Victor Yushchenko has asked parliament to pass changes to Ukraine’s criminal code and code of criminal procedure to criminalize the public denial of the Great Famine of 1932-1933 (Holodomor) as genocide against the Ukrainian nation and the Holocaust as a deliberate extermination of six million European Jews, planned and executed by the Nazi regime, according to the President`s press-office. The bill is also aimed at preserving the memory of and honoring the victims of these two tragedies.

It is based on article 2 of the Law on the Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine, under which the public denial of the Soviet-era famine is considered blasphemous and hence illegal.

The President is convinced its passage will unite the nation and promote intolerance to violence, respect for life, civil rights and freedoms, as well as ethnic and civil peace in Ukraine. He also thinks the proposed bill corresponds to Europe’s democratic standards and will therefore help improve the country’s image abroad.

More than ten countries, among them France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Israel, have criminalized Holocaust denial. The term of imprisonment for this crime ranges from six months to ten years. Moreover, many parliaments have declared Ukraine’s Great Famine an act of genocide.

Roman Zvarych, Victor Yushchenko’s parliamentary representative, will present the bill at a session of the Verkhovna Rada.