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Three police officers jailed for Gongadze’s murder

Some much needed closure arrived over the weekend for the family of Heorhiy Gongadze (May 21, 1969 – Sept 16 2000), a reporter and founder of Ukrayinska Pravda who was brutally murdered for being a critic of the Kuchma regime’s incompetency and corrupt administration.  His decapitated and acid-laced body was found in the Taraschanskyi Raion of the Kyiv Oblast two months after he was reported missing.

His murder prompted many protests in Ukraine, as many high-profiled crimes against journalists went unresolved during the course of the Kuchma administration.  There was much evidence to implicate Kuchma in the murder, including over 700 hours of recorded conversations between himself and Interior Minister Yuri Kravchenko, but unfortunately no conviction was made due to corruption, hampering and obstruction.  It became a hot issue in Ukrainian politics, and a catalyst for the Orange Revolution

On March 1, 2005 President Yushchenko announced that his killers were apprehended and three years later on March 15 Mykola Protasov,  Valeriy Kostenko and Oleksandr Popovich, senior police officers working in the Interior Ministry’s Criminal Investigations directorate (CID) were sentenced to prison for 15, 13 and 13 years respectively.  Kravchenko, who received orders in the recorded conversations by Kuchma to “take care” of Gongadze was found dead in his apartment near Kyiv on March 4, 2005 after being called as a witness to the murder case.  An apparent suicide, some news reports suggested that suffering two gunshot wounds to the head in the manner he received would indicate foul play.  It is believed that Kravchenko gave the killing orders to Police General Oleksiy Pukach to assemble with a group of high-class detectives he controls “without any morals, and ready to do anything”.  Pukach remains at large and an international warrant is out for his arrest.  It is believed he has fled Ukraine and was last spotted in Israel.

Harvest of Despair (Soviet Engineered Famine in the Ukraine) 1933

For the first time in history the award-winning documentary Harvest of Despair brought the 1932-33 terror famine in Ukraine into the awareness of the world. Perpetrated by Stalin’s Soviet government which sought to destroy Ukrainians as a nation, the famine is one of the most terrible crimes of the 20th century. It claimed 10 million lives in Ukraine.

Translated into Ukrainian, French, and Spanish, Harvest of Despair was shown in Canada on CBC, in the US on PBS, in England on the BBC as well as in Australia, Argentina and Sweden and on other TV networks. Before the 1991 independence referendum in Ukraine Harvest of Despair was telecast on the Ukrainian national television network. The film was the essential catalyst in finally breaking down the USSR denial that a man-made famine had occurred in Ukraine in 1932-33.

This documentary film established the existence and the extent of this genocidal crime against humanity which had been so skillfully concealed by the Soviet Union that half a century later the western world remained a victim of Soviet propaganda.

A one hour documentary, Harvest of Despair, has been widely screened around the world, and is regularly shown in schools, colleges and universities. It has provided an insight into the Soviet totalitarian system and a better understanding of the reasons for the struggle of Ukraine for independence.

Support the Harvest of Despair, it is available from its producers the Ukrainian Canadian Research & Documentation Centre (UCRDC) in Toronto, as well as on Amazon.

A really great documentary, definitely a staple of Holodomor research.  It ran into a lot of problems being shown in the US as many PBS affiliates would not air it giving flimsy excuses time and time again, but finally caved into public pressure after they could no longer defend their unscrupulous decision.

This video was the first popularized evidence of the man-made famine, a voice to finally rise against the Soviet propoganda and Western venality. It was not brought about by drought, or crop activitists, it was brought in for the task from Russia, physically removed virtually all of the food from the region. The famine was the realization of Soviet Foreign Minister Maksim Litvinov’s dictum, “Food is a weapon.” It was also the precursor of starvation politics in Afghanistan and Ethiopia.

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