The 1930s-era famine that killed millions of peasants, mainly in Soviet Ukraine, should not be considered genocide and should not be used as a political tool, Russia`s lawmakers said in a resolution passed Wednesday, according to AP.
The 370-56 vote by Russia`s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, is a pointed rejection of Ukraine`s repeated arguments that the Soviet leadership engineered the famine to target Ukrainians.
Some historians say the famine was simply the result of official policies to eradicate private landowners. Ukraine — with its rich farmland — suffered most.
President Viktor Yushchenko has said up to 10 million Ukrainians died of hunger in 1932 and 1933. Stanislav Kulchitsky, a respected Ukrainian historian, believes the number is closer to 3.5 million.
"There is no historical proof that the famine was organized along ethnic lines. Its victims were million of citizens of the Soviet Union, representing different peoples and nationalities living largely in agricultural areas of the country," the Russian parliamentary resolution said.
"This tragedy has no — and cannot have any — internationally recognized indications of genocide and should not be used as a tool for modern political speculation," it said.
The resolution comes as Ukraine`s Western-leaning leadership pushes for membership in NATO — a move that has upset Russia.
U.S. President George W. Bush visited Ukraine on Tuesday in a show of support for the ex-Soviet republic.