Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ukraine and Russia; the Holmodor

Anne Applebaum writes of her recent sit down with Ukraine president Viktor Yushchenko. The investigation into who poisoned him before the '04 election has stalled. Apparently, the Russians won't hand over key witnesses.

There is at least a facade of attempting to come to terms with some past grievances, especially the famine of '32-33. Stalin and the Soviets created a famine to starve Ukrainians and implement the collectivization of farms. Called the Holmodor by Ukrainians, the death toll officially stands at 4.8 million. Some estimate the numbers may be between 5 and 10 million. Also called the Black Famine, Ukrainians faced the death penalty for offenses such as hording grain, not properly feeding livestock and stealing a lump of coal. Even 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia denies any systematic plan for killing Ukrainians existed. It doesn't sound like Russia is ready to come to terms with one of the dark moments of its past.

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