Ukraine: Bundestag wants to recognize Holodomor as genocide – Politics

On November 26th, this Saturday, ceremonies commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor will be held across Ukraine as well as in other countries around the world. The Bundestag now also wants to recognize this famine in the Ukraine, deliberately caused by the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, as genocide. The factions of the traffic light coalition and the Union faction in the Bundestag have agreed on a joint motion for the resolution, as Green MP Robin Wagener says, one of the initiators.

Holodomor means “murder by hunger”: Stalin systematically robbed the people of Ukraine of their livelihood through forced collectivization; it was part of the communist economic policy contained in the five-year plan with which the dictator pursued the conversion of the agrarian society into an industrialized society and the establishment of an arms industry. Farmers were systematically forced to cede their crops to the state, their land was transferred to cooperatives, and finally the communists even took away their seeds. As a result, up to four million people died in 1932 and 1933 alone in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union.

Other areas of the USSR, Kazakhstan, the Volga region in present-day Russia and the Caucasus were also affected. Historians assume that a total of about seven million people died. Ukraine, however, was hit hardest, also because Stalin decreed in 1932 increased the quotas for compulsory grain levies for Ukraine. Where quotas could not be met, the Communists confiscated all grain and other crops at gunpoint. Anyone who resisted or hid food was shot, while people were prevented from escaping.

In the Soviet Union, the famine catastrophe was kept secret

“The whole of Ukraine was affected by hunger and repression, not just its grain-producing regions,” says the application, about which the mirror and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung had reported first. “From today’s perspective, a historical-political classification as genocide is obvious,” says the application, in contrast to a legal assessment. The Bundestag agrees with this classification, the initiators continue to write, including Wagener, SPD MP Dietmar Nietan and Ulrich Lechte from the FDP and Knut Abraham from the CDU, chairman of the German-Ukrainian parliamentary group.

In the Soviet Union, the Holodomor was kept secret, and mentioning it led to criminal prosecution and repression. Unlike the murderous campaigns of the Stalinist purges, this crime received little attention in the West for a long time. The initiators therefore also want to achieve better clarification and information about the historical facts and see the Holodomor in a series of “inhuman crimes committed by totalitarian systems, in the course of which millions of human lives were wiped out in Europe, especially in the first half of the 20th century”.

Wagener says a “strong political signal” should emanate from the joint decision of the democratic parties. In the motion, the MPs write: “More than ever, in these days of Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, which at the same time represents an attack on our European order of peace and values, we are advocating that there is no longer any room for great power aspirations and oppression in Europe may be.”

Russia has been trying to improve Stalin’s reputation for years

Wagener places the motion, which is to be decided by the parliamentary groups next week and then tabled in the Bundestag, in the context of the “war of annihilation” that Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently waging against Ukraine. This, too, is aimed at wiping out Ukraine’s statehood, but also its culture and national consciousness. In addition to starving the population, Stalin targeted and systematically persecuted Ukrainian intellectuals, writers and other people whom he regarded as representatives of Ukrainian nationalism. According to the deputies, the aim was to “destroy them as carriers of cultural identity”.

Ukraine has long called for the Holodomor to be classified as genocide. Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited the memorial in Kyiv together with her colleague Dmytro Kuleba. She was shocked when Kuleba reported on his family’s experiences – members of almost every family in Ukraine fell victim to the Holodomor. Russia firmly rejects the classification of Ukraine as a genocide, citing the victims in other areas of the Soviet Union.

However, Putin has also been pursuing a policy of rehabilitating Joseph Stalin for years. Organizations dedicated to coming to terms with his crimes are banned, the best-known of which is the human rights organization Memorial. The draft resolution states that the authoritarian state leadership in Russia under Putin is forcing “an ideological history policy that prevents the Stalinist crimes, including the Holodomor, from coming to terms.”

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