Boston, Massachusetts, US
What was the Holodomor and what does it have to do with Ukraine 2022?
- What does the Holodomor show us about the relationship between Russia (the former Soviet Union) and Ukraine?
Holodomor shows us that Russia and Ukraine have had a tense relationship before current events. Ukraine sees Russia as a long-time perpetrator that has been highly resistant to the idea of their sovereignty and independence, and the Holodomor is one of the great reasons as to why. The Holodomor had a definitive cause: Ukrainian farmers were highly resistant to the idea of forfeiting their farms--their livelihoods--over to the Soviet government. The government’s response to this form of resistance was to starve Ukrainian peasants by strategically closing Ukranian borders as well as stripping farms of every practical source of food (barley, wheat, etc). To say less, Ukrainians were trapped within their own country by a government that supposedly “stood by the people.” This extreme betrayal from Russia and its ideals has given Ukraine deep historical scars that remain today and fuel their will to fight. I also believe that the Holodomor could be connected to Ukranians' negative responses and arguments towards Russian soldiers' belief that they're (somehow) protecting Ukraine and doing what's best by planning to regain the land. To say such a thing to a country that has experienced first-hand Russia's treatment of those who refuse to have their land controlled by another government is extremely ironic and frustrating.
- What do these events reveal about using food and deprivation as weapons to destroy a population?
The strategic use of famine as a weapon to physically and mentally destroy a population is simply gut-wrenching. Not only would this strategy physically destroy a population, but the trauma that follows from such horrid treatment could last lifetimes. However, the deliberate starvation of populations to gain the submission of said population/country is inexcusable evidence of possible genocide, in fact, it could be considered a prerequisite. Additionally, such the weaponization of famines would lead to deep division and hatred between the victims and the perpetrators as it's a matter of time before the perpetrator’s motives are made clear which was the case with the Holodomor.
- How do you think these events factor into the legacy of the Russian role in Ukraine today, 90 years after the fact?
These events reveal Russia’s long history of attempts to gain control over a given territory/population, in this case, Ukraine, and their inability to let go of their failures in doing so is terribly apparent. Ukraine’s break from the Soviet Union’s control and obtainment of independence is in other words, “salt on the wound” for Communist Russia as Ukrainians were among those who resisted Stalin’s demands. Nonetheless, Russia's refusal to recognize the Holodomor as genocide but rather a "tragedy" likely infuriated/enraged all of Ukraine as they had lost millions of lives simply for refusing to participate in kulaks. A farmer's refusal to participate in kulaks is extremely understandable as their farms/crops are their livelihoods, therefore it is well within their rights to maintain full control over their farms or in other words, their major source of income and food. Stalin had chosen to have these peasants punished for their "disobedience" because they challenged the heart of socialism, everyone should have the same resources and social standing. However, Stalin was an extreme hypocrite as Russian large urban areas and consequential capitalism arose within the Stalin era, thus leading to a highly privileged group of Soviet party leaders; so to have a population destroyed because their actions were anti-socialist, while privileged and powerful Russian soviets get away with even worse crimes, created great strife between Ukraine and Russia.
- And what are you left wondering about with respect to Russia and Ukraine in 2022 and beyond?
Considering the war between Russia and Ukraine, I’m wondering how every country will respond and what role they will take (bystander, offense, defense). I understand that Germany has been cut off by a gas line from Russia which could have an extreme effect on the country and requires support from either the EU or the U.S. Furthermore, I wonder what the future social effects will be; I understand that several Russians are against this war, but social media has been misleading by assuming all Russians to be in support of Putin’s actions.