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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ukraine and the world commemorate the victims of Great Famine 1932-1933

Today, on 23 November, Ukraine and the world traditionally commemorate the victims of Holodomor (the Great Famine) of 1932-1933 which was recognized by more than 100 countries all over the world the genocide of Soviet authorities against Ukrainian people.

Commemoration has started in Kyiv at 2 p.m. at the Monument to the victims of Holodomor and continued with the traditional lightning of the candle symbolizing the lost lives of millions of Ukrainians during 1932-1933. Thousands of candles were lit in Kyiv downtown at 4 p.m. and also all over the world. People could also light the candle at home to commemorate the victims of famine. Minute of silence and remembering was at 7 p.m.

In 2006 Holodomor 1932-1933 was recognized as genocide against Ukrainian people by Ukrainian government, and since then more than 100 countries worldwide have also recognized the Great Famine as an ethnic genocide, including Canada, USA, Western European countries etc.

Great Famine of 1932-1933 had difficult causes which are still very controversial and disputable among the scientists and researchers. Some of the scientists claim the reasons had economical character and were connected to the bad harvest gathered in 1932. Other researchers though claim the famine had other causes and was orchestrated by the Soviet authorities. The levels of harvest were high according to the testimonies of the survived people, peasants and workers. But at the same time these years were marked by strong riots and uprisings sparked in Ukraine and among the peasants unhappy with the Soviet policies of collectivization. In addition to that the level of nationalism and nationalist movements in Ukraine was also high, so some researchers claim the famine was created in attempt to destroy a big part of Ukrainian population and to eliminate the nationalism and separatist moods.
Commemoration of the victims of Holodomor 1932-1933 in

Anyway terrible testimonies of those who survived the famine make shiver. Thousands of peasants and members of their families have shared their memories about these horrible months telling how the harvest was taken from the villages and households of the people and transported to the fields on the outskirts of the villages and cities and was just damaged there. House animals, cattle, harvests of vegetables, corn, anything possible to eat was confiscated by the Soviet authorities, according to the testimonies and memories of the eyewitnesses and survivors. Later even other properties of the people including clothes and something valuable were also confiscated.

In addition to that the territories affected most by the famine were also cordoned and cut from the outside world with the roads blocked. Thousands of people trying to reach the cities in search for some food were stopped and shot dead by the soldiers obeying the commands of the authorities.

The whole families were dying from starvation in Ukrainian villages and cities; there were lots of documented cases of cannibalism as well. People have been eating anything possible to eat including mud from their homes.

Commemoration of Holodomor 1932-1933 in Lviv
The official numbers of people lost their lives during the Great Famine of 1932-1933 remain an unresolved and controversial issues as it is impossible to mark the exact number of deaths resulted of famine and starvation nowadays. Some data of the archives were destroyed n the Soviet times; some were also falsified when the real causes of death have been hidden.  The official numbers of dead are estimated nearly 5-6 million people. Historians emphasize that in the peaceful 1932-1933 the death toll of Ukrainians was higher than during the World War II (nearly 5 million).

Holodomor (Great Famine) of 1932-1933 was an act of genocide of USSR authorities against Ukrainian folk and this page of history shouldn’t be forgotten. Millions of Ukrainians and people from other countries as well commemorate today all those who lost their lives during the famine.

The participants of the demonstrations for European integration being held currently in Kyiv and all nationwide have also commemorated the victims of the Great Famine with the symbolic lightning of the candles and minute of silence.