Historian Anne Applebaum Details Stalin's War Against Ukraine

Historians in the News
tags: Anne Applebaum, Stalin, Ukraine, genocide

The latest book by Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian Anne Applebaum, Red Famine: Stalin's War On Ukraine, sheds new light on one of the seminal events in Ukrainian history – the deadly famine of 1932-33 that Ukrainians call the Holodomor. Some 4 million Ukrainians were killed in a famine that was engineered by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin to eliminate a perceived threat to central Soviet power.

RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent Natalya Golitsina spoke with Applebaum about this tragedy and the role it continues to play in Ukraine's relations with Russia.

RFE/RL: What caused the Holodomor?

Anne Applebaum: The Holodomor was created deliberately by Stalin. There was, in 1932, the beginnings of broad Soviet famine that was caused by collectivization and the grain-requisitions policy. By the autumn of 1932, Stalin decided to make use of this crisis, to use it in order to target Ukraine specifically. And at that time, as my book shows, there were a number of measures taken that specifically affected Ukraine: blacklisting of particular farms and towns and villages, a cordon around the border so that people were unable to leave Ukraine, special measures against Ukrainian cultural institutions and the Ukrainian language. And these were all undertaken at the same time.

I do believe that was intended to kill more people in Ukraine and that it did so and that the Ukrainian Communist Party and the Soviet Communist Party knew that this was happening. Yes, it was an intentional famine. ...

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