Germany’s Bundestag plans to pass a resolution declaring the starvation of millions of Ukrainians under Joseph Stalin a genocide, a move parliamentarians hope will serve as a “warning” to Moscow as Ukraine faces a potential famine crisis this winter.
The resolution, which will be put to a joint vote next week by the three governing parties and conservative opposition leaders, will describe the 1932-33 Holodomor as part of “a list of inhumane crimes committed by totalitarian systems that exterminated millions of human lives in Europe in the first half of the 20th century”.
“People across the board Ukraine, not only in grain-producing regions, were affected by hunger and oppression”, the resolution states. “This meets the historical-political definition from today’s perspective of genocide.”
The victims of the Holodomor – Ukrainian for “death by starvation” – are traditionally commemorated in Ukraine on the last Saturday in November.
Kyiv views the historic event as part of a deliberate campaign by Stalin’s regime to collectivize agriculture and stamp out Ukraine’s new nationalist movement. Historians estimate that between 4 million and 7.5 million people were killed in the man-made disaster.
Moscow has rejected Kyiv’s version of history, placing the deaths in a broader context of famine that devastated regions of Central Asia and Russia.
“Putin is part of Stalin’s cruel and criminal tradition,” said Robin Wagener, the German Green Party MP who initiated the resolution. “Today, Russian terror is once again haunting Ukraine. Once again, the plan is to use violence and terror to deprive Ukraine of its livelihood, to subjugate an entire country,” he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.
Knut Abraham, a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) ombudsman for parliament’s legal affairs and human rights committee, said the resolution was intended to send a signal to Moscow. “This recognition is even more important because Ukraine has once again become the target of Russian aggression.”
A spokesman for the German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said: “She is very pleased that there is great support in the German parliament for this.”