Estonian leaders reflect on 90th anniversary of Ukraine's Holodomor

Ukrainians holding a ceremony in Tallinn's Freedom Square commemorating the victims of the Holodomor. November 24, 2019.
Ukrainians holding a ceremony in Tallinn's Freedom Square commemorating the victims of the Holodomor. November 24, 2019. Source: Eugene Zavadsky/ERR

In 1932-1933, millions of Ukrainians died in the Holodomor genocide, an artificial famine orchestrated by the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin as it exported 4.27 million tons of grain from Ukraine. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) reflected on the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, observed Saturday.

"90 years since the Holodomor genocide," Kallas tweeted together with a photo of Petro Drozdovsky's sculpture "Bitter Memory of Childhood," part of the Toronto Holodomor Memorial dedicated on the 85th anniversary in 2018. "Soviet Russia starved millions of Ukrainians to death. Today, Russia is waging a genocidal war against Ukraine. History matters. If people's eyes are shut to past atrocities, there are no limits to committing new ones in the future."

Famines are political, the Estonian prime minister continued in a followup tweet, citing American historian and Yale professor Timothy D. Snyder.

Sharing a link to a lecture by Snyder about the Holodomor, she noted that many don't even know about "one of the worst chapters of history" because Russia suppressed it.

'Holodomor has direct connection to this day'

"Today we commemorate the victims of the genocide, the great famine Holodomor," Reinsalu said in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "It has a direct connection to this day, as millions of Ukrainians are fighting for their lives and their loved ones."

Russia's aggression has a strong impact on many regions outside Europe, he continued. "Russia's war affects food security, drives up food prices, increases hunger and exacerbates suffering," he said. "It is the duty of the international community to provide Ukraine with comprehensive support until it has won the war, and to make sure no crime committed in Ukraine goes unpunished."

Victims of the Holodomor have been commemorated in various forms and on various dates worldwide since 1933 already. In 1998, however, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma issued a decree establishing a yearly day of remembrance on the fourth Saturday of November.

Click here to read more about Holodomor Remembrance Day and the Holodomor.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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