Czech Republic Officially Recognized Ukraine’s Holodomor Famine as Genocide

Hungry Ukrainian peasants in search of food during the Holodomor, photo by Alexander Wienerberger. Diocesan Archive of Vienna (Diözesanarchiv Wien)/BA Innitzer

The Chamber of Deputies has officially recognized the man-made famine in Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 as genocide against the Ukrainian nation.

The resolution states that in the context of the current Russian war on Ukraine the Czech lower house expresses its determination to contribute to the promotion of international principles, including identifying the perpetrators of such crimes.

What is the Holodomor and what caused it?

The Holodomor translates roughly to “death by hunger” in Ukrainian. It is how Ukrainians refer to the mass starvation deaths of millions in Ukraine from 1932 to 1933 under Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

It was part of a larger famine that swept the Soviet Union as Stalin collectivized the agricultural economy by taking over small farms and prohibiting independent farmers from selling their crops.

But specific policy decisions targeting Ukraine intensified the famine there, leading Ukraine and many nations to recognize the Holodomor as a genocide. It’s held that Stalin allowed Ukrainians to starve in order to quash Ukrainian resistance to the reorganization of its farms.

According to the research results of the Ptukha Institute of demography and social studies, 3 million 530 thousand people died from Holodomor in 1933.

In 1932, 250 thousand died from starvation, and in 1934 – about 160 thousand. Overall, in three years – 3.9 million died, and 0.6 million more of the unborn, or, as they are also referred to, “indirect losses.” I.e., overall 4.5 million Ukrainians were lost due to the Holodomor of 1932-1933.

Throughout decades, the topic of the Holodomor was tabooed. In Soviet times, communist crime was hushed up. Only on 28 November 2006, Ukraine’s parliament recognized the Holodomor as genocide. Many other governments did the same.

Genocide refers to intentional actions aimed at the total or partial destruction of particular groups of the population or entire nations based on national, ethnic, racial, religious, or religious motives. Examples of genocides include the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide in Turkey (1915-1923), the genocide in Rwanda (1994), and the genocide in Srebrenica (1995).

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