“The Ukrainian term ‘Holodomor’ refers to the man-made and intentional famine, the devilish plan of the Stalinist system aimed at a well-planned genocide of a very pious people with the aim of eradicating the Christian faith and the Orthodox Church...”.
These words were not expressed by any extremist ultra-conservative bishop or priest, nor they were written in any right-wing newspaper. These are the words of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the head of the Orthodox Church, during a memorial service held at the Patriarchal Church in Istanbul on the occasion of the 87th anniversary of the so-called 1932-1933 Ukrainian famine (also known as “Holodomor”).
“... we must mention the Great Famine in Ukraine (Holodomor) which aimed to exterminate seven to ten million pious Ukrainians by starvation during the most horrific years of the Soviet regime, from 1932 to 1933, and this is what we prayerfully commemorates on this day.
The Ukrainian term ‘Holodomor’ refers to the man-made and intentional famine, the devilish plan of the Stalinist system aimed at a well-planned genocide of a very pious people with the aim of eradicating the Christian faith and the Orthodox Church, while, paradoxically, [at that time] the Ukrainian people had been blessed with an abundant harvest of grain and other goods. And while people were dying of hunger, the Soviet regime was exporting its crops to the world, creating the illusion that Ukraine was a prosperous country.” (Source)
These references of the Ecumenical Patriarch are not irrelevant with the effort that is taking place, in Europe and internationally, to tarnish the former socialist states as “totalitarian regimes” and to promote the shameful and unhistorical equation of communism with fascism and nazism. After all, throughout history, the Orthodox Church (like all religious institutions) has been a loyal ally of the ruling class (formerly of Feudalism, later of the bourgeois power) and has never ceased being a bearer of the most blatant, primitive anti-communism.
It is also worth mentioning that the head of the Eastern Orthodox Church, who blamed Stalin for orchestrating a “well-planned genocide”, is the same clergyman who, in January 2018, was publicly blessing the Turkish military invasion (Operation “Olive Branch”) in Afrin, northern Syria.
Here are the Patriarch's statement when Erdogan's government, with the tolerance and support of the U.S and EU, was proceeding to the occupation Syrian territory: “The determined attitude of President Erdogan, who strictly rejects associating terrorism with a religion, is being reflected onto world opinion […] We pray that you and the Turkish Armed Forces will achieve success and ‘Operation Olive Branch’ will bring peace to the area as its name promises”.
The Truth about Holodomor
The so-called “Holodomor” is one of the most favorite subjects of anti-communist sovietologists and historians around the world, being for decades at the forefront of the imperialist propaganda against Stalin and the Soviet Union. The mythology of anti-communism attributes the famine to a supposedly organized plan of the Bolsheviks aimed to exterminate the Ukrainian people in order to force the rural population to accept the Collectivization. But, what is the truth?
It is true that during the 1932-1933 period, Ukraine went through a great and extremely painful for the people famine. But the famine wasn't a deliberately organized conspiracy of the Bolsheviks for the extermination of the Ukrainian population. There are specific, historically confirmed, reasons that led to the famine.
The civil war unleashed by the Kulaks and other reactionary groups against the Collectivization policy led to disasters. In this contexts, the Kulaks and their allies carried out extensive sabotages, destroyed agricultural machinery and production, put obstacles to harvesting, killed animals, etc. Between 1929 and the mid-1930s, more than 1,800 terrorist acts were carried out.
Furthermore, Ukraine was hit hard by the drought of 1930-1932 while, at the same period, the country and the region of Southern Caucasus was plagued by a widespread typhus epidemic.
In 1933, the Soviet government undertook emergency measures in order to ensure the successful harvest of the year, while food, agricultural machinery and specialized workers were sent to Ukraine to help the country recover from the famine.
The anti-communist conspiracy theory behind the Holodomor has been proved to be a well-crafted propaganda by the Nazis which penetrated into the American Press in 1930s (see “Chicago American”, William Randolph Hearst) and from there was spread widely, within the context of the Cold War campaign against the Soviet Union.
* Nikos Mottas is the Editor-in-Chief of In Defense of Communism.