Germany recognizes Holodomor as genocide


The German Bundestag on Nov. 33 voted to formally recognize the Holodomor, a politically induced famine that decimated Ukraine in 1932 and 1933, as a genocide. The declaration found that Soviet authorities demanded inflated quantities of grain from Ukrainian farmers and punished those who fell short with additional demands. Affected regions were cut off from the rest of the Soviet Union so that Ukrainians could not receive aid. As a result, approximately 3.5 million Ukrainians starved to death. Ukraine declared the Holodomor a genocide in 2006.

The Bundestag officially characterized the Holodomor as a project of Joseph Stalin to suppress the Ukrainian “way of life, language and culture,”┬áand one of the most “unimaginable crimes against humanity”┬áin Europe’s history. The motion also recognized Germany’s own history of genocide and the Bundestag’s “special responsibility”┬áto acknowledge and condemn crimes against humanity.

The Bundestag directed the federal government to continue to: (1) remember the Holodomor and educate the public; (2) oppose Russian narratives of the Holodomor; (3) reflect on Germany’s position in history and in Europe; and (4) support Ukraine in its fight against Vladimir Putin’s war, which “violates international law.”

Germany’s actions fall in line with others in the international community. On Nov. 24, Michael Carpenter, US ambassador to the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),┬ácommemorated the 90th anniversary of the start of the Holodomor at an official OSCE event in Vienna. Carpenter called those who died during the famine “victims of the brutal policies and deliberate acts of the regime of Joseph Stalin.”┬áCarpenter also drew similarities between Stalin and Putin, saying that “Putin’s regime is demonstrating its brutality in Ukraine by conducting attacks across Ukraine’s agriculture sector and by seizing Ukraine’s grain, effectively using food as a weapon of war.”

To mark the anniversary, legislative bodies in Romania, Moldova and Ireland also recognized the famine as a genocide.

From Jurist, Nov. 30. Used with permission.

Photo: 2019 Holodomor remembrance in Kyiv. Credit: EuroMaidan Press

  1. Russia accused of ‘weaponizing wheat’

    Russia and Ukraine on Nov. 17 agreed to extend an agreement to allow grain exports from Ukrainian ports through a safe corridor in the Black Sea. The deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July, was set to expire four days later. The extension is to last another 120 days. Russia pulled out of the deal in October, citing supposed Ukrainian drone attacks in the Black Sea. The move caused an immediate spike in wheat prices.

    Russia is accused of profiting from a crisis of its own creation, with the war having driven up global grain prices dramatically since it was launched in February. Kyiv additionally accuses Moscow of selling grain illegally seized from Ukrainian farmers to desperate markets in Africa and the Middle East, the shipments laundered through the Syrian port of Latakia. Since the Ukraine war began, rising food prices have led to unrest from Iran to West Africa and South America. (NPR, DW, Bloomberg, Reuters, Maritime Executive)

  2. European Parliament recognizes Holodomor as genocide

    The European Parliament on Dec. 15┬ávoted 507-to-12 to officially recognize the Holodomor as a genocide of Ukrainians┬á“inflicted by Stalin.”┬á

    EU lawmakers “strongly condemn these acts, which resulted in the deaths of millions of Ukrainians, and call on all countries and organizations that have not yet done so to follow suit and recognize it as genocide,”┬áthe statement read.

    “While condemning the current Russian regime for manipulating historical memory for the purpose of its own survival, Parliament calls on the Russian Federation, as the primary successor of the Soviet Union, to apologise for those crimes,”┬áthe text adds. (Jurist, DW)