Italy is about to recognise Holodomor… On Tuesday, the Italian Senate was poised to vote on officially acknowledging that the 1930s widespread famines, induced by the Soviet Union’s policies on Ukrainian ground, amounted to genocide. The vote was postponed, though Senate President Ignazio La Russa promised it’s just a matter of days; a new vote could be scheduled as early as next week.
- The Lower House’s Foreign Affairs Commission has already voted in favour, unanimously, back in February. And the European Parliament, too, recognised the genocidal nature of Holodomor, along with eighteen nations (plus, of course, Ukraine).
… and Russia doesn’t like it one bit. Mere hours before the vote was postponed, the Russian Embassy in Rome chimed in with a Facebook post urging MPs not to equate Holodomor with famine – saucing up the request with a massive dose of Kremlin propaganda. “[We hope] that the Italian senators, unlike their colleagues in the Lower House, will show foresight and breadth of historical views and not follow the path of propaganda of the political and ideological myth fomented by the Ukrainian authorities to please the ultranationalist, neo-Nazi and Russophobic forces and their Anglo-American masters.”
An exercise in revisionism. Historians disagree on how many people died because of Holodomor (which was caused by Josef Stalin’s plan to break the peasant’s resistance to land collectivisation by requisitioning crops and forcibly preventing the movement of starving workers) but agree they range between 2 and 5 million. Still, the Embassy’s post limited itself to dismissing the famines as a “common tragedy”.
- “Those who, with a tenacity worthy of better application, pursue the ‘Holodomor-genocide’ thesis are not interested in scientific accuracy and historical authenticity. Instead, they resort to manipulations and distortions, falsification of data on the numbers of the dead.”
- “All this is done with one goal: to maximise the disunity of peoples united by centuries-old historical, cultural and spiritual ties” – a phrase carrying echoes of the Kremlin’s rejection of the concept of Ukrainian statehood, arguably one of the pillars of Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade the neighbouring country.
Rome responds. Upon reading the Russian Embassy’s statement, Foreign Minister (and Deputy Prime Minister) Antonio Tajani rejected its claims. “We must keep the dialogue with Moscow open, but letters like this are returned to sender,” he noted.
- Filippo Sensi, Democratic Party senator, said he deemed it “unacceptable that the Russian Embassy claims to be giving lessons and directives to the Senate of the Republic – especially on the Holodomor.”