Stop Washington State Senate from passing discriminatory resolution on Soviet famine
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Dear members of the Washington State Senate, we are among the 365,000 Russian-speaking residents of Washington State with roots in the former Soviet Union, and this petition is our response to the Senate Resolution 8663 (titled Remember the Holodomor), introduced by Senator Mark Miloscia (R).
Our concerns with the proposed resolution are outlined below. We kindly request that you take note of these concerns and refrain from passing this resolution at least until an open discussion with the members of our community as well as qualified historians can take place.
According to the text of the proposed SR 8663, the “man-made famine was deliberately caused by the Soviet regime for the purposes of breaking the resistance of Ukrainian farmers to Soviet authority and destroying Ukraine’s national identity.” The proposed resolution text also states that the “Holodomor was a genocide committed by Joseph Stalin and the Soviet regime against the people of Ukraine.”
While applauding the desire of Senator Miloscia to raise awareness and seek historical justice in memory of the millions of victims of that atrocious period in Soviet history, we take serious issue with the fact that the proposed resolution ignores the true scope of the tragedy, which spread far beyond Ukraine’s borders affecting not just Ukrainians but also Russians, Belarusians, Kazakhs and other ethnic groups, and attempts to falsely portray the famine as a deliberate genocide of Ukrainians by the Soviet government.
The Soviet famine of 1932–33 affected the major grain-producing areas of the Soviet Union, leading to millions of deaths in those areas and severe food shortage throughout the USSR. These areas included Ukraine, parts of Belarus, Northern Caucasus, Volga Region, Kazakhstan, the South Urals, and West Siberia.
While the exact numbers of those affected are unknown to this day, estimates show that millions perished in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, the north Caucasus, and other regions of the Soviet Union with a large peasant population.
The majority of historians in Russia and abroad agree that the famine was a result of both climate and iron-fisted policies aimed at fueling rapid industrialization. There is, however, no undisputed evidence to suggest that the famine was a result of a deliberate campaign to eradicate Ukrainians or any other affected ethnic group within the USSR.
The idea of a Ukranian genocide is, therefore, a highly controversial interpretation of that historical time frame, which to this day remains a point of contention even among historians in the US. Moreover, this idea is absurd in its attempt to elevate one suffering group over the others.
Given our state’s large and diverse population of residents from the former Soviet Union, the relatives and ancestors of which were equally affected by the famine, we call upon the Washington State Senate to act responsibly by either scrapping or amending resolution 8663 in order to avoid alienating tens of thousands of people within our state and community.
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