BRAMA, Oct 2, 2003, 9:00 am ET|
Basque Parliament approves resolution on Ukrainian Famine Genocide
Ormaetxea Garai, Xabier (BIO)
Vitoria-Gasteiz (Capital of the Basque Autonomous Community) On October 1, 2003, as reported by Xabier Ormaetxea, Member of the Basque Parliament,
the European affaires and overseas activities Comission of the Basque Parliament unanimously approved
the declaration: "In memorial and condemn of the 70 anniversary of the Ukrainian genocidal
"The Basque Parliament is the first Parliament in Europe to approve a resolution
like this," said Mr. Ormaetxea, "but soon a very similar text will be discussed in the Spanish
Parliament, and a shorter one in the European Parliament."
Mr. Ormaetxea is Member of the Basque Parliament, Chairman of Foreign Affaires Commission, and President of Ekialde Foundation.
Speech of Xabier Ormaetxea, in the Basque Parliament
To many it will seem strange, and also unusual, that I have put forward this
initiative. The Ukraine is a distant country, many people donґt know where
to find it and, for the majority of people, the Ukrainians are just a type
of Russian who declared their independence after the breaking up of the
We are used to talking about the north-south divide, and were concerned,
with good reason, about the poverty in South America and Africa. We must
continue to be concerned since, however much we do to help in this matter,
it will never be enough. But we cannot continue ignoring the fact that, in
our Europe, there are countries like the Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and the
former Yugoslavia in which poverty still exists. That the wealthy Europe,
of which we form part, also has its poor brothers.
The European Union, in which we participate, was established, amongst other
reasons, so that we would not forget the most tragic episodes of European
History. These were the fratricidal wars, the exterminations, the
holocausts....so that they would not be repeated again, and that the peoples
who form this Europe, with its cultural diversity, could live in peace,
economic prosperity and freedom.
As tragic as our history is, we must never forget it, learn from those past
atrocities, and build the type of foundation on which these events will
never be allowed to happen again. That is the reason why we present this
proposal today, because this year is the 70th Anniversary of a human tragedy
that is almost unknown: the tragedy of millions of people who were
condemned by a totalitarian regime to die of starvation, an attempt to
destroy the national spirit of one European people, the Ukrainians, one of
the peoples who have suffered most during the the Twentieth Century. Allow
me please to outline the tragedy that we commemorate today:
1921-1923 the first man-made famine in Ukraine in which 1,500,000 people
1929-1930 the first phase of the collectivisation process, during which
thousands of farm owners were deported to Siberia and replaced by Russian
farm workers .
1932-1933 the second phase of collectivisation process. The Stalin regime
imposed on the Ukrainian countryside grain production quotas which were
impossible to meet. Special confiscation squads requisitioned all the
The Soviet army controlled the Ukrainian borders and those Ukrainian lands
in the North Caucasus, and prevented the movement of people to neighbouring
zones where there was food, and also stopped the import of food and grain
into the zones devastated by famine. While this was happening, the Soviet
Union exported grain to other countries and denied, with the collaboration
of Western journalists, the existence of the famine, rejecting the offers of
food from neighbouring countries;
It is estimated (depending on the source) that between 4 and 10 million
people died of starvation and illnesses caused by malnutrition, and also
most of the country's cattle perished. The empty farms were occupied
overwhelmingly by Russian farmers.
James Duranty, correspondent of the New York Times in Moscow, suppported by
other Western journalists, followed the official Kremlin line, and denied
the existence of genocide. The few journalists who dared to visit the
region, and report the catastrophe, were accused of lying and their careers
suffered. Duranty received the Pulitzer prize in 1933 for his journalistic
But, let's not think that the attack upon and destruction of the Ukrainian
nation stopped there. In the succeeding years, most of the Ukrainian
intelligensia were arrested and killed. Ukrainian writers like Kosynka,
Burevy, Falkyvsky, Blyzko, Kruselnitsky etc., were condemned to death.
Between 1936 and 1938 the infamous Stalinist purges caused mass terror in
the Ukraine and resulted in the killing and deporting to hundreds of
thousands of people.
Nowadays the Ukraine is an independent country, with almost two-thirds of
its territory des-ukrainizated, a country in need of reconstruction in all
respects: cultural, national, political and also moral.
Remember Ukrainian history is not just a whim, it is a need.
The Ukrainians are a proud people, sometimes too proud to ask for outside
help, perhaps because this help has been denied so many times or, perhaps,
because too often the help offered was motivated by other interests.
But Ukraine needs Europe, because Europe is the best guarantee that the
Ukraine will be in future just what the Ukrainians want it to be. We
cannot turn our back on them. We must extend to them the hand of
friendship and solidarity and tell them that Europe, without the Ukraine, is
not a complete Europe...... that the communal home of all Europeans will not
be completed without them.
Thank you very much.