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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 16:54 GMT
Poland notes Ukraine 'genocide'
Ukrainian peasants
A quarter of Ukraine's population was wiped out in just two years
The Polish parliament has adopted a resolution labelling the 1930s famine in neighbouring Ukraine as genocide.

It follows a similar move by the Ukrainian parliament last month.

The Polish lower house expressed sorrow at the deaths of millions of people in Ukrainian villages, and blamed the Soviet regime of the time.

The famine resulted from Stalin's collectivisation programme and ruthless grain requisitions, but experts are divided on whether it was intentional.

Some allege Stalin used mass starvation as a weapon to eradicate the Ukrainian peasantry, while simultaneously arresting or executing the Ukrainian intelligentsia.

Others say the claim cannot be proved.

Millions died during the 1932-1933 famine - a quarter of Ukraine's population at the time, according to some estimates.

The famine also affected other grain-producing areas of the Soviet Union, such as the Volga region and the North Caucasus.

Russia rejects the idea that it was an attempt to wipe out the Ukrainian nation, and even in Ukraine itself there is some opposition to the term "genocide".

During the parliamentary debate last month, MPs from the governing pro-Russian argued the word "tragedy" should be used instead.

Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko now intends to resume Ukrainian efforts to persuade the UN to recognise the famine as genocide.

The unanimous vote by Polish MPs comes amid tense relations between Poland and Russia.

Poland last month vetoed the beginning of EU partnership talks with Russia in a row over a Russian ban on Polish meat imports.

Ukrainian famine was 'genocide'
28 Nov 06 |  Europe
Country profile: Ukraine
18 Oct 06 |  Country profiles

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