Hunger and terrible hopelessness, millions of victims and many despaired families. Ukraine honors memory of the victims of one of the greatest national catastrophes of the 20th century
The scale of the tragedy of Holodomor has not yet been fully assessed: discussions on the number of victims continue, where researchers state millions.
We must remember and remind ourselves of what happened during this terrible period. An important part of this process is Holodomor Victims Remembrance Day.
The Annual Day of Remembrance of Holodomor Victims falls on the fourth Saturday of November. In 2020 it is November 28. It was introduced in accordance with the decree of the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma on November 26, 1998 as “Day of Remembrance of Holodomor Victims.” It was later renamed to “Day of Remembrance of Holodomor and Political Repressions Victims,” and on May 21, 2007, President Viktor Yushchenko changed it back to the Day of Remembrance of Holodomor Victims.
National commemorations usually take place in Kyiv near the Holodomor Memorial. At 4 p.m. there will be a nationwide minute of silence, during which Ukrainians will light candles near the Memorial to the Victims of Holodomor and on the windowsills of their homes.
Since 2005 there’s a tradition in Ukraine – “Light a candle!.” The famous historian and Holodomor researcher James Mace proposed introducing it. People light candles on city squares and at home, putting them on the window sill.
Three famines – one genocide
There were three famines in the 20th century: 1921-1923, 1932-1933, 1946-1947. There is a certain collision here, which should be clarified.
In 2015, the Ministry of Culture on its website announced the renaming of the Holodomor Victims Memorial in Ukraine into the Holodomor Victims Memorial National Museum.
This was argued by the fact that “today, at the legal and legislative level, only the genocide of 1932-1933 has the status of the Holodomor. The events of 1921-1923 and 1946-1947 are classified as a mass famine, the genocidal nature of which has not yet been proven, and therefore, from the use of the word “Holodomor” in the plural, the notion of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as genocide is leveled.”
The ministry also noted that “the use of the concept of” Holodomor” in the plural is often the reason for criticism from the international community and opponents and is a reason for not recognizing the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people.”
That is, the officially memorable date is called the “Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holodomors,” in fact, they often talk about the second – the most ambitious and most controversial.
- The Verkhovna Rada in 2006 officially recognized the Holodomor of 1932-1933 genocide of the Ukrainian people;
- The Holodomor lasted 17 months – from April 1932 to November 1933. Researchers have not yet finally decided on the number of victims: the figures are from 1.8 to 10 million. Most experts believe that the number of deaths from hunger was from 3 to 3.5 million;
- there is a Unified Register of Holodomor Victims in Ukraine;
- the largest number of Ukrainians died in modern Kharkiv, Kyiv, Poltava, Sumy, Cherkasy, Dnipropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia, Chernihiv, and Odesa regions;
- according to historians, in the spring of 1933, 17 people died every minute in Ukraine.
Which countries recognized the Holodomor as genocide
Out of 195 countries of the world, 15 UN member states and the Vatican state (02.04.2004) recognized as an act of genocide the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine at the interstate level in addition to Ukraine.
First and third hunger
The first famine – 1921-1923 – covered mainly the southern regions of the then Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Its main reason was the mass export of grain from Ukraine to Russia by the then Soviet government. The negative effect of this action was exacerbated by drought and a poor harvest in the south of Ukraine, the Kuban, and the Volga region.
According to the Committee for Aid to Famine, in the south of the Ukrainian SSR in the winter of 1922 about 8 million peasants suffered from hunger.
The cause of the third Holodomor of 1946-1947. it was not so much a post-war crop failure as the plans of the Soviet leadership regarding the transfer of grain to the fraternal regimes in the socialist camp. So, in 1946 the USSR exported 350 thousand tons of grain to Romania, in 1947 – 600,000 tons of grain to Czechoslovakia. During those two years, Poland received 900,000 tons of grain from the Soviet Union.
The third famine affected mainly southern Ukraine and Moldova. According to available data, in the first half of 1947 alone, 130 cases of cannibalism were officially registered in the starving regions.
According to the results of a survey conducted by the Sociological Group “Rating” in October-November 2019, 82% agree with the statement that the Holodomor of 1932-1933. was genocide (79% thought so in 2018).