VMost Germans probably heard about this crime for the first time through the resolution of the Bundestag, in which he wants to recognize the Holodomor as a genocide in the coming week: Almost four million Ukrainians perished in a famine caused by Stalin in the years 1932/33. The magnitude of this catastrophe stands in stark contrast to its little publicity in western Europe. That is significant: Even more than thirty years after the end of the Iron Curtain, the history of Eastern Europe has not really arrived in that part of the continent that was able to develop freely after the Second World War and has therefore set the tone in the EU economically, politically and culturally to this day is.
This had dire political consequences. A lack of knowledge was a major reason why large parts of politics and society in Germany and other Western European countries did not recognize the dangers emanating from Vladimir Putin’s regime. His claims could be read from his historical politics. But the majority of Western Europeans have been unable to recognize the Kremlin’s imperial and Stalinist narratives in the softened version in which it carried them west.
The Holodomor resolution of the Bundestag is therefore an important political signal: It is a sign of solidarity with the Ukrainians and an appeal to the Germans to broaden their view to the East – also because of the National Socialist crimes there, some of which are still little known. Moscow will react with outrage to the Holodomor resolution – for Western Europeans, on the grounds that not only Ukrainians but also Russians starved to death at the time. That’s correct. But the real reason why Moscow refuses to commemorate the Holodomor can be seen in the persecution of those Russians who want to come to terms with the crimes of Stalinism in Russia.