Recently, the UK Foreign Office rebuffed the call by the nation’s parliament to declare the Ukrainian Holodomor a genocide. The government explained its decision by the fact that the Holodomor pre-dates the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide and international law cannot be applied retrospectively, the explanation published on Facebook by the Ukrainian embassy in the UK reads.
The Ukrainian diplomatic mission said it was glad that the UK Government recognized the severity and awfulness of Holodomor as well as the responsibility of the Soviet leadership for the policies and political decisions taken which resulted in the famine causing the deaths of millions of Ukrainians. At the same time, it regretted that the UK Government had no plans to make a political decision or initiate an inquiry.
In this context, we feel we need to recall the name of the British researcher, student of Ukrainian issues and international journalist Lancelot Lawton, who authored the book The Ukrainian Question. In his 1935 speech at the UK House of Commons, he stated: “The chief problem in Europe today is the Ukrainian problem. Of deep concern to this country because of its effect upon European peace and diplomacy, it is at the same time closely bound with British interests of a very vital nature.”
The Day asked expert to comment on the decision of the British government not to recognize the Ukrainian Holodomor of 1932-33 as a genocide and to explain how its stance could be changed.
Ambassador of Ukraine to the UK (2010-14) Volodymyr Khandohii noted that the UK arguments were purely legal in nature. “We must accept them and keep working with the British to explain that the 1932-33 Holodomor falls under the definition of the 1948 Convention,” he said. According to Khandohii, the British acknowledge that it was a manmade famine, use the word Holodomor and as far as political statements go, fully support us on this issue. Our interlocutor stressed that these issues should be dealt with by international lawyers who have to explain in more detail our arguments to the British side and “to try to win Britain to our side.”