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Holodomor Resolution passes U.S. House of Representatives

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H.RES.1314

Whereas in 1932 and 1933, an estimated seven to 10 million Ukrainian people perished at the will of the totalitarian Stalinist government of the former Soviet Union, which perpetrated... (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House)

HRES 1314 EH

H. Res. 1314

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

September 23, 2008.

 Whereas in 1932 and 1933, an estimated seven to 10 million Ukrainian people perished at the will of the totalitarian Stalinist government of the former Soviet Union, which perpetrated a premeditated famine in Ukraine in an effort to break the nation`s resistance to collectivization and communist occupation;

 Whereas the Soviet Government deliberately confiscated grain harvests and starved millions of Ukrainian men, women, and children by a policy of forced collectivization that sought to destroy the nationally conscious movement for independence;

 Whereas Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin ordered the borders of Ukraine sealed to prevent anyone from escaping the man-made starvation and preventing any international food aid that would provide relief to the starving;

 Whereas numerous scholars worldwide have worked to uncover the scale of the famine, including Canadian wheat expert Andrew Cairns who visited Ukraine in 1932 and was told that there was no grain `because the government had collected so much grain and exported it to England and Italy,` while simultaneously denying food aid to the people of Ukraine;

 Whereas nearly a quarter of the rural population of Ukraine was eliminated due to forced starvation, while the entire nation suffered from the consequences of the prolonged lack of food;

 Whereas the Soviet Government manipulated and censored foreign journalists, including New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty, who knowingly denied not only the scope and magnitude, but also the existence, of a deadly man-made famine in his reports from Ukraine;

 Whereas noted correspondents of the time were castigated by the Soviet Union for their accuracy and courage in depicting and reporting the famine in Ukraine, including Gareth Jones, William Henry Chamberlin, and Malcolm Muggeridge, who wrote, `[The farmers] will tell you that many have already died of famine and that many are dying every day; that thousands have been shot by the government and hundreds of thousands exiled`;

 Whereas in May 1934, former Congressman Hamilton Fish introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives (House Resolution 399 of the 73d Congress) which called for the condemnation of the Soviet Government for its acts of destruction against the Ukrainian people;

 Whereas the United States Commission on the Ukraine Famine, formed on December 13, 1985, conducted a study with the goal of expanding the world`s knowledge and understanding of the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933, and concluded that the victims were `starved to death in a man-made famine` and that `Joseph Stalin and those around him committed genocide against Ukrainians in 1932-1933`;

 Whereas on May 15, 2003, in a special session, the Ukrainian Parliament acknowledged that the Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor ) was engineered by Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Government deliberately against the Ukrainian nation and called upon international recognition of the Holodomor ;

 Whereas with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, archival documents became available that confirmed the deliberate and pre-meditated deadly nature of the famine, and that exposed the atrocities committed by the Soviet Government against the Ukrainian people; and

 Whereas on October 13, 2006, the President of the United States signed into law Public Law 109-340 that authorized the Government of Ukraine `to establish a memorial on Federal land in the District of Columbia to honor the victims of the Ukrainian famine-genocide of 1932-1933,` in recognition of the upcoming 75th anniversary of the tragedy in 2008: Now, therefore, be it

 Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

 (1) solemnly remembers the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor) of 1932-1933 and extends its deepest sympathies to the victims, survivors, and families of this tragedy;

 (2) condemns the systematic violations of human rights, including the freedom of self-determination and freedom of speech, of the Ukrainian people by the Soviet Government;

 (3) encourages dissemination of information regarding the Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor) in order to expand the world`s knowledge of this man-made tragedy; and

(4) supports the continuing efforts of Ukraine to work toward ensuring democratic principles, a free-market economy, and full respect for human rights, in order to enable Ukraine to achieve its potential as an important strategic partner of the United States in that region of the world.

Attest:

Clerk.

H.RES.1314 [110th] 

Title: Remembering the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor) of 1932-1933 and extending the deepest sympathies of the House of Representative to the victims, survivors, and families of this tragedy, and for other purposes.

Sponsor: Rep Leven, Sander M. [D-MI-12] (introduced 6/26/2008)      Cosponsors: 29

Committees: House Foreign Affairs

Latest Major Action: 9/23/2008 Passed/agreed to in House. Status: On motion to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, as amended Agreed to by voice vote.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Scott) and the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Georgia.

 GENERAL LEAVE

   Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the resolution under consideration.

 The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Georgia?

 There was no objection.

 Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.

 I am pleased to support this resolution that allows the House of Representatives to pause in remembrance of the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian famine of 1932 and 1933 and extend its sympathies to the victims, survivors and relatives of this tragedy. I commend my distinguished colleague, Representative Levin of Michigan, and the cochair of the Ukrainian Caucus in the House for introducing this important resolution.

 At the beginning of the 20th century, Mr. Speaker, Ukraine was so renowned for its rich soil and high grain production that it was known as the ``bread basket of Europe.`` Such bounty serves only to amplify the magnitude of the country`s loss: The deaths of nearly one-quarter of its entire rural population as a result of the Soviet policy of forced collectivism in 1932 and 1933.

 This premeditated famine was intended to break the nation`s resistance to Communist occupation and destroy its movement for independence. While 7 to 10 million Ukrainians were starving to death, millions of tons of grain were kept in reservoirs, sold or sent to other parts of the Soviet Union. Further compounding this tragedy, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin ordered that the borders of Ukraine be sealed and that anyone trying to relocate family or children be severely punished or killed.

 Mr. Speaker, the United States of America has never forgotten this tragedy that occurred in Ukraine 75 years ago. As early as May 1934, former Congressman Hamilton Fish introduced a resolution in this House that called for condemnation of the Soviet Government for its acts of destruction against the Ukrainian people.

 The United States Commission on the Ukrainian Famine, which was established in December of 1985, worked to uncover the scale and the reasons for and the consequences of this terrible manmade famine. And in October 2006, President Bush signed a law authorizing the Government of Ukraine to construct a memorial in the District of Columbia to honor the victims of the famine.

 Today, 17 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine is a strong ally of the United States. We fully support the efforts of this young democracy to strengthen its political institutions, its rule of law and civil society. It`s so appropriate that we pause today to remember the victims of the famine and reaffirm our continued friendship and solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

 I strongly support this resolution, and I urge my colleagues to join me.

 Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I would like to yield myself such time as I may consume.

  Mr. Speaker, I also rise in support of House Resolution 1314, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian famine, Holodomor, of 1932 and 1933.

 The former Communist state known as the Soviet Union was controlled by a brutal regime that oppressed its own people as well as that of its neighbors. The scars left by the inhumane practices and policies of the Soviet leadership are still felt, despite the passage of 75 years since the famine in Ukraine and the passage of almost two decades since the Soviet regime`s demise.

 During 1932 and 1933, Joseph Stalin`s Communist regime intentionally confiscated grain harvest from the Ukrainian people and prevented any foreign food from being shipped in to help those who were starving to death.

The famine inflicted on Ukraine by the Stalinist regime during those years killed millions of Ukrainians. It is one of the most stark examples of the former Soviet regime`s cruel and horrific policies.

Among other items, this resolution notes the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian famine and expresses sympathy to the victims, survivors and families of that man-made calamity; condemns the violation of human rights, the freedom of speech and of the self-determination of the Ukrainian people by the former Soviet regime; encourages expanding the world`s knowledge about this man-made disaster; and, lastly, supports continued efforts in Ukraine to strengthen the principles of democracy and of a free-market economy.

 Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this important measure.

 Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

 Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, it is now my distinct pleasure to yield 3 minutes to the distinguished Congressman from Michigan, Congressman Sander Levin, who is the sponsor of this resolution and is the very distinguished cochair of the Ukraine Caucus in the House of Representatives.

(Mr. LEVIN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. LEVIN. Thank you very much, Mr. Scott, and I thank the chairman and the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee for bringing this to the floor.

 I rise in support of this resolution, marking the 75th anniversary of the man-made famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in 1932 and 1933.

 Recognizing this tragedy and remembering its victims are important for all of humanity, including 1.5 Ukrainian-Americans. It has special meaning to the people of Ukraine, who continue to struggle toward a more free, democratic, open society, and indeed to all of us who value freedom.

 During the famine-genocide of 1932-33, 7 to 10 million Ukrainians were deliberately and systematically starved to death. We are familiar in this House with the terrible suffering caused by famines that are the result of natural forces, but the famine of 1932-33 is all the more tragic because it resulted from criminal acts and deliberate decisions by Soviet officials. Despite efforts by the Soviet Government at the time and afterward to hide the planned and systematic nature of this famine-genocide, it is clear that the Soviet Union used food as a weapon.

  We in this country must persist in standing with those living under oppressive and tyrannical regimes as they struggle for their freedom. During the 109th Congress, we enacted a bill authorizing the Government of Ukraine to establish a memorial in Washington, D.C. honoring the victims of the Ukrainian famine-genocide. The Ukrainian Government and the Ukrainian-American community are working with the appropriate Federal agencies to identify a site for this memorial.

 I urge all of my colleagues to support this resolution.

 Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health and a true champion of human rights around the world.

 Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding and for her leadership, and thank Chairman Levin for sponsoring this very important resolution.

 I rise in strong support of H. Res. 1314, commemorating and honoring the memory of victims of the abominable act perpetrated against the people of Ukraine from 1932 to 1933.

 Seventy-five years ago, millions, and the estimates are as high as 10 million, men, women and children were murdered by starvation so that one man, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, could consolidate control over the Ukraine. In an attempt to secure collectivization and to break the spirit of the independent-minded Ukrainian peasants, Stalin ordered the expropriation of all the foods in the rural population. It was shipped to other areas of the Soviet Union or sold abroad. Peasants who refused to turn over grain to the state were deported or executed. Without food or grain, mass starvation ensued, as was Stalin`s intention.

 Madam Speaker, food was used as a weapon in a crime against humanity staggering in its scope. This famine was man-made, the planned consequence of a deliberate policy which aimed to wipe out a substantial part of the Ukrainian people in order to crush the spirit of those who remain. In short, genocide was committed against the Ukrainian people.

 Madam Speaker, over the years I have read many works of Stalin`s genocide against the people of Ukraine, but I recall a moment back in the 1980s when I saw the unforgettable documentary, Harvest of Sorrow. It documented and depicted the horrors of the famine, so that no one since has denied this mind-boggling crime and tragedy. In its bare, stark truth, it was one of the most moving films I have ever seen.

 I also recall the fine work of the congressionally mandated Ukraine Famine Commission, which issued its well-documented report in 1988. I am happy that Mr. Levin`s resolution notes that there were those in the West, including the New York Times correspondent Walt Duranty, who deliberately falsified their reporting so to cover up the famine because they wanted to ensure that the Soviet Union got ``a good press.``

 The fact is that for over 40 years the planned famine was hardly spoken or written about in our country, due to an academic skepticism and silence enforced by political correctness. When Ukrainians and others tried to break through the wall of silence, they were treated with derision. This silence, which lasted from the 1930s through the publication of Harvest of Sorrow, made a sorry chapter in the history of American intellectual life.

 Madam Speaker, this resolution will continue to recognize one of the most horrific events in the last century in the hopes that mass murders of this kind never happen again. I support this resolution unreservedly. I hope that the full membership of this body supports it unanimously.

 Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I have no further speakers, and I reserve the balance of my time.

 Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Madam Speaker, I have no further requests for time, and I yield back the balance of our time.

 Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I yield back.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Ms. Solis). The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Scott) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 1314, as amended.

 The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the resolution, as amended, was agreed to.

 The title of the resolution was amended so as to read: ``Remembering the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor) of 1932-1933 and extending the deepest sympathies of the House of Representatives to the victims, survivors, and families of this tragedy, and for other purposes.``.

 A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

NOTE:  Special thanks to Orest Deychakiwsky for providing this material from the U.S. House of Representatives, and to Mr. E. Morgan Williams for providing thisd material to UNIAN.

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