The Bulgarian National Assembly voted 134-25 on February 1 on a resolution saying that any "denial, justification, or underestimation of this genocide flouts the memory of the millions of people who perished." (file photo)
The Bulgarian National Assembly has approved legislation declaring the 1932-33 famine caused by the policies of the Soviet government led by Joseph Stalin a genocide.
The decision came in a 134-25 vote on February 1 on a resolution backing the combined proposals of the Democratic Bulgaria and GERB parties.
The resolution says that any "denial, justification, or underestimation of this genocide flouts the memory of the millions of people who perished." It also calls for the last Saturday of November to be declared a day of honor and remembrance for the victims of the famine, known as the Holodomor.
Members of the far-right Vazrazhdane (Revival) party and Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) parliamentary groups, which often take pro-Russian positions, spoke against declaring the resolution.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy expressed gratitude to Bulgaria for declaring the Holodomor a genocide, saying on Twitter that the move "commemorates millions of Holodomor victims and restores historical justice."
Bulgaria’s gesture of solidarity "will always be remembered in Ukraine," he added.
Kyiv has urged the international community to officially declare the Holodomor a genocide as Ukraine confronts Moscow's ongoing full-scale invasion.
The Holodomor took place as Stalin's police units forced peasants in Ukraine to join collective farms by requisitioning their grain and other foodstuffs.
Historians say the failure to properly harvest crops in Ukraine in 1932 under Soviet mismanagement was the main cause of the famine.
It is estimated that up to 9 million people died as a result of executions, deportation, and starvation during the Stalin-era campaign.
The Bulgarian National Assembly's move comes six weeks after the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to recognize the famine as a genocide.
The resolution passed on December 15 called it an "artificial famine" caused by "a deliberate policy of the Soviet regime."
Kostadin Kostadinov, leader of the Vazrazhdane in the Bulgarian General Assembly, acknowledged that there was "a massacre by starvation of millions of people" in the Soviet Union in 1932-33, but he said the goal was not based on the victims' ethnicity, rather their class.
Borislav Gutsanov of the BSP opposed the proposal being put to a vote.
Earlier on February 1, the Vazrazhdane and BSP groups left the assembly hall, while their colleagues marked the day of appreciation and respect for the victims of the communist regime in Bulgaria.