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 third event is co-sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES), Stanford University and is moderated by Jovana Lazić Knežević, Associate Director, CREEES. Speakers will include Norman M. Naimark, Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of Eastern European Studies, Senior Fellow, Freeman-Spogli Institute, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; Bertrand M. Patenaude, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; and Amir Weiner, Associate Professor of History, Director of Graduate Studies, Stanford University. “America’s Famine Relief Mission in Soviet Russia at 100: Shifting Views from Lenin to Putin” is a hybrid event that will be held on Monday, February 6, 2023, starting at 4:00 pm PT | 7:00 pm ET (75 minutes).

Famine punctuated the first three decades of Soviet history. Disputes over Soviet famines have long been among the major controversies in the historical field. Historians debate the causes of Soviet famines, including to what extent they resulted from or were exacerbated by deliberate government policies, while demographers disagree about their death tolls. Three specialists will discuss similarities and contrasts of the three major Soviet famines: the so-called Volga famine of 1921–22 in the aftermath of the Russian Civil War, the famine of 1932–33 amid the campaign to collectivize agriculture—memorialized by Ukrainians as the Holodomor—and the famine of 1946–47 in the wake of the Second World War.


Norman Naimark 160px

Norman M. Naimark is the Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of East European Studies,  a senior fellow of Stanford's Freeman-Spogli Institute, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Naimark is the author of numerous works of history, including the critically acclaimed volumes The Russians in Germany: The History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945–1949 (Harvard University Press, 1995), Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing In 20th Century Europe (Harvard University Press, 2001), Stalin's Genocides (Princeton University Press, 2010), and Genocide: A World History (Oxford University Press, 2016). His most recent book is Stalin and the Fate of Europe The Postwar Struggle for Sovereignty (Harvard University Press, 2019).

Bert Patenaude 160px

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).

Amir Weiner

Amir Weiner is associate professor of history, director of Graduate Studies, and director of the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES) at Stanford University. His research interests include mass violence, population politics, totalitarianism, and World War II. He is the author of Making Sense of War: The Second World War and the Fate of the Bolshevik Revolution (Princeton University Press 2002), Landscaping the Human Garden: Twentieth-Century Population Management in a Comparative Framework (Stanford University Press, 2003), and the forthcoming At Home with the KGB: A History of the Soviet Security Service (Yale University Press, 2023). 

Jovana Lazić Knežević

Jovana Lazić Knežević is Associate Director of the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREEES). Her historical research and teaching interests focus on belligerent occupation and the social and cultural history of the First World War; urban history; and the Habsburg Empire, the Balkans and Yugoslavia. She is the author of several book chapters and articles on gender and war and the Habsburg-occupied Serbian capital of Belgrade during World War I. A graduate of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and recipient of a diplome from Sciences Po-Paris, she received her PhD from Yale University.


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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