Bread and Medicine Speaker Series branded image with detail of a black and white photograph showing a woman getting vaccinated in Petrograd in 1922 while other women and children are lined up behind her.

The Hoover Institution Library & Archives presents the Bread + Medicine Speaker Series. This second event is moderated by Anatol Shmelev, research fellow, Robert Conquest Curator of the Russia and Eurasia Collection, Hoover Institution. Presenters will include Julia Khmelevskaia, associate professor, South Ural State University; and Bert Patenaude, research fellow, Hoover Institution. “America’s Famine Relief Mission in Soviet Russia at 100: Shifting Views from Lenin to Putin” is a virtual event which was held on Friday, January 13, 2023, at 11:00 am PT | 2:00 pm ET (75 minutes).

When the American Relief Administration (ARA) departed Soviet Russia in July 1923, it was widely hailed by its millions of beneficiaries, lauded by Soviet officials, and formally thanked in a resolution of the Council of People's Commissars, which forthrightly acknowledged America's contribution to combating the famine of 1921. By the 1930s, however, the Party line instructed that the purpose of Hoover's ARA had been espionage under the cover of philanthropy. The panel explores what became of the ARA's reputation in the USSR under Stalin and his successors, and how it is remembered today in Putin's Russia.


Julia Khmelevskaya

Julia Khmelevskaya is associate professor in the Department of Russian and International History and director of the Center of Cultural History at South Ural State University in Chelyabinsk, Russia. She is the author of numerous publications on Russian-American relations and served as a consultant for the 2022 Russian-made documentary film Golod (Famine), about the 1921 famine in Soviet Russia.


Bert Patenaude

Bertrand M. Patenaude is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives and a lecturer at Stanford University. His first book, The Big Show in Bololand: The American Relief Expedition to Soviet Russia in the Famine of 1921 (Stanford University Press, 2002) won the 2003 Marshall Shulman Book Prize and was made into a documentary film for the PBS history series American Experience. He is also the author of Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary (HarperCollins, 2009) and A Wealth of Ideas: Revelations from the Hoover Institution Archives (Stanford University Press, 2006).

Anatol Shmelev

Anatol Shmelev is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Robert Conquest Curator of the Russia and Eurasia Collection at Hoover’s Library & Archives, and the project archivist for its Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Collection. Shmelev’s expertise is in twentieth-century Russian history, specializing in the Russian Civil War. As curator, he is principally responsible for acquiring archival materials relating to Russia, the Soviet Union, and the independent states that emerged from the USSR after 1991.


The Bread + Medicine Speaker Series highlights conversations with historians of Russia and Ukraine and leading experts on famine and humanitarianism. It is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Bread + Medicine: Saving Lives in a Time of Famine devoted to the American famine relief mission to Soviet Russia in 1921–1923.

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