The 80th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Famine

The 80th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Famine

Hon.
Benjamin L. Cardin
United States
Senate
113th Congress Congress
First Session Session
Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Madam President, this year we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Holodomor, the genocidal Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933. Eighty years ago, an engineered famine in Soviet-dominated Ukraine and bordering ethnically-Ukrainian territory resulted in the horrific deaths of millions of innocent men, women, and children.

I visited the Holodomor monument in central Kyiv, a poignant reminder of the suffering perpetrated by Soviet dictator Stalin's deliberate and inhumane policy to suppress the Ukrainian people and destroy their human, cultural, and political rights. Requisition brigades, acting on Stalin's orders to fulfill impossibly high grain quotas, took away the last scraps of food from starving families and children. Eyewitness accounts describing the despair of the starving are almost unfathomable. Millions of rural Ukrainians slowly starved--an excruciatingly painful form of death--amid some of the world's most 
fertile farmland, while stockpiles of expropriated grain rotted by the ton, often nearby. 

Meanwhile, Ukraine's borders were sealed to prevent the starving from leaving to less-affected areas. International offers of help were rejected, with Stalin's henchmen denying a famine was taking place. At the same time, Soviet grain was being exported to the West.

The final report of the congressionally created Commission on the Ukraine Famine concluded in 1988 that "Joseph Stalin and those around him committed genocide against Ukrainians in 1932-33.'' No less than Rafael Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish-American lawyer who coined the term "genocide'' and was instrumental in the adoption of the 1948 U.N. Genocide Convention, described the "destruction of the Ukrainian nation'' as the "classic example of Soviet genocide.''

We must never forget the victims of the Holodomor or those of other republics in the Soviet Union, notably Kazakhstan, that witnessed cruel, mass starvation as a result of Stalin's barbarism, and we must 
redouble our efforts to protect human rights and democracy, ensuring that 20th-century genocides such as the Holocaust, Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, Ukraine, Bosnia, Cambodia, and Rwanda become impossible to imagine in the future.

Relevant countries: 
Leadership: 
Clear Filters
Close
Filters

Internet Freedom in the Age of Dictators and Terrorists

Parliamentary Diplomacy

What is the OSCE Doing in Ukraine?

NATO’s Warsaw Summit and the Future of European Security

Our Impact by Country

U.S. Delegation to OSCE PA Drives International Action against Human Trafficking, Discrimination, and Anti-Semitism

Helsinki Commission Chair Chris Smith Shines Light on Egregious Rule-of-Law Abuses by Russian Government

Chairman Smith Champions Improved Security for European Jewish Communities at Annual Meeting of OSCE Parliamentarians

Human Rights Violations in Russian-Occupied Crimea

Helsinki Commission Briefing to Probe Human Rights Violations in Occupied Crimea

Helsinki Commission Co-Chair Re-Elected as Head of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly First Committee

Helsinki Commission Chair, Co-Chair Welcome Savchenko Release; Urge Russia To Comply With Minsk Agreements

Russian Rule-of-Law Abuses to Be Examined at Upcoming Helsinki Commission Hearing

I Was Locked Up and Tortured by Putin’s Spooks

Chairman Smith Leads International Legislators against Human Trafficking, Child Sex Tourism

German Foreign Minister to Testify at Helsinki Commission Hearing

Serbia Concludes Year-Long OSCE Chairmanship

The Helsinki Process: A Four Decade Overview

Religious Freedom, Anti-Semitism, and Rule of Law in Europe and Eurasia

Helsinki Commission Honored for Work on Ukraine

OSCE Foreign Ministers Meet in Belgrade

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2015

Pages