has some of the most fertile land in Europe
. Yet in a single year, between 1932 and 1933, 5 to 8 million Ukranians died of starvation. This was not because of a shortage of food, but as a result of concerted action in the Kremlin
In 1930, the Soviet Union
began its first Five Year Plan
which called for the collectivitzation of agriculture
. In Russia
, this plan was accepted without much complaint; there was already an old tradition of communal farming. In Ukraine, however, private ownership of farms was the rule. Collectivization did not sit well with the kulaks
, the independent small farmers. The resistance in Ukraine was so vigorous that it succeeded in stalling the progress of the Plan.
was not pleased about this.
Their response was to send the Red Army
and secret police
into Ukraine and confiscate the food. All of it. Towns were invaded and stripped of all food supplies. Harvests were confiscated and locked up in state-controlled granaries. Much of the stolen food was sold in Russia
, or to other European nations.
Between 10 and 25 percent of the population starved.