The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)

Communist Leader Symonenko Denies Famine Was Artificial

Ivan Pliushch blamed the "cruel and godless Bolshevik regime" for what happened in Ukraine during the famine


KYIV, February 12 ( 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 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 in 1932-33.

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 reporter.

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 period.

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 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 nation.

More than 30 persons made presentations at the famine hearing according to 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 famine.

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 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 in Kyiv.