Western and even Soviet publications have described the 1933 famine in the Soviet Union as “man-made” or “artificial.” The Stalinist leadership is presented as having imposed harsh procurement quotas on Ukraine and regions inhabited by other groups, such as Kuban’ Cossacks and Volga Germans, in order to suppress nationalism and to overcome opposition to collectivization. Proponents of this interpretation argue, using official Soviet statistics, that the 1932 grain harvest, especially in Ukraine, was not abnormally low and would have fed the population. Robert Conquest, for example, has referred to a Soviet study of drought to show that conditions were far better in 1932 than they were in 1936, a “non-famine year.” James Mace, the main author of a U.S. Congress investigation of the Ukraine famine, cites “post-Stalinist” statistics to show that this harvest was larger than those of 1931 or 1934 and refers to later Soviet historiography describing 1931 as a worse year than 1932 because of drought. On this basis he argues that the 1932 harvest would not have produced mass starvation.
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