Ivan Pliushch blamed the "cruel and godless Bolshevik regime"
for what happened in Ukraine during the famine
KYIV, February 12 (ArtUkraine.com)..A hearing about the great
Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 was conducted today in Kyiv by the
Verkhovna Rada (parliament) in accordance with a Resolution passed
by the Rada on November 28, 2002.
The famine hearing was opened by Rada speaker Volodymyr
Lytvyn with a moment of silence to honor the memory of the victims of
the 1932-1933 and in remembrance of the Holodomor.
Lytvyn then acknowledged the research and investigation work
conducted by the Commission On The Ukraine Famine, appointed by
the United States Congress, during the late 1980's. Speaker Lytvyn
especially acknowledged Dr. James Mace, who served as staff director
of the Commission, and was present at the hearing, reported the
ArtUkraine.com journalist in Kyiv.
In his speech Speaker Lytvyn emphasized the need to present a
proper and objective assessment of the events that took place in Ukraine
Lytvyn said there should be a list developed and made public that
contains all the names of the victims of the famine. He stated that a proper
monument to the famine victims should be built in Kyiv, to take the place
of the memorial that is currently in Kyiv, according to ArtUkraine.com
During his speech Lytvyn read a few passages from the original diary
of Oleksandra Radchenko that depicted the horrors of Ukrainian famine
she experienced personally.
Oleksandra Radchenko, a witness to the famine, was later accused
of anti-Soviet propaganda by the authorities. Lytvyn obtained the diary
from the archives of the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine).
Lytvyn's presentation was accompanied by showing, on a large
screen in the Rada, several photographs taken during the famine and
also the showing of some original famine related documents of that
According to the speaker all the material from the hearing will be
published and the next famine hearing will take place in May of 2003
and will be attended by President Leonid Kuchma.
The ArtUkraine.com journalist in Kyiv said the entire hearing was
shown on a live broadcast on the First National TV channel.
The Humanitarian Vice Prime Minister Dmytro Tabachnyk spoke on
behalf of the Ukrainian government. The Minister called the famine that
took place in Ukraine a voluntary terrorist act that claimed the lives of up
to10 million people, and turned Ukrainian villages into "a horrible social
reservation the size of which shocked the entire world."
Minister Tabachnyk announced the government is planning to build a
National Famine Memorial Complex. According to the information
provided by Tabachnyk and also by Henady Udovenko (Nasha Ukrayina
bloc), Chairman of the Rada's Human Rights Commission, the Memorial
Complex will include a monument, museum, and a historical research center.
Henady Udovenko, in his speech at the hearing, informed the Rada
and the Ukrainian people the Canadian government is going to establish a
Day of Commemoration for the Victims of the Ukrainian Famine. The
special day will be the last Sunday of November, the same as was
designated in Ukraine by President Kuchma a few years ago.
The chairman of the Ukrainian Famines Researchers' Association
Levko Lukianenko (Yulia Tymoshenko bloc) announced that the Rada
will address the United Nations in New York and ask the UN to
recognize internationally the famine as a genocide against the Ukrainian
More than 30 persons made presentations at the famine hearing
according to ArtUkraine.com. Speakers included Dr. James Mace,
Victor Yushchenko, Stanislav Kulchytsky of the National History
Institute, Les Taniuk of the Memorial Society and many other members
of parliament and representatives of other organizations researching
The main theme of all the speeches was the need to recognize the
famine of 1932-1933 as a genocide committed against the Ukrainian
nation and to have further extensive research conducted in Ukraine
about the tragic events of the early 1930's.
Petro Symonenko, leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine gave
what was undoubtedly the most controversial part of the hearing,
reported the ArtUkraine.com representative.
The Communist leader denied the artificial nature of the famine and
instead blamed disastrous weather conditions, the low harvest in two
previous years, and the "heritage" of the pre-1917 period when he said
famines took place every few years.
Even though Communist leader Symonenko did acknowledge that
some distortions took place in agricultural policy in Ukraine, this
was, according to Symonenko, totally the fault of the local authorities who
were subsequently punished by the Soviet Ukraine Government.
This point of view was immediately and strongly denied by Ivan
Pliushch (Demokratychni Initsiatyvy faction) who blamed the "cruel and
godless Bolshevik regime" for what happened in Ukraine during the famine.
At the end of the Famine Hearing, speaker Lytvyn said that this was
only the beginning of the Rada's discussion about the famine, and more
events would follow.
The Rada speaker finished the hearing by sharing his hope that in the
near future every small Ukrainian town would have their own famine
memorial. One that would knock on the heart of every Ukrainian, reported
the journalist for ArtUkraine.com in Kyiv.