Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has welcomed the German Bundestag’s decision to classify the famine in Ukraine, caused deliberately 90 years ago, as genocide.
“This is a decision for justice, for truth,” Zelensky said in his daily video address on Wednesday evening. “And this is a very important signal to many other countries in the world that Russian revanchism will not succeed in rewriting history.”
Lawmakers in Berlin earlier approved a joint motion by the government and main opposition party describing the events as a “crime inhuman to mankind”.
Some 4 million people died of starvation in the man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine, under dictator Josef Stalin. Known as Holodomor, meaning to kill by starvation, the deaths came about as the leadership sought to control the populace of Ukraine, a grain producing nation which was subject to unreasonably high grain quotas.
A large majority of lawmakers backed the move. The Chair of the German-Ukrainian Parliamentary Group, Robin Wagener, said, “With our motion we deal with the brutal truth of Stalinist violence – not to relativise German crimes in the Soviet Union, but to learn from historical truth.”
The human rights spokesperson for the Christian Democrats’ parliamentary group, Michael Brand, also referred to the German role in World War II. “We Germans in particular have a special historical debt and responsibility towards Ukraine here,” he said.