The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


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 collection
(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 collective farms.

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.