Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Anne Applebaum to Visit HURI, Reveal Stalin’s Motives to Starve Ukrainians

October 4, 2017
red famine book cover

Book Cover: Red FamineAnne Applebaum will present research from her latest book, RED FAMINE: STALIN’S WAR ON UKRAINE,at Harvard University on October 23 as part of the Ukrainian Research Institute’s series, “Ukraine in the Flames of the 1917 Revolution.”The talk, “Holodomor Reconsidered: The Bolshevik Revolution and the Ukrainian Famine,” will reveal what motivated Josef Stalin to use a man-made famine to exterminate millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s. This event is co-sponsored by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

In RED FAMINE, Applebaum uses newly available archival material to demonstrate that the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 (commonly known at the Holodomor) was not caused purely by natural climate conditions or failures of collectivization, but was intentionally exacerbated and used by Stalin to destroy the Ukrainian peasantry. More than three million Ukrainians perished as a result of the famine, making it the most lethal in European history.

Qualifying as genocide under the original definition of that term, Applebaum argues, the Holodomor was fueled by the state’s decision to close off the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic’s borders and to seize all available food, not just the already exorbitant grain quotas. At the October 23 event, Applebaum will focus on why Stalin sought to exterminate Ukrainians, motivations that can be traced to revolutionary events starting in 1917.

Given Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war, and the rise of the “Cult of Stalin” in Russia (which is supported by President Vladimir Putin, who, in turn, has received the praise of President Donald Trump), these timely revelations have implications for the present day, as well.

The talk on October 23 is open to the public and takes place at 1730 Cambridge Street, Room S-020 (Belfer Case Study Room) from 4:15 to 6:00 pm. There will be time for questions and an opportunity to purchase copies of the book. The Ukrainian Research Institute invites members of the media to cover the event and is also willing to help coordinate interviews with Applebaum at Harvard earlier in the afternoon (contact: Kristina Conroy, Communications Manager, kconroy@fas.harvard.edu).

Anne Applebaum is a columnist for The Washington Post, a Professor of Practice at the London School of Economics, and a contributor to The New York Review of Books. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Gulag, her earlier book on Soviet atrocities, and was a National Book Award finalist for Iron Curtain.

Serhii Plokhii, Director of the Ukrainian Research Institute and Mykhailo S. Hrushevs'kyi Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University, will chair the event. An award-winning historian, Plokhii has written books on Ukraine, Russia, and the Soviet Union, and recently published Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian Nation.

The Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University (also known as HURI) is the leading academic institution in the United States dedicated to the support of scholarship and the dissemination of knowledge about Ukraine and its neighboring countries of Eastern Europe. Founded in June 1973 through the generosity of the Ukrainian-American community, the Institute helped put Ukraine on the map of the world academic community and continues to advance important scholarship in the field of Ukrainian Studies.