Between a discussion on the protection of forests against fires and another on their country’s candidacy for the 2030 Winter Olympics, the German deputies had to debate, Wednesday, November 30, a thorny question of history: the Holodomor, the great famine which caused approximately 3.5 million deaths in Ukraine in 1932-1933, was it a genocide? After fifty minutes of discussions, they voted by a show of hands, and the answer was clear: apart from Die Linke (radical left) and the AfD (Alternative for Germany, extreme right), who abstained, all the other groups said yes.
As a matter of fact, there was hardly any suspense. Upstream, the three majority groups – Social Democratic Party (SPD), Greens, Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) – joined forces with the conservative opposition (CDU/CSU) to table a resolution recognizing the ‘Holodomor (“extermination by starvation”) as genocide. “I thank the members of the Bundestag for this historic decision. The truth always wins”reacted on Twitter, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Nine months after the start of the war in Ukraine, the defenders of the text have not failed to make the link between the past and the present, establishing a direct filiation between Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Putin. “The cause of the horror that was the Holodomor is not to be found in nature, but in the Kremlin: there, the dictator made the cruel decision to collectivize the land by force and cause a famine”recalled the Green MP Robin Wagener. “Starvation was intended to politically suppress Ukrainian identity, language and culture. The parallels with today are obvious. Again, a dictator, from the Kremlin, seeks to enslave and annihilate Ukraine”he continued.
“A historical tradition”
“Even today, hunger is used as a weapon against civilians in Russian-occupied areas. By doing so ninety years ago, Stalin failed. Putin, too, will fail”chained the liberal Ulrich Lechte (FDP). “Russia’s current war of aggression against Ukraine is part of a historical tradition. Those who say they stand with Ukraine today must recognize this truth”also insisted the Bavarian curator Volker Ullrich (CSU).
Opposite, the AfD and Die Linke, while qualifying the great famine of 1932-1933 as ” crime against humanity “denounced the “historical shortcuts”. “As usual, German politics wraps itself in its moral superiority. Yes to the memory of the Holodomor, but no to the instrumentalization of history”replied far-right MP Marc Jongen (AfD). “The resolution proposed to us starts from the assumption that the Soviet power had racist and ethnic motivations to starve the Ukrainians. The truth is that Stalin stood against all those who were against his policy of forced industrialization and collectivization, regardless of their nationality or ethnic origin.insisted Gregor Gysi (Die Linke), recalling that the great famine of 1932-1933 also affected other parts of the USSR, such as the Southern Urals or Kazakhstan.
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