(AP) Russian Ambassador Viktor Chernomyrdin said Wednesday that Moscow doesn't intend to apologize for the Stalin-era famine that killed millions of people in Ukraine and that was denied by Soviet officials for decades.
Chernomyrdin acknowledged that Russia had assumed the Soviet Union's obligations as successor to the collapsed regime, but denied that its responsibilities included apologizing for the famine, according to news reports.
"We're not going to apologize ... there is nobody to apologize to," the Interfax news agency quoted Chernomyrdin as saying.
He added that Russia deserved praise for taking on Soviet-era debts and other obligations but would not "bear the cross" of the famine, Interfax reported.
Chernomyrdin's statements came on the heels of the Ukrainian government's public acknowledgment of the famine that killed 7 to 10 million people in 1932-33. In June, Ukraine declassified more than 1,000 files documenting the famine.
Historians say Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, a native of Georgia, provoked the famine as part of his campaign to force Ukrainian peasants to give up their land and join collective farms.
"Why not ask Georgia to apologize?" the Ukrayinski Novyny agency quoted Chernomyrdin as saying.
In March, Ukraine's President Leonid Kuchma signed a law establishing
a day of remembrance for famine victims, and the Foreign Ministry plans
to submit a resolution to the United Nations in September seeking recognition
of what Ukrainians call the Great Famine as genocide.
To learn more about Victor Chernomyrdin visit the sites listed below: