Religious Information Service of Ukraine (R.I.S.U.)
Lviv, Ukraine, December 29, 2003
LVIV....(RISU.org.ua) - 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
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
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.
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: www.ugcc.org.ua
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