Stanislav Kulchytsky, "The Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: An Anatomy of the Holodomor" (CIUS Press, 2018)

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Stanislav Kulchytsky’s The Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: An Anatomy of the Holodomor (CIUS Press, 2018) presents a meticulous research that unveils the mechanism of the Holodomor as a man-made famine, which was launched in Ukraine by the Soviets as a punitive and controlling measure undertaken to discipline and suppress those, peasants in the first place, who might have rebelled against the Soviet programs such as collectivization. With this book, Kulchytsky offers a complex approach to understanding the Holodomor: from the origins of the Soviet Union to the development of sophisticated programs that were designed to secure the stability and unequivocal dominance of the totalitarian regime, masked, however, as a “universal virtue” for all Soviets.

As with the Soviet Union, the famine of 1932-1933 asks to consider multiple components that led to one of the most tragic and traumatic episodes in the history of Ukraine in the 20th century: the methodological frame that Kulchytsky provides takes into account these multiple components and helps convincingly track the crimes that were performed by the Soviet officials. Moreover, the work can also be read as a confession of the scholar who lived through all stages of ideological indoctrination whose task was to raise scholars who would devotedly serve the regime. Kulchytsky opens his book with his personal story of how he started investigating the Holodomor under the Soviet Union: required by the Communist Party officials, the research went into a completely different direction and yielded the results that the Party could not foresee.

The book is the evidence of scholarly integrity and of the resilience towards the Party’s demands of obedience and cooperation. In spite of a number of works written about the USSR, it still remains to some extent terra incognita: particularly those areas that could shed some light on how the Soviet Union, that was built at the expense of millions of lives, lasted for decades; and why today there are attempts in Russia, which considered itself the main heir of the USSR, to revive the “glory” of its leaders—Stalin in the first place—and of life under the Soviet Union. The Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine: An Anatomy of the Holodomor provides detailed research of the traumatic episode in the history of Ukraine; it shows the mechanism of the totalitarian regime; and it takes us one step closer to the understanding of how the USSR emerged and developed.

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