Commemorating the victims of the Great Famine (Holodomor) in the former USSR
- Parliamentary Assembly
- Assembly debate on 28 April 2010
(15th Sitting) (see Doc.
12173, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur:
Mr Çavuşoğlu; and Doc.
12181, opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and
Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Rowen). Text
adopted by the Assembly on 28 April 2010 (15th Sitting).
The Parliamentary Assembly refers
to Resolution 1481 (2006)
the need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian
communist regimes, in which it strongly condemned the massive human rights
violations committed by the totalitarian communist regimes and expressed
sympathy, understanding and recognition towards the victims of these
crimes. It also stated that awareness of history is one of the preconditions
for avoiding similar crimes in the future.
2 The totalitarian Stalinist regime in the former Soviet Union
led to horrifying human rights violations which deprived millions
of people of their right to life.
3 One of the most tragic pages in the history of the peoples
of the former Soviet Union was the mass famine in grain-growing
areas of the country which started in the late 1920s and culminated
4 Millions of innocent people in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova,
Russia and Ukraine, which were parts of the Soviet Union, lost their
lives as a result of mass starvation caused by the cruel and deliberate
actions and policies of the Soviet regime.
5 In Ukraine, which suffered the most, the peasantry was particularly
hit by the Great Famine and millions of individual farmers and members
of their families died of hunger following forced “collectivisation”,
a ban on departures from the affected areas and confiscation of
grain and other food. These tragic events are referred to as Holodomor (politically-motivated
famine) and are recognised by Ukrainian law as an act of genocide against
6 In Kazakhstan, too, millions fell victim to the mass famine,
and the ratio of the dead to the whole population is believed to
be the highest among all peoples of the former Soviet Union. Traditionally
nomads, the cattle-raising Kazakhs were forced to settle down and
were deprived of livestock. The Great Famine is remembered as the
greatest tragedy of the Kazakh people.
7 In the grain-producing areas of Russia (the Middle and Lower
Volga, the North Caucasus, the Central Black Soil region, the Southern
Urals, Western Siberia and some other regions), the famine caused
by “collectivisation” and dispossession of individual farmers took
millions of lives in rural and urban areas. In absolute figures,
it is estimated that the population of Russia had the heaviest death
toll as a result of the Soviet agricultural policies.
8 Hundreds of thousands of farmers also died in Belarus and
the Republic of Moldova.
9 While these events may have had particularities in various
regions, the results were the same everywhere: millions of human
lives were mercilessly sacrificed to the fulfilment of the policies
and plans of the Stalinist regime.
10 The Assembly honours the memory of all those who perished
in this unprecedented human disaster, and recognises them as victims
of a cruel crime of the Soviet regime against its own people.
11 It strongly condemns the cruel policies pursued by the Stalinist
regime, which resulted in the death of millions of innocent people,
as a crime against humanity. It resolutely rejects any attempts
to justify these deadly policies, by whatever purposes, and recalls
that the right to life is non-derogable.
12 It welcomes the efforts aimed at revealing the historical
truth about, and at raising the public awareness of, these tragic
events of the past. Such efforts should seek to unite, not divide
13 The Assembly welcomes the important work already done in Belarus,
Kazakhstan, the Republic of Moldova, Russia and in particular in
Ukraine in order to ease access to archives, and calls on the competent authorities
of these countries to open up all their archives and facilitate
access thereto to all researchers, including from other states.
14 It further calls on other Council of Europe member states
to make their national archives open and accessible.
15 The Assembly calls on historians of all countries of the former
Soviet Union which suffered during the Great Famine, as well as
historians from other countries, to conduct joint independent research
programmes in order to establish the full, unbiased and unpoliticised
truth about this human tragedy, and to make it public.
16 It urges the politicians in all Council of Europe member states
to abstain from any attempts to exert political influence on historians
and prejudge the outcome of independent scientific research.
17 It welcomes the decision by the Ukrainian authorities to establish
a national day of commemoration of the victims of the Great Famine
(Holodomor) in Ukraine, and
encourages the authorities of other countries which also suffered
to do the same with regard to their own victims.
18 It furthermore encourages the authorities of all these countries
to agree on joint activities aimed at commemorating the victims
of the Great Famine, regardless of their nationality.