THE ECHO OF THE HOLODOMOR

2013-10-14Holodomor On the fourth Saturday of November the Ukrainians honour those perished in the Holodomor – the man-made famine-genocide arranged by the communists in the period from the January of 1932 till the August of 1933 in what is now Central and Eastern Ukraine. One of the aims was to keep Ukraine in the “affectionate” Russian hug for a time which would be long enough for Ukraine to breathe her last gasp. As a result millions of the Ukrainians died. Psychologists say that the imprint of the genocide may be observed not only in the generation that physically survived it, but in the following generations too. The scholars compare the attitudes of modern Ukrainians on the territories which were subjected to the Holodomor with the attitudes in those regions where the killing by starvation did not take place (mainly the present day Western Ukraine which was under Polish domination in those days). The post-genocidal syndrome is seen in a person’s lower desire to achieve one’s potential, in lower belief in the effectiveness of one’s actions, in conformism, in escaping from reality, etc.

I was born in Eastern Ukraine. My parents used to tell me (almost in whisper – because speaking about the Great Famine was considered to be anti-Soviet propaganda) about the atrocities committed by the communist brigades who had been ransacking people’s homes and confiscating everything edible that was in there. It’s difficult for me to judge about the aftermath of the Holodomor as regards my personal self: how ambitious I am, or whether I am a conformist or a hermit. But every time when am offered a choice of food (be it at home where my wife cooks for us both, or when we are invited by our friends to dine with them) I find it difficult to choose. I almost always say, “It makes no difference for me. I’ll have anything.” As a child living in a post-Holodomor village I had been taught one hard and fast rule: you shall eat what there is to eat, without preferences or complaints.

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