The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany spoke against recognizing the Holodomor as the genocide of the Ukrainian people, Arnold Vaatz, a Bundestag member from the ruling Christian Democratic Union, said in an interview with the Ukrainian service of Deutsche Welle.
On Monday, October 21, a committee of Germany's parliament began discussing the issue of recognizing the Holodomor as the genocide of the Ukrainian people. This May, a petition to this end gathered 50,000 signatures, which is the required minimum for the consideration. Minister of State at Germany's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Michael Roth delivered a speech at the committee's session in which he stated the ministry's position. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs believes that the petition should be discarded as the notion of genocide hadn't been defined until 1951. The second reason is that not only Ukrainians but also people of other ethnic origins fell victims of the Holodomor, while the famine itself affected also Russia and the Caucasus in 1932-1933.
Alexander Kamkin, a senior researcher at the German Studies Center of the Institute of European Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, noted that Ukraine was trying to influence Germany not through diplomatic channels fearing to get the outright refusal to its request to recognize the Holodomor as the genocide of the Ukrainian people.
"The petition is not a large-scale one, this news is insignificant in the media space, therefore it's not that regrettable if it is refused. Europe is tired of this topic. This issue is irrelevant for European politicians. The position of the German foreign ministry is easy to explain, as it's disadvantageous for Berlin to spoil relations with Moscow," the expert said.
Earlier, Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to recognize the Holodomor solely as the genocide of the Ukrainian people, as it "has nothing to do with the historical facts." The Russian foreign ministry noted that the famine was "a common tragedy for Russians, Ukrainians, Kazakhs and other peoples and the largest humanitarian disaster on the country's territory."
The Holodomor was famine in the Soviet Union in 1932-1933. It affected Ukraine, the Caucasus, Volga district, a part of central district, Western Siberia and South Urals district of Soviet Russia, as well as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. According to various estimates, the famine killed about 8 million people of various ethnic origins.
It should be noted that the USA started to work on the subject of the Holodomor in Ukraine shortly after WW II. In particular, in October 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed an act setting up a commission “to conduct a study of the 1932-1933 Ukrainian Famine." Back then this problem was addressed at the level of institutes and present-day speculations on this topic are nothing more than the result of their activity. A large number of documents were falsified and funds were given to publish special books. This topic got a new impetus under presidents Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko. Under Petro Poroshenko the Holodomor issue again got the spotlight in political confrontation with Russia.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has continued pursuing policies of his predecessors. When Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu visit Ukraine this August, Zelensky called on the Israeli side to recognize the Holodomor as genocide.
"Honoring the memory of victims of Holocaust, which killed more than 2 million Ukrainian Jews, Ukraine asks Israel to recognize the Holodomor as the genocide of the Ukrainian people," Zelensky said.
Today, Kiev still hopes to compel Germany's authorities to recognize the Holodomor as an act of genocide. The webpage of Ukraine's embassy to Germany even got a special section dedicated to this topic. The main idea is that the official recognition of the Holodomor as genocide would "put historical records straight."
No matter what decision the Bundestag committee makes, the parliament will be informed of it. The Bundestag can either approve or reject it. The committee proposals on various petitions are submitted in package and if there are disagreements on any petition the Bundestag may be requested to vote separately on the disputed issue. It is likely that a separate voting will be requested on the Holodomor issue, if the committee decides against passing the petition on to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The committee will have to take into consideration all opinions and make the decision before the end of the year.