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Court Dismisses Lawsuit Over Ukraine President's Famine Statement

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (file photo)
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych (file photo)
KYIV -- A court in Ukraine has dismissed a lawsuit against President Viktor Yanukovych for saying the famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s should not be called genocide, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Union activist Volodymyr Volosyuk had sued Yanukovych for saying in April that the great famine of 1932-33 could not be called a genocide against the Ukrainian people, as it affected other ethnic groups in the Soviet Union.

Volosyuk was seeking an apology from Yanukovych for the statement, which he said wounded the memory of the millions of Ukrainians who died in the famine.

But the Ukrainian Union Svoboda (Liberty) informed RFE/RL today that the Court of Appeals rejected his lawsuit, upholding a previous ruling by Kyiv's Pechera district court.

Estimates vary, but as many as 14 million people in the Soviet Union died of starvation during leader Josef Stalin's drive to force individual farmers into collectivized agriculture. Most of the victims were Ukrainians.

Read more in Ukrainian here