Shining a Light on the Holodomor: A Global Remembrance and Call to Action

2023 marks the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, a tragic and haunting chapter in human history. The Holodomor, which means “death inflicted by starvation,” was a man-made famine in the USSR carried under the direction of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in which millions of Ukrainians died from 1932 to 1933 as a result of policies of the Kremlin.
The Communist Party and Soviet state targeted the Ukrainian peasant farmers, who resisted Soviet policies of forced collectivization that stripped them of their property and rights. Tens of thousands were sent to Siberia. The state imposed impossible grain requisition quotas, leaving the peasant farmers with nothing; brigades were sent house to house seizing all grain and often all foodstuffs. This assault occurred in the context of a campaign against Ukrainian intellectuals, writers, artists, religious leaders, and political cadres, who were seen as a threat to Soviet ideological and state-building aspirations. Farms, villages, and whole towns in Ukraine were placed on blacklists for not fulfilling impossible grain quotas, which meant that they were cut off from receiving even basic products such as soap and fuel.

Millions of Ukrainians perished from starvation.

The Holodomor’s Ominous Legacy Amidst Russia’s Aggression

In 1932-1933, the totalitarian communist regime was responsible for committing the crime of genocide against the Ukrainian people. The Holodomor stands as a stark reminder of the brutal tactics employed to suppress Ukrainian identity and independence. Fast forward to 2023 as we witness history repeating.

Recognition of the Holodomor as genocide is a crucial step in preventing such atrocities in the future. Ukraine has been known for centuries as the “breadbasket of Europe,” and the world still depends on Ukrainian grain. Russia’s current war on Ukraine is threatening global food security, a stark reminder of the dark history of the Holodomor.

The Silence Broken: Unveiling the Holodomor’s Hidden Past

The Holodomor remained a dark secret for decades. In the Soviet Union, the Holodomor was a taboo subject, denied and covered up. Soviet authorities also attacked Western journalists who tried to inform the public about the famine. As a result, the Holodomor nearly disappeared from world awareness. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, archives in Russia and Ukraine, once off limits to scholars, became accessible, which led to a greater understanding of the Holodomor and its historical significance; however, global recognition of the Holodomor as genocide has been a slow and a gradual process.

A Call to Action: Recognizing and Remembering the Holodomor

On November 28, 2006, the Parliament of Ukraine passed a decree defining the Holodomor as a deliberate act of genocide. As of November 20, 2023, some progress has been made, but not enough! Approximately thirty countries worldwide and 34 U.S. states have officially recognized the Holodomor as genocide, as well as the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The Ukrainian community worldwide continues to advocate and dedicate efforts to the process of worldwide recognition of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as genocide against Ukrainians. By acknowledging the Holodomor as genocide and fostering awareness, the world is better equipped to comprehend the historical context of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, thereby amplifying the imperative to stand in solidarity against such atrocities. In the face of the ongoing war, recognizing and remembering the Holodomor becomes even more critical.

Holodomor90: A Campaign for Remembrance and Awareness

Holodomor90 is an anti-genocide campaign to raise awareness of and commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Holodomor. It is organized by the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC) at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) at the University of Alberta, with grant funding from private donors. Leading organizations from the Ukrainian diaspora are among the coalition’s founding partners. In solidarity with the Holodomor90 campaign, Spotlight Ukraine is committed to commemorating this somber anniversary and raising awareness of the Holodomor.

Join us in supporting the Holodomor90 campaign by sharing information about the Holodomor and attending organized vigils on Holodomor Awareness Day this Saturday, November 25th.

The Ukrainian World Congress, a partner of the Holodomor90 campaign, has posted a range of initiatives to help recognize the Holodmor’s 90th anniversary. Click here to learn more.


A Plea for Recognition: Recognize Holodomor as Genocide

We also ask that you join us in urging President Biden to officially recognize the Holodmor as genocide. Your involvement is vital to ensure the lessons of Holodomor resonate, inspiring awareness and preventing future tragedies.

Today, as Ukrainians again defend themselves against the Kremlin’s genocidal aggression, it is more important than ever before that the United States acknowledge officially and publicly that the Holodomor was, indeed, a genocide. History must not repeat itself. Please join Holodomor90 and support this petition to recognize the Holodomor as a genocide.

Click here to learn more and access the petition.

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