Ukraine before the Holodomor

In order to understand the causes of the Holodomor, it is necessary to begin from understanding the power of the national feeling of Ukrainian people in the aspiration for living in an independent Ukraine.

Ukrainians is an ancient folk whose language and spiritual culture started forming before the Christian period in Ukraine. Spiritual world of Ukrainian has an emotional and sensual character, which combines in it both, rational and intellectual. Ukrainians have always been distinguished for their bravery, the thirst for freedom, diligence and religiosity. There are unique soils In Ukraine (in fact, it is the only place in the world where the width of the black soil area reaches up to 500 km) and agriculture has long been the prevailing area of employment. For Ukrainians, owning the land was always of the greatest significance in life.


Together with the ancient national cultural and legal traditions, Ukrainians have experience of state-building which is rooted in the period of Kievan Rus. After the division of the territory of Ukraine in the mid-17th century between Rzeczpospolita and the Tsardom of Moscovy over the next two centuries the Ukrainian nation did not have its own statehood, because of what experienced political, economic, national, cultural oppression. The national idea of Ukrainian people was the will to build their own state and be the master of it.


At the beginning of the twentieth century, Ukrainian territory, where 80.9% of Ukrainians lived, was the part of the Russian Empire and was agrarian. The Ukrainian peasantry was the bearer of the national language, culture and traditions. In addition to the main bastion of the Ukrainian language, the peasantry, there was a large number of highly educated talented Ukrainians who developed their native language and culture and did not allow its disappearance.

During this period there was a rise of the national spirit, culminating in the creation in 1917-1921 of an independent Ukrainian state with the union of ethnic territories. The Ukrainian People's Republic was recognized by a number of European countries.

Borders of Ukraine, which were declared by the delegation of the UPR at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919-1920

Quite quickly the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine became a victim of the aggressive orientations of the Russian Bolsheviks led by Lenin. The Ukrainian territory was a raw material and industrial base of the Russian Empire, and its industry functioned as a component of the Russian economic potential. The Russian Bolsheviks did not want to change this order. And in the beginning of 1920, the third Soviet occupation of the territory of Ukraine was completed with the help of the military force and the puppet Provisional Workers’ and Peasants’ Government of Ukraine, created according to the instructions of the Kremlin in 1918 in Kursk in contrary to the Government of the UPR. The puppet government proclaimed the formation of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic. Already on December 28, between the Russian and Ukrainian republics there was signed an agreement on the unification of executive bodies (the Commissar for military and maritime affairs, foreign trade, finance, labour, communications, postal and telegraph, and senior councils of the national economy).


The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, founded in 1922, had a one-party political system (Communist Party), a totalitarian regime and an ideology of Marxism-Leninism (extreme left). Although nominally it was a union of republics, in reality the state was a high degree of centralization with a planned economy (the economic system in which the state controls the economy).

In accordance with the ideology of the USSR, socialism was proclaimed as the "supreme" form of society, which must change the world by means of a revolution. The working class - the proletariat - was the bearer of this revolution. According to the teachings of Marx and Lenin, nationality is nothing, because "the proletarian does not have a fatherland".

Ukrainians did not perceive the communist ideology that contradicted their basic principles of life (private property) and suppressed national feelings.


Bolshevik occupation of Ukraine, terror and the plunder of the population under the name "military communism" caused a powerful rebel movement during 1920-1921, what made the Soviet regime think about a political compromise. In 1921 a new economic policy was proclaimed which restored market relations. And in 1923 there was implemented a policy of korenizatsiya which in Ukraine had the form of Ukrainization and provided the development of the Ukrainian language, culture, science and the involvement of Ukrainians in the party. This created the conditions for the implementation of a state-building project in Ukraine ― the construction of the Ukrainian Soviet state which was national by the form and communist by the content. A lot of the Ukrainian intelligentsia became part of the Ukrainian Communist Party and continued the wave of national upheaval of the UPR.


The power structures of the Soviet regime (GPU) constantly monitored the mood in Ukrainian society, focusing on "separatist manifestations". The conclusion of the GPU that the "nationalists" (the national intelligentsia) adjust the specific mass of the population - the peasantry - against Moscow, and outlined the plan of action of the regime in preventing Ukraine from leaving the USSR.