November 22, 2019

Holodomor’s 86th anniversary


The guest editorial below is adapted from remarks by Andriy Futey, president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, at the Holodomor commemoration held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on Saturday, November 16.


For over 35 years, the Ukrainian American community and our many friends have gathered here, within the sacred walls of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, to pray for and honor the memory of the millions of innocent victims lost in one of the worst tragedies that befell the Ukrainian nation – the Holodomor Genocide of 1932-1933.

What occurred 86 years ago in Ukraine was evil in its design and brutal in its methods. It was a deliberate, premeditated act whose intent was to destroy the Ukrainian nation. Through a carefully orchestrated mass collectivization effort, the Soviet regime under Joseph Stalin imposed unreachable grain quotas upon the Ukrainian people, confiscated all foodstuffs and then sealed Ukraine’s borders, trapping Ukrainians within their own country, with no food and no chance of escape. This barbarous act resulted in the deaths of 7 million to 10 million people. In the very heart of Europe, in a country that boasts some of the world’s most fertile soil and was known as “The Breadbasket of Europe,” at the height of the Famine in 1933, Ukrainians were dying at the rate of 25,000 per day.

This was an act of genocide as defined by the Genocide Convention of 1948.

Today, as we gather to mourn the millions of senseless deaths and pray that such atrocities never occur again, we must also recommit ourselves to exposing the truth, the whole truth, about the Holodomor. It is also our solemn responsibility to serve as the voice of the millions of innocents who were silenced and can no longer speak of their tortures. And it is our solemn responsibility to remember, so that the world never forgets.

That is why, in late 2017, Ukrainians around the world began an entire year of educating the general public and advocating for the international recognition of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as a genocide of the Ukrainian nation. Here in the United States, in 2018, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution (S. Res 435) and the House of Representatives passed a companion resolution (H. Res. 931) expressing the sense of Congress that the 85th anniversary of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933 (Holodomor) should serve as a reminder of repressive Soviet policies against the people of Ukraine. It is also important on the local and state levels that our mayors and governors have recognized the Holodomor with proclamations – to date, 20 states and five cities have recognized the Holodomor as a genocide against the Ukrainian nation.

The Holodomor is but one example of Russia’s ongoing campaign to enslave Ukraine – a nation entitled to its independence and freedom. Today, as we mark the 86th anniversary of the Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933, we also commemorate the sixth anniversary of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity – a stark reminder that Russian aggression against Ukraine in violation of international law and the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 continues. The Ukrainian people’s endurance during the horrors of the Holodomor 86 years ago, their bravery during the Maidan, and their steadfast fortitude during the present-day struggle in Crimea and eastern Ukraine are all testimonies of the commitment of the Ukrainian people to live with dignity in a democratic and sovereign nation.

As Russia continues to whitewash its inhumane crimes, including its most recent acts of war against Ukraine, we must uphold the truth. Because truth, and an informed public, are the linchpins of a free society, ensuring that despotism does not triumph over democracy.

To those survivors who remain among us: we thank the Lord for sparing your lives. And to the millions of innocent victims who perished as a result of Stalin’s brutal genocide policy: may you rest in peace. You will always be remembered and honored. Vichnaya yim pamiat!