The National Assembly has passed a declaration whereby Slovenia recognizes the Holodomor, a famine with which the Soviet authorities starved millions of Ukrainians to death in 1932 and 1933, as genocide.
The declaration in remembrance of the Holodomor was backed by all deputy groups bar the Left. With it, Slovenia joins more than 20 countries that have already recognised the man-made famine in Ukraine as genocide.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the step on his Twitter account: “I am grateful to Slovenian parliamentarians for adopting the declaration honouring the memory of millions of Ukrainian victims of the Holodomor-Genocide in Ukraine in 1932-1933.”
The debate preceding the vote on 23 May heard that by passing the declaration the National Assembly was expressing its solidarity with the Ukrainian nation and would help inform the broader public about the crime.
The document was tabled in March by coalition MPs from the ranks of the Social Democrats (SD) and the Freedom Movement after the European Parliament passed a resolution last year calling on countries and international organisations to recognise the Holodomor as genocide.
SD MP Jani Prednik noted that 90 years will have passed this year since the Holodomor, the scope and tragedy of which he said made it one of the biggest humanitarian catastrophes and crimes against humanity in the 20th century.
The Soviet authorities denied the famine at the time and declined the humanitarian aid offered by the international community, he said, while Russia continues to spread lies about it to this day to gain support for its aggression against Ukraine.
The declaration was also backed by the government. “The government joins the condemnation of a tragedy that caused the suffering and deaths of millions of Ukrainians and residents of other Soviet republics,” Foreign Ministry State Secretary Samuel Žbogar said.
He warned that Russia continues to loot Ukrainian grain stockpiles today and obstructs grain exports to the countries that need it.
The Left rejected the declaration as a political act based on wrong assumptions.
“The Holodomor is a fact. But historians have not reached a unanimous verdict on the reasons for the event. To label the Holodomor as genocide to draw parallels between today’s Russia and Stalin’s Soviet Union, is irresponsible,” said MP Matej T. Vatovec of the Left.
Expressing his party’s support for the declaration, Dejan Kaloh of the opposition Democrats called for the international community to raise awareness of the genocide and other atrocities committed by the Soviet regime, including through research programmes.
Ukraine lost between seven and ten million people in the famine of 1932-1933, as the Soviet Union seized grain and other agricultural products in the name of collective farming. Some historians believe Soviet leader Joseph Stalin used the famine to suppress any idea of independence.