Communism and Hunger: Introduction


  • Andrea Graziosi National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes, Rome
  • Frank E. Sysyn Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta



Over the past two decades, important studies of the famines in the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China have transformed our understanding of these events and laid the groundwork for the first attempts at comparative analysis.  Nevertheless, the great twentieth-century famines caused by state policies remain relatively little studied. We still lack a systematic comparison of their features, at least in part because of the difficulty in conceptualizing the possibility of man-made famine in modern times and because a topic like “Communism and Hunger” may seem to be a contradiction in terms. Yet even a simple list of the past century’s major famines suggests that the topic is badly in need of attention...