Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Holodomor Geography

Yesterday, a unique online resource, created to research the far-reaching demographic consequences of the genocide of Ukrainians in 1932-1933, has been presented in Kyiv
25 June, 2015 - 14:11

The “Atlas of Holodomor” project was shown at the National Memorial Museum of Holodomor Victims in Ukraine. It is the joint development of Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute together with historians, demographers and other experts from different institutions. The presentation was dedicated to the 115th birth anniversary of Raphael Lemkin, renowned lawyer, inventor of the term “genocide.”

The resource is available online at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (HURI) website. Also, two computers in the exhibition hall of the Memorial Museum have the atlas installed, and anyone can get acquainted with the project there. The uniqueness of this resource is that for the first time the population loss to famine is presented at the district and regional level according to the administrative division that existed back in 1933.

The atlas has been in development since 2010. In late 2013 a demo version was introduced, and the authors have been working on in for nearly two years. “We emphasize the unique collection of demographic maps. First, there are maps with data on excess mortality during the famine,” says Gennadi Poberezny, researcher of HURI and co-author of the project. “The innovation of the atlas is that it is an interactive resource, which allows the researchers to select the different sections of information, level it up on each other, to compare the data from different categories. Also, the resource is open to improvement; like an atlas on paper it is not static.” The atlas is created in English, but there are other languages to be chosen by users.

The specialists of Mykhailo Ptukha Institute of Demography and Social Studies have actively participated in the project. “The project includes ten maps on population loss, which were built on the basis of our research,” says Natalia Levchuk, a leading researcher at the Institute. “Hunger affects all demographic processes significantly. And the long-reaching demographic consequences to a famine may vary depending on the scale and duration of this process, and on political and social conditions. We have assessed not only the total loss, but also the geography of the hunger’s effects. Our work on the atlas had several key steps: the evaluation of population losses at the national level (additionally, we have performed separate calculations for residents of villages and towns), the assessment at the regional and district levels. At the final stage we rated the population losses for the six national groups in Ukraine. The “Atlas of Holodomor” is valuable in its idea of measuring the regional distribution of the losses. Scientists are able to combine different levels of study: national, regional, local. This allows us to determine the factors that influenced the geography of population losses.”

By Maria PROKOPENKO, The Day