FamineWeb - Comparative History of Famines The University of Melbourne

Russian/Soviet famines > Famine period 1928-33

Famine period 1928-33


A sample of Wheatcroft and Davies works on Soviet famine is available below. The authors point toward a reassessment of the how the Bolsheviks dealt with the challenge of famine by drawing attention to the fact that the Bolsheviks were largely inexperienced in agricultural affairs and, indeed, in governance. This inexperience significantly contributed to both their adoption of dangerous agrarian policies and their failure to deal with food crises to which the policies contributed. These cycles of policy error as well as a range of other factors, none less than bad weather and exceedingly poor grain harvests, the authors conclude, help to account for the famines during 1928-33, particularly the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33. This conclusion is well supported by Soviet archival data, yet differs from those made by other prominent historians on the Ukrainian famine. Many argue that it was unleashed by Stalin and the Bolshevik leadership to starve millions of 'politically unreliable' people to death or that Stalin and his henchmen at least allowed famine to occur and continue in pursuit of the same aim.

The works have been added under the following subject headings and are accompanied by an impressive range of Soviet demographic data relevant to the famine period, ranging from Soviet-era statistical handbooks to advanced mortality tables developed by Wheatcroft. The contents to all Russian sources have been translated into English.

General Reflections on Soviet Famine


General Statistics



Food Production/Consumption


Mortality and Natality