Մատչելիության հղումներ

By Emil Danielyan
Armenia declined on Friday to lend support to Ukraine’s efforts at international recognition as genocide of a Soviet-engineered famine that killed millions of Ukrainians during the early 1930s.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk urged his counterparts from the Commonwealth of Independent States to include the issue on the agenda of their one-day meeting in Moscow. Only three of them, representing Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova, backed the proposal rejected by Russia and four other former Soviet republics.

Reports from Moscow said Armenia as well as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan abstained, helping Russia block the motion. Tarasiuk described the vote result as “deeply disappointing.”

Up to 10 million people died in what the Ukrainians call Holodomor, or the Great Famine, in 1932-1933. Many historians believe that it was provoked by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as part of his campaign to force peasants in the fertile republic to give up their land and join collective farms. Consequences of Stalin’s “collectivization” policy, which affected all parts of the Soviet Union, were particularly catastrophic in Ukraine.

Among the countries that have recognized the Ukraine famine as genocide are the United States, Canada, Austria, Hungary and Lithuania. But Russia disagrees, saying that the famine affected all Soviet citizens. The Associated Press quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as speaking out against a “false politicization” of the issue.

A statement on the meeting of the top CIS diplomats issued by the Armenian Foreign Ministry made no mention of the discussions on the Great Famine. Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian, who attended the meeting, is not known to have publicly commented on the sensitive subject.

Oskanian’s refusal to back the Ukrainian initiative may raise questions about Yerevan’s own pursuit of international recognition of the 1915-1918 genocide of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey. Incidentally, Lavrov’s remark that the famine is a matter for historians and not politicians was reminiscent of arguments that are often made by Turkey and other nations denying the Armenian genocide.

(Photolur photo)
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