Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba: The best preservation of the memory of the Holodomor will be the recognition of this genocide by the Bundestag

22 November 2022

“Why the Bundestag should recognize the Holodomor as genocide” – under this title, on November 21, 2022, the German publication Welt published an article authored by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba. In it, the head of the Ukrainian foreign ministry called on the German parliament to recognize the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as genocide of the Ukrainian people.”Recognizing the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people will restore justice to millions of people and confirm the truth about the crimes of Stalin and the Soviet regime. The truth that they tried to hide for decades. The truth that the descendants of those who are responsible for this genocide still do not want to admit, Dmytro Kuleba noted – Unlike Germany, Russia has never done any serious work on its own totalitarian past. This is one of the key reasons why today millions of Russians support their leadership’s crimes.”

We bring to your attention the full text of the article in Ukrainian.

Why the Bundestag should recognize the Holodomor as genocide

On November 26, Ukraine and the world will host memorial events dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the beginning of the Holodomor tragedy – the genocide of the Ukrainian people, during which the Soviet totalitarian regime led by Joseph Stalin deliberately starved millions of Ukrainians to death.

The blood-curdling memories of this horror cannot be fully described in words. For us, these are not just events on the pages of archival documents, numbers in the conclusions of forensic experts or names in obituaries. These are painful, torn wounds that have been bleeding for many years in the family memory of millions of Ukrainians. There are also the Holodomor victims in my family.

The generations of our grandparents could not leave a drop of soup on the plate or a crumb of bread on the table until their death, even in their relatively “full” years. Pain and fear were so deeply engraved.

Ukraine in 1932-1933 was really the most terrible place on Earth. Devastated villages from which the Soviet authorities forcibly removed all food. There was absolutely nothing nutritious left anywhere. People had swollen up from hunger before they died. It was these exhausted, swollen children who slowly died in empty Ukrainian houses 90 years ago.

Corpses of people who died of hunger were lying in the black, greasy, fertile soil on both sides of the village roads. Why were they killed in such a cruel way? Only because they were Ukrainians, used to being free masters, and posed a threat to Stalin.

These people could not go to another country to save themselves from starvation. Well, they couldn’t even reach the nearest town. Stalin ordered his punitive squads to surround the starving Ukrainian villages and not let anyone out. Peasant riots and uprisings against the withdrawal of food were suppressed by the state security authorities.

Nowadays, Russians, who still shamefully deny this genocide, like to repeat that the famine in those years was not only in Ukraine but also in the Volga region and other regions of the USSR. But the combination of massive withdrawal of food, the ban on the movement of the population between regions, and the cordoning off of hungry villages were only in Ukraine!

Stalin artificially turned the crop failure into a famine, and deliberately turned the famine into a weapon of mass murder and directed it specifically against the Ukrainians. He wanted to deal with us once and for all, a freedom-loving people who posed a threat to his totalitarian dictatorship.

When Stalin and his henchmen started this genocide in 1932, no power in the world even wanted to stop them. The world did not have access to complete information about events in Ukraine because Moscow did everything to close access to it.

Even though individual daredevils and truth-seekers managed to convey information about the crime of the communist totalitarian regime, Soviet propaganda managed to drown it in lies, and, in the end, the world simply turned a blind eye to the murder of millions of people.

What is worth at least the example of the New York Times, journalist Walter Duranty, who even received a Pulitzer for whitewashing the Stalin regime during those years and denying the genocide of Ukrainians. Today Stalin’s crimes are exposed all over the world. Duranty, who became Stalin’s propaganda tool to cover up a crime, is still respected.

The scale of lies and falsifications of the communist totalitarian regime was so mass that scientists and researchers still cannot name the exact number of people killed – in academic discussions, the number of victims is from 4 to 10 million people. However, on the issue of legal qualification, even supporters of different methodologies for counting victims are unanimous – it is a crime of genocide.

Our lesson from history is that by losing our own freedom and state, we become defenceless against genocide. Ukraine did not have its own government at that time, not that it had an army. Ten years before the start of the Holodomor, the Soviet Union drowned our attempt to create our own state, the Ukrainian People’s Republic, in blood.

It is one of the reasons why today when the new Russian dictator has come to destroy our people in a genocidal war, we are fighting so desperately for our right to exist. We know that our lives and our children’s lives are at stake.

The world did not stop this horror 90 years ago and let millions of people die at the hands of a tyrant. The least the world can do now for the victims of this crime is, to tell the truth, and call a spade a spade – to recognize the Holodomor as genocide. The world could not save their lives, however, it can save their memory at least.

That is why we call on the Bundestag to recognize the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as genocide of the Ukrainian people now, in November, on the eve of the 90th anniversary of the beginning of this tragedy. It is crucial not to look for vague wording.

It was a genocide, and that’s how it should be called – out of respect for the memory of the victims and for the restoration of historical justice. This is what the author of the term “genocide”, the prominent Jewish jurist Raphael Lemkin, called it, this is what we, the heirs of the victims of totalitarianism, call it.

Ten months ago, my German colleague Annalena Baerbock visited Ukraine for the first time. At the very beginning of the visit, I took her to the National Museum of the Holodomor-Genocide, where she touched our wounds and saw evidence of this genocide. Together we lit candles for the repose of the souls of its innocent victims.

Now is the best time to recognize the Holodomor in the Bundestag. There is another disaster in Ukraine. Another Russian dictator seeks to destroy the Ukrainian people. The world no longer closes its eyes, and we do not surrender to the mercy of the aggressor.

We are asking to help Ukraine to survive. During these eight months, Germany made a number of truly revolutionary decisions. It is about the weapons supply and the severance of political, economic and energy ties with Russia.

I am deeply grateful to the German government and ordinary Germans for all this support. It is evidence of lessons learned from the past and another reason why recognizing the Holodomor as genocide is now more timely than ever.

Today, the whole world finally sees how Moscow’s lies and propaganda work cynically, and it makes no sense to reject the new lies and leave the old lies about “ordinary hunger” in the past.

The memory of the Holodomor, the best preservation of which will be the recognition of this genocide by the Bundestag, will also help to crystallize the policy of Germany and the EU regarding Russia’s current war of aggression.

After all, today, we are one more time hearing voices calling for a dialogue with Putin. Generations of Germans, like other Europeans, have been brought up to respect dialogue as the only way to overcome differences. Undoubtedly, in the democratic tradition, dialogue is the most powerful tool for reaching consensus decisions and moving forward.

But dialogue does not work when on the other side of the table is a tyranny that commits genocide. Putin’s Russia is not looking for solutions but seeks to kill and destroy. At this stage, it can only be countered by force. Genocide cannot be stopped with half-measures because the compromise between life and death is death.

It can only be stopped by force. By the arm forces but by the force of justice, and truth as well. Only after stopping, disarming and driving away the aggressor, you can sit down with them at the negotiating table.

Recognizing the Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people will be just such a decision: it will restore justice to millions of people and establish the truth about the crimes of Stalin and the Soviet regime. The truth that they tried to conceal for decades. The truth is that the descendants of those responsible for this genocide still do not want to admit it.

It is not for nothing that in Russia, about 70% have a positive attitude towards the historical figure of Stalin. Unlike Germany, Russia has never done any serious work on its own totalitarian past. It is one of the key reasons why today, millions of Russians support the crimes of their leadership.

It only means that we have to make even more efforts to preserve memory, establish the truth, and achieve justice. Both for the crimes committed 90 years ago, and for the crimes that the Russians are currently committing on the territory of Ukraine.

It is the only way to learn the lessons of history and not repeat past mistakes. It is the only way we can truly say the words “Never Again” during the annual celebrations.