Address of the Ambassador of Ukraine to Canada H.E. Volodymyr Khandogiy
in Commemoration of the 66th Anniversary of the Artificial Famine in Ukraine
Parliament Hill, Central Block
November 23, 1999
Reverend Clergy, Members of Parliament, Ladies and Gentlemen,
There are tragic events in the history of every nation. For Ukraine, one
such event that stands out most prominently in the memory of our people is
the artificial famine of 1932-33 engineered by the Stalin's regime.
These days Ukraine commemorates the 66th anniversary of the most tragic
chapter of its history, when the Ukrainian people became the object of a
conscious and deliberate genocide undertaken by the Soviet totalitarian
regime. It will forever be remembered as one of the most horrific crimes of
the XX century, on par with the genocide of the Armenian and Jewish nations.
This artificially imposed famine is considered to be the largest one of the
XX-th century. According to the most modest estimates, it took some seven
million of innocent lives. Some researchers suggest that the actual number
could be much bigger. Thousands of facts testify to this cruel Holocaust of
the Ukrainian people.
Judging by European standards, the equivalent of an entire nation, an entire
country was lost. This was in fact a war that the Stalinist communist regime
waged against its own people. But, while during the war, at least some
international conventions protect civilian population, in 1932-33 in Ukraine
no such legal instruments applied.
The communist regime consciously sought to uproot the genetic source of the
Ukrainian nation, to avenge resistance to collectivization and the Ukrainian
farmers' aspirations for freedom during the existence of the Ukrainian
Republic. Consequences of the artificial famine are still obvious today -
for today there is still fear of the state, fear of famine, reluctance to
own land for fear of its eventual forced confiscation.
For decades the government of the former USSR did not recognize that the
famine took place in Ukraine. All truth came out only since the fall of the
Soviet regime and the establishment of independent Ukraine.
Nowadays monuments have been erected to commemorate the victims, secret
archive files have been made public, dozens of books, memoirs and studies
published. The famine theme is included in Ukrainian History studies at
schools and universities. We have yet to tell all the truth about the
artificial famine, to preach its horrible lessons to humankind.
A year ago President Leonid Kuchma issued a Decree by which every year, the
last Saturday of November, will be marked as the Famine Victims Memorial
Day. And this solemn commemoration of those perished is the least we can do
to remember innocent victims.
The establishment of the independent Ukrainian state is the best guarantee
that the tragedy of 1933 will never happen again. The existence of an
independent Ukraine testifies to the immortality of the Ukrainian nation,
and its love for freedom that withstood the test of Stalin's terror and
Today, we bow our heads in memory of our countrymen who perished in 1932-33,
in memory of millions of compatriots.
I would like to thank all those Ukrainian-Canadians who kept and cherished
the memory of those tragic events in our history. It has been said that
those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. We pledge:
"We remember. Never again."
Thank you for your attention.
Embassy of Ukraine, Ottawa, Canada