Austria called the Holodomor a “horrible crime” of the Stalinist regime

19 December 2022

The National Council of Austria adopted a resolution calling the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine a “terrible crime” of the Stalinist regime. The document entitled “On the prevention of hunger and scarcity as a weapon of war against the civilian population” was adopted unanimously, and all parliamentary factions voted “for”, reports «Укрінформ».

The proposal for a resolution mentions the commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, which is labelled “a cruel famine that was deliberately and systematically provoked by the Soviet Union against the civilian population, mainly on the territory of Ukraine in 1932-1933 and which, according to various estimates, took the lives of from 3.5 to 7 million people.”

It was also noted that at that time, “this terrible crime” was ignored by the world public, and one of the few Western figures who protested the Holodomor in the 1930s was the then Viennese Cardinal Theodor Innitzer.

The document also mentions “the use of hunger as a weapon in the current Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.” In the adopted resolution, the National Council suggests that the federal government continue to “advocate that hunger and scarcity are not used as weapons against the civilian population or as a means of pressure on governments, but also highlight the parallels between history and present and condemn the corresponding crimes.”

Before that, there was a discussion among Austrian parliamentarians on whether to call the Holodomor of 1932-1933 a genocide. The liberal opposition party NEOS clearly supported the definition of “genocide”. Also, spokeswoman for the “Greens” (part of the government coalition), Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic, stated that “from a historical and political point of view,” this was a crime against humanity, but also genocide.

Robert Laimer from the SPÖ (Social Democratic Party) called the Holodomor one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of the 20th century. Helmut Brandstetter from NEOS (“New Austria and Liberal Forum”) emphasized that now “the dictator Putin is trying to finish what the dictator Stalin started.”

We will remind, on December 10, the official parliamentary delegation of Austria visited the Holodomor Museum. Among the members of the delegation were Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic and Helmut Brandstetter.

Meanwhile, the right-wing populist and pro-Russian Austrian Freedom Party opposed the definition of “genocide”. The other opposition Social Democratic Party of Austria also failed to support the definition of “genocide”. As for the Austrian People’s Party, headed by Chancellor Karl Nehammer, there was also no common decision to recognize the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people.

Ukrainian diplomats hope that recognizing the Holodomor as a crime of the Stalinist regime in Austria will create the conditions for further recognition of it as genocide.

Ambassador of Ukraine to Austria Vasyl Khymynets welcomed the decision of the Austrian deputies, noting that the resolution creates a basis for Vienna to officially recognize the Holodomor as genocide in the future.

“The fact of condemning the Holodomor as a “terrible crime”, the realization that a crime was committed against the Ukrainian people at that time, the connection of the past with the present in terms of the inadmissibility of using hunger as a weapon are eloquent facts. This creates a platform for further work to have the Holodomor in Austria recognized as genocide. We will work on this,” he said in a comment for “European Pravda”.