Associated Press, Kyiv, Ukraine, June 27, 2003
KYIV......Ukraine has declassified more than 1,000 files documenting a
Soviet-era famine that killed up to 10 million people and was denied by
Soviet officials for decades, officials announced.
The Interior Ministry timed the opening of the archives to coincide with the
70th anniversary of the devastating 1932-1933 famine, which claimed an
estimated 7-10 million lives, ministry spokesman Oleksandr Zarubitskyi said.
Photograph from the period
of collectivization in Ukraine
(Click on image to enlarge it)
Historians say Soviet dictator Josef Stalin provoked the famine as part of
his campaign to force Ukrainian peasants to give up their land and join
Declassifying the entire archive was the latest step in a government effort
to publicly acknowledge what Ukrainians call the Great Famine. The ministry
also appointed a group of researchers to analyse the more than 1,000 files.
In March, President Leonid Kuchma signed a law establishing a day of
remembrance of famine victims in November.
However, Zarubitskyi said the contents of the files would not be widely
publicised. He said doing so could lead to public unrest or cause some
people to seek revenge because cases of cannibalism were widespread.
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry plans to submit a resolution to the United
Nations in September seeking recognition of the famine as genocide.