The German Bundestag Wednesday voted to formally recognize the Holodomor, a man-made famine that decimated Ukraine in 1932 and 1933, as a genocide. According to the declaration, Soviet authorities demanded inflated quantities of grain from Ukrainian farmers and punished those who fell short with additional demands. Affected regions were cut off from the rest of the Soviet Union so that Ukrainians could not seek help or receive aid. As a result, approximately 3 to 3.5 million Ukrainians starved to death. Ukraine declared the Holodomor a genocide in 2006.
The Bundestag now officially recognizes the Holodomor as a project of Joseph Stalin to restrict the Ukrainian “way of life, language and culture” and one of the most “unimaginable crimes against humanity” in Europe’s history. The approved motion also recognizes Germany’s own history of genocide and the modern-day Bundestag’s “special responsibility” to recognize and admonish crimes against humanity.
The Bundestag directed the federal government to continue to: (1) remember the Holodomor and educate the public; (2) oppose Russian narratives of the Holodomor; (3) reflect on Germany’s position in history and in Europe; and (4) support Ukraine in its fight against Vladimir Putin’s war, which “violates international law.”
Germany’s actions fall in line with others in the international community. Last week, US Ambassador Michael Carpenter commemorated the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Carpenter called those who died during the famine “victims of the brutal policies and deliberate acts of the regime of Joseph Stalin.” Carpenter also drew similarities between Stalin and Putin, alleging that “Putin’s regime is demonstrating its brutality in Ukraine by conducting attacks across Ukraine’s agriculture sector and by seizing Ukraine’s grain, effectively using food as a weapon of war.” To mark the anniversary, legislative bodies in Romania, Moldova and Ireland also recognized the famine as a genocide.