The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


Religious Information Service of Ukraine (R.I.S.U.)
Lviv, Ukraine, December 29, 2003


LVIV....( - During a press conference on 25 December 2003, the organizers of an academic and memorial expedition "In the Footsteps of the Famine of 1933" summarized their work and stressed that it was only partially completed. Participants of the expedition noted that Greek-Catholic and Orthodox priests and bishops cooperated closely with them.

Among the goals of the expedition were the arrangement of burial places of the famine victims, conducting memorial services, and studying the consequences of the famine, in particular, its impact on social and political processes in the affected regions.

The organizers stated that they did not manage to fulfill all the tasks and covered only six regions out of 16 as they initially planned. These include the southern Ukrainian Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odesa regions and the central Ukrainian Cherkasy, Zhytomyr and Kyivan regions.

Participants of the expedition said that they cooperated closely with priests and bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate (UOC-KP) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. They also pointed out that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), which has the most communities in the affected regions, did not officially cooperate with the expedition. However, they admitted that in many cities priests of the UOC-MP supported the expedition and served memorial services for the famine victims. Some of these priests suffered for their civic courage. Fr. Serhii Chorba of the UOC-MP was persecuted by his church and had to transfer to the UOC-KP. Another priest from southern Ukraine's Kherson, Fr. Vasyl Semeriak, was beaten by unknown people and his house was repeatedly set on fire.

The organizers complained that despite promises from the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to support the expedition, the authorities did very little and failed to allocate the necessary funds. Nevertheless, they expressed their gratitude to the Odesa and Kyiv regional administration for their assistance.

According to participants, the regional administration in eastern Ukraine's Luhansk region denied that the famine took place at all. The organizers of the expedition believe that the reason for such an attitude is a change of the state policy over the last decade. According to them, while during the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the famine, monuments to the victims were erected by the state, today mostly local communities and churches do it.

Because the government did not allocate the money, the organizers did not conduct a planned conference, to be entitled "Physical and Spiritual Genocide of the Ukrainian People: Methods, Problems and Consequences." Instead, on 28 November 2003, an international scholarly conference entitled "The Man-made Famine of 1932 and 1933 in Ukraine: Main Protagonists and Mechanisms of Realization," was held in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, in the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management.

Finally, the organizers of the expedition believe that this campaign needs to be continued and all actions to commemorate the famine victims have to be prolonged for another two years. They emphasized that the government must control the allocation of budget money and its use according to designated purposes in various areas.


RISU Note:
The academic and memorial expedition "In the Footsteps of the Famine of 1933" started on 15 May 2003 with the participation of an interregional civic union "The Organization of Patriots of Ukraine" and Christian denominations of Ukraine. On 5 August 2003, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine included it in the list of governmental projects. On 18 August 2003, participants of the expedition reported on their work at the World Congress of Ukrainians. Source: