines: Stalin in the country as a whole, Hitler in the cities and prisoner-of-war camps. (2009-2)

The famine certainly did happen, and it was deliberate. (2010-1)

He threatened local officials with the Gulag, forcing them to collect grain from the starving; and he sealed the internal borders of the republic so that they could not beg in other parts of the Soviet Union. (2010-1)

...the deliberate starvation of the three million inhabitants of Soviet Ukraine by the Stalinist regime... (2010-2)

While it is true that Stalin's policy of collectivization - the state seizure of farmland and the coercive employment of peasants - brought enormous suffering throughout the USSR in the early 1930s, it is also true that Stalin made deliberate decisions about grain requisitions and livestock seizures that brought death to three million people in Ukraine who did not have to die. Some of the very worst of the killing took place in southeastern Ukraine, where Stalin is now being celebrated and where Yanukovych has his political base. The famine destroyed that region's rural society by killing many, cowing more, and permitting the immigration of people from beyond Ukraine - chiefly Russians, some of whom inherited the homes of the starved. The cult of Stalin is thus no empty symbol in Ukraine; it is a mark of active identification with a person who owed his mastery of Ukraine to a campaign of death. (2010-2)

We now know, after 20 years of discussion of Soviet documents, that in 1932 Stalin knowingly transformed the collectivization famine in Ukraine into a deliberate campaign of politically motivated starvation. (2010-5)

Of those who starved, the 3.3 million or so inhabitants of Soviet Ukraine who died in 1932 and 1933 were victims of a deliberate killing policy related to nationality. (2011-1)

Stalin requisitioned grain in Soviet Ukraine knowing that such a policy would kill millions. (2011-1)

(All emphases added.)

In these semi-popular articles Snyder is at liberty to make the charge of "deliberate famine" and "mass murder" without citing evidence of any kind. In Bloodlands Snyder finally has to present his "evidence" to the scrutiny of his readers. We shall examine his argument in detail and expose it for the fraud that it is.

The "Ukrainian Famine" and post-Soviet nationaism

Since the 1950s Ukrainian Nationalist organizations have been claiming that Stalin and Bolshevik leaders deliberately starved the Ukraine in order to punish Ukrainian nationalist spirit. The same Ukrainian nationalist groups entered the USSR with the Nazis and collaborated in massacring at least hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens - mainly other Ukrainians, as they were largely confined to the Ukraine, as well as Jews. They also committed the "Volhynian massacres" of 50,000-100,000 Polish peasants in their attempt at "ethnic cleansing" - a little-known holocaust that has received attention only since the end of the USSR and Eastern bloc. Their version of the famine, which they call "Holodomor," or "deliberate death by starvation," is best known in the West from the 1986 book by Robert Conquest, Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine. Conquest has retracted his claim, as we shall see below.

The thesis of Conquest's book, that the famine was deliberate and aimed at Ukrainians, is today's "Holodomor" thesis, though this term was not yet used in the 1980s. Anticommunist Soviet-studies experts rejected it at the time the book was published.

"There is no evidence it was intentionally directed against Ukrainians," said Alexander Dallin of Stanford, the father of modern Sovietology. "That would be totally out of keeping with what we know - it makes no sense."

"This is crap, rubbish," said Moshe Lewin of the University of Pennsylvania, whose Russian Peasants and Soviet Power broke new ground in social history. "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."

"I absolutely reject it," said Lynne Viola of SUNY-Binghamton, the first US historian to examine Moscow's Central State Archive on collectivization. "Why in god's name would this paranoid government consciously produce a famine when they were terrified of war {with Germany}?"

These premiere Sovietologists dismiss Conquest for what he is - an ideologue whose serious work is long behind him. But Dallin stands as a liberal exception to the hard-liners of his generation, while Lewin and Viola remain Young Turks who happen to be doing the freshest work on this period. In Soviet studies, where rigor and objectivity count for less than the party line, where fierce anti-Communists still control the prestigious institutes and first-rank departments, a Conquest can survive and prosper while barely cracking a book.

"He's terrible at doing research," said veteran Sovietologist Roberta Manning of Boston College. "He misuses sources, he twists everything."

Quoted in Jeff Coplon. "In Search of a Soviet Holocaust. A 55-Year-Old Famine Feeds the Right." Village Voice (New York City) January 12, 1988

In a polite but firmly negative review of Conquest's book in the London Review of Books in 1987 American Soviet scholar J. Arch Getty wrote:

Conquest's hypothesis, sources and evidence are not new. Indeed, he himself first put forward his view two years ago in a work sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute. The intentional famine story, however, has been an article of faith for Ukrainian émigrés in the West since the Cold War. Much of Conquest's most graphic description is taken from such period-pieces as The Golgoltha of the Ukraine (1953), The Black Deeds of the Kremlin (1953) and Communism the Enemy of Mankind (1955). Conquest's book will thus give a certain academic credibility to a theory which has not been generally accepted by non-partisan scholars outside the circles of exiled nationalities. In today's conservative political climate, with its 'evil empire' discourse, I am sure that the book will be very popular.

"Starving the Ukraine." Review of Conquest, The Harvest of Sorrow the terror-famine. London Review of Books January 22, 1987 pp. 8-9. Conquest's reply, Getty's response to it, and the ensuing back-and-forth, bitter on Conquest's part and skillful on Getty's, was online on October 24, 2013 when I accessed it. Now only 1/4 of it is available for free.

Despite their best efforts Ukrainian researchers have been unable to find any documentary support for their claim of deliberate starvation. A huge number of archival documents, a few of them reproduced in a Library of Congress volume Revelations from the Russian Archives, documents in English translation, make it clear that no such deliberate starvation occurred.

Nevertheless the myth of the "Holodomor" is now constitutive of the nationalist identity promoted by the independent state of Ukraine and is taught compulsorily in Ukrainian schools as fact. A few articles by the world's leading scholar on the 1932-33 famine, Mark Tauger of West Virginia University, whose work contradicts the Ukrainian nationalist account have just begun to appear in Russian-, though not in Ukrainian-language publications.

Even Robert Conquest has backed off his initial claim that the famine was deliberate, as Davies and Wheatcroft have revealed.

Our view of Stalin and the famine is close to that of Robert Conquest, who would earlier have been considered the champion of the argument that Stalin had intentionally caused the famine and had acted in a genocidal manner. In 2003, Dr Conquest wrote to us explaining that he does not hold the view that 'Stalin purposely inflicted the 1933 famine. No. What I argue is that with the resulting famine imminent, he could have prevented it, but put "Soviet interest" other than feeding the starving first - thus consciously abetting it'. (Emphasis added)

R. W. Davies & Stephen G. Wheatcroft. "Debate. Stalin and the Soviet Famine of 1932-33: A Reply to Ellman." Europe-Asia Studies 58 (4) June 2006, 629; Also in Davies & Wheatcroft, The Years of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture, 1931-1933 (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 441 n.145.

Yet the "man-made famine" claim continues to be presented either as settled fact, as Snyder does, or as one plausible theory among others.

In 1995 Davies, Tauger, and Wheatcroft outlined their conclusions about the famine in this way:

We therefore conclude:

1. All planners' stocks - the two secret grain reserves, Nepfond and Mobfond or Gosfond, together with "transitional stocks" held by grain organizations - amounted on 1 July 1933 to less than 2 million tons (1.997 million tons, according to the highest official figure). Persistent efforts of Stalin and the Politburo to establish firm and inviolable grain reserves (in addition to "transitional stocks") amounting to 2 or 3 million tons or more were almost completely unsuccessful. ...

2. We do not know the amount of grain which was held by grain-consuming organizations, notably the Red Army, but we suspect that these "consumers' stocks" would not change the picture substantially.

3. These findings do not, of course, free Stalin from responsibility for the famine. It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to assess the extent to which it would have been possible for Stalin to use part of the grain stocks available in spring 1933 to feed starving peasants. The state was a monopoly supplier of grain to urban areas and the army; if the reserves of this monopoly supply system - which amounted to four-six weeks' supply - were to have been drained, mass starvation, epidemics and unrest in the towns could have resulted. Nevertheless, it seems certain that, if Stalin had risked lower levels of these reserves in spring and summer 1933, hundreds of thousands - perhaps millions - of lives could have been saved. In the slightly longer term, if he had been open about the famine, some international help would certainly have alleviated the disaster. And if he had been more far-sighted, the agricultural crisis of 1932-1933 could have been avoided altogether. But Stalin was not hoarding immense grain reserves in these years. On the contrary, he had failed to reach the levels which he had been imperatively demanding since 1929.

R.W. Davies, M.B. Tauger and S.G. Wheatcroft. "Stalin, Grain Stocks and the Famine of 1932-1933." Slavic Review Volume 54, Issue 3 (Autumn, 1995), 642-657, at 656-7.

In their major work on the subject published in 2004 Davies and Wheatcroft outline their conclusions as follows:

Our study of the Famine has led us to very different conclusions from Dr. Conquest's. He holds that Stalin "wanted a famine," that "the Soviets did not want the famine to be coped with successfully," and that the Ukrainian famine was "deliberately inflicted for its own sake." This leads him to the sweeping conclusion: "The main lesson seems to be that the Communist ideology provided the motivation for an unprecedented massacre of men, women and children."

We do not at all absolve Stalin from responsibility for the famine. His policies towards the peasants were ruthless and brutal. But the story which has emerged in this book is of a Soviet leadership which was struggling with a famine crisis which had been caused partly by their wrongheaded policies, but was unexpected and undesirable. The background to the famine is not simply that Soviet agricultural policies were derived from Bolshevik ideology, though ideology played its part. They were also shaped by the Russian revolutionary past, the experiences of the civil war, the international situation, the intransigent circumstances of geography and the weather, and the modus operandi of the Soviet system as it was established under Stalin. They were formulated by men with little formal education and limited knowledge of agriculture. Above all, they were a consequence of the decision to industrialize this peasant country at breakneck speed.

R.W. Davies and Stephen G. Wheatcroft, The Years of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture, 1931-33. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, p. 441.

Mark Tauger did not coauthor this book. Of these three authors only Tauger has devoted his professional life to the study of the 1932-33 famine, Russian famines, and famines generally. In his review of Davies' and Wheatcroft's book Tauger both sums up their conclusions and expresses some criticisms of them.

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. The most famous exposition of this view is the book Harvest of Sorrow, now almost two decades old, by the prolific (and problematic) historian Robert Conquest, but this perspective can be found in History Channel documentaries on Stalin, many textbooks of Soviet history, Western and even World Civilization, and many writings on Stalinism, on the history of famines, and on genocide.

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 a 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. The book under review, The Years of Hunger, by Robert Davies and Stephen Wheatcroft, is the latest and largest of these revisionist interpretations. It presents more evidence than any previous study documenting the intentions of Soviet leaders and the character of the agrarian and agricultural crises of these years.

Tauger also expresses some serious criticisms of Davies' and Wheatcroft's work:

Second, the book still does not satisfactorily explain why the famine took place when it did and especially why it ended. The authors' chapters on agriculture and procurements in 1933, which was of course the crucial agricultural year because this was when the famine basically ended, are substantially shorter than those on 1931 and 1932 and have a certain "rushed" quality. Davies and Wheatcroft identify several objective factors to which they attribute the declines in food production in 1931-1933 that in great part caused the famine. Most of those factors that they identify for 1932, however, still prevailed or were even worse in 1933. The decline in livestock numbers and draft forces, for example, continued into 1933 and possibly 1934 (depending on how one calculates the value of a tractor); the disorder in crop rotation was not overcome even by the reduced sowing plans of 1933, or for some years thereafter. Most important, famine conditions were much worse. The authors cite a few sources claiming that peasants somehow knew in 1933 that they had to work hard (p. 238), but they also acknowledge in another context that at least some peasants worked hard in 1932 as well (p. 418). In any case, all evidence about peasants' resistance is anecdotal and can be shown not to be representative of their views and actions generally (see my article "Soviet Peasants and Collectivization: Resistance and Adaptation"). Without any doubt, however, working conditions for peasants in 1933, because of the more severe famine conditions, were much worse in 1933 than in 1932.

Given these inconsistencies, there remains one factor in explaining the cause of the small harvest of 1932 that can account for the improved harvest in 1933, and that is the complex of environmental factors in 1932. As I documented in a recent publication, 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 (Natura Disaster and Human Action, p 19). One Soviet source did estimate higher rust losses in 1933 than 1932 for two provinces in the Central Blackearth Region, which is a small region of the country (approximately 5 percent of the total sown area). Davies and Wheatcroft cite this and imply that it applied to the rest of the country (p. 131-132 fn. 137), but that source does not document larger losses from rust in 1933 anywhere else. Further, the exceptional weather and agricultural conditions of 1932 did not generally recur in 1933.

Consequently I would still argue, against Davies and Wheatcroft, that the weather and infestations of 1932 were the most important causes of the small harvest in 1932 and the larger one in 1933. I would also like to point out for the record here that the criticism they make (p. 444-445) of my harvest data is invalid and represents an unjustified statistical manipulation of what are in fact the only genuine harvest data for 1932 (see "The 1932 Harvest").

Mark Tauger. Review of R. W. Davies and Stephen G. Wheatcroft, The Years of Hunger: Soviet Agriculture, 1931-1933. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Link rotted!

Tauger attributes more importance to climatic conditions, and less to communist party ideology, policies, incompetence, and/or burtality, than do Davies and Wheatcroft.

B. Collectivization caused the famine

Snyder also links the famine to collectivization. He writes:

...both regimes {i.e. the Nazi and Soviet) integrated mass murder with economic planning. (2009-2)

Eighty years ago, in the autumn of 1930, Joseph Stalin enforced a policy that changed the course of history, and led to tens of millions of deaths across the decades and around the world. In a violent and massive campaign of "collectivization," he brought Soviet agriculture under state control. (2010-5)

Once the agricultural sector of the USSR was collectivized, the hunger began. (2010-5)

...the shooting and deportation of the best farmers... (2010-5)

After Mao made his revolution in 1948, Chinese communists followed the Stalinist model of development. This meant that some 30 million Chinese starved to death 1958-1961, in a famine very similar to that in the Soviet Union. Maoist collectivization, too, was followed by mass shooting campaigns. (2010-5)

As we have seen above, Tauger believes that climatic conditions played a greater role in the famine than policy factors such as collectivization.

There have been hundreds of famines in Russian history, about one every 2nd or 3rd year. There were serious famines in 1920-1921, 1924, 1927, and 1928. The "Volga famine' of 1920-1921 is well known, in part because of the Nansen relief commission which took many horrifying photographs of the suffering. There was another weather-induced famine in 1924.

In 2001 Tauger published an article about the 1924 and 1928 famines titled "Grain Crisis or Famine?" Official Soviet Ukrainian primary sources prove that the 1928-1929 famine was a serious famine, including in the Ukraine, which received more aid than it sent to other parts of the USSR. This disproves the "exploitation" theory of some Ukrainian nationalists. The 1928-1929 famine was caused by natural disaster, mainly drought. It was not induced by Soviet taxation or procurement policies. Moreover, government relief efforts and agencies organized the shortage to distribute very significant amounts of food to the poorest persons, undoubtedly saving many lives.

But the famines of 1924 and 1927-1928 are largely ignored. When they don't ignore them anticommunist researchers deny that these were "famines," calling them instead "regional and local problems." Evidently they do this in order to hide the fact that famines of greater or lesser intensity occurred in Russia very frequently. Anticommunist writers would like others to believe that such famines were rare until collectivization.

But in reality famines were common. Collectivization was in large part an attempt to solve this perennial problem. In a famous passage in his memoir of World War 2 Hinge of Fate Churchill quoted Stalin as saying:

"Ten millions," he said, holding up his hands. "It was fearful. Four years it lasted. It was absolutely necessary for Russia, if we were to avoid periodic famines, to plough the land with tractors. We must mechanise our agriculture. When we gave tractors to the peasants they were all spoiled in a few months. Only Collective Farms with workshops could handle tractors.

Churchill wrote these volumes years later and his memory was probably far from precise. But no one has suggested that Churchill invented this passage about "avoiding periodic famines."

Therefore, collectivization was necessary not simply to fund industrialization, although it was indeed essential for that purpose. It was essential to put an end to periodic famines, during which a great many people died. Indeed, 1932-33 was the last famine, except for the postwar famine of 1946-1947, the basic cause of which was the worst drought in many decades combined with the immense destruction caused by the war. Stephen Wheatcroft's recent article convincingly demolishes the ideological anticommunists who tried to make this famine too a "man-made" famine to "punish peasants."

This fact - that collectivization saved the Soviet people from further famines - is virtually always erased in discussions of the famine of 1932-33. Collectivization certainly caused deaths. However, not to collectivize would also have caused deaths. The status quo caused deaths - from famines. Continuing the NEP (New Economic Policy) would have caused deaths from famines. Poor peasants died from starvation even in non-famine years because they could not afford to buy enough grain.

The only alternatives to collectivization of agriculture were:

1. To permit famines to continue every 2-3 years indefinitely, as the Tsars had done;

2. To forego industrialization for decades, if not forever (if the Nazis had had their way all Slavs would have been killed or reduced to uneducated serfs).

In terms of the good that it did and the evils that it avoided, collectivization, with all of its problems and deaths, was one of the great triumphs of public policy of the 20th century. Had it been accomplished by a capitalist country it would probably have long since been generally acknowledged as such.

The Chinese Communists and Vietnamese Communists learned much from studying the Bolsheviks' experience with collectivization and industrialization. They resolved not to slavishly imitate the Soviet example, and they did not do so. But Stalin and the Bolsheviks were the first. They did not have the benefit of hindsight. It is to be expected that they would make many decisions that later turned out to have been mistakes. That is always the case with pioneers. During collectivization the Bolsheviks made many, many errors. But it would have been an immeasurably greater mistake not to try in the first place.

And here is the problem. It is unfashionable, "politically incorrect," to point these things out. The prevailing anticommunist, and specifically anti-Stalinist, orthodoxy among elites, East and West, make it literally unprintable. It's a fact, it's the truth - but "you can't say it."

Collectivization and the Famine of 1932-33: What Really Happened

This is a brief account of the 1932-1933 Soviet famine as supported by the primary source evidence now available. It is based upon the research of Professor Mark Tauger of West Virginia University. Tauger has spent his professional life of more than 20 years studying famines and is a world expert on Russian famines. He has written several special studies of the 1932-33 famine.

Famines in Russian History

Famine has struck Russia hundreds of times during the past millennium. A 1988 account by Russian scholars traces these famines through historical records from the year 736 A.D. to 1914. Many of these famines struck Ukraine as well.

The year of the two Russian revolutions, 1917, saw a serious crop failure leading to an urban famine in 1917-18. In the 1920s the USSR had a series of famines: in 1920-1923 in the Volga and Ukraine plus one in western Siberia in 1923; in the Volga and Ukraine again in 1924-25, and a serious and little-studied famine in Ukraine in 1928-1929.

In 1920-1923 Russia experienced a devastating famine, often called the Volga famine - a misnomer since it affected at least the Volga region, Ukraine, and the North Caucasus - with accompanying typhus epidemic. The Soviet government requested and received considerable help from abroad, including from the famous commission headed by Norwegian explorer and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen and Herbert Hoover's American Relief Administration.

The Nansen commission took many photographs of the dead, dying, and starving. Some of these have been used repeatedly by Ukrainian Nationalists to illustrate their works on the 1932-33 famine.

Another famine struck in 1924-1925. Again in 1927-1928 a terrible crop failure struck the Ukraine, the result of a combination of natural disasters.

The Soviet Ukrainian government established a famine relief commission, the Uriadkom, the central government in Moscow transported food from the Russian Republic to Ukraine, and the Uriadkom distributed food to nearly 400,000 peasants, as well as livestock feed, farm equipment, and credits. (Tauger 2012a; Tauger 2001a)

Uriadkom is an abbreviation for the Ukrainian name "Uriadova komisia po dopomohi poterpilim vid nevrozhaiu selianam" - "State Commission for Aid to Peasants Suffering from the Crop Failure" (Tauger 2001a, 147)

This history of a thousand years of frequent famine and of a dozen years that witnessed three significant crop failures and subsequent famines is the essential context for understanding the famine of 1932-1933 and the response of the Soviet government to it.

The Ukrainian famine of 1928-29 was the third famine in the Soviet Union in seven years due to a natural disaster and was the most extreme part of a broader food-supply crisis that affected most of the country. This crisis did not result exclusively or even mainly from price policies. The Soviet Union clearly had an extreme vulnerability to natural disasters, and Soviet leaders interpreted this vulnerability in comparison to the West as a sign of agricultural backwardness.

For Soviet leaders, the Ukrainian famine was an important part of the argument that Soviet agriculture had to be changed. (Tauger 2001a 169-70)


The collectivization of agriculture was designed to end the cycle of famines that had tormented Russia and Ukraine for centuries. It was a reform - a significant improvement in the security and lives of the peasant population and therefore of the entire population. It was not undertaken to "tax" or "exploit" the peasants or to extract value from the countryside. On the contrary: during the decade 1929-1939 the Soviet government spent tens of billions of rubles on agriculture.

{T}heir primary goal was increasing food production by using what seemed to be the most modern and reliable methods available at the time. (Tauger 2004, 70)

Stalin and the Bolsheviks viewed collectivization as the only way to swiftly modernize agriculture, to put an end to the wasteful and labor-consuming cultivation of individual land holdings, often in tiny widely-scattered strips and put it on a large-scale basis. They used the large-scale, highly mechanized agriculture of certain American farms in the West as models for sovkhozy (Soviet farms). They did not see collectivization as a means of exploitation or as "re-creating serfdom" and certainly not as deliberate killings or genocide. Nor was it.

Peasant Protests against Collectivization

Peasant protests did occur. According to an OGPU (police) report of March 1931, right in the midst of collectivization, about five per cent of the peasant population was involved in protests. This also means that the vast majority of peasants were not involved in such protests. Most of these protests were settled peacefully; the OGPU reported that they had recourse to force in fewer than 2% of them. Many peasants actively supported collectivization. This number increased when local activists were experienced or sensitive enough to patiently explain the purpose of collectivization to the peasants. Some peasants "spontaneously form{ed} kolkhozy and consolidated their fields." (Tauger 2004, 75)

Tauger concludes that:

...the regime implemented collectivization coercively, violently and without adequate appreciation of or concern for its disruptive consequences (Tauger 2004, 88)

Nevertheless, he concludes:

{C}ollectivization was a programme to achieve a clearly necessary goal - to increase food production in a country plagued by famines - and that it was implemented after the apparently successful experiment of the sovkhoz project and with substantial governmental investments. (Tauger 2004, 88)

Many historians claim that peasant opposition to and even rebellion against collectivization was widespread, and thus that collectivization produced "famine and failure." Tauger believes the facts show otherwise:

{T}hese studies minimize or ignore the actual harvest data, the environmental factors that caused low harvests, the repeated recovery from the famine and crop failures, the large harvests of the 1930s, the mechanization of Soviet farms in these years, Soviet population growth, and the long-term increases in food production and consumption over the Soviet period. (Tauger 2004, 87)

In short, collectivization was a success for the Soviet and Ukrainian peasantry and for all of Soviet society which, of course, relied on the peasants' agricultural labor to feed it.

...collectivisation brought substantial modernisation to traditional agriculture in the Soviet Union, and laid the basis for relatively high food production and consumption by the 1970s and 1980s. (Tauger 2006, 109)

Many accounts of "dekulakization" and forcible grain procurements emphasize the violence that was often necessary to force determined opponents of collectivization off the land into exile, and the fact that peasants who were forced to give up grain during the famine experienced this force as cruelty. There must have been many incidents that could be described by anyone as "cruel". In Tauger's view "the cruel forced movement of population - dekulakization" or what Stalin called "the destruction of the class of kulaks", was "not necessarily the best means to achieve the regime's objective" of collectivizing agriculture.

I am not convinced by those who claim that the Soviets rejected "better" or "less cruel" methods of collectivization. The truth is that collectivization was a massive enterprise that was unprecedented in history. Stalin and the Soviet leadership undertook it because they saw no other way to avoid devastating famines in the future. They made a plan and carried it out, and that meant disempowering any people who were determined to stop it.

The Soviet leadership was flexible. The plan was changed several times in response to feedback from local activists who worked directly with peasants. The most famous change in plan is that associated with Stalin's article "Dizzy with Success," published on March 2, 1930. This article re-emphasized the need to persuade rather than to force peasants to join collective farms.

When the famine occurred - not caused by collectivization but by environmental factors, as we discuss below - the Soviet leadership had to deal with that too. There was no choice but to take grain from peasants in the countryside in order to redistribute it in a more egalitarian manner, as well as to feed the cities and the army, which produced little food. Whatever excesses or cruelty took place were the inevitable result of errors in the plan for carrying out collectivization. Inevitable too was the unevenness in the abilities and characteristics of the tens of thousands of activists and of the peasants themselves. All were faced with a terrible situation under emergency conditions, where many people would inevitably die of starvation or its effects, simply because there was not enough food to feed the whole population.

No "perfect" plan is ever possible at any time. None was possible in 1932. A great many mistakes were made. It could not have been otherwise. But the biggest mistake would have been not to collectivize at all.

This evidence shows, in particular, that collectivisation allowed the mobilisation and distribution of resources, like tractors, seed aid, and food relief, to enable farmers to produce a large harvest during a serious famine, which was unprecedented in Russian history and almost so in Soviet history. By implication, therefore, this research shows that collectivisation, whatever its disruptive effects on agriculture, did in fact function as a means to modernise and aid Soviet agriculture. (Tauger 2006, 112)

The Famine of 1932-33

Two incorrect explanations of this famine are widely accepted. The Ukrainian nationalist explanation claims that Stalin and the Bolshevik leadership withheld grain from Ukrainian peasants in order to export it; deliberately starved Ukrainian peasants to suppress Ukrainian striving for independence; or both. The alleged motives vary because there is no evidence to support any of them.

This is the myth of the "Holodomor". Consciously modeled on the Jewish Holocaust it originated in the Ukrainian diaspora, among and under the influence of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and veterans of the 14th Waffen SS "Galizien" division and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN-UPA). These forces had fought on the side of the Nazis and had fled to the west with German troops as the Red Army advanced. In true Nazi fashion early proponents of this "deliberate famine" myth blamed Jews for it.

Two Ukrainian quislings of Moscow, D. Shumsky and M. Khvylovyj, who believed that Moscow as working for a better communist Ukraine but eventually realised that she was only expanding her empire, committed suicide. They were replaced by L. Kahanovych as Secretary of the Communist Party of Ukraine and I. Shelehess, A. Shlihter, Y. Rahkis, among others, as assistant secretaries. All of them were Jews. The following Jews held positions in the Ministry of Police - V. Balicky, Karlsom, M. Latsis, F. Koch, C. Fuchs. ...

L. Kahanovych realised he would have a monumental task in bringing the Ukrainian villagers to heel. They were hard-working farmers, fiercely proud of their livelihood and land and would defend these to the death. Moscow's plan was to take all the land and reduce the villagers to virtual serfdom under the guise of collectivisation.

To achieve this, Kahanovych and the politburo organized a man-made famine in which 7 million Ukrainians died.

See Jurij Chumatskij, Why Is One Holocaust Worth More Than Others? Baulkam Hills, NSW, Australia: Busnessl Press Printing Pty, 1986, 31. The title page informs us that it is "Published by Veterans of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army." In today's Ukraine, dominated by pro-Nazi "nationalist" ideology, this group (often called by its Ukrainian initials UPA, for Ukrains'ka Povstans'ka Armiia) is praised as "fighters for independence."

When Ukraine became independent in 1991 these forces flooded into the country and exercised a determining influence in historical-ideological questions. They promoted the status of the OUN-UPA forces, guilty of immense mass murders of Jews, Poles, and Soviet citizens generally, as "heroes" who were "fighting for independence". (The assumption here is that "patriotism" and "nationalism" somehow excuse mass murder.)

Thus the myth of the "Holodomor" was never based upon any evidence. Rather, it was politically motivated from the beginning. It has been officially adopted by the Ukrainian state and is now compulsorily taught in Ukrainian schools and promoted by Ukrainian academics. Since there is no evidence at all to support it, it is simply "taken for granted". It is unofficially "taboo", forbidden to dissent from this view in the public sphere in Ukraine (and in the Ukrainian diaspora as well). A law threatening anyone who publicly dissented from this view with criminal penalties was briefly considered under the presidency of Viktor Yushchenko (2005-2010), a leader of the "Orange revolution."

A more "mainstream" but still politicized interpretation states that the famine was due to the collectivization of agriculture, and excessive state grain requisitions, which led to disruptions, mismanagement, and peasant rebellion, and ultimately to famine and starvation. This is the official position of the Russian government. Neither of these explanations is borne out by primary source evidence.

Environmental Factors Caused The Famine

The main causes of the 1932-33 famine were environmental factors that led to a poor harvest. These factors were: drought in some areas; unusually heavy rainfall in others; serious infestations of the crop diseases rust and smut; plagues of pests, including Asian locusts, beet weevils, meadow moths, and caterpillars; and a huge infestation of mice. The harvest was so small that the amount of food available in the USSR was apparently less than was necessary to feed the whole population.

Contributing factors were due to the interaction of human agency with these environmental causes. There was a widespread and serious problem of weeds, caused by a shortage of labor to weed the fields due to population flight and the weakness of many remaining peasants. Much land remained unplanted or unharvested due to labor shortages caused by population losses both from peasants moving to towns and cities and from peasants weakened by or dying of starvation.

Horses were the chief draught animals used for plowing and other agricultural tasks. Many horses had been lost or were already severely weakened by a famine in 1931-32 and by desperate peasants eating oats, the horses' fodder. The Soviet state imported some tractors and manufactured others. This did have some effect but not enough to overcome the loss of draft power from horses. (Tauger 2001b)

Much of the land had been planted in grain for years in a row. This resulted in soil exhaustion that severely reduced fertility. Farms and agricultural officials were finding it hard to find additional land in the established agricultural regions. The increased area put the peasants under considerable strain. Nevertheless there was sufficient labor to bring in a good harvest in 1933 and so put an end to the famine. That means there ahd been enough labor in 1931 and 1932 as well. That the harvest in those years was fatally small was mainly due to the environmental factors listed above.

The Soviet leadership did not fully understand these environmental causes. Nor did their informants, the OGPU and local Party leaders. Therefore, they tended to blame human factors like mismanagement, faulty leadership, and, to some extent, peasant resistance and kulak sabotage. Not understanding, at least for many months, the primary importance of environmental causes, and believing reports that the harvest should have been a good one, the only logical alternative was that the famine was caused by various kinds of sabotage: direct sabotage by Ukrainian nationalists; peasants withholding grain; peasants and others hoarding grain for sale; peasants unwilling to work the fields; Party, kolkhoz, and other officials collaborating in these efforts, and so on.

Nevertheless the Soviet government did greatly reduce exports of grain. It also began to ship aid in food and seed to Ukraine and other hard-hit areas. Tauger (2004, 82-3) writes:

By early 1933 the USSR was in the throes of a catastrophic famine, varying in severity between regions but pervasive. After efforts in January to procure more grain, the regime began desperate efforts in February to aid peasants to produce a crop. The political departments (politotdely), which the regime introduced into the state farms (sovkhozy) and the machine tractor stations (MTS) in early 1933, played a crucial role in these efforts. These agencies, composed of a small group of workers and OGPU personnel in each MTS or sovkhoz, removed officials who had violated government directives on farm work and procurements, replacing them with kolkhozniki or sovkhoz workers who they thought would be more reliable, and organized and otherwise helped farms to produce a good harvest in 1933. They were supported by draconian and coercive laws in enforcing labour discipline in the farms in certain regions, but also by the largest allocations of seed and food aid in Soviet history, 5.76 million tons, and by special sowing commissions set up in crucial regions like Ukraine, the Urals, the Volga and elsewhere to manage regional-level aspects of organization and supplies to the farms.

Historians seldom discuss the role of these politotdely. Tauger believes they made a significant contribution to the efforts to organize production and overcome the famine. He summarizes at some length a report of December 1933 from the Central Blackearth Oblast' (south of Moscow and directly north of Ukraine) about the important role these bodies played in helping the peasants bring in the good harvest of 1933:

The report first describes the crisis conditions of early 1933: peasants starving and dying, horses exhausted, dying and neglected, tractors repaired poorly or not at all, labour discipline weak among kolkhozniki, tractor drivers and individual peasants, with frequent cases of refusals to work and avoidance of responsibility. The politotdely began by talking with and organizing the kolkhozniki, and by purging kolkhozy, MTS, and other local agencies of what it termed kulak and counter-revolutionary elements. According to the report kolkhozniki participated in these actions and developed enthusiasm for work from them. With politotdel help, MTS and kolkhozy finished sowing 15 days earlier than they had in 1932, and sowed 3.4 million hectares instead of the 2.85 million hectares they had in 1932. They used fertilizer for the first time and sorted seed, they treated more seed against plant diseases, they weeded crops sometimes two and three times, and they took measures against insects. They completed harvesting grain crops in 65 days, versus 70 in 1932, and threshing in December 1933, a process that in 1932 had lasted in the region into March 1933. They completed grain procurements in November 1933 (those of 1932 had lasted like threshing into spring 1933), paid off all of their seed loans, formed the necessary internal funds in kolkhozy and still managed to distribute to kolkhozniki much more in labour-day payments than the previous year, thereby ending the famine in the region. The kolkhozniki also provided all their livestock with basic fodder, and built granaries, livestock shelters, clubs and other buildings. ...

As a result of these efforts, the CBO harvested some 24 per cent more grain in 1933 than in 1932 {Tauger, 199lb: 81}. While weather conditions played a role in these successful results, clearly peasants worked harder and differently in 1933, during the peak of the famine, than they had earlier, and management by the politotdely contributed to this. (Tauger, 2004, 84)

Tauger cites evidence that many peasants who hated or did not like the kolkhozy nevertheless worked hard in them, while many other peasants "worked willingly during the whole period ... siding with the system." (Tauger 2004, 85)

As a result, on the whole peasants accepted collectivization:

All of this is not to deny that some peasants in the 1930s, especially in famine years, used the 'weapons of the weak' against the kolkhoz system and the Soviet government. The issue is how representative evidence is of peasants generally, which is another way of asking how important such incidents were. Certainly resistance was greater and more important in 1930 and possibly 1932. But any analysis of this must also take into account natural disaster, the diversity of peasants' responses, and overall results of their work. Studies conducted in the mid-1930s found that kolkhozniki actually worked harder than non-collectivized peasants had worked in the 1920s, clear evidence of significant adaptation to the new system. (Tauger 2004, 87)

The Question of Grain Exports

Like the Tsarist governments the Soviet government exported grain. Contracts were signed in advance, which created the dilemma Tauger describes as follows:

The low 1931 harvest and reallocations of grain to famine areas forced the regime to curtail grain exports from 5.2 million tons in 1931 to 1.73 million in 1932; they declined to 1.68 million in 1933. Grain exported in 1932 and 1933 could have fed many people and reduced the famine: The 354,000 tons exported during the first half of 1933, for example, could have provided nearly 2 million people with daily rations of 1 kilogram for six months. Yet these exports were less than half of the 750,000 tons exported in the first half of 1932. How Soviet leaders calculated the relative costs of lower exports and lower domestic food supplies remains uncertain, but available evidence indicates that further reductions or cessation of Soviet exports could have had serious consequences. Grain prices fell in world markets and turned the terms of trade against the Soviet Union in the early 1930s, its indebtedness rose and its potential ability to pay declined, causing western bankers and officials to consider seizure of Soviet property abroad and denial of future credits in case of Soviet default. Failure to export thus would have threatened the fulfillment of its industrialization plans and, according to some observers, the stability of the regime.

At the same time that the USSR was exporting it was also allocating much more grain to seed and famine relief. Tauger documents the fact that the Central Committee allocated more than half a million tons to Ukraine and North Caucasus in February, and more than half a million tons to Ukraine alone by April 1933. The government also accumulated some 3 million tons in reserves during this period and then allocated 2 million tons from that to famine relief. Soviet archival sources indicate that the regime returned five million tons of grain from procurements back to villages throughout the USSR in the first half of 1933 (Tauger 1991, 72; 88-89). All of these amounts greatly exceed the amount exported in this period.

The Soviet government was faced with a situation where there was simply not enough food to feed the whole population even if all exports had been stopped instead of just drastically curtailed, as they were.

The severity and geographical extent of the famine, the sharp decline in exports in 1932-1933, seed requirements, and the chaos in the Soviet Union in these years, all lead the conclusion that even complete cessation of exports would not have been enough to prevent famine. This situation makes it difficult to accept the interpretation of the famine as the result of the 1932 grain procurements and as a conscious act of genocide. The harvest of 1932 essentially made a famine inevitable. (Tauger 1991 88;89. Emphasis added)

Grain delivery targets (procurement quotas) were drastically cut back multiple times for both collective and individual farmers in order to share the scarcity. Some of what was procured was returned to the villages. (Tauger 1991, 72-73) It is these collection efforts, often carried out in a very harsh way, that are highlighted by promoters of the "intentionalist" interpretation as evidence of callousness and indifference to peasants' lives or even of intent to punish or kill.

Meanwhile the regime used these procurements to feed 40 million people in the cities and industrial sites who were also starving, further evidence that the harvest was small. In May 1932 the Soviet government legalized the private trade in grain. But very little grain was sold this way in 1932-1933. This too is a further indication of a small 1932 harvest.

About 10 per cent of the population of Ukraine died from the famine or associated diseases. But 90 per cent survived, the vast majority of whom were peasants, army men of peasant background, or workers of peasant origin. The surviving peasants hard to work very hard, under conditions of insufficient food, to sow and bring in the 1933 harvest. They did so with significant aid from the Soviet government. A smaller population, reduced in size by deaths, weakened by hunger, with fewer draught animals, was nevertheless able to produce a successful harvest in 1933 and put an end to the famine. This is yet more evidence that the 1932 harvest had been a catastrophically poor one. (Tauger 2004)

Government aid included five million tons of food distributed as relief, including to Ukraine, beginning as early as February 7, 1933; the provision of tractors and other equipment distributed especially to Ukraine; "a network of several thousand political departments in the machine-tractor stations which contributed greatly to the successful harvest in 1933" (Tauger 2012b); other measures, including special commissions on sowing and harvesting to manage work and distribute seed and food aid.

This interpretation of the 1932-1933 famine as the result of the largest in a series of natural disasters suggest an alternative approach to the intentionalist view of the famine. Some advocates of the peasant resistance view argue that the regime took advantage of the famine to retaliate against the peasants and force them to work harder. Famine and deaths from starvation, however, began in 1928 in towns and some rural areas because of low harvests and of some peasants' unwillingness to sell their surpluses. The food supply generally deteriorated over the next few years, due not only to exports in 1930-1931 but also to the crop failures of 1931-1932. The harsh procurements of 1931 and 1932 have to be understood in the context of famine that prevailed in towns as well as villages throughout the Soviet Union by late 1931; by 1932-1933, as noted above, workers as well as peasants were dying of hunger. If we are to believe that the regime starved the peasants to induce labor discipline in the farms, are we to interpret starvation in the towns as the regime's tool to discipline blue and white collar workers and their wives and children?

While Soviet food distribution policies are beyond the scope of this article, it is clear that the small harvests of 1931-1932 created shortages that affected virtually everyone in the country and that the Soviet regime did not have the internal resources to alleviate the crisis.

Finally, this essay shows that while the USSR experienced chronic drought and other natural disasters earlier, those which occurred in 1932 were an unusual and severe combination of calamities in a country with heightened vulnerability to such incidents. ... The evidence and analysis I have presented here show that the Soviet famine was more serious and more important an event than most previous studies claim, including those adhering to the Ukrainian nationalist interpretation, and that it resulted from a highly abnormal combination of environmental and agricultural circumstances. By drawing attention to these circumstances, this study also demonstrates the importance of questioning accepted political interpretations and of considering the environmental aspects of famines and other historical events that involve human interaction with the natural world. That the Soviet regime, through its rationing systems, fed more than 50 million people, including many peasants, during the famine, however poorly, and that at least some peasants faced with famine undertook to work with greater intensity despite their hostility to the regime in 1933, and to some extent in previous years as well, indicate that all those involved in some way recognized the uniqueness of this tragic event. (Tauger 2001b, 46, 47)

Snyder has adopted the Ukrainian nationalists' "intentional" interpretation - the "Holodomor" myth, though Snyder chooses not to use this term. He strives to give the impression that the Soviet government cut the Ukraine off completely, making no effort to relieve the famine. Snyder ignores environmental causes - which were in fact the primary causes - and fails to mention the Soviet government's large-scale relief campaign which, together with their own hard work under the most difficult conditions, enabled the peasants to produce a large harvest in 1933. In Tauger's judgment:

{T}he general point {is that} the famine was caused by natural factors and that the government helped the peasants produce a larger harvest the next year and end the famine. (Tauger 2012b, 3)

This is the polar opposite from what Snyder and the Ukrainian nationalists contend. The so-called "Holodomor" or "deliberate" and "man-made" famine interpretation is not simply mistaken on some important points. Its proponents misrepresent history by omitting evidence that would undermine their interpretation. It is not history but political propaganda disguised as history, what I have called elsewhere "propaganda with footnotes."

Tauger's view is also significantly different from that of R. W. Davies and Stephen G. Wheatcroft, who attribute the famine to several causes, including collectivization. In their opinion environmental factors played only a secondary role. Davies and Wheatcroft believe the Soviet government could have saved many, perhaps millions, of lives if collectivization had not been undertaken and mitigated if the Soviet government had not handled the famine in a "brutal" manner. The official position of the Russian government and academic establishment is similar: that the famine was caused by excessive grain requisitioning and by collectivization.

This hypothesis is mistaken. The reality is that collectivization put an end to famines in the Soviet Union, except for a serious famine in 1946-47. Wheatcroft, author of the most recent study of this famine, has concluded that this famine too was due to environmental causes.

Wheatcroft, Stephen G. "The Soviet Famine of 1946-1947, the Weather and Human Agency in Historical Perspective." Europe Asia Studies, 64:6, 987-1005.

If you're using a Mac you can type in Russian cyrillic by adding a Russian keyboard in your System Preferences

WildStalins posted:

If you're using a Mac you can type in Russian cyrillic by adding a Russian keyboard in your System Preferences




even if you can read russian and have access to a standard Cyrillic keyboard looking for the letters takes so bloody long your effective typing speed plummets, so give swampman a break

Edit 15 min later: nvm i read it. All my fives

Edited by EmanuelaBrolandi ()

I appreciate you bruh but Can we just read the the raf jawn like we talked abt? as far as furr i read kruschviev lied and let me tell you, it was a book

EmanuelaBrolandi posted:

I appreciate you bruh but Can we just read the the raf jawn like we talked abt? as far as furr i read kruschviev lied and let me tell you, it was a book

even if nobody reads i find doing this stuff (in the vietnam thread) very helpful for me to organise my own thoughts. raf thread would be cool though.

Im not trying to discourage this man a stranger who ive never met from writing cool stuff im just sayin have some damm courtesy and don't show effort around losers like us who cant be bothered to read and write words or whatever

I made this chart to help illustrate the dangers of being as smart as Grover Furr. As you can see, he is "off the deep end" and outside the bounds of peak cultural innovation. The greatest innovators are people like Ismail, who is a Post-Hoxhaist genius, and Roseweird, who we all hope is doing well. Sam, Emma and I are well within the innovator realm. I thought it would be rude to start putting too many people on there.

EmanuelaBrolandi posted:

Im not trying to discourage this man a stranger who ive never met from writing cool stuff im just sayin have some damm courtesy and don't show effort around losers like us who cant be bothered to read and write words or whatever

I really just wanna get the next two chapters up, about quote "Holodomor" so called so that they're online, so that people can link to specific parts and say "Furr has no idea what they're talking about" which YOU NOTICE THEY DONT HMM

getfiscal, you mention in the other thread that

getfiscal posted:

a lot of people probably did think stalin was trying to genocide them based on number of deaths and such.

This assumption seems undermined by Furr and the quoted bits of Tauger - according to them the peasants were quite used to severe famines and most did collectivize. DO YOU CONCEDE?!!!

this tauger paper is really good and probably the best assessment of collectivisation i've read. it's also a good argument against the claims huey made in the other thread that collectivisation was on the whole a forceful and violent failure of policy

it also provides a good and direct critique of the weirdly common thesis in western scholarship that collectivisation was the practical enforcement of trotsky/preobrazhensky's idea of "primitive socialist accumulation"
I decided to take another look at your chart getfiscal. I placed some more widely known ppl on it so as to demonstrate my intentions with this thread so let me know if I've understood you correctly
I was confused by all the words in this thread but then I scrolled down and saw its another in group re enforcing circle jerk thread that I'm not invited to, I'll be down voting every post made in this thread.

getfiscal posted:

I made this chart to help illustrate the dangers of being as smart as Grover Furr. As you can see, he is "off the deep end" and outside the bounds of peak cultural innovation. The greatest innovators are people like Ismail, who is a Post-Hoxhaist genius, and Roseweird, who we all hope is doing well. Sam, Emma and I are well within the innovator realm. I thought it would be rude to start putting too many people on there.

not in it, voted 5

Where does nicnaq fall on here gf?

EmanuelaBrolandi posted:

Where does nicnaq fall on here gf?

thank you for doing this swampman
Thanks swampman, great for those who dont have the book (like me)

Does anyone take an interest in agricultural planning cos if so, is there anything written specifically about the successes of collective agriculture as well as implementations and the logistical difficulty of feeding eneormous urban populations? Im guessing the soviets, prc have written stuff?

Also was wondering if there was anything written about post revolutionary planning of collective agriculture now and for the future, rather than historical stuff, with the need to overcome major rising problems from climate change, soil errosion, salinisation, approaching fertiliser peaks, and irrigation issues etc etc and how collective planned agriculture can do this.

Im worried were all gonna starve to death...
I told my coworker whos radfem n cool but unfortunately like anarchist or something like that about how stalin was actually badass and i referenced furr and she was like "i googled him he sounds like a crackpot" .. But now i can show her this post
my anarchist so thinks my stalin posters really tie the room together
Yea me too bruh
swampman becoming an effortposter was not in my 2016 rhizzone pool but im happy nonetheless
not to detract from these heroic efforts but blood lies is available on libgen. for those who have trouble accessing it there, i have shared it in the secret pdf forum, and also here.

warning: its 22mb, if there is call for it i can clean it up substantially (split into single pages, straighten etc), OCR, and create a smaller file
That's cool Petrol, I'm going to finish through chapter 3 at least so that there is quick access to the parts about the Holodomor. I am mostly through chapter 2 at the moment. Even through chapter 1 I had some lingering doubts, thinking Furr would eventually disappoint with irrelevant nitpicking or leaps in logic - but they deliver everything they've promised...

The most profound point so far, that seems incredibly obvious now that Furr has spelled it out, was that 1933 marked the end of famines in Russia. The "inevitable violence of collectivization" was less violent than the continued cycle of famine would have been.

I also assume that the early crop of 1933, that ended the famine, was made possible by vernalization, and that therefore Ukrainians should subject Lysenko to hero-worship just out of gratitude for existence
how many people does furr say died in 1933 from famine, and how many does he say died in the average decadely famine
Chapter 2. The Famine of 1932-33 "Deliberate"? Snyder's "Seven Points" of Proof

The central section of Snyder's first chapter is his attempt to prove that he has "evidence of clearly premeditated murder on the scale of millions" in the Ukraine. As evidence he outlines "seven crucial policies" that "were applied only, or mainly, in Soviet Ukraine in late 1932 or early 1933," each of which "had to kill." (42)

Snyder must have been aware that no one else - none of the bevy of Ukrainian nationalist or Russian anticommunist scholars who claim that Stalin intended to kill Ukrainian peasants by intentionally starving them to death - has proven this claim. Snyder also knows that the Western experts on this question, Tauger and Davies-Wheatcroft, as well as many other historians of the Soviet Union including bitterly anticommunist writers like Nicholas Werth, reject the notion of a "deliberate famine."

Yet Snyder must claim the deaths were the result of "premeditated murder" because, without the five million famine deaths, the whole thesis of his book, that "the Nazi and Soviet regimes murdered some fourteen million people," falls to the ground, and with it goes the "Stalin-Hitler" comparison so treasured by ideological anticommunists.

Our analysis of Snyder's first chapter begins with a detailed study of each of what Snyder calls the "seven crucial policies." Snyder does not outline these seven points until the last third of his chapter. But the whole chapter, and indeed Snyder's whole book, depends upon these seven points. They are Snyder's "proof" that the several million Soviet citizens who died as a result of the famine of 1932-33 were "murdered" by Stalin and the Soviet leadership. It will be shown that in every case Snyder falsifies his claims and his evidence.

Because of the importance of these "seven points" to Snyder's whole project, somewhat more detail is devoted to them in the main text of the present study than to most of Snyder's other fact-claims. The reader may always consult the full documentation in the Appendix to this first chapter.

Point One (pp. 42-3): Were Ukrainian Peasants Required to Return Grain Advances?

Snyder states that on November 18, 1932 "peasants in Ukraine were required to return grain advances" and that the leadership of the CP(b)U unsuccessfully protested this policy. His note to this passage cites the following sources (n. 57 p. 466):
* Graziosi, "New interpretation," 8;
* Kuśnierz, Ukraina, 143;
* Maksudov, "Victory," 188, 190;
* Davies, Years, 175 and, on seed grain, 151.

Graziosi - clearly Snyder's chief "source" here - indeed makes these charges. But Graziosi cites no evidence at all, not a single reference of any kind for these statements or for the entire paragraph of which they are a part. Snyder had to know this, of course, just as anyone who reads Graziosi's article would know it. But Snyder cites these statements anyway. Of course Snyder's readers will not know that Graziosi has no evidence for these very serious charges.

Kuśnierz has nothing about any decision of November 18, 1932 on p. 143. He has nothing about returning grain advances, taking away seed grain, the Ukrainian Party leadership trying to "protect" it, etc., as stated by Snyder. Nothing about "shooting" "hundreds of officials" or "arresting thousands" of them.

Maksudov's article, in Harvard Ukrainian Studies (2001), contains no evidence itself. Instead it refers the reader to a volume in Ukrainian, Голод 1932-1933 рокiв. There are no relevant documents on the pages Maksudov cites from this book. Elsewhere in this volume there is a document dated November 18, 1932 regulating grain collections.This is the document discussed below.

Davies, Years 175 has nothing about either returning grain advances or anything at all about seed grain. On pages 151-2 Davies does record the struggle between Moscow - Stalin and Lazar Kaganovich - and the Ukraine, mainly Kosior. Both the decrees of November 18 and November 29, which in part concerned seed grain, were cancelled. In any case these decrees permitted confiscation of seed grain only in exceptional circumstances.

On November 18 {1932}, under strong pressure from Moscow to collect more grain, it {the Politburo of the Ukrainian Communist Party} granted permission to district soviet executive committees to respond to the 'completely unsatisfactory' grain collection by confiscating the Seed Fund of the kolkhoz concerned, and its other Funds held in grain...

The USSR Politburo {Stalin et al., in Moscow} did not catch up with these Ukrainian moves until Kaganovich and Chernov descended on Ukraine towards the end of December. Following telegrams to Stalin from Kaganovich, on December 23 the USSR Politburo brusquely cancelled the Ukrainian Politburo decision of November 18. The Ukrainian Politburo itself cancelled its decision of November 29, and Kosior sent an apology to members and candidate members for this document, of which 'I was the main author.' (151-2)

On December 25, 1932 Kosior self-critically discussed his responsibility for these two documents and made it clear that it was a case of confiscating seed grain only from kolkhozes that did not fulfill their plan for delivering grain to the state: (cyrillic) Translated:

Referring to the export of seed funds from the collective farms that do not fulfill the grain procurement plan,...

Conclusion to Snyder's Point One: Not only is Snyder wrong here - in fact, he has it exactly backwards. Not the Soviet, but the Ukrainian Politburo did approve a document allowing for confiscation of seed grain, though only under extreme circumstances. It was Stalin and the Moscow Politburo that cancelled this decision! As a result Ukrainian First Secretary Kosior apologized for drafting the document in question. This is the opposite of what Snyder claims!

Point Two (p. 43): Did the "Meat Tax" Cause Starvation?

Snyder claims that on November 20, 1932 a "meat penalty" was imposed upon peasants "who were unable to make grain quotas" and that "they {the peasants} starved" as a result. His references (n. 58 p. 466) are:
* concerning the meat penalty, Shapoval, "Proloh trahedii holodu," 162; and Maksudov, "Victory," 188;
* for the "quotation," Dzwonkowski, Głód, 160 and 219.

Here is what Shapoval, Snyder's first citation has to say about the meat penalty (p. 162): (cyrillic) Translated: On November 20, 1932 the People's Commissar of the Ukrainian SSR approved a decision to introduce fines in kind: "to the collective farms, which allowed the theft of kolkhoz grain and maliciously sabotaged the grain procurement plan, to apply fines in kind of an additional task of meat requisitions in the amount of a 15-month norm in contribution by the kolkhoz in question of meat as socialized livestock and of the livestock of kolkhoz members." On December 6 was approved the decree of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian CP and of the People's Commissars of Ukrainian SSR "On entering on the 'black board' {= a "blacklist"} villages that willfully sabotage grain procurements." This decision caused an increase in the victims of the Holodomor.We should note a few interesting things about this quotation from Shapoval's article - an article which is also available in Russian, in the volume cited by Snyder in his bibliography, and is also available in Ukrainian on the Internet.
* There is no source, either printed or archival, for the quotation.
* Nothing is said about how many kolkhozes this meat penalty was applied to, or indeed whether it was ever applied at all.
* Nothing is said in the course about it contributing to the famine. This sentence is present in Shapoval's article and in all the other Internet sites, but there is no evidence to support it.

Maksudov is Snyder's second and last citation about the "meat penalty." He does discuss the meat tax, but not on page 188. On page 191 Maksudov writes as follows:

Among the punishments for those who did not fulfill required grain deliveries was the penalty of having to surrender a fifteen months' supply of meat in advance. In other words, the state officials knew there was no grain to be seized in payment. The peasants, of course, considered their livestock as insurance against a famine, either slaughtering the animals for food or selling them in order to buy grain. State confiscation of this livestock was a particularly malicious act. If a peasant sold his livestock on the open market, he could easily have paid his tax, but the authorities did not want it, preferring instead to take the livestock on a low fixed price as a form of punishment for the peasant's non-payment of taxes. Such penalties in meat did not exempt the peasant from fulfilling his original grain procurement quote, which remained in effect.

Maksudov's conclusion in the second sentence does not follow from the first. It is likely - neither Snyder nor Maksudov gives sufficient context - that the "meat penalty" was intended to force peasants to give up grain that they claimed they did not have but in fact had hidden. Also, Maksudov says nothing about the meat tax causing starvation.

The question naturally arises: Why don't Snyder or any of his footnoted sources actually identify and quote the relevant passages from this meat penalty decree? As previously noted Shapoval quotes from it but does not give a reference to the original text. The document is called a "decree of the Council of People's Commissars of the Ukrainian SSR" but without any indication as to where such documents can be consulted.

As it turns out, this is the same document Maksudov refers to (see note 2, above). It may also be found in the multi-volume collection of documents on collectivization entitled Tragediia sovetskoi derevni. The relevant part of the lengthy decree of the Bolshevik Central Committee, dated November 18, 1932, reads as follow: (cyrillic) Translated:

5. In collective farms that have permitted the theft of kolkhoz grain and are willfully frustrating grain procurement, to apply penalties in kind in the form of fixing additional targets for giving in meat procurements on the order of a 15-month delivery of meat for the collective farm in question, for both socialized livestock and that of the individual farmer.

The application of this penalty is to be carried out by the regional (raion) executive committee with prior approval in each case of the provincial (oblast') executive committee. Moreover, regional executive committees are to set deadlines for the recovery and the size of the fine for each farm (within the limits of the 15-month norm of meat delivery) according to the situation of the individual collective farms.

The imposition of this penalty does not relieve the collective farm of the requirement of full compliance with the established grain procurement plan. If the collective farm has made real efforts for the full implementation of the grain procurement plan within the prescribed period, the penalty can be waived with the prior approval of the provincial executive committee.

This Russian text corresponds exactly to the text published in Ukrainian by Shapoval. But Shapoval gave only the first paragraph. With the full text in hand, including the part that describes the "meat penalty" it is clear that Shapoval and Snyder have withheld a few important details from their readers:
* The local officials - those most closely in touch with each farm - were to impose this meat fine.
* They had to receive prior permission from the provincial government each time before imposing this fine.
* The 15-month meat delivery was the limit of the fine, its maximum size. A lesser fine could be levied "according to the situation of the individual kolkhoz."
* The third paragraph makes it clear that the purpose is to push recalcitrant kolkhozes to make "real efforts" to fulfill its grain collection plan. If they did so the fine could be cancelled even if already levied.

This means the purpose was to get each kolkhoz to make "real efforts" rather than to withhold - hide - grain and then claim that they had none. Clearly, the government felt that it had to have some way of forcing recalcitrant peasants and collective farms to cough up hidden stores of grain. If they did not, what was to prevent every kolkhoz and peasant from claiming that they had no more grain while hiding whatever amount they could? The result would be starvation in those areas that genuinely had no grain, including the cities and towns.

Conclusion on Snyder's Point Two: If Snyder did find and read this text, he falsified its contents to his readers. But most likely Snyder never troubled himself to find this text. Yet it constitutes the evidence for his fact-claims in his "Point Two." It is his responsibility to verify that the fact-claims he makes are backed up by evidence.

Point Three (p. 43): Did the "Black List" Cause "Zones of Death"?

Snyder claims that the "black list," introduced in late November, 1932, required kolkhozes (= collective farms) that had not met their grain collection targets to give up fifteen times a one-month's tax in grain. As a result, says Snyder, such kolkhozes "became zones of death." His evidence (n. 59 p. 466):
* Shapoval, "Proloh trahedii holodu," 162;
* Maksudov, "Victory," 188;
* Marochko, Holodomor, 172;
* Werth, Terreur, 123.

None of these sources even mentions Snyder's central accusation here: the supposed "requirement to immediately surrender fifteen times the amount of grain."

Here, once again, is what Shapoval states: (Cyrillic) Translated:

On December 6 was approved the decree of the Central Committee of the Ukrainian CP and of the People's Commissars of Ukrainian SSR "On entering on the 'black board' {= a "blacklist"} villages that willfully sabotage grain procurements." This decision caused an increase in the number of victims of the Holodomor. (162)

Shapoval cites no evidence that anyone died as a result of the "blacklisting" of some villages.

Maksudov has nothing like this on page 188 or on any page of "Victory." He merely refers to the "meat procurement" of 15 months in advance (see discussion above). Marochko, Holodomor does not refer to such a policy on page 172 or on any page of this book, which in any case is merely a brief chronology of events. November 28, 1932 is dealt with on page 162; no such "black list" document is mentioned here. The December 6 1932 document, identified above, is mentioned on page 166. It says nothing about any fine of "fifteen times the amount of grain."

It is not clear that this "new regulation" was introduced on November 28, 1932. The collection by Georgii Papakin "Archival documents on the 'blacklist' as a weapon of Soviet genocide in the Ukraine in 1932-1933" mentions many documents, but none of them fit this description.
Georgiy Papakin. "Arkhivni dokumenty pro 'chorni doshky" jak znariadda radians'kogo genotsidu v Ukraini v 1932-1933 rokakh." In Golodomor 1932-1933 rokiv - Genotsid ukrains'kogo narodu. (2008), 14-28.

Perhaps the following resolution mentioned by Shapoval and dated December 6, 1932, is the one meant (the complete text of this document may be found in the Appendix at the end of this chapter): (Cyrillic) Translated:

No. 219

Decree of the SNK of the Ukrainian SSR and CC of the CPU(b) "On inscribing on the black board of villages that maliciously sabotage grain collection."
The SNK and CC decree:

For flagrant disruption of the grain collections plan and malicious sabotage organized by kulak and counterrevolutionary elements, the following villages are inscribed on the black board:

1. v{illage}. Verbka, Pavlogradsk raion, Dnepropetrovsk obl{ast'}.
2. v. Gavrilovka, Mezhevsk raion, Dnepropetrovsk obl.
3. v. Liuten'ki, Gadiachsk raion, Khar'kov obl.
4. v. Kamennye Potoki, Kremenchug raion, Khar'kov obl.
5. v. Sviatrotroitskoe, Troitsk raion, Odessa obl.
6. v. Peski, Bashtansk raion, Odessa obl.

In relation to these villages the following measures to be carried out...ТСД Т. 3, cc. 562-3. The same decree in Ukrainian is widely available on the Internet.

This decree is restricted to six villages. No evidence is given about any "zones of death," much less as a result of this regulation.

The "black board" - "chorna doshka" (Ukrainian) or "chiornaia doska" (Russian) had been used in the Russian empire since the 1840s and in the USSR since the 1920s.

Werth, Terreur, 123 and surrounding pages consist mainly of quotations from Kaganovich's letters to Stalin and a mention of the "black list." There is no mention of anything concerning "fifteen times the amount of grain..." Werth, by the way, asserts that collectivization caused the famine - a claim that Tauger and Davies-Wheatcroft both disprove.

But Werth strongly rejects the notion that the famine was deliberate:

On a beaucoup de documents durs et forts sur les terribles famines qui se sont abattues à la suite de la collectivisation forcée, qu'il serait absurde de qualifier de famines organisées, mais qui sont des conséquences directes de cet énorme chaos, de cette désorganisation de tout le système de production traitionnel, au moment de la collectivisation forcée,...
Nicolas Werth, "Staline et le stalinisme dans l'histoire." April 12, 2012.


... the terrible famines that took place following forced collectivization, which it would be absurd to call organized famines... (Emphasis added, GF)

Conclusion on Point Three: None of Snyder's sources show any knowledge of the text of the resolution to which he refers - one "requiring" the "immediate" "surrender of fifteen times the amount of grain that was normally due in a whole month" (43). Snyder certainly never saw it himself.

Point Four (pp. 43-44): Did Vsevolod Balitskii Terrorize Ukrainian Party Officials?

According to Snyder, Vsevolod Balitskii, NKVD chief of the Ukrainian SSR "handpicked" by Stalin, "terrorized" Ukrainian party officials by treating anyone who "failed to do {their} part" in the grain collection as a "traitor to the state."
This was Balitskii's office from July 15, 1934 to May 11, 1937, according to Petrov and Skorkin, Kto rukovodil NKVD 1934-1941. Spravochnik. (Moscow, 1999).

His sole source (n. 60, p. 466) is "Shapoval, "Holodomor" (no page number)." This article has been "forthcoming" for several years now in the journal Harvard Ukrainian Studies. This journal is subsidized by Ukrainian nationalists. As of December, 2012 the last issue of this journal published is that of 2007. Snyder's book was published in 2010 and, presumably, written a year or more before that time. Shapoval's article has now been "forthcoming" for six years. The article is probably the same one that has now been published in a 2013 collection; see below. Evidently it was delivered at a conference at the Harvard Ukrainian Institute on November 17-18, 2008. Cf. Свобода, No 46 п'ятниця, 14 листопада 2008 року, c. 14: «Конференцiя про Голодомор.» It has finally been published (2013) in English translation in a collection devoted to this 2008 conference. Yuri Shapoval, "The Holodomor. A Prolog to Repressions and Terror in the Soviet Ukraine." In After the Holodomor. The Enduring Impact of the Great Famine in Ukraine. Ed. Andrea Graziosi et al. (Cambridge, MA: Ukrainian Research Institute, 2013) 99-122. There is nothing in this article about "terrorizing" the Ukrainian Party officials or treating anyone as a "traitor to the state", as Snyder claims. As will be shown later in the present chapter, Snyder has a history of making false claims.

According to Snyder Balitskii claimed he had uncovered a Ukrainian Military Organization and underground Polish groups:

He would report, in January 1933, the discovery of more than a thousand illegal organizations and, in February, the plans of Polish and Ukrainian nationalists to overthrow Soviet rule in Ukraine. (44)

Snyder's sources: (n. 61 p. 466) are Davies, Years 190; Marochko, Holodomor, 171.

Davies, Years 190 simply quotes a part of a Politburo resolution of December 14, 1932, stating in part:

{C}ounter-revolutionary elements - kulaks, former officers, Petlyurians, supporters of the Kuban' Rada and others - were able to penetrate into the kolkhozes {and the village soviets, land agencies and cooperatives}. They attempt to direct the work of these organizations against the interests of the proletarian state and the policy of the party; they try to organize a counter-revolutionary movement;, the sabotage of the grain collections, and the sabotage of the village.

Marochko, Holodomor 171 does mention Balitskii's report of December 20, 1932 on Polish and Ukrainian nationalists as follows: (Cyrillic) Translated:

V. Balitskii {reported} the arrest of 27 thousand persons for grain procurement cases of condemnation to death 108, the discovery of seven thousand holes and "black barns" and removing them from 700 thousands poods of grain, the exposure of major insurgent groups of Polish descent, organized by the leadership of the UNR {Ukrainian National Rada, = anticommunist nationalist Ukrainian Party from the time of the Civil War}.

In other documents Balitskii refers to the arrest of 38,000 village residents on various charges, and the fight against the Ukrainian Nationalist rebels. But Snyder does not refer to these documents at all.
Pyrig, R. ed., Holodomor 1932-1933 rokiv v Ukraini: dokumenty i materialy (Kyiv, 2007), No. 458, pp. 631-634; No. 476, cc. 672-3.

Conclusion to Snyder's Point Four: There is nothing in the passages cited by Snyder about January or February 1933 reports by Balitskii. Snyder gives no reference to such reports, so he has not seen them himself.

There is no documentation of Snyder's claim that "anyone who failed to do his part in requisitions was a traitor to the state." Snyder claims that it documented in Shapoval's article but, as we have seen, nothing like it is there. But even if Balitskii did say this, that is not evidence of 'deliberate starvation' - only of the efforts of the State to obtain and share the little existing grain among as many people as possible.

Point Five. Did Kaganovich Condemn Millions To Die of Starvation?

In his fifth point Snyder makes the following claims:
* On December 21, 1932 Stalin and Kaganovich confirmed the grain collection quota for the Ukrainian SSR;
* Kaganovich arrived on December 20 and forced the Ukrainian Politburo to meet and reaffirm the quota.
* This was "a death sentence for about three million people."

Snyder concludes:

A simple respite from requisitions for three months would not have harmed the Soviet economy, and would have saved most of those three million lives. Yet Stalin and Kaganovich insisted on exactly the contrary. The state would fight "ferociously," as Kaganovich put it, to fulfill the plan.

Snyder's sources for this paragraph (n. 63 p. 466) are:
* Quotation: Davies, Years, 187.
* For the December 20 meeting, Vasiliev, "Tsina," 55;
* Graziosi, "New Interpretation," 9;
* Kuśnierz, Ukraina, 135.

None of the statements in this paragraph of Snyder's are supported by the sources in Snyder's footnote 63 to this passage.

* Davies, Years, 187: The only "quotation" in this paragraph is the single word "ferociously." Davies, 187, does not mention Kaganovich and does not contain the word "ferociously."
* Vasiliev, "Tsina," 55 - the December 20th meeting is actually discussed on page 54. Vasil'ev is honest enough to note that: (Cyrillic) Translated:

The speakers were convinced that grain was hidden by peasants in "black" closets or buried in pits.

As we show below, there is clear evidence that peasants did indeed hide grain in pits and other places.

Graziosi, "New Interpretation," has no page 9. Snyder may have in mind this passage on the ninth page of the article, page 105:

On the night of 20 December, at the urging of Kaganovich, the Ukrainian Politburo committed itself to new targets for grain requisitions. Nine days later it declared that the precondition to fulfilling the plan was the seizure of seed stock reserves.

Note 28 on p. 114 of Graziosi reads:

"28. Danilov, Manning, and Viola. Tragediia sovetskoi derevni, 3: 603, 611"

Now to check Graziosi's sources:

* Vol. 3 p. 603 is Kaganovich's letter to Stalin of December 22, 1932, concerning the meeting of the Politburo of the Ukrainian CP on measures for strengthening the collection of grain.
* Vol. 3 p. 611 is the same document briefly considered above from the volume Golod 1932-1933 rokiv na Ukraini. There it is document number 129. The text is as follows: (Cyrillic) Translated:

Even at this point the regional (raionnye) workers have not understood that the priority of grain collections in those collective farms that have not fulfilled their obligations to the state means that all the grain on hand in these collective farms, including the so-called seed reserves, must be included as a priority in the plan of grain collection.

That is the reason that the CC of the VKP(b) set aside the decision of the CC of the CP(b)U of November 18 on not exporting the seed reserves as a decision that weakens our position in the struggle for grain.

The CC of the CP(b)U proposes in relation to those collective farms that have not fulfilled the plan for grain collection to immediately, within the next 5-6 days, bring forth all the reserves they have, including the so-called seed reserves, for the fulfillment of the grain collection plan.

The CC demands immediate mobilization for this purpose of all means of transportation, live animal power, automobile and tractor transportation. Within one day give a firm daily accounting to supply the required number of horses, including by individual farmers.

The CC will regard any and all delay in the transportation of these reserves as sabotage of the grain collections on the part of the regional (raion) leadership and will take appropriate measures.

Here it is Graziosi who has falsified the meaning of the document. Recall that Graziosi wrote:

Nine days later it declared that the precondition to fulfilling the plan was the seizure of seed stock reserves.

But the document says nothing about any "precondition" and strictly limits seed stock seizures, as the bold-faced passages above indicate.

The issue seems to be as follows. Some kolkhozes had stated that they had no more grain except for seed grain. The Party did not believe them. If the Party accepted the statement of every such kolkhoz, then more kolkhozes would make the same claim, in order to avoid grain collections, and the grain collection would fail. That would mean starvation in the cities and towns, where the residents could not grow their own grain. Therefore, the excuse that "we only have our seed grain left" was not to be accepted.

Note that Graziosi lied when he stated that all seed grain had to be given in. The document Graziosi himself identifies as his source clearly states that seed grain was to be collected only from those kolkhozes that had failed to fulfill their quota in the grain collections.

Kuśnierz, Ukraina 135 simply outlines a few of the events and decisions of late November to late December 1934.

Snyder (45) says that Kaganovich toured the Ukrainian SSR, demanding "100% fulfillment" of the grain collection quota while "sentencing local officials and ordering deportation of families as he went." Moreover, Snyder claims, on December 29, 1932 Kaganovich told Ukrainian party leaders that they also had to collect the seed grain. His evidence (n. 64 p. 466): "Davies, Years, 190-192."

Davies does discuss Kaganovich's trip, though only on page 192. But Davies' outline of what Kaganovich's message was is quite different from Snyder's characterization of it.

When the Plenipotentiary of the USSR party central committee in Chernigov declared that the region would complete 85 per cent of its plan by January 1, Kaganovich interrupted: "For us the figure 85% does not exist. We need 100%. Workers are fed on grain and not on percentages."

He addressed a conference of district secretaries in Odessa region in even more uncompromising terms:

There is no need to punch people in the jaw. But carefully organized searches of collective farmers, communists and workers as well as individual peasants are not going too far. The village must be given a shove, so that the peasants themselves reveal the grain pits... When our spirit is not as hard as metal the grain collections don't succeed.

According to Davies Kaganovich specifically opposed the demand that collective farmers return the grain they had been issued as advance payment for their labor days.

...the compulsory return of part of their grain advances by collective farmers risked 'creating a united front against us, insulting the shock worker, and undermining the basis of the labor days.' Instead he {Kaganovich} advocated an intensive search for stolen grain... (194).

As for the seed grain,

Kaganovich defended the seizure of seed on the grounds that it could be assembled again after the grain collection was complete. (194)

In other words Kaganovich never planned to keep the seed grain but, evidently, to hold it hostage to guarantee grain deliveries and then to return it. Davies concludes:

The decision was perverse, and was ultimately ineffective. Its consequence was that the central authorities had to issue substantial seed loans to Ukraine during the spring sowing. (195)

So some seed grain was to be collected from recalcitrant peasants but it was returned for sowing in the spring.

Conclusion for Snyder's Point Five: There is no evidence for Snyder's claim that the demand that "requisition targets were to be met" meant "a death sentence for about three million people." Nor does Snyder cite any evidence at all for his claim that "A simple respite from requisitions for three months would not have harmed the Soviet economy, and would have saved most of those three million lives." These are pure assertions by Snyder. They are good examples of the logical fallacy of "begging the question" - of "asserting that which should be proven."

According to Davies and Wheatcroft, where seed grain was collected it was returned for spring sowing. Since seed was not intended to be eaten in the first place, no one starved as a result of all the confiscating and returning.

Point Six (p. 45): Did Stalin Doom Peasants to Starve by Forbidding Train Travel?

That the borders of the Ukrainian SSR and certain other areas were sealed is not disputed. But did this cause starvation? Snyder claims it did, concluding (45-6):

By the end of February 1933 some 190,000 peasants had been caught and sent back to their home villages to starve.

His evidence (n. 65 p. 466):
* "On the interpretation of starving people as spies, see Shapoval, "Holodomor."
* "On the 190,000 peasants caught and sent back, see Graziosi, "New Interpretation," 7.
* "On the events of 22 January, see Marochko, Holodomor, 189; and Graziosi, "New Interpretation," 9."

As noted above Shapoval's Ukrainian language article "Holodomor" has not appeared but the English version has been published (2013). There is nothing about "interpreting starving people as spies" in it. Moreover, it is hard to believe that primary documents with contents as dramatic as Stalin describing starving people as "spies" have not been published somewhere else. But Shapoval may simply mean the document reproduced below.

Graziosi, "New Interpretation," p. 105 (not, as Snyder has it, page 7 or page 9) refers (note 29, p. 114) to the well-known order of January 22, 1933, to stop peasants generally, not just Ukrainian peasants, from moving to other areas. Here is the text: (Cyrillic) Translated:

It has come to the attention of the CC of the VCP(b) and the SNK that there has begun a massive exodus of peasants "in search of bread" into the Central Black Earth District, the Volga, Moscow oblast', the Western oblast', and Belorussia. The CC VCP(b) has no doubt that this exodus of peasants, like the exodus from the Ukraine last year, is being organized by enemies of the Soviet Government, Socialist Revolutionaries, and agents of Poland with the goal of agitating, "through the peasants," in the northern regions of the USSR against the collective farms and against Soviet power in general. Last year party, Soviet and Chekist organs of the Ukraine neglected this counterrevolutionary plot by enemies of Soviet power. This year a repetition of last year's mistake cannot be permitted.

First. The CC VCP(b) and the Council of People's Commissars {in Russian, "Sovnarkom," abbreviated SNK} of the USSR instructs the area committees, the area executive committee, and the PP {plenipotentiary representatives} of the OGPU of the Northern Caucasus not to permit a massive exodus of peasants from the Northern Caucasus into other areas or entry into the regions of the area from the Ukraine.

Second: the CC of the VCP(b) and the Sovnarkom instructs the CC of the CP(b)U, Balitskii, and Redens, not to permit any massive exodus of peasants from the Ukraine into other regions or entry into the Ukraine from the Northern Caucasus.

Third: the CC VCP and the Sovnarkom require the PP of the OGPU of the Moscow oblast', Central Black Earth District, Western oblast', Belorussia, the Lower Volga, and the Middle Volga to arrest "peasants" making their way north from the Ukraine and Central Caucasus and, after detaining counterrevolutionary elements, to return the rest to their places of residence.

Fourth. The CC of the VCP and the Sovnarkom require the director of the GPU service division Prokhorov to give appropriate directives throughout the system of the service division of the GPU.

Representative of the Sovnarkom V.M. Molotov

Secretary of the CC of the VCP(b) J. Stalin

(RGASPI f. 558. Op. 11. D. 45. L. 109-109ob.)

Graziosi continues:In the following month, the decree led to the arrest of 220,000 people, predominantly hungry peasants in search of food; 190,000 of them were sent back to their villages to starve.This conclusion and these figures, which Snyder simply repeats verbatim, are not supported by any primary sources Graziosi cites.

Graziosi has no way of knowing how many of the persons stopped were "hungry peasants." In reality, very few of them, if any, could have been. Starving people do not travel long distances by train to seek food - they do not have the energy for long trips, much of which would have to be on foot. Nor do starving people spend their money on train tickets. They would remain at home and use their money to buy food.

As in previous famines, most of these travelers would have been speculators trying to purchase grain and foodstuffs in areas not as hard-hit by the famine in order to return to famine areas to resell them at a high profit. This "market" process benefitted the well-to-do and guaranteed that only the poor would starve. In fact, poor peasants starved even when harvests were good, since speculators could drive up the price by buying it for resale elsewhere.

Note too that the document in question makes it clear that peasants were moving from the North Caucasus and Kuban into the Ukraine as well as the other way around. This is consistent with the movements of people buying and selling grain, but not of people who were starving.

Why would Snyder mention only the Ukraine? Probably to please Ukrainian nationalists, who have indeed celebrated Snyder's book, invited him to give talks in Ukraine, and published a Ukrainian translation of Bloodlands.

Marochko, 188-189, summarizes Stalin's and Balitskii's outline of peasant movements in and out of Ukraine and why they should not be permitted. Graziosi, "New Interpretation," 9 (really, p. 105, as already noted) briefly summarizes the document of January 22, 1933, reproduced in full above.

Conclusion to Snyder's Point Six: Snyder's claims are not supported by his documentation. There is no evidence that those who were travelling by train were "begging" or "starving," and of course few if any of them could have been.

Point Seven (pp. 45-6): Did Stalin Seize the Seed Grain in December 1932?

As his seventh point Snyder claims that in December 1932 Stalin decided that seed grain should be seized to meet the grain collection quota, while the USSR still had a reserve of three million tons of grain and continued to export grain. He further claims that "many" of the 37,392 people recorded as having been arrested that month were "presumably trying to save their families from starvation." His evidence (n. 66, page 466):
* "On the 37,392 people arrested, see Marochko, Holodomor, 192."
* Davies, Years, 161-163.

Marochko, Holodomor, 192, gives the number of 37,797, not 37,392. (Cyrillic) Translated:

During January, 150 "terrorist acts" were committed, of which "physical terror" amounted to 80.9% of the cases, and in villages 37,797 persons were arrested. Among those arrested were "fugitives" - 8145 people, 1,471 heads of kolkhozes, 388 heads of village councils, 1335 chairmen of boards of collective farms, 1820 steward and storekeepers, 7,906 kolkhozniks. 12,076 cases of those indicted were reviewed, including 719 sentenced to death, to labor camps - 8003, to exile - 2533, to forced labor - 281

This is a simple list of arrests and dispositions of cases during January, 1933. There is no indication whatsoever that even a single one of these cases have to do with "trying to save their families from starvation," as Snyder claims. Even Snyder has to add the word "presumably" - an admission that he has invented the business about "saving their families from starvation."

Davies, Years, 161-163, is entirely concerned with the illegal trade in grain and Soviet attempts to suppress it - with good, though far from complete, success.

The grain trade harmed everything the Soviets were trying to do: collect grain as tax from the collective farms to feed workers in the cities; ration grain so as to spread out what was available as equitably as possible given the crop failures and famine. Collective farmers who sold grain sometimes stole it from the kolkhoz, which meant it was not available either for grain collection by the State or for the use of the kolkhozniks. Only those with money- that is, not the village poor - could buy grain, so the grain trade threatened to destroy any attempt to ration grain in the famine conditions. That would mean that, as in all previous famines, those better off would eat while the poor would starve.

One last point here: Snyder claims that the Soviet Union had three million tons {of grain} in reserve. Davies and Wheatcroft do not directly state how much "reserve" (they use the term "stocks") were on hand in December 1932, but the say "the June {1933} plan" was for 3.608 million tons, and conclude:

This hopeful estimate must have been regarded with great skepticism by the few officials who knew the fate of previous attempts to stockpile grain. (186-7)

Later they state that in fact "on July 1, 1933 total stocks amounted to 1.392 million tons," some of which was seed grain. (229) Snyder does not tell us where he has found the figure of 3 million tons of reserves in December 1932.

Conclusion to Snyder's Point Seven: All of the significant claims in Snyder's paragraph are entirely undocumented by either of the sources he cites.

The following statement of Snyder's reveals his dishonesty with special clarity:

A the end of December 1932, Stalin had approved Kaganovich's proposal that the seed grain the for spring be seized to make the annual target. This left the collective farms with nothing to plant for the coming fall. (46)

Of course nothing of the kind happened. Stalin and Kaganovich would have indeed been stupid to take away seed grain and leave nothing to sow. This is probably a reference to the Politburo directive of December 29, 1932, and the other decisions, discussed above under Snyder's point 5.

The government refused to accept less than the grain delivery quota, assuming that kolkhozes and individual peasants who did not fulfill their grain collection quota were hiding grain. Why hide grain? To eat, of course - but also, to sell. Large profits could be made by selling grain illegally, on the black market, during a famine, when its price would be much higher than normal.

The Fraud of Snyder's "Seven Points"

Snyder requires the "deliberate starvation" thesis in order to compare the Soviets with the Nazis, Stalin with Hitler, in respect to "mass murder." The "seven points" are supposed to represent Snyder's evidence that the Soviet leadership was deliberately starving the Ukraine. Readers should satisfy themselves that every reference Snyder cites to document his claims in the "seven points" has been carefully checked. Not a single one of them provides any evidence for Snyder's claim of deliberate starvation.

Types of Dishonest Citations

Snyder employs several kinds of phony citations. In one type, the citation Snyder gives simply does not contain any evidence to support Snyder's statement. Such citations are "bluffs." The reader is evidently supposed to assume that a full professor of history at Yale University, as Snyder is, would cite his sources honestly, and therefore assume that Snyder does in fact have evidence to support the claims he makes in his text.

Phony citations of a second type do contain statements like those in Snyder's own text. But these citations either have no evidence to support these claims or they give further citations to yet other works - which do not support their statements either. An example of this type is Kuśnierz's book, which is Snyder's single most frequent secondary source on the famine. It is mainly a summary of Ukrainian nationalist studies rather than a work of independent scholarship. Moreover, Kuśnierz falsifies his summary of the scholarship on the famine. For example, Kuśnierz says the following: (Cyrillic) Translated:

There are also other views, no supported, in principle, by any serious evidence, about the reasons for the emergence of the famine in the Ukraine. For example, according to the American Mark Tauger the famine was the result of crop failures, and Stalin had to make a difficult decision to save the urban population at the expense of the village.

This is a lie. All of Mark Tauger's research on the famine of 1932-33 is heavily documented. But few of Kuśnierz's Polish readers will check Tauger's works and realize that Kuśnierz is lying here.

Kuśnierz is guilty of the same kind of scholarly malpractice as is Snyder: of pretending to do objective research while in reality supporting a preconceived idea. Kuśnierz's book, like that of Snyder, has no evidence at all either that the famine of 1932-33 was "caused by collectivization" or constituted "deliberate starvation" whether of Ukrainians or of anyone else.

A third type of phony citation is a form of "bias by omission." Snyder does not inform his readers about crucial information concerning the works to which he refers. For example, the long and detailed study by Davies and Wheatcroft, one of Snyder's major sources, concludes that the Soviet regime was not guilty of deliberate starvation - but Snyder fails to inform his readers of their conclusion.

None of the many Ukrainian nationalist or anticommunist researchers who proclaim that "Stalin" deliberately starved the Ukraine has ever produced any evidence to support this claim. Of course Snyder, who is not a specialist in this field and who simply relies upon the work of other anticommunists, has not produced any such evidence either.

The anticommunists and Ukrainian nationalists have been searching assiduously for evidence to support their preconceived notion of "deliberate starvation" since at least the 1980s. The fact that they have never found any such evidence is perhaps the best possible evidence that there was no such deliberate starvation.

In fact there was no "Holodomor" - no deliberate or "man-made" starvation. There was just "holod" - a famine, as there had been every few years for centuries. Thanks to collectivization and mechanization of agriculture, the famine of 1932-33 was to be the last famine in Russian history (except for the post-war famine of 1946-47, which was also not "man-made").
This postwar famine is briefly discussed in a later chapter. For the present, see Stephen G. Wheatcroft, "The Soviet Famine of 1946-1947, the Weather and Human Agency in Historical Perspective." Europe-Asia Studies 64 no. 6 (2012), 988-1005.

False Statements in Shapoval's article "Lügen und Schweigen."

Snyder cites Yurii Shapoval's work very frequently. Shapoval is a leading Ukrainian nationalist, and highly anticommunist, scholar. But Shapoval cannot be trusted to quote his sources accurately. Here is one example from the very beginning of the article, "Lügen und Schweigen," that Snyder cites here: (Cyrillic) Translated:

Felix Chuev wrote an account of this meeting in a little book, One Hundred Forty Talks with Viacheslav Molotov, where we read the following:

- Some writers have said to one another that the famine of 1933 was organized on purpose by Stalin and your whole leadership.
- The enemies of communism say that.
- But it appears that almost 12 millions persons died because of the famine in 1933.
- I consider that these facts are unproven, asserted Molotov.
- Unproven?
- No, not at all. During those years I travelled around to the grain collections. I never encountered such things. At that time I was in the Ukraine twice because of the grain collection, I was in Sichevo, in the Urals, in Siberia - and was there something I did not see? That is absurd. No, that is completely absurd.

That is certainly absurd, because at the session of the CC of the VCP(b) on August 3, 1932 Molotov, and no one else, said: "We are really facing the spector of a famine, and particularly in the rich grain regions."

Here is what the text of this book, Molotov. Poluderzhavnyi Valstelin (Moscow, 1999), p. 453, actually says: (Cyrillic) Translated:

- Some writers have said to one another that the famine of 1933 was organized on purpose by Stalin and your whole leadership.
- The enemies of communism say that. That's the enemies of communism. Not completely conscious persons. Not completely conscious...

No, here our hands, or muscles could not tremble, and beware those whose do tremble - beware! We'll throw them out. And if you have everything - give up what you have prepared! you are like children. The vast majority of present-day communists came when everything had been prepared, and just make it so everything is good for us, that's the main thing. But that is not the point.

There are those who will be engaged in it. There are people. The fight against the bourgeois heritage must be ruthless. If you don't improve life - that is not socialism, but even if the life of the people is improving from year to year for a specified period, but the foundations of socialism are not being strengthened, we will inevitably come to ruin.
- But almost 12 million persons died of hunger in 1933....
- I consider that these facts are unproven, asserted Molotov.
- Unproven?
- No, not at all. During those years I had to travel around to the grain collections. I could not have missed such things. Impossible. At that time I was in the Ukraine twice because of the grain collection, I was in Sichevo, in the Urals, in Siberia - and was there something I did not see? That is absurd. I did not go to the Volga. Perhaps it was worse there. Naturally, they sent me to places where it was possible to get grain.

No that is an exaggeration, but such things, of course, did exist in some places. It was a very difficult year.

Note that:
* Molotov does not deny that a famine existed. Rather, he denies that "12 million people died of hunger in 1933."
* Shapoval has omitted Molotov's last two sentences: "No, this is an exaggeration, but such things did exist in some places. It was a very difficult year."

Shapoval quotes this passage to "prove" that Molotov was "telling lies and remaining silent" ("Lügen und Schweigen") about the famine. In reality Molotov did know and did speak out about it in 1932. In addition, Molotov did not remain silent about the famine. Shapoval simply omitted Molotov's reference to it!
* Molotov did not "lie." What he said was correct: (a) the estimate of 12 million dead of starvation in 1933 was an exaggeration - in fact, a gross, "absurd" exaggeration; and (b) this story was indeed spread by "enemies of communism" - specifically, the Ukrainian Nationalists who collaborated with the Nazis. They originated the fales story about the "Holodomor" after the war.
Heorhiy Kar'ianov. Danse macabre. Holod 1932-1933 rokiv u polititsi, masoviy svidomosti ta istoriiografii (1980-ti - pochatok 2000-kh). Kiev, 2000, gives the history of the concept of the "Holodomor."

Shapoval's statement should not be accepted as accurate any more than Snyder's should. Every fact-claim has to be checked. In practice this ruins his usefulness as a historian - as it does Snyder's.

~~||For Snyder's story about "Petro Veldii / Vel'dii, which occurs at this point in Bloodlands, see the Introduction||~~

Snyder Falsifies Gareth Jones's Story

Snyder praises Gareth Jones as one of "a very few outsiders" who "were able to record" something of the famine. He states that Jones boarded a train from Moscow to Khar'kiv, "disembarked at random at a small station and tramped through the countryside with a backpack full of food." He found "famine on a colossal scale." Snyder concludes his account of Jones' account as follows:

Once, after he had shared his food, a little girl exclaimed: "Now that I have eaten such wonderful things I can die happy." (47)

Snyder (n. 70 p. 466) gives his source as "New York Evening Post, 30 March 1933." According to the Gareth Jones website the only article in the New York Evening Post by Jones is the one of March 29, 1933. It does not contain this story. However, in an article published in the London (UK) Daily Express of April 6, 1933 Jones wrote:

When I shared my white bread and butter and cheese one of the peasant women said, "Now I have eaten such wonderful things I can die happy."The quotation is in the third column of the story.

Not "a little girl" but a peasant woman! Perhaps Snyder felt that putting these words into the mouth of "a little girl" would make the story more pathetic? Or perhaps Snyder never bothered to read the article at all? Whatever the case, it is another of Snyder's false statements.

Raphael Lemkin and the Accusation of "Soviet Genocide"

Snyder says:

Rafał Lemkin, the international lawyer who later invented the term genocide, would call the Ukrainian case "the classic example of Soviet genocide." (53)

Lemkin's view was never accepted by the United Nations Genocide Convention. Lemkin's attempts to redefine the concept of genocide to cover Soviet actions have been universally rejected. See Anton Weiss-Wendt, "Hostage of Politics: Raphael Lemkin on "Sovet Genocide." Journal of Genocide Research 7 (4) 2005, 551-559. So why does Snyder mention Lemkin and his long-discredited attempt to redefine genocide so as to cover the USSR? According to Anton Weiss-Wendt Lemkin's efforts received support in one corner only - that of right-wing Eastern European émigrés:

At the time when Lemkin and his ideas found little support in government offices, East European ethnic communities became Lemkin's most trusted allies. (Weiss-Wendt 555)

Lemkin became closely involved with these right-wing anticommunist groups.

Lemkin was actively involved with émigré organizations: he attended their meetings, participated in their lobbying campaigns, and even edited their public appeals. For example, on December 20, 1954, the Assembly of Captive European Nations adopted a resolution which had the following line: "Communist puppet governments have suppressed all freedoms and all human rights." Lemkin augmented that sentence by adding: "By resorting to genocide they are threatening our civilization and weaken the forces of the free world." For his planned three-volume History of Genocide Lemkin intended to write a chapter on Soviet repression in Hungary. The chapter was to be drawn from the "UN report" on the Soviet invasion of the country. (Weiss-Wendt 556)

Weiss-Wendt concludes that the term "genocide" became just another expression of Lemkin's strong anticommunism - in short, an insult:

Lemkin explicitly stated that for him "Soviet genocide" was just an expedient: "genocide is a concept that carries the highest moral condemnation in our cold war against the Soviet Union."

Snyder has to be aware of this well-known critique of Lemkin but withholds it from his readers.

Snyder: Almost No One Claimed that Stalin Meant To Starve Ukrainians To Death..."

Snyder laments that the famine "never took on the clarity of an undisputed event. Almost no one claimed that Stalin meant to starve Ukrainians to death ..." (56) INdeed, "deliberate famine" was not reported at the time - but that was because the myth of the "deliberate famine" had not yet been invented! The notion of a "deliberate famine" or "Holodomor" The term "Holodomor," or "famine-death" to denote that the famine was deliberate and aimed at Ukrainians did not come into official use until the 1990s. See J.-P. Himka, "Encumbered Memory. The Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33," Kritika 14, 2 (Spring 2013), 420. was invented by pro-Nazi, anticommunist Ukrainian nationalists after World War II. One of the earliest statements of it, if not the earliest, is in Volume 2 of The Black Deeds of the Kremlin published in Toronto in 1953. Some the coauthors of this book were complicit in the mass murder of Ukrainian Jews during the Nazi occupation and had written hair-raising anti-Semitic propaganda linking Jews with communism.See Douglas Tottle. Fraud, Famine, and Fascism. The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard (Toronto, Canada: Progress Books, 1987), Appendix: "From Third-Reich Propagandist to Famine-Genocide Author," outlining the career of Olexa Hay-Holowko. The same book also claims that there was no starvation outside the Ukraine - completely false, of course.

Snyder's Dishonest Attack on Walter Duranty

Snyder claims that New York Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty "did his best to undermine Jones's accurate reporting."

Duranty, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932, called Jones's account of the famine a "big scare story." Duranty's claim that there was "no actual starvation" but only "widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition" echoed Soviet usages and pushed euphemism into mendacity. ... Duranty knew that millions of people had starved to death. Yet he maintained in his journalism that the hunger served a higher purpose. Duranty thought that "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs." (56)

Snyder's evidence (n. 95 p. 468): "For Duranty, see New York Times, 31 March 1933."

Snyder is wrong about Duranty and Duranty's article of March 31, 1933. Duranty did use the words "a big scare story" - but to refer to Jones' "conclusion that the country was 'on the verge of a terrific smash'." Duranty said of Jones' words to him, "nothing could shake his conviction of impending doom." This is where Duranty said he disagreed with Jones. Of course it was not Jones but Duranty who was right - the USSR did not suffer "a terrific smash."

Then Duranty goes on to say that he agreed with Jones! He wrote:

But to return to Mr Jones. He told me there was virtually no bread in the villages he had visited and that the adults were haggard, gaunt and discouraged, but that he had seen no dead or dying animals or human beings.

I believed him because I knew it to be correct not only of some parts of the Ukraine but of sections of the North Caucasus and lower Volga regions and, for that matter, Kazakstan, ...

According to Duranty Jones himself had said he had seen "no actual starvation" - that is, "no dead or dying animals or human beings." Snyder gives no evidence that "Duranty knew that millions of people had starved to death."

As for this claim of Snyder's:

Yet he maintained in his journalism that the hunger served a higher purpose. Duranty thought that "you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs."

Here is what Duranty actually wrote:

But - to put it brutally - you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, and the Bolshevist leaders are just as indifferent to the casualties that may be involved in their drive toward socialization as any General during the World War who ordered a costly attack in order to show his superiors that he and his division possessed the proper soldierly spirit. In fact, the Bolsheviki are more indifferent because they are animated by fanatical conviction.

Snyder is deliberately deceiving his readers. There is no hint here that Duranty "maintained... that the hunger served a higher purpose." In reality Duranty explicitly stated that Bolshevik leaders were even more "indifferent to the casualties" than were commanders in WW1 who callously ordered attacks for the purposes of career advances only.

Why does Snyder go out of his way to attack this article of Duranty's when in it Duranty states plainly that he agrees with what Jones told him concerning what he, Jones, had observed; called the Bolsheviks "indifferent" to casualties; and termed them "fanatical," therefore even "more indifferent to casualties"?

The reason seems to lie in his sponsors, the Ukrainian nationalists. For some reason the Ukrainian Nationalists have tried time and again to have Duranty's Pulitzer Prize posthumously revoked on the grounds that he did not report the famine. Their latest effort of about a decade ago was unsuccessful, in large part due to the fact that Duranty's Pulitzer was for reporting done in 1931, before any famine existed, and therefore had nothing to do with anything he wrote (or did not write) about the famine later on.

Evidently, therefore, Snyder's misrepresentation of Duranty's March 31, 1933 article is simply a "tell," a signal that he is taking his cues from the Ukrainian nationalists.

Duranty was one of the New York Times Russian correspondents whose reporting on the Russian Revolution and ensuing Civil War was so anticommunist and biased that it completely distorted the truth, as determined in the famous study "A Test of the News" by Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz, published as a supplement to the August 4, 1920 edition of The New Republic. Lippmann went on to be advisor to presidents and Merz to being an editor of The New York Times. After this experience, it seems, Duranty determined to curb his anticommunist bias and report only what he himself had witnessed, as reporters are trained to do in the US.


Resolution of the Soviet of People's Commissars of the Ukrainian SSR and the CC of the Communist Party of the Ukraine on the "Black Board"
This is the full text, the first part of which we quoted verbatim in the main part of this chapter.

Number 219

Resolution of the Council of People's Commissars {CPC} of the USSR and the Communist Party (Bolshevik) "On the inscription on the black board of villages that maliciously sabotage grain reserves."

December 6, 1932

In view of the particularly shameful failure of grain procurements in some regions of the Ukraine, the CPC and Central Committee {CC} pose before the regional executive committees and regional committees, district executive committees and regional party committees the task of breaking the sabotage of grain procurements organized by kulak and counterrevolutionary elements, of destroying the resistance of a part of the rural communists, who have become in fact agents of sabotage and eliminate passivity and conciliation towards saboteurs, which is incompatible with the title of party member, and of ensuring a rapid increase in the rate of full and unconditional implementation of the grain procurement plan.

The CPC and CC decree:

For blatant failure of the grain procurement plan and malicious sabotage organized by kulak and counterrevolutionary elements, to inscribe on the black board the following villages:

1. Verbka, Pavlograd district, Dnepropetrovsk oblast'.
2. Gavrylivka, Mezhevskii district, Dnepropetrovsk oblast'.
3. Liuten'ki, Gadiach district, Khar'kov oblast'.
4. Kamennye Potoki, Kremenchug district, Khar'kov oblast'.
5. Sviatotroitskoe, Trotskii district, Odessa oblast'.
6. Peski, Bashtanksy district, Odessa oblast'.

With regard to these villages to conduct the following activities:

1. Immediate cessation of the transport of goods, the complete cessation of cooperative and state trade in place and removal from the relevant cooperative and state stores of all available products.
2. Complete prohibition of collective farm trade for both collective farms, kolkhoz farmers, and individual farmers.
3. Termination of any kind of lending, the holding of early loan credits, and other financial obligations.
4. Verification and purging by the organs of Workers and Peasants Inspection Bureau of the cooperative and state apparatus from any kind of alien and hostile elements.
5. Verification and purging of the collective farms in these villages by removing counter-revolutionary elements and organizers disrupting grain procurements.

The CPC and CC call upon all collective farmers and individual peasants who are honest and loyal to the Soviet government to organize with all their forces for a ruthless struggle with kulaks and their accomplices in order to overcome kulak sabotage of grain procurements in their villages, for procuring an honest conscientious fulfillment of grain collection obligations to the Soviet state, and for the strengthening of the collective farms.

Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the Ukrainian SSR V. Chubar

Secretary of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of the Ukrainian SSR S. Kosior

RGASPI. F. 17. Op. 26. D. 55. L. 71-72. Certified copy


Panopticon posted:

how many people does furr say died in 1933 from famine, and how many does he say died in the average decadely famine

He summarizes Tauger on this, in chapter 1

About 10 per cent of the population of Ukraine died from the famine or associated diseases. But 90 per cent survived, the vast majority of whom were peasants, army men of peasant background, or workers of peasant origin. The surviving peasants hard to work very hard, under conditions of insufficient food, to sow and bring in the 1933 harvest. They did so with significant aid from the Soviet government. A smaller population, reduced in size by deaths, weakened by hunger, with fewer draught animals, was nevertheless able to produce a successful harvest in 1933 and put an end to the famine. This is yet more evidence that the 1932 harvest had been a catastrophically poor one. (Tauger 2004)

There is no claim about the aberration from previous famine years. The 1921 famine, according to the Soviets, killed 5 million people. The Ukraine had a population of around 30 million people and was one of the primary areas hit by that famine. If they had 35 million in 1932, and 10% died, that would be 3.5 million from famine related deaths. That's possibly not as severe as the famine of 1921 - and as Furr implies, may have been greatly mitigated because agricultural collectivization ensured a large harvest in 1933.

Op has read more of blood lies than both of the people named in the books title
Oh in case anyone missed it, Furr provides a link to this proud lil pdf:
Also jus a thought I had

swampman posted:

Graziosi - clearly Snyder's chief "source" here - indeed makes these charges. But Graziosi cites no evidence at all, not a single reference of any kind for these statements or for the entire paragraph of which they are a part. Snyder had to know this, of course, just as anyone who reads Graziosi's article would know it. But Snyder cites these statements anyway. Of course Snyder's readers will not know that Graziosi has no evidence for these very serious charges.

actually graziosi cites "danilov, manning and viola, tragediia soveskoi derevni, 3:603, 611"


Petrol posted:

not to detract from these heroic efforts but blood lies is available on libgen. for those who have trouble accessing it there, i have shared it in the secret pdf forum, and also here.

warning: its 22mb, if there is call for it i can clean it up substantially (split into single pages, straighten etc), OCR, and create a smaller file

please do this but first do it for caliban and the witch as you promised three hundred months ago.

do this also for the scans of the selected writings of anuradha ghandy and also people's war and women's liberation in nepal by hisila yami floating around on libgen.