Contextualizing the Holodomor
Scholars agree that the debate over whether the Holodomor was genocide has been resolved
By Larysa Zariczniak
The Holodomor was genocide. This was the conclusion on the first annual scholarly conference of the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium. The conference was attended by some of the most well-known researchers, not only in Holodomor studies, but in general Ukrainian studies: David Marples, Norman Naimark and Roman Serbyn are only three scholars that can be mentioned. All of them agree that the debate over whether the Holodomor was genocide has been resolved – it was and we should treat it as such – this fact has now become an academic given. However, there are still plenty of other debates and unknowns about our understanding of the Holodomor and its effects. One of the more interesting debates occurred between Francoise Thom from Sorbonne University in Paris and Mark von Hagen from Arizona State University in the USA: the issue of collaboration and blame. Who is included in the role as villain in the story of the Holodomor – surely Stalin for it is without doubt that he knew about the famine but did not care – but what about the others in the elite Soviet party or the party representatives in the villages? Who is to be blamed for this atrocity on the Ukrainian people? Overall, even with this debate – one conclusive fact remains: Stalin knew.