German lawmakers want to declare 1930s Ukraine famine a genocide

Annalena Baerbock, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany speaks at the COP27 climate summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh

BERLIN (Reuters) -Lawmakers from Germany's ruling coalition and opposition want to declare the Holodomor, the death by starvation of millions of Ukrainians in 1932-33 under Soviet leader Josef Stalin, a genocide, according to a draft motion seen by Reuters.

The draft describes the Soviet leadership's attempts to control and suppress farmers as well as Ukrainian culture and language through hunger and repression. This "from today's perspective, suggests a historical-political classification as genocide. The German Bundestag agrees with this classification".

According to German media reports, the draft will be debated and passed in the Bundestag lower house of parliament next week.

Romania, Ireland and Moldova are among the countries that have already declared the Holodomor to be a genocide.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock welcomed the Bundestag lower house of parliament's efforts and that there is a lot of support, said a ministry spokesperson on Friday.

A government spokesperson said that Chancellor Olaf Scholz also welcomed the support, but did not comment further.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that he was grateful to Germany for what he called a milestone resolution.

For hundreds of years, the Ukrainian language and any expression of Ukrainian culture and independent identity were quashed, first under the Russian Empire of the tsars and later by the Soviets.

In November 1932, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dispatched police to seize all grain and livestock from newly collectivised Ukrainian farms, including the seed needed to plant the next crop. Millions of Ukrainian peasants starved to death in the following months from what Yale University historian Timothy Snyder calls "clearly premeditated mass murder".

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Alexander Ratz, writing by Miranda Murray, editing by Rachel More and Philippa Fletcher)