This blog is about race and genocide but I deliberately chose the banner at the top for the implied message–that genocide is deliberate and that should be the most important qualifying factor in determining whether or not an act was genocide or mass killing. The comparison seems trivial to me and the reasons for not wanting any association to the word genocide are obvious. Is it any wonder that Soviets were always in attendance and ready with the “self-serving argument… that social and political groups were too fluid and too difficult to define for them to be included,” at U.N. committees on the subject. (Norman Naimark, pp. 37)
Nineteen thirty-two marked the end of Joseph Stalin’s Five Year Plan and in 1933 began a year of famine in the Ukraine which was the direct result of Soviet policy at Stalin’s discretion. (Timothy Snyder, pp. 23) Stalin was too smart to literally make it policy to kill all Ukrainians. His clever solution was to invent a new social class, the kulak, who he could then target as a threat to Communism, and thereby incite others to handle the genocidal orders for him, mainly all those under him that feared that they, too, could fall under that unfortunate class at Stalin’s whim. Coincidentally or conveniently, almost all Ukrainians just happened to fall under the kulak class, according to Stalin. And like Hitler who did not kill all Jews, Stalin did not necessarily kill all Ukrainians. Similarly, like Hitler who more than just a few times killed members of his own Nazi Party, Stalin held more than a few purges within the Soviet Communist Party. Neither case demonstrates any less deliberateness in its aims to eradicate a targeted group.
Is this any different from what we see happening today in the Ukraine? Unfortunately, that remains to be seen.
Naimark, Norman. (2010) Stalin’s Genocides. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Snyder, Timothy. (2010) Bloodlands. New York: Basic Books.