The famine was intentionally provoke by the regime in Moscow, but with the support of the local administration of Moldova. When the Moldovan SSR was dying from starvation, the Soviet Union was exporting grain, doctor of history Lidia Pădureac, pro-rector of the Balti State University “Alecu Russo”, stated in a public debate hosted by IPN.
“If we refer to 1946-1947, the Soviet Union was exporting grain, while the Moldovan SSR was dying from starvation. They took away from people everything these had even if the harvest was small and the state institutions didn’t do anything to avoid the hunger. It was very well known what will follow if the persons lacked food. The authorities already had the results of the death of millions of people due to the excessive taxes as a result of the events that happened in Ukraine in 1932-1933. The local administration was obliged to fulfill a plan ordered by the union center and this often acted with excess of zeal. And we thus see that the Soviet authorities in Chisinau, which directly obeyed the Kremlin, bear a part of the blame,” stated Lidia Pădureac.
The doctor of history noted that the peasants, landowners and people from rural areas were affected the worst. The number of people who died in villages is twice higher than the number of persons who died in towns. If the authorities hadn’t taken what the people possessed, that famine wouldn’t have been witnessed.
The persons who refused to pay the taxes to the state or opposed the directives from the Kremlin were jailed. “For example, if a person didn’t pay the tax for 25 kg of wheat, this was arrested and convicted, while the children of this person were taken to Siberia alone, without the parents,” said Lidia Pădureac.
She noted that even if food points for persons who suffered from dystrophy were created, the then regime made sure that these were organized in a disproportionate way. “We see considerable discrepancy in the state institutions’ attitude to Bessarabia and the left side of the Nistru. For Transnistria, there were 400% places against the number of registered people. In counties on the right side of the Nistru, for example in Chisinau, 15% of those registered as suffering from dystrophy could get food from those points, while in Balti the figure stood at 30%”.
The doctor of history said that those who survived the famine said the hunger was harsher than the war and cases of cannibalism were recorded in each locality. About 30% of the deaths were logged in rural areas. It was a tragic phenomenon for the whole population.
Lidia Pădureac noted that in interviews with survivors, these were asked how they could endure such a horror and many told that death was a hope for them to end the experienced pain, but they wanted to live to help their children. “It was a famine without hope as the people didn’t know what to expect the next day.”
The debate entitled “Organized famine of 1946-1947: victims, murderers, memory” was the tenth installment of IPN’s project “Impact of the Past on Confidence and Peace Building Processes” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany.