#45_1-8

daynewspaper

AUGUST 10, 2017 ISSUE No. 45 (1097)

Tel.: +38(044) 303-96-19,

fax: +38(044) 303-94-20

е-mail: time@day.kiev.ua;

http://www.day.kiev.ua

Polish rock musician and CEO

of the PJSC Ukrainian Rail -

way (Ukrzaliznytsia) Woj -

ciech Balczun resigned on

August 9 “on his own accord,”

having served almost 15 months in

the position. Prime Minister of

Ukraine Volodymyr Hroisman

announced the news at a cabinet

meeting.

“I would like to express my gra -

titude for the work done by Balczun,

who is now forced to resign as chief

manager of the Ukrainian Railway

due to personal reasons,” the prime

minister said.

Hroisman did not specify exactly

what insurmountable “personal

reasons” had emerged in Balczun’s

life overnight on August 8-9. After

all, as late as August 8 morning, he

wrote that he was in China, was

holding talks there, and would

“surely and unconditionally” defend

the interests of the Ukrainian Railway

and Ukraine. “Disappointingly

for many people, I will not succumb

to provocations,” Balczun finished

his message; to be more precise, it

was likely done by one of his aides,

since the manager himself does not

write in Ukrainian (nor does he so in

Russian or English, truth be told).

REUTERS photo

In our “vaudeville,” the Polish rocker

played the part of... a masking screen

Expert: “In 15 months it spent on the job, Wojciech Balczun’s team

did enough things wrong to merit at least four criminal cases”

Photo by Mykola TYMCHENKO, The Day

REUTERS photo

This leader

of the Norilsk

uprising

(Gulag, 1953)

would have

marked his

91st birthday

on August 9

Continued

Continued

on page 3

on page 4

Georgia: war and peace

Lessons from Yevhen Hrytsiak

A Lithuanian politician has proposed to designate August 8 as the Day

of Struggle for Freedom of Countries Affected by Russian Aggression


2

No.45 AUGUST 10, 2017

DAY AFTER DAY

WWW.DAY.KIEV.UA

Museum repository

under repairs at last

Interest in the Volhynia Icon

Museum brought together

Dnipro, Odesa, Sumy, Cherkasy,

Kyiv, Belarus, Poland, and Britain

By Natalia MALIMON, The Day, Lutsk

Tetiana Yelisieieva, the director of

this unique, Ukraine’s only, museum

that represents a regional school of

icon painting, says that even the

record-breaking sizzling summer has

not reduced interest in their collection of

about 2,000 objects of sacral art. The star

of the collection is the original miracleworking

Kholm Icon of the Mother of God

(11th century), the icon that has no

analogues either in Athos or in Sinai. The

people who saved this icon (The Day has

more than once written about it) willed it to

Lutsk. It cannot leave the premises of the

Volhynia Icon Museum, where it is closely

guarded and kept under an optimal

temperature.

By Daria TRAPEZNIKOVA, The Day

She.Fest was launched in 2014 to mark

the poet’s 200th birth anniversary.

This year, the village of Moryntsi,

Cherkasy oblast, receives guests on

August 12-13. All eyes are on Taras

Shevchenko, topical and close to everyone.

“This festival of national unity is important

to all Ukrainians, particularly the young

people,” Shevchenko researcher Oksana

DANYLCHENKO believes. “We can rally

here around what we’ve known since our

childhood – Shevchenko’s oeuvre and the

moral imperatives he created.” The festival

also has other, annually changing, aspects.

The fourth She.Fest will be held under the

slogan “Your Country – Your Struggle.”

The event will take place under the auspices

of Ukraine’s Ministry for Youth and

Sport. Deputy Minister Oleksandr Yarema

emphasizes: “It is of paramount importance

for us to support the projects that

show the young people in various regions

and abroad what real Ukraine is like and allow

them to communicate and acquire

knowledge about cultural traditions and

culture. She.Fest is a platform that can resolve

these problems.”

Ms. Yelisieieva says that small groups

of visitors – composed of three to eight

people – prevail. They always commission

a guided tour. Dnipro, Odesa, Sumy,

Cherkasy, Kyiv, Belarus, Poland, the UK…

There was even an excursion for one Polish

lady who also bought a book-album, The

Volhynia Icon Museum, for 1,700 hryvnias.

A gentleman from Kropyvnytskyi

brought his two adult children to take part

in the Lutsk-based Banderstadt festival.

Last year he brought a group of pupils to

the Volhynia Icon Festival and concluded

that his own children should also see the

exposition. During the weekend, the museum

was visited by many participants in

the Banderstadt festival of patriotic spirit,

who were coming in groups and individually.

It is particularly gratifying that youth

show interest in art. What also gladdens

the museum team is that, at last, repairs

have begun in the small building the regional

council handed over to the museum

as a repository. But the building of the museum

proper, one of the most frequented

ones, a Lutsk hallmark of sorts, also badly

needs to be renovated. For it has been housing

the museum for 16 years.

A weekend

with the Bard

The all-Ukrainian

Taras Shevchenko

Festival is to be held

in the poet’s home village

for a fourth time

Yulia Kapshuchenko-Shumeiko, a coorganizer

of the event, says the festival

will comprise 12 locations. Masters will

conduct authentic master classes at the

fair and teach children to weave lambs out

of straw. The little ones will be reading

Shevchenko’s poems and Ukrainian fairytales

in a separate glade. On the theatrical

billboard is the premiere of Somebody

Else’s Dreams, a production of the Kyivbased

amateur theater Shchek, and a play

on Shevchenko’s last love. The musical

stage will present the Kozak System, the

Motor’rolla, the Vivienne Mort, and other

bands. The nighttime cultural program

will include Ukrainian films and acoustic

concerts. The art glade will attract visitors

with not only exhibits and master

classes, but also the collective copying of

Shevchenko’s well-known picture “Kateryna.”

The organizers have also planned

excursions in Moryntsi and Shevchenkove,

as well as a program of lectures.

There will be a food court and tents for

festival visitors.

Admission to She.Fest is free. Yet the

festival team annually raises charity funds.

This year the organizers will be helping the

family of a killed ATO soldier.

“Signals” from Malevich

The painter’s Kyiv monument is not exactly in the best condition.

What else reminds of the author of Black Square in his native city?

By Inna LYKHOVYD,

photos by Mykola TYMCHENKO, The Day

Aroutine stroll of Den/The Day’s

photography editor Mykola Tymchenko

became a subject for this

article. What lured our colleague was

Volodymyro-Lybidska Street in Kyiv’s

Holosiivskyi district. It is not a top must-see for

tourists. But our photographer caught the sight

of an original commemorative sign dedicated to

the genius of Kazimir Malevich. It is a white

cube of metallic frames, on one of which is

written “Kazimir Malevich” in big letters. The

cube stands on a stage of sorts that symbolizes

a black square. It is not by pure chance that this

place was chosen for the commemorative sign –

the avant-garde artist, who founded suprematism

and cubo-futurism, was born and

lived for some time on a neighboring street

named after Bozhenko before 2012 and now after

Kazimir Malevich.

Malevich’s best-known picture is Black

Square which the commemorative sign is based

on. It was solemnly unveiled in 2008 at a local

public garden. But just a few years later Kyivites

were indignant that nobody cared about this

place. Uncommon benches were put up in the

park next to the metal cube. Most of the facing

tiles have peeled off and the surviving ones are

covered with vulgar graffiti. The cubic structure

has rusted in some places, and the nearby stone

pavement resembles an old unpatched neckerchief.

It is vandals who “helped” reduce the commemorative

sign to this shameful state of repair

– the instances of this are quite common

here. Poor workmanship may also be a factor. Or,

maybe, the neglected commemorative sign is a

signal from the artist himself?

Kyiv was not an alien city for Malevich. He

was born here, and fate brought him again to his

home city after he had lived in Moscow, Vitebsk,

and St. Petersburg. He resided in the capital in

1927-30, when he taught at the Kyiv Art Institute

(now the National Academy of Fine Arts and

Architecture). This period in the artist’s career

is described in the book Kazimir Malevich: the

Kyivan Period of 1928-1930 published a year ago

by Rodovid and KMBS.

The story of this publication is as unusual as

the oeuvre of Malevich himself. In late 2015, the

artistic circles had a lively discussion about a sensation

– new texts of Malevich and documents

about his teaching at the Kyiv Art Institute in

1929-30 were found in Kyiv. Over 70 typewritten

and several handwritten sheets had

been kept for almost 90 years in the archive of

artist Marian Kropyvnytskyi. They were included

into the unique publication together

with Malevich’s artworks from his 1930 solo exhibit,

the painter’s articles, and other documents

linked with his Kyiv projects.

“The whole world must know that Malevich

was a Kyivite” is a quotation from the May 2017

petition on the Kyiv City Council’s website

about renaming Lev Tolstoy Square after Kazimir

Malevich. Incidentally, activists recently

suggested that Boryspil Airport be named after

the painter. Although the commemorative

sign in the capital remains neglected, Kyivites

want to know and tell the world about their compatriot

of genius, considering his name and

oeuvre a Ukrainian brand.

“I organized the ceremony of unveiling the

Malevich commemorative sign,” Oleksii Kuzhelnyi,

People’s Artiste of Ukraine and artistic director

of the Suziria theater, recalls. “I was impressed

with the wonderful idea to open an

alley-museum of Malevich’s works. At that ceremony,

we managed to put on an exposition of

the artist’s 36 pictures on the fence that had

emerged practically from nowhere near a construction

site. You see, it is no accident that

some great ideas are born at a certain place. For

example, now that there is a heated debate about

the Theater on Podil, it seems to me that Malevich

has come again and reminded us of himself

by means of this black square, a black cube on

Andriivskyi Uzviz. I am sure it will become

sooner or later a natural part of this street, for

it seems to have appeared from outer space, from

the great memory about the artist of genius. This

is also an interesting sign, for great ideas and the

geniuses who embody them are born in a certain

place and never leave it. And it is very important

that we should remember great Kyivites and that

their ideas and idea-generating mechanisms

should never fail in Kyiv.”


WWW.DAY.KIEV.UA

DAY AFTER DAY No.45 AUGUST 10, 2017 3

By Ivan KAPSAMUN, Valentyn TORBA,

Vadym LUBCHAK, The Day

Yevhen Hrytsiak passed away

on May 14, 2017, several

months before his 91st

birthday. His life was long

and eventful. In fact, this

veteran inmate of Soviet prison camps

cuts a legendary figure. He was a

man of intellect and moral authority,

and an old friend of Den/The Day.

Characteristically, despite the ordeals

that fell his way, Mr. Hrytsiak was a

man of the world. He was Mahatma

Gandhi’s follower and propagated

nonviolent resistance against the

existing system, the spiritual

development of society and of each

communal member. He said that

Ukrainians should discard the

customary method of using force

against force, considering that each

time it led to their fiasco.

In an interview commemorating

the 60th anniversary of the Norilsk uprising

(2013), Mr. Hrytsiak said: “I

conceived the idea of nonviolent methods

of struggle by groping in the

dark. It was after the Norilsk uprising

that I started learning Mahatma Gandhi’s

methods and those of Hindu yogis,

and became a convinced proponent of

nonviolent resistance. I realized that

all that energy exerted by people when

destroying, tearing down, and crushing

things does not bode well for them.

It is also true, however, that most

people simply don’t know about nonviolent

resistance. When our barracks

revolted, only 2 out of 45 inmates

turned out to be scabs. The rest would

stand their ground to the end. At a certain

stage, keeping all those people under

control and preventing acts of

violence became very difficult. Otherwise

the camp administration would

have reason enough to order the guards

to open fire. Keeping people from

committing acts of violence proved the

most difficult task.”

The prison camp revolt in Norilsk

(currently in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia)

began on May 25, 1953, and lasted

until August 4, 1953, involving

some 20,000 political prisoners, including

86 ethnic groups, and served

as a graphic example of nonviolent resistance

to the totalitarian system.

Historians believe that the Norilsk uprising

triggered those in Vorkuta and

Kengir, and that it was one of the reasons

behind the [Khrushchev] Thaw,

the appearance of the Sixtiers, dissidents,

and finally the Soviet Union’s

collapse. There were over 70 percent

Ukrainian inmates during the Norilsk

uprising. They struggled for

their rights and dignity, using nonviolent

methods.

“They say we lack people with

moral authority these days. Could be

true, considering that people like my

father remain to be studied, so to

say,” Mr. Hrytsiak’s daughter Marta

Hrytsiak told The Day, adding,

“During his lifetime ordinary people

from our village, neighboring villages

and oblasts wanted to meet and

talk to my dad. They’d come from various

parts of the country. He was a

folk and faith healer for some and a

clever friend who could give a piece of

advice to others. Under the Soviets,

he worked as a lawyer, legal counsel

and consultant. People would come

from all neighboring villages with

their problems and my father would

always help them – be it a statement,

appeal, or a letter from abroad (they

would bring it even without being

sure that my father knew the language).

In some cases people were notified

of an inheritance in Poland or

Canada, so my father would help

them with the required paperwork

and tell them what should be done

next, which office door to knock on.

Everybody knew him, although media

people were markedly less interested

– except Den/The Day. The editors

LESSONS

from Yevhen Hrytsiak

took a systemic interest in his Norilsk

background, philosophy, and life in

general. Fortunately, there are still

people with moral authority, but

like I said, it is necessary to take a

closer look at them and hear their life

stories.”

Den/The Day did their best to

make the name of Yevhen Hrytsiak

known all over Ukraine and far beyond

its borders. He would frequently visit

By Mykola SIRUK, The Day

The political and economic crisis

that has been gripping Venezuela

since March was top on the agenda

of the meeting of the foreign

ministers of North and South

American countries held in Lima the

night before last. The host, Peruvian

Foreign Minister Ricardo Luna summed

up the debate as follows: “What has

happened in Venezuela with the establishment

of the Constitutional Assembly

is a definite break with what we’ve seen

up until now. That’s to say, the recent

destruction of its democratic institutions

has reached a tipping point, and what we

have in Venezuela is a dictatorship.”

Oleksandra KOVALIOVA, Candidate

of Political Sciences, Transatlantic

Studies Department, Institute

of the World Economy and

International Relations, National

Academy of Sciences, Ukraine:

“Obviously, the opposition is building

up the pressure. So the crisis is being

aggravated. And the stronger the

protests are and the more the country is

being destabilized, the more acute the

economic problems become and the more

scathing the criticism of the international

community is. We can see this by the reaction

of the Organization of Latin American

States and the US which has imposed

sanctions against Venezuela.

“In my opinion, Nicolas Maduro will

hold out to the last minute and will

hardly relinquish power to the opposition

without resistance. It is difficult to say

if the situation will come to a civil war.

The point is that the opposition does not

have so many followers, although the

number of government supporters has

dwindled now.

the editorial office and the editors prepared

dozens of articles about him, his

lessons, his high ethical standards, intellect,

and worldly wisdom. There

were interviews and roundtables with

the man who had led the uprising in

Camp No. 4. Our journalists visited

Mr. Hrytsiak’s home village to make

several videos for Project Den-TV –

something no major channels seemed

to have bothered to do.

Photo from the private archives

This leader of the

Norilsk uprising

(Gulag, 1953)

would have marked

his 91st birthday

on August 9

Venezuela: dictatorship is a step away

An expert on how the Ukrainian leadership should

respond to the crisis in the Latin American country

REUTERS photo

“At the same time, a considerable part

of the population improved their financial

situation under the Hugo Chavez government,

gaining access to medicine and

education, which they could not have

done before. And his supporters may

lose a lot if the pre-socialist government

comes back to power.

“Let me recall that it was rather a

hierarchized country. The Creole upper

crust used to hold everything in their

hands, and a major part of the population

had no access to these social benefits. So

the situation is in fact very complicated.

“As for the behavior of the army in

this situation, there were isolated actions

of some groups of the former

military, so I do not think the army will

rise up. In the years since the 2002 military

coup, when there was an attempt

to overthrow Chavez, the army has been

purged and the top officers loyal to the

government remain behind. Besides,

the army is now better provided for

than other sectors.

“Indeed, the situation in the country

is very complicated and unpredictable.

But it will be right to say that this situation

will remain as it is until the elections

in 2018. The tension may continue to be

acute, but the international community

will be reacting in some other way during

the elections.”

Volodymyr VIATROVYCH, historian,

head of the Ukrainian Institute

of National Memory: “For me, a man

of moral authority is one who has

gone through some moral and physical

ordeals without turning traitor to

himself and his convictions – who

hasn’t cracked. Yevhen Hrytsiak was

such a man. He belonged to a special

generation that waged a struggle for

national independence under incredibly

difficult conditions. Some did

with arms in hand, others used nonviolent

methods. One would be perfectly

correct in describing that generation

as one of moral authority. Unfortunately,

people keep dying while

our contemporaries fail to appreciate

the role they played; they don’t often

contact them and often fail to properly

assess them. This situation should be

rectified. After all, we have their

works, interviews, and films.”

In fact, Yevhen Hrytsiak didn’t

need recognition. Ukrainians did, so

they could understand that personality

and get closer to his ideas. This is especially

true of the younger generation,

people who are into politics, who

need the right kind of guidelines.

Volodymyr Viatrovych: “One of

his most notable traits was his rock

solid civic stand. Regrettably, the

younger generation of politicians is

made up mostly of people who are

frail and eclectic, trying to adapt to

public preferences. Yevhen Hrytsiak

and others of his generation entertained

more solid persuasions. He

wouldn’t change course due to political

circumstances. We are now going

through ordeals caused by the war and

we can see that the situation is producing

an entirely different generation.

These people should seek inspiration

in personalities like Yevhen

Hrytsiak. This will help form a new

generation of Ukrainians where we

will find persons of moral authority…

Yevhen Hrytsiak demonstrated his

inner modesty, consideration, and

substantiveness (as did Yevhen Sverstiuk,

by the way). They never let

ambitions get in their way, just as no

one would ever accuse them of trying

to get any dividends from anything.

Thirst for freedom spells energy of

sorts. This energy is germane to

Ukrainians. On the other hand, any

kind of energy can be used in building

or destroying something. In other

words, energy isn’t enough. There

must be guidelines and outlooks that

will help people realize that freedom

has preserved the Ukrainian identity,

but that it has also led to anarchy in the

absence of inner discipline.”

Yevhen Hrytsiak regarded his

Ukrainian version of Paramahansa

Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi

as a major achievement. The book

had long been translated into many

languages, including into Russian,

but there was no Ukrainian version.

He did the translation and managed to

publish it.

Mridula Ghosh, Board Chair, East

European Development Institute

(Den No. 80, May 15, 2017): “I was impressed

by Mr. Hrytsiak’s incredible

composure. He looked like one of those

saints who are awakened, their eyes

shining with the knowledge of values

unknown on earth while remaining

clear with sincerity, the way a baby

looks at you. I couldn’t believe my

eyes. There was such a man in Ukraine

and the world knew so little about him.

He shared his ideas and his knowledge

about Hindu philosophy. He was

versed in Gandhi, Vivekananda, and

Tagore. Such knowledge is seldom

found among professional indologists

with their impressive academic degrees

– even among many people in India.

I was moved… Yevhen Hrytsiak

was an outstanding Ukrainian who

loved his country and never turned

traitor to it. His ideas concerning recent

events were also amazing. Every

word he said was filled with wisdom

and there was no desire for publicity,

power or material enrichment. His

phenomenon remains to be studied

within the academic circles. Einstein

said about Gandhi: ‘Generations to

come, it may well be, will scarce believe

that such a man as this one ever in

flesh and blood walked upon this

Earth.’ I think the day will come when

someone will say the same about

Mr. Hrytsiak.”


4

No.45 AUGUST 10, 2017

(Continued from the previous issue)

“This is an objective situation that cannot

be ascribed to the evil will of some specific

people. It is a reflection of the general

state of Ukrainian society, because it is

still very divided. Indeed, the Ukrainian political

nation is only being formed.

“The second problem, which is subjective,

is that even within these communities,

there are many different organizations

that compete with each other. Obviously,

Babi Yar is an iconic site and one who will

control the memorial side there will reap additional

political dividends. This situation

has existed since independence.”

● “NIHILISTIC ATTITUDE

TO BURIAL PLACES IS

A SOVIET LEGACY,

AND NOTHING MORE”

What conclusions do we need to draw

from all this?

“As a result, we see a lot of monuments

in the landscape, which are totally

unconnected and not correlated with each

other, even in the artistic sense. Overall,

we have a completely neglected site, which

is partly a recreation park, and partly just

a forest park, and at the same time a site

housing dozens of monuments that are incomprehensible

to most passers-by. There

is still no museum, because it requires a

large investment on the one hand, and

on the other, every attempt to build a museum

involves locating it right on the massacre

site or on the cemetery, that is, closer

to the epicenter of the tragedy. This logic

is clear, but it is completely barbaric.

People totally fail to take into consideration

that there should be some kind of respect

for the burial places. This, again, is

absolutely a Soviet legacy, because the Soviet

government destroyed Babi Yar and

the surrounding cemeteries. This nihilistic

attitude to burial places is a Soviet

legacy, and nothing more.

“So, we see that however many new

monuments they would erect, it will still be

obvious that this is not a memorial territory.

And they all see it, but they think: the

solution is that one has to erect other, better

monuments or build a large memorial

center. In fact, first of all, it is necessary

to organize the territory, since the construction

of a grand memorial would not

change anything, because it will still be a

memorial on a garbage heap.”

Fuks argues that the project of the

memorial center has received support

from all Jewish organizations. What do

you say to this?

“This is an obvious manipulation.

Fuks sees ‘all Jewish organizations’ as synonymous

with the All-Ukrainian Jewish

Congress, headed by Vadym Rabynovych.

However, first of all, the fact is that it is

not Rabynovych who supports Fuks’s

project, but rather Fuks who has now become

one of the leading figures in the

project started by Rabynovych as early as

a decade ago. Of course, the latter supports

him. Secondly, while Rabynovych supports

project, say, co-chairman of the Association

of Jewish Organizations and

Communities of Ukraine Yosyp Zisels opposes

it. Furthermore, there are about a

dozen all-Ukrainian and three to four

dozen Kyiv-only Jewish organizations,

which have not declared their position on

this issue at all. Thirdly, in such matters

it is impossible to take into account only the

positions of the NGO leaders. This is a national

matter, and it is obvious that the

views of well-known journalists and artists,

human rights activists and scholars are no

less important than the opinions of people

whose main virtue lies in the ability to deftly

distribute foreign grants.”

Probably, a lot depends on the city government

as well. But how should we then

take Fuks and Siwiec’s claim that the initiator

of the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial

was Mayor of Kyiv Vitalii Klitschko?

“This is also not true. Yes, Klitschko

publiclysupportedthisprojectpastyear,and

his brother became a member of the Center’s

Supervisory Board. However, all this happened

against the backdrop of the international

commemoration of the 75th anniversary

of the tragedy, when our highrankingofficials,truetotheabovementioned

habit, were ready to support any initiatives,

the more so such high-profile ones.”

● “THE INITIATORS ARE

TRYING TO PUSH THROUGH

THE IDEA OF THE ‘SOVIET

UNITY’”

Has this project undergone any

changes lately?

“Already when it appeared, this project

was, to put it mildly, very controversial.

Firstly, the memorial museum center

was to be dedicated exclusively to the

Jewish tragedy of Babi Yar, which was also

reflected in the architectural design. Secondly,

from the very beginning, it was

planned to be built at the former Jewish

Cemetery, where the group of initiators

who created the Babi Yar Memorial Foundation

managed to lease a land plot. Incidentally,

the last factor contributed to the

fact that the implementation of the project

was opposed by well-known Ukrainian

and foreign rabbis, including the chief rabbi

of Ukraine Azriel Haikin. This, among

other reasons, prevented its implementation

then.

“However, past year, at the initiative

of Fuks, the project became internationally

important, and therefore, it was to be

transformed from the Babi Yar memorial

into a memorial and museum of the Holocaust

in the former Soviet Union. From a

scholarly perspective, this is nonsense.

Across the former Soviet Union, persecution

and extermination of Jews took place

in completely different ways. However,

from a purely political-ideological perspective,

everything is clear. In this way,

the initiators are trying to push through the

historical memory of the Jewish community

the idea of the ‘Soviet unity,’ which is in

fact the well-known ‘Russian World.’

“And I am sure this is not just their

personal initiative. It is clear that Fuks and

his partners in the project Mikhail Fridman,

German Khan, and Viktor Pinchuk

have thoroughly post-Soviet minds, especially

since the first three have spent all

their adult lives in Moscow, where they

studied, created businesses, and became billionaires.

Moreover, Fridman is an iconic

figure in contemporary Russia, and I do not

believe that he could have launched an international

political-ideological project in

Kyiv during a Russo-Ukrainian war without

a direct Kremlin approval. The idea of

commemorating ‘the Holocaust in the

USSR’ was, in my opinion, approved in

TOPIC OF THE DAY

BABIYAR...

as a staging area for

the “Russian World”

Vitalii NAKHMANOVYCH: “The Ukrainian government as represented by the president of Ukraine must

genuinely assume responsibility for solving complex problems around the Holocaust Memorial”

Staraya Square. At the same time, this

project is a winning proposition for Russia

from almost every side.”

Why do you think so?

“If they do build this memorial and it

functions as intended, it will work even better

than the Rossotrudnichestvo (the Russian

Federal Agency for the Commonwealth

of Independent States, Compatriots

Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian

Cooperation) operations. After all,

the project is designed not only for Ukrainian

citizens, but first and foremost for numerous

tourists from all over the world,

who will be told how Ukrainian collaborators

exterminated the Jews. If they build

it and the expected scandals begin around

the Memorial or if they are not allowed to

build it at all, then this is also wonderful,

as it can be presented as anti-Semitic

Ukraine disallowing the creation of the

Holocaust Memorial. However it goes,

Vladimir Putin will be fine with it.”

And how can we prevent this?

“Ukraine faces an urgent challenge,

and there is only one way out of this situation.

The Ukrainian government as

represented by the president of Ukraine

must genuinely assume responsibility for

solving the Babi Yar issue in its totality.

That is, they need to finally do what was not

done in all previous years.”

● “THE MUSEUMS OF

HOLOCAUST AND BABI YAR

CAN BE AMALGAMATED

INTO A SINGLE FACILITY”

And exactly what, in your opinion,

should the Ukrainian government do in

this situation?

“This should be a triune concept. Firstly,

it is necessary to create a memorial park

and clean up the site. Secondly, the Babi

Yar Museum should be created. Thirdly,

the Holocaust Museum should be created.

“These should be two separate museums.

Unfortunately, we are not ideologically

mature enough today for it to be a single

facility. The Holocaust is totally absent

from the national history of Ukraine. This

is a complicated process of not just reflecting

on a world phenomenon, but developing

a Ukrainian perspective on it. The

complexity of this task is due to the fact

that the Holodomor happened here. In

fact, there are no other countries where almost

simultaneously such a number of

large-scale genocides were carried out by the

two most terrible totalitarian regimes of the

past century. It provides exceptional opportunities

for intellectual reflection, but

we still have to go a long way to achieve it.

“In principle, the museums of Holocaust

and Babi Yar can be amalgamated into

a single facility. The destruction of the

Kyivan Jews is a point in which the Babi

Yar story, which began during the war and

continues, in fact, to this day, intersects

with the Holocaust story that encompassed

all of Europe. But, I emphasize, this

is a very complex intellectual challenge,

and we are not ready for it at this time.

Therefore, what is doable today is to

create two museums, dedicated to Babi Yar

and the Holocaust, as well as to clean up the

site. Moreover, the museums should be under

no circumstances located at the burial

places, and the creation of a memorial

park should stop dead any further development

exercises in this space.

“Now, the president of Ukraine is the

only person who can by the virtue of his office,

so to speak, force all the interested

groups to the same table and say: ‘Now we

will really look for an agreement.’ That is,

the government should be the leading

force in this process. As for funding, a

foundation should be established on the

principles of public-private partnership.

“We have the Ukrainian Institute of

National Remembrance as well, which has

actually been excluded from most memorial

projects. When the Institute was

created during Viktor Yushchenko’s presidency,

it had the Babi Yar Sanctuary, memorials

to the victims of the Holodomor

and the Bykivnia Graves subordinated to

it. However, under Viktor Yanukovych,

the Institute was turned into an exclusively

research institution, and all these facilities

were transferred to the Ministry of Culture,

where they have remained ever since.

Still, it would be proper to concentrate

them under the Institute of National Remembrance’s

umbrella, because we need a

coherent policy of memory regarding the

Soviet and Nazi repression.

“Meanwhile, the National Academy

of Sciences’ Institute of Ukrainian History

should be the leading institution that

would develop the concept of the Holocaust

and Babi Yar museums. Of course, it ought

to recruit specialists from other institutions

and even from other countries as well.”

● “THE BABI YAR HOLOCAUST

MEMORIAL CENTER

PROJECT IS BEING CREATED

AS A TYPICAL COLONIAL

DESIGN”

Siwiec said that they have recruited

precisely that – an international group

headed by the Dutch scientist Karel Berkhoff.

“Director General of the Babi Yar Holocaust

Memorial Center Siwiec has also been

saying that they are conducting some kind

of discussion all the time. But when the Institute

of National Remembrance responded

to his appeal by proposing to hold a series of

public discussions with the participation of

their sponsors with provisions for recording

and publishing the positions of the

participants and with the obligation to

take into account the results of these discussions,

that same Siwiec backtracked on

his word and said that he had no authority

to accept it. That is, all these meetings take

place pro forma only, to enable them to then

submit a long list of scholars with whom

they have allegedly ‘consulted.’ All this

sounds very similar to the numerous stories

of scandalous property developments with

false ‘public hearings’ involving hired

grandmothers, while the building plots are

guarded by tough guys.

“Indeed, Berkhoff is a well-known specialist

in the history of the Nazi occupation

regime and was directly involved in Babi

Yar research. But the problem is that he,

like almost all members of this working

group, is an outsider and has a completely

different perspective. Western Europeans

saw nothing more terrible than the Holocaust,

and it is natural for them to separate

it from the entire history of the 20th century.

However, although the Holocaust

was, by its very nature, a world-wide phenomenon;

the perspective on it must be different

in every country, because it also was

(or was not) a part of local history. Therefore,

of course, Berkhoff, as well as some

other specialists, can be invited to cooperate.

It is always good to listen to a person

from the other side of the divide, since they

will offer a different vision and you will see

something new. However, the core group

should be made up of Ukrainian scholars

who have to offer a Ukrainian vision of the

Holocaust and Babi Yar stories.

“Atpresent,theBabiYarHolocaustMemorial

Center project is being created as a

typical colonial design. Ukraine is perceived

exclusively as a territory inhabited by illiterate

natives, where civilized Russians,

Poles, and other Europeans should create a

museum for tourists from all over the

world.However,infact,itisUkrainianswho

should create a museum and a memorial

there,notfortourists, butfortheirchildren,

both schoolkids and college students, who

will come here to reflect on their own past

and think about their own future.”

By Mykola SIRUK, The Day

WWW.DAY.KIEV.UA

By Mykola SIRUK, The Day

On August 8, Georgia

commemorated the 9th

anniversary of the 2008

Russo-Georgian War. Let

us recall that as a result of

the August 2008 war, 408 Georgian

citizens were killed, including

170 soldiers, 14 police officers, and

228 civilians. The number of wounded

and injured reached 2,232. Among

them, there were 1,045 soldiers. As a

result of the war, up to 30,000 people

joined the host of refugees, currently

numbering 263,598 in Georgia. Russia

still has not fulfilled any of its

commitments taken under the

international ceasefire agreement of

August 12, 2008.

To commemorate those who died

for the independence and unity of Georgia,

national flags were simultaneously

lowered to half-mast on the parliament

buildings in Tbilisi and Kutaisi.

Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi

Kvirikashvili along with members of

his cabinet visited the Mukhatgverdi

Brothers Cemetery to honor the memory

of the warriors who died in the

2008 Russo-Georgian war.

“August 8 is the saddest day in the

modern history of Georgia. I want to

bow low before all the heroes who sacrificed

their lives for their homeland.

A candle in memory of them burns in

the heart of every Georgian,” Kvirikashvili

declared.

In protest against Russian occupation

and Russia’s actions in the

occupied territories of Georgia, people

lined up in a human chain just

400 meters away from the Russian occupation

army’s positions along the

Karapila-Khurvaleti section of the

central highway.

Unity as the

22nd

anniversary

of Operation

Storm

celebrated

in Croatia


WWW.DAY.KIEV.UA

TOPIC OF THE DAY No.45 AUGUST 10, 2017 5

GEORGIA:

war and peace

A Lithuanian politician has proposed to designate

August 8 as the Day of Struggle for Freedom

of Countries Affected by Russian Aggression

A protest against the occupation of the

Georgian lands was held on August 8 for

the 9th time in Vilnius, in the square opposite

the Russian embassy. As usual, it

was organized by member of the Homeland

Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats

faction in the Lithuanian parliament Mantas

Adomenas, who had been awarded the

Presidential Order of Excellence in Georgia

for his contribution to the protection of

freedom of Georgia and its territorial integrity.

Adomenas has launched the initiative

to designate the day of August 8 as the

Black Flower Day to honor all the countries

affected by the Kremlin regime’s oppression:

Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova. According

to Adomenas, August 8 should be

commemorated as the day of struggle for

freedom and nationhood of the countries

enslaved by Russia. “We must do our best

not to forget about the Russian aggression

in Georgia in 2008,” he stressed.

By the way, Lithuanian Foreign Minister

Linas Linkevicius tweeted on the previous

day: “9 years since the premeditated

#Russian war against #Georgia. Sadly

lessons not learned.”

● “NO CRIME COMMITTED

BY RUSSIA SHOULD BE

IGNORED”

“Nine years ago, Russia invaded

Georgia and got away with it. Then they

went to get Ukraine. It is time to stop

Russian aggression and restore Georgian

and Ukrainian sovereignty,” Pavlo

Klimkin wrote on his Facebook page on

August 8.

MP Dmytro Tymchuk offered his assessment

of these events and the role of the

Ukrainian government during the period in

question on his Facebook page: “Ukraine

then swallowed Putin’s Georgian adventure

and our own role in this war which was imposed

by the Kremlin, and the Russian

Black Sea Fleet (BSF) remained in Crimea.

Soon enough, Ukraine itself became a victim

– ironically, with that same BSF playing

a part. ‘Ifs’ have no place in the study

of history, but there is a lesson to be

learned here: no crime committed by Russia

should be ignored, wherever it happens.

If some people abroad think that the current

Ukrainian events are happening far

away, and Putin’s barbaric actions in

DAVID BERITASHVILI

Crimea and the Donbas can be thus ignored,

they will come to regret it soon.

Ukraine itself, alas, offers a vivid and

bloody example of this.”

The Day asked Georgian political

scientist David Beritashvili to tell us how

Georgians were currently assessing the

events of nine years ago and what lessons

they had learned from that August war,

and what role was played in it by NATO’s

refusal to grant Georgia and Ukraine the

Membership Action Plan at the alliance’s

summit in Bucharest in April 2008.

● “AMERICANS HAVE BECOME

UNITED IN THINKING THAT

PUTIN NEEDS TO BE

TAUGHT A LESSON”

“This day is important for world history,

because it marked the first occasion

of torpedoing of all international acts in

force at that time, like the Treaty on the

Restoration of Diplomatic Relations with

Russia. In other words, it was an event of

global importance.

“On the other hand, this Russian

act of aggression resulted in several

hundred victims, both soldiers and

civilians. About 6,000 homes were

burned down. In addition, the Russians

expelled all ethnic Georgian citizens of

South Ossetia. All this took place against

the backdrop of a breakdown of the international

order, and then it was repeated

in Ukraine. It is likely that some

other nations will try to emulate Putinist

Russia’s actions. We had had a quarter

of a million refugees before, and the

war added a few tens of thousands more

in August 2008. Of course, a country cannot

develop normally when communications

have been interrupted, when there

are so many homeless people. All this

places a heavy burden which inhibits

development. We have built entire settlements

for refugees, who need to be provided

with jobs and education services.”

Have lessons of the August 2008

war been learned in Georgia?

“It seems to me that the experience of

Georgia was useful in the case of Ukraine.

When the illegal annexation of Crimea and

Russian aggression in the east of Ukraine

happened, everyone began to recall that it

was not the first time, as the Russian

Armed Forces had illegally crossed another

nation’s border, seized its territory and so

on before, in Georgia in August 2008.

“If we talk about lessons for Georgia,

the first one was taught back under the Soviets

on April 9, 1989, when about 20 people,

mostly women, were killed in a square

during a rally. However, the Georgians

somehow did not realize its implications,

and it was rather the Balts who learned that

lesson.

“The Georgians for some reason fail to

preserve their achievements. However, it

is just as important to preserve something

as to achieve it in the first place. Of

course, I am talking about democracy and

freedom of speech, the European values

here. It seems to me that this is also the case

in Ukraine to some extent.”

In a tweet, Lithuanian Foreign Minister

Linkevicius expressed his regret about

the West not having learned yet the lessons

of Russia’s premeditated war against Georgia.

What do you think about this?

“The West has never been so categorically

opposed to the Kremlin team before.

The new US sanctions specifically

target their income sources, travel opportunities,

personal connections. In

other words, the West is learning, but as

always, it is doing so slowly. At the same

time, it seems to me that the West will not

retreat now.”

Do you think that granting the NATO

Membership Action Plan to Ukraine and

Georgia at the Bucharest summit could

have deterred the Russian attack?

“It is hard to say. However, the decision

of that summit, which resolved in

writing that Ukraine and Georgia would

become members of NATO in the future,

did anger Russia. So it decided to attack

Georgia. Following the Russian attack,

the West was not inclined to show firmness.

They believed that this was a propaganda

campaign and Mikheil Saakashvili

was a psycho. They thought, ‘why defend

such a ‘bad boy’ who jails innocent bribetakers?’

Thus, when we were under attack,

support came from eastern Europe

only. Viktor Yushchenko, Lech Kaczynski,

the presidents and prime ministers of

the Baltic countries came to visit us.

Meanwhile, then-French President Nicolas

Sarkozy, who was at that time in

Tbilisi, was hiding from the public view

so that no one would think that he, along

with the above-named leaders of eastern

Europe, was opposed to Russia’s attack on

Georgia. Now everything is becoming

obvious. Everyone understands that Russia

wants to develop by forcibly seizing

foreign territories or ‘restoring’ the empire

as far as it can.”

foundation of victory

By Natalia ISHCHENKO

On August 5, 1995, Operation

Storm by Croatia’s

army and police units

reached its peak. That

morning the Fourth and

Seventh Guards Brigades seized

Knin, capital of the so-called Republic

of Serbian Krajina. At noon a

Croatian flag was unfurled from the

top of the Croatian royal city’s

fortress. That same day other

populated areas were liberated, including

Benkovac, Slunj, and Kijevo,

and Croatian troops reached the internationally

recognized border with

Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Croatia has celebrated the victorious

Operation Storm, Victory and

Homeland Thanksgiving Day, and the

Day of Croatian Defenders for the

past 22 years. This time the key

events took place in Knin.

22 doves of peace and 22 artillery

salvoes.

The names of all those fallen in

battle during operation storm are

solemnly read out.

Photo from Hrvatski Vojnik Facebook page

Speeches by the president, prime

minister, and the daughter of a fallen

soldier.

The big flag of Croatia is raised

by war veterans, combatants, servicemen,

volunteers, policemen, former

POW camp inmates, members of

fallen men’s families.

Jets and choppers in an air show.

Military parade.

Flags of all military and police

units that took part in the war.

Military equipment on display.

Mass celebrated with a military

choir.

Prljavo Kazaliste, a Croatian rock

band that made its name in Yugoslavia

and has remained at the top.

They sing only about love.

The heat wave is at an incredible

42 0 C.

Thousands of visitors from all

over Croatia.

Croatian television broadcast victory

day live, interviewing participants

in the festivities.

Ex-commanders of combat units

and veterans recall details of hostilities.

Historians commenting on operation

storm.

A girl sporting a camouflage T-shirt

says it is important to attend such events,

to pay homage to the defenders [of Croatia],

and that this should be done by all

citizens rather than members of the

combatants’ families.

A hip-looking organizer of the

youth music king fest took the floor to

give thanks for the victory (this festival

is regularly held in Knin and the

next time will be this September).

“Storm is the name of Croatian

freedom,” said a Croatian TV journalist

and anchorman, referring to what

happened on August 5, 1995.

Victory Day festivities took place in

other Croatian cities, mostly in the

coastal resort area. There was a veterans’

march in Pula. In Zadar, guests and residents

watched an air show with warplanes.

The Homeland War Museum

hosted a military photo exhibit. Huge

documentary photos were displayed in

the center of the old city where a gala

concert was performed. Croatian Victory

Rock Star Marko Perkovic Thompson

gave a concert in Slunj, with some

10,000 – mostly young people from all

over Croatia – in the audience.

A rally of protest against Victory

Day took place in Zagreb before a mass

for the Croatian Defenders was celebrated

on August 5. Some NGOs, including

ones based in Belgrade, others

reportedly grant-based, demanded that

the anniversary of Operation Storm be

marked as a day of mourning.

In Serbia, August 5 is marked as

day of mourning, commemorating the

victims of Operation Storm. On this

particular occasion, sirens wailed at

noon and the churches and monasteries

of the Serbian Orthodox Church served

masses for the dead, in memory of the

fallen Serbs. Fugitives, former residents

of what used to be Serbian Krajina

were still mourning the loss of their

homes, sharing their grievous memories

of 1995 events with media people.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana

Brnabic declared that she did not understand

how anyone could praise

Operation Storm.

In Knin, Croatian functionaries formally

expressed their condolences regarding

the dead and the fugitives, saying

they hoped the fugitives would return

one day, that they would eventually

mark Victory Day together. Croatian

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

stressed that all those ordinary Serbs had

had to suffer because of Belgrade’s politics

and an attempt to translate into life

the pan-Serbian myth.

Almost a quarter of a century

ago, the Serbian leadership decided

to build Great Serbia. All they accomplished

was to trigger a series of

tragic events, including for their

own people.

Here one would expect a couple of

lines about an aggressor state that is

eventually brought to account; about

the danger of imperial ambitions on

the part of heads of state… Conclusions

from the experience of victims

of an aggression are more important

for Ukraine.

Ukrainian printed media has of

late carried a number of materials

with lessons from the “Croatian experience.”

In actuality, the only foundation

of victory scored 22 years ago was

national unity, with each and everyone

rallied round his Fatherland. This unity

fortified the people and the political

elite and helped them resist the aggressor

and return the occupied territories.

Croatian politicians representing

various parties, leading musicians,

athletes, journalists, and clergymen

are unanimous in describing those

events: Victory in the Homeland

War was doubtlessly a victory over

the aggressor. Nikolina Mataj,

daughter of a fallen Croatian Defender,

spoke about the need to preserve

unity in peacetime, while

building their state:

“Those killed and missing in action

were our fathers, ordinary family

men, except that they were determined

and brave. They gave their lives

for their Fatherland and couldn’t help

us on our way to adult life. We have

properly honored their memory and

will do so until our dying day. We

mourn them and we are proud of them,

of their kindness and love we felt while

they were with us… We have enough

grounds and motives for struggling to

achieve the well-being of our country,

for being as strong as our fathers

were.” In conclusion, Nikolina called

for preserving unity for the sake of

their homeland: “Please, let’s stop

fighting one another, let’s struggle together,

let’s become a driving force, so

the joy of life is felt in every home in

our single Croatia.”

More than two decades have

passed after the event, yet this determination

to remain united, to work

for the good of the Fatherland is still

felt in Croatia. Small wonder that the

Croatian people proved so strong and

monolithic during the Yugoslav-Serbian

aggression.


6

No.45 AUGUST 10, 2017

SOCIE T Y

WWW.DAY.KIEV.UA

“These children will be shaping our future”

A COMMON TUNE. THE UNVEILING OF THE “FLAME OF PEACE” MONUMENT ENDED WITH PLAYING THE OPUSES OF TWO

AUSTRIAN MUSICIANS – WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART AND HIS SON FRANZ XAVER WOLFGANG MOZART WHO LIVED AND

COMPOSED IN LVIV FOR A LONG TIME. THE UKRAINIAN-SWEDISH PIANIST NATALYA PASICHNYK AND THE NATIONAL

ENSEMBLE OF SOLOISTS KYIVSKA KAMERATA PERFORMED ON STAGE

By Maria PROKOPENKO,

photos by Artem SLIPACHUK, The Day

From ancient times kings, princesses,

and other aristocrats have been the

protagonists of children’s tales, and

even the Soviet period was no

exception here. Often enough, they

have power to do something extraordinary.

Thus, it seems that boys and girls have

dreamt of wearing a crown one day for

centuries. Imagine, then, how residents of

the Berizka Kyiv City Children’s Home

responded to being visited by members of the

Habsburg-Lothringen royal family! Moreover,

they visited the orphanage for a festive

occasion, we mean the opening of a playground

which appeared there on the initiative

of the “Flame of Peace” Kyiv and

Odesa representative, Ambassador of Peace

Anastasia Zelenska.

Let us recall that His Imperial Highness,

the Archduke of Austria, the Crown Prince of

How the

Habsburg-

Lothringen

family first

visited Kyiv

SANDOR HABSBURG-LOTHRINGEN AND MARGARETE HABSBURG-LOTHRINGEN WERE PLEASED TO ATTEND THE OPENING

OF A PLAYGROUND AT THE BERIZKA CHILDREN’S HOME AND MINGLE WITH ITS INMATES

Hungary and Bohemia, the Prince of Tuscany

Sandor Habsburg-Lothringen and Her Imperial

Highness Herta Margarete Habsburg-

Lothringen came to Kyiv these days for the

first time. Their visit was timed to coincide

with the unveiling of the “Flame of Peace”

monument. The monument also became possible

due to the initiative of Zelenska as well

as the assistance of the Austrian nonprofit

organization Vereins zur Foerderung des

Friedens (Association for the Promotion of

Peace), founded by the Habsburg-Lothringen

royal family. Meanwhile, on August 7, the

royal couple came to the Berizka Children’s

Home, where a children’s playground had

been built due to the efforts of benefactors.

Chief doctor of the Berizka Children’s

Home Oleksandr Mohylnyi explained why

this playground was important: “We need a

sports ground where children would be able to

engage in physical education in the summker

health improvement period from June 1 to

August 31, when our children are staying

outside for almost the whole day. For a long

time, we had such a playground, but it then

became unfit for use. There was a need to establish

a new one, and we needed sponsors’

help. We have been cooperating with Zelenska

for a long time, and we discussed together

whether it would be possible for us to receive

help on this matter. Her foreign friends responded

and the playground was built in less

than a fortnight.”

Overall, the Berizka Children’s Home

houses 70 children. They range from newborns

up to four-year-olds. Also, it houses

older children with a disability.

“It is a great pleasure and an honor to be

here and see these beautiful children!” Herta

Margaret Habsburg-Lothringen noted at the

opening of the playground. “I thank all the

staff of this institution for the great work

they do for these children. I thank Anastasia

and all her team for their work. To help children

is very important, as they will build

peace and friendship in the future. They will

support freedom, and we can offer a better

life to them.”

Sandor Habsburg-Lothringen agreed with

this opinion. “We should set an example for

children, an example of how to live together

in peace and friendship, how to be free people.

It is important to show this example to

children and other people in need of help.

Children are the future. We must give them a

chance, because they will decide what our future

will be like,” His Imperial Highness

stressed.

The children enjoyed the guests and communicated

with them very spontaneously, as

even the linguistic barrier did not prevent

them from exchanging warm greetings with

the royal couple who came from Austria.

Then the little ones ran away to try out new

brightly-colored exercise machines. “I have

known about this children’s home for about

a decade. Another organization with which I

cooperate supports such institutions in

Ukraine, and we have helped children’s

homes in Zhytomyr, Odesa and other places a

lot. Meanwhile, together with the ‘Flame of

Peace’ organization, we have recently opened

a monument in Kyiv,” Zelenska told us. “We

show such an example as we strive to spread

peace. We want to attract more foreigners to

Ukraine so that they can help us at a difficult

moment when we are at war and there are orphans.”

By the way, Sandor Habsburg-Lothringen

admitted that Kyiv had made a wonderful

impression on him and his wife. “We do

not feel afraid while staying here, and we

are happy to be here with our friends,” His

Imperial Highness said. “Our relationship

with Ukraine, communication with this

country has always been very good. We are

informed that the situation in Ukraine is

positive. Much can be improved, but everyone

in this country does a lot for the cause

of peace.”


WWW.DAY.KIEV.UA

SOCIE T Y No.45 AUGUST 10, 2017 7

“The main thing is that you

come across good people”

Yurii Fomenko on his fact-finding, environmental, and even

technological bicycle rides across the Dnieper region

By Vadym RYZHKOV, The Day, Dnipro

Photos from Yurii FOMENKO’s Facebook page

Yurii Fomenko needs no special introduction

to our readers. He is a former

ATO fighter and Den’s regular reader

and friend. An agrarian by education, he

works now in the Dnipro mayor’s team as

manager of the Zelenbud communal enterprise.

Yurii is sincerely in love with his native land’s

nature. He also likes cycling, which is not so

typical of an official. Thousands of people read

in Facebook his poetic essays and photo reportages

on his own cycling tours of Dnipro’s outskirts.

Frankly speaking, very few can see so

many interesting things in the Dnieper region’s

commonplace landscape. In his notes, Ukraine’s

ancient history, present day, and picturesque

nature merge organically and look like a comprehensive

whole.

Mr. Fomenko, you regularly post poetic photo

reportages on your bicycle rides across the

Dnipro outskirts in Facebook. Are these travels

sport or local history studies?

“Traveling is part of my life, a particular

way of learning new things, a method of psychological

relief. It is a change in my everyday

environment. And, undoubtedly, it is a sport

that keeps me physically fit. But it is also a time

for reflections. It helps me escape from the

city’s informational stream which always puts a

strain on people and does not enrich them mentally

or spiritually.”

You usually come across picturesque natural

objects, historical sites, or even residential

places of interesting people. Do you map out the

itineraries of your cycling tours well in advance?

“Whenever I plan a cycling tour, I always set

a thematic goal and study preliminarily the objects

on my way. These travels can be thematically

related to local history, the environment,

or even technology. Mingling with people is an

integral part of them. Valerian Pidmohylnyi

once wrote: ‘The brighter our impressions are,

the more interesting our life is.’ Let me give you

an example of some tours of Dnipro’s southern

outskirts. From the angle of literature, it is the

places where Pidmohylnyi and dissident poet

Ivan Sokulskyi lived and worked. Before and af-

ter the journey, I reread what they wrote about

or in our city. I find some parallels and descriptions

of the well-known localities. From the

angle of local history and culture, it is the historical

sites of the Ohrinskyi peninsula. Their history

ranges from the foundation of Peresichen,

the capital of the Uliches, to the war exploits of

Cossacks under the leadership of Ivan Sirko.

“I also take interest in bicycle tours for environmental

reasons – I watch manmade challenges

from the Dnieper Thermal Power Plant. I also

care for my native land’s botany – the Samaraside

and Dnieper-side gullies with their steppe

flora. During one of my rides, I even found the

steppe cherry-tree Henryk Sienkiewicz described

in the novel With Fire and Sword. I recalled the

novel’s following lines: ‘Oh, look, my master!’

Jendzian cried out suddenly; ‘the sun is roasting,

but snow lies on the fields.’ Skrzetuski looked,

and indeed on both sides of the river, as far as the

eye could reach, some kind of a white covering

glittered in the rays of the sun. ‘Hallo! What is

that which looks white over there?’ asked he of

the pilot. ‘Cherry-trees!’ answered the old man.’

And I could see it myself.

“I am launching a new thematic series of bicycle

tours – small rivers on the outskirts of our

city. For example, I traveled down the banks of

the river Maiachka the other day. I had explored

the upper reaches in the previous trips, so I went

to the river’s middle and lower parts. Local residents

explain its name as follows: it flickers

[‘maiachyt’ in Ukrainian. – Ed.] all the time,

i.e., it is periodically full and empty of water.

There is also another plausible version: in the

Cossack era, there was an earth embankment on

a hill in the upper reaches of the river with a

wooden structure that served as a lighthouse

[‘maiak’ in Ukrainian. – Ed.]. This is why the

river was named Maiachka. It begins to flow near

the village of Ilarionove, Synelnykove raion,

from a small water spring. It runs through the

Ihren residential neighborhood of our city. Its

bed is a shallow ditch usually filled with atmospheric

precipitations. It is 14 km long. It almost

runs dry in the summer, but the little springs

that feed the downstream ground provide pastures

and haymaking areas with water.”

What routes do you think are the most interesting?

“I think it is the Dnieper rapids and banks.

You seem to be traveling across the pages of books

by our historian Dmytro Yavornytsky. Yevhen

Chykalenko used to write: ‘To walk over the

Dnieper rapids together with Yavornytsky means

to sink into the past and imagine Zaporozhian life

in every detail.’ And, in general, I like traveling

outside the city, on the outskirts, in the steppe –

where I can learn what I haven’t known before or

find answers to the questions that have long worried

me. I like traveling to where uncommon people

and unexpected events occur. I want to know

more and listen, rather than speak, to the people

I come across. And, believe me, the person I meet

in the steppe is often a much more interesting interlocutor

than a city dweller separated from nature.

The social network of one who lives outside

the city or on its outskirts comprises the steppe,

the sky, work, plants, a river… And my observations

show that the city doesn’t speak much – it

moves. The urban social network has entirely different

components.”

For how many years have you been cycling

across the Dnipropetrovsk region? Do you have

any friends who join you?

“I’ve been traveling on a bike not as long as

by car. These are totally different travels. Both

have advantages of their own. Riding a bike, you

come to know some things more in detail – you

become an integral part of nature. Yes, I have

friends who have long been traveling and are

now a role model for me. For example, it is Valerii

Harahuts, a person of diverse interests.

There are friends, such as Yevhen Zhyrko and

Denys Kosenko, to whom he is as much a role

model as he is to me. But there are also those who

began to be keen on cycling, looking at us. When

traveling, you can come across all kinds of bike

riders – priests and scientists, businesspeople

and teachers. It a subculture now.”

Is cycling a popular sport in Dnipro and how

do you think it is developing?

“I will mostly speak about not sport but about

those who like riding the bike. There are more

and more people you come across on your way.

They ride singly, in teams, and in families. And it

is no longer a rarity that travelers you bump into

ask you if there’s something interesting on the

way and what they should pay attention to. Or

they ask directly the way to the objects they’d

read about before the journey. In general, the

road is like life itself – sometimes smooth, sometimes

downhill or uphill, or over the obstacles.

The main thing is that you come across good people

on your way – the more, the better.”


8

No.45 AUGUST 10, 2017

TIMEO U T

WWW.DAY.KIEV.UA

IN SPITE

of social

environment

By Maria PROKOPENKO, The Day

Illustrations courtesy of TSEKH Gallery

The Odesa-based artist Yevhen PETROV once

confessed: “I paint what irks me.” The

Vilnius branch of Kyiv’s gallery TSEKH is

now hosting his exhibit “Where We Are

Not.” The content of the finely painted

monochrome watercolors confirms these words.

In general, the exhibit is about people who stay

away from home. Among them are immigrants from

impoverish countries, astronauts, and those who are

only going to fly to outer space, the yakuza, and even

the British queen. They all end up in very unusual situations:

firstly, a long way from home and, secondly,

the author immerses them into surreal circumstances.

The crowd is waiting for the rocket that will

take them to cultivate a new planet, and the tourists

who splash around near the Doge’s Palace in Venice are

attacked by alligators. At first, this enmity surprises

you, but then it dawns on you that it may be a protective

reaction to human stupidity.

● THE QUEEN QUEUING FOR SUBSIDIES

“It is now a period of intense migration, and I pondered

over what would happen to people if they found

themselves in some remote point of the world,” Yevhen

PETROV says. “It is very difficult to be an emigrant

or a forced migrant. Sometimes the social environment

repels people, and they cannot adapt. One is accustomed

to everything at home, but there is no comfort in a different

country. A half of my works show our people,

but, in general, I mean not only Ukrainians, but also,

for example, Latin Americans and the Chinese.”

Elderly women sell vegetables and other stuff near

Cloud Gate, a famous sculpture by Anish Kapoor in

Chicago. “I decided to put together something monumental,

contemporary, and our mercantile people

who have adapted to these conditions in order to sell

something and make a fast buck. We want to quickly

reap a benefit from anything,” the artist comments on

the picture.

And British Queen Elizabeth II, with Corgi dogs

by her feet, is in a line for utility subsidies. Next to her,

sedate Ukrainian women are waiting to be received by

officials. This watercolor, I’m after this Lady in

Line, is the first in the series. I imagined what would

happen if Queen Elizabeth came to us and waited in line

to wring subsidies from the authorities. If this happened,

our elderly women would not even notice that

they see Elizabeth II, “Petrov says smiling. “In general,

I like the queen as a character very much, for she is a

certain symbol of stability.”

The artist is convinced that we should not strive

to go where “the grass is greener.” “There’s no place

like home. And it is terrible and sad that people have

Why artist Yevhen

Petrov set up

a “makeshift market”

in downtown Chicago

to migrate,” Petrov adds sadly. “My heroes are unable

to find their way in the dire straits they get into. I put

them in such conditions that they have to come back.”

● LUXURY VERSUS POVERTY

Petrov’s pictures are viewed as satirical stories.

This brings to memory the writer Yevgeny Petrov who,

incidentally, once lived opposite the artist’s house. You

first see the comic side, and then a far not-so-funny

subtext emerges. “It is realism with a tinge of melancholy,”

Raminta JURENAITE, a Lithuanian art critic,

a professor at the Vilnius Academy, says about the

watercolors. “These works compare life in poor countries

with luxury. This clash between ordinary people

absorbed in daily routine and those who live a privileged

life is demonstrated very originally. This occurs

very seldom in real life, but, in his fantasy, Petrov

A “DIALOGIC” DISPLAY

By Tetiana KOZYRIEVA, Lviv

An exhibition of two dozen sculptural images

has been launched at the Johann Georg

Pinsel Museum of Sacred Baroque Sculpture

and, according to director of the Lviv Art

Gallery Taras Vozniak, it should be seen as

a kind of dialog between the genius of the late Baroque

and Rococo, who lived and worked in the mid-18th

century, and our Modernist contemporary. “Some

people may reject this direct ‘collision’ of such

different styles, others will give it a think, while others

yet will be really delighted,” Vozniak said at the

opening of the exhibition and added that the ongoing

easily places one world into another. It seems to me

Petrov is a very sad artist, but with a sense of humor.”

Ms. Jurenaite says that Petrov’s particular watercolor

line is always present, but never dominates,

in art. “On the other hand, I think Petrov is a very individual

artist. He has a lot of specific and personal

things. What and how he ‘narrates’ is very interesting,”

the art critic says.

● “TSEKH IS A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR

VILNIUS GALLERIES”

“Petrov’s precision is at level of Japanese watercolorists,

and his themes are multifaceted. His talent

is undeniable,” says Vilnius ex-mayor Arturas

ZUOKAS who initiated the revival of the city’s district

Uzupis. This once neglected place is now an art center.

Incidentally, opening Petrov’s exhibit in late July,

the Vilnius branch of TSEKH celebrated the first year

of working in Lithuania. Mr. Zuokas emphasizes that

theUkrainiangalleryisimportantforandevenincreases

the status of Lithuania’s capital – above all, because it

is the only representation of a foreign gallery in the city.

“The TSEKH Gallery also shows that our countries are

each other’s friends and supporters not only at the levelofpolitics.Thereissuchthingasculture–itisgreater

than politics and business. Cultural links are also developing

at the level of private persons who create something

by themselves and invest in various projects,” the

Vilnius ex-mayor continues. “TSEKH is also a good

example for Lithuanian galleries. Everything is done

here on one’s own initiative. The gallery receives no mo-

Photo by Andrii KUBIAK

The Pinsel Museum

of Lviv is hosting

an exhibition

of Mykhailo

Dzyndra’s works

ney from the European Union, foundations, or other organizations.

Everything is done on the basis of business.

Moreover, thanks to this gallery, we in Vilnius can learn

more about interesting artists in Ukraine.”

● “LITHUANIANS HOLD THEIR ART

IN HIGH ESTEEM”

By contrast with Petrov’s characters, TSEKH has

seen no aggression of the social environment in Vilnius.

The first year of work in Lithuania was very busy for

the gallery – in addition to launching its own projects,

it hosted the award ceremony for winners of the

Young Baltic Artists Prize and displayed Andrius Sarapovas’s

kinetic music-generating installation.

“We have in fact been in Lithuania for 10 years,”

TSEKH founder Oleksandr SHCHELUSHCHENKO

stresses. “Raminta Jurenaite once invited us to the Art

Vilnius international contemporary art fair. We took

part in it six times, we were pronounced the best foreign

gallery and our painter Mykola Bilous – the best

foreign artist. So, we are in the focus of Vilnius’ top

professionals in contemporary art. The TSEKH Gallery

was immediately recognized as a professional space.”

What is more, in Vilnius the gallery caters, above

all, not to Lithuanian audiences but to collectors

from other West European and Oriental countries.

“Lithuanians are conservative and, unlike Ukrainians,

hold their art in high esteem. Here, the biggest collector

does not bring in ‘something Western’ and bombastic

– he buys things of their own and builds a modern-day

museum of Lithuanian art,” Oleksandr

adds. “Yet we have a lot of allies here.”

“dialogic” display was a “trial balloon” before the

next exhibition which would involve the Lviv Art

Gallery and be held in Antwerp (Belgium) and

where the works of Pinsel, Michelangelo Merisi da

Caravaggio, and Georges de La Tour would be

presented side by side.

Mykhailo Dzyndra (born on November 8, 1921,

died on September 8, 2006) was a Modernist painter,

graphic artist, and sculptor. He was born in the village

of Demnia, located in the Mykolaiv raion of the

Lviv oblast. Dzyndra learned the three-dimensional

plastic art at the Lviv Industrial Art School, taught

by the masterly sculptors Bohdan Mukhin and

Ivan Severa. His own creative career started in

exile in early 1948, as the sculptor frequently exhibited

his works at Ukrainian collective exhibitions

in Germany and the US.

The artist returned to the homeland after independence,

and not empty-handed either: he donated

all his creative treasure to Ukraine, amounting

to over 800 (!) sculptures, and not only them, as

he also built a structure to house the museum with

an area of 1,409 square meters. Thus, the Dzyndra

Museum of Modern Art was opened in Briukhovychi

near Lviv as a branch of the Art Gallery. It is

cared for by the artist’s widow Sofia Dzyndra. By

the way, the Dzyndra Museum is the only museum

of modern sculpture in Ukraine, displaying a huge

collection of works of abstract art, including sculptures

of plastic associations, abstract forms, and relief

portraits.

A small bit of Dzyndra’s colossal legacy will be

exhibited at the Pinsel Museum until August 31.

Meanwhile, those who have grown interested in the

work of the Master are welcome to visit the unique

museum in Briukhovychi.

UKRAINIAN NEWS IN ENGLISH

www.day.kiev.ua incognita.day.kiev.ua

FOUNDER AND PUBLISHER:

UKRAINIAN PRESS GROUP LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY

Published since May 27, 1998.

Свiдоцтво про перереєстрацiю КВ № 21448-11248 ПР

вiд 27 липня 2015 року

Larysa Ivshyna, Editor-in-Chief, Den

e-mail: chedit@day.kiev.ua

Hanna Sheremet, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

Anna Mazurenko, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

for development

Anna Motoziuk, Editor,

English Language Bureau

Olha Pavliei, Technical Editor

George Skliar, Borys Honcharov, Nadia Sysiuk,

Taras Shulha, Anna Oksentiuk, Oles Petik, Translators

Marharyta Motoziuk, Designer

Alla Bober, Responsible Secretary

Mykola Tymchenko, Photography Editor

Nadia Ushakova, Director, Ukrainian Press Group LLC

Mailing address: prosp. Peremohy, 121d, Kyiv 03115, Ukraine

Telephone: +38(044) 303-96-19

Fax: +38(044) 303-94-20

Advertising: +38(044) 303-96-20; e-mail: ra@day.kiev.ua

Subscriptions: +38(044) 303-96-23; e-mail: amir@day.kiev.ua

E-mail: time@day.kiev.ua

Subscription index: 40032

Ukrainian Press Group LLC

Code 24249388

Raiffeisen Bank joint-stock company

MFO 380805

A/С 26007478064

Responsibility for the accuracy of facts, quotations, personal names, and other information is borne by the authors of publications and in advertising

materials by the advertiser. The views expressed in signed articles do not necessarily reflect those of the editors. Submitted materials are not returned

and not reviewed. The editors retain the right to edit materials. When citing Day materials, reference to The Day is mandatory. ©Den.

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines