Andrii Kozytskyi’s monograph “The Big Lie” was presented at Ivan Franko National University

17 January 2024

On 5 January 2024, in the Hall of Mirrors of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, a book presentation was held by the senior researcher of the Holodomor Museum, associate professor of the Department of Modern World History of the Faculty of History of Lviv National University named after Ivan Franko Andrii Kozytskyi “The Big Lie: Methods, Narratives and Dynamics of Holodomor Denial”. The event took place with the participation of the author, Acting Director General of the National Museum of the Holodomor-Genocide Lesia Hasydzhak, and Rector Volodymyr Melnyk, along with invited scientists, teachers and students of Lviv University. This information was reported on the website of Ivan Franko Lviv National University.

It is worth noting that the book “The Big Lie: Methods, Narratives and Dynamics of Denial of the Holodomor” is devoted to the methods and models of denying the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine, which were used by the propaganda apparatuses of the USSR and the Russian Federation in order to eliminate the memory of the genocide of the Ukrainian people committed by the Kremlin in the 1930s of the 20th century. This scientific work analyses the stages that the denial of the Holodomor went through during 1932-2023 and highlights the evolution of its main narratives. The author pays particular attention to the role that denial of the Holodomor plays in promoting anti-Ukrainian prejudices in modern Russian society, the processes of psychological mobilisation of supporters of President Putin’s anti-Western political course, and the information war that the Russian Federation is waging against Ukraine. The material developed by the author of the book gave grounds to conclude that Russia’s denial of the genocidal nature of the Holodomor is a denial of Ukraine’s right to its own history and, therefore, a form of denial of the Ukrainians’ right to independent state existence. The publication is aimed at historians, political scientists, journalists and anyone interested in the history of the Holodomor, as well as the informational aspect of Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine.

The presentation of Andrii Kozytskyi’s book began with a welcome speech by the rector of Ivan Franko Lviv National University, a corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Professor Volodymyr Melnyk, who emphasised the importance and relevance of Holodomor research in our time. “Today is without exaggeration an important event in the historical and intellectual life of our time. The source base, the literature developed by the author testify to his serious intentions not only to reproduce the historical truth about the Holodomor, but also to show the methodology of lies, manipulation of historical material, primarily by historians of Russia, with the aim of concealing this tragic page in the life of the entire European community and educating young people on the leveling of historical truth”, the rector emphasised and added that it is thanks to this book and other similar works that we have the opportunity to convey to the European intellectual space the truth about the Holodomor and the genocide of the Ukrainian people, and at the same time about the dangerous narratives of modern Russia and the events taking place in Ukraine now. “The work of our University in the context of the fight against the centres of the “Russian peace” in Europe proves that we did not pay enough attention to this problem before. The Soviet Union and Russia worked for many decades to make the university space of the Western world primarily pro-Russian. Almost a year of our work allowed us to close 23 centres of “Russian peace”, which mostly operate at universities, and now it is crucial that we continue this struggle. Consequently, I am convinced that such work based on the methodology of historical analysis of the processes that were modeled by the Soviet Union, is now extremely necessary,” Volodymyr Petrovych said.

After that, I was invited to speak to the Acting Director General of the National Museum of Holodomor Genocide, Lesia Hasydzhak, who spoke about the specifics of the museum’s work, particularly its activities in the field of fighting for recognition of the Holodomor as genocide and Russia as a terrorist state. Later, she spoke about the publication of the book accomplished at the museum’s expense. In addition, the plan is to translate the work into English, French and German to convey to the entire world community the importance of reconstructing the truth about the Holodomor and recognising it as a genocide of the Ukrainian people. Addressing the author of the book, Lesia Hasydzhak wished him new heights and scientific achievements and emphasised that Andrii Kozytskyi’s work is “another important brick for cementing the Ukrainian State, Ukrainian statehood and Ukrainian identity.”

Later, Andrii Kozytskyi, the author of the book “The Big Lie”, took the floor. First of all, he noted that the presented book is a work “which introduces the study of denial of the Holodomor into the world context of denial of genocide.” The author spoke in detail about the structure of the book. Thus, it consists of nine chapters, which are devoted to theoretical issues of genocide research (Chapter 1), the history of the denial of the most famous genocides of the XX century. (Chapter 2), the four stages of Holodomor denial in the USSR (Chapters 3-6), the peculiarities of Holodomor denial in independent Ukraine (Chapter 7) and modern Russia (Chapter 8), as well as the prospects of establishing criminal liability for Holodomor denial in Ukraine (Chapter 9).

During the presentation, Andrii Kozytskyi began his presentation by talking in detail about the historical aspects of the genocide denial topic in the world and the development of genocide studies methodology. After that, he proceeded to analyse the denial of the Holodomor as a scientific problem. In particular, the author mentioned the American researcher James Mace, who was the first to draw attention to the problem of denial of the Holodomor in a scientific aspect and made a significant contribution to the study and popularisation of the Holodomor history.

Analysing the narratives of denial of the Holodomor and the dynamics of their creation, Andriy Kozytsky singled out among the main creators of these narratives Joseph Stalin, Walter Duranty, Louis Fisher and others. “Initially, the narrative of the denial of the Holodomor looked like this: the communist regime of the USSR denied the Holodomor, the authorities insisted that there was no famine, let alone deliberate destruction of Ukrainians, there were difficulties in providing food products, it was a coincidence of unforeseen circumstances. Later, in the 1980s, when the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada and the USA took a significant step forward in reporting the truth about the Holodomor, the narrative was modernised. Now it was recognised that there was a famine, but it was still not recognised as deliberate, but rather considered as “a kind of accident at work.” The modern stage of denial of the Holodomor began in the 2000s with Putin’s coming to power in Russia. This process gained the greatest intensity in 2008-2009.”

Later, the author familiarised the audience with his vision of the peculiarities of the denial of the Holodomor in modern Russia and Ukraine, paying specific attention to how, even among our fellow citizens due to the falsification of historical memory, there is widespread uncertainty and disagreement about the essence and meaning of the Holodomor.

After the author’s speech, the floor was given to the dean of the Faculty of History, Ruslanov Siromskyi, who highly appreciated the work of Andrii Kozytskyi and analysed in detail the novelty and practical significance of the materials presented in the book. Thus, according to Ruslan Siromskyi, the author’s consideration of the features of various methods and narratives of denying the Holodomor, which were identified based on a thorough study of the source base, deserves special attention.“The author examines the three main forms of denial of the Holodomor – direct, implicative and interpretive, and here it is crucial to pay attention to the fact that a particularly dangerous form of denial of the Holodomor-genocide is precisely the interpretive one, which consists in mixing facts and fictions to question the motive of the Holodomor, and sometimes the actual side of events, thus spreading uncertainty and ambiguity,” the dean noted. Noting the great value of the work “The Big Lie” in the context of the struggle to recognise the Holodomor as genocide worldwide, Ruslan Siromskyi also wished the author and publishers success with the popularisation of the book and its translation into other languages.

Later, leading scholars-historians, political scientists and journalists expressed their thoughts on Andrii Kozytskyi’s work and the problem of denying the Holodomor. Among them: Professor Ihor Soliar, the director of I. Krypiakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies; professor Leonid Zashkilniak, doctor of historical sciences, head of Department of General History and History of Eastern Europe of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv; Vitaliy Liaska, editor-in-chief of the magazine “Local History”; Maryan Lozynskyi, head of the Department of Theory and Practice of Journalism of the Faculty of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv; Volodymyr Kachmar, vice-rector of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv for scientific and pedagogical work and social issues and development, Doctor of Historical Sciences and others.

In particular, Leonid Zashkilniak, speaking about the book “The Big Lie”, noted that “this is a serious scientific historiographical study, a book not about genocide or the Holodomor, but a book about us and you, about the state of individual and social national consciousness.”

Vitaliy Liaska thanked the author for the courage to call a spade a spade and noted that the book provides answers to very important questions: “For a long time we were chased away from the truth, from the memory of the Holodomor, we were chased so much that we ourselves did not realise that we – a nation that survived this traumatic experience, because it was tried in every possible way to belittle, to trivialise it. Andrii Kozytskyi’s book explains who drove us so hard and how this parallel false reality tried to replace the memory of the Holodomor in the collective consciousness of our people and the whole world,” he said.

The event ended with a discussion, during which everyone was able to express their thoughts and wishes, ask questions to the author, and once again pay attention to certain aspects of the Holodomor research.

Photo – Yulia Hrytsenko, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv press centre.

P.S. Andrii Kozytskyi’s publication “The Big Lie. Methods, Narratives and Dynamics of Denial of the Holodomor” can be purchased at the ticket office of our Museum (Kyiv, 3 Lavrska Street). The price of the monograph is 220 UAH. If you are from another city, please write to us at [email protected]. You will receive an invoice for payment. Send the payment receipt to the mentioned address, as well as the contact details and the address where the order should be sent. Important: publications are sent after the funds have been deposited into the Museum’s account.