ARCHIVES Danyliw Seminar 2018
University of Cambridge (UK)
Daria Mattingly is an affiliated lecturer in Soviet History at the University of Cambridge. Her doctoral thesis focuses on the rank-and-file perpetrators of the Holodomor and their representation in cultural memory. Her research interests include perpetrators studies, Stalinism, and European history since 1890.
The Ordinary and Extraordinary Perpetrators of the Holodomor
In oral and cultural memory of the Holodomor rank-and-file perpetrators are often represented as marginalized elements: idle, sadists, drunks or the Russian-speaking Other. Yet who were the men and women whose actions directly or indirectly led to the deaths of others? According to the archival sources, apart from district officials, urban activists, police and security service, most participants could be located in the villages — collective farmers, Komsomol, members of committees of non-wealthy peasants, field line leaders, teachers, collective farm management, members of the village councils, and even pupils. There is no evidence to suggest that perpetrators on the ground were predominantly criminal, idle or sadistic types. A close reading of their memoirs, testimonies, and archival documents proves that their motivation was similar to that of perpetrators of other cases of violence and genocides - i.e. most of them participated for rather banal reasons. Such an approach offers a new understanding of how this devastating famine was possible on the ground.