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The History Fangirl Podcast

Sep 19, 2018

On today’s episode of the History Fangirl Podcast, we talk with renowned travel blogger Megan Starr, whom we spoke to a few months back about Kiev. But this week, we’re talking in person, in Kazakhstan, at the site of the memorial to the Great Kazakh Famine, a historical event which not many people know about in the West but looms large in the history of Kazakhstan. And, we both have recovered from the Kazakhstani flu that has been going around, so we’re ready to get rolling!

The Great Famine

We’ve talked before about the Great Famine in Ukraine, but similar tragedies hit all over the Soviet region. There were actually two terrible genocides in the region. In 1919, many Kazakhs were killed by a drought. But due to the forced farm collectivization of the nomadic peoples in the region from 1931 to 1933, the Soviet Union ended up killing nearly 2 million people. It’s a terrible story, one not well-known outside the region, but one that everyone should hear.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:57] The memorial in Almaty
  • [3:45] What Kazakhstan was like in the 20th century
  • [6:59] Why it’s a genocide
  • [9:37] About the statue
  • [11:34] Life in Kazakhstan after the famine
  • [15:10] Why this genocide isn’t as prominent
  • [17:54] How Megan fell in love with Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • [22:00] What to see in Almaty and in the region
  • [27:58] The biggest mistake people make when traveling to Kazakhstan

Resources Mentioned

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Featuring the song “Places Unseen” by Lee Rosevere.