Natural Disaster and Human Actions in the Soviet Famine of 1931–1933

Mark B. Tauger


Until recently both scholarly and popular discussions of the catastrophic famine in the Soviet Union in 1931-1933 invariably have described it as an artificial or ''manmade" famine. Certain well-known scholars have dominated this discussion, expressing two main interpretations of the famine. A Ukrainian nationalist interpretation holds that the Soviet regime, and specifically losif Stalin, intentionally imposed the famine to suppress the nationalist aspirations of Ukraine and Ukrainians; revisionists argue that the leadership imposed the famine to suppress more widespread peasant resistance to collectivization. According to these views, a natural disaster that could have caused a famine did not take place in those years.

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