Some Lawmakers Want 'Genocide' Dropped From Ukraine Bill

KIEV, Ukraine -- President Viktor Yushchenko’s bid to include the word “genocide” in legislation on the Soviet-era famine that killed up to 10 million people in Ukraine ran into difficulties Friday from lawmakers seeking to water the bill down.

Josef Stalin responsible for the Ukrainian genocide

Some lawmakers allied to Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, bowing to Kremlin complaints, proposed dropping the word and calling the 1932-33 Great Famine a tragedy instead.

Ukraine’s 450-member parliament failed to consider the bill submitted by Yushchenko and instead registered their own version.

The move is a blow to Yushchenko, who had personally lobbied lawmakers to pass his bill ahead of the Nov. 25 anniversary, saying Ukraine must have the courage to convince the rest of the world of its position.

The Great Famine was started by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin when he ordered the government to seize crops as part of a campaign to force Ukrainian peasants to join collective farms. The famine is already recognized as a genocide by 10 countries, including the United States, but such a move is strongly opposed by Russia.

Moscow has argued that the famine was part of Communist repression that also targeted other ethnic groups in the former Soviet Union and should not be considered a genocide against the Ukrainian people. Russia, the successor state to the Soviet Union, has been reluctant to tread too deeply on Soviet-era crimes.

Roman Zvarych, Yushchenko’s representative in parliament, criticized attempts to water down the bill.

“A tragedy is not necessarily a planned action. It can be caused by natural reasons,” said Zvarych, noting that if Yanukovych’s allies do not want to recognize the famine as genocide, they must say it openly.

Yanukovych’s ally Taras Chornovil, however, said that ultimately he thinks Yushchenko’s bill — with the word “genocide” — will be supported. “Some lawmakers just need time to study the real facts about the famine,” Chornovil told The Associated Press. “Recently, they’ve gotten a lot of confusing information.”

Ukrainian Communists also strongly oppose declaring the famine a genocide.

Yanukovych’s pro-Russian party won March parliamentary elections and formed a governing coalition, pledging to improve relations with Russia.

Source: AP


Anonymous said…
Wow - didnt see that coming