Ukrainian famine not a genocide

 By Alexander Solzhenitsyn
 April 5, 2008

FROM AS far back as 1917, we Soviet citizens had to hear and obediently swallow all sorts of shameless, not to say meaningless, lies. That the All-Russian Constituent Assembly was not an attempt at democracy but a counterrevolutionary scheme (and was therefore disbanded). Or that the October coup (this was Trotsky's brilliant maneuver) was not even an uprising, but self-defense from the aggressive Provisional Government (composed of the most intelligent Cadets).

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But people in Western countries never became aware of these monstrous distortions of historical events - neither at the time nor later. So they had no chance to immunize themselves to the sheer impudence and scale of these lies.
The Great Famine of 1921 shook our country, from the Urals, across the Volga, and deep into European Russia. It cut down millions of our people. But the word "Holodomor" (death by hunger) was not used at that time. The Communist leadership deemed it sufficient to blame the famine on a natural drought, while failing to mention at all the grain requisitioning that cruelly robbed the peasantry.
In 1932 and 1933, when a similar Great Famine hit Ukraine and the Kuban region, the Communist Party bosses (including quite a few Ukrainians) treated it with the same silence and concealment. And it did not occur to anyone to suggest to the zealous activists of the Communist Party and Young Communist League that what was happening was the planned annihilation of the Ukrainians. The provocative outcry about "genocide" only began to be take shape decades later - at first quietly, inside spiteful, anti-Russian, chauvinistic minds - and now it has spun off into the government circles of modern-day Ukraine. Russia's parliament was correct this week to vote that the famine should not be considered genocide.
Still, defamation is easy to insinuate into Westerners' minds. They have never understood our history: You can sell them any old fairy tale, even one as mindless as this.
Soviet-era dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn is a novelist and historian