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Kyiv Post | 01Dec2011 | Kiev Post staff  [7 photos in link]

Time For Unity

Ukraine's four presidents rarely come together for anything.

But the last Saturday in November offers a poignant reason to set aside differences. That is the day of the international remembrance for millions of Ukrainians killed by Josef Stalin’s policy of forced starvation in 1932-33.

Separate ceremonies took place, one in Bykivnia, a village northeast of Kyiv where thousands of victims are buried. The other took place in Kyiv, during the Nov. 26, 2011 Holodomor Remembrance Day.

A procession took place from Metro Arsenalnya to the park where the Holodomor monument is located, near Pechersk Lavra. Estimates vary widely on the number of Ukrainians who perished in the 1932-33 famine, ranging from two million to 10 million people.

There also remains disagreement over whether Josef Stalin's policy of forced starvation amounted to genocide against Ukrainians, or whether it was merely part of his broader policy of mass murder to instill mass fear among Soviet citizens.

Addressing Ukrainians, Yanukovych wrote on his official website: “Every year, at the end of November, we honor the memory of the victims of terrible famines that killed millions of people. An unprecedented global tragedy has caused irreparable damage to Ukraine. The terrible years of totalitarianism have also become a spiritual disaster: many temples were destroyed, hundreds of thousands of peasants, workers and intellectuals were physically destroyed and sent to [concentration] camps, and almost all Ukrainian families suffered.”