White House commemorates the Holodomor

By Alexander Wienerberger, 1933
By Alexander Wienerberger, 1933

Office of the Press Secretary of the White House released a statement commemorating the atrocities against the Ukrainian people in early 1930s.

In its statement, the White House honored the memory of over 4 million (by some accounts 7.5-12 million) Ukrainians who were “starved to death in 1932 and 1933 by the barbaric policies of Stalin’s Soviet Union.” Holodomor – means “death by hunger” in Ukrainian – was instituted as a policy of starvation by Moscow which could not manage feeding its citizens.

“While the suffering of the Holodomor was immeasurable, this man-made famine failed to extinguish the unconquerable spirit of the Ukrainian people.  As we commemorate this horrific tragedy, we also pay tribute to the enduring strength, courage, and spirit of the people of Ukraine – qualities that Ukrainians continue to draw upon today as, in the face of great adversity, they seek to build a more prosperous, secure, and democratic state,” the statement reads.

The White House also reaffirmed “our shared commitment to Ukraine’s bright future, and to promoting respect for the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms that are the birthright of all humankind.”

The first reports of multiple deaths due to malnutrition emerged from Vinnitsya and Kyiv oblasts. Most of the areas of Ukraine were undersupplied and many citizens were taken out of the rationing system in line with the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine Decree from December 1932. By the beginning of 1933, Dnipropetrovsk oblast was considered the worst hit by Holodomor since the region also suffered from epidemics of typhus and malaria. Kyiv and Odessa followed Dnipropetrovsk in magnitude of the tragedy.

The genocidal policies of the Soviet Russia were erased from the history books until the very liberalization of speech and eventual collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Ukrainians committed to restoring their bitter accounts of history and in 2006 formally recognized the tragedy as the genocide against its people. Several other governments followed the suit. Canada became the first government to recognize the genocide.

On October 21, 2003 the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution incorporating findings of the U.S. Government Commission on the Ukraine Famine established on December 13, 1985 which concluded that “Joseph Stalin and those around him committed genocide against Ukrainians in 1932-33” and resolved to solemnly remember and honor the 70th anniversary of this “man-made famine” and “deliberate act of terror and mass murder.”

On April, 2004, the U.S. Senate passed the Resolution 202 recognizing that “the man-made Ukraine famine of 1932-33 was an act of genocide as defined by the United Nations Genocide Convention.”

Holodomor has played an important part in Ukraine’s resistance of Moscow’s rule over its people. The Ukrainian nationalists led Stepan Bandera fiercely fought the Red Army in the 1940s but were brutally suppressed. Moscow’s policies against Ukrainians matter today as never before as Kyiv fights the pro-Russian separatists in an effort to restore its territorial integrity and dignity of its people.

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