Stalin’s famine, a war on Ukraine

A calamity made in Moscow

Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. By Anne Applebaum. Doubleday; 496 pages; $35. Allen Lane; £25.

OF THE estimated 70m deaths due to famines in the 20th century, at least 40m occurred under communist regimes in China, the Soviet Union, North Korea and Cambodia. The precise number of deaths remains uncertain, as do the causes, owing to the difficulty of disentangling the effects of war, revolution and disease, as well as those regimes’ isolation and secrecy. Even low estimates, however, are damning: what clearer illustration could there be of socialism’s impracticality than its repeated failure to feed its own people?

In her powerful account of the famine in Soviet Ukraine in the early 1930s Anne Applebaum, a Pulitzer prize-winning writer (and a former journalist at The Economist), tells an even more sinister story. Far from an unintended result of ill-conceived…Continue reading

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