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75th anniversary of mass famine in the territory of the former Soviet Union

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 11542 | 28 March 2008

Mr Konstantin KOSACHEV, Russian Federation, EDG ; Mr Miloš ALIGRUDIĆ, Serbia, EPP/CD ; Mr Igor CHERNYSHENKO, Russian Federation ; Mr Andreas GROSS, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Davit HARUTYUNYAN, Armenia, EDG ; Mr Anatoliy KOROBEYNIKOV, Russian Federation ; Mr Oleg PANTELEEV, Russian Federation, EDG ; Mr Andrea RIGONI, Italy, ALDE ; Mr Yury SOLONIN, Russian Federation, EDG ; Mr Nikolay TULAEV, Russian Federation, EDG
Referred to the Political Affairs Committee, for report, and to the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, for opinion: Reference No. 3435 (see 18th Sitting, 18 April 2008).

In 2008 it will be seventy-five years since the tragic events of 1932-33 when millions of inhabitants of numerous regions of the former Soviet Union became victims of mass famine.

It is known that mass famine of the early 1930s of the last century was a direct consequence of the policy of the totalitarian Stalinist regime on enforced collectivisation and persecution of the kulaks conducted all around the country.

Decisions on collectivisation and dispossession of the kulaks were adopted by the multinational leadership of the former Soviet Union. Millions of Russians, Kazakhs, Ukrainians, Tatars, Bashkirs and representatives of other nationalities who resided in the regions of the Middle and Lower Volga Region, Northern Caucasus, Central Black Earth, the Southern Urals, Western Siberia and Kazakhstan became victims of the famine that resulted from this activity. The population of today’s Russia suffered most of all.

In its Resolution 1481 (2006) the Parliamentary Assembly has already presented its evaluation and condemned resolutely the mass violations of human rights performed by the totalitarian communist regimes, having expressed sympathy, understanding and recognition to the victims of those crimes.

Earlier, the joint statement signed by a number of countries, the Russian Federation among them, on the 70th anniversary of the Great Famine of 1932-33 in the former Soviet Union, was circulated as an official document of the 58th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, which paid tribute to the memory of the millions of Russians, Ukrainians, Kazakhs and other nationalities who perished.

Repeated attempts to present the tragic events of those years as an intentional act of extermination of a particular nationality are a biased distortion of historical truth, an insult to the memory of the victims of other nationalities, and are perceived as attempts to perpetrate a discriminatory approach in the evaluation of the past events, laying the foundation for dissent at the national level and for xenophobia, that, in principle, contradicts the spirit of our Organisation.

We would also like to draw the attention of the Assembly to the fact that the theme of famine of the 1930s in the Soviet Union is increasingly becoming the subject of various political speculations and arbitrary interpretations of historical facts, thus failing to enhance an objective understanding of history.

To avoid a politicised approach to these events and possible speculations in the future, it is proposed that the Assembly support a study, at expert level, of all the reasons for the famine that affected the former Soviet Union in 1932 and 1933, which will give us the right not only to judge but also to understand. This was, in particular, noted in Assembly Resolution 1481 (2006): “the awareness of history is one of the preconditions for avoiding similar crimes in the future”.