TORONTO – The topic of the Holodomor is featured at two academic conferences this May and June, in Calgary and Lviv, in panels organized by the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC).

HREC has organized a panel that will examine the role of demonization and the “othering” of Ukrainians in the context of the Holodomor at the conference of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) on June 26 in Lviv at the Ukrainian Catholic University. ASEEES is an international organization with more than 3,000 members that supports teaching, research, and publication related to Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, and Eastern Europe. The panel, titled “Images of ‘the Enemy’ and the National Interpretation of De-Kulakization and the Holodomor in Ukraine (1920s-1950s),” will focus on three distinct collections of primary sources on the 1928-1933 period in Ukraine.

Liudmyla Hrynevych, Director of the Holodomor Research and Education Centre in Kyiv, will examine “Mechanisms of Mass Killings: Constructing the ‘Image of the Enemy’ in Soviet Political Caricature (late 1920s—early 1930s).” Her presentation will focus on the meanings of codes imbedded in Soviet political caricatures that constructed images of “the enemy”—the “kulak,” the “Petliurite” and the priest. According to Dr. Hrynevych, who is a Senior Research Associate at the Institute of the History of Ukraine at the National Academy of Sciences, “In their demonization and dehumanization, Soviet propaganda not only created a specific psychological context but also prepared the way for mass repressions in Ukraine, including the physical destruction of the carriers of those holding ‘hostile’ views to the Soviet state.”

Bohdan Klid, Director of Research for HREC and Assistant Director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) at the University of Alberta, will speak on “Collectivization and the Holodomor in Ukrainian Émigré Memoirs and Testimonies of the late 1940s-early 1950s,” focusing on memoirs held at the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre (Oseredok) archive in Winnipeg. “These are valuable first-hand accounts of life under Soviet rule, including descriptions of the turbulent and tragic Stalinist period, assessments of collectivization, and observations on the 1932–1933 famine in Ukraine,” Dr. Klid said.

In her paper “Lost Voices: The Holodomor in the First Years of the Cold War,” Professor Olga Andriewsky, Associate Professor in the Department of History at Trent University, will discuss the Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System, a research project based on 705 interviews conducted with refugees from the USSR during the early years of the Cold War, and what the interviews tell us about the extent to which the notion of a “Ukrainian” famine was accepted in the USSR in the 1930s by Ukrainians as well as non-Ukrainians.

Marta Baziuk, Executive Director of HREC, will chair the panel.

HREC organized the panel “Refugees and the Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: Accounts of Flight, Early Testimonies, Memoirs and Other Writings (1930s-1950s)” held May 31 at the conference of the Canadian Association of Slavists (CAS), the major Canadian professional organization in Slavic studies. The conference, held at the University of Calgary, was part of a larger gathering of 69 member organizations of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Professor Andriewsky discussed the “hidden transcript” on the Holodomor in the Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System and what the Harvard Project reveals about the place of the Holodomor in early US Cold War thinking. Her presentation was titled “Missing the Past: The Holodomor and the Foundation of Soviet Studies in the West.” According to Professor Andriewsky, “The interviews contain a wealth of information about de-kulakization, collectivization and the Holodomor from a range of individuals who experienced these events as adults in a large variety of social and institutional settings.”

Serge Cipko presented his paper “Flight across the Dnister: Attempted Crossings from the USSR to Romania in 1932–1934,” based on his research on the Holodomor as covered in the Canadian press, Ukrainian-language periodicals published abroad, and other sources. He discussed stories that appeared in the early months of 1932 in the Canadian press about the desperate attempts of peasants to escape Soviet Ukraine, including a report in The Toronto Star in February 1932 that forty Ukrainians had been shot by Soviet frontier guardsmen while attempting to swim across the river into Romania to flee, the newspaper said, “an impending famine.”

Panel organizer Bohdan Klid discussed writings, some still unpublished, on collectivization and the Famine, including attempts of Ukrainian refugees to analyze the traumatic events, in his presentation “Early Assessments of Collectivization and the Holodomor in Memoirs and other Writings of Ukrainian Refugees in the Late 1940s and Early 1950s.” Dr. Klid looked at the questions that most occupied the refugees, how they arrived at their conclusions, and the terms they used to describe the events they witnessed.

The panel was chaired by Zenon Kohut, former director of CIUS. Andrij Makuch, Associate Director of Research at HREC, served as discussant