Article Image

IPFS News Link • Ukraine

Cut off from food, Ukrainians recall Stalin's famine, which killed 4 million of them

•, Michael E. Ruane

Houses filled with the dead were commonplace in Ukraine in 1932 and '33. Those who collected the corpses knew where to stop if they saw ravens nearby. And sometimes the emaciated living were carted away with the deceased.

Desperate, starving people, deprived of their livelihood by ruthless edicts of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, were forced to eat grass, tree bark, flowers, rats, dogs and, in the end, their children, historians have recorded.

People died in the streets, on sidewalks, in train stations, in farm fields and on country roads.

About 4 million of them perished in the great famine, known as the Holodomor, or death by hunger.

Today, as Ukraine battles Russian invaders and the dead again lie in the streets of places, including Mariupol, that have been cut off from supplies, memory of the famine and its links to the Kremlin remain strong.