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During the Stalin era in the 1930s, and particularly over the winter of 1932-3, the confiscation of crops in pursuit of the forced collectivisation of agriculture is widely accepted to have led to the death of millions in the Soviet Union, mainly Ukrainian peasant farmers, of whom about seven million died. The famine was largely man-made, although the episode remains controversial. It was accompanied by a wide-ranging purge of the Ukrainian intelligentsia and of the Ukrainian Communist Party.

The Australian Senate recognised it as genocide in 2003, as have a number of European countries. The European Parliament recognised the Holomodor as a crime against humanity in 2008. The Russian government denies that it was aimed at a particular ethnicity, and says that this means it was not an act of genocide.

In 2006 (under the West-leaning Viktor Yushchenko) the government of Ukraine passed a law recognising the disaster as genocide against the Ukrainian people. In the vote in the Ukrainian parliament, pro-western parties voted in favour of the law while Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions largely abstained and the Communist Party of Ukraine voted against it.

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