Execution by Hunger Questions and Answers
by Miron Dolot

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What was the first thing the Soviets did when they came to Dolot's village in Execution by Hunger?

In Execution by Hunger, the first thing the Soviets did when they came to Miron Dolot's village, under the direction of Comrade Livschitz, was segregate the villagers into units of between five and ten people that could be more easily watched, controlled and, if necessary, punished for disobeying collectivization policies. From here, it was easy to confiscate their crops, seal the borders, and induce mass starvation among the population.

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Miron Dolot's Execution by Hunger, published in 1985, details the author's eyewitness account as a 15-year-old boy of Joseph Stalin's "collectivization" and "dekulakization" policies in Ukraine from 1930 to 1933, which, respectively, collectivized the farms of wealthy landowners and punished any political dissent through mass arrests, deportations, and executions.

Dolot lived in a village with a population of about four thousand, some one hundred miles south of Ukraine's capital, Kiev. In 1930, Stalin declared a policy to "liquidate" kulaks (prosperous farmers with more than eight acres of land) as a "social class" and bring their farms under a consolidated, state-run collective structure to be implemented and overseen by Communist officials, Red Army units, and local police sympathetic to Soviet rule. One Communist official was assigned for every six villagers.

Comrade Livschitz was the official designated to oversee the collectivization effort of Dolot's family farm. The first thing Livschitz ordered was the division of villagers into small units of five to ten people so that they could be more easily surveilled. The goal was to enforce compliance by identifying troublemakers—namely those who were reticent to partake in the collectives—and deport them to Siberian labor camps and gulags.

Once the Soviets controlled the village, they were able to seal the borders, confiscate all grain crop, and conduct raids on any homes suspected of harboring food. The goal was to induce mass starvation in order to break the spirit of Ukrainian farmers, who were noted for their fierce independence, and bring the whole of the country firmly under Soviet control. As such, Dolot was forced to watch helplessly as his friends and family were systematically abused, arrested, and murdered.

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