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Russia: The Ukrainian Famine, 1932-33

3. Historical Context: Russia and Ukraine

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In this module, we think about the long history of Ukraine and its relationship with Russia. In particular, we think about: (i) the federation of Slavic peoples known as the Kievan Rus; (ii) the emergence of the Cossacks and the development of a Ukrainian national consciousness; (iii) the rise in Ukrainian nationalism in the aftermath of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia; and (iv) the continued fight for Ukrainian independence against foreign interference from 1918 onwards.


In this course, Dr Mark Levene (Univerity of Southampton) explores the events surrounding the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 – an event also known as Holodomor. We begin in the first module by providing a broad introduction to the events themselves, focusing in particular on the experience and impact of the famine, and the extent to which the Soviet government should be seen as responsible for the famine. In the second module, we think about the place of famine in human history, before turning in the third module to consider the long-term history of (and relationship between) Russia and Ukraine. In the fourth module, we think about the place of Ukraine within Soviet Russia, before moving on in the fifth module to consider the (difficult, potentially controversial) question of who was responsible for the Ukrainian Famine. Finally, in the sixth module, we think about some of the longer-term consequences of the Ukrainian Famine.


Dr Mark Levene is Reader in Comparative History at the University of Southampton, and in the Parkes Centre for Jewish/non-Jewish relations. His writing ranges across genocide, Jewish history and environmental and peace issues especially focusing on anthropogenic climate change. His most recent work includes the two volume The Crisis of Genocide : The European Rimlands, 1912 -1953 (Oxford, 2013) which won the Institute of Genocide Studies Lemkin award in 2015, and, with Rob Johnson and Penny Roberts (eds.), History at the end of the world? History, climate change and the possibility of closure (Penrith, 2010). He is co-founder of Crisis Forum ( and founder of the Rescue!History (, independent academic networks.

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APA style

Levene, M. (2019, March 19). Russia: The Ukrainian Famine, 1932-33 - Historical Context: Russia and Ukraine [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Levene, M. "Russia: The Ukrainian Famine, 1932-33 – Historical Context: Russia and Ukraine." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 19 Mar 2019,

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