Review by Olesya Stasyuk on Anne Applebaum's Book “Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine”

News 19 September 2018

Famous French lexicographer Pierre Boiste believed that “the best book is that, which contains the greatest number of truths.” I did not accidentally mention this statement, because it is the motto that researcher should be guided by (whether he is an academic historian or a journalist) when he is turning to the analysis and comprehension of historical events, moreover on such topics as “The Holodomor of 1932-1933” , which has a remarkable civilizational and ideological significance for the formation of the Ukrainian nation at the present stage. Taking as a basis such an imperative, I got acquainted with the book by Anne Applebaum “Red Famine. Stalin’s War On Ukraine”, for which the author was awarded a number of prizes (the Award of the Foundation of Omelyan and Tetyana Antonovych (2017), the Lionel Gelber Prize, the Duff Cooper Award (2018)).


I am convinced that the largest possible number of works by foreign authors interested in the Holodomor issue should be translated and popularized among the Ukrainian reader, in particular, presented to the representatives of the academic environment dealing with this issue. And the fact that the author once again raises this issue in the public and scientific space, giving him international publicity, especially on the background of the annexation of the Crimea and the military actions in the East of Ukraine, such initiatives can only be welcomed and maintained in the future.


However, any weapon used in war must first be tested for authenticity and accuracy, which increases its effectiveness on the battlefield. And here: the book by Anne Applebaum, in addition to the “fairy” and the positive reviews of the form of the question in the title, must be subjected to a critical and skilled historical analysis, one of which is an academic review, through which it is assumed “the use of the systematic theoretical arsenal regarding scientific narrative”.


There was a lot of “fairy”. The Applebaum’s book is “powerful, inexorable, shocking, convincing, and only reinforces the well-deserved reputation of the author as the leading historian of Soviet crimes,” notes Daniel Filkenstein in his review for The Times. Here is the impression about the book of Simon Sebag-Montefiore for the Evening Standard: “The chapter on the famine is shocking. People killed their children and ate them, cats and rats disappeared, whole villages died out. The carts that took the dead, just began to collect the weak and bury them alive. In one report, the head of the secret police department of Kyiv reports 69 cases of cannibalism in two months.”


Even a well-known and controversial researcher on this topic, S. Kulchytsky, praised: “In the Red Famine, Anne Applebaum demonstrates the true nature of the communist dictatorship hidden behind the scenes of well-written in constitutions “workers’ and peasants” governship and its irreconcilable contradiction with the interests of the peasants-owners.” “The colossal informational charge, which possesses the book by A. Applebaum, will contribute to the correct understanding of the mechanism of Stalin’s “crushing blow”. It should be noted that the text of the “Red Famine” is carefully worked out, there are a few actual errors and inaccurate expressions.”


To tell the truth there were remarks from him: “On p. 297 A. Applebaum says that Khrushchev returned to the republic in 1937, and on p. 285 and p. 340 – that he headed the Communist Party of Ukraine in 1939. In fact, N. Khrushchev was in Kyiv in January 1938”. “In the preface (page XXVI) it is said that between 1933 and 1991 in the USSR refused to recognize the fact of the famine. However, on p. 327 the author corrects this error and says that silence within Ukraine was absolute from 1933 until the end of the 1980’s. “


“If we want to prove that the Holodomor is a genocide – and A. Applebaum’s book proves it with all its content, – then the facts given by R. Davis and S. Vitkroft can not be ignored. Meanwhile, A. Applebaum does not use the book of these two influential on the West representatives of the school by E. Carr and mentions it only in the bibliography, also with the wrong date of publication”, etc.


About anti-Ukrainian statements in their content


Reviews in the western press were ambiguous. Of course, not only because the overwhelming majority of Russia-scientists in Western universities adhere to the position that the Holodomor of 1932-1933 does not differ from the all-Union hunger, but also because, as the Australian scholar Sh. Fitzpatrick, who specializes in the study of Stalin’s Russia, mentions “Red Famine” is written on the basis of not original research, and numerous references to archival resources of Anne – are a form of immature showing-off”. Criticism of the reviewer is also clear as she is for the non-genocidal origin of Holodomor, and is convinced that Applebaum ” accept the critically Ukrainian argument that the Holodomor was an act of genocide.”


However, the deeper you are studying the text of the book, the more doubt about the originality in terms of historical truthfulness and authenticity of the presentation of events appears, which gives additional grounds not to agree with the evaluation of the material such as “very little actual errors and inaccurate expressions.” Professional reviews on the book by well-known and competent researchers V. Serhiychuk, V. Marochko, R. Serbin, V. Vasilenko, positions and approaches of which are shared by the reviewer, speak for this.


In my review, which is mostly critically-polemical, I would like to draw attention, following the logic of the text, to the contradictions and mistakes made by the author in his book. 

The first thing that gets in sight when, after reading the Preface, you move to the “Introduction: Ukrainian Question”, is an outright anti-Ukrainian statement in its content: “Ukraine became a sovereign state only at the end of the XX century” (p. 29), “… Ukrainian lands were the heart of Kyiv Rus’ – a medieval state, created in the IX century by Slavic tribes and the aristocracy of the Vikings. In the cultural memory of this region, Kyiv Rus is almost a mythologized state, whose descendants are considered to be Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians” (p. 30).


Then the following thesis: “… most of the XX century, the village and the city was divided by the language: Ukrainians in the cities spoke either Russian, or Polish, or Yiddish, while Ukrainian dominated in villages” (p. 33).

This is not true. In 1923, the part of Ukrainians in the larger trade and industrial centers was: in Odesa – 2.9%, in Yekaterynoslav – 4.7% of citizens, in Nikolaev – 15.3%. The administrative and political cores of Ukraine – Kyiv and Kharkiv – were also not marked by the presence of Ukrainians as a defining nation, which was respectively 14.3% and 21.2% of the population. Modern scholars note the rapid and significant increase in the proportion of Ukrainians in the towns and cities of Ukraine in the 1920s. If in 1923 the total number of Russians and Jews in cities dominated the number of Ukrainians in almost 460 thousand, then in 1926 their ratio equaled . According to the census of 1926, more than 55% of Ukrainians lived in urban settlements of the Left and Right Bank of Ukraine. The number of Ukrainians among the inhabitants of Yekaterynoslav grew rapidly, amounting to 36% and doubled in Nikolayev and Artemivsk. In general, among the nine provincial cities, there were tendencies, which correspond society of this period. The vigorous replenishment of townspeople by Ukrainians during the six years was 14% – in 1920, 26.8% – in 1923 and 36.8% in 1926. The average percentage of Ukrainians in all cities of the Ukrainian SSR in 1926 was 48.1%. In subsequent years, the percentage of Ukrainians in cities grew even more. 


The table of expert opinion of demographers (2009) provides the ethnic structure of the population in Ukraine as a whole, according to the results of the All-Union Census of 1926, 1937 and 1939 (in%).

Proceeding from the fact that the national and linguistic composition of the population is somewhat different in the direction of increasing use of the language of the ethnic group representing the ruling nation, the Russian language in the cities was used not only by ethnic Russians, but also by representatives of other nationalities. However, not as stated in the book. For example, in Poltava, according to the census of 1926, Ukrainians accounted for 68.4% of the population, Russians – 8.9%, Jews – 20.5%. At the same time, according to the language of the population of the city of Poltava at that time, it was divided: Ukrainian – 62.7%, Russian – 23.7%, Jewish – 12.3%. Thus, only 5.7% of Ukrainians and 8.2% of Jews preferred the Russian language, which together with ethnic Russians is 22.8% of Russian-speaking Polatava-citizens, and another 1.1% of representatives of other ethnic groups in Poltava has also chosen the Russian language.


Regarding Polish language and the Yiddish, they have never had a dominant position in the linguistic palette of the population of sub-Soviet Ukraine, with the exception of a few small towns in the strip of settlement of the Jewish ethnos of tsarist Russia and in the centers of the Marhlevsk (Poland) and the Pulin (German) districts.


Have schoolchildren-Ukrainians been hooligans?


Next, the author finds out that there is a clear shift in the facts: “The great role of the peasantry also meant that from the very beginning the Ukrainian Renascence was synonymous with populism” (p. 34); “… Ukrainian schoolchildren felt demoralized in Russian schools, they were bored and they became hooligans” (p. 35); “The Ukrainian peasant uprising [1919, the reviewer] devastated the village and created divisions that would never disappeared” (p. 76); “But the scales of hunger scared the Bolsheviks. Lack of food could probably have stopped the peasant uprisings in Ukraine, but in other regions – only nourished them. In the Tambov province, the food crisis caused Antonov’s uprising … Lack of food was also one of the reasons for the widely-known uprising in Kronstadt “(p. 89). 


It seems that Ukrainians look unable to fight, while facing with difficulties, including hunger. The author does not take into account the fact that the Ukrainian peasants courageously fought an armed struggle with the Bolsheviks in 1919-1921. During the three (!) years Soviet Russia ineffectively used in this war with ordinary peasants regular parts of the Red Army. Ukrainian village at this time was not full of food – Denikins, Russian army, numerous criminal gangs robbed. However, the neither the amnesty promised to the rebels nor the cancellation of a surplus helped Bolsheviks, since in 1921 crop tax continued to be collected by methods of Prodrazvyorstka, a robbery of everything that was found by armed Prodzahony.


The main reason for the Tambov uprising of 1920 is the same as for the uprising in Ukraine – not a food crisis, but a “policy of Prodrazvyorstka” introduced by the Bolsheviks. The peasants of the full of bread Tambov province were plundered the same way as the Ukrainian peasants. Indeed, in 1920, the Tambov region was struck by the drought, which, however, can not be compared with the burnout of all vegetation next year in the Volga region and in the southern provinces of Ukraine. While the causes of the revolt of the Kronstadt sailors were exclusively political. On February 24, 1921, strikes and rallies of workers with political and economic demands began in Petrograd. The Petrograd Committee of the Comunist Party of USSR considered the riots at the factories of the city as a rebellion and introduced a military state in the city, arresting workers’ activists. These events gave rise to the uprising of the Kronstadt garrison, during which the X Congress of the Comunist Party of USSR decided to cancel the Prodrazvyorstka.


About the Ukrainian village


Speaking about collectivization and dispossession in the Ukrainian village, Anne Applebaum exposes Ukrainians as greedy and cruel, manipulating by initially proving negative fact, and noting that there were many of such, and only then a fact with the manifestation of empathy, immediately emphasizing its uniqueness: “There were also many cases of cruel maltreatment. In one village, the brigade burned a house in which were two girls who had just became orphans. The elder girl went to work at the collective farm, and from there she was not allowed to miss a while to take care of a seriously sick sister. Nobody found any sympathy for orphans. Instead, the neighbors dismantled the remains of the house and took away the last possessions the sisters have saved”(p. 142); “In one village, JSPD witnessed how «50 poor people were crying together with the kulaks during the dispossession. They did not resist, but helped the kulaks to gather their belongings and find housing”… But these observations also proved that even in conditions of violence and hysteria some people in some villages managed to save humanity” (p. 143).


There are some fragments that belittle the colonial policy of the Bolsheviks concerning Ukraine. Speaking that the reaction of the authorities in Russia and Ukraine to the famine of 1921-1923 differed, the author does not explain that the untimely assistance to the Ukrainian population was related to the Kremlin’s policy: “Just as Russian colleagues, the Ukrainian Communists have created the Central Commission for the Assistance of the Hungry People. However, initially the commission was supposed to help not Ukrainians “(p. 85). The author of the refusal to the American organization ARA to work in Ukraine is depicted in the book as People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs M. Skrypnyk, who forbade the organization to do so because of the absence of a separate agreement with the Ukrainian government (p. 86).


The reliability of the memoirs of O. Goncharenko, provided to anthropologist W. Knoll in the early 1990’s, which claimed that all twenty-five thousanders were Russian, is denied. Despite the fact that the respondent at the time of collectivization was already an adult and had a clear understanding of what was happening, Anne Applebaum insists: “In this he was mistaken, because most of those who worked in the villages in Ukraine were sent from Ukrainian cities” (p. 132).


There is an evidence of a a pre-planned hunger


Among other things, Anne Applebaum denies the conclusions of Ukrainian researchers regarding the use of the massive famine of 1921-1923, raging on the territories of several provinces of sub-Soviet Ukraine, to suppress the peasant opposition to the communist regime. «Ukrainian researchers even suggested a more precise political explanation: the Soviet government could use the famine (as it happened later in 1932) to suppress the Ukrainian peasants’ uprising. This statement can not be proved, since there is no evidence of a pre-planned famine of Ukrainian peasants in 1920-1921 years» (p. 88).


Awesome proof base. First, mass starvation in Ukraine lasted from 1921 to 1923. Secondly, and if not initially planned, why could not it be used post-fact? Thirdly, There are not two of Ukrainian historians, who have proved it on a large array of archival sources (as the author refers). Fourth, she argues directly opposite to her conclusion. In particular: “It’s time, as Lenin explained, to give it hot and strong to the peasants, clergy and other political opponents, so that in the next decades they did not dare to think about any resistance» (p. 88).


Resettlement of Russians at the end of 1933 Anne Applebaum describes partly realistic: “Generally, the first wave of migrants was formed by volunteers who expected free housing, food security and the relocation paid by the state». However, then she provides a fantastic remark: “although some of them were evicted as «kulaks” and «enemies of the nation» – they did not have the choice not to relocate”. The Siberia was waiting for new colonists, and all the migrants on the Ukrainian lands were given three years’ exemption from taxation, received money, grain, a cow, a house free from Ukrainians and even a gramophone. An interesting dispossession!


But the most interesting thing, (and here we should support all previous critics of labor, who clearly pointed to the author’s denial of the Holodomor in Ukraine 1921-1923 as a genocide) an accent on the fact that the Holodomor was “an integral part of the Soviet Union’s famine.” The causes of hunger, according to Anne Applebaum, «were buried in the catastrophic decision of the leadership of the Soviet Union to force the peasants to abandon their land and join the collective farm; in the eviction of “kulaks” or richer peasants from their homes; eventually a chaos that arose as a result of the combination of these factors and led the village to famine “(p. XXI). The Holodomor is considered in a much narrower chronological framework than it is proved by historians with documents, and what is evidenced by those who survived it: “… these two political campaigns – the Holodomor in the winter and spring of 1933, and repression against the Ukrainian intelligentsia and politicians in the coming months. .. “(p. XXIII).


Scary statistics


In the Preface, a thesis appears that the Holodomor does not correspond the UN Convention, the text of which differs from the concept of genocide by Lemkin, and contains a hint of the influence of some Ukrainian connections on the definition of «This concept (p. XXXIIII) by R. Lemkin.


Claiming that “instead of a sharp fall in the summer [of 1933 – Author], the tragedy slowed down step by step. “Overmortality” continued during 1933-1934″Anne Applebaum 1) denies its artificial character – a regime that systematically began killing Ukrainians in the first quarter of 1932, so systematically stopped to do this – the increased mortality in the months ahead until the fall of 1933 is a prolonged effect of long-termed famine; 2) calls the Holodomor a tragedy, not a crime, that actually denies its genocidal character.


There is also an ungrounded use of facts for the sake of broad generalizations. Memoirs of P. Angelina concerning collectivization: “Only after the victory over the kulaks, when they were forced to leave the land, we, the poor, felt like real owners” were given without regard to the personality of the hero and accompanied by the conclusion: “There were many people like Angelina and her family”(p. 134). To the attention of the author, Angelina is twice a Hero of Socialist Labor, winner of the Stalin Prize, awarded with three Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, medals; author of the book “People of the collective farms’ fields” (1950).


The next example. “Often the confiscation was quick and violent …. In some cases, expropriation was carried out by imposing high taxes, executed backdating”(pp. 140, 141). Instead, in Ukraine, these were not isolated but typical phenomena. The over-taxation of so-called “kulaks” was one of the tools of robbery, and confiscation was carried out with the obligatory violence.


What kind of a new rural elite has the collectivization created?


Concerning the terminological and factual “negligence”. The term “civil war” is used to refer to the events of the National Liberation Struggle of the Ukrainian people in 1918-1920 (pp. 47, 48, 49, 63, 86, 131, 136, 152, 156); the use of Lenin’s terminology regarding “unity of the Russian and Ukrainian proletariat” (p. 48). “In the autumn of 1922, when the famine still covered a considerable territory of the country …” (p. 85). It is unclear here, when, according to Anne Applebaum, the hunger ended and what country does she mean. And also: “… collectivization created a new rural elite that firmly believed in its right to govern” (p. 135). The description of collectivization (pp. 141) is far from reality and looks like a farce or Hollywood Western shooting.


Several pages of the book are devoted to vague descriptions of the famine in Russia, the appeal of its government to foreigners about aid to the hungers, but there is no accent that the request concerned only the population of the Volga region. Thus, the reader is given the impression that the same assistance was provided to Ukraine, whereas the mass deaths from famine in Ukraine only came to light when millions of dead Ukrainians could no longer be helped (pp. 82-85).


“It was a time [1929 – a reviewer], when the Stalinist offensive rhetoric was confronted with the reality of Ukrainian and Russian life in the countryside …. Antonina Solovyova, a city Komsomol activist who worked on the Ural, recalled collectivization with nostalgia … ” The methods by which collectivization and dispossession was carried out are presented as if through a kaleidoscope lens, examples of images are changing each other, regardless of the place of deployment of the event – in Ukraine or in Russia (pp. 140-141).


In this way, the reader is leaded to the thought: firstly, that it absolutely did not matter for the authorities whom to resort with violence and to repress – whether the Russian peasant, or the Ukrainian one; and secondly, that predatory dispossession is a violation of local activists; they are put out by author puts as the typical criminals who dare to pick up the last diaper and piece from a baby.


This also applies to the story of the uprising of 1930 (p. 154). “By February 6, 1930 … special agencies in the Soviet Union arrested 15,985 people for “counterrevolutionary activity» in the villages. Approximately two thirds of those arrested were Ukrainians. From February 12 to 17, the JSPD arrested another 18,000 throughout the Soviet Union» (p. 156). If the rebel movement in Ukraine was no different from other regions, then why was Stalin so angry with exactly the Ukrainians?


Inaccuracy or misrepresentation of historical facts?


A separate block of problems – ignorance or misrepresentation of facts. As with the use of secondary facts, ignoring those that had killing effects. For example, in relation to the Ukrainian language (p. 55): “… in 1804, Tsar Alexander I allowed the use of certain national languages ​​in new public schools. Ukrainian was not included in this list … “. “In 1881, the Kyiv Governor-General declared that the use of the Ukrainian language in school books could lead to its appearance in higher education institutions, and leads to legislation, courts and administrative institutions, thereby creating “numerous difficulties and even dangerous changes for a unity of the Russian state”. At the same time, there is no mention of the Valuev circular from July 30 (July 18) in 1863, which banned publication of religious, educational and educational books in the Ukrainian language, although the publishing of fiction was still permitted, and the Emsky decree of Alexander II (1876) on the prohibition of the printing and import of any Ukrainian-language literature from abroad, as well as the prohibition of Ukrainian stage performances and printing Ukrainian texts under notes, which means folk songs.


We also have the following: “When the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires suddenly collapsed in 1917 and 1918, respectively …” (p. 37); “The success of the revolution proved to be Bolshevik leaders and many others that Marx and Lenin were right” (p. 49); “In June 1919 Grigoriev and Makhno forever terminated their agreements with the Bolsheviks” (p. 69). Makhno went for an alliance with the Bolsheviks during the onset on General Wrangel in the fall of 1920, “When the White Army took Kharkiv in August 1919 …” (p. 71). Denikintsy entered Kharkiv on June 25, 1919. “Exact human losses are difficult to calculate, because nobody has counted during the famine. In the most damaged southern region of Ukraine, from 250,000 to 500,000 died … Soviet materials published shortly after the famine indicated 5 million people [in all Soviet republics in general – the Reviewer]» (p. 89). “Most of them [collective farms – the Reviewer] will demand from members the alienation of ownership of their land …” (p. 128). In the late 1920s, all of the land in the USSR was the property of the state, so the alienation of the ownership of the land was unnecessary.


In addition, the various chapters of the book contain mutually exclusive conclusions on the same issue. Conclusion: “… the recognition by the state of the new leadership of the village made the opponents of collectivization silenced … the activity of the peasant masses [against the «kulaks” – the Reviewer] was so powerful that during the whole operation, it was not even necessary to call up armed detachments …. Thanks to the “enthusiasm and effectiveness of local activists, the enemies of collectivization felt confused and lonely” (pp. 135) are made on the basis of the report of the JSPD on events in Ukraine in March 1930, without its critical analysis and the use of other sources. Further in the text, the author expresses doubts about the enthusiasm of the activists, stating the inability to learn from the available materials about the reality of this enthusiasm, and the memoirs, according to the author, “only hint” that the activists “were neither enthusiasts, nor cynics, nor criminals, but simply feared» (p. 135). Such a reminiscence after the controversial statements is, however, insufficient to refute them.


About kulaks and peasants’ uprisings


In another chapter devoted to the uprisings, the author, describing this situation, gives information about 2000 mass demonstrations that took place in Ukraine by the end of March 1930 (p. 160). She further states: “By mid-March, the situation worsened. On March the 9th, Balitsky reported on “mass uprisings” in sixteen regions of Ukraine» (p. 161). The question arises: for whom has the situation deteriorated?


Admission to the category of kulaks is explained not by the attitude to the regime (active and inactive), but by personal relationships with neighbors or village leadership (p. 137). Author allows herself a loose order of events, when what happened later comes as a reason for the previous event: “Since the demand for “the destruction of the kulaks as a class “became a state priority [Stalin’s statement at the conference in December 1929 – the Reviewer], the republican leadership felt the need to find better definition of the term “kulak”. In August 1929, the Council of People’s Commissars issued a decree declaring “signs” of kulak farms» (p. 137).


The author claims that the term “kulak” was “incredibly light” distributed to “representatives of national minorities in the USSR, in particular Poles and Germans, many of whom lived in Ukraine. In 1929-1930, some Ukrainian officials believed that all ethnic Germans in Ukraine, and some of them lived here since the 18th century, should be redefined to “kulaks”. In percentage terms, they were deactivated and deported approximately three times more often than ethnic Ukrainians, and they also became objects of special persecution. “Wherever you, locusts, settle on our land,” the head of the collective farm said to a group of ethnic Germans-peasants, “do not expect God’s help, nobody will hear your disgusting complaints” (p. 138).

“Like the Party leaders of that time, the JSPD leadership did not complain about the lack of ambition. Of all the grain regions of the USSR, Ukraine was expecting to provide the most “kulaks”: 15,000 «the strongest and most active kulaks» had to be arrested, 30,000-35,000 “kulaks” with their families were to be evicted, and another 50,000 had to be deported to the Northern Territory.” Below, for comparison, numbers for Belarus and the Central-Chornozem region and the assumption are given: “Perhaps higher numbers for Ukraine corresponded to  higher percentage of peasants among the population. It is also possible that they reflected the Moscow perception of Ukrainian peasants as a source of permanent political threat.” Hence, it is unclear under which document repressions against the so-called “kulaks” were provided and how many of them, in fact, had to be evicted. The Secret Decree of the Central Committee of the Bolsheviks dated 30 January 1930 provided the secret separation of those who were obliged to be dekulakized into three categories (not merely based on a state of property, but by the degree of their disloyalty to the regime). Also the meaning of so-called “kulak operation» is converted, which was conducted on the basis of the decision of the JSPD of 31.01.1930


“In the 1980s, one Ukrainian peasant told the collector of oral history that he was lucky enough to be deported to Siberia, because he was able to move his family there when the famine began here” (p. 145). And what about the need to be observed every day in the command post for special settlements? Even one skip of it could have been the reason for the imprisonment in a concentration camp! Was it possible to get alive to this Siberia?


Positive sides and “echo of the authority”


Thus, having considered and analyzed the aforementioned questionable and frankly contradictory aspects in the work of A. Applebaum “Red Famine. Stalin’s War on Ukraine”, I would like to focus on the key, in my opinion, positive and negative points. It is worth mentioning that the appearance of such work in English, and also from the pen of the laureate of the Pulitzer Prize, is, in general, a step forward in the sense that it brings to the Western world information about the criminal acts committed in 1932-1933, through which more people will learn about the Holodomor of those times that was planned and initiated by the Stalinist regime. In addition to purely academic research, such scientific and journalistic works are needed, which will make this topic a top-notch issue of world and civilizational scale, which should be spoken and remembered not only by Ukrainians but also by ordinary people all over the world in order to do right conclusions and prevent the emergence of such crimes in the future.


Among the negative points, considering the comments, the most important is the trap, which can be conditionally defined as “echo of authority.” Should we, scholars and prudent readers, turn to any work on the Holodomor topic by foreign researcher authorship with trust? Could it be necessary to critically approach any historical research that relates to the analysis and comprehension of this problem, regardless of whether the author is known or a little-known figure in the scientific world? Not applaud excitedly when hearing from the mouth of a well-known Western scholar, the word «Holodomor», or having come across a book with such a name, but with all conscientiousness and impartiality, seek verification of the gained and presented data concerning their authenticity and truthfulness, which, in fact, is required by the historian’s profession. And, on the basis of this, to answer the following question: do such works “distort” Ukrainian history, and also whether they are harmful for the consciousness of Ukrainians?


In the case of Anne Applebaum, such warnings are not accidental and are justified. The above-mentioned thought, which passes through the whole her work, suggests that the Holodomor may not fall under the definition of “genocide” in historical and legal terms (pp. 340-341), unlike the Holocaust. And it is not surprising that the author makes such a conclusion, because if you look at the list of the sources, then it looks incomplete and selective, there are no key academic papers by renowned Ukrainian researchers, links to solid regional and culturological studies there that allow us to comprehensively look at the Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people. This poses to the author, if she continues to explore this topic and yet wants to know the truth, new tasks that will require additional material from her and additional consultations with a wide range of experts, and on this basis making the necessary corrections to the work that will be included in the second supplement of the publication. For my part, my colleagues and I are ready to help her, because we are equally interested in the objective coverage of the truth about the genocide of Ukrainians.