Ukraine Wants UN To Recognise Stalin-Era Famine As 'Genocide'

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine hopes to persuade the United Nations to recognise that the great famine of 1932-33, which killed up to 10 million Ukrainians, was genocide, a senior foreign ministry official said Saturday.

Josef Stalin had 10 million Ukrainians killed

"We now have much more witness testimony and facts proving that this was a terrible page in the life of the Ukrainian people... that claimed up to 10 million victims," said Deputy Foreign Minister Mykola Maimeskul at a forum on the famine in Kiev.

Ukrainian experts charge that under Josef Stalin Soviet authorities intentionally brought about the famine in order to weaken Ukraine's nascent independence movement.

The famine has been blamed on the programme of forced collectivisation of land begun in 1932 and the seizure by authorities of seed, wheat, flour, vegetables and livestock.

Estimates of the death toll range from four million to 10 million people.

Jacob Sundeberg, president of an international commission set up to investigate the famine, declared on Saturday that the facts supported the use of the label genocide.

"No doubt, the Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933 does fit the UN definition of genocide," he said.

In a separate statement, he said: "I find that lethal intent was directed at the Ukrainian nation as such".

Less severe famines occurred in Ukraine in the years 1921, 1923, 1946 and 1947.

Source: AFP