BERLIN (AP) — Germany's parliament is expected to approve a resolution Wednesday labeling as genocide Ukraine's 1930s “Holodomor" — a famine believed to have killed more than 3 million Ukrainians under the repressive rule of Soviet leader Josef Stalin.
The resolution is being brought to the lower house, or Bundestag, by the three parties in Chancellor Olaf Scholz's governing coalition and the main opposition bloc. It comes days after Ukrainians marked the 90th anniversary of the start of the famine.
The resolution states that “the mass deaths from hunger were not a result of failed harvests; the political leadership of the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin was responsible for them." It adds that all things Ukrainian were “deeply suspect” to Stalin and notes that “the whole of Ukraine was affected by hunger and repression, not just its grain-producing areas.”
“From today's perspective, a historical and political classification as genocide is obvious,” the resolution says. “The German Bundestag shares such a classification.”
Academic opinion remains divided about whether the famine constitutes a “genocide,” with the main question being whether Stalin intentionally wanted to kill Ukrainians as an attempt to quash an independence movement against the Soviet Union, or whether the famine was primarily the result of official incompetence along with natural conditions. Regardless, the “great famine” seeded lingering Ukrainian bitterness toward Soviet Russian rule.
According to the Holomodor Museum in Kyiv, 16 states in addition to Ukraine so far have recognized the famine as genocide: Australia, Ecuador, Estonia, Canada, Colombia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, the United States and the Vatican. Some other countries, including Argentina, Chile and Spain, have condemned it as “an act of extermination.”
Last week, Pope Francis linked the suffering of Ukrainians now to the 1930s “genocide artificially caused by Stalin."
Wednesday's resolution calls on the German government among other things to work against “any attempts to spread a one-sided Russian historical narrative” and to keep supporting Ukraine as a victim of the current war.
Such resolutions aren't binding and don't mandate government action, but Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has thanked lawmakers who championed it.
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