Stalin’s deliberate famine now echoed by Putin in 21st century Donbas

2018/5/13 22:50:54

Historian Anne Applebaum: “This is a famine that took place for political reasons. The Soviet Union was trying to eliminate the Ukrainian national movement. It was trying to eliminate many peasants.”


UBO: Now Stalin’s successor, Vladimir Putin, wants to eliminate any Ukrainian of an independent mind.

From CBC Radio, May 8, 2018


Historian Anne Applebaum is the winner of the 2018 Lionel Gelber Prize for her book, Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine. It tells the story of how Stalin's collective farming policies in the early 1930s induced starvation among 3 million Ukrainian peasants. The book argues that this act was no byproduct of bad policy decisions, but instead a deliberate effort to crush Ukrainian nationalism and resistance — with repercussions that extend into our own era of Russian-Ukrainian tensions.


When Anne Applebaum worked as a foreign correspondent in Poland in 1990, the country right across the border remained something of a mystery. There were parts of western Ukraine not much known to outsiders. But the journalist found herself intrigued by hints of a growing nationalist movement there. So a year later, when Ukraine declared independence from the USSR, Applebaum was thoroughly fascinated by the place and its history. 


Despite it being a major grain producer, she knew that Ukraine had suffered a devastating famine in 1932-33, when many millions died across the entire Soviet Union, and particularly in Ukraine. In the eighties, Robert Conquest famously wrote a history of this Ukrainian famine. But with the past decade's release of new archival materials, Anne Applebaum decided that there was more to tell. She gives a detailed picture of this era: one of great ideological significance to both Ukrainians and Russians today, and a source of their tensions.


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