Bitter Truth

One of the H-bomb accusations against communism is that Stalin deliberately created a horrific famine in the Ukraine in 1932-33, killing millions. Supposedly this was done to crush peasant resistance to forced agricultural collectivization and to destroy Ukrainian nationalism. This story has been around since the 1930s, when it was heavily promoted by the Hurst press. It was revived after World War Two by right-wing Ukrainian nationalists,  many of whom has been Nazi collaborators. It has persisted to this day as an unquestioned stock-in-trade of anticommunism.

Grover Furr, who has done massive research on Soviet History, provides a terse demolition of this whole lie in Counterpunch (March 3) in response to a review of the Ukrainian nationalist file Bitter Harvest.

There was never any real evidence for such a claim and scholarship has long since refuted it. The evidence against this lie is so compelling that even Robert Conquest, the bitterly anticommunist author of Harvest of Sorrow, a book which advanced this claim, was eventually compelled to admit that the famine was not deliberately inflicted.

Competent experts such as Mark Tauger of West Virginia University, a world authority on this subject, have shown that the famine was the result of a series of environmental catastrophes: “drought in some areas; too much rain in others; attacks of rust and smut (fungal diseases); and infestations of insects and mice.”

Russia, like many countries with traditional peasant agricultural systems, had been afflicted with famines every few years for centuries. Soviet agricultural collectivization was an attempt, ultimately successful, to put a stop to this endless cycle of famines.

There is even an invented term for this famine: the Holodomor. As Furr explains, this term is composed of Slavic roots “holod” = “hunger” and “mor” = “murder.” The term is designed to sound like “Holocaust” and is part of the ideological drive to equate Stalin with Hitler and Communism with Nazism.

As Furr has pointed out elsewhere:

The “Holodomor” myth persists because it is the “foundational myth” of right-wing Ukrainian nationalism. The Ukrainian Nationalists who invaded the USSR along with the Nazis killed millions of people, including a great many Ukrainians. Their only “excuse” is to promote the falsehood that they were “freedom fighters” against the Soviet communists, who were “worse.”

And it persists because it is such an effective weapon for the damnation of communism. The truth be damned as well.

Furr concludes:

“The historical truth about the Soviet Union is unpalatable not only to Nazi collaborators but to anticommunists of all stripes. Many who consider themselves to be on the Left, such as Social-Democrats and Trotskyists, repeat the lies of the overt fascists and the openly pro-capitalist writers.

This is the bitter truth.

It is the endless crop of lies about communism, propagated by all sides in the West, that constitutes the real “Bitter Harvest.”