FEBRUARY 24TH, 2017
In response to Michael O’Sullivan’s review of Bitter Harvest
San Francisco, CA (UACC) – Though O’Sullivan is well within his rights to dislike the movie and its directorial style, he is not allowed to irresponsibly and falsely claim that the Holodomor was not a policy of systemic genocide. Indeed, in his review, he alludes that the famine is ‘alleged’ and not proven to be have been intentionally executed by Stalin,
“Whether the Holodomor resulted from a policy of systemic genocide, as is the official position of Ukraine and many other governments, or was a terrible situation that nevertheless fails to meet the definition of deliberate mass murder, as others have characterized it, is a matter for U.N. diplomats and historians to argue about.”
O’Sullivan treads into David Irving’s Holocaust denial territory with these words. Never mind the evidence to the contrary and the fact that over 24 countries and noted Soviet, Russian and Eastern European historians have proven it to be true.
For instance, Yaroslav Bilinsky, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware, shows in the Journal of Genocide Research (1999) in a review of Holodomor literature stated: Stalin hated the Ukrainians, as accepted as a fact by Sakharov, revealed in the telegram to Zatonsky and inferred from his polemics with the Yugoslav communist Semich. Stalin decided to collectivize Soviet agriculture and under the cover of collectivization teach the Ukrainians a bloody lesson.
Professor Steven Rosefielde argues in his 2009 book Red Holocaust that “Grain supplies were sufficient enough to sustain everyone if properly distributed. People died mostly from terror-starvation (excess grain exports, seizure of edibles from the starving, state refusal to provide emergency relief, bans on outmigration, and forced deportation to food-deficit locales), not poor harvests and routine administrative bungling.”
Genocide scholar Adam Jones stresses that many of the actions of the Soviet leadership during 1931–32 should be considered genocidal. Not only did the famine kill millions, it took place against “a backdrop of persecution, mass execution, and incarceration clearly aimed at undermining Ukrainians as a national group”.
In 2006, the Security Service of Ukraine declassified more than 5,000 pages of Holodomor archives. These documents suggest that the Soviet regime singled out Ukraine by not giving it the same humanitarian aid given to regions outside it.
However, denying the existence of the famine was the Soviet state’s position and reflected in both Soviet propaganda and the work of some Western journalists and intellectuals including George Bernard Shaw, Walter Duranty, who won a Pulitzer Prize on his false report on the Holodomor, and Louis Fischer. In the Soviet Union, authorities all but banned discussion of the famine, and Ukrainian historian Stanislav Kulchytsky stated the Soviet government ordered him to falsify his findings and depict the famine as an unavoidable natural disaster, to absolve the Communist Party and uphold the legacy of Stalin. The denial of the man-made famine was a highly successful and well-orchestrated disinformation campaign by the Soviet government. According to Robert Conquest, it was the first major instance of Soviet authorities adopting the Big Lie propaganda technique to sway world opinion, to be followed by similar campaigns over the Moscow Trials and denial of the Gulag labor camp system.
The misinformation, deliberate and otherwise, about what happened in Ukraine is shameful, and this review only reinforces that shame. The Ukrainians who starved to death were not “said” to be killed. They were deliberately starved to death on Stalin’s orders. The survivors of the Holodomor have provided eye-witness accounts of what occurred during the Famine, of soldiers digging up every root vegetable out of the ground and hauling away the harvest, leaving people to die in their villages or on the streets of Kiev, where they went to try to find food.
Whatever O’Sullivan’s opinion of the film and its acting and cinematography, the review is absolutely unacceptable and a dangerous misrepresentation of facts for a paper that believes in truth. Indeed, the indisputable truth is that the Holodomor was a man-made famine that killed an estimated 7-10 million Ukrainians. During the Holodomor millions of inhabitants of Ukraine, the majority of whom were ethnic Ukrainians. Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by Ukraine and 24 other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet government.
Whether O’Sullivan is simply a Holodomor denier or a pro-Putin propagandist, O’Sullivan’s film review, which should have simply been a review on the quality of the film, has become a falsifier of history. In a world where genuine information has to compete with “fake news”, a respected newspaper like the Washington Post needs to hold itself to higher standards. This irresponsible review will only fuel the flames for more Holodomor deniers, and will spread misinformation one of the least known tragedies of the 20th century. If it is no longer acceptable to encourage and support Holocaust deniers and their ‘historians’, nor should it be acceptable to further spread the lies of Holodomor deniers.
on behalf of the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council
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San Francisco, CA (UACC) – September 29th, 2016
Download PDF: UACC Statement 92916.
The Ukrainian American Coordinating Council of California Statement on the Implementation of the Strategical Programs “Democracy, Development, Education”
Democracy, civic engagement, social well-being and economic development are inextricably connected. There is a clear need for disruptive ideas that are scalable, employ technology and encourage people to get involved in new efficacious ways of problem solving for life betterment of their communities. Today Ukrainians, as well as the global world by itself, face many challenges of social problems along with demand for improved quality of the services provided by governmental institutions and refined corporate social responsibility. We believe that creating for Ukraine pipeline with socially good innovative ecosystems of the USA (and Silicon Valley, first of all) is crucial for leveraging the strengths of impact initiatives and promoting the voice of Ukrainians globally.
Bringing strategic focus to dynamic innovative development is of immense significance to the future of the U.S.-Ukraine multilateral cooperation. Being inspired with aim of strengthening civic society and driving positive changes in Ukraine via support of socially oriented ventures, the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council of California, one the oldest Ukrainian organizations in USA, announces a launch of the continuous program
“DEMOCRACY, DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION”
which will encompass the following strategical initiatives:
UAStrategy – Social Ventures Hub, no equity and not-for-profit accelerating platform for social impact projects;
U.Work: co-working within public spaces of the Ukrainian community churches of San Francisco;
Ukrainian Interdisciplinary Studies Endowment to establish the Center of Interdisciplinary Ukrainian Studies at top world known university of the U.S. West Coast.
UAStrategy – Social Ventures Hub initiative is motivated with a passion to establish a robust enabling environment designed as a sustainable communication and consulting platform for human centered and civic-minded social ventures that jointly develop, fund and implement customized solutions to some of the toughest social issues. Impact enterprises marshal shifts in the attitudes and views of the government, civil society, and private sector through the amplified flow of financial, human and intellectual capital to the social sector. The UAStrategy – Social Ventures Hub project will contribute the very best efforts into an installment of a strong connection among a variety of people with remarkable ideas, pro-bono mentors and experts, governmental agencies, social investors, entrepreneurs, enablers, B-school students, corporate volunteers, as well as other incubators and accelerators.
There are many social issues that might be addressed to enhance societal life: governance quality and corruption watch, civic engagement, post-conflict peace-building, youth and women’s empowerment (in business and politics), STEM education (for kids and women, foremost), refugees support, social adaptation of veterans, public health care (including psychological health), disaster relief, environmental pollution, homelessness, poverty, xenophobia, gender diversity, hate speeches and crimes, ageism, bullying (including cyber bullying) and violence, domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking, human rights violations and other. Respectively, prioritized strategical audiences for social impact efforts are low-income youth (adolescent girls primarily) from refugee families, orphanages, financially deprived families from depressive regions and post-conflict territories that need re-integration, women, Ukrainian ATO veterans and military families, displaced individuals and low-income seniors.
We believe that strategical ground of efforts aiming effective preclusion of many intertwined social issues should progress digital literacy, economic empowerment and STEM education for women and adolescent girls, as engines of creating ecosystems and tools available for significant and lasting action on social issues. UAStrategy is open to those ventures that aim to reach communities and targeted individuals with products, tools and services that will enhance their economic and citizen empowerment to create transformative changes.
Understanding of the power and value of collaboration is a kernel of the U.Work co-working space concept for Ukrainian community. U.Work creative co-working spaces concept is to be designed and maintained within public spaces of the acting Ukrainian community churches of San Francisco: Saint Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.
U.Work’s purpose is to generate a public plaza that bridges outstanding local networks of like-minded change makers, enables the community to connect, contribute, communicate and co-exploit ideas and resources for different civic ventures.
U.Work’s project starts with community needs without aim for profit. Diverse ingenuity is its main asset. This co-working expanse is a unique non-conventional way for traditional spaces to become more engaging through realigning a relationship with creative minds and to be a pillar of the post-modern agora for socially-minded projects.
Nowadays, Ukraine continues its hard fight for Freedom and Democracy, and invigorates its own sovereign voice in a global world. Important contributions for the protection of Ukraine internationally was a consolidated vox of world known public intellectuals of the most prominent universities who were stating “Let us help Ukrainians to build a new Ukraine – and then they surely will help us build a new Europe and a fairer world”. A period of momentous changes in the global systems of international relations, encompassing recent and current tragic events demonstrates geopolitical vulnerability and importance of stability in Ukraine, as well as a need to increase the flow of valid representative knowledge about Ukraine and Ukrainians for the international community. The time is right to establish strong presence of interdisciplinary studies of contemporary Ukraine in the western academic stage and discourse of international relationships, providing the opportunity to learn Ukraine per se, in different contexts and at a comparative level, but not exclusively through the lenses of Russian or mainly culturally oriented Eastern-European or Eurasian studies how it has happened for in earlier decades.
Over the more than a half of a century, UACC and UACC of California have funded enhancement programs including a wide set of cultural, educational, business and democracy supporting events promoting Ukrainian culture and the U.S.-Ukraine partnership.
At the present moment the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council of California announces its initiative to assemble the Ukrainian Interdisciplinary Studies Endowment for an institutionalization of the Center of Interdisciplinary Ukrainian Studies at top world known university of the U.S. West Coast.
The goal of establishing the endowment is to provide a consistent, self-sustaining and permanent funding source that will secure a place for Ukrainian Studies in the University’s curriculum, will ensure and guarantee the continuation of multi-faceted Ukrainian studies into the future and will maintain professional interest in the study of Ukraine among students, faculty, and broader community through research and diverse programs for generations to come. This campaign is seeking to raise an endowment of USD 5,000,000 to ensure that the Center of Interdisciplinary Ukrainian Studies can maintain its independence and have the freedom it needs to produce the highest quality research, to ensure an excellence and enrichment of the relevant educational programs.
The UACC mission is to welcome, consolidate and leverage the gracious individual, institutional and corporate support of the fundraising campaign. This initiative completely depends on the generous support of people who value its mission and appreciate the chance to build an Interdisciplinary Ukrainian Studies presence at the top world university. There are around 60,000,000 Ukrainians in the world; California is a home to the third largest Ukrainian community in the US who enrich the Golden State through their leadership and contribution in many areas. Cordially appreciating every past and future effort of commitment to Ukraine, we believe that endeavor is deserving of the broadest national and international support.
The aims of creating the Center of Interdisciplinary Ukrainian Studies are as follows:
Addressing contemporary issues of importance for Ukraine and the United States from a vista of multilateral and strategical cooperation, to bridge the disciplines of the Social Sciences, Business, Humanities, and Law with STEM (Sciences, Technologies, Engineering, Mathematics) designing the international research working group on challenging issues of medicine and public health, aerospace industry, nuclear security and environment, biotechnologies, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, energy and smart agricultural technologies, defense and international security studies, nanotechnologies and other areas of STEM.
To generate an inextinguishable forum to explore the interplay between Ukraine, Stanford, Silicon Valley, and the global world, which will become a pivotal platform for understanding and engaging with Ukraine for leading figures in academia, government, and business. Convening experts to improve a policy process and produce policy analysis for decision-makers on vital for coordination issues, outreaching to different audiences through speaking engagements, academic events and policy-relevant studies.
To teach and conduct research on all aspects of co-existence and conflict that have marked development of Ukraine as a country of East-West and North-South civilizational, trade and political crossroads, with unique frontier experience and connectedness to the trans-regional/transnational contexts.
To provide an incessant access of Ukrainian exceptional researchers, experts, decision-makers and professionals to the cutting-edge research and academic programs, human and intellectual resources, ideas and experience shared by the leading world–renowned experts spanning across various areas of knowledge, crossing boundaries to tackle large problems, engaging faculty and their students to take the fullest advantage of their efforts to achieve significant success in their professional and social endeavors and use their knowledge to contribute to Ukraine’s democratic development.
The UACC Board is honored to cooperate with Dr. Svitlana Khutka who will graciously perform the chief executions of these strategic initiatives pro bono, following her commitment to contribute to public good and democracy development. The UACC believes in her ability to assume leadership of the launched projects and to transpose vision and strategy into effective execution, bringing together ideas, teams, mentors, impact investors and ecosystems to navigate the initiative to results.
Svitlana Khutka has diverse background and knowledge combining academic and business education along with involvement into a variety of non-profit initiatives: a graduate of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Fulbright Scholar Program Alumni (2014-2015, Stanford University: Governance Quality, Democracy, Values and Development study), Visiting Professor (via CREEES, 2015) and Visiting Scholar (2016-2017) at Stanford University; a silver winner of the national-level award “Best Junior Sociologist of Ukraine” (2010) and international award “Best Junior Sociologist of a Year” (2012-2013); published author; featured at the national and international mass-media expert; invited guest lecturer at world-known established universities. Graduate of the first cohort of Harvard Negotiation Project Program of Kyiv-Mohyla Business School (2011); guest attendant of Graduate Stanford Business School (2015-2016); Board Member of Global Ukraine; co-founder and leader of several non-profit projects in Ukraine.
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