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Ukrainians around the world commemorate victims of an artificial famine of 1932-1933 known as the Holodomor, the result of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s order to force peasant households into collective farms.

(Kyiv Post)

The exact number of Ukrainians who perished during the Holodomor genocide is unknown but scholars say at least 6 million people were starved to death in Ukraine as the Soviet government seized their property and crops, closed off the borders and denied any outside aid.

Besides Ukraine, millions of people in other agricultural regions of the Soviet Union were subjected to collectivization and starvation. Of all ethnic groups, Kazakhstan saw the highest death ratio: an estimated 38 percent of the ethnic Kazakh population died during the 1931-1933 famine, according to a Harvard University study published in 2001.

For decades, Soviet propaganda silenced the Holodomor horrors until 2015, when the famine was recognized by Ukraine and 15 other countries as a genocide. Since then, Ukrainians around the world mark the Holodomor Remembrance Day every year on the fourth Saturday of November.

In a statement released on Nov. 23, Heather Nauert, the spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of State, described Holodomor as “catastrophic man-made famine” and “one of the most atrocious acts of the 20th century and a brutal reminder of the crimes of communism.”

“The Soviet Union’s barbaric seizure of Ukrainian land and crops was undertaken with the deliberate political goal of subjugating the Ukrainian people and nation,” the statement read.

The U.S. Senate passed a resolution recognizing Holodomor as an act of genocide against Ukrainians by Stalin and his administration.

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