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Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine por…
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Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine (edição 2018)

por Anne Applebaum (Autor)

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"From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag and the National Book Award finalist Iron Curtain, a revelatory history of one of Stalin's greatest crimes--the consequences of which still resonate today 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 five 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 more than three 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 them. Applebaum 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 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."--Provided by publisher.… (mais)
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Título:Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine
Autores:Anne Applebaum (Autor)
Informação:Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group (2018), Edition: Reprint, 608 pages
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Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine por Anne Applebaum

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This is not a full review. Limited due to character limit. See blog entry for full review: https://www.inquiryreviews.com/2023/04/review-of-red-famine-stalins-war-on.html

Is This An Overview:
Soviet Russian policies caused a Holodomor. A major famine within Ukraine during the 1930s. Even worse than the one they caused shorty after they took power in 1917. For centuries past before that, Ukraine was a possession of other states. Each wanted Ukraine for the region’s fertile land, to feed the occupiers population. But like many regions during the early 20th century, Ukraine sought for sovereignty. They did gain sovereignty, but could not hold it. Division within Ukraine and with various Bolshevik strategies, the Soviet regime took control of Ukraine until the Soviet regime fell in 1991. During their rule, Ukraine was Russified, especially after the famine depopulated the region. Ukrainian cultural heritage was systematically destroyed. Until the fall of the Soviet power, the famine was denied.

The policies imposed on Ukraine by the Soviet power were designed to get as much food from the peasants as possible. The effect they had was to reduce the ability to produce food. Peasants did not want to produce food that was going to be confiscated. They were even willing to destroy much of their food stores to prevent food from being confiscated. The reduction in food production under the Soviet regime, made less food available than under Imperial Russia.

A prominent policy was Stalin’s collectivization. Under collectivization, peasants generally had to give up their private property, and work on collective farms. A reintroduction of serfdom. Violence was routine. The policies were a failure, but could not blamed on the Bolsheviks. Failures were blamed on everyone else. Even those starving were blamed. Deaths due to famine were privately acknowledge, but publicly denied. Soviet propaganda worked to legitimize the persecution of anyone who did not have Soviet support, and were effective at manipulating foreign press as they were able to gain international support.

Is There Any Information On Ukraine’s History?
Ukraine means borderlands. Founded by Slavic tribes and Viking nobility, which Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians claim as their ancestor. It then belonged to Lithuania until 1569, which it then became a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Ukraine was part of the Russian empire between the 18th and 20th centuries. As regional power shifted many times, Ukraine developed a diverse cultural background, with some religious variation. Poles and Russians, saw Ukraine as a primitive and more authentic place. Subject to romantic poetry and fiction.

Ukraine had fertile lands. Poles and Russians did not want to lose access to the agricultural breadbasket should Ukraine become an independent state. The Ukraine identity was formed nonetheless, often defined in opposition to the occupying foreigners. Poles and Russians wanted Ukraine, therefore undermined Ukrainian sovereignty claims.

Ukrainian national aspirations were deemed a threat to Imperial Russia. Peasants were already gaining economic influence. Wealthier, literate, and better organized peasantry would have demanded greater political rights. When Russia collapsed in 1917, and the Austro-Hungarian empires collapsed in 1918, Ukrainians decided that it was time to establish their own state.

What Was The Political Structure Of Ukraine And Russia?
Although Ukraine did not have sovereignty, they expressed their hope like other states without sovereignty, through literature and art. Russia had banned Ukrainian intellectual activities such as books and culture.

Ukraine did gain independence in 1917, but temporarily. They could not develop a functioning bureaucracy, public administration, or effective military might to defend against invasion. Russia, Germany, and Austria were attempting to undermine Ukrainian nationalism. The Soviets, under Lenin’s authorization attacked Ukraine in January 1918. The attempt to conquer Ukraine failed when German and Austrian troops supported a Ukrainian general.

There was a political division within Ukraine. There were those who wanted Ukrainian national movement, and those who supported the Bolsheviks. Bolsheviks were a radical faction who agitated Russia and appealed to the masses. Led by Lenin, and after taking political control of Russia, they considered themselves to be the vanguard of the proletariat, a dictatorship of the proletariat. They sought absolute power, and were willing to use violence and terror to abolish alternative political powers.

The leaders of the established USSR, did not see Ukraine as a distinct economic region, but as Southwest Russia. They were prejudiced against any Ukrainian identity from an early age. Seeing Ukrainians as primitive former serfs. The USSR Marxists ideology had contempt for Ukrainians, whom they saw as peasants who had no class consciousness.

Lenin supported cultural autonomy and self-determination, unless it did not work for Lenin. After the Bolsheviks failed to maintain control of Kyiv after a few weeks, they still invaded Ukraine with teams to confiscate peasants’ grain. The strategies changed to false flag operations. Russian troops were disguised under a banner of Soviet Ukrainian liberation movement to confuse nationalists. Trying to convince people to accept Soviet power. They also prevented intellectual activity and news. Arresting Ukrainians they accused as separatism.

What Is The Power Of Food?
There is power in food. Food is a political tool. Food is a weapon. Those who had food were able to get followers, soldiers, and friends. Support was lost quickly for those without food to give.

Food shortages in Russia began with the start of World War One. Imperial Russia attempted to alleviate food shortages with policies designed to centralize food distribution. Their effect was to create administrative problems without alleviating the food shortages. Soviet Russia extended the same principles, but also wanted to remove the middlemen. The Soviet result was to exacerbate the supply crisis. Lenin thought that the nationalized food distribution was an appropriate system, but that they were not sufficiently harsh, especially in Ukraine.

Under Marxist ideology, they created a hierarchy for peasants. From wealthy, middle, to poor. They called them kulaks, seredniaks, and bedniaks. A hierarchy meant to define who would be persecuted and benefit from the policies imposed.

In 1919, Soviet Russia was going through a crisis, and wanted to exploit Ukraine to maintain control of Russia. They needed food to supply the proletariat. This became known as War Communism. Taking control using violence means, and redistributing food to those deemed essential by the state. Imperial Russia confiscated food since 1916, which the Provisional Government continued to do so. Forcing peasants to sell all their grain at state dictated prices, except those needed for agriculture and consumption. In practice, War Communism meant most people went hungry. Trotsky supported the requisitioning of food at all costs, for that would have meant civil war between kulaks and other elements in the villages. Seeking to deepen divisions, which would create anger and resentment to further Bolshevik policies.

To obtain food, Russians and Ukrainians used illegal invisible markets, rather than non-existent state companies. Illegal markets gave people access to food, but the Bolsheviks blamed them for the continuing crisis. Bolsheviks wanted formal markets. The Bolsheviks thought that their policy was meant to make people richer rather than poorer, but never blamed their own policies for the failures.

What Were The Results Of The Food Requisitions?
The policy backfired. The Cossacks revolted against the Red Army (Bolshevik’s army), which included the Cossacks that had previously supported the Bolshevik’s. The local Bolshevik leaders, requested an end to gain requisitions. Moscow did not consider their views. The requisitions were left in place, but were unsuccessful. Only a fraction of the requested food was taken. The Bolshevik’s were expelled from Ukraine a 2nd time in Summer on 1919, fueling a gargantuan violent peasant uprising. The uprising and rebellion taught the Bolsheviks that Ukraine was an intellectual and military threat.

Ukraine’s military was defeated, but not their intellectual ideals. Nationalism that could attract foreign allies, who could become a threat to USSR. Ukraine peasants wanted socialism, a socialist revolution but not a Bolshevik revolution. They wanted their own representatives, not communists. They wanted redistribution, but wanted to work the land on their own. They did not want another serfdom. They wanted respect for their intellectual and cultural heritage. These ideas resonated during the 1920s.

What Information Is There On The 1920s Famine?
During 1920, Lenin requisitioned all gain from the peasants. All grain, which included those needed for consumption and for future planting harvest. This caused agriculture production to plunge. Not only did the people needed to plant were off fighting in World War One, but the farmers that were there did not want to plant food they knew would be confiscated.

There was also a drought, causing major crop failure. Bad weather would have caused problems, as it did in the past. But weather combined with confiscatory food collection policies, along with a lack of labor, produced a catastrophe. 95% of the normal harvest did not materialize. Prior droughts were planned for with the preservation and storage of surplus gain. But in 1921, there was no surplus grain as they had been confiscated. Resulting in famine.



What Were The 1930s Policies That Impacted The Famine?
1927 was 10 years that the Communist Party took control of Russia. Living standards were lower in the USSR than under the tsars. Food distribution was according to status, and was still scarce.

Lenin’s death during 1924 caused an internal power struggle in which Stalin organized support to remove Trotsky, who was the main rival to power. Stalin sided with the people who supported NEP, against Trotsky’s supporters of opposed NEP as that would have created a new capitalist class and enriched the kulaks. In 1927, Trotsky was exiled, and Stalin changed sides to support those who opposed NEP. Stalin radicalized Soviet policy, and wanted to remove any political rivals.

Trade was reclassified as criminal behavior. There were people who stored grain to wait until prices would have increased. This was considered evidence of conspiracy. Anyone refusing to sell grain to the state at set prices would be arrested. These policies, brought NEP to an end.

Under the new policies, peasants that worked hard on their land would have become kulaks, enemies of the people. If peasants remained poor, they would have been worse off than American peasants, who they were competing with. Peasants had a choice of either ideologically approved poverty or dangerously unacceptable wealth. This was an economic trap from which peasants could not find a way out. Working badly would have meant hunger. Working well would have been punished by the state. Success became an enemy. Efficiency became thought of with suspicion. Stalin understood that the policies destroyed an incentive to produce grain.

Stalin understood that smaller farms created poor peasants, while kulaks were more productive due to bigger properties. Although larger farms would have been more productive, this would have legitimated kulaks which was unacceptable. The resolution was collective farming. Unification of small peasants into larger collective farms. The peasants were forced to give up private small lands, to aggregate the resources, and join collective farms.

How Was The 1930s Famine Covered Up?
Until the Ukrainian independence of 1991, the story of the 1932-3 famine was not told. USSR refused to acknowledge any history of famine. Destroying archives and altering death records to conceal what happened. Population and mortality statistics were manipulated to match party rhetoric. Soviets did not keep records of the victims, therefore denying the deaths.

Stalin’s officials wanted to conceal the starvation statistics. But the dead bodies were found on the streets, because no one had the strength to bury them. The officials were denying what was happening, even as it was happening in from of them and visitors. The reports tried their best to prevent blaming food shortages on people leaving, rather they blamed those facing repression due to unfulfilled grain procurement obligations. Ukrainian communists referred to problems or difficulties, rarely to famine. They knew what was happening, but survived by observing Soviet taboos. Privately the famine was acknowledged, but not in the public. Soviet officials used euphemisms.

Soviet leadership wanted foreign approval for domestic reasons. Starting from 1917, foreigner publications were stationed in the USSR, to support the propaganda. Publications even from America. They supported the USSR achievements, for the publications saw what the Soviet’s wanted them to see. They were encouraged to dismiss information about food shortages, which some did.

Franklin Roosevelt was interested in USSR policies, and then supported their claims. They began to actively dismiss negative news about the USSR. As the famine worsened, information control by the USSR got stricter. Visits to famine ravaged regions were refused. Support from international politics meant that USSR propaganda worked.

How Did People Survive?
As the famine grew deeper, rebellion ceased. Those who starved were physically enfeebled and could not fight. Satiating hunger was the overwhelming drive. The extreme forms of hunger made any effort exhausting, which included various diseases connected to lack of food.

Survival was difficult. Either through performing human taboos, discovered willpower, or saved by someone with willpower. They ate just about anything. Flora or fauna. Brigades did their best to spoil food. As people were starving, the spoiled food was still eaten. Survivors of the famine witnessed cannibalism or necrophagy.

Villages had special boxes set up for anonymous information about hidden grain deposits. It was popular to inform on others, because part of the found food was a reward to the informants.

Caveats?
There are many references to Imperial and Soviet Russia. The references provide a limited background on Russia.

The chronology of the events can be confusing. Generally with a linear progression, but often providing information by context and therefore sharing historical associations. Sometimes there appears to be time skips with details left out. ( )
  Eugene_Kernes | Jun 4, 2024 |
This was a really tough book to read, not only as it dealt with abject cruelty being dealt out to so many powerless people but also as my grandparents and their families lived through this famine and were witnesses to these horrors and the deaths of their loved ones.

This book is meticulously researched and the facts are laid out clearly and without bias. The Soviet Party attempted to hide the reality of what was happening in Ukraine from the world and first person accounts of this time and books like this are so important to ensure that the history of the Holodomor is never lost. ( )
  ChariseH | May 25, 2024 |
Where others have summarized this marvellous book detailing the genocide perpetrated on Ukraine by Stalin and his henchmen, I will take a sidebar into things as they stand today.

The Soviet Union is no more. Its apologists are no more, we think.

But an equally diabolical regime in China has decided that millions of Muslims within its borders require “reeducation” and this same regime has:

1) Among the most sophisticated systems of electronic surveillance imaginable;

2) Access to personal information unimaginable even a few years ago such that it is poised to leapfrog other industrialized nations in a race to develop machine learning and artificial intelligence.

3) Scientists who are apparently applying gene editing to humans without agreement on the moral limits to applying this technology.

We live on a hungry planet. The race for resources will accelerate as the poorest among us become richer, as our population goes apace, and as we have no consensus to reverse the devastation of pollution or to deal with the hundred or so million climate refugees likely to result.

China may soon have the power to put us out of business. And China is not transparent, or the least bit concerned with the future of its neighbours or, for that matters, with us.

What is to stop China from redirecting the resources of the planet toward its aggrandizement and away from the welfare of the five or so other billion people on the planet.

Its belt and road program is one step in that direction. It may not even need the cadres that Stalin used to terrorize the Soviet Union’s neighbours.

Information and the incompetence of its regime stopped the Soviet clown show in its tracks. But once the machines have been programmed, who will stop them? ( )
  MylesKesten | Jan 23, 2024 |
En detaljeret og grusom beskrivelse af Stalins overgreb på befolkningen, især bønderne, i Ukraine. Bønderne blev frarøvet alt, selv ned til det mindste korn og stykke tøj. Vold og sult forårsagede mange millioner dødsfald. Et imponerende kildeapparat understøtter materialet. ( )
  msc | Dec 1, 2022 |
A fascinating and unsettling book on a period in history that has been much more widely discussed in recent months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: the Holodomor, the famine which ravaged Ukraine in the early 1930s and which killed millions. Anne Applebaum traces its origins back to the 1910s and argues that the famine was the result of a deliberate Soviet policy aimed at resource extraction from Ukraine while suppressing Ukrainian national sentiment and cultural identity as much as possible. She draws extensively on memoirs and contemporary records to show the devastating impact that the famine had on the Ukrainian peasantry, and this is not a book to read if you have a weak stomach. Applebaum’s political sympathies are clearly centre-right, but I found myself broadly in agreement with her that Stalin’s attitude towards Ukrainians—a mix of indifference, malice, and paranoia—coupled with institutional incompetence were the determinative factors behind what happened.

The Holodomor is an important topic in its own right, but even though Red Famine was published about five years ago, its contemporary resonances are painfully obvious, with Putin clearly drawing freely from Stalin’s playbook. ( )
  siriaeve | Jul 21, 2022 |
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Applebaum, Anneautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Ahmad, RahilAuthor photographerautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Dana, StevenArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Dauzat, Pierre-EmmanuelTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Fontana, JohnDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Saint-Loup, Aude deTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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"From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag and the National Book Award finalist Iron Curtain, a revelatory history of one of Stalin's greatest crimes--the consequences of which still resonate today 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 five 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 more than three 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 them. Applebaum 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 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."--Provided by publisher.

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