News You Really Need To See: “Separatists Revise History of Famine in Ukraine”

“Separatists Revise History of Famine in Ukraine”

The New York Times, April 30, 2015, p.A4

“Traditionally, Ukrainian historians have characterized the [1933] famine [that killed an estimated 3.3 million people] as a genocide, the direct result of Stalin’s forced collectivization and the Soviet government’s requisitioning of grain for export abroad, leaving Ukraine short — and its borders sealed shut.  Since Ukraine gained independence, that is what its students have been taught.  But that is not what students in southeastern Ukraine are learning this year.  Instead, under orders from the newly installed separatist governments, they are getting the sanitized Russian version, in which the famine was an unavoidable tragedy that befell the entire Soviet Union. … Ukraine’s 20th-century history is steeped in blood.  After the famine, the country took the brunt of Stalinist-era repression and the violence of the eastern front in World War II, when upward of five million Ukrainian civilians died.  In the current civil war, aside from the control of territory, nothing has been so fought over as this history. … On the Ukrainian side, those opposed to any Russian influence, including that of the separatist governments in the east, cite the famine of 1933 to support their argument that Russia forever lost the moral right to rule their country.”

Quickie analysis:  Messing with history books just sets the stage for more problems down the road.

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