(AP) The 1932 Pulitzer Prize awarded to a New York Times reporter accused of deliberately ignoring the forced famine in Ukraine will not be revoked, an administrator for the journalism awards said Friday.
“The board determined that there was not clear and convincing evidence of deliberate deception, the relevant standard in this case,” Pulitzer administrator Sig Gissler said in a statement. A review of Walter Duranty’s work was launched in April by a Pulitzer subcommittee.
The review came amid complaints that Duranty’s reports intentionally made no mention of the Soviet Union’s forced famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933 that killed as many as 7 million people. Josef Stalin’s regime created the famine to force Ukrainian peasants into surrendering their land.
Complaints to the Pulitzer committee had come from Ukrainians worldwide.
Gissler’s statement pointed out that the award was given for 13 articles that were written and published during 1931 — before the famine.
Duranty covered the Soviet Union for the Times from 1922 to 1941, earning acclaim for an exclusive 1929 interview with Stalin.
But Duranty eventually was exposed for reporting the Communist line rather than the facts. According to the 1990 book Stalin’s Apologist, Duranty knew of the famine but ignored the atrocities to preserve his access to Stalin.
The Times has distanced itself from Duranty’s work. The reporter’s 1932 Pulitzer is displayed with this caveat: “Other writers in the Times and elsewhere have discredited this coverage.”
In the 86-year history of the awards, no Pulitzer has ever been revoked.