Annotation. The purpose of research – the analysis of new and already published archival materials, recollections of the Holodomor-genocide eyewitnesses and finding out the prolonged consequences of the impact of Communist regime on the fate of those interviewed and repressed. Research methodology is based on civilization theory; socio-cultural and synergistic approaches; on the principles of historicism, interdisciplinarity, systematicity, anthropocentrism. The article analyzes the destruction of the Ukrainian paracivil peasant society during the Holodomor, based on a wide range of sources. The tragedy of the Marchuks’ family is highlighted as a marker for the then Ukrainian village. The Holodomor of 1932–1933 has prolonged consequences and latent components that affect the perceptions and everyday lives of some Ukrainians, in particular, those who find it difficult to overcome the traumatic experience of their families during the Holodomor-genocide and Stalinist repression.

Keywords: Holodomor, genocide, peasants, kolhosp, ‘kulaks’, repression.


Анотація. Мета дослідження – аналіз нових та вже надрукованих архівних матеріалів, спогадів очевидців Голодомору і з’ясування пролонгованих наслідків впливу комуністичного режиму на долі опитаних та репресованих. Методологія дослідження базується на цивілізаційній теорії; соціо-культурному та синергетичному підходах; на принципах історизму, міждисциплінарності,  системності, антропоцентризму. У статті на основі широкого кола джерел аналізується руйнація українського парагромадянського селянського суспільства у роки Голодомору-геноциду. Виділено трагічну історію родини Марчуків як маркерну для тогочасного українського села. Підтверджено, що Голодомор 1932–1933 рр. має пролонговані наслідки і латентні складові, які впливають на світосприйняття та повсякдення частини українців; вони досі відчувають травматичний досвід своїх родин часів Голодомору-геноциду і сталінських репресій.

Ключові слова: Голодомор, геноцид, селяни, куркуль, колгосп, репресії.


In December 1987, under the pressure of the world public, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine V. Shcherbytsky was forced to formally recognize the famine in the Republic of 1932–1933. A thorough study of the Holodomor was initiated in Ukraine by S. Galchak, S. Dibrova, S. Kulchytsky, V. Marochko, A. Filinyuk, Y. Shapoval, G. Shulga etc and significantly influenced the overall historiographic process.

Today, Ukrainian historians are building new links between elements of the Soviet social reality subsystems using an interdisciplinary approach. They are working on the intersection of disciplines and sub-disciplines correlating their own research practices with current ideas about scientific methods. In the XXI century the period of accumulation of actual knowledge about 1917–1933 was naturally changed by the period of their synthesis, the creation of new concepts and scientific schools.

In late 1990s I began to write about the Holodomor of 1932–1933 in Ukraine, in particular Podillya and Southeastern Volyn as the act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. I research into the prerequisites, duration and negative social consequences of the Holodomor, as well as, moral and psychological ones, latent components, ets. The veritable causes of the wide scale tragedy of 1932–1933 have been cleared up, namely, collectivization, dispossessing of ‘kulaks’, so-called dekulakization, and forceful grain withdrawal, which left the peasants without food supplies. However, an analysis of archival documents revealed that in the villages along the border the famine did not gain such a terrible scale as in the more remote from the western border settlements. During this period, 93 archival cases were analyzed and the materials were published for the first time. The negative attitude of most peasants of Podillya and Southeastern Volyn to the Communist regime was confirmed. They showed no respect for communist authorities, called them anti-Ukrainian, Moscow-oriented. In the south of Podillya leaflets with the slogans to disperse kolhosps, to call for uprising and restoration of the monarchy were distributed actively. Sometimes peasants burned the kolhosp property, mowed the unripe cereals, boycotted kolhosp gatherings etc. For cutting wheatears on kolhosp fields peasants were sentenced to 8–10 years in camps. Mr Chervichny from the village of Udrivtsi, Mrs Nikolaeva from the village of Korzhanivka, Mr Stadnyuk from the village of Tomashivka, Mrs Kushlinskaya from the village of Pidlisnyi Mukariv, who were peasants, received such sentences. In the villages of Yurkivtsi, Kutkivtsi, Khropotov, Ivankhnivtsi of the Chemerovets district, village council members often beat peasants, seized their property and deprived them of their houses. In 22 villages (Radovtsi, Butny, Novoselytsya, Glyadka, ets) there were women’s protests against the anti-national actions of the local communist leaders and their authoritarian policy. In July 1932 a lot of peasants had no food. For example, in the Polonsky district people ate grass cakes, molasses and fodder beets. The peasants ate dead dogs, cats, bark, sawdust and collected seeds in the fields. In July 1933, people were massively starving. In the Slavutsky district, in July 1933, 4520 families were affected by famine, 229 people died; 4306 families of those affected by famine were killed and 689 people died. On May 15, 1933, 400 settlements of Vinnytsia region were starving. In fact, people were starving in 34 districts of this region. There were times when parents, to save their children, told them to flee from the village in search of food. The number of homeless and abandoned children increased. There were facts of cannibalism and corpse eating. Sometimes parents killed their children because they wanted to save them from hunger [1].

Ukrainian peasants gradually developed their own ‘starvation culture’, which later helped to endure the period after the war of 1946–1947. The generation of the 30–40ies knew well what kinds of plants, animals, birds, insects and processed products could be eaten. People knew which herbs would counteract the harmful effects of ‘inedible’ foods. Children born within these years will constantly experience the fear of Holodomor recurrence and accumulate groceries for a rainy day [2; 3].

My research at the beginning of the 21st century required the introduction of a new integrated concept, namely, Ukrainian paragroupial peasant society. The formation of the totalitarian Communist regime (1917–1933) led to the stop of the transformation of Ukrainian paracivil peasant society into the civil one which caused the separation of Ukraine from the European model of political and economic development [4]. During this period, 107 archival cases were analyzed and the materials were published for the first time. A comprehensive study of more than 20-year surveys of people who lived in Podillya and Southeastern Volyn in the 1920–1940ies was conducted. During the preparation of the questionnaire, it was taken into account that people often continue to comprehend two realities (the Soviet ideological and the private one). The experience of perceiving the Soviet reality of ‘those deprived of property; ‘not deprived’ people, ‘Soviet activists’ and those abused by them was different.

The article analyzes recollections of eyewitnesses of the events of the 20-40ies of the XX century collected by the members of the NGO ‘Association of teachers of social and humanitarian disciplines of Khmelnytsky region’. O. Pervak, the History teacher of Starokostiantyniv school 3 in Khmelnytsky region, wrote down the memoirs of Anna Olischuk who lived in the village of Myakota, the Iziaslav district. The woman remembered that her mother had sung in the church choir and had gone to work in the kolhosp. Her father refused to work in the kolhosp, he believed that only ‘antichrists’ worked there, for which he was imprisoned for 3 years. He fell ill with tuberculosis in prison. When the family was deprived of property, they dismantled half of the houses, took away all the hens, pillows and grain. Those who took away their property were the locals who later disappeared somewhere. When the famine struck, her family ate rotten potatoes and yeast.

Gennady Bak recorded the memories of a resident of the village of Burtin, the Polonsky district, Khmelnytsky region, Dominice Prylutsky (born in 1925). Dominice recalled that the famine had begun through collectivization. In their family alone, the Soviets took away 7 cows. Mr Prylutsky remembered eating the barley soup. In his family, no one was swollen with hunger, but they constantly wanted to eat. He saw people dying in the streets. The harvest of berries and mushrooms helped to survive during the famine. The berries and mushrooms were dried and soup was cooked in the winter. In his view, God gave them such a crop so that people could survive. D. Prylutskiy also mentioned that he used to walk in the winter to pick up branches of trees wearing only rubber shoes, called chuny without any socks.

A cruel fate struck the Marchuks’ family. O. Bondar, an English teacher from Khmelnytskiy, gave the materials of the criminal case of her great grandfather Prokip Marchuk (born in 1872, a peasant, a habitant of Mala-Klitna, a village in the Bazaliisky district which is currectly the Krasilivskii district of Khmelnytskiy region) who was executed by the Soviet power.

On the eve of the Bolshevist revolution in 1917 Prokip Marchuk was a respectable person in the village. At the beginning of the ХХ century he served as a volost clerk and worked at the volost bank as one of its managers.

Prokip Marchuk had his own household, a house, a drying barn, a shed, a wind mill, a chuff cutter, beehives, 6 dessiatines of earth, 4 horses, 2 cows, agricultural implements and a happy family. In 1906 Prokip Marchuk was elected a member of the Tsarist Council (Duma). He remained a member of the Duma for 72 days. After that he served as a deacon in church. It’s worth noticing that it was characteristic of the Ukrainian people to aspire for property. Thus, only labour was considered to be a fair method of acquiring property. Peasants appreciated ‘literate people’; illiterate persons could be elected only in exceptional circumstances.

As at 1917, households in Ukrainian villages which had less than 5 dessiatines of land were considered to be small-holder, while those people who had more than 8 dessiatines of land were respectfully called owners and proprietors.

After the legitimation of the Bolshevist regime in Ukraine Prokip Marchuk tried to explain to the peasants that it was the Soviet Power that led to the improverishment of peasants. He often conversed with women and prophetically warned them of the death of the power which treated people cruelly [5].

In 1928 all property of Marchuk’s was forcibly sold for non-payment of taxes (Author’s note: In 1926 it was recommended in the closed letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Ukraine to embark on the severe administrative pressure, judicial action and the sale of auctioned property [6, p. 14]).

On the eve of 1928 the tax imposed on a household could reach 256 karbovanets (krb), while overall in the USSR was 230 krb.), a tax per person was 53.27 krb (while the overall rate in the USSR was 46.07). Taxes of Ukrainian peasants were higher than in the whole country. Punishments for non-payment of taxes were severe (including confiscation and imprisonment). Wealthy households totally lost the ability to expand the production volume after excessive taxation. In 1928 when grain procurement plans and export agreements were under threat of implementation, the Soviet power was ready to alienate peasants from property [7, p. 14].

The criminal case contains evidence of witnesses from the same village mainly illiterate field-hands, who called Prokip Marchuk a ‘kulak’ and accused him of ‘non-payment оf taxes’, ‘nonrecognition of the Soviet power and propagation of religion’. In 1929 Prokip Marchuk was imprisoned for 8 years. He had to be exiled to the north of the USSR. In 3 years he managed to escape, though.

It should be noticed that in the 1920ies the scientific interpretation of the ‘kulak’ category was not officially defined. Therefore, during the population censuses such a category was not identified, though was used in political purposes of the Bolshevists’ infighting for the power in villages. If we generalize economic indicators of stratification of peasants of the USSR given by S. Strumilin, we will see that the biggest percentage of wealthy and middle-class households was in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic [8, p. 26; 44]. However, they mostly had less profit than industrial workers. Thus, it should be assumed that Ukraine couldn’t avoid ruinous drain on resources, mainly due to the destruction of traditional forms of farming in order to bring about industrialization and pay external debts.

In 1929 All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the Ukraine made orders ‘About dekulakization of peasants’ dated 3 July 1929 and ‘About features defining households as kulaks’ dated 13 August 1929. Dwelling houses, livestock, poultry, agricultural implements, tableware were forcibly collectivized.

The party secret service was involved in tracking down anti-Soviet sentiment among the population, the falsification of cases, the creation of powerful information and human intelligence networks. The majority of fabricated ‘anti-Soviet underground organizations’ and ‘cases’ were, in fact, artificial product of the GPU apparatus.

In 1930 a hard fate befell Prokip’s son, Hnatko Marchuk, who was exiled beyond the border line to the north of the USSR for ‘agitation against the Soviet power’. He was severely sentenced to 10 years in the camps. Prokip’s son-in-law Vasyl Semeruk also suffered. He was accused of participating in ‘volynkas’. However, the Soviets didn’t stop the distruction of the Marchuks’ family.

On May 5, 1938 Prokip Marchuk was executed by shooting according to the decision of ‘the group of three’ of People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Kamyanets-Podilskiy region for anti-Soviet agitation which led to ‘major disruptions of the party and the government’.To date, Prokip Pavlovich has been rehabilitated.

The fates of several generations of Ukrainians were mutilated by the Holodomor. The Communist regime turned individual farmers into kolhosp workers, (collective farmers), trained them to perceive poverty as a virtue, survival as a way of life, taught people to be afraid and undermined their resistance. Human life wasn’t the highest value any longer.

While conversing with the descendants of those subjected to repression and dekulakization one can experience pain and sorrow. Their innocently killed and tortured relatives could have raised happy families, become successful in their communities and ruled the state. The collective memory of Ukrainians doesn’t allow us to forget about them.



Список використаних джерел та літератури:

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