The “round” table “Russian genocide against the Ukrainian nation: from rhetoric to practice” held

14 December 2023

Ukrinform agency today held a round table, “Russian genocide against the Ukrainian nation: from rhetoric to practice”, during which a collection of materials from the VI international conference “Genocide as a weapon in the fight against the Ukrainian nation in the 20th-21st centuries: interdisciplinary approaches”, held in November 2022, was presented.

As Hanna Sokyrina, Deputy Director General of the National Museum of the Holodomor-Genocide for scientific work, noted in her introductory speech, 2022 was extremely difficult for all of us and the museum, in particular, and brought many challenges. “Out of the 12 months of the year, the Museum actually worked only six. But despite this, we managed to organise and hold a number of events. And the first such serious event was this traditional, already the sixth, scientific and practical conference. By the 1990s, we managed to publish conference materials at our own expense. And we are already starting active work on their distribution. First of all, they will go to scientific central and regional libraries.”

Leading researcher of the National Museum of the Holodomor-Genocide Andrii Ivanets spoke in more detail about the collection of materials:

“Our conference was held in two sections. The topic of the first is “Holodomor-genocide of the Ukrainian nation as the greatest crime of the communist totalitarian regime.” The second – “Genocide of Ukrainians during the Russian-Ukrainian war.” In total, about 50 scientists from Kyiv, Odesa, Vinnytsia, Dnipro, Lviv, Medzhybozh and other regions, as well as researchers from Great Britain and Germany, participated in the conference. These are, particularly, such well-known masters on the Holodomor topic as Stanislav Kulchytskyi. There were also young, but already well-known and serious researchers. For example, Kateryna Rashevska, a lawyer at the Regional Centre for Human Rights, made a report on the abduction of Ukrainian children by the Russians. This is one of the most serious crimes committed by the Russians during the war and one of the signs of genocide. She was supposed to be here today, at our “round” table, but Ms Kateryna was invited to give a report on child abduction at the Council of Europe, and we sincerely wish her success because this information should receive as much publicity as possible. And her report on this topic can be found in our collection.”

The collection includes almost 50 scientific articles by conference participants from Ukraine, Great Britain and Germany. The topics of the articles cover the Holodomor period of 1932-1933 and genocide during the Russian-Ukrainian war. Among the authors are Stanislav Kulchytskyi, Vasyl Marochko, Olha Movchan, Dmytro Bilyi, Andrii Kozytskyi, Andrii Ivanets, Volodymyr Udovychenko, Kateryna Rashevska and others.

The reviewer of the publication, doctor of historical sciences, president of the Ukrainian Academy of Geopolitics and Geostrategy, Pavlo Hai-Nyzhnyk, emphasised that all the materials included in the collection had been prepared at a high scientific level and had confirmation on the source base. “And when we talk about crimes against humanity, crimes of genocide, the evidence base is first and foremost. This applies to both past and present crimes. After all, any unreliable information can be presented by the aggressor states as a refutation of crimes.”

During the “round” table, there was a discussion of the modern crimes of Russians in Ukraine.

Serhii Zhukov, an analyst at the Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security, analysed the genocidal rhetoric of the aggressor state:

“In Russian propaganda, you can see many calls for genocide, rationalisation of genocide and its justification. We do not even take this array of statements into account in our research. First of all, they focused on the legislative acts of the Russian Federation, the rhetoric of representatives of the authorities, state media and education. As for genocidal rhetoric from statesmen, it comes primarily from Russian President Vladimir Putin. In his public speeches and articles about the “historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians”, speeches on 21 and 24 February 2022 (about the recognition of the “LPR” and “DPR” and about the announcement of a special military operation), he does not recognise the existence of the Ukrainian people, denies the right of Ukrainians to own identity and state. Ukrainians as an independent nation do not exist in his rhetoric. Moreover, self-identification as Ukrainian is perceived by the Russian authorities as a deviation from the norm. The norm is “being Russian”. On television and in the mass media, we see the same, the same thesis, where Ukrainianness is a disease, and therefore Ukrainians must be “forced to be treated”, and we understand what is meant by this.

Another array is school textbooks. They systematically formed a prejudiced, negative and superior attitude towards Ukrainians. For example, the new textbooks on the history of Russia for grades 10-11 completely repeat all the Putin rhetoric voiced by Putin and the Russian authorities. All those myths about the Nazis moved from the television to the pages of the textbook. In particular, the most vivid example is the conspiracy theory that Ukrainians were invented by the Austrian General Staff. And this is now part of the curriculum in Russian schools and in the occupied territories. Therefore, these crimes, which can be interpreted and qualified as genocide, are not excesses, errors by the executors or deviations from the general line of the government, they are not accidental, but natural.

Dmytro Bily, doctor of historical sciences, professor, and member of the editorial board of the presented collection, made an excursion into the past and told about the resistance of Ukrainians in the Kuban to the communist regime in the 1920s and 1930s.

At the same time, Ivan Petrenko, candidate of historical sciences, and deputy head of the Genocide Department of the National Museum of the Holodomor-Genocide, analysed the resistance of Ukrainians to the genocidal policy of the Kremlin during the current Russian-Ukrainian war.

Pavlo Hai-Nyzhnyk emphasised the dangers of silence, concealment or outright justification of crimes of a genocidal nature, which can be regarded as condoning their repetition in the future.

The collection of materials from the VI international conference “Genocide as a weapon in the fight against the Ukrainian nation in the 20th-21st centuries: interdisciplinary approaches” can be purchased in our museum shop. The price is UAH 175. If you want to buy, hurry up, because the edition is limited!