Soviet famine of 1932–33. Areas of most disastrous famine marked with black
The Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомо́р, “Extermination by hunger” or “Hunger-extermination”; derived from морити голодом, “to kill by starvation”), also known as the Terror-Famine and Famine-Genocide in Ukraine, and—prior to the widespread use of the term “Holodomor,” as well as currently still—referred to also as the Great Famine, and The Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-33 was a man-made famine in Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 that killed an estimated 2.5–7.5 million Ukrainians, with millions more counted in demographic estimates. It was part of the wider disaster, the Soviet famine of 1932–33, which affected the major grain-producing areas of the country.
During the Holodomor millions of inhabitants of Ukraine, the majority of whom were ethnic Ukrainians, died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine. Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by the independent Ukraine and 24 other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet Union.
Early estimates of the death toll by scholars and government officials varied greatly; anywhere from 1.8 to 12 million ethnic Ukrainians were said to have perished as a result of the famine. Recent research has since narrowed the estimates to between 2.4 and 7.5 million. The exact number of deaths is hard to determine, due to a lack of records, but the number increases significantly when the deaths inside heavily Ukrainian-populated Kuban are included. Older estimates are still often cited in political commentary. According to the findings of the Court of Appeal of Kyiv in 2010, the demographic losses due to the famine amounted to 10 million, with 3.9 million direct famine deaths, and a further 6.1 million birth deficit.
Some scholars believe that the famine was planned by Joseph Stalin to eliminate the Ukrainian independence movement. Using Holodomor in reference to the famine emphasizes its man-made aspects, arguing that actions such as rejection of outside aid, confiscation of all household foodstuffs, and restriction of population movement confer intent, defining the famine as genocide; the loss of life has been compared to the Holocaust. If Soviet policies and actions were conclusively documented as intending to eradicate the rise of Ukrainian nationalism, they would fall under the legal definition of genocide.