Stalin’s Terror Famine Killed Ukrainians At Twice The Rate Of Other Nationalities – OpEd


A newly released study by scholars at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (HURI) is attracting enormous attention in Ukraine because of its key findings: Ukrainians in the center of the republic suffered more than those on the periphery, and ethnic Ukrainians died at twice the rate of other nationalities in that Soviet republic.

(Among the stories (in Ukrainian) are, and For an English summary, see

Serhiy Pihiy, HURI’s director, said the preparation of the MAPA Digital Atlas of Ukraine overturned widespread assumptions about the Holodomor. Until now, most scholars assumed that the famine his people in southern Ukraine hardest because that is a region that has often suffered from drought.

But in fact, “the most severe hunger” and “the largest number of those killed” was in central Ukraine (Kyiv, Poltaava and Cherkasy), he says. What that means, Pihiy continues, is that the famine was artificial, the work of the Soviet state and one directed first and foremost at ethnic Ukrainians.

Natalia Levchenko, a HURI demographer, says that the researchers came to understand that the roots of hunger in Ukraine begin in 1931 and not just in 1932 when the hunger began and that ethnic Ukrainians died “at a rate at least twice that of all other” nationalities living in the republic.

These HURI findings make it clear that the terror famine was directed first and foremost against the Ukrainian nation and was organized by Moscow rather than being the product of natural causes. And that means, the HURI study says, that Russian propaganda about the Holodomor is false and must be rejected as such.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

One thought on “Stalin’s Terror Famine Killed Ukrainians At Twice The Rate Of Other Nationalities – OpEd

  • August 25, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    GARBAGE! TOTAL GARBAGE! The Ukrainian economy was based entirely on muscle powered agriculture. Col Kolchak and the White Russian Army laid waste to the region. They destroyed the crops and killed 400,000 horses to keep them from falling into the hands of the revolutionaries. Those horses were the engine of the whole muscle powered economy. Then a drought brought on a famine. All of the crimes of the anti-revolutionary movement have been attributed to Stalin because if there hadn’t been a revolution there wouldn’t have been an anti-revolutionary movement.


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