85 Years: Now Is The Time For The UK Government To Recognise Holodomor As Genocide

Since Ukraine's then president Viktor Yushchenko declared remembrance of Holodomor to be a cornerstone of his term of office, awareness of this dreadful crime against humanity, considered by many historians to be on a par with Holocaust, and discussion of which was a criminal offence in the Soviet Union, has grown across the world.

In 2006, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukrainian’s parliament, passed a law recognising the famine as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. Since then numerous countries have followed Kyiv’s lead.

This growing international awareness of Holodomor also owes a great deal to cultural works on the subject such as George Mendeluk’s movie Bitter Harvest, and Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum’s superb book Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine, both of which were released in 2017. These, and indeed other works, have provided new audiences with an insight into the sheer scale of the tragedy.

Holo2

The facts of Holodomor are well known now: that the action was ordered by Stalin, and that possibly more than 7 million perished within the short space of 10 months, and these details do not need to be debated now. The important issue, as the world commemorates the 85th anniversary of the famine, is how we remember this dreadful stain on our shared European history. 

Despite the lies, cover-ups, and even the vile so-called “justifications” of the Soviet era, historic evidence leaves us with no doubt whatsoever that Holodomor was an evil and premeditated act of genocide as defined on December 9th 1948 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Genocide Convention.

As recently as October 3rd 2018, the U.S. Senate confirmed this by adopting a resolution recognising that Josef Stalin committed genocide against the Ukrainian people.

The resolution commemorates the 85th anniversary of the famine, saying the event “should serve as a reminder of repressive Soviet policies against the people of Ukraine.”

The resolution states that the Senate "recognises the findings of the Commission on the Ukraine Famine as submitted to Congress on April 22, 1988, including that...'Stalin and those around him committed genocide against the Ukrainians in 1932–1933,'".

Yesterday (Nov 21st), the state of Connecticut officially recognised Holodomor as a genocide, becoming the 21st U.S. state to make such a decision.

Against this backdrop, the Kremlin is known to be lobbying foreign governments not to recognise the famine as genocide. During a 2009 discussion in Moscow with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov contemptuously described Israel's recognition of Holodomor as "historical revisionism”. Imagine the repercussions if the current German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, were to state that Holocaust did not happen, the story is simply one of "historical revisionism”.

In August 2015 the Kremlin controlled media outlet Sputnik published an article entitled Holodomor Hoax: Josef Stalin's Crime That Never Took Place.

In the context of Vladimir Putin’s “rehabilitation” of Stalin - central to his vision of Russia’s resurgence as a great power - such sentiments sound sinister. Like Stalin, Putin also views Ukraine as a threat.

It is possible to hear the echo of Stalin’s fear of Ukraine—or rather his fear of unrest spreading from Ukraine to Russia—in the present too. The Russian FSB, successor of KGB, continues to demonise its opponents using propaganda and disinformation,

Anne Applebaum

During a screening of “Famine-33”, a 1991 drama  by Oles Yanchuk about Holodomor,  based on the novel The Yellow Prince by Vasyl Barka at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Moscow, so-called “activists” attempted to disrupt the event, displaying a placard carrying the words “The Myth of Holodomor - lie and dance on the bones”. To nobody’s surprise, Moscow police failed to intervene.

It is, therefore important, if we are to learn the lessons of history, and to avoid repeating them, that Holodomor is recognised as an act of genocide in the same way that we acknowledge Holocaust as such. 

Whilst many nations have taken this decision, one stands out for its lack of action: the United Kingdom.

There have been efforts in this area, In 2016, British Labour Member of Parliament for Ealing Central and Acton (West London) Rupa Huq called on Her Majesty’s Government to give support to the Ukrainian people by acknowledging Holodomor as genocide.

They need our solidarity, because they are now under attack – again… This atrocity was discovered by British journalists, but the government still has not recognised it as genocide. Can we get urgent explanation why we still haven’t done that, unlike other countries?

Rupa Huq MP

Ms. Huq added that she has no idea why the British government still has not recognised Holodomor as an act of genocide.

Whilst there are still survivors of Holodomor, albeit small in numbers and advanced in years, it is now more important than ever that the UK, which has always taken a lead in such matters, recognises Holodomor as genocide. We owe at least this to the memory of the millions of innocent victims of this heinous political crime. 

Whilst there are still those who disagree about the reasons and causes of the famine, and those who deny that it was a deliberate act of genocide, the fact is that this was the most terrible peace-time catastrophe in Ukraine’s history, and it was caused by man.

James Wilson, Director, EU-Ukraine Business Council.

Red Famine, by Anne Applebaum: https://www.amazon.com/Red-Fam...

Read also: Holodomor: Made In Russia https://eutoday.net/news/human...

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today. 

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

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