By: Peter Jančič
The voting on the Declaration on the Remembrance of the Mass Killing by Famine – Genocide in Ukraine, proposed by members of the ruling SD and Svoboda party, Jani Prednik, Predrag Baković and Borut Sajovic, took an unusual way. Along with the members of the Levica party, who were all against, led by Luka Mesec, three members of Svoboda party, Miroslav Gregorič, Martin Premk, and Monika Pekošak, also voted against the declaration. President of the National Assembly Urška Klakočar Zupančič, Mojca Pašek Šetinc and MP Franc Props registered their presence, but did not vote. A few more MPs of this party did not declare their presence, but were otherwise in the National Assembly, for example, Lena Grgurevič and Tamara Vonta.
On behalf of the government, Samuel Žbogar said before the vote that the government supports the resolution, thereby joining the condemnation of one of the cruellest crimes of the 20th century and a human tragedy that demanded indescribable victims and caused the suffering and death of millions of Ukrainians, as well as other residents of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and other Soviet republics.
On behalf of the government, Žbogar warned that the commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the famine takes place at a time when Russia has been carrying out military aggression against Ukraine for more than a year, deliberately destroying civilian and critical infrastructure in Ukraine, including agricultural facilities, mining agricultural land, looting Ukrainian grain stocks and by making it difficult to export grain to the most vulnerable countries, thereby also causing a food crisis. Žbogar also warned that it is important to support awareness of the horrors of the Stalinist regime with the aim of preventing such atrocities from ever happening again. This preserves the memory of all the victims of the famine and expresses solidarity with the victims’ families. By adopting this declaration, Slovenia joins thirteen countries of the European Union and twelve other countries that have already adopted such declarations. France was the last member of the European Union to do so, he added.
Before the vote, all parties, with the exception of the governing Levica, announced their support. The leader of the Levica parliamentary group, Matej Tašner Vatovec, also announced that they would be against it and explained this by saying that history must be judged by historians, who are not among the MPs, and explained the opposition by saying, among other things: “The famine happened. No one can, and I hope no one will deny it either. But there is no unified opinion of the historical profession about the causes and reasons for this event. Therefore, to label it as genocide, one of the worst and most despised crimes in international law, in order to draw parallels between today’s Russian Federation and Stalin’s Soviet Union from the 1990s, is, in our opinion, irresponsible. There have been a lot of similar atrocities in modern and contemporary history, and we estimate that it would then be reasonable to start accepting declarations about any similar atrocities committed by man against another man in modern and contemporary history.”
The proposal by members of the government parties and the government in support of Ukraine was supported by both opposition parties, SDS and NSi. Dejan Kaloh, on behalf of the larger SDS, warned: “At the national level, the famine has so far been recognised as genocide by Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Germany, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Bulgaria, Moldova, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the United States and Chile. On November 14th, 2005, Lithuania adopted in the National Parliament the Declaration of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania in Memory of the Victims of Political Repression and Famine in Ukraine in 1932 and 1933, in which it recognises that Stalin’s totalitarian communist regime carried out a conscious, carefully planned genocide against the Ukrainian people and expresses, of course, condolences to the victims of the genocide in Ukraine during these years and solidarity with the Ukrainian people. On March 16th, 2006, Poland adopted the resolution of the Senate of the Republic of Poland on the anniversary of the famine in Ukraine, and stated in it, among other things, that the Senate of the Republic of Poland is in solidarity with the Ukrainian position that the famine of 1932 and 1933 be recognised as a crime of genocide, and to name the main perpetrators responsible for this crime. Then, on November 21st, 2018, it adopted a resolution of the Senate of the Republic of Poland on the anniversary of the famine in Ukraine. Germany, for example, in the Bundestag resolution of November 30th, 2022, which was adopted by the German parliament on November 30th, 2022, noted that famine and repression affected the whole of Ukraine, not only its grain-growing regions. From today’s perspective, the historical and political classification of genocide is obvious. The German Bundestag agrees with this classification; therefore, in the final phase of our position, the SDS Parliamentary Group will naturally support the proposed declaration and join the countries that have recognised the famine as a genocide. We also support the call for nations to raise awareness about these events and other atrocities committed by the Soviet regime by incorporating historical knowledge of them into educational and research programmes. By doing so, we aim to prevent similar tragedies in the future, because only in this way will they prove that they support the recognition of the Ukrainian famine, i.e., the mass killing by famine, as genocide and thus contribute to preventing the recurrence of similar atrocities.”
The full text of the declaration proposal, which was approved by the majority, is as follows: