The first section of the memorial to the victims of Holodomor in Kiev was built at an astronomical pace in recent months to meet the Saturday deadline. Photo UNIAN
On Saturday, Ukraine will mourn the victims of the 1932-33 famine once again. The country's Foreign Ministry reported that the presidents of Macedonia, Estonia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia and Bosnia and Herzegovina will take part in the memorial services, as well as an additional 40 delegations from abroad.
Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev refused to participate in the ceremony. In an open letter to Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko, Medvedev wrote that he doesn't agree with Yushchenko's stance on Holodomor.
A massive memorial will be opened in the framework of the program. It was built at an astrnomical pace over recent months in an effort to meet the Saturday deadline.
But the pompous statue is now something of a bone in Ukraine's throat. Who knew the anniversary of Holodomor would coincide with the economic crisis? Although it sounds impossible, a whopping 134 million hriven (roughly $22.5 million) were spent on the construction of the memorial – and this is only the first section. Meanwhile, Ukraine allocated much smaller sums toward social development programs in 2008. For instance, only 125 million hriven were designated for helping homeless children and 70 million hriven for treating the handicapped. Even worse, Ukrainians are beginning to get upset at how their president is using Holodomor as a tool to achieve his political aims on the international arena.
"Ukraine's president wants his people to play the role of the victim," said political scientist Mikhail Pegrebinskiy. "He isn't worried that he is instilling feelings of hatred [against the Russian people]."
Although Holodomor was organized by the Soviets, according to official statements, Yushchenko is quick to stress that Russians ruled Ukraine at the time. But the fact that the surnames of the country's leaders were far from Russian in those years — Kaganovich, Kosenko and Khrushchev — is going seemingly unnoticed.
Читать русскую версию: Ющенко с помпой отметил траур по голодомору