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14 Nov, 2008 06:59

Medvedev slams Ukraine’s Great Famine stunt

In a letter to his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yushchenko, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has denounced what he calls Ukraine’s attempts at revising history. He accuses the political leadership in Kiev of exploiting the great famine of the 1930s, know

Medvedev said in his letter that “the tragic events of the 1930s are being used in Ukraine in order to achieve instantaneous and conformist political goals.”

Medvedev says it’s completely unreasonable for Kiev to describe Holodomar as a deliberate genocide against the Ukrainian people when a full and independent inquiry into the tragedy is yet to be carried out. 

Medvedev went on to say the famine of 1932-33 “was not targeted at exterminating of any single nation”.

The letter also says the famine as well as many other troubling issues in Ukraine-Russia relations should be discussed freely.

It went on to express concern that those in Ukraine who don’t consider the Holodomor genocide may be persecuted by the authorities.

For instance, it noted, Yushchenko has recently tabled a bill that would allow the prosecution of Holodomor deniers.

“Those events are unambiguously qualified without the results of a comprehensive consideration of this problem by competent experts. And those who dissent are threatened with persecution as it was in the times of totalitarianism. Judging by this, to put it mildly, by this 'one-sided logic' any Ukrainian who proclaims that not only Ukrainians but also Russians, Kazakhs, and Belarusians died in that period is a criminal,” the message reads.

Medvedev has suggested that Ukraine and Russia work together to create a common approach towards the events of the 1930s.

“Hard pages of our history undoubtedly need comprehensive pondering. But this is only possible on the basis of objective professional research,” Medvedev stressed.

Meanwhile, Holodomor Victims Remembrance Day will be officially marked in Ukraine on November 22.

Before that, a summit for the leaders of Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Georgia and Poland will kick off on November 17.

Earlier, PACE and UNESCO rejected Ukraine’s proposal to have the Holodomor officially known as a genocide against Ukrainians.

The great famine famine of the 1930s hit many regions of the USSR, including Ukraine, the Caucasus, South Urals, Volga River basin, Central Russia, Kazakhstan and Western Siberia.  

Extreme drought and forced nationalisation of land and property are thought to be the main reasons behind the tragedy.