The Crisis of the 1930s

  • Jacques VallinEmail author
  • France Meslé
  • Sergei Adamets
  • Serhii Pyrozhkov
Part of the Demographic Research Monographs book series (DEMOGRAPHIC)


From 1935, in a way that now seems almost surreal, Ukraine’s UNKhU (Directorate for National Economy and Account) challenged the figures on births and deaths registered between 1930 and 1935. In a note addressed to the leadership of the Republic’s Communist Party, presenting them with some figures on annual change in the Ukrainian population between 1926 and 1934 (Table 2.1), Aleksandr Asatkin, Director of the UNKhU of Ukraine, expressed his amazement at the peak in mortality observed in 1933, and attempted to explain it through errors in the registration system (ZAGS), without, of course, ever mentioning the famine that had reached its highest level in that year. However, checks made in 1934-1935 on the way ZAGS functioned showed that deaths in the regions most affected by the disaster had in fact been under-registered. Moreover, ZAGS’ final results for 1933 were much higher than this 1935 document showed (see N.B. in Table 2.1; Annex I, Tables 1 and 2 on the CD-ROM). In reality, the presence of famine was clear, but everything was done to conceal it. Monitors from the TsUNKhU (Central Directorate for National Economy and Account), covering the whole USSR, systematically reclassified deaths initially classified as “from starvation” under either “cause of death unknown” or “from exhaustion”.


Infant Mortality Infant Death Excess Mortality Registered Birth Forced Migration 
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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacques Vallin
    • 1
    Email author
  • France Meslé
    • 1
  • Sergei Adamets
    • 1
  • Serhii Pyrozhkov
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut National d’Études DémographiquesParis Cedex 20France
  2. 2.Institute for Demography and Social StudiesKyivUkraine

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