Today Canada officially recognizes the Holodomor as genocide. Tonight a moment of silence from 19:32-19:33 for the 7-10 million who have perished:
This week, Ukrainians worldwide have been commemorating the 78th anniversary of the Great Famine of 1932-33, known as the Holodomor (Death by Hunger)
In the period 2005-2009, when Viktor Yushchenko was president of Ukraine, several archival collections on the Famine-Holodomor of 1932-33 made available to researchers supplemented earlier information gathered mainly from eyewitness reports. Perhaps the most important of these were reports from the Soviet secret police files (then called the OGPU, from 1934, it was known as the NKVD).
… the new president Viktor Yanukovych has denied that the Famine was an act of genocide. On the contrary, Yanukovych appears to adhere to the Russian perspective that famines were a general phenomenon across the Soviet grain growing regions in 1932, including the Volga region, Ukraine, the North Caucasus, and even Belarus.
It is true that famine was widespread in the spring and summer of 1932, but many events that took place later in the year, and in the brutal year of 1933, were unique to Ukraine and the North Caucasus, particularly the Kuban region, which was composed of about 60 per cent Ukrainians. And this is evident from the OGPU documents released over the past two decades.
The late James E. Mace called Ukraine a "post-genocidal society." This is a pertinent epithet for "Eastern Ukraine," or Soviet Ukraine as it existed in 1932-33, which never fully recovered. Present-day residents still have problems coming to terms with the crimes committed in 1932-33, because essentially this heartland of Ukraine was systematically "denationalized" and eradicated by the Soviet regime.
It has been a long and tireless journey to have this injustice recognized:
The Soviet regime’s implementation of the Holodomor as an action specifically against the Ukrainian people clearly fits this description and therefore should be easily regarded as an act of genocide. Unfortunately this is not yet a globally accepted view.
In 2006, the Ukrainian government under President Viktor Yushchenko took a monumental step by officially recognizing the Holodomor as an act of genocide. Many other nations followed suit, including Canada in 2008. However, one important country that refuses to recognize the Holodomor as a genocide is the Soviet Union’s successor, Russia, which on the contrary, has been very adamant in its denial of this categorization.
It has been going on almost as long as there’s been Ukrainians in Canada:
Winnipeg, home to a large community of Ukrainian immigrants, became a battleground between the people who were desperately trying to let the world know what Stalin was doing to their old country and the local communists who dismissed the reports of forced starvation as propaganda.
That battle was waged in public meetings and church halls and did not go unnoticed by this newspaper, which in 1933 carried at least four reports on what has come to be known as the 1932-33 Holodomor genocide.
Covering both sides of the story, the Winnipeg Free Press reported local communists as saying: "Only the idle and rich are starving in Russia" and those claiming there is "starvation in the Ukraine" are "lying."
In subsequent reports the Free Press did not quote the communists. Articles headlined Grim conditions in Ukraine are cause of worry (Sept. 27, 1933) and Soviet Methods are denounced by Ukraine Speaker: Prof. V. P. Timoshenko says peasants endure enslavement worse than in czarist rule (Dec. 25, 1933) continued to inform readers.
And the newspaper that helped deny the Holodomor to the world at time saw fitting to write about today, devoted an entire paragraph – in a book review.
Here are some events going on today: