Ukraine marks anniversary of forced Soviet-era famine
This is the description of the photograph on the top: Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko (centre) with his wife Kateryna (left) and members of his family plant a bush and string its branches with ribbons during a commemoration ceremony for victims of the Great Famine of 1932-33 in Kiev.
Gulfnews: Ukraine marks anniversary of forced Soviet-era famine
Kiev: Ukraine began solemn commemorations yesterday to mark the 73rd anniversary of a man-made Soviet-era famine that killed one-third of the country's population, a tragedy that Ukraine's president wants recognised as an act of genocide.
During the height of the 1932-33 famine, 33,000 people died of hunger every day, devastating entire villages. Cases of cannibalism were widespread as desperation deepened.
Black ribbons were hung yesterday on the blue-and-yellow national flag, and in cities across the country, officials laid flowers at monuments to the estimated 10 million victims.
President Viktor Yushchenko and Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Moroz unveiled the cornerstone of a planned memorial complex in the capital. A procession was taken out later and thousands of candles were lit on a centuries-old Kiev square.
"I would like for us never to tolerate the shame of having to hold discussions about what to call this," Yushchenko said at the ceremony.
"This is one of the most horrible pages of our history, and for a long time now, it has had only one name."
Soviet dictator Josef Stalin provoked the famine in a campaign to force peasants to give up their private farms and join collectives.
Authorities collectivised agriculture throughout the Soviet Union, but farmers in Ukraine - known as the breadbasket of the USSR - fiercely resisted and bore the brunt of the man-made disaster.
Yushchenko has asked parliament to recognise the famine, known here as Holodomor, or Death by Hunger, to be recognised as genocide - but some lawmakers have resisted, and Moscow has warned Kiev against using that term.
Russia argues that the orchestrated famine did not specifically target Ukrainians but also other peoples in the Soviet agricultural belt, including Russians and Kazakhs, and this month said the issue should not be "politicised".