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Thinking About the Holodomor: Part I

 

The Holodomor, or the Ukrainian Famine of 1932 and 1933, seems to contain within it the entire 20th century: large-scale suffering and death, endless cruelty, ideological fanaticism, political persecution, willful blindness, Western credulity, and lies as far as the eye can see. Although accounts of this entirely manmade catastrophe were available and widely published at the time, it was not until Robert Conquest’s The Harvest of Sorrow in 1986 that the Holodomor received the exhaustive and clear-eyed treatment it deserved.

Anne Applebaum’s recent book Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine covers much the same ground as Conquest’s but makes use of archival sources unavailable to him. Applebaum also argues that the famine itself is really only half the story. Closely related was an extensive attack on Ukrainian elites of any sort—artistic, intellectual, and political. It is both—the famine and the repression of the elites—that “brought about the Sovietization of Ukraine, the destruction of the Ukrainian national idea, and the neutering of any Ukrainian challenge to Soviet unity,” she writes.

Thus is this now 85-year-old event quite relevant to the politics of Russia and Ukraine today.

Blotting Out the Past

While the story of the Holodomor deserves telling and retelling, historical awareness of the terrors of 1932-33 was nearly effaced in the ensuing decades. The Soviet Union was quite adept at whitewashing these events and finding willing agents in the West to propagate lies on its behalf. Academic political scientists and historians, those supposedly well-equipped for measured analysis, have not always proven themselves to be reliable interpreters of the Holodomor. As the French philosopher and historian Alain Besançon put it, “It is characteristic of the twentieth century that its history was not only horrible in terms of human massacres, but that historical awareness . . . has had particular difficulty finding a true orientation.”

The British social scientists Sydney and Beatrice Webb visited the Soviet Union during the famine. Still they returned more convinced than ever that the Soviet system was a model for all to emulate. Here is their considered judgment, rendered in 1937, on “dekulakization” (the forced removal and deportation or murder of the supposedly wealthier peasants) during the collectivization campaign: “Candid students of the circumstances may not unwarrantably come to the conclusion that . . . the Soviet Government could hardly have acted otherwise than it did.”

Thankfully, not all “candid students” have come to that repellant conclusion. The reception of Applebaum’s book, which was published in 2017, has been favorable. Red Famine garnered very positive reviews in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Commentary, National Review, and The Guardian, the leftwing British newspaper. Even among scholars not inclined to agree with some of her conclusions, Applebaum, a longtime Washington Post columnist who is currently a visiting professor at the London School of Economics, seems to have earned a grudging respect. The Australian historian Sheila Fitzpatrick, writing in The Guardian on August 25, 2017, noted that Applebaum’s “take on Stalin’s intentions comes closer than I would to seeing him as specifically out to kill Ukrainians, but this is a legitimate difference of interpretation.”

That last admission is important, especially when one compares it with a prominent reaction, over three decades ago, to Conquest’s argument for the famine as an intentional plan. J. Arch Getty, a Soviet and Russia specialist at UCLA, wrung his hands about Harvest of Sorrow, saying it would “give a certain academic credibility to a theory which has not been generally accepted by non-partisan scholars outside the circles of exiled nationalities. In today’s conservative political climate, with its ‘evil empire’ discourse, I am sure the book will be very popular.” Note the sneering tone and attempt to place Conquest’s book beyond the pale of serious discourse.

Notwithstanding the progress shown by Fitzpatrick’s and others’ treatment of this subject, the debilitating thought patterns and dispositions that have been around for decades are unfortunately still evident. Sophie Pinkham, reviewing Red Famine for The Nation, argues that Applebaum’s history is distorted by her polemical intent and her anti-communism. Applebaum leaves the standards of academic history behind, says Pinkham, in her “frequent use of concepts of ‘evil’ and ‘morality’.”

This is the fact-value distinction at its most ludicrous, invoked in precisely the place, one would hope, that demonstrates its limits. As Pierre Manent once asked, “How can one begin to describe what goes on in a concentration camp without disclosing its inhumanity, that is, without evaluating it, without making a ‘value judgment’?”

Not surprisingly, Pinkham has trouble staying the value-free course. She identifies Applebaum’s broad “political agenda” (as revealed in the introduction to her Pulitzer Prize-winning 2003 book Gulag) as recognizing that “Stalinism—and, by extension, communism—was just as bad as Nazism.” Pinkham is clearly troubled by the comparison, as she is by what she sees as Applebaum’s “disgust at leftist sympathy for any part of communism at all.” This is a very old game: Isolate communism from Stalinism and its “excesses” so as to save the “good” parts of communism and thus discredit any parallels to Nazism.

Yes, the Two Totalitarianisms Are Comparable

Seeing the kinship between Nazism and communism has a long and distinguished history, stretching back to the 1930s and including luminaries of the 20th century like Alexander Wat, Czesław Miłosz, Waldemar Gurian, Eric Voegelin, Hannah Arendt, Raymond Aron, Vasily Grossman, and many others. I once asked the Czech novelist Ivan Klíma, who was in the Nazi transit camp Terezin as a child and then spent most of his life living under a communist regime, what he thought of the comparison between the two regimes. “In practice, there is no difference,” he told me. “The only difference is in the theory.”

Both regimes killed people in great numbers not for any action they took, but for who they were. But whereas Nazism proclaimed its racial ethic quite openly and its violence was inextricably intertwined with that ethic, communist atrocities were committed in the name of equality. Pressing Klíma to elaborate, I asked him what he thought of an argument put forward by Besançon, that precisely because of that contrast, it is communism that is the greater evil because it cloaks its evil, shrouds its violence in ideals familiar to people living in democracies. “I know this argument and I agree with it,” Klíma said.

It was the revisionist political scientists and historians of the 1960s and 1970s who were eager to jettison the concept of “totalitarianism” and thereby deny any kinship between Nazism and communism. These scholars were writing during the emergence of the postwar behaviorist social science revolution. They emphasized their “value-free” approach and subordinated politics to economics and social factors.

Modernization theory purported to explain Soviet behavior by arguing that the Soviet Union was simply trying to modernize and industrialize, but that it was doing so in a particular way that might be more suited to its economic, cultural, and historical circumstances. Institutional pluralists argued that the Soviet Union was a “polity” like any other, with multiple institutions—governmental and societal—interacting and struggling for control.

As indicated, Getty was typical of this kind of approach. Here’s how he began his review of The Harvest of Sorrow in the January 1987 issue of the of the London Review of Books: “In the 20th century a transformation-minded Bolshevik Party wrestled with peasant traditionalism, capitalism, low agricultural output and its own ideological preconceptions in an attempt to modernize along socialist lines.”

One would be hard-pressed to come up with a more insipid or anodyne description of Soviet communism. The phrase “modernize along socialist lines” rings with irony in a review that argues that Conquest failed to explain Stalin’s motive in perpetrating the terror-famine. It is as if the UCLA Sovietologist were recommending we look at it this way: “Yes, comrades, join me on this glorious path to modernization—one among many, of course—and once we iron out some bureaucratic inefficiencies and ideological excesses we shall eventually converge with our Western brothers!” To quote Martin Malia in a slightly different context, “Proper social science method could hardly obfuscate Soviet reality more thoroughly.”

That review, by the way, spawned a testy exchange between its author and Robert Conquest in the London Review of Books. Getty defended his narrow empirical approach and credited his own unwillingness to fall into “simple answers” and “sweeping assertions.” He also suggested that the work Conquest, the British author of over a dozen books on the Soviet Union, was political or partisan in much the same way that Markham would later call Applebaum’s book “polemical.”

The refuge of pseudo-objectivity is a tempting one, and it clearly allows the pseudo-objective a shocking level of self-deception. It also leads to a kind of self-importance that enables one to reject everything one deems lacking in methodological rigor or analytical neutrality. Of course the pseudo-objective fail to recognize the ways in which their own assumptions and categories do violence to the phenomena under examination.

As Applebaum notes in a brilliant chapter near the end of her book called “The Cover-Up,” scholars like Getty were very dismissive of first-hand journalistic accounts of the famine and the writings of emigrés who were lucky enough to survive and tell their stories. We will look at the some of these eye-witness accounts in subsequent posts.

Reader Discussion

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on August 29, 2018 at 10:17:22 am

Any so-called scholar who writes a sentence like this should be dismissed out of hand: “Candid students of the circumstances may not unwarrantably come to the conclusion that . . . the Soviet Government could hardly have acted otherwise than it did.”

Taylor aptly writes: The refuge of pseudo-objectivity is a tempting one, and it clearly allows the pseudo-objective a shocking level of self-deception. It also leads to a kind of self-importance that enables one to reject everything one deems lacking in methodological rigor or analytical neutrality. Of course the pseudo-objective fail to recognize the ways in which their own assumptions and categories do violence to the phenomena under examination.

Here is a fine example of what Taylor is talking about: Regarding The Gulag Archipelago, Stephen Wheatcroft wrote : When Solzhenitsyn wrote and distributed his Gulag Archipelago it had enormous political significance and greatly increased popular understanding of part of the repression system. But this was a literary and political work; it never claimed to place the camps in a historical or social-scientific quantitative perspective (http://sovietinfo.tripod.com/WCR-German_Soviet.pdf)

More: To some extent we might better describe the death camps as conscious mass death-inducing camps (killing camps), and the other camps and places of detention as locations which had different degrees of death inducement at different times and in different social environments. . . .I think that Maier and Kershaw have been misled by Conquest and others into accepting that Stalin's regime killed many more people than Hitler's. The evidence that I discuss may show that the Stalinist regime may have caused the premature death of more people than Hitler's regime, but it does not show that it purposefully killed more people.

I am going to tar with a broad brush here: the approved methods of modern social science and historiography and the state of mind induced in its careerist practitioners have done more to obfuscate and bury the truth--any truth--than they have to reveal it or clarify it. Here is a truth social scientists and historians like Wheatcroft need to hear: there is no such thing as either a quantitative or historical "perspective."

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QET
on August 29, 2018 at 10:31:46 am

Hot review and spot on.
Ausgezeichnet!

It's a journalistic paradox that Anne Applebaum does the Washington Post proud while the Washington Post delivers neither pride nor news to anyone. If "Democracy Dies in Darkness" the Post will turn out the lights for ya.

And, reading Professor Flagg as refreshment to righteous anger, I say once again, ''To Hell with the Left's (Democrat Party's) omnipresent 'Useful Idiots'" (as Mona Charen dubbed them in her refrain of Stalin's apt description of the West's legions of blind, deaf but never silent journalists and historians who will see no evil and hear no evil and brook no criticism of the totalitarian plans and practices or destructive economic consequences of their favorite dirigisme, whether that of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, whoever's running Venezuela these days or Barack Obama or of international communism and its ideological twin, socialism of the nation state, now openly espoused by the crypto-Commies, Bernie Sanders and Pocahontas, and bordering on mainstream in the Democrat Party.

Robert Conquest (RIP) and Anne Appelbaum saw communist evil in Ukraine and called it evil. Walter Duranty and the New York Times saw only good intentions in Ukraine, were willfully blind to the reality of the massive evil consequences of good intentions, denied the fact that neither the Soviet's nefarious intentions nor their sought after consequences reflected a trace of benevolence and were rewarded for their special combination of willing ignorance and wicked naivete with a Pulitzer Prize in journalism.

Solzhenitsyn, a willing communist ideologue, became political prisoner of the system that had previously imprisoned his mind, the same system that in a mere two years starved millions of Ukrainians in the Holodomor. He suffered in Soviet prisons and labor camps the same barbarity as the millions of Ukrainians Stalin starved to death. But the horror did not destroy Solzhenitsyn; he survived to reform his mind, liberate his soul and write gloriously about the hideous reality of socialism.

Duranty and the New York Times (which has to this day not repudiated Duranty's writing or his Pulitzer Prize) and, I must note, FDR and his cabal of New Dealers, saw the intentions of communism as good, overlooked its inevitable evils as a necessary if not inevitable consequence of worthy economic restructuring and were rewarded by their peers, Duranty by the Pulitzer Prize Committee and FDR by the voters in 1936, 1940 and 1944. (Duranty and his New York Times must surely be viewed as the original purveyors of "fake news," the difference being that then all the fakery was good and about "Uncle Joe" Stalin; now it's all bad and about Trump.)

Solzhenitsyn endured the torture and survived the lie that the writers of the West's Left saw as necessity in service of truth, wrote about it, most notably in his work of history, "The Gulag Archipelago" and won the Nobel Prize for literature. Vasily Grossman saw the horrors of both national and international socialism and wrote a brilliant novel, "Life and Fate," which ideologically and philosophically dubs the two as co-equal monstrosities. George Orwell, prescient witness to them both, saw little moral or practical distinction between the two, while the Black Book of Communism would argue that, if body count is the measure, international socialism (Communism) is more deadly than was national socialism (Naziism) albeit driven by the same evil will to power.

Conquest and now Appelbaum saw monstrous evil by communists, deplorable academic cover-up and discreditable apologetics of that evil by historians who should but would not know better. Professor Flagg Taylor in her fine review has shined a bright light on all that, thank you.

Vive la vérité!

.

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Pukka Luftmensch
on August 29, 2018 at 17:41:58 pm

With the guise of “scholarship”, I find the above article and the writings of Anne Applebaum void of any real information relative to the Ukrainian Holodomor. Both are vacuous, as they explain nothing concrete about the event, about which the general public knows nothing.
The article tries to elaborate who amongst today’s “intelligentsia” agree or not with Appelbaum’s thesis; while Appelbaum presented “analogies” between the Holodomor and the Third Reich Holocaust. The two events are so different that any comparison between them is at best, pseudo-academic.
Yes it upsets me to read such so-called “scholarly” articles about, or by “known intellectuals”.
Those "scholarly" articles with their complicated phraseology are often written in such a language as to be beyond the comprehension of the average citizen.
Except for some closed circles of "intellectuals" such the Fabian Society and other "pseudos", very few people in the Western hemisphere have ever heard about the Holodomor of Ukraine as compared to the Holocaust.
The Holocaust pales in comparison to the Armenian, the Syriac Christian, and the Holomodor genocides. Not to forget the Soviet genocidal atrocities committed against the Latvian and the other Baltic populations; atrocities much worse than was the occupation by the Third Reich. Yet, “scholars” are hesitant to delve into the identity of those “persons” responsible for those pre-Holocaust genocides, for fear of not being “politically correct”. Significantly on the other hand, complete details about the Third Reich personalities responsible for the Holocaust are known to the general public, and readily available in books, TV, and the Internet.
Ample details exist, including in many countries’ archives, about those responsible for the pre-Holocaust genocides, but the media is tight-lipped on this issue.
My comment is significant for the reason that those “unnamed” Soviets who perpetrated the above mentioned atrocities on completely innocent populations are the progenitors of “those” today responsible for the horrific mass entrance of illegals into Europe; with similar aims as their forbearers from the Soviet era.

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Elias
on August 29, 2018 at 19:28:54 pm

That's a great example. Thank you.

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Flagg Taylor
on August 29, 2018 at 20:13:56 pm

Excellent essay AND comments!

I must take exception to one comment. however.

Taylor flags (Ok, bad pun) a comment by Besancon, - " “It is characteristic of the twentieth century that its history was not only horrible in terms of human massacres, but that historical awareness . . . has had particular difficulty finding a true orientation.” - and appears to accept the notion that this is simply a matter of academic / historical debate amongst different but fair minded historians.

BALDERDASH!!!
There has been no difficulty in finding a *true* orientation for the likes of first Duranty and Dewey and the NY Times continuing on through Getty, etc and unto the most recent dupes of the Great LightBringer's Administration, Kerry, Powers, Rice, etc.
They both KNOW and advance the *true* orientation. The compass points ONLY to Moscow as the lodestar of political organization and human fulfillment.
It would not appear, at least to my "primitive / partisan thinking, that any of these ideologues, these communist devotees of the academy and the media had any difficulty OR confusion about what the *true* orientation was and ought to be.

Let us not reduce their philosophical and pedagogical miscreance (damn Spell-CHUCKER) to a mere "navigational" difficulty, i.e., an inability to wade through the millions of dead human beings generated by a ghastly, inhuman and reprehensible political ideology.
They knew quite well what they were seeing and doing AND, had they so chosen, could have rendered reliable and *true* accounts of those observations.

Nope, I'll take Chambers opinion on these types.

Rather, I would characterize all those mentioned as evidentiary (DAMN Spell-CHUCKER AGAIN) proof of both the shrewdness and the success of Lenin's plan for a Long March Through the Institutions.

Am looking forward to part II.

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gabe
on August 29, 2018 at 21:02:04 pm

Two points: 1) Flagg is, after all, quoting a French philosopher, so one need expect unintelligibility and 2) it seems she's not confirming but dissing Besancon's silly statement that “It is characteristic of the twentieth century... that historical awareness . . . has had particular difficulty finding a true orientation," as if history were an animate, sentient being both endowed with self-awareness and susceptible to disorientation and sensory difficulty in "finding a true orientation." That's simply a meaningless sentence, anthropomorphizing history, that even one confirmed of historical determinism would not make. Substitute the words "historians" for "historical" and "history" and, shazam, the non-sensical makes sense, even to Gomer Pyle-like me.

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Pukka Luftmensch
on August 29, 2018 at 22:06:35 pm

Excellent essay, Flagg. I liked this line especially: "It also leads to a kind of self-importance that enables one to reject everything one deems lacking in methodological rigor or analytical neutrality." I couldn't help but think of Brian Leiter and analytic philosophy -- his smug dismissal of Leszek Kolakowski as a "philosopher" as he -- and apparently the majority of analytic philosophers, the majority of whom are Left-leaning -- found LK's identifying Stalinism as intrinsic to Marxism to be intellectually superficial and suspect.. Well, after all, this is the same man who smears Straussians as "right-wing Judith Butlers" and as intellectually sloppy. There isn't a thinker on the right who this "king-maker" of philosophers doesn't malign.

http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2003/11/philosopher_kol.html http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2009/07/in-memoriam-leszek-kolakowski-19272009.html

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RL
on August 29, 2018 at 22:07:04 pm

You are probably right. And isn't it just so *French* to assume the passive voice ( I guess that is why a number of foreign armies have paraded down the Champs - Elysees) as if it is something that just happened to these venerated journalists and historians.

Ok, that was mean but after all ....

signed, your brother from Mayberry
Goober Pyle

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gabe
on August 30, 2018 at 05:58:47 am

2d reply and two thoughts: 1) Your moral outrage and society's contemporary retrospective of moral outrage at the Holodomor, its perpetrators and their apologists is a healthy sign that a cowardly proclivity for self-seeking moral equivocation, while ubiquitous and far more common than not, is, nevertheless, not endemic, not an evolved self-defense mechanism of human nature. 2) The long-established role of journalists and historians in the process of subverting truth and deploying propaganda cum historical analysis in service either of denying or attenuating truth is invariably the consequence of the psychic group effects of ideology. Ideology as filtered through Freud's insights of the transference involved and Hoffer's characterizations of the group-think psychology at work are invaluable to understanding not only the Walter Duranty's and other cover-up writers of the Holodomor, but as well to evaluating southern Civil War historians who perpetrated the political mythology of the Lost Cause, post-bellum writers like Claude Bowers who deliberately deceived the public as to the course and consequences of Reconstruction, Democrat crony historians like Arthur Schlesinger, Jr, and Ted Sorenson who set out to mislead the public as to the presidential history of JFK or the spate of ideological histories of the Vietnam War which, instead of nuance have a simplistic cookie cutter formulation. Democrat hack-historians have worked for years to blame Dwight Eisenhower for the Bay of Pigs, and as you note, a bevy of ideologues, both historians and former statesman and political aides, are now busily at work writing faux histories that glorify Obama's legacy and besmirch Trump's history even before it has been made. And look what Hillary's dossier has done to the history of Trump's presidency from the outset. Political leaders and media moguls adopt such lies, the lies are picked up by future historians and in less than a generation they become truths that can live for many decades. Alexander Hamilton's legacy was crushed by such a process and required nearly 100 years to be restored, as was also true of US Grant.

Perhaps America is not so unlike the Soviet Russians in these regards, and the New York Times is more like Pravda than its readers know and Walter Duranty was more apparatchik than reporter and "fake news" is just the first step in the ideology of writing fake history and creating new truth. Orwell assigned such projects to the "Ministry of Truth." Nowadays, the work is more dispersed

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Pukka Luftmensch
on August 31, 2018 at 12:13:39 pm

Wittingly or unwittingly, the author adopts a reductionist understanding of the Ukrainian genocide ("The Holodomor, or the Ukrainian Famine of 1932 and 1933"), which prevents him from fully appreciating the complexities of the treatment of the subject, both in Ukraine and in the West. Flagg Taylor ignores the conceptualization of the Ukrainian catastrophe so well presented by Raphael Lemkin in his essay, "Soviet Genocide in Ukraine", Conquest simply did not know about this work and was unfortunately not guides by it in his Harvest of Sorrow. Anne Applebaum, knows Lemkin's work, but she misinterpreted both Lemkin and the UN Convention on Genocide, in accordance with which Lemkin conceptualized his analysis of, not just the famine, but the whole humongous crime of genocide, we now call the Holodomor. Applebaum fails to give an explanation of Stalin's motives of the genocide (and not just the famine). The question of motives is secondary interest in prosecuting the crime in a court of justice, but it is of prime interest for historians and the society which strives to understand the catastrophe and its consequences.
I trust and hope that Flagg Taylor will take these questions into consideration in his forthcoming posts.

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Roman Serbyn
on August 31, 2018 at 16:43:22 pm

Mr. Serbyn, I am ignorant of the history of the Holodomor, so you must please explain and clarify your statement that "Applebaum fails to give an explanation of Stalin’s MOTIVES (my emphasis) of the genocide (and not just the famine). The question of motives is secondary interest in prosecuting the crime in a court of justice, but it is of prime interest for historians and the society which strives to understand the catastrophe and its consequences."

Yet, as to Stalin's motivation for his Ukraine campaign, Lemkin describes it simply as "Russification." He calls it "...the classic example of Soviet genocide, its longest and broadest experiment in Russification – the destruction of the Ukrainian nation."
Lemkin also says, "The plan that the Soviets used (in Ukraine was) an essential part of the Soviet program for expansion, for it offers the quick way of bringing unity out of the diversity of cultures and nations that constitute the Soviet Empire. That this method brings with it indescribable suffering for millions of people has not turned them from their path. If for no other reason than this human suffering, we would have to condemn this road to unity as criminal. But there is more to it than that. This is not simply a case of mass murder. It is a case of genocide, of destruction, not of individuals only, but of a culture and a nation."

So I ask, what's missing from the puzzle, what's to doubt about "motivation" that would deprive the world of the capacity "to understand the catastrophe and its consequences"?

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Pukka Luftmensch
on August 31, 2018 at 22:17:50 pm

If you have Red Famine, please read the two paragraphs on p. 350, beginning with "The Convention ..." These paragraphs show that the author did not really comprehend what Article II of the Genocide Convention stated, nor did she understand that Lemkin's conceptualization of the Ukrainian genocide was in strict adherence to the convention and that this is now corroborated by Soviet documents, most of which were not available to Lemkin but were to Anne Applebaum.
Stalin's motive is in Lemkin's accusatory sentence, which you quoted: "the destruction of the Ukrainian nation". Unfortunately Applebaum confuses "destruction" with "killing" and thus misunderstands the Convention and Lemkin. Stalin's goal (motive) was to destroy the Ukrainian nation as a separate entity, by killing off a significant part the elites (the so-called kulaks were the village elites, in a republic where over 3/4 of the population were peasants/farmers), and the urban elites. The rest (great majority) of the population was to be transformed into Russified cogs (Stalin's favorite word/concept) for loyal Soviet citizens). This was essentially, the way in which the Holodomor was different from the Holocaust. Lemkin saw it, Anne Applebaum does not. The survivors of the Holocaust were not traumatized by a Stockholm Syndrom to love Nazi Germany, while Soviet Ukrainians were traumatized (the period of proto- and post-genocidal period must be added to the longer period of the Ukrainian genocide). And it was this development which explains the Ukrainian society today. Conquest did not have the benefit of Lemkin's insight; Applebaum did, but she did not make use of it.
The root causes for the Holodomor were political (building a strong Russian state, albeit under the nick of USSR, and not economic, as Lemikin so forcefully argued.

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Roman Serbyn
on August 31, 2018 at 22:51:55 pm

Thank you for that reply; I am just now beginning to see the point you are attempting to make. But you need to further clarify your point. Please state succinctly 1) what you believe to be Applebaum's misconception and 2) the political significance TODAY in the West of what you believe to be Appelbaum's misconception. Also, 1) why do you think she failed to address the points you raise and 2) what is your view of the comment made by "Elias" on 8/29 at 5:49 PM?

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Pukka Luftmensch
on September 01, 2018 at 12:04:31 pm

[…] 2. Skidmore College professor Flagg Taylor graces Law & Libertywith an essay on Anne Applebaum’s “Holomodor” book, Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. It’s never too late to set the record straight. From the essay: […]

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Image of I Heard My Momma Cry . . . | TrumpsMinutemen
I Heard My Momma Cry . . . | TrumpsMinutemen
on September 01, 2018 at 12:25:44 pm

[…] 2. Skidmore College professor Flagg Taylor graces Law & Libertywith an essay on Anne Applebaum’s “Holomodor” book, Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. It’s never too late to set the record straight. From the essay: […]

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Image of I Heard My Momma Cry . . . – Full Magazine
I Heard My Momma Cry . . . – Full Magazine
on September 01, 2018 at 13:25:12 pm

[…] 2. Skidmore College professor Flagg Taylor graces Law & Libertywith an essay on Anne Applebaum’s “Holomodor” book, Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. It’s never too late to set the record straight. From the essay: […]

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Image of I Heard My Momma Cry . . . – Edgewater Weather
I Heard My Momma Cry . . . – Edgewater Weather
on September 01, 2018 at 15:15:45 pm

Just in case there’s a confusion: Flagg is a fellow. And a fine fellow, at that. As for Alain Besançon, I wouldn’t judge him on the basis of one sentence or his nationality. He’s one of the good guys. His essay, “On the Difficulty of Defining the Soviet Regime,” is very good and can be found in Flagg’s fine anthology of analyses of ideology and ideological regimes, The Great Lie.

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Paul Seaton
on September 01, 2018 at 17:47:20 pm

I am sure that Besancon is a good fellow, as is Pierre Manent, both assuredly Frenchmen.

As we only had one "sentence" to judge Besancon's view, it seemed appropriate, given the contest of the entire essay, to comment upon it as I (and others) did. It seemed to imply a "passivity" to the non-reporting / whitewashing of the horrendous Holodomor. My own view is that the reportage of both journalists and historians, with some exceptions, was somewhat more *purposive*. I submit as proof of that assertion the very fact of the success of this whitewashing of history.

As for the disparaging comment re: Champs-Elysees - How can one resist?

Oops, I guess I did it again!

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gabe
on September 01, 2018 at 20:34:22 pm

Sorry for getting Flagg's personal pronoun wrong. These days some folks announce their preferences.

Don't know anything about Besancon (or why he was quoted) except for the quotation of his awkward but insightful sentence, awkward for anthropomorphizing history, insightful for concluding that historians (and, I would say, journalists writing news or history) have "particular difficulty finding a true orientation,” taking him to equate "true orientation" with "truth."

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Pukka Luftmensch
on September 02, 2018 at 05:23:07 am

[…] 2. Skidmore College professor Flagg Taylor graces Law & Libertywith an essay on Anne Applebaum’s “Holomodor” book, Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. It’s never too late to set the record straight. From the essay: […]

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Image of I Heard My Momma Cry . . . | Media Hard
I Heard My Momma Cry . . . | Media Hard
on September 02, 2018 at 12:51:01 pm

Gabe and Pukka, your charming responses were models of combox civility (and Gabe mentioned Manent!) . Kudos and thanks to both. (The Great Lie is a vg good anthology, with an incisive intro by Flagg.).

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Paul Seaton
on September 02, 2018 at 14:57:38 pm

In re "combox," the word is new to me, but it sounds to be a texting term (hence, alien to one who has no smart phone) and complimentary (thank you) in the context in which you use it.

Here is what I found in Binging (screw post-postmodernism's Ministry of Truth, Google!) the word "combox":

"Sorry, no definitions found. "

"A generic of combo box, which is a commonly used graphical user interface widget (or control). Traditionally, it is a combination of a drop-down list or list box and a single-line editable textbox, allowing the user to either type a value directly or select a value from the list. The term "combo box" is sometimes used to mean "drop-down list."

And here is one of several examples I found of the usage of "combox":
"I was falling into chaos, and then I went over backward in the chair and the combox exploded."

I kinda like that, for its existential "combo" of mystery and adventure.

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Pukka Luftmensch
on September 02, 2018 at 16:52:45 pm

Very informative. The last comment, quite witty. While I share ur anti-Google animus, Bing may not be quite adequate. Combox= comment(s) box.

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Paul Seaton
on September 05, 2018 at 04:50:59 am

It's very late (or too early) for me to be writing, but your declaration that Google is the preferred search engine re the meaning of "combox" has just now "made such a clatter" in my sleep that, exasperated, "I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter." Away to my computer "I flew like a flash" only to find that digging online with Google produced the same result as looking with Bing: "Sorry, no definitions (of combox) found."

I fear that some techie of extreme wealth and little knowledge has coined a mere Silicon Valley neologism that, like most expressive shorthand, is aesthetically displeasing, intellectually unnecessary and of no value to the lexicon.

Looking forward to "Thinking About the Holodomor: Part II."

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Pukka Luftmensch
on September 05, 2018 at 06:13:10 am

[…] Ukrainian Famine of 1932 and 1933 was coterminous with the Holodomor itself. As I pointed out in my first post, Red Famine author Anne Applebaum, and before her, the Hoover Institution scholar Robert […]

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Thinking About the Holodomor: Part II
on September 12, 2018 at 06:34:08 am

[…] regard to the famine in Ukraine and elsewhere has been a fraught one for scholars. As I said in my first post in this series, at least one scholar reacting to the recent book on this subject by Anne Applebaum […]

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Image of Thinking About the Holodomor: Part III
Thinking About the Holodomor: Part III

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