Ukrainsky Novyny News
Reported by AFP, Agence France-Presse
January 28, 2003
Russia is under no obligation to apologise to Kiev for the 1930s famine
caused by Stalin's forced collectivisation of agriculture that caused the
death of millions of Ukrainians, Russian Culture Minister Mikhail Schvydkoi
Questioned as to a possible apology as he accompanied President Vladimir
Putin on a visit to Kiev, Schvydkoi noted that Russia "remembers the
repression imposed on the Ukrainian people as it remembers that imposed on
the Russian people," the Ukrainsky Novyny news agency reported. "In the
labour camps, Ukrainians, Russians, Armenians and Georgians perished," he
said, referring to the network of forced labour camps to which the victims
of Soviet repression were sent from the early 1920s onwards.
An estimated eight million people died in the disastrous famine caused in
Ukraine in 1933 by Stalin's decision to collectivise Soviet agriculture,
applying the doctrine with extreme harshness, in what had long been
considered the region's bread-basket.
Few details filtered through to the West at the time, and the famine was
later assimilated with the wave of large-scale political repression that
Stalin -- a Georgian -- launched throughout the Soviet Union in the years
Several hundred people demonstrated in central Kiev Monday ahead of Putin's
arrival, demanding an official Russian apology.
Several human rights organisations and opposition figures also protested at
the decision to organise a programme of exchanges in an official "Russia in
Ukraine Year" exactly 70 years after the famine.
Putin met Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma Monday to launch the programme,
and was due Wednesday to open an informal summit of the Commonwealth of
Independent States, a loose grouping of 12 former Soviet republics.
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