Your piece on Vanco was disappointing, in the sense that there is no content. The company said this and that is normal — did you check? The deal with Vanco is unusual in that the area of the license is huge. In the North Sea, blocks are 220 square kilometers with licenses being two to three blocks. Vanco received more than 12,000 square kilometers, meaning about 20 licenses elsewhere.
Far better for Ukraine would be to split the license between a larger number of companies. The amount of work required is immense and just too much for one company, both in financial terms and in terms of expertise. In addition, not all companies are equally as good at exploration, and luck also plays a part.
As to links with Russia, it should be clear that Russia has no interest in allowing Ukraine to develop what should be substantial reserves of oil and natural gas closer to Europe than they are.
Surely, the phrase “proWestern forces” in the context of the mayoral election in Kyiv is out of place. What is Chernovetskiy then — proWestern? Prohis own pocket and ambition —more than likely.
Bradford, United Kingdom
Your May 15 editorial, "Agree on a number," is wellintentioned but misinformed. Firstly, the international commission has agreed upon the 7 to 10 million figure.
Secondly, Kulchytskiy’s numbers are 3.2 to 3.5 million in Ukraine and 1 million Ukrainians outside Ukraine. Furthermore, his figures are dated from Soviet times when he was given access to Moscow archives. His writings since have attempted to support that number.
Finally, distinctions between death from actual starvation, dislocations or epidemic are very difficult to assess. No commission will arrive at a definitive number, particularly in view of Soviet purges.
In any event, while an estimate is important, even if the figures ranged from 4.2 to 15 million, which roughly represents the spectrum here, the point is that 80 percent of the victims were Ukrainian and that by the Jan. 22, 1933 decree, Joseph Stalin and Vacheslav Molotov closed only the borders of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and Kuban, which were heavily populated by Ukrainians.
No other borders were addressed. Thus it was genocide aimed at the Ukrainian peasant.
New York City
Regarding the “numbers” for the Holodomor:
1. Joseph Stalin told Winston Churchill (as related in Churchill’s memoirs) that the collectivization war (which would include the Holodomor) took 10 million lives.
2. Walter Duranty wrote to the US government in a secret memo that the Holodomor famine cost 10 million lives.
I would think that these two primary sources should be taken seriously.