Today is Holodomor Remembrance Day, an international day to remember Stalin’s atrocities in Ukraine in the 1930s. The peasants’ food and grain were confiscated and the borders were closed as millions of ethnic Ukrainians were deliberately starved to death.
The dead were replaced with Russian settlers, creating a situation that still has massive repercussions today.
The genocide is still denied by Russia.
‘At that time I lived in the village of Yaressky of the Poltava region. More than a half of the village population perished as a result of the famine. It was terrifying to walk through the village: swollen people moaning and dying. The bodies of the dead were buried together, because there was no one to dig the graves.
There were no dogs and no cats. People died at work; it was of no concern whether your body was swollen, whether you could work, whether you have eaten, whether you could – you had to go and work. Otherwise – you are the enemy of the people.
Many people never lived to see the crops of 1933 and those crops were considerable. A more severe famine, other sufferings were awaiting ahead. Rye was starting to become ripe. Those who were still able made their way to the fields. This road, however, was covered with dead bodies, some could not reach the fields, some ate grain and died right away. The patrol was hunting them down, collecting everything, trampled down the collected spikelets, beat the people, came into their homes, seized everything. What they could not take – they burned.’
(From the memories of Galina Gubenko, Poltava region)