By failing to learn from the past, the international community risks repeating the same mistakes.
The Holodomor was a deliberate attempt to exterminate the Ukrainian population. The locals who survived the Holodomor became terrified of acknowledging their cultural identity. Any mention of the Holodomor was forbidden by the Soviet government, and out of fear, survivors remained silent. Many forgot their history, their roots, who they really were. People who lost their original identity became targets for manipulation — like many of my own family members who blocked out their Ukrainian origins.
We seek and pray that the UN and the international community recognize Holodomor as a genocide. This also to avoid a recurrence of the disaster. We invite the UN and the international community to Oslo in November 2020 and to Kyiv in the summer of 2021.
Does the United Nations have the courage to recognize the Holodomor as a genocide and consequently, to stand up for the values of freedom and democracy in an era when the enemies of freedom and democracy are becoming dangerously powerful? As Ukrainian political prisoner Oleh Sentsov, sentenced by Russia to 20 years’ imprisonment for his opposition of Russia’s occupation of Crimea, said, citing Pontius Pilate — “Cowardice is the main and the worst sin on Earth. I don’t know what your convictions are worth if you aren’t ready to suffer for them, or even to die.”
Disinformation during the Holodomor played a key role in the implementation of the genocidal policy. The truth about the Holodomor was carefully hidden by the Soviet secret police. It was only thanks to a few western journalists and the testimony of survivors who left Ukraine after the Second World War that this horrific crime was revealed. It is only since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening of historical archives in Ukraine that the truth and extent of this genocide are becoming known. For Russian President Vladimir Putin, the collapse of the Soviet Union was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century” (2005) and today he is using the same methods of disinformation used by the Soviets.
Invasion, occupation, genocide and assimilation are the four stages of colonization identified by Gord Hill (2009) in his book “500 years of indigenous resistance.” Ukraine went through these stages of colonization by the Russian empire and then Soviet Russia. Today, Putin is again seeking to subjugate Ukraine. Both Stalin and Putin realized that without Ukraine there can be no imperial Russia.
Raphael Lemkin, a legal expert who defined the term “genocide” for the UN Convention of Genocide, described four precise steps of the Ukrainian genocide perpetrated by the Soviets: destroy the intelligentsia (the brain), extinguish the Ukrainian independent church and the clergy (the soul), exterminate the independent peasantry (the national spirit and culture), and move in non-Ukrainian population to deteriorate the cohesion of the Ukrainian population.
The Holodomor has never been officially recognized nor condemned by the collective international community. The Holodomor has been recognized as a genocide by 17 countries. To this day, however, the UN has not recognized the Holodomor as a genocide.