The “Big Lie” publication presented at the Holodomor Museum

1 February 2024

On 31 January, the Holodomor Museum presented Andrii Kozytskyi’s book “The Big Lie. Methods, Narratives and Dynamics of Denial of the Holodomor”. The publication is dedicated to the tools of denying the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine, which were used by the propaganda apparatus of the USSR and continue to be used by modern Russia to destroy the memory of this Kremlin crime.

The event was attended by the Head of the State Archives Service Anatoliy Khromov, Deputy Director of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance Volodymyr Telishchak, Ivan Vasiunyk, patron Dmytro Pirkl and others.

The presentation participants were welcomed by the Acting Director General of the National Museum of the Holodomor-Genocide Lesia Hasydzhak. She thanked Andrii Kozytskyi for this large-scale and crucial work and emphasised that the book was peer-reviewed by the deputy director of the Institute of Ukrainian History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Hennadiy Boriak and the head of Raphael Lemkin Center for Genocide Studies (Kherson State University) Yuriy Kaparulin, and it received favourable reviews. “I am also proud that this book was not published with sponsorship or government money but with the money we earned from the sale of entrance tickets and excursion services,” she added. – I want to remind everyone that by buying our publications, you support the museum and give us the opportunity and motivation to create new projects, publish new books and be useful to society.”

Its author, a senior researcher of the Holodomor Museum, and associate professor of the Lviv National University, spoke in more detail about his monograph. Ivan Franko Andrii Kozytskyi.

“The main idea, the leitmotif of the book, is the definition of a ‘big lie,'” Andrii Kozytskyi says. – These words were once used by the British historian Robert Conquest, describing Stalin’s policy, who killed millions of Ukrainians in front of the whole world and managed to keep this crime a secret. The Big Lie is a notion that suggests that to deceive a large number of people, the lie must be enormous and of a cosmic scale. It should be so bold and undeniable that people’s minds are paralysed by it. At some point, those who are the target of this lie will start to think that if the state or specific politicians allow themselves to make such statements, then there must be some truth behind it. The French philosopher Alain Besançon described it as follows: Stalin intimidated with lies, and he showed: “I can say anything, and you will do nothing to me.”

People’s deputy of Ukraine and historian Volodymyr Vyatrovych, who had already read the monograph, emphasised the importance of this publication. “This is a book about how the memory of the Holodomor was systematically erased for decades, how the truth about the Holodomor was distorted and silenced, and in the end, they completely failed in these efforts. This inspires optimism because it shows that despite all the difficulties, the truth breaks through, and it cannot be concealed. I read about many aspects of how the Holodomor was hidden in other scientific works, wrote separate articles myself, and was interested in KGB special operations aimed at discrediting Holodomor researchers in the 70s and 80s. However, for the first time in Ukrainian history and historiography, all this material has been collected under one cover, starting from 1932-1933 and ending in the 2020s. It deepens the understanding of these processes, how they matured, how all the methodologies were developed, and how they were repeated, and repeated to the present day.”

Volodymyr Vyatrovych has singled out a particular aspect concerning the denial of the Holodomor in modern Ukraine. “In my opinion, the most valuable materials collected in a section, that I wish did not exist at all. It is the seventh chapter, dedicated to the denial of the Holodomor genocide in independent Ukraine. It is paradoxical: why was it possible after the opening of the archives, after the adoption of the law “On Holodomor…” in 2006? But it was possible! And I myself had to be both- a witness and a participant in all those heated discussions, often very manipulative.”

He added: “it is very valuable that the author influenced the story about the denial of the Holodomor by a much wider world context, the denial of genocides in general.” “And here we can see that there is nothing original in denying the Holodomor, there are typical methods used in committing other similar crimes. And this is crucial for understanding what we are dealing with, resisting attempts to deny the genocide,” Volodymyr Vyatrovych said.

The head of the State Archives Service, Anatoliy Khromov, congratulated the author and the Museum staff on “the release of this important book” and emphasised the necessity for further spreading the truth about the Holodomor. “It is obvious that the issue of spreading the truth about the Holodomor genocide should be the systematic work of most institutions and the State Archives Service in particular. Here, we initiated several crucial steps to disseminate the truth about the Holodomor both within Ukrainian society and outside. I would like to mention one document stored in the Central State Archive of Public Organisations of Ukraine – the archival and criminal case of a person convicted for keeping pieces of bread from the Holodomor period. And this was the basis for repression by the Soviet regime. And these pieces of bread are still kept in a separate envelope in the criminal case. This document was recognised as unique by the decision of our commission. The second step is making documents available. In four years, we managed to organise such rates of digitisation of documents that were twice the number of digitised ones in all previous years. After all, it greatly simplifies and speeds up the researchers’ work. We have also prepared, and I want to thank the National Museum of Holodomor Genocide for this, a nomination dossier for the UNESCO Memory of the World program, a collection of documents from the Holodomor period – the most revealing and interesting.”

Dear friends, Andrii Kozytskyi’s edition “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 contact us at [email protected]. You will receive an invoice for payment. Please send the payment receipt to the mentioned address, as well as the contact details and the shipping address. Important: publications are sent after the funds have been deposited into the museum’s account. Please do not pay in advance, make sure that it is available first!

The recording of the presentation will be posted on our YouTube channel.