Timothy Snyder Profile picture
Jun 11, 2022 16 tweets 2 min read Read on X
Russia has a hunger plan. Vladimir Putin is preparing to starve much of the developing world as the next stage in his war in Europe. 1/16
In normal times, Ukraine is a leading exporter of foodstuffs. A Russian naval blockade now prevents Ukraine from exporting grain. 2/16
If the Russian blockade continues, tens of millions of tons of food will rot in silos, and tens of millions of people in Africa and Asia will starve. 3/16
The horror of Putin's hunger plan is so great that we have a hard time apprehending it. We also tend to forget how central food is to politics. Some historical examples can help. 4/16
The idea that controlling Ukrainian grain can change the world is not new. Both Stalin and Hitler wished to do so. 5/16
For Stalin, Ukraine's black earth was to be exploited to build an industrial economy for the USSR. In fact, collectivized agriculture killed about four million Ukrainians. 6/16
Notably, as people began to die in large numbers, Stalin blamed the Ukrainians themselves. Soviet propaganda called those who drew attention to the famine "Nazis." 7/16
Actual Nazis had related ideas. They liked the idea of controlling Ukrainian agriculture. This was in fact Hitler's central war aim. 8/16
Hitler wished to redirect Ukrainian grain from the Soviet Union to Germany, in the hope of starving millions of Soviet citizens. 9/16
The Second World War was fought for Ukraine and in considerable measure in Ukraine, between dictators who wanted to control food supplies. 10/16
Russian memory politics prepared the way for a 21st-century hunger plan. Russians are told that Stalin's famine was an accident and that Ukrainians are Nazis. This makes theft and blockade seem acceptable. 11/16
Putin's hunger plan is, I believe, meant to work on three levels. First, it is part of a larger attempt to destroy the Ukrainian state, by cutting off its exports. 12/16
Putin's hunger plan is also meant to generate refugees from North Africa and the Middle East, areas usually fed by Ukraine. This would generate instability in the EU. 13/16
Finally, and most horribly, a world famine is a necessary backdrop for a Russian propaganda campaign against Ukraine. Actual mass death is needed as the backdrop for a propaganda contest. 14/16
When the food riots begin, and as starvation spreads, Russian propaganda will blame Ukraine, and call for Russia's territorial gains in Ukraine to be recognized, and for all sanctions to be lifted. 15/16
Russia is planning to starve Asians and Africans in order to win its war in Europe. This is a new level of colonialism, and the latest chapter of hunger politics. 16/16

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More from @TimothyDSnyder

May 22
1/11. The people who told you that fascism was not a threat were wrong.
2/11. The people who told you that Russia was not fascist were, if possible, more wrong.
3/11. Fascism is might over right, conspiracy over reality, fiction over fact, pain over law, blood over love, doom over hope.
Read 11 tweets
May 9
Illustration of Russian propaganda for today. We are meant to be intimidated or exhilarated by the fantasy of bombing the Pentagon. 1/10 Image
The message is that Russia always won, but the list of ostensible Russian victories on the poster tells a different story. 2/10
It's interesting that Russia here admits, as its Western friends sometimes deny, that Russia invaded Ukraine ten years ago. 3/10
Read 10 tweets
Apr 28
1/7. Right-wing justices postulate Trump's "immunity." The objection is that this makes him a king. Not so. It's much worse.
2/7. A king can be subject to law. Even George III was subject to law. The American Revolution was justified by the notion that he had overstepped the law.
3/7. This discussion of immunity is something else. The justices are not discussing any constitutional system at all, including a constitutional monarchy.
Read 7 tweets
Apr 25
Biden and NYT. The problem with this very helpful report is that it implicitly reinforces the two-sides-to-each-story framing that is the underlying problem. 1/4
The real story is democracy, and the real question for NYT and everyone else is whether that framing is dominant. Some great reporting there, but general failure on the framing. 2/4
As a citizen, I couldn't care less who in the White House and who in the NYT has hurt feelings. I do care about who is doing their job well. The Biden administration, with mistakes of course, has done that. 3/4
Read 4 tweets
Apr 20
1/3. Respect for the 101 Republicans who voted their conscience on Ukraine aid despite all the propaganda and pressure.
2/3. Pride in the 210 Democrats who voted yes (without a single no vote) on aid to Ukraine.
3/3. Appreciation for all the Members (@jamie_raskin, @jasmineforus, my own Rep. @rosadelauro, so many others) who could see and articulate Ukraine as an issue of justice.
Read 4 tweets
Apr 13
1/6. So far Russian propaganda has always been right about Mike Johnson – correct predictions every time that he would block Ukraine aid.
2/6. By this point they refer to him as "our Johnson" much as they refer to Trump as "our Trumpkin"
3/6. Russian propagandists say they expect Johnson's visit to Trump this weekend to kill Ukraine aid once again. We shall see. There's a new nervous vibe here.
Read 6 tweets

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