Biden draws parallel between Russia-Ukraine war and Soviet-era famine

President Biden drew a parallel between a Soviet-era famine and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine on Saturday.

“We mark the solemn anniversary of the Holodomor as the brave people of Ukraine continue to defend their freedom and Ukraine’s sovereignty against Russia’s brutal war of aggression. Ninety years ago, the inhumane policies of Joseph Stalin and the Soviet regime created the ‘death by hunger,’ Biden said in a Saturday statement.

“Millions of Ukrainians—men, women, and children—suffered and starved to death between 1932-1933 because of a manmade famine,” Biden continued. “Stalin and his regime systematically seized Ukraine’s grain and farms and transferred Ukrainian grain to other parts of the USSR as a tactic to repress Ukraine’s national identity.”

The Holodomor is described as “the starvation of millions of Ukrainians in 1932–33 as a result of Soviet policies” by the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC), which is a project of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS), University of Alberta.

“In 1932, the Communist Party set impossibly high quotas for the amount of grain Ukrainian villages were required to contribute to the Soviet state,” HREC says on its website. “When the villages were not able to meet the quotas, authorities intensified the requisition campaign, confiscating even the seed set aside for planting and levying fines in meat and potatoes for failure to fulfill the quotas.”

“Special teams were sent to search homes and even seized other foodstuffs,” HREC continues. “Starving farmers attempted to leave their villages in search of food, but Soviet authorities issued a decree forbidding Ukraine’s peasants from leaving the country.”

The president then drew parallels between the famine and the current war between Ukraine and Russia. He said Ukraine’s agricultural infrastructure is being targeted again by Russian President Vladimir Putin “as part of his drive for conquest and power.”

“Russian forces seek to destroy Ukraine’s economy and independence, deliberately damaging fields and destroying Ukraine’s grain storage facilities and ports,” Biden’s Saturday statement said. “It is not just an attack on Ukraine’s economic security, it is a cynical assault on food security everywhere.  Putin is hurting the world’s most vulnerable communities, for Russia’s profit.”

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