Yanukovych told the Council of Europe on Tuesday that he considered the famine “a shared tragedy” of all people who were all part of the Soviet Union, then led by Joseph Stalin.
Yanukovych’s stance is a complete shift from that of his predecessor, pro-Western president Viktor Yushchenko, who sought to have the famine recognized as genocide against Ukrainians.
Since being elected in February, Yanukovych has sought closer ties with Russia.
Tomorrow PACE will hear the issue of commemorating the victims of the Holodomor, but it does not look like it will go well due to Russia’s ever-growing sphere-of-influence:
Russia has said that it cannot accept a number of amendments to the PACE resolution, including a proposal to recognize the Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people.
Russia says the famine cannot be considered an act that targeted Ukrainians, as millions of people from different ethnic groups also lost their lives in vast territories across the Soviet Union.
Ukrainian nationalists say Russia, as the legal successor of the Soviet Union, should bear responsibility for the famine in which more than 3 million people perished in Ukraine.
Under former president Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine was seeking international recognition of the famine as an act of genocide.
Russia removed genocide recognition from a PACE report last November, using it’s clout as a major energy supplier to Europe. It currently is constructing a gas pipeline directly to Germany, bypassing former Soviet countries that have shifted their support to the West in the past few years.
Update: Not surprisingly, PACE’s report this year again will not honour the Holodomor as genocide, vetoed from the Kremlin by the Russian-friendly Turkey delegate Mevlüt Çavusoglu (from a country that knows how to deny genocide). When will Europe conduct a real investigation into this terrible time in history like the United States did in the 80’s? History shouldn’t be mandated by politicans.
Interestingly enough, the Holodomor is considered genocide in Ukraine by law. Can Yanukovych be impeached for breaking it?