Within the politburo, he allied first with those who favored a slower course of economic transformation and eliminated those who seemed more radical; then he radicalized his own position and purged his previous allies. By the end of 1927, his former rivals from the Left—Trotsky, Grigory Zinoviev, and Lev Kamenev—had been expelled from the party. By the end of 1929, Stalin had associated himself with the policies of those purged rivals, and rid himself of his main ally on the Right, Nikolai Bukharin.
That same day, 18 June 1932, Stalin himself admitted, privately, that there was “famine” in Soviet Ukraine.
A combination of poor harvests and requisitions had brought starvation to hundreds of thousands of peasants in Ukraine, especially in 1921.
Stalin was well aware of that history, in which he had taken part. That Stalin’s own policy of collectivization could cause mass starvation was also clear.