Oct 25 2006, 23:46
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday bristled at Ukrainian officials' push for declaring a Soviet-era famine that killed up to 10 million people as genocide, saying it was part of Communist repressions that also affected other ethnic groups in the former Soviet Union.
Up to 10 million Ukrainians died in the 1932-33 Great Famine, which was provoked by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as part of his campaign to force peasants to join collective farms. Ukrainian officials have called for an official recognition of the famine as genocide.
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday criticized Ukrainian authorities for what it called a "unilateral interpretation" of the famine. "It was wrong to apply the notion exclusively to Ukraine, because it deals with a sad page in our common history," the ministry said in a statement.
Countries including the United States, Canada, Austria, Hungary and
Lithuania have recognized the famine as genocide, but the issue remains
highly charged in Ukraine, since declaring the famine as genocide would
amount to an indictment of Soviet policies - something that Communists,
Socialists and many pro-Russian politicians are loathe to do.