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Anne Applebaum lecture - The crimes of Stalin

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Anne Applebaum lecture -  The crimes of Stalin: What we know now and why it matters

As a part of the commemoration of the “Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes'', the House of European History welcomes renowned Pulitzer Prize winning historian, journalist and commentator on geo-politics, Anne Applebaum, to present an online lecture entitled “The crimes of Stalin: What we know and why it matters.”

Thirty years after the opening of the Soviet archives, our views of Soviet history have changed profoundly. These changes, in turn, should shape the way we think about our past.
What perspectives have we gained by the availability of thousands of once-secret documents? How can these revelations help us understand the dangers and divisive nature of violent ideologies and authoritarianism, and to recognise the risks associated with misinformation and abuse of power in leadership?
While earlier commentators may have labelled Stalin as a ''mad man'', if Russian archives show that he was, ultimately, a clever and calculated ideologue, how can this influence us to think more critically around the challenges to democracy we are currently facing, in a landscape of large-scale disillusionment, polarisation and extremist movements?

Anne Applebaum Biography

Pulitzer Prize winning historian, journalist, commentator on geo-politics and keynote speaker, Anne Applebaum examines the challenges and opportunities of global political and economic change through the lenses of world history and the contemporary political landscape.

Informed by her expertise in Europe and her years of international reporting, Applebaum shares perspectives on, and the far-reaching implications of, today’s volatile world events. And as technology allows a new scale of media manipulation to authoritarian governments and changes the tenor of political discourse, she scrutinizes the misinformation, propaganda, and criminal exploitation that influence global affairs, as well. From Syrian refugees to Putin’s disinformation narratives, from the EU and the European financial crises to responding to terrorism, from solutions to transition-government corruption to political populists’ game-changing campaign language, Applebaum provides both background and up-to-the-minute insights that are vital to understanding the risks and opportunities of today’s world political and economic climate.

Anne’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag: A History is about the Soviet concentration camps. Her book, Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, is the winner of her second Duff Cooper Prize and the 28th Lionel Gelber Prize 2018. In it, Anne proves what many suspected: Stalin set out to destroy the Ukrainian peasantry. Anne is the only author to win the Duff Cooper Prize twice. Her other books include Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1946, which won a Cundill Prize for Historical Literature, and Between East and West: Across the Borderlands of Europe. In 2021, Anne was awarded the ICFJ’s Excellence in International Reporting Award. In July 2020, Penguin published ‘Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism” – in this work, she outlines eloquently why elites in democracies around the world are turning toward nationalism and authoritarianism. The book became an immediate NYT best-seller in the non-fiction section. Anne was later named one of “The Top 50 Thinkers of the Covid-19 Age” by Prospect magazine. In December 2020, Barack Obama listed this book as one of his favourite reads of the year.

She is a Senior Fellow of International Affairs and Agora Fellow in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. Director of the Transitions Forum at the Legatum Institute from 2011-2015, an international think tank, Applebaum is the co-founder of the institute’s Democracy Lab, an online partnership between the institute and Foreign Policy magazine. An adjunct fellow of the Center for European Policy Analysis, she is former Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs at the London School of Economics. For many years, Applebaum wrote a biweekly foreign affairs column for The Washington Post which is syndicated internationally. She is now a staff writer at The Atlantic. She has been a contributor to Foreign Affairs, the New Republic and The New York Review of Books. She was formerly a member of The Washington Post’s editorial board; foreign and deputy editor of the Spectator magazine; and political editor of the Evening Standard. From 1988 – 1991 she covered the collapse of communism as Warsaw correspondent for The Economist. Anne attended Yale University and was a Marshall Scholar at the London School of Economics and St. Antony’s College, Oxford.