Russian occupiers of Mariupol dismantled the Monument to the Victims of Holodomor in late October, the Famine of 1932-33 created by dictator Joseph Stalin that claimed the lives of millions of Ukrainians.

The current Russian regime has asserted “desecration” every time it imagined a lack of respect in former Soviet satellite states to various WWII memorials or graves. Yet it has systematically trampled on the memory of Ukrainians who were starved to death in a crime recognized around the world as an act of genocide.

Petro Andriushchenko, Adviser to the Mayor of Mariupol in Donetsk Oblast, commented on social media that “the Russians are continuing to destroy everything that is linked with Ukraine, our culture, history, and heritage.”

In all parts of Ukraine that Russia has brutalized then illegally and temporarily occupied, inadequate efforts were made to restore the critical infrastructure or the homes that the Russians have destroyed.

Instead, the invaders have only focused subjugating the population and eradicating the Ukrainian language and culture from educational institutions. It also systematically changed all road signs into the Russian language.

After failing in its war effort, retreating from thousands of miles of Ukrainian territory, the Russian military fixated on destroying a memorial to the innocent victims of a crime against humanity. The destruction of the Mariupol landmark was also triumphantly displayed by Russian propaganda channels.

The tragedy of Holodomor was concealed for decades during the oppressive Soviet times. The current Russian regime has continued to deny the deliberate nature of Stalin’s Famine.

As Denis Kazansky, a journalist originally from Donetsk, noted that desecration in late October was hardly surprising. “After all, the artificial famine of 1932-33 was the same deliberately planned genocide of the Ukrainian people as the present attacks on civil infrastructure and civilian homes.”

Erected in 2004, the Monument to the Victims of Holodomor was made of granite near the Drama Theatre, a location that sheltered a thousand local residents when it was bombed by the Russians on March 16.

Education in all areas under Russian occupation are designed to instill historical lies in Ukrainian children. A propaganda video about the destruction of the Monument claimed to show Mariupol residents supported the destruction.

Andriushchenko reported that there were no people from Mariupol in the video. He said that a collaborator named Artem Bobrovsky, supposedly the head faculty at the occupation “Donetsk National University,” was hear making false claims that it was not Ukraine that suffered most from the 1932-33 famine.

The justification for the memorial’s demolition, presented as propaganda, was that the granite was needed for construction work. It was another insult to Ukrainians, who continued to live in the ruins of their city. After weeks of targeting Mariupol with missiles and artillery, the Russians had destroyed 90% of the civilian residences and key public infrastructure.

The dishonest Russian propaganda also recycled a previously used narrative, from a previous attack on the remembrance of Holodomor. In August 2015, the Russian puppet administration known as the “Donetsk People’s Republic” dismantled the Memorial to the Victims of Political Repression and Holodomor in Donetsk Oblast’s Snizhne. At that time they claimed the destruction was aimed at the “reinstatement of historical justice.”

The alleged historical justice that Russia and its puppets in occupied Ukraine pushed was a just a continuation of the distortion of facts. The efforts seek to cover up the crimes of the Soviet regime, and justify the actions of Stalin’s mass murders. Instead, 39% of Russians named Stalin as the most outstanding figure of all times and nations.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, since the invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014, has been based on a distortion of historical facts, aimed at denying Ukrainian identify and all the cultural history that distinguished Ukraine from Russia.

Hаlyа Cоynаsh

Pеtrо Hаlyаvа

This edited version was based on the article originally published as Russian invaders destroy Memorial to Victims of Holodomor in Mariupol