President Yushchenko – speeches on Holodomor

The President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, has declared 2008 as the Year of Remembrance to commemorate the victims of the Holodomor, in which 7 million starved to death in 1932-33. The President’s objective is for the world to recognise the Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people and to ensure that such an atrocity cannot happen again.

For the President, this is not just a matter of Ukrainian history, but an intensely personal cause, as his grandfather and a third of his family died of starvation in the Holodomor.

In all his meetings with world leaders, and in speeches in countries around the world, the President has taken the opportunity to highlight the Holodomor and the need for world recognition for this tragic page in Ukraine’s history.

Some of the President's most recent visits to countries where the memory of victims of the Holodomor are honoured are summarised below.

Winnipeg, Canada – 28 May 2008

In Winnipeg President Viktor Yushchenko together with his wife Kateryna Yushchenko honoured victims of the Great Famine of 1932-1933 by placing candles near the monument to victims of the Holodomor. Mayor of the City of Winnipeg Sam Katz was also present at the event.

President Yushchenko also addressed both Houses of Parliament in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, where his speech included the following:

"…a very important supporting pillar for cooperation is about one million Ukrainian Canadians who have become an integral part of Canadian society. I am very grateful to Canada for its support of our Ukrainian community and its spiritual and cultural needs. As a very good indication of our friendship, we are grateful that Canada commemorates about 10 million innocent victims of the great famine in Ukraine in 1932-33."

"I would like to express my biggest gratitude to the Canadian Senate for approving a resolution that calls on the Canadian government to recognize the Holodomor in Ukraine as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian nation caused by Stalin's regime. That happened in 2003.

"I am confident, ladies and gentlemen, that this address will be supported by the House of Commons of the Canadian Parliament."

The President’s visit to Great Britain 15-16 May 2008

For the first time ever, the joint statement issued after the meeting between Prime Minister Gordon Brown and president Yushchenko included an undertaking in relation to increasing awareness of the Holodomor:

"Ukraine and the United Kingdom will cooperate to promote remembrance and increase public awareness of the 1932-33 Holodomor ('man-made Great Famine') in Ukraine including within the framework of the international organisations."

On 16 May, President Yushchenko opened an exhibition 'Execution by Hunger: the unknown genocide of Ukrainians', dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor in 1932-33, in the House of Lords.

President Yushchenko opened the exhibition with a heartfelt reminder about the facts of the Holodomor, the artificial famine engineered by the soviet communist regime in 1932-33. “It was action completely focused on destroying a whole nation”, he said. Several times, the President stressed that this was the worst act of genocide in human history, in which almost 10 million people died, and that it was a page of history which the rest of the world knew little about, because it was kept hidden, even in Ukraine. Those who spoke about the Holodomor risked repression. The President told everyone that the Holodomor had affected his own family. His grandfather and a third of his family died of starvation. He said that the exhibition was an appeal to human values and morality, and that it would call upon people to make their own judgement about the events of 1932-33 and help avoid such an atrocity happening in the future.

Vilnius, Lithuania – 12 May 2008

President Viktor Yushchenko together with his wife Kateryna Yushchenko and President Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania took part in an opening of an exhibition dedicated to the Holodomor 1932-1933 in Vilnius Genocide Victims' Museum.

In his speech at the ceremony President Yushchenko stressed that Ukraine considers that its moral imperative is to inform the international community of the truth about this horrific page of its history. President Adamkus expressed his conviction that preserving historic memory for every nation is the clear road to a civilized society.

Washington DC, USA 1 April 2008

President Yushchenko and President Bush with their wives laid flowers at the Monument to Victims of the Holodomor.

(All photos from President’s website)




In Winnipeg President Viktor Yushchenko together with his wife Kateryna Yushchenko honour victims of the Great Famine of 1932-1933 by placing candles near the monument to victims of the Holodomor


President Yushchenko opens the Holodomor exhibition in the House of Lords


President Viktor Yushchenko opening an exhibition dedicated to the Holodomor 1932-1933 in Vilnius Genocide Victims' Museum


President Yushchenko and President Bush with their wives