The Ukrainian and Russian Notebooks: Life and Death Under Soviet Rule

Igort. Simon and Schuster, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4516-7887-1
Celebrated Italian comic artist Igort (5 Is the Perfect Number) has produced an impressive work of investigative journalism spanning nearly a century of brutality in the former Soviet Union, little of it known in the West. Although the layouts and citations are occasionally muddled, this does not diminish the stark horrors depicted. The first section recounts detailed eyewitness accounts of the Holodomor, a Stalin-sanctioned artificial famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s. Although Russian influence kept the Holodomor from being labeled a genocide by the UN, evidence of mass graves and cannibalism tell a very different story. Igort draws these and other atrocities with an expressionist style, highlighting the destruction of hope up to the present day. The second part focuses on Russia’s war crimes against the Chechen people and attacks on its own citizens, including the assassination of journalist Anastasia Baburova. A postscript details how Russia murdered its own soldiers during the Ukrainian war of 2014. Throughout, Igort’s art demands the reader’s attention, making it hard to look away from the gut-wrenching truths presented. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/04/2016
Release date: 03/15/2016
Genre: Fiction
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