Holodomor Petition Seeks 25,000 Signatures by November 25, 2023, “Holodomor Awareness Day”
On the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, the man-made famine fashioned by the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin that killed millions of Ukrainians in 1932-33, Ukrainian-Americans have issued a Holodomor Petition asking the President of the United States to officially name “Holodomor as genocide” for the first time.
The Historical Suppression: Decades of Denial
For decades, the Holodomor was an overlooked episode in Ukraine’s history. For almost 60 years, the Soviet Union institutionally denied that it had happened, and relatively few people even knew to remember this crime committed against an entire people. The genocide could not be spoken of in Ukraine for fear of reprisals. It took the fall of the USSR for the Soviet archives to be opened and for historians to gain access to documents that proved what witnesses had long said – that the Soviet authorities knew their policies and actions would cause the deaths of millions of people in Ukraine.
Holodomor Today: A Continuing Denial
In fact, to this day, there are detractors who maintain that the Holodomor and related atrocities never happened or were merely “a tragedy.” The current Russian government, for example, continues to deny and downplay the true history of the Soviet state under Stalin. But, the Holodomor was much more than a simple mistake. The state carried out genocidal policies against a group of people it had a responsibility to protect.
Global Recognition: Acknowledging the Genocide
In recent years, partly in response to the relentless war Russia initiated in Ukraine in 2022, countries and their governments have acknowledged the importance of this history. Many have taken official actions to recognize the Holodomor for what it was – a genocide against the Ukrainian people.
At last count, 34 countries have recognized the Holodomor as a genocide by passing resolutions that specifically called the Holodomor genocide, including Australia, Poland, Canada, Croatia, and more.
Just recently, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recognized the Holodomor as genocide. The whole of the European continent is recognizing genocide and its parallels to today’s war being waged by Russia against Ukraine.”
U.S. Recognition: Congress and States
In the U.S., both houses of Congress have recognized the Holodomor as genocide, along with 22 U.S. states.
Past U.S. presidents have acknowledged and remembered the Holodomor, and it was President George W. Bush, who in 2006 signed legislation authorizing a Holodomor Memorial in Washington, D.C. At the time, President Bush called the Holodomor a “crime against humanity,” which it was.
But, notably, no U.S. President has ever issued a Proclamation that called the Holodomor a genocide.
Unprecedented Step: A Presidential Proclamation
During this 90th anniversary year, Holodomor activists have launched a petition calling on President Joe Biden to be the first American President to take the important step of recognition by issuing an official Proclamation from the White House.
This act, by the highest government official in the United States, is not just symbolic. It would be historic. Every day that “genocide” is left unsaid is another day that the lessons of history are left unlearned.
Drawing Parallels: Holodomor and Today’s Conflicts
Today’s war draws many parallels to the Holodomor, which saw the Kremlin not only use food as a weapon, imposing impossible grain collection quotas on Ukrainian peasant-farmers, but also attack Ukraine’s identity through assaults on culture, religion, and language in Ukraine.
Holodomor Activism: Petitioning President Biden
This is why petition organizers are making a final push to gather 25k signatures before November 25, 2023, Holodomor Awareness Day.
The petition, which is available to sign online at Change.org, will show President Biden that declaring the Holodomor a genocide is important, needed, and will make a significant impact not only within the U.S. but across the globe.