DATE: Monday, October 30, 2017

TIME: 7:00-9:00pm

LOCATION: George Ignatieff Theatre, Trinity College, University of Toronto

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Author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag and the National Book Award finalist Iron Curtain, Anne Applebaum presents her new book, Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, a revelatory history of one of Stalin’s greatest crimes.

 

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. 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 millions of Ukrainians perished not because they were accidental victims of a bad policy but because the state deliberately set out to kill them.

Applebaum proves what has long been suspected: after a series of unsettling rebellions, 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. Red Famine captures the horror of ordinary people struggling to survive extraordinary evil.

Today, Russia, the successor to the Soviet Union, has placed Ukrainian independence in its sights once more. Applebaum’s compulsively readable narrative recalls one of the worst crimes of the twentieth century, and shows how it may foreshadow a new threat to the political order in the twenty-first.

 

Anne Applebaum writes on history and contemporary politics in Eastern Europe, Ukraine, and Russia. She 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. Formerly a member of the Washington Post editorial board, she has also worked as the Foreign and Deputy Editor of the Spectator magazine in London, as the Political Editor of the Evening Standard, and as a columnist at Slate and at several British newspapers, including the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs. From 1988-1991 she covered the collapse of communism as the Warsaw correspondent of the Economist magazine and the Independent newspaper.

Her previous books include Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956, which won the 2012 Cundill Prize for Historical Literature and the Duke of Westminster Medal.

She is also the author of Gulag: A History, which narrates the history of the Soviet concentration camps system and describes daily life in the camps, making extensive use of recently opened Russian archives as well as memoirs and interviews Gulag won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction in 2004.

 

The event is organized by the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (University of Alberta) and the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine at the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (University of Toronto).