The Task: “To Collect a Lot of Material Information for the Organizers of Anti-Famine Protests”


On the eve of Holodomor Remembrance Day in Ukraine, which this year is marked on November 27, the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine publishes a number of materials from archives on how Ukrainian emigrant organizations set up committees to help the starving, how representatives of the UPR and OUN collected intelligence on the crimes of the Stalinist regime, produced leaflets and other propaganda literature that was illegally sent to the USSR, tried to tell the world the truth about the state of affairs in Ukraine and how the Soviet secret services counteracted this and any attempts of protest or free thought inside the country.

In the case-form of the GPU of the Ukrainian SSR on the Chief of the UPR Intelligence, Khorunzhyi General Vsevolod Zmiyenko, there is a message from a secret agent of the Foreign Department of the GPU “Zh/54” dated November 3, 1933 about the preparation in Prague of emigrants’ measures to help the starving in Ukraine, as well as to organize protests in European countries against the Bolshevik policy, which had led to the artificial famine.

“Zh/54” reports that Dr. Levko Chykalenko, Chairman of the Emigration Committee for Aid to the Starving at the Ukrainian Central Committee in Poland, arrived in Prague in late October 1933 to join forces in countering Stalinist terror and organizing the protest movement. “According to Chykalenko, the case should be organized in this way”, said a secret GPU agent, a lot of material information should be collected to arrange protests against the holodomor, i.e.: ersatz of bread from Ukraine should be brought, photos that would clearly prove the condition of the starving”. Chykalenko is sure and even certain, that he will gather a lot of such evidence, namely through the ties with the fugitives”.

The document mentions a villager’s emotional speech at a meeting: “A villager who arrived in Prague in recent days via Poland from Ukraine made a huge stir at the meeting. The villager cried and said that he had not seen bread for a year and that people in Ukraine were dying of hunger like flies. The villager had some ersatz of bread with him, which is eaten in Ukraine”.

Besides, special attention is paid to the fact that the issue of famine in Ukraine had brought together representatives of different Ukrainian émigré parties and organizations. It is noted that the Committee for Aid to the Starving in Ukraine included well-known figures from UPR, Hetmanists, nationalists, Social Democrats, Social Revolutionaries and other parties. In particular, the names of Olgerd Bochkovskyi, Borys Homzin, Sofia Rusova, Ivan Palyvoda, Dmytro Antonyuk, Natalia Doroshenko and others are mentioned.

Among the measures planned by the Committee, propaganda is in the first place, i.e. bringing the truth about the famine in Ukraine to the world. These measures included organizing appeals, rallies, protests, and publishing leaflets, bulletins, newspapers. In particular, Mykola Bytynskyi was tasked to draw the relevant posters, and Oleksandr Oles had to compose poetic texts.

This document from the intelligence archives is another evidence that in the 1930s the Bolshevik government not only pursued a criminal policy against the villagers, which had led to numerous deaths, but also spared no effort and means to monitor the reaction to this in an emigrant environment, aiming to hide crimes from the world community in every possible way.

(BSA of the SZR of Ukraine. – F.1. Case 6945. – V.1. – P. 101–105).