After spending two years in Ukraine and Russia, collecting the stories of the survivors and witnesses to Soviet rule, masterful Italian graphic novelist Igort was compelled to illuminate two shadowy moments in recent history: the Ukraine famine and the assassination of a Russian journalist. Now he brings those stories to new life with in-depth reporting and deep compassion.
In "The Russian Notebooks," Igort investigates the murder of award-winning journalist and human rights activist Anna Politkoyskaya. Anna spoke out frequently against the Second Chechen War, criticizing Vladimir Putin. For her work, she was detained, poisoned, and ultimately murdered. Igort follows in her tracks, detailing Anna s assassination and the stories of abuse, murder, abduction, and torture that Russia was so desperate to censor. In "The Ukrainian Notebooks," Igort reaches further back in history and illustrates the events of the 1932 Holodomor. Little known outside of the Ukraine, the Holodomor was a government-sanctioned famine, a peacetime atrocity during Stalin s rule that killed anywhere from 1.8 to twelve million ethnic Ukrainians. Told through interviews with the people who lived through it, Igort paints a harrowing picture of hunger and cruelty under Soviet rule.
With elegant brush strokes and a stark color palette, Igort has transcribed the words and emotions of his subjects, revealing their intelligence, humanity, and honesty and exposing the secret world of the former USSR."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-04-04
- Reviewer: Staff
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.)