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Holodomor sounds like an imaginative place in Middle Earth from JRR Tolkien’s, The Lord of the Rings but it has a more sinister origin.

A Museum of Horrors

Holodomor is a term that found its way into the latest federal budget. Bet you didn’t read about that. But of course, $15 million in a $538 billion budget won’t go viral on social media.

The Canadian government is investing $15 million of our tax dollars to “support the completion of the National Museum of the Holodomor-Genocide in Kyiv, helping preserve the memory of victims and survivors of the Holodomor, a systemic and heinous campaign of deliberate starvation by the Soviet regime that killed millions across Ukraine in 1932 and 1933.”

Energy Terror

Putin is using a different terror strategy to starve Ukraine in 2024. Most of the plants providing power and heat to Ukraine have been bombed and rendered ineffective.

I was in Zaparoshia in December 2023, close the Russian-occupied nuclear plant that produced much of the power for Eastern Ukraine. In April 2024, during my second trip, Russians attacked all of Ukraine’s thermal power plants and key hydropower plants. In the city of Kharkiv, all power generation facilities were destroyed, as was most of the transmission infrastructure connecting the city with the rest of the Ukrainian power system.Two hydropower plants, including the biggest one, the Dnipro HPP (DniproGes), have suspended operations.

Its July but winter is coming. Repairs cannot be made in time to defend against the cold. Will 2024 usher in another Holodomor?

Holodomor

Known to Ukrainians as the Holodomor, 1932-33, the famine was one of the worst atrocities of the twentieth century.

Holodomor is a term derived from the Ukrainian words for hunger (holod) and extermination (mor).

The origins of the famine lay in the decision by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to collectivize agriculture in 1929. Teams of Communist Party agitators forced peasants to relinquish their land, personal property, and sometimes housing to collective farms, and they deported wealthier peasants, as well as any peasants who resisted collectivization altogether. Collectivization led to a drop in production, the disorganization of the rural economy, and food shortages.

Catastrophe

The result of Stalin’s campaign was a catastrophe. In spring 1933 death rates in Ukraine spiked. Between 1931 and 1934 at least 3.9 million Ukrainians perished of hunger.

The crisis reached its peak in the winter of 1932–33, when organized groups of police and communist apparatchiks ransacked the homes of peasants and took everything edible, from crops to personal food supplies to pets.

Soviet bureaucrats deliberately silenced news of the famine. Party officials did not mention it in public. Western journalists based in Moscow were instructed not to write about it. One of the most famous Moscow correspondents at the time, Walter Duranty of The New Yok Times, went out of his way to dismiss reports of the famine when they were published by a young freelancer, Gareth Jones. He “thought Mr. Jones’s judgment was somewhat hasty.” Jones was murdered under suspicious circumstances in 1935 in Japanese-occupied Mongolia. Stalin himself went so far as to repress the results of a census taken in 1937. The administrators of that census were arrested and murdered, in part because the figures revealed the decimation of Ukraine’s population.

Gareth Jones from the film.

Lost Truth

Yet amid public pressure for a major and lucrative trade deal between the Soviet Union and Canada, the truth about the Holodomor fell into relative obscurity. It was not until 2008 that the Government of Canada officially recognized these events as genocide and named the fourth Saturday of November as Holodomor Memorial Day.

Keep your eyes on the power situation in Ukraine this summer and your prayers for peace in Ukraine.

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Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 44 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vincent and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love inspiring people through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, and reading. I'm a fan of the Double E, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

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