A Glimpse into the Holodomor
Through use of the latest technology, I have gone back in time to the 1900’s and am reporting on the conditions of Soviet peasants during the Holodomor, a famine in the Ukraine. To better convey everything that has happened, I have decided to tell of my experiences in the Ukraine from my own perspectiv
The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic is in a frightening state. Here to investigate the Holodomor, I decided to visit a farm and interview the peasants that worked there.
Upon entering the farmland, an overwhelming stench hit me, the smell of rotting meat. At the entrance to a small hut, the only building in sight, dead animals were piled haphazardly. I stepped carefully around the corpses and knocked on the door. It opened a slight crack and an eye peered outside. “What do you want?” I assumed the voice was coming from the owner of the eye. “I have come to find out about life here,” I replied. The door opened and I was let in.
Inside the hut I saw the most miserable scene that I have yet to see. An assortment of people were huddled in the room and they all had the same look: pallid faces, eyes that had sunk deep into their sockets, bodies so frail that it was hard to believe that these were the inhabitants of the ‘bread basket of Europe.’ Feeling the need to enquire about this, I asked, “What has happened here? You all seem to be in poor health.” The occupants of the room looked uneasily at each other until finally one of the younger men answered me. “This is what Stalin has done to us! He has been starving us, taking away grain from all of the farms.
They have begun to take our livestock as well since we have no more grain.” I nodded and took notes as the man continued his story. A few more enquiries explained the dead animals outside. Every so often, officials would come to collect grain and livestock. When these times came near, many of the peasants in the Ukraine would slaughter their livestock to keep them away from the clutches of the Soviet government. Since the beginning of the peasant resistance, the government had ordered more grain to be taken away to starve the peasants, creating a man-made famine. I left shortly, not wishing to interrupt the peasants’ work.
The peasants’ situation reminds me of the hens in Animal Farm, which I had just recently read. Their situations began with the authorities demanding for, in the hens’ case, eggs, and in the peasants’ case, crops and livestock. To oppose, the peasants killed their livestock and the hens ‘killed’ their eggs. The authorities used the same strategy to deal with the peasants and hens: they starved those that were insubordinate through deprivation of food. In Animal Farm, twelve hens had died and in the Ukraine, millions of peasants were dying. Both the hens and peasants suffered tragic fates.
This is my report on current situations of the Holodomor.
Submitted by: Kevin Hu ISNS Secondary Student