Ukraine asks General Assembly to commemorate Great Famine of 1932-33

10:53, 31 October 2008
World
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Urges Russia to open and frank discussion of history

Ukraine has asked the General Assembly to commemorate the 75th anniversary of `Holodomor` or Great Famine of 1932-33, which it claimed had been caused by "Joseph Stalin`s agricultural collectivisation policies" and is a reminder of the inhumanity of "totalitarian regimes", Zee News reported.

"The Holodomor, which literally meant killing by hunger, had been caused by Joseph Stalin`s agricultural collectivisation policies, because human life [meant] nothing compared to the gigantic economic and military plans of the regime," Ukraine`s Ambassador to the UN Yuriy Sergeyev said.

Taking strong objection to Ukraine seeking commemoration for its people, Russian UN Ambassador Vitlay Churkin had said earlier this week that the Ukrainian government should not claim that the famine was directed at its people and had called it a tactic to divert attention of the people from the crisis it is facing at home.

But talking to reporters today, Sergeyev said it was important to commemorate the event as a human rights issue and as a reminder of the inhumanity of totalitarian regimes and to prevent similar crimes in the future.

"It had not only affected people of Ukrainian ethnicity but of the many ethnic groups who lived in Ukraine at that time as well as in other areas of the former Soviet Union. Upwards of 10 million people, one-third of Ukraine`s population, had died there," he added. Stressing that the Holodomor was not only a Ukrainian tragedy, he cited paragraph two of the proposed resolution, which "also commemorates the memory of millions of Russians, Kazakhs and representatives of other nationalities, who died of starvation in the Volga region, Northern Caucasus, Kazakhstan and in other parts of the former Soviet Union".

The purpose of the proposed resolution was "to attract the attention of the world community to the greatest tragedy of the twentieth century, caused by cruel actions and policies of [Stalin`s] totalitarian regime", he said.

Responding to questions, he noted that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe had also recognised the importance of memorialising the victims of totalitarian regimes and had passed two resolutions to that end, one condemning the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes and the other relating to the Franco regime in Spain.

Each passed with only one negative vote. He also urged Russia, on the National Day of Memory, to return to the spirit of 1991, of the Gorbachev and Yeltsin periods, "when there was an open and frank discussion of history".

Zee News

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