Head of the press office of Foreign Ministry of Ukraine Andriy Deshchitsa does not understand how the recognition of the 1932-33 Great Famine as genocide against the Ukrainian people can influence relations with Russia.

“Recognition of the historical truth cannot influence the state of relations between Ukraine and Russia,” he stated. Andriy Deshchitsa underlined that both Ukrainians and Russians died during Holodomor. According to him, Foreign Ministry of Ukraine hopes that the Russian side will understand arguments of Ukraine in the negotiation over this question.

He reminded that Ukraine’s President Yushchenko called Monday on the country’s parliament to declare before November 25 that a Soviet-era famine that killed up to 10 million people was genocide.

The 1932-33 Great Famine was provoked by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as part of his campaign to force peasants to join collective farms.

Countries including the United States, Canada, Austria, Hungary and Lithuania have recognized the famine as genocide. But the issue remains highly charged in the former Soviet republic because calling it genocide would amount to an indictment of Soviet policies — something communists, socialists and many pro-Russian politicians are loathe to do.

“Parliaments of 10 countries have recognized the famine as genocide against the Ukrainian people, but Ukraine’s parliament has not yet done it itself,” Ivan Vasyunuk, deputy Chief-of-Staff, said during a round-table dedicated to the anniversary of the event.

Vasyunyk said Yushchenko aides were drawing up legislation proposing that parliament recognize the famine as genocide.

“Unfortunately our society has not yet realized not only the necessity to condemn the tragedy but also the necessity to commemorate the victims”, Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said.

“There are no doubts that the famine was man made, that it was genocide. We must recognize it (as such) if we respect our people,” scientist Vladyslav Barsyuk said.


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