With its vote this authoritative legislative body, comprising 785 parliamentarians from 27 EU member states, has joined the circle of countries and international organizations that have already recognized the 1932-1933 Holodomor in Ukraine. The joint resolution was agreed upon by members of the European People’s Party, a group of liberals, the Greens, the Union for Europe of the Nations, and the socialists.
The first point of the resolution recognizes the Holodomor as an “appalling crime against the Ukrainian people, and against humanity” and “strongly condemns these acts, directed against the Ukrainian peasantry, and marked by mass annihilation and violations of human rights and freedoms.” It also “expresses its sympathy with the Ukrainian people, which suffered this tragedy, and pays its respects to those who died as a consequence of the artificial famine of 1932-1933.”
Finally, the resolution “calls on the countries which emerged following the break-up of the Soviet Union to open up their archives on the Holodomor in Ukraine of 1932-1933 to comprehensive scrutiny.”
The second point of the resolution proposes that the President of the European Parliament send the text of the document to the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the government and parliament of Ukraine, as well as to the UN General Secretary, the OSCE General Secretary, and the General Secretary of the Council of Europe.
On July 3, 2008, despite protests from Russia and Kazakhstan, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopted a resolution on the Holodomor in Ukraine, which “strongly encourages all parliaments to adopt acts regarding recognition of the Holodomor.”
The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly also “supports the initiative of Ukraine to reveal the full truth of this tragedy of Ukrainian people, in particular, through raising public awareness of the Holodomor at international and national levels.”
On Sept. 23, 2008, the US House of Representatives condemned Stalin’s 1932-1933 Holodomor in Ukraine and commemorated its victims in connection with the 75th anniversary of the tragedy. “In 1932 and 1933, an estimated seven to 10 million Ukrainian people perished at the will of the totalitarian Stalinist government of the former Soviet Union, which perpetrated a premeditated famine in Ukraine in an effort to break the nation’s resistance to collectivization and communist occupation,” says the document.
So far, Ukraine’s attempts to get the UN to recognize the Holodomor have not been successful. On July 11, 2008, the plenary session of the UN General Assembly refused to put the Holodomor issue on the current session’s agenda, thereby denying the request of Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to recognize the events of the 1930s as genocide against the Ukrainian people.
The great importance of the European Parliament’s resolution is discussed in an article by one of its authors, MEP Charles Tannock.
Confirming we are right
Andrii VESELOVSKY, Ukraine’s representative to the EU:
“Above all, the resolution is important for Europeans in general because Europe is our region and our Motherland. We are telling the truth about what happened in the past, and on this foundation we can build our future. This is what our children will be raised on. If our parents, or even we, do not agree with all this, our children need to be taught this. And these children will be totally different; they will be children with a truly European mentality.
“How much do we need this resolution right now? There are still living survivors of the Holodomor. In the afterlife they will not need either recognition or remembrance. They need these things today. They also have children and grandchildren to whom they will convey this. When things like this happen, when something that our society had a hard time dealing with is recognized in Europe and the entire world, this helps our society realize that the step we took at a certain point in time was difficult but the right one to take. It is a confirmation that we are right, and this helps us make the transition from a complex and obscure past to a normal and open future.
“As for the reports in the mass media that the Holodomor has not been acknowledged as genocide, I think this is a completely misguided message. For us, Ukrainians, this was genocide in the sense that we were destroyed. If, say, the Kazakh people feel that this phenomenon had the same forms and proportions and affected their nation in a similar way, let them talk about it and promote their cause. For us, this is genocide, as stated in the Verkhovna Rada ruling, and that is the main thing.
“The European resolution comes close to ours because it contains references to the Convention, which mentions genocide. However, we should not twist these words to suit our interests. Each tragedy has its own dimension and specific features. The Holocaust was an act of genocide against the Jewish people, and it is called the Holocaust. The Holodomor was effectively an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people, and its name is the Holodomor. All talk of whether we were given the word ‘genocide’ is a violation of memory and in the conditions of current political life — petty politicking. In five years from now no one will be talking about this. Everyone will have forgotten these inconsequential details. The important thing is that this black page in our history has been recognized and respect has been paid to the memory of our victims. And we are confirming that to which we are entitled.”