Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Holodomor: Exposing What Stalin Did to Ukraine

Mr. Jones
There is a new film out based on actual events, "Mr. Jones," about the Holodomor.

Given the current lefty infatuation with communism, this film couldn't come out at a better time.

I haven't seen the film yet but it does look impressive.

Here's the trailer:


From the Kyiv Post:
"Mr. Jones" takes place in 1930s Soviet Ukraine and documents the plight of Welsh journalist Gareth Jones in his mission to uncover the horrors of Holodomor.

At the time of Jones’ arrival, the famine was well under way and had already killed millions of people. Joseph Stalin’s denial of the famine permeated to the Moscow press core, and few journalists were reporting the events accurately. The world was oblivious to Stalin’s genocide.

The film follows Jones’ journey and recreates the atrocities of Holodomor.

For Chalupa, her inspiration behind the film came from her roots in eastern Ukraine. Her grandfather, who was from Donbas, wrote out his life story before his death and described what he had endured during Holodomor. In college, she set out to study how Stalin had gotten away with what he did.

Chalupa describes Jones as an outsider who “came into town and blew the lid off this thing”. She said that he disrupted the very existence of the political party leaders and journalists that helped cover up the famine.

 [Anne Applebaum, historian and author of Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine]  explained that Jones had made his way into Ukraine by getting an invitation to see a factory in Kharkiv. On his train from Moscow to Kharkiv, he got off halfway, near the Ukrainian border, and started walking through the villages. This was in March of 1933, at the height of the famine. “In a way, the emotional height of the film is when Jones gets off the train and enters Ukraine, and there is a very striking series of scenes that take place in starving Ukraine,” said Applebaum.

Those gruesome scenes are a necessary part of telling the story of Holodomor.

For director Agnieszka Holland, who is known for three Oscar-nominated films about the Holocaust, the initial reaction to working on another tragedy was simply that “she cannot tell it anymore.”

However, the lack of global recognition about Holodomor drove Holland to say yes to the script. “There is something incredibly unjust in the fact that Stalin’s crimes and communist crimes didn’t enter the global conscience,” she said. “In human memory, Communists’ crimes vanished somehow.”

"Mr. Jones" serves as a warning.

“I find it very unjust and also dangerous: unjust because those victims remain nameless and voiceless and dangerous because it means that we cannot learn the lesson that always comes from those dark moments of history,” said Holland.

Holland mentioned the importance of making the film with an artistic quality that reflected the horrors of Holodomor. She said that dying of hunger means “silence, loneliness, emptiness. You don’t see blood, you don’t hear cries or shouts. It’s very silent and distant somehow.”

Because of this, she decided to create the film “in a very minimalistic way”. The colors of the film were scaled down closer to black and white, speaking to the bleakness of famine.

In addition to telling the story of Gareth Jones, the film also touches on the actions of Walter Duranty, who was the New York Times correspondent in Moscow at the time. “One of the most fascinating stories of that era is the kind of tension and competition between the two of them,” said Applebaum.

While Jones was the truthteller, wanting to expose the Soviet Union’s murder of millions of Ukrainians, Duranty was complacent in the cover-up. Applebaum described that “very carefully and systematically Duranty went out of his way not to tell the story of the famine, and even when Jones’ material actually came out, he went over backward to dismiss it. ”

Why Duranty went against the ethics of his profession is a significant storyline in the film.

“I think ultimately he wanted to be a celebrity,” said Chalupa. She explained that Duranty’s actions were a “classic story of access journalism” and of “journalists not doing their duty because they were more enamored with their proximity to power.”

The Pulitzer committee decided not to revoke Duranty’s prize.

Jones was killed in China when he was 30, three years after traveling to Ukraine. When asked about Jones’ motivation behind his bravery, Chalupa said: “Gareth was a good soul, it’s just that simple.”

Parallels to George Orwell’s Animal Farm are also present in the script. Chalupa said that the immense censorship and inability to disagree was directly reflective of Orwell’s idea of the “thought police.” Orwell published Animal Farm about a decade after Jones made his trip to Ukraine. He named one of the main characters Farmer Jones, perhaps symbolically after the journalist.
The film is available on Amazon.



  1. Truth tellers are ignored and often die young. Liars are celebrated and become famous and it helps if the lies are big.

  2. The left's treatment of the virus is similar to its treatment of Stalin's crimes. And Obama's war crimes, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen etc...

    My position is that they know they are lying and they know they need to lie. Their opponents never seem to grasp that they are not acting in good faith. Ever.