Kyiv Post | 27Apr2010 | Interfax-Ukraine

PACE draft resolution: Great famine of 1930s in Soviet Union caused by Stalinist regime

Strasbourg, April 27, 2010 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is planning to recognize that the totalitarian Stalinist regime led to the death of millions of innocent people in the former Soviet Union in the early 1930s.

"The totalitarian Stalinist regime in the former Soviet Union led to horrifying human rights violations which deprived millions of people of their right to life. One of the most tragic pages in the history of the peoples of the former Soviet Union was the mass famine in grain-growing areas of the country, which started in the late 1920s and culminated in 1932-33," reads the draft resolution by the PACE.

The parliamentarians are planning to pass the document on April 28, 2010 after a discussion of a report, entitled "Commemorating the victims of the Great Famine (Holodomor) in the former USSR," which was drafted by PACE President Mevlut Cavusoglu. The draft resolution says that "millions of innocent people in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine, which were parts of the Soviet Union, lost their lives as a result of mass starvation caused by cruel and deliberate actions and policies of the Soviet regime."

"In Ukraine, which suffered the most, the peasantry was particularly hit by the Great Famine and millions of individual farmers and members of their families died of hunger following forced 'collectivisation,' a ban on departures from the affected areas and confiscation of grain and other food. These tragic events are referred to as Holodomor (politically-motivated famine) and are recognized by Ukrainian law as an act of genocide against Ukrainians," reads the document.

The draft resolution reads that "in Kazakhstan, too, millions fell victim to the mass famine, and the ratio of the dead to the whole population is believed to be the highest among all peoples of the former USSR."

The document says that the famine also took millions of lives in rural and urban areas in Russia.

"In absolute figures, it is estimated that the population of Russia paid the heaviest death toll as a result of the Soviet agricultural policies," reads the document.

It also says that "tens of thousands of farmers also died in Belarus and Moldova."

"The Assembly honors the memory of all those who perished in this unprecedented human disaster, and recognizes them as victims of a cruel crime of the Soviet regime against its own people," reads the draft resolution.

The document says that the assembly "strongly condemns the cruel policies pursued by the Stalinist regime," and "welcomes the efforts aimed at revealing the historical truth about, and at raising the public awareness of, these tragic events of the past."

The assembly also calls on all countries of the former Soviet Union "to open up all their archives and facilitate access thereto to all researchers, including from other states."

"The Assembly calls on historians of all countries of the former Soviet Union, which suffered during the Great Famine, as well as historians from other countries, to conduct joint independent research programs in order to establish the full, un-biased and un-politicized truth about this human tragedy, and to make it public," reads the draft resolution.

The assembly also welcomes the decision by the Ukrainian authorities to establish a national day of commemoration of the victims of the Great Famine (Holodomor) in Ukraine, and encourages the authorities of other countries that also suffered to do the same with regard to their own victims.