Author: Anna Lukina

Applebaum vs. Fitzpatrick: Is History Political?

The 1932-3 famine in Ukraine claimed the lives of 3 to 5 million people (by conservative estimates). The tragedy was proven to be the result of Stalin’s “collectivization” agricultural policies. However, it is still debated whether the deaths were a result of mismanagement and the failure of collectivization, or of a conscious plan to exterminate the Ukrainians in an act of deliberate genocide. Anne Applebaum’s Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine (Penguin, 2017) offers a new contribution to this discussion, drawing upon archival sources as well as first-hand accounts of the famine, or Holodomor, as it is known in Russian and Ukrainian historiography. Applebaum is known for her extensive writings on Soviet history, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag: A History (Doubleday, 2003) and Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956 (Allen Lane, 2014). Red Famine, a new addition to her works on the USSR, claims that Holodomor was engineered in order to destroy Ukrainian identity and the Ukrainian peasantry, which posed a threat to Stalin’s power. Red Famine naturally appeared on the radar of Sheila Fitzpatrick, …