Ukraine spy agency opens secret archives

12:26, 21 August 2006
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On soviet-era famines

Ukraine`s national intelligence agency the SBU on Friday opened up formerly-secret state archives on brutal Soviet era-famines causing the deaths of millions, according to Deutsche Press Agence (DPA).

      SBU historians after four years of reviewing old KGB records made public more than 3,000 pages of 130 official state documents.

      It was the first time any former Soviet republic had released to the public archival information concerning the mass starvations, said Vasyl Danielenko, an SBU spokesman.

      The entire formerly-classified archive of the former Soviet republic Ukraine was now available for viewing in paper or digital format, or at the Internet web site www.ssu.gov.ua, he said.

      The Soviet government in its early years of existence presided over three deadly and wide-reaching famines - in 1921-22, 1932-33, and 1946-47.

      Between six and ten million Ukrainians died of starvation in 1932-33, after Soviet leader Josef Stalin ordered the forced confiscation of food from the Ukrainian countryside.

      It was one of history`s worst instances of human-sponsored mass death.

      Many Ukrainians believe Stalin`s goal was the genocide of the Ukrainian nation.

Known in Ukraine as the `Holodomor,` the 1932-33 famine is reviled in Ukraine in a way similar to the Jewish Holocaust internationally.

      Some Ukrainians however say the famines were caused by pardonable errors by Soviet leaders of the day, rather than an conscious effort by Moscow to wipe out all Ukrainians.

      Besides Ukraine, the famines affected southern Russia, and portions of the modern states Moldova and Kazakhstan.

      The dispute over possible Soviet complicity in the famines has remained topical in Ukraine to the present, in part, because historians had been unable to gain access to Soviet-era archives concerning the events, to determine whether the Kremlin killed millions of Ukrainians intentionally or by accident.

      The news was monitored by The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service, Morgan Williams, Editor.

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