Dhe Bundestag officially recognized the famine in Ukraine that was deliberately brought about 90 years ago as a genocide. With a large majority, the MPs approved a joint motion by the traffic light coalition and the Union faction on Wednesday evening, which talks about an “inhuman crime”. Under the responsibility of the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, up to four million people fell victim to the so-called Holodomor (“murder by hunger”) in the years 1932 and 1933 in the Ukraine alone. On Wednesday, the Ukrainian Ambassador Oleksii Makeiev and his predecessor Andriy Melnyk, who is now Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister, followed the debate from the visitors’ gallery in the Bundestag.
The striving of the Soviet leadership to control the peasants was merged with the suppression of the Ukrainian way of life, language and culture, according to the Bundestag printed paper. “From today’s perspective, a historical-political classification as genocide is obvious. The German Bundestag shares such a classification.”
The forced collectivization of agriculture initiated under Stalin, the transfer of private property to communal ownership, and the confiscation, i.e. state confiscation of food, led to the very famine that hit the Ukraine in particular. In Kazakhstan and other regions of the Soviet Union, millions more died because of food shortages and travel bans. The number of victims cannot be scientifically quantified to this day.
No hunger from crop failures
“Across factions, we are united by the desire to remember, to commemorate, to warn,” said the chairman of the German-Ukrainian parliamentary group, Robin Wagener (Greens). “With our application, we are dealing with the brutal truth of Stalinist violence – not to put German crimes in the Soviet Union into perspective, but to learn from the historical truth.” The human rights policy spokesman for the Union faction, Michael Brand (CDU), also recalled of the German role in the Second World War: “We Germans in particular have a special historical debt and responsibility towards the Ukraine.”
The SPD MP Gabriela Heinrich emphasized that the hunger was not caused by bad harvests. The food had been taken away from the population, she said. At that time, the Ukraine was already the “granary” of the region. The Holodomor is a “wanted and planned famine” with which Stalin wanted to force Ukraine into the Soviet system.
AfD and Left abstain
In the Bundestag debate, all factions condemned the Holodomor, but the AfD and the left abstained from voting on the motion. AfD MP Marc Jongen spoke of an “instrumentalization of history” and opposed a “historical equation” with today’s Ukraine war. Gregor Gysi of the left also warned against a possible equation of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin: “Stalin was bad, very bad, but no Hitler.”
The Eastern European aid organization of the Catholic Church in Germany, Renovabis, meanwhile thanked the Bundestag for its decision and also drew a bow to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine: The targeted destruction of infrastructure was once again taking away the livelihood of the people there, complained Managing Director Thomas Schwartz .