Category Archives: event

Newly discovered western-Ukrainian classical scores premieres Sunday

imageCatch a rare opportunity to hear World-renowned Canadian opera singers perform recently discovered works by western Ukrainian classical composers from different eras in ‘GALICIANS I: The Art Songs’:

When & Where:

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014
3 PM
Koerner Hall, Toronto, ON

Tickets: can be purchased at the Koerner Hall website or by calling 416-408-0208.


The concert is from the Ukrainian Art project which aims to promote the classical treasures of Ukrainian art-song. The project recorded over 300 recordings from Ukrainian composers such as Mykola Lysenko, Kyryko Stetsenko and Yakiv StepovyiThe. Sunday they will debut to the world the recently discovered art songs of:

  • Denys Sichynsky – late-romantic period, the first professionally trained Western Ukrainian composer.
  • Wasyl Barvinsky – impressionist era, imprisoned by Soviet authorities for 10 years and destroyed much of his work which some have yet to be rediscovered
  • Stanyslav Liudkevych – post-romantic era,
  • Stefania Turkewich – modernist, Ukraine’s first female composer

Buy the music

Music from the Ukrainian Art Project is for sale:

Taras Shechenko’s poetry is presented as song

Music from Kyrylo Stetsenko

Music from Mykola Lysenko, the father of Ukrainian classical music

Music from Yakiv Stepovyi

The music is also available on iTunes and Google Play

Poroshenko to visit Canadian Parliament and US Congress this week; Ukrainian parliament concedes to Russian rebels and ratifies agreement with EU

Petro Poroshenko is pictured. | AP Photo

What a week. New Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is scheduled to visit Ottawa on Wednesday, followed by a visit to the US congress on Thursday.


Visiting Canada

Poroshenko is scheduled to address Parliament Wednesday at 2PM EST, and you can watch live on CPAC. The Harper government pledged $200 million back in March, but it has yet to be delivered – even causing Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada to ask about the money back in July. Canada also added additional sanctions against Russia and pledged more than 300 election monitors for the fall Ukrainian parliamentary elections.

Update: Here is Poroshenko’s Address to Canadian Parliament:


Visiting USA

Poroshenko is scheduled to meet US President Barack Obama on Thursday, and was subsequently invited to speak to Congress the same day. You can watch the Congressional address Thursday at 10AM EST on CSPAN. The US and the EU added additional sanctions against Russia last Friday.

Update: Here is Poroshenko’s Address to the US Congress:



Association Agreement with EU

The association agreement with the EU, originally rejected by Yanukovych back in November which plunged Ukraine into rebellion then war with Russia, has finally been ratified by Ukrainian Parliament. It won’t be fully implemented until 2016.

For about 15 months, Ukraine will be able to ship its goods to the E.U. without paying export tariffs, but Europeans will not be able to enjoy the same free access to the Ukrainian market. That is what Russia has long demanded.

Recently, at the end of August, when the leaders of Russia and Ukraine met for the first time in nearly three months to discuss the war raging along their border, Vladimir Putinused his time at the microphone to rant about Ukraine’s trade deal with Europe. The Russian President insisted that it would cost Russia around $3 billion if Ukraine went ahead with the agreement, which he said would disrupt the customs rules and sanitary inspections that Russia conducts at its border.

How Putin Got His Way In Ukraine


Autonomy to Donetsk and Luhansk

Ukrainian Parliament also voted for autonomy and self-governance for the two terrorist-occupied oblasts for Donetsk and Luhansk for the next three years, as negotiated with Russia as part of the ceasefire. Amnesty has been granted to those who did not commit war crimes.

Many argue that these two areas will pave the way for disgraced Party of Regions and Communist party officials to return to office and have a say in Ukraine:

Holding elections in the occupied territories with the almost guaranteed victory of the Akhmetov-Medvedchuk project would return to parliament the most odious names from the previous era. On the other hand, it would permit the transfer of the separatist war from the terrorist to the political format. This has always been the path for dealing with “separatist” conflicts in the West.

Is Medvedchuk coming back?

Ukrainian Festival Summer Guide 2014

Here is a list of Ukrainian Festivals happening all summer long:

View Ukrainian Festival Summer Guide 2014 in a full screen map



Calgary Ukrainian Festival

June 7-8

Calgary, AB

To provide to the citizens of Calgary an informative, educational and entertaining festival that celebrates all aspects of our  unique and rich Ukrainian heritage and to raise the profile of Calgary’s Ukrainian Community through a professional and inclusive annual event that showcases Ukrainian arts, cuisine, entertainment and culture while highlighting true Ukrainian hospitality.


Yonkers Ukrainian Heritage Festival

June 13-15

Yonkers, NY

The annual Ukrainian Heritage Festival offers you three days of warmth, food, fun, and excitement, and we are certain you will agree this is our best festival to date. There is plenty to do and see, so bring the whole family over. Let your children have some magical moments on the rides, or try to win a gift for that certain someone at one of the games.

Photo: "Who is interested in a giveaway?"Contact David Dossett  of  Art by David Dossett  for information!   :)FREE tickets to Folklore Kingston 2014Kingston Ukrainian Folklore Festival

June 13-15

Kingston, ON

The Ukrainian Club of Kingston this weekend presents Folklore 2013: the Lviv Pavilion with Ukrainian food, performances and exhibitions.

When: Friday June 13th – 6 – 10pm
Saturday June 14th – Noon  -10pm
Sunday June 15th – Noon – 6pm

Where: Regiopolis Notre Dame Catholic High School, 130 Russell Street, Kingston, ON

Admission: Passport $5 – At the door
(613) 549-5060

Ukrainian Cultural Festival

June 21st

Perth Amboy, NJ

The festival will feature church tour, live entertainment by “Cheremosh”, dancing, family activities, vendors, traditional Ukrainian homemade  food/beer, raffles and more.

imageUkrainian Canadian Music Festival

June 28

Acton, ON

“Zolotyj Klen” (Golden Maple) is an exciting celebration of Ukrainian Music, held each summer at the Ukrainian Youth Association camp grounds “Veselka”. The festival is held yearly for Canada Day. It has a wonderful family atmosphere where festival goers can meet many friends. People are free to relax on their own, or participate in the day long program. The concert starts just after lunch and lasts the entire day culminating with a musical act direct from Ukraine!


Vegreville Pysanka Festival

July 4-6

Vegrevilla, AB

~Delicious authentic Ukrainian food: some of the best hearty comfort food
~ treat your eyes and ears to 5 amazing grandstand shows
~ smell the aroma of fresh baked outdoor oven bread… and the taste of this bread is like no other!
~ go back in time to see how rope-making and blacksmithing was done by pioneers
~ tap your foot to some upbeat Ukrainian music as you listen to some upbeat Ukrainian music
~ dance the night away at our evening Zabavas–the best Ukrainian parties always have a Kolomeyka!
~ the beautiful colourful display of folk arts cannot be missed… do you have time to learn how to make a Pysanka?
~ visit the Yarmarok marketplace to take home a Ukrainian blouse, Pysanky and many more items


July 11-13

Kerhonkson, NY

Soyuzivka, also known as Suzi-Q or The Q, is a year-round Ukrainian resort and cultural center located in Kerhonkson, New York in the Shawangunk Ridge area south of the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, providing workshops, seminars, concerts, dance recitals and art exhibits for those interested in learning about Ukraine and its rich culture.

Their annual Ukrainian Cultural Festival is happening this weekend at the resort and will feature bands Hrim, Zrada and Haydamaky.


Ukrainian Cultural Festival

July 27

Buffalo, NY

Featuring delicious foods, music, basket raffle, dance performance, venders, cool beverages.


North Dakota Ukrainian Festival

July 16-20

Belfield, ND

The North Dakota Ukrainian Festival is an annual festival featuring authentic Ukrainian cuisine, arts, dance, music and history in Western North Dakota. The festival has been going strong for over 25 years and continues to grow and improve with each year. The main events of the festival include performances by the Ukrainian Dancers Stepovi and the students of the Ukrainian Arts and Dance Camp, meals featuring authentic Ukrainian cuisine (pyrohy, holubtsi, beet leaf bread, borscht, etc.), displays of Ukrainian arts, educational presentations on Ukrainian history and culture, as well as a lively evening Zabava with a live Ukrainian band and formal dinner.


Ukrainian Food & Fun Festival

July 23-26

McKees Rocks, PA


“A Celebration Of Faith And Community”
Live Entertainment Every Night!
Lamb Roast • Funnel Cakes



Canadian National Ukrainian Festival (CNUF)

August 1-3

Dauphin, MB

In the fresh air and sunshine, enjoy the incredible view and watch the world-class grandstand shows from the only 11,000-seat, hillside amphitheatre in Canada. Authentic, rich, uniquely Ukrainian and ultimately… delicious! Excite your senses with our all-day-available traditional cuisine. As we tell our stories through costume, song and dance, you will literally see and feel the past come alive. For one whole weekend, escape to become immersed in a new adventure. Let us put a fiddle in your hands, show you a few steps and teach you some Ukrainian songs. Then celebrate with us at the nightly Zabavas; parties thrown in honour of our guests… you!

Lemko Vatra

August 2-4

Elmwood, Ontario

The only Vatra held in Canada, lets you put up your tent, park your car, enjoy the many attractions & so much more. Youth – 16 & under – free admission. Three days of fun – b0nfire, watch how the pigs are roasted & then get to eat some too, concert, performers from USA & Canada, great lottery prizes, two dances to live music, wagon rides, delectable foods including the all-time favourite “flaczke”. Back by popular demand “LEMKO’S GOT TALENT” and so much more. A great family event – young or old, you are sure to have loads of fun.




Ukrainian Day Festival

August 10

Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, Alberta

A celebration of all things Ukrainian past and present, Ukrainian Day recognizes the rich tapestry of Alberta’s Ukrainian community today.

Ukrainian Day starts with a pancake breakfast, followed by divine liturgies, memorial services and recognition of east central Alberta’s centennial pioneer families. An afternoon concert features some of the finest musicians, dancers and performers. The ‘Taste of Ukraine’ food fair, the Ukrainian Community Showcase & Art Sale help enrich this celebration of Ukrainian culture, heritage in Alberta. This signature event is co-hosted by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council.



August 3-9,10-16

Winnipeg, MB

Ukraine-Kyiv Pavilion – August 3-9

Join us as we honour the 200th birthday of Ukraine’s national bard, Taras Shevchenko. View artwork created by children in Manitoba’s Ukrainian bilingual program and let your family create masterpieces of their own in our craft area. Enjoy some of our culture’s culinary favourites, such as varenyky, holubtsi or kovbassa. The high-energy performers on our main stage are always an audience favourite. Stop into the marketplace to enjoy the live music of many local house bands. Don’t forget to visit the coffee house to enjoy a torte or nalysnyk and the boutique to take home a bit of Ukrainian culture.


Spirit of Ukraine Pavilion – August 10-16

Enjoy an authentic meal of hearty varenyky, holubtsi, kolbassa, borshcht and kasha. Choose from our selection of imported Ukrainian beer and vodka. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try our honey pepper hot vodka, which is sure to wake up your taste buds! Be treated to the vocal stylings
of international singer and Honoured Artist of Ukraine Marta Shpak as well as local performers the Zoloto Ukrainian Dance Ensemble & Company. After the show feel free to take a spin on the dance floor and children can stop in at our activity zone.

Ukrainian Folk Festival

August 16-17

Leighton, PA

Traditional Ukrainian foods and refreshment, folk art exhibition and demonstrations (beadweaving, embroidery and decorated eggs), gift and craft vendors,                  swimming, children’s games


St. Josaphats Ukrainian Festival

August 14-17

Rochester, NY

The  St.  Josaphat’s  Ukrainian  Festival  was  established  in  1973  as  an  effort  to  introduce  Ukrainian  Arts  and  Crafts,  Ukrainian  food,  and  Ukrainian  music  and  dance  to  the  Rochester  community.   Since  its  inception  the  Festival  has  offered  tradition  Ukrainian  foods  such  as  Varenyky  (or  pyrohy  or  pierogies)  a  potato  and  cheese  dumpling,  Holubets  (stuffed  cabbage  rolls),  Kovbasa  (Ukrainian  sausage),  Kapusta  (Ukrainian  style  sauerkraut)  and  Borsch  (beet  soup)  to  the  public. The  Festival  also  has  a  number  of  vendors  who  display  a  variety  of  Ukrainian  Arts  and  Crafts  such  as  ceramics,  embroidery,  wood  carvings,  jewelry  and  Ukrainian  Easter  eggs. The  Ukrainian  Stage  offers  a  variety  of  entertainment  including  Tradition  Ukrainian  Folk  Dancers  and  Singers  both  from  Rochester,  New York  and  Canada.

Ukrainian Fall Fest Victoria Park


Regina, SK

Ukrainian Canadian Congress-Regina Branch proudly announces its annual outdoor cultural festival! The event aims to celebrate Ukrainian-Canadian culture and recognize its people’s contributions to Canadian society at all levels.UCC Regina Branch coordinates the activities for 19 Ukrainian cultural organizations of very dedicated volunteers in our city and this event!  Come and Celebrate with us! Bring a lawnchair for your seating comfort!


Babas & Borshch Ukrainian Festival

August 23-24

Andrew, AB

This FREE Festival will honour and celebrate the very best of the Ukrainian culture–food, history, religion, arts and culture—through a fun, hip approach. Not Ukrainian? No problem. We’ll make it happen when you show up at the Passport Office to “assume” your Ukrainian name and identity.

Ukrainian Festival 2012Ukrainian Folk Festival

August 24

Horsham, PA

Exciting, spectacular, dazzling, breathtaking, exhilarating, spirited, soulful, enchanting, captivating, and intriguing – modest words which describe but by no means capture the essence of Ukrainian folk art, music, and dance. From the rich color and deep symbolism of the delicate “pysanka” (Ukrainian Easter Egg) to the thunderous, climatic, power, rhythm and strength of “HOPAK” – the world’s most exciting ethnic dance, and every brilliant “Kolomiyka” (polka) and soulful folk song in between, we invite you to experience the TWENTIETH ANNUAL UKRAINIAN FOLK FESTIVAL, celebrating the anniversary of our ancestral homeland’s independence. Enjoy a festival stage show, a public dance, Ukrainian foods and baked goods, BBQ pit, kid’s fun area, and Ukrainian hospitality.

imageFriends’ Ukrainian Music Festival

August 24

Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, Alberta

Catch the musical magic at the Friends’ Ukrainian Music Festival featuring an array of the region’s finest Ukrainian folk musicians. This dynamic event encompasses an abundance of entertainment, exhibits, children’s activities, a village market, and delicious foods. Visit the Historic Village where you can enjoy wagon rides and chat with historic settlers as they go about their daily routines.

Ukrainian Day at Golden Gate Park

August 24

San Francisco, CA

Ukrainian Cultural Program for Commemorating the Anniversary of
Independence of Ukraine


Ukrainian American Day

August 24

Buffalo, NY

Featuring delicious foods, music, basket raffle, dance performance, venders, cool beverages.


Montreal Ukrainian Festival

September 5-7

Montreal, PQ

Quebec’s Ukrainian community is 18,000 strong with active members in the development of Quebec in areas of art, culture, politics and business. In Canada, Ukrainians constitute more than 1,000,000 in population. Ukraine is an independent democratic state in Eastern Europe with more than 50 million people living in an area of 603,700 sq. km, an area larger than France and fifth in size by population in Europe

Baltimore Ukrainian Festival


Baltimore, MD

Baltimore Ukrainian Festival Committee works to share the Ukrainian heritage & culture by providing the following:

Live Entertainment: Traditional Ethnic Dancers, Musicians & Singers
Serve traditional foods, breads & beverages of Ukraine the bread basket of Europe
Ukrainian Folk Arts:  Paintings, Carved Wood & PSYANKY Egg Demonstrations
Novelties: Ceramics, Embroidery Clothing, Jewelry, & Religious artifacts
History of Ukraine – Famine, Chernobyl, Orange Revolution

Toronto Ukrainian Festival

September 12-14

Toronto, ON

The Festival was born in 1995 as the result of the twinning of Toronto and Kyiv. It then came under the umbrella of Ukrainian Canadian Congress Toronto Branch as one of its projects.  While attendance in the first year was estimated at 3,000, within ten years the Festival has grown to attract audiences of 350,000.

The Toronto Ukrainian Festival is a celebration of Toronto’s diversity. It has established itself as one of the premier Ukrainian festivals in North America. The Festival takes pride in showcasing contemporary professional and amateur artists and performers of Ukrainian heritage who celebrate Ukrainian culture through music, dance and visual arts.

Washington DC Ukrainian Festival

September 13-14

Silver Spring, MD

The festival became a riveting success from its very beginning, with throngs of visitors enjoying unusual foods, arts and crafts, and entertainment on the inviting Cathedral grounds. In a setting of more than six acres and apastoral pond under the shade of the golden domes of the beautiful Cathedral, visitors to the festival are immersed inthe beautiful and authentic Ukrainian mosaic. From the Cathedral to the Cultural Center to the grounds and the permanent outdoor stage featuring Ukrainian entertainment, to the food tents and vendors’ village, to the Kozak beer garden and grill, to unforgettable Ukrainian tortes and sweets, to the Ukrainian deli and an abundance of children’streats and activities, the Washington Ukrainian Festival is so unique that it rightly attracts many thousands of visitorsevery year.


TwinCitiesUkieFestTwin Cities Ukrainian Heritage Festival

September 21

Minneapolis, MN

The Twin Cities Ukrainian Heritage Festival is held every year to celebrate all things Ukrainian in our community and to demonstrate Ukrainian-American contributions to community life in the Twin Cities area and beyond. We invite all our friends–Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian alike–to join us on this fun, celebratory day!

Each year at the festival there are carnival games and other activities for children, Ukrainian food, an outdoor beer garden with Ukrainian beer, and a live concert program both inside and outside of the Ukrainian center. There is also a varenyky (pierogi) eating competition and a competition for Festival Royalty. The Festival Royalty receive pride of place on the Ukrainian community float for the annual Northeast Parade, Aquatennial Parade, and Columbia Heights parade each following year! Also for the first time in 2011 the festival introduced the Ukrainians Got Talent competition.



Oakville Ukrainian Festival

September 27

Oakville, ON

Make sure you come hungry. Delicious homemade Ukrainian food to take home or to enjoy while watching the non-stop performances on stage.

Performances featuring Ukrainian dance groups, singers and musicians. Browse the outdoor market showcasing crafts, gifts, art, honey & garlic. Facepainting for the children. Beer garden & BBQ for the adults. Best of all Admission is free.

Barrie Ukrainian Festival

October (TBA)

Barrie, ON

Whippany Ukrainian Festival

October 4

Whippany, NJ

This community fundraiser features great music, singers, and dancers, Ukrainian food and home-made desserts, an international beer garden, games for the kids, vendors and more!

imagePhiladelphia Ukrainian Fest

October 11

Philadelphia, PA

Everyone will have fun at the Philadelphia Ukrainian Festival from children to grandparents. There will be Kids Fun Zones, Live Music, Dance Shows, Folk Displays, Auctions/Raffles, and Vendors. Everyone will have a great time at the Philadelphia Ukrainian Festival. It will be held at the Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center, indoors and outdoors. There will be traditional Ukrainian food such as Pierogies and Kobasa.

Sudbury Yarmarok Festival

October 18

Sudbury, ON

With its infectious spirit, you can’t help but get swept up into the flurry of activities and excitement that is YARMAROK.  Built on the format of Toronto’s world famous Caravan, Nick Nykilchuk, an active member of the Ukrainian community and festival founder wanted to bring that same attention and excitement to Sudbury.  With the support of volunteers from its four internal organizations, OYK (the Women’s Auxillary), MYHO (the youth group), the War Verteran’s and YHO, its combined membership first began Yarmarok in 1974.  The Ukrainian National Federation was the starting point for many performers who progressed through the Ukrainian School of Language and the Ukrainian School of Dance as they developed their skills in song and dance, growing their passion and building it into a career.  Performers like the Black Sea Kozaks dance group, operatic performer of the Austrailian Opera House Oksana Rohatyn, and operatic performer in Toronto and the United States, Joanne Kolomeicz, first showcased their talents at the Ukrainian Festival Yarmarok.  Yarmarok has developed, changed and has grown over the years.  Now, 39 years later, the Sudbury Yarmarok Festival is a weekend of action packed excitement with performances by the Veselka School of Dance, the Veselka Dance Ensemble, the Sudbury World Youth Exchange, Dnipro Ladies Ensemble, fashion show and featuring “Zabava” for our opening night Gala!

Ukrainian dance at Toronto Christmas Market this Saturday 2013

It’s back! One of my favourite Christmas events that I don’t miss (see previous years photos and video) – the annual Christmas Market in Toronto’s Distillery District. This Saturday the Arkan Dance Company returns along with the Ukrainian Academy of Dance and the Stefura Dance studios:

Inspired by the Old World and influenced by the New, this free annual event captures all of the tradition, heritage and charm of a European Christmas Market, while showcasing hundreds of unique and local handcrafted products. Family friendly entertainment includes musicians, carolers and children’s choirs, holiday themed stage presentations, Rudolph’s Reindeer Zoo and of course … Santa and his roaming elves! There is great shopping, specialty beer and mulled wine gardens, sweets and treats, and all the great restaurants of The Distillery Historic District. Come and experience the fun and magic of Toronto’s first and only Christmas Market!

The market is open from 10am to 9pm, and here are the times of the performances:

Saturday December 7

11:00am & 1:30pm

Arkan Dance Company, the Ukrainian Academy of Dance and the Stefura Dance Studios – enjoy high energy performances of Ukrainian Dance by this exciting group of dancers..  Presented in association with the Community Folk Arts Council of Toronto   

Also new this year, on Monday Plast will take part in the ‘International Peace Light comes to Canada’ program:

Monday December 9


Peace Light Ceremony – Join us at the main stage, as the 2013 International Peace Light comes to Canada. The continuous flame will be shared with scout groups and communities.  Bring a lantern, share the light! With PLAST Ukrainian Youth Association

Today is Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day 2013

Today, every fourth Saturday night in November, Ukrainians worldwide commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Great Famine of 1932-33, known as the Holodomor (Death by Hunger):



Entire villages were wiped out, and in some regions the death rate reached one-third. The Ukrainian countryside, home of the "black earth", some of the most fertile land in the world, was reduced to a silent wasteland.

Cities and roads were littered with the corpses of those who left their villages in search of food, but perished along the way. There were widespread reports of cannibalism.

Ms Karpenko says that when school resumed the following autumn, two thirds of the seats were empty.

But the pain of the Holodomor comes not only from the unfathomable number of dead. Many people believe the causes were man-made and intentional. A genocide.

They say that Joseph Stalin wanted to starve into submission the rebellious Ukrainian peasantry and force them into collective farms.

The Kremlin requisitioned more grain than farmers could provide. When they resisted, brigades of Communist Party activists swept through the villages and took everything that was edible.

"The brigades took all the wheat, barley – everything – so we had nothing left," says Ms Karpenko. "Even beans that people had set aside just in case.

"The brigades crawled everywhere and took everything. People had nothing left to do but die."

As the hunger mounted, Soviet authorities took extra measures, such as closing off Ukraine’s borders, so that peasants could not travel abroad and obtain food. This amounted to a death sentence, experts say.

"The government did everything it could to prevent peasants from entering other regions and looking for bread," says Oleksandra Monetova, from Kiev’s Holodomor Memorial Museum.

"The officials’ intentions were clear. To me it’s a genocide. I have no doubt."

But for others, the question is still open. Russia in particular objects to the genocide label, calling it a "nationalistic interpretation" of the famine.

Kremlin officials insist that, while the Holodomor was a tragedy, it was not intentional, and other regions in the Soviet Union suffered at that time.

Kiev and Moscow have clashed over the issue in the past. But Ukraine’s present leader Viktor Yanukovych echoes the Kremlin line, saying it was "incorrect and unjust" to consider the Holodomor "the genocide of a certain people".

Mr Yanukovych’s government still takes care to commemorate fully the destruction that the famine wrought.

Read more


In the news

Edmonton survivor Leonid Korownyk remembers his childhood during the famine:

Each time, they risked being shot by soldiers enforcing Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s decree to confiscate Ukraine’s grain harvest to crush both the resistance to collectivized farms and the national spirit.

Many times, Russian soldiers would charge into a farmer’s house and take everything, breaking up the families, sending people to Siberia

Read more

Burlington survivor Maria Sagan also remembers her childhood during that time:

“Our mother died when I was young,” said Sagan.

“Father was taken to Siberia in Russia. I never heard from him again, no letters nothing.” …

According to Sagan, she and her sister lived near collective farms that were owned by the Soviet Union during the famine. They were forced to work on the farms but were not allowed to take any produce.

“The fields belonged to the communist,” said Sagan.

“If the communist caught me, I’d be punished. If you were caught, many times they would just shoot you on the spot.”

Farms across eastern Ukraine had their farm animals taken away from them. Communist brigades came around harvested vegetables, destroyed the soil and took everything they could.

Read more

In an innovative twist, Lviv Plast boy scouts will cook the food eaten by starving Ukrainians as part of a Holodomor awareness campaign.


Still disputing the numbers

One thing that many news outlets still like to report on is the ‘controversy’ around the number of people who died, as if it really matters:

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress says seven million to 10 million died, though the numbers are still being researched.

The latest study from Ukraine demographers puts the total of 3.9 million deaths from direct starvation, Himka said.

But Jars Balan, also a professor at the U of A’s Ukrainian Canadian studies, said that the 3.9 million total does not include tens of thousands of Ukrainians deported to Siberia, many peasants executed on their doorsteps and deaths just outside Ukraine among Cossacks in those years.

Stalin suppressed the 1937 census data that showed the huge population losses in Ukraine then shot the census takers, Balan added. For years after that, it was difficult to get accurate data to determine how many died until the fall of the former Soviet Union in 1991, Himka said.

Then, Russian census data from those years became available.

Read more



Here are a list of Holodomor events happening this weekend around Canada:

From the UCC events page


In the books

Two books involving the Holodomor are out now:

imageAndrea Chalupa, author of Orwell and the Refugees: the Untold Story of Animal Farm, has read her grandfather’s heartbreaking memoirs of life in Soviet Ukraine.

"It’s very much a personal story that I share," she said of her scheduled talk Sunday at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Her grandfather was a survivor of the Holodomor, in which millions of people were systematically starved to death in 1932-33. He would have been 19 or 20 at the time, she said.

"It is heartbreaking. He describes witnessing an innocent baby, pawing at his mother on the side of the road, trying to wake her up."

Sunday’s commemorative event is put on by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress of Hamilton to honour those who died during the famine.

While figures vary, some report as many as 10 million people died.

Chalupa says this very "politicized" history has only come into the mainstream, academically, in the last 10 years.

"I’m still getting, ‘Wow, I did not know this happened.’

"It’s incredibly heartbreaking; it’s incredibly frustrating and it’s really what fuels my work," Chalupa said.

Her book traces the story of Orwell’s correspondence with a Ukrainian refugee, and the eventual translation of Animal Farm, 2,000 copies of which were delivered to camps to empower the Ukrainian people.

Her uncle had one of those copies. It now sits on her dresser as a reminder of what they went through, especially 80 years later, as living witnesses are so few.

"There’s a risk it may be forgotten," Chalupa said.

"But I’ve also experienced the power of the shock value — hopefully this (works such as her book) will help produce a snowball effect as more and more researchers and storytellers feel shocked, then compelled to expose the truth."

Read more

Orwell and the Refugees: the Untold Story of Animal Farm is available digitally for only 99 cents! I bought it.

The other book out now is a novel that takes place during the Holodomor:

The Way of Vengeance (eBook)In the midst of famine during a forgotten Stalinist genocide, DANYA KOMYSA is a proud Cossack Partisan, forced to witness the murder of his wife during the Soviet Purges and Famine of 1932. Despite his heroic defiance against BOHDAN VRATEK Stalin’s most notorious Chekist General, his lone crusade for retribution seems hopeless. Now as Danya wrestles with his destiny he encounters a powerful resistance group and takes on a deadly challenge. He must chaperone NATALKA ZAKHAROV, once Stalin’s favourite adjutant, yet now Russia’s most wanted fugitive, to Kharkiv City as she flees from the same Chekist General who murdered his wife. As the notorious GENERAL VRATEK and his Cheka Secret Police pursue the pair across the nation, Danya and his Chekist adversary are drawn ever closer together. Relentless conflict, incarceration and rescue soon follow as the chase builds to a dramatic climax in Kharkiv City. Love strikes deep into two open hearts as Danya and Natalka are bound by tribulation and the high emotion of unrelenting pursuit. Finally, Danya settles an astonishing score from the past, delivering a fatal blow deep into the heart of Stalin’s machinery of terror. Now Danya has fulfilled his destiny, as the tide of destruction that has brought his country to its knees draws to a premature close.

Set against a backdrop of real historical events and richly laced with spiritual intrigue, THE WAY OF VENGEANCE is an unforgettable journey of passion, courage and survival.

The Way of Vengeance is available digitally for about $3



While Australia, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Poland and the Vatican have all recognized the Holodomor, it is still being pursued to be acknowledged by UK Parliament as genocide.