John Vsetecka

I am a historian of East-Central Europe, with a particular focus on 20th-century Ukraine. My research surrounds the Holodomor, a man-made famine that desecrated Ukraine between 1932-33. For my M.A. thesis (completed in 2014 at the University of Northern Colorado), I examined survivor testimony to produce a social history that focused solely on survivors and their memories of the famine.

My current research, on a smaller scale, expands on my previous work with the Holodomor, and seeks to focus on particular groups that existed during the famine, including foreigners that lived in Soviet Ukraine during the 1930s, educators, and children. On a much broader level, I aim to examine how the politics of food is used against populations and the ways in which these affected people survive, adapt, die, and thrive in times of crisis.

I welcome contact from those who have questions about graduate school, history as a discipline, and/or Michigan State University as a whole.

You can find my CV here:


Year in Program: Second 

Fields: East European History (major); Communist Studies (minor); Violence and Memory (minor)

Advisor: Dr. Matthew Pauly

Committee: Dr. Matthew Pauly (Chair),Dr. Amy Simon, Dr. Ronen Steinberg, and Dr. Aminda Smith

Research Languages: Ukrainian, Russian

Educational Background: Master of Arts (History)-University of Northern Colorado, 2014; Bachelor of Arts (History; minor in English), 2012.