A statement from White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest honoring victims of the Holodomor, a mass starvation in the 1930's Soviet Union, made subtle comparisons between Soviet premier Josef Stalin and current Russian leadership.

The Holodomor was inflicted on the people of Ukraine, a country who continues to experience massive political struggles today."The Ukrainian people face new threats to their territory and well-being, they have once again demonstrated their resolute commitment to human dignity," Earnest said. "Ukraine's modern struggle for freedom and democracy is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of its people and honors the memory of the many who perished under Stalin's brutal rule."

The Holodomor, meaning literally "hunger-extermination" in Ukrainian, occurred between 1932-1933 and is considered a man-made famine brought about by Soviet polices, specifically, a desire to crush a Ukranian independence movement. The tragedy claimed anywhere from 2.4 million to 7.5 million lives depending on estimates and is formally considered a genocide by 25 countries.

"We join Ukrainians here in America and around the world to remember the catastrophe of the Holodomor, and the millions of innocent Ukrainians who starved to death more than eight decades ago as a result of the brutal policies of Joseph Stalin's regime," Earnest said.

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