Associated Press, Kiev, Ukraine, August 6, 2003
Kiev, Ukraine.......(AP) Russian Ambassador Viktor Chernomyrdin said
Wednesday that Moscow doesn't intend to apologize for the Stalin-era famine
that killed millions of people in Ukraine and that was denied by Soviet
officials for decades.
Chernomyrdin acknowledged that Russia had assumed the Soviet Union's
obligations as successor to the collapsed regime, but denied that its
responsibilities included apologizing for the famine, according to news
"We're not going to apologize ... there is nobody to apologize to," the
Interfax news agency quoted Chernomyrdin as saying.
He added that Russia deserved praise for taking on Soviet-era debts and
other obligations but would not "bear the cross" of the famine, Interfax
Chernomyrdin's statements came on the heels of the Ukrainian government's
public acknowledgment of the famine that killed 7 to 10 million people in
1932-33. In June, Ukraine declassified more than 1,000 files documenting the
Historians say Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, a native of Georgia, provoked
the famine as part of his campaign to force Ukrainian peasants to give up
their land and join collective farms.
"Why not ask Georgia to apologize?" the Ukrayinski Novyny agency quoted
Chernomyrdin as saying.
In March, Ukraine's President Leonid Kuchma signed a law establishing a day
of remembrance for famine victims, and the Foreign Ministry plans to submit
a resolution to the United Nations in September seeking recognition of what
Ukrainians call the Great Famine as genocide.
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