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I was reading a blog this morning and one thing led to another – as it often does. I was soon on a research page reading about the Holodomor.

If you’re like me, you’re going what? What’s the Holodomor?

The word means to kill by starvation. Holodomor was a famine that killed between 7 – 12 million people in the Ukraine region of what was then Soviet Russia.

The famine could have been brought about because of incompetent bureaucracy: at the time Ukranian farmers were forced to abandon their farms or give them back to a collective that would manage all the farms. The farmers would then be paid wages. Unfortunately, for all those millions of people, the collective was so badly managed that only half of the expected crop was harvested. Some people believe that the famine was deliberately orchestrated to crush any hint of Ukranian independence.

I knew about the horrors of World War II and how, during the siege of Leningrad, a million people starved. Nazi Germany also had something called a “Hunger Plan” by which people would be starved into submission. All in all, between the Germans and the Japanese, 20 million people starved during World War II.

But the Holodomor occurred during 1932-1933, a decade before the war.

My first husband’s family was Ukranian. Very proudly Ukranian. My mother-in-law only spoke Ukranian. All her children spoke it as well.

They would freeze you out in a millisecond if you ever called them Russian. At the time I thought it was a pride of place thing. Sort of like me saying, “Hey, I’m a Texan. I’m not from New Mexico.” 

Uh, no.  

Today the Ukraine is a sovereign state, but the discord between them and Russia continues. Memories are long. Twelve million souls long.

 (If you’re wondering why this post appeared then disappeared, it’s user error. I had edited the post, but when I published it, the previous version appeared. I’m still learning this new theme and all its wonkiness.)