Red Famine Stalin's War on Ukraine 1921 1933 MOBI ✓

Red Famine Stalin's War on Ukraine 1921 1933 Although this book is about the ‘Holodomor’ the word is derived from the Ukrainian words ‘holod’ or ‘hunger’ and ‘mor’ or extermination or famine of 1932 33 it is actually about much than that It is about the repression of the Ukrainian intellectual and political class of the Sovietisation of Ukraine the collectivisation of agriculture and the attempts to wipe out Ukrainian culture and language Ironically it was the fertile soil and relatively mild climate of Ukraine which led to them becoming so valuable to the Soviet Union The country had two harvests a year and was responsible for feeding far than their own region The author takes us back to the revolution of 1917 and traces how the period of upheaval saw optimism for Ukraine but by 1918 Lenin was making plans to occupy the area In fact the first half of this history looks at the various uprisings uneasy periods of peace discontent crisis and rationing which led up to the events of 193233By 1930 collectivisation of farming led from what had been a loose organisation of farming by the Soviet Union to tight control and grain reuisitioning demands which were impossible to fulfil There was pressure on the agricultural peasants to send and grain outside Ukraine but the farmers themselves lost control of their lives – and lost enthusiasm for working the land However Stalin’s policies led to famine across the grain growing regions of the USSR and nowhere than Ukraine Not only was the country under pressure to keep producing – and yet not keeping enough crops to keep them alive but anyone caught stealing food faced many years in a labour camp or death By the end of 1932 over 100000 people had been sent to camps and 4500 were executedThe author then goes on to the actual famine period which is terrible to read about All grain now was t be collected to fulfil Russian demands and no excuses were accepted However although activists swept through villages; taking not only grain but fruit seeds vegetables flour – indeed everything from crusts on the table to the family cow – there was no sympathy for the Ukrainian people It is clear that Soviet newspapers presented the starving population as unpatriotic; arguing they did not care about the workers or the 5 year plan Although this is a serious historical work it is not dry or dull in any way There can be nothing about this book which fails to move you – reading of children who die during lessons at school of the distrust suspicion and lack of empathy as witnesses became indifferent to the suffering around them is both tragic and horribly real Yet this is as much about the attempts by the Ukrainian people to retain their culture and language as it was to resist the government’s attempts to starve their nation I must admit I knew little about Ukrainian history but this was an eye opening read about a terrible period of history and of a people who survived against the odds This book has two interrelated themes Ukraine’s path toward independence and the famine that occurred there 1932 1933The history of Ukraine and Russia must be viewed together and so the Bolshevik Revolution the Civil War that followed first Lenin’s and then Stalin’s reign are discussed too The book starts in 1917 and concludes in the present The famine that occurred 1921 1922 and for which international aid was given came to be followed by the Great Famine of 1932 1933 The latter famine came to be known as the Holodomor This word in translation means “to kill by starvation” thus inferring that the famine was not simply due to natural causes but was instead purposefully instigated an act of genocide led by Stalin In an epilog the author discusses if the latter famine should be classified as genocide In any case be that so or not to understand the relations between Ukraine and Russia today the past must be understood It is this that is the purpose of the book A clear and succinct introduction explains all of this Knowing at the start that the genocide uestion will be discussed at the end a reader reads with this uestion prominently at the fore The book begins with the first Ukrainian War of Independence1917 to 1921 The February Revolution of 1917 led ethnic groups in the Russian Empire to seek increased autonomy and self determination The Ukrainian National Movement was formed In June 1917 in Kiev the Ukrainian People's Republic was declared a sovereign state to be governed by the socialist dominated Central Rada But it was short lived Year by year we follow events collectivization blacklisting deportations the famine of 1920 1921 liuidation of the kulaks and then unrealistic grain livestock and vegetable reuisitions imposed on a people without food Travel restrictions so people could not flee The first half of the book covering the years before the famine were a struggle for me I was seriously considering putting the book aside The background information is essential but dry in its presentation Too many examples to prove one point Too repetitive Not engaging The famine is heartrendingly depicted Physical and psychological effects of famine are documented What was eaten when no “food” was available What was done with the dead Personal experiences are told People who lived through the famine are uoted There is however little reference to source material We are told “a memoirist” or “multiple witnesses” or a “Polish diplomat” claim but why are we not give the names of those making these statements? Yet I do not doubt the validity of the claims made or the horror of what occurred Thereafter follow chapters devoted first to a discussion of death statistics and then the years after the famine The absence of international aid resettlement programs Russification purging of Ukrainian officials and destruction of evidence that the famine had occurred Stalin claimed the 1937 census to be invalid It showed all too clearly how many had died These chapters were not dry Finally the epilog It presents a straightforward analysis of whether the famine should or should not be considered a genocide Well it all depends on whose definition one goes by – Raphael Lemkin 1900 – 1959 who coined the word “genocide” and who initiated the Genocide Convention signed on December 9 1948 OR the United Nation’s Convention on the Crime of Genocide itself Lemkin referred to the mass killing of Jews in the Second World War the killing of Armenians by the Turks and the Great Famine of 1932 1933 as genocide but the Convention which today constitutes the basis for international law states that genocide is a state sponsored assault on an entire group of people or on a whole nation That not all Ukrainians were targeted means the famine should not be classified as genocideTo properly judge the events that took place in the Ukraine one must compare these events with what was happening elsewhere I wish had been spoken of the famine in the Volga region and Kazakhstan There is some information but not enough I very much liked the narration by Suzanne Toren The reading is clear and at a tempo that allows listeners time to think Many Russian names are given in the book’s first half; these are too often hard to distinguish This is no fault of the narrator but it does make listening difficult than reading I do not like that her intonation and pauses emphasize which events are evil I am perfectly capable of figuring this out myself I have given the narration four stars Ann Applebaum does not disappoint A thorough account of the most terrifying times in the history of Ukraine Superb panorama and the background Ms Applebaum presents us with not just the several years of the famine itself but also explains in detail the reasons behind the tragedy of millions of innocent people The Author colleced accounts by ordinary people and some are truly horryfing making us aware of the fact that often our own suffering makes us immune to the suffering of others In Red Famine the author Anne Applebaum does an extremely good job of explaining just what happened in 1931 '34 when an estimated 39 million people starved to death and why Starting with the Russian Civil War that followed World War I the author looks at the Ukrainian desire for independence and why Ukraine had never been able to obtain that independence She looks at the Bolsheviks' strategy to subdue the Ukraine and keep it part of Russia and by extension the USSR While discussing Ukrainian desire for independence Ms Applebaum also looks at the Ukrainian culture language and religion She explains just how close the Ukraine came to independence during the civil war She opines if the various independence groups could have cooperated with one another and with the White Russians there was very could chance independence could have been achived She also gives reasons as to why that cooperation never took placeAfter the Civil War the author looks at the Bolsheviks first attempts to collectivize agriculture and its failure in the early 20’s The collectivization was not successful and less grain was collected than projected This led to famine During this famine the gov’t admitted they had a problem and accepted outside help including from the US Lenin and by extension the Soviet gov’t ended up backing down and leaving the Ukrainian agriculture system alone allowing the peasant farmers to own their own land and animals and keep their language and religion In this section the author also give a pretty good summation of why the collectivization failed However I found this section to be a little dry and text bookishFast forward to the late 20’s and after the power struggle was resolved following Lenin’s death Stalin again decides to force the collectivization of agriculture not only in the Ukraine other agriculture regions of the USSR One thing I found interesting about Stalin’s initial attempts is that they used a carrot and stick approach – the peasant could keep his land but had to pay very high taxes If he collectivized the peasant would have access to the latest techniues and euipment At the same time this was going on the Government in Moscow was in dire need of hard currency and signed contracts to deliver grain than the area was producing Moscow and by extension Stalin thought the deference could be made up with the collectivization of agricultureMs Applebaum’ s descriptions of what happened next are heart rending I feel that her descriptions of the famine is by far the best parts of the book They are difficult to read She describes the efforts the Soviet Gov’t made to collect grain and other food stuffs In addition to grain the collectors took seeds the produce of the small vegetable gardens people were allowed farm animals both food and working any stored food food sent in from the outside and even farm euipment The collectors literally took every morsel they could find leaving both the collective farmers and the Kulaks both without anything to eat or plant the next spring As this is going on the author also recounts the Soviet efforts to stamp out the Ukrainian culture language and religionFinally while recounting the famine the author looks at just what extreme hunger does to people She tells of the apathy in the starving population People would literally step over dead and dying children as they went about their daily tasks with out a second thought Many attempted to leave the Ukraine Steppes which was forbidden and make it to the cities which were relatively well fed or out the Ukraine entirely Finally she looks at the cannibalism that occurred and the rationale behind it It boils down to “They are going to die anyway so” While not universal parents ate children children ate parents and many people just ate those who died Ms Applebaum looks at the effect of this on the culture as a whole and how some accepted it and others looked on it with horror Ms Applebaum includes several pictures of the starving and dead that are believed to be the only photos taken of famine victims The final section of the book looks at how the Soviet Officials from Stalin down covered up the famine They did this through travel restrictions just flatly denying anyone was starving manipulating the foreign press amoung other methods The author looks at the NY Times correspond William Durranty’s reporting which also denied anyone was starving in the Ukraine and won him a Pulitzer Prize The gov’t also refused to release the 1937 census that showed 8 10 million people missing from projection and eliminated killed many of those who worked on it Until the day of its breakup the USSR denied that there was ever a famine in the Ukraine during the 1930sTo sum this up This first half of the narrative is a little dry and some ways reads like a text book However when the author starts describing the hows whys and effects of the 1931 ’34 famine it is in many ways mesmerizing One niggling criticism the author uses the UkrainianRussian spelling of all place names with out a cross reference to the common Western spellings Some are easy to figure out others I still have no idea Even with that this is still a solid 4 star read Anne Appelbaum’s “Red Famine Stalin's War on Ukraine 1921 1933” is a dazzling work of synthesis history that addresses much than the Ukrainian Famine of 1932 33 aka “The Great Famine” aka “The Holodomor” aka “The Ukrainian Genocide” It also covers the Ukrainian War of Independence 1917 1921 the resistance of the Ukrainian peasantry to collectivization of agriculture in 1931 the attack on the use of the Ukrainian language and the elimination of the Ukrainian intellectual classes that coincided with the famine the subseuent purge of the Ukrainian communist party the cover up that followed and the active assistance of Western journalists in the cover upIt was Robert Conuest’s “Harvest of Sorrow” published in 1986 that first established for the Anglo Saxon world that there had indeed been a state induced famine in the Ukraine that killed somewhere between 3 and 6 million people in the Ukraine in the years of 1932 and 1933Conuest suggested that the famine might have been the result of a combination of unfavorable climatic conditions and communist incompetence rather than evil intentions Appelbaum instead argues that bad weather was not in any way a factor in the disaster Stalin had simply decided that he needed to crush the Ukrainian peasantry which had supported an independent Ukrainian state during the four years following the 1917 Russian Revolution and which had violently resisted the collectivization of agriculture In 1932 Stalin decided to act He ordered the seizure of grain and food in the Ukrainian countryside to create food shortages Those districts which had most actively resisted collectivization and given the greatest support to Ukrainian independence were the ones subjected to the most drastic food seizures “Red Famine Stalin's War on Ukraine 1921 1933” is an extremely important book that should be read by anyone interested in European history in the 20th century The Holodomor Ukrainian Голодомо́р; derived from морити голодом to kill by starvation also known as the Terror Famine and Famine Genocide in Ukraine and—before the widespread use of the term Holodomor and sometimes currently—also referred to as the Great Famine and The Ukrainian Genocide of 1932–33—was a man made famine in Soviet Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 that killed an officially estimated 7 million to 10 million people It was part of the wider Soviet famine of 1932–33 which affected the major grain producing areas of the country wiki sourced Description In 1929 Stalin launched his policy of agricultural collectivization—in effect a second Russian revolution—which forced millions of peasants off their land and onto collective farms The result was a catastrophic famine the most lethal in European history At least 5 million people died between 1931 and 1933 in the USSR But instead of sending relief the Soviet state made use of the catastrophe to rid itself of a political problem In Red Famine Anne Applebaum argues that than 3 million of those dead were Ukrainians who perished not because they were accidental victims of a bad policy but because the state deliberately set out to kill themApplebaum proves what has long been suspected after a series of rebellions unsettled the province Stalin set out to destroy the Ukrainian peasantry The state sealed the republic's borders and seized all available food Starvation set in rapidly and people ate anything grass tree bark dogs corpses In some cases they killed one another for food Devastating and definitive Red Famine captures the horror of ordinary people struggling to survive extraordinary evilRed Famine by Anne Applebaum review – did Stalin deliberately let Ukraine starve? The momentous new book from the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Gulag and Iron Curtain In 1932 33 nearly four million Ukrainians died of starvation having been deliberately deprived of food It is one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the twentieth century With unprecedented authority and detail Red Famine investigates how this happened who was responsible and what the conseuences were It is the fullest account yet published of these terrible eventsThe book draws on a mass of archival material and first hand testimony only available since the end of the Soviet Union as well as the work of Ukrainian scholars all over the world It includes accounts of the famine by those who survived it describing what human beings can do when driven mad by hunger It shows how the Soviet state ruthlessly used propaganda to turn neighbours against each other in order to expunge supposedly 'anti revolutionary' elements It also records the actions of extraordinary individuals who did all they could to relieve the sufferingThe famine was rapidly followed by an attack on Ukraine's cultural and political leadership and then by a denial that it had ever happened at all Census reports were falsified and memory suppressed Some western journalists shamelessly swallowed the Soviet line; others bravely rejected it and were undermined and harassed The Soviet authorities were determined not only that Ukraine should abandon its national aspirations but that the country's true history should be buried along with its millions of victims Red Famine a triumph of scholarship and human sympathy is a milestone in the recovery of those memories and that history At a moment of crisis between Russia and Ukraine it also shows how far the present is shaped by the past A wrenching and thorough account of the way Stalin created the famine that killed easily 35 million Ukrainians and maybe far The eyewitness testimonies of the starvation are devastating The last chapter is an especially interesting discussion of where the famine fits in the history of Genocide For anyone interested in the history of the first decades of the Soviet Union this is a must read Anne Applebaum's Red Famine is an important history of the Ukraine and USSR by default Applebaum provides meaningful context beginning with the 1917 Ukrainian Revolution famine of the 1920s Stalin's agricultural collectivation policies of the late 1920s and early 1930s and Ukrainian nationalist sentiment and peasant resistance prior to focusing on the terror famine known as the Holodomor occurring between 1932 and 1934 Holodomor is a term derived from two Ukrainian words for hunger and extermination This famine was not created by crop failure or poor weather it was a man made famine created by Stalin's agricultural policies grain uotas and associated penalties including food confiscation inside homes for not meeting those policies etc Ukrainian peasants especially the Kulaks that exercised resistance were treated especially harsh At least five million died during this famine the vast majority in the Ukraine Despite this tragic history and subseuent struggles the Ukraine stands today as an independent nation Red Famine – Stalin’s War on UkraineAs someone from a Polish family who before the Second World War lived in the Kresy East Poland now in Ukraine it has always surprised me how little of this war against Ukraine and her people is not widely known in the West My Grandfather often used it as an example of how evil Stalin was in the way he allowed policy to kill people and relieve him of a troublesome part of the country of its affluenceAs a child he lived in Podwołoczyska a border town on the river Zbruch and when playing alongside the river he often heard the machine gun fire of the Soviet border guards killing Ukrainians trying to escape in order to feed their families and themselves He would often talk of his childhood and the knowledge that on the other side of the river Zbruch evil things were happening to Ukrainians After 17th September 1940 my family would also feel the wrath of StalinFollowing rural unrest in 1932 the harvest in the Soviet Union dropped by 40% and between 1928 – 1932 the livestock fell by 50% One of the reasons being the peasants would rather feed themselves and their families instead of handing the cattle to the CommunistsAll this from Stalin’s New Economic Plans which enforced collectivisation on the people brought resistance the liuidation of kulaks and a famine which would extend across the Soviet Union Better known to Ukrainians and many East Europeans as the Holodomor since independence has meant that this episode of cruelty and killing can become better known in the WestStalin knew what was going on in Ukraine and what some readers might find hard to understand is that the Holodomor was completely man made It was his decisions and that of his ministers that led to the famine through the collectivisation of land and the eviction of kulaks identified as enemies of the RevolutionThere are some historians who dispute the fact that the famine was man made I happen to agree with her assessment Like Katyn the Holodomor was the great unmentionable Ukrainians could not talk about or acknowledge until 1991 Now is the time to tell the world and remind it what happened and not allow Stalin to be rehabilitated Anne Applebaum is not afraid to investigate and write about controversial parts of history and the world is a better place for the light being shined into the dark corners This is an excellently researched well written book this is not a dry history this is a book that draws you in and the writing keeps you captivated I hope this book gets a wider audience as it is compelling and tackle the ignorance that exists

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About the Author: Anne Applebaum

Journalist and Pulitzer Prize winning author who has written extensively about communism and the development of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe Since 2006 she is a columnist and member of the editorial board of the Washington PostShe is married to Radosław Sikorski the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs They have two children Alexander and Tadeusz