By Victoria Ojeme
Ukraine Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Valerii Aleksandruk has appealed to the federal government to formally recognise Holodomor – the man-made famine in Ukraine in which millions of Ukrainians were deliberately starved to death as a genocide against the Ukrainian people.
Aleksandruk made this plea today in Abuja ahead of the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor this Saturday, November 22, 2018.
Between 1932-33, USSR’s Joseph Stalin’s policy of collectivisation, and his determination to crush Ukrainian opposition, turned Ukraine – the bread basket of Europe – into a mass graveyard, with whole villages wiped out from starvation and adults and children dying from starvation in the streets of towns and cities.
For many years, the truth about Holodomor has been denied, but archive documents in Moscow and Ukraine were opened following the collapse of the Soviet Union which show that Joseph Stalin deliberately targeted Ukraine for the harshest treatment, in the full knowledge that millions were starving and dying.
This was above and beyond countless numbers of Ukrainians who were executed by firing squads, deported to Siberia, or sent to the Gulag.
Researchers estimate that Ukraine lost 4.5 million people because of the Holodomor. Specifically, 3.9 million people died and 600 thousand babies died prematurely.
According to Ambassador Aleksandruk, “By commemorating the anniversary of the Ukrainian tragedy, we also commemorate the memory of millions representatives of other nationalities of the former Soviet Union who died of starvation as a result of forced collectivization, which left the deep and unhealed wounds in the minds of generations.”
He noted that any countries have recognized the Holodomor as genocide while calling of the Nigerian government to do same.
“We need to remember and honour its victims, so as not to permit this kind of tragedy to occur again and be covered up in the history of mankind. There are different ways of bringing about the destruction of a nation or its parts by genocide — starvation was one method used against the Ukrainians in the 20-th century,” he said.
“We are convinced that exposing such crimes against humanity, keeping the historical memory of the victims of famines and recognizing and commemorating other sufferings shall help to avoid similar disasters in the name of future generations.”
In 1984, the United States Congress established the Commission on the Ukraine Famine consisting of two senators and four members of the House of Representatives which concluded that “Joseph Stalin and his associates committed a genocide against Ukrainians in 1932-1933.” The U.S. Congress approved the Commission Report in 1988.
On October 4, 2018 the U.S. Senate has unanimously passed a resolution, recognizing Holodomor as genocide against the Ukrainian people.
The Holodomor is also recognised as the genocide of the Ukrainian people at the parliamentary and regional level in Australia, Canada, Portugal.
At the parliamentary level, it is recognized in Georgia, Ecuador, Estonia, Colombia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Poland and Hungary while at the regional level, Holodomor is recognized in Argentina, Brazil, Great Britain, Spain, Italy.