Every day I think about writing another blog- most days I have many ideas for topics.  I have personal reasons for writing, and I do so for the people of Ukraine, to bring more attention to their cause, their fight. Many days I am so overwhelmed by the information available that I am at a loss where to begin. But not today.

I am currently reading Anne Applebaum’s Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. The link takes you to Applebaum’s website where you can purchase the book, read more about the book and the author, and read some of her recent columns in The Atlantic. Here is a synopsis taken from the author’s website:

In 1929 Stalin launched his policy of agricultural collectivization—in effect a second Russian revolution—which forced millions of peasants off their land and onto collective farms. The result was a catastrophic famine, the most lethal in European history. At least five million people died between 1931 and 1933 in the USSR. But instead of sending relief the Soviet state made use of the catastrophe to rid itself of a political problem. In Red Famine, Anne Applebaum argues that more than three million of those dead were Ukrainians who perished not because they were accidental victims of a bad policy but because the state deliberately set out to kill them.

If you want to develop a better understanding of Putin’s actions and goals, and their historical precedents, then read this book. You will quickly understand how history is repeating itself- how Putin essentially has no ideas of his own- he borrows everything from history. He uses the same arguments, the same rhetoric, and the same tactics that Stalin used in his attempt to kill outright, and to starve the Ukrainian people to death, over and over again in fact.

The starting point for any analysis of “modern” Russia’s actions is the revolution of 1917, and the pathological murderer, Lenin. The basis for the entire debacle- this is precisely what it was and still is- was a collectivised, classless society. Lenin’s first actions, and Stalin’s first point of businesses during his entire reign of terror, was to create division into… you guessed it, classes- the opposite of Lenin’s stated doctrine. After all, how can you conquer if your enemy is not divided? And the people were the enemy.

To justify the despotic, sadistic, “ideological” terror they wrought on millions upon millions of people, the state had to create tension, clash, and division. This is what Applebaum describes so clearly. She starts in 1917, with Ukraine attempting to free themselves from the emerging Soviet state. She takes you through the history of the country and its plight, day by day and month by month, with personal accounts from both “sides”, and extensive references. It is not the most pleasant reading, but then the truth is not often a pretty thing.

As soon as I am through with this work, I will be diving into her other books on Russia and Eastern Europe. In the meantime, everyone can support Ukraine. Even the smallest donation will help. See the links to the top right, and do what you can.