Germany condemns Holodomor as genocide

The German Bundestag has passed a resolution recognising the Holodomor in Ukraine, in which several million people starved to death in 1932 and 1933, as genocide. Gabriela Heinrich, an MP for the governing Social Democratic Party, said that the famine was "wanted and planned" by Stalin. Commentators take different views on the resolution.

Open/close all quotes
Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Imposed commemoration policy

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung finds it problematic that the German Bundestag is ignoring historical research with its decision:

“It is undisputed that Stalin deliberately starved millions of peasants and thus committed a crime against humanity. But there is no consensus on the question of whether he committed genocide in doing this. ... With its decision, however, the parliament is imposing commemorative politics from above - and in the face of disputed facts. One can only hope that historians will continue to investigate the question of why the Soviet Union starved millions of Ukrainians and other Soviet citizens. ... This task will not be any easier after this resolution that unilaterally shapes public opinion.”

La Stampa (IT) /

A message to Moscow

It is no coincidence that this decision is being taken now, Vladimiro Zagrebelsky, a former judge of the European Court of Human Rights, explains in La Stampa:

“The use of the word genocide - the most serious and weighty among the terms for international crimes - is intended to send a political message establishing a connection between the events back then and the Russian side's current war strategy involving the destruction of civilian power generation and water supply infrastructures as the cold descends on Ukraine: back then hunger and death, now cold and death.”

Ria Nowosti (RU) /

Those who live in glass houses ...

The state-run news agency Ria Novosti says the Germans have the least moral right to make judgments in such matters:

“For it was previous generations of German politicians who used hunger as a military weapon to achieve their political goals. And that is by no means only true for the blockade of Leningrad, but more generally for Germany's campaign to destroy our country and its population during the Great Patriotic War. In the Soviet Union alone, Nazi bosses, soldiers and their collaborators condemned umpteen millions of Soviet citizens to starvation in accordance with 'Plan Ost', regardless of whether they lived in Russia, Belarus or Ukraine.”

Contrepoints (FR) /

A crime against humanity

Anne Genetet, a member of the French National Assembly from the Renaissance party, has put forward a draft resolution classifying the Holodomor as a crime against humanity. Contrepoints approves:

“The Soviets' crime against humanity began in the Solovetsky Islands in the early 1920s, when Lenin set up the first communist concentration and extermination camps. And with its screaming shadow it covers 70 years of Russian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Belarusian history ... The Holodomor is no exception: it is a blueprint, and therefore it must be recognised and ceaselessly denounced as long as North Koreans starve to death, locked inside their country with its sealed borders, just as Ukrainians did in the 1930s. The Holodomor is not over.”