Erin Littlekin claims in the afternote of The Memory Keeper of Kyiv that:

Between 1932 and 1933, one in every eight Ukrainians died in this manmade famine. And it was absolutely manmade. During this time, the USSR exported tons of apples and tomato paste, barrels of pickles, honey, milk, and almost two million tons of grain in 1932 alone. Stores of crops, rotting sometimes as they awaited exportation, sat at railway stations and on the sides of roads under guard while the people starved within sight of them. Grain procurement quotas were kept unreasonably high, even though the spring seed grain had already been seized and the farmers of Ukraine had nothing left to give.

Across the Soviet Union, food shortages resulting from the chaos of collectivization and dekulakization, and Stalin's refusal to lower grain quotas in the wake of these issues, lead to an estimated 8.7 million deaths... In August 1932, Stalin issued a statewide decree known as "The Law of Five Stalks of Grain," calling for ten years' imprisonment or death for anyone caught taking any state-owned property - which, to be clear, was everything - even a handful of grain, rotten potatoes from a field, or fish from a stream.

The author also cites laws like an internal passport system as evidence that Stalin was targeting Ukraine in particular (because Ukrainian nationalism was seen as a potential threat to Soviet ideology).

Do historians generally agree with the above analysis? Are such statistics and laws generally regarded as conclusive evidence that the famine was created intentionally?

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    There are two questions here: (a) in August 1932, when Stalin made these laws, was he intentionally setting up the Holodomor, and (b) in the winter of 1933, when Stalin learned that lots of people in Ukraine were dying, did he intentionally refuse to change his policies and save them? There is some controversy about (a). There should be absolutely no controversy about (b).
    – Peter Shor
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 17:43
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    A second question: did Stalin refuse to change his policy because he wanted to kill millions of people in Ukraine, or did he refuse to change his policy because he was unwilling to admit he had been wrong and didn't care about Ukrainians? I'd love to know the answer to that, but I think either answer shows that Stalin was fundamentally evil.
    – Peter Shor
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 17:49
  • @PeterShor All very valid points. I don't know if it was incompetence at first and intransigence later, or if it was intentional all along. The author seems pretty convinced that it was deliberate all along; I'm curious as to whether the majority of historians agree with her perspective. Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 19:15
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    I've read that nobody can figure out whether it was intentional all along from the historical documents that we can access today. I don't know whether this was right or not, and I don't know whether any new evidence has appeared since then (but the place I read it was definitely not written by a Holodomor apologist, so I expect this is accurate).
    – Peter Shor
    Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 19:33
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    "Do historians generally agree with the above analysis?" - This is a question for se.history. I'd say (not having resources to write a proper answer) that everything we know about Stalin suggests that it wasn't a specifically anti-Ukrainian policy. Rather, it was anti-peasant policy; peasants in Russia or Kazakhstan suffered the same fate. He just disregarded them, believing there were higher priorities than these people. In addition, peasants were treated as unreliable class, despite the state declared as 'soviets of workers and peasants'.
    – Zeus
    Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 9:39


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