The reasons of the famine are the subject of intense scholarly and political debate. Some historians claim the famine was purposely engineered by the Soviet authorities to attack Ukrainian nationalism, while others view it as an unintended consequence of the economic problems associated with radical economic changes implemented during the period of Soviet industrialization.It is sometimes argued that natural causes may have been the primary reason for the disaster. There is no international consensus among scholars or politicians on whether the Soviet policies that caused the famine fall under the legal definition of genocide. However, as of March 2008, the parliament of Ukraine and the governments of several other countries have recognized the Holodomor as an act of genocide.
Causes and outcomes
While complex, it is possible to group some of the causes that contributed to the Holodomor. They have to be understood in the larger context of the social revolution 'from above' that took place in the Soviet Union at the time.
1.Policy of collectivization - Further information: Collectivization in the Ukrainian SSR, Collectivization in the USSR, Dekulakization
2.Procurement practice - In 1928, a "contract" policy for procurement was implemented for kolkhozes and ordinary peasants alike. However, between the Autumn of 1930 and the Spring of 1932, local authorities tended to collect products from kolkhozes in amounts greater than the minimum required in order to exceed the contracted target (in some cases by more than 200%).
3. Legislation provisions - On August 7, 1932, the Soviet government passed a law "On the Safekeeping of Socialist Property" that imposed from a ten year prison sentence up to the death penalty for any theft of socialist property. Stalin personally appended the stipulation: "People who encroach on socialist property should be considered enemies of the people."
4. Restrictions on freedom of movement - Special barricades were set up by GPU units throughout the USSR to prevent an exodus of peasants from the hunger-stricken regions. During a single month in 1933, 219,460 people were intercepted and escorted back or arrested and sentenced.
5. Information blockade - On February 23, 1933 Politburo of VKP(b) Central Committee adopted a decree “About foreign journalists travel trough USSR” which expected what they can be travel and reside in mentioned areas only after approval and obtained a permit from General Directorate of Militia”. The Soviet government denied initial reports of the famine (but agreed with information about malnutrition) , and prevented foreign journalists from traveling in the region.
6. Insufficient assistance - The first reports regarding malnutrition and hunger in rural areas and towns (which were undersupplied through recently introduced rationing system) to the Ukrainian GPU and Oblast authorities are dated to mid-January 1933.
7. Export of grain - After recognition of the famine situation in Ukraine during the drought and poor harvests, the Soviet government in Moscow continued to export grain rather than retain its crop to feed the people.
8. Natural reasons - Drought began to be mentioned as the major reason of Holodomor by Soviet propaganda sources since 1983. This explanation has been supported by several Western historians.
9. Sovkhozes general fault of 1932 - After grain collection difficulties in 1927 and 1928, Stalin ordered the creation of state grain and meat enterprises – sovkhozes - which, accordingly to his initial vision, should deliver more then 100 million of poods of grain in 1932. However, in 1932 their production results were disastrous because of poor general and agricultural management and planning,
10. Primitive agriculture - Another factor in the decline of the harvests were the shortage of drought power for ploughing and reaping was even more acute in 1932 than in the previous year.