Home Human Rights Why Are Communist Symbols Getting the Boot in Ukraine?

Why Are Communist Symbols Getting the Boot in Ukraine?

One of the worst genocides of the 20th century was the deliberate killing of millions of Ukrainians through starvation by the Soviets during 1932-1933.

The Holodomor, “death by hunger,” killed between 4  and 14 million people. Many of them were children.

It was a direct result of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s use of food to batter the Ukrainians into submission.

“The brigades took all the wheat, barley—everything—so we had nothing left,” one survivor, who was a child during the famine, told the BBC. “Even beans that people had set aside just in case.

“The brigades crawled everywhere and took everything. People had nothing left to do but die,” she said.

An image taken by Welsh journalist Gareth Jones of children suffering from the starvation in the Ukraine. (Image: Wikipedia)
An image taken by Welsh journalist Gareth Jones of children suffering from starvation in Ukraine. (Image: Wikipedia)

Given what the Soviets did to the Ukrainians (who also suffered under the Nazis), it’s not surprising that the Ukraine Parliament last week passed laws that will sever any Soviet influences remaining in their country.

As mentioned in the top video, the new legislation will open up all communist archives to help expose the crimes of the Soviet era, and any streets named after communists will also be changed.

The new laws will ban the promotion of symbols and propaganda of both the communist and Nazi regimes.

The so-called Great Patriotic War will become known as the Second World War. A law will also provide a distinctive legal status to veterans who fought for Ukrainian independence during the years 1917 to 1991 when it was part of the Soviet Union.

The new laws come at a time when tensions between Kiev and Moscow are at an all-time high, with Moscow supporting and supplying pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

Moscow has called the laws an attempt to ‘rewrite history.’

Some Ukrainians have acted in advance of the laws, with many communist statues already being demolished. See the video below of the toppling a massive statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin in Kharkiv in Ukraine’s second largest city last year.

More recently, three large monuments in Kharkiv that glorified the Soviet past were destroyed just after the announcement of the new laws last week reported AFP.

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James Burke
What keeps the world ticking? James is always looking for the answer and the latest news from around the globe. When he's not behind his computer, he's basking in the Thailand sun, or dreaming of the southern hemisphere, where he grew up in rural Australia.

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