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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Between the middle of the nineteenth century and the middle of the twentieth, the immense areas of the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union saw some extreme forms of state violence, though of course, in very different historical contexts. This article addresses the main specificities of the great episodes of deportation and ethnic cleansing in the later Russian Empire and in the Soviet Union, as well as an immense event that remained completely hidden for more than half a century, the ‘man-made famines’ of the early 1930s. It also discusses the applicability or otherwise of the word ‘genocide’ to the Ukrainian famine of 1932–3 and the deportation of the ‘punished peoples’ from 1941–4.

Keywords: Russian Empire, deportation, ethnic cleansing, Soviet Union, man-made famines, Ukraine, genocide, state violence

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