Holodomor: A Brief Description and the Kulak Involvement

The end of the year 1929 was the first act of mass terror officially committed onto the “kulak” people. On December 27, 1929 Stalin announced “…the liquidation of the “kulaks” as a class”(). This started by collectivizing 21.6% of Ukraine’s arable land by mid 1930 (Hryshko,79). The Soviet regime then targeted potential opposition, which included scholars, writers, religious leaders, teachers, agronomists, clergymen and students. In mass numbers, these “kulaks” were deported to Northern Russia. “Most of them were shot [in 1930] or were slowly exterminated in prisons and camps (Hryshko, 72). Whole families were being arrested for simply being classified as a “kulak”. Medvedev makes note that, “Hundreds of kulak special settlements (called spetsposelenia) were created at the beginning of the thirties in uninhabited regions of Siberia and the East”. This only further supports the mindset of the Soviet regime towards the “kulak” class as seeing them as animals; a creature less than a human. Dropping a civilization into the wilderness of Siberia in winter months seems most cruel and inhumane. Approximately half of those deported to North and East Russian perished (Hryshko, 77). The numbers of those deported to Siberia remain unclear, although it is assumed that survival was futile.

According to a Russian Ex-activist in Dekulakization, “When they got there, the provincial authorities scattered them in the Siberian taiga. Wherever a small village was, the ailing and handicapped were put into huts as crowded as the prisoner-transport trains”. She goes on to further explain that when the transports stopped and there was no apparent nearby village to settle in, the military guards simply dropped the “kulaks” into the wilderness to starve and freeze. Occasionally in this scenario, these deportees would build wooden shacks and dwellings that were referred to as “labor settlements” (Grossman, 140-47). Dying in these ghettos in Siberia and remote parts of Russia, unfortunately, wasn’t even the bulk of the estimated 1,200,000-4,600,000 “kulak”-classed Ukrainian deaths in the years between 1930-1933. Several hundred thousand died of cold or famine (Hryshko, 77). These numbers are so hard to define because there has been no official investigating in these terrors. The Ukrainian or Russian governments, in regards to loss of human life, have made no official statements. Archives, to this day, remain off-limits to independent researchers.