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JUNE 21, 2018 ISSUE No. 39 (1171)

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

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

е-mail: time@day.kiev.ua;


By Ivan KAPSAMUN, The Day

While the world is watching the World

Cup in Russia, Ukrainian political

prisoners are still on a hunger strike

in its brutal prisons. The New York

Times wrote in a recent editorial that

the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov deserved

the full support of the international community.

“In the midst of hosting the World Cup

soccer extravaganza, the last thing Vladimir

Putin wants to be reminded of is human rights,

Crimea or Ukraine. That is a good reason to raise

the case of Oleh Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker

who has been on a hunger strike for

more than a month in a remote Siberian penal

colony, to remind the Russian president that his

costly sport show does not wipe away his government’s

crimes. Following in the best tradition

of the Soviet era, Mr. Sentsov was sentenced

to 20 years in prison on evidence given by him

and witnesses under torture,” the article reads.

“The Kremlin, as always, denies everything...

Kremlin-allied media have claimed that

Western protests are a ploy to undermine Russia’s

World Cup tournament,” the publication

says. “No, no and no. Mr. Putin’s regime alone

is responsible for the assaults on Ukraine, for

Mr. Sentsov’s torture and phony trial.

Mr. Sentsov is risking his life to draw attention

to Russia’s actions. He and the truth he proclaims

deserve the full support of the West, no

matter what is going on in Russia’s stadiums.”

A Soviet-era political prisoner who now serves

as an MP, one of the leaders of the Crimean

Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev emphasizes that

“holding some international olympiads, festivals,

championships, and international conferences

on the territory of that country are not steps

in the right direction.” At the same time, he says

that the current sanctions against Russia would

still lead to a “large-scale disruption of its economy.”

The details can be found in Dzhemilev’s interview

for The Day newspaper.

Now four Ukrainian political prisoners are already

on a hunger strike in Russian prisons, and

about 70 of our people are held in the dungeons

of the Kremlin in total, half of them Crimean

Tatars. As a Soviet-era political prisoner who was

on a hunger strike for 303 days, longer than anyone

else, what would you advise our prisoners today?

And in general, how effective is the hunger

strike as a method, can it influence the current

political regime in Russia? In your opinion,

what can change the situation?

“Prisoner hunger strikes often occur in countries

whose regimes do not differ much from the

Soviet one. That is, in those countries where human

rights are brazenly violated. In prisons,

hunger strikes are declared primarily to protest

against manifestly unlawful sentences, but are often

declared as well to protest against gross violations

of internal regulations. These include

warders abusing prisoners, disgusting and inedible

food, excessively cold cells, bath being delayed

for a long time, etc. The hunger strike is believed

to be a measure of last resort to protect one’s

rights, but demonstrative vein cutting is frequent

as well. During my time behind the bars, there

were even cases of prisoners cutting their throat

or cutting open their stomach, that is, some kind

of prison hara-kiri.

“But political hunger strikes, that is, ones

launched to achieve some goals not for themselves,

but for the country, the community, one’s co-religionists

or like-minded people, belong to a special

category. As for the likelihood of hungerstrikers’

demands being met, there is no definite

answer to that question. It is demands that have

to do with living conditions that are sometimes

met, not political ones. However, people who go

on political hunger strikes do not expect to get

their demands met, they just want to contribute

to the common cause. And in this regard, they certainly

achieve their goal. To advise hunger-strikers

to stop their protest on the grounds that it undermines

their health and threatens their lives is

useless, since they know this very well. Those enjoying

freedom would do better to take some kind

of energetic action in support of prisoners’ demands

and call for their immediate release. People

usually stop a hunger strike when they see that

they have achieved something with their protest.”

Sketch by Viktor BOGORAD

To check

the aggressor


“Russia’s disregard of the international rules

of conduct will still lead to the consequences

similar to those suffered by the former USSR”


No.39 JUNE 21, 2018

Refugee today –citizen tomorrow?

Vinnytsia is part of the

Intercultural Cities network,

which requires the city to engage

in cooperation with

members of ethnic communities

and displaced persons.

The program supports cities in

developing governance and

policy mechanisms that will

enable representatives of ethnic

minorities, displaced persons,

and migrants to become

a resource for the local community.

Mayors of other Ukrainian

cities have also joined this

initiative. Members of the network

made a joint statement

on the World Refugee Day,

which is observed on June 20.





Against the background of protests, the

parties signed an agreement to change the

name of the former Yugoslav republic

There is a voice which is rarely

heard in the deeply divisive

debate about refugee

policies – the voice of cities.

Listening to cities can not

only make the debate more

constructive, it can also help shape

policies which reconcile solidarity

and societal cohesion.

Most asylum-seekers and

refugees live in cities: in neighborhoods,

parks, enterprises, hospitals

and schools they are not an abstract

political issue – they are human beings

with needs, responsibilities and


Mayors care about people living

in their cities. They care both

about the welfare of newcomers and

the prosperity and well-being of the

entire community. Therefore, we

have to find a way to secure both.

We cannot afford to engage in shortterm

political struggles and neglect

the long-term perspective.

We must pave the way for today’s

refugees to become the citizens

of tomorrow. If they cannot work,

study, create enterprises and even

volunteer because of legal or administrative

obstacles, or because

they have no affordable opportunities

to learn our language, we still

need to find a way to avoid lives and

talents being wasted. We can achieve

this if we manage to convince fellow

citizens that migrants are not a

threat, but an opportunity to build

more inclusive, open, creative, and

dynamic cities for everyone.

We call for a political vision in

our societies which takes integration

seriously, as our attitudes determine

whether migration will be a

blessing or a curse.

Successful integration cannot be

based on rejection and fear. It can only

work if there is mutual respect and

a shared pluralistic community identity.

We can only help newcomers embrace

the values of equality, human

rights and democracy, which are the

pillars of our societies, if we are able

to demonstrate that we live by these

values ourselves. We need to lead by

example, building relentlessly open,

just, and inclusive democracies.

In order to make our mission a

success, we work together with other

cities in networks such as the Intercultural

cities network supported

by the Council of Europe. We design

together innovative approaches

to making schools, neighborhoods

and community institutions more diverse,

prevent discrimination, fight

against violent extremism and hatred,

and foster trust through interaction

between all members of the

community. We strive to create conditions

for everyone to have a say in

local affairs and realize their aspirations

around a common vision,

whether they are officially citizens,

or not. For us, all those who feel they

belong to the city are citizens.

The experience and knowledge

that cities have regarding what

works for integration can help make

national policies more effective. It is

time to listen to the voice of cities.

■ Signatories

•Mr. Antonio DECARO, Mayor of

Bari (Italy)

•Mr. Erlend HORN, Deputy Mayor of

Bergen (Norway)

•Mr. Juan Maria ABURTO, Mayor of

Bilbao (Spain)

•Mr. Ricardo RIO, Mayor of Braga


•Ms. Ana Belen CASTEJON HER-

NANDEZ, Mayor of Cartagena


•Ms. Amparo MARCO GUAL, Mayor

of Castello (Spain)

•Dr. Florian JANIK, Mayor of Erlangen


•Dr. Elisabeth PREUSS, Deputy

Mayor, Erlangen (Germany)


Deputy Mayor, Erlangen (Germany)

•Mr. Francisco Javier AYALA OR-

TEGA, Mayor of Fuenlabrada



Mayor of Getxo (Spain)

•Mr. Yasutomo SUZUKI, Mayor of

Hamamatsu (Japan)

•Mr. Damien EGAN, Mayor of the

London Borough of Lewisham

(United Kingdom)

•Mr. Nicos NICOLAIDES, Mayor of

Limassol (Cyprus)

•Mr. Fernando MEDINA, Mayor of

Lisbon (Portugal)

•Mr. Bernardino SOARES, Mayor

of Loures (Portugal)

•Mr. Hryhoriy PUSTOVIT, Acting

Mayor of Lutsk (Ukraine)

•Cr Bob TURNER, Mayor of Melton


•Ms. Cecilia Soto, Federal Chairwoman

of the Standing Committee

on the City of Mexico, LXIII Legislature

of Mexican Federal Congress


•Mr. Isaltino MORAIS, Mayor of

Oeiras (Portugal)

•Mr. Anatoliy VERSHINA, Mayor of

Pavlohrad (Ukraine)

•Mr. Luca VECCHI, Mayor of Reggio

Emilia (Italy)

•Mr. Ardell Fr. BREDE, Mayor of

City of Rochester, Minnesota (USA)

•Mr. Jordi VINAS, Mayor of Salt


•Mr. Eneko GOIA, Mayor of San

Sebastian/Donostia (Spain)

•Mr. Maurizio MANGIALARDI,

Mayor of Senigallia (Italy)

•Mr. Roland RIES, Mayor of Strasbourg


•Mr. Carlos Enrique ALONSO RO-

DRIGUEZ, President of the Cabildo

of Tenerife (Spain)

•Ms. Chiara APPENDINO, Mayor of

Torino (Italy)

•Mr. Sergiy MORGUNOV, Mayor of

Vinnytsia (Ukraine)


Mayor of Zaragoza (Spain)



Seven police officers were

injured, and 25 demonstrators

were detained. These are the

results of yet another protest

wave in Macedonia which

provide an illustration of sorts to the

historic agreement regarding the

renaming of the country, which was

signed on June 17.

On that day, foreign ministers of

Macedonia and Greece, Nikola Dimitrov

and Nikos Kotzias, signed an

agreement to change the name of the

former Yugoslav republic, which, after

the completion of all the procedures,

will be called the Republic of Northern

Macedonia. “Macedonia” without qualifiers

will remain an informal name of

the whole region, which includes not

only the former Yugoslav republic of

the same name (for the time being), but

also the Greek province with the same

historic name.

The solemn signing of the Greek-

Macedonian agreement took place on

the shores of a lake in the picturesque

Greek region of Prespes, on the border

with Macedonia. The ceremony was

attended by Greek Prime Minister

Alexis Tsipras, his Macedonian counterpart

Zoran Zaev, UN negotiations

mediator Matthew Nimetz, EU diplomacy

head Federica Mogherini, and EU

Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes


After years of nervous negotiations,

which eventually ended in a successful

agreement, things were almost euphoric

in the pavilion near the lake. Prime

ministers of Macedonia and Greece set

the tone, smiling and delivering vigorous,

optimistic speeches.

Zaev seemed especially happy. He

confidently talked about the immediate

future of Macedonia in the EU and NA-

TO, and at the end of the event, grew so

relaxed that he decided to present his

festive red tie to his Greek counterpart.

(Tsipras, probably because the ceremony

was being held on a Sunday, decided

not to wear this accessory for

some reason).

The cheerful mood of the Macedonian

prime minister is understandable:

he managed, frankly speaking,

to win by putting the squeeze on

the Greeks and reach a fundamental

solution to the problem, to find a way

out of the deadlock, in which the former

Yugoslav republic had been stagnating

since the beginning of the

1990s, or for 27 years.

Now Macedonia has every chance to

begin the process of joining the EU and

NATO, which was blocked by Greece because

of the “unacceptable” name of the

neighboring country.

Macedonian officials hope that

with the agreement reached, they will

be able to begin accession negotiations

with the EU at a summit to be held in

late June, and receive an invitation to

join NATO by mid-July.

The European Commission has already

recommended the start of negotiations

on the accession of Macedonia

to the EU. The European Council, according

to Mogherini, may decide on it

in two weeks.

It should be noted that the representatives

of the EU also radiated joy

at the signing of the Greek-Macedonian

agreement. Mogherini, it seems,

even put on a bright red jacket, specially

to enhance the effect. Next

year, she will need to sum up the results

of her work in that position,

and therefore such a large-scale positive

event will certainly be of use in

her store of breakthroughs.


As for NATO, the Alliance was

ready to invite Macedonia as early as

10 years ago, but this issue was blocked

by Greece at the Bucharest Summit in

2008. At that time, NATO countries

agreed that Macedonia would receive an

invitation after the resolution of the

naming dispute with Greece.

However, euphoria is all well and

good, but there is still a brutal reality

to deal with. Now the treaty has yet to

be approved by the parliament of Macedonia

and confirmed at an all-Macedonian

referendum, after which the

document has to be ratified by the

Greek legislators.

The present governments, both

Macedonian and Greek, have slim majorities

in the parliaments of their countries.

Moreover, it is unlikely that most

Macedonians will decide to vote against

joining NATO and the EU by blocking

the name change. But one can safely predict

that the situation in both countries

will be gravely destabilized during the

consideration of these issues.

Protests in Greece against the

preservation of the word “Macedonia” in

the name of the neighboring country

were more than just massive – they

gathered hundreds of thousands (!).

Greeks rallied on the agreement’s signing

day as well. Several hundred protesters

gathered around the Greek village

within 25 kilometers of which a

solemn ceremony saw the treaty on the

new name for the former Yugoslav republic

being signed.

Flying the Greek flags, the demonstrators

tried to march to the lake

shore. However, the police blocked all

roads, and therefore the protesters

could not get to the event itself, but still

tried to break through by throwing

stones at law-enforcement personnel.

The police had to use tear gas and stun

grenades. According to the protesters,

at least eight people were injured

as a result of the clashes.

The protests in Macedonia were

even more intense.

On the evening of June 17, a protest

took place in the capital city of Skopje.

Several hundred protesters opposed to

renaming the nation tried to break into

the parliament building. The protesters

threw firecrackers, bottles, and

stones at the police who guarded the

building, and tried to dismantle the

fence. Law-enforcement personnel responded

with stun grenades and tear

gas, which, as the Macedonian Ministry

of the Interior said in a statement, was

aimed “to prevent escalation of the situation”

and seizure of the parliament

building. As already mentioned above,

7 police officers were injured, and

25 demonstrators were detained.

Protests were also held in some

other cities of Macedonia, in particular,

in the small city of Bitola near the border

with Greece, 50 kilometers away

from the place where the agreement

was signed. The protesters told journalists

that they wanted to be Macedonians,

and not “northern Macedonians,”

and would not change their


The referendum on changing the

name of the country is scheduled for

September in Macedonia. One could

write that this fall would be a hot season

in the Balkans, but it is always hot

there, due to the peculiarities of the local



DAY AFTER DAY No.39 JUNE 21, 2018 3

By Natalia PUSHKARUK, The Day

OnJune 18-19, Sofia hosted

the international scholarly

conference “Bulgaria and Ukraine

in the History of Europe”ontheoccasionofthe100th

anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic

relations between the UNR and


Julian REVALSKI, President of the

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, who took

part in the opening ceremony, emphasized

that the institution he heads is proud

of cooperating with Ukrainian academics

and civic activists, the website of the General

Directorate for Servicing Foreign

Representatives reports. Meanwhile,

Mykola BALTAZHY, Ambassador Extraordinary

and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine

to Bulgaria, who also participated in the

ceremony, welcomed the Ukrainian “special

academic mission” and noted: “It is

very important that the best academics

from various countries are working on the

1917-24 events.” Daniel VACHKOV, Director

of the Institute of Historical Studies

of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences,

pointed out that “although Ukraine and

Bulgaria maintain very active relations,

they need to be further developed, which

requires fresh historical research.”

Besides, as the conference was being

opened, the Ukrainian Institute of History

and the Bulgarian Institute of Historical

Studies signed an agreement on scholarly


Here follows the text of The Day’s interview

with Ambassador Baltazhy.





Mr. Ambassador, how did the idea of

this conference come up?

“This conference is part of the comprehensive

program of academic events

within the framework of the project ‘Day of

Ukraine in Europe’ on the occasion of an anniversary

of the establishment of diplomatic

relations between Ukraine and Bulgaria, Romania,

and Greece, and the centenary of the

Ukrainian diplomatic service. The conference

had long been in the making on the initiative

of the Academic Society for the

History of Diplomacy and International Relations

with support from and in partnership

with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Ukraine’s Embassy in Bulgaria, the General

Directorate for Servicing Foreign Representations,anumberof

regional authorities,

Ukrainian universities, and archives. The

main Bulgarian partner is the Institute of

Historical Studies of the Bulgarian Academy

of Sciences, and the sponsor is the Ministry

of Education and Science.

“The event aroused keen interest

among academic circles and the public. Suffice

it to say that the President of the Bulgarian

Academy of Sciences, Julian Revalski,

welcomed the participants. The event

is interesting by both the theme and the list

of participants which includes 20 Ukrainian

high-ranking academics and former


“The first day saw welcoming speeches,

plenary reports, and stormy panel discussions.

The conference is also receiving

Bulgarian media coverage.

“Besides, this conference is part of the

embassy’s package of events on the occasion

of the centenary of the establishment

of diplomatic relations between the

UNR and the Kingdom of Bulgaria. In particular,

a similar conference was held in

February at Bulgaria’s Ministry of Foreign

Affairs. And this debate attracted a wide

circle of academics and experts. It is deeply

symbolic that it coincided in time with the

Bulgarian vote in the EU Council, which

clearly reflects its name and European

context. I think the conference is an important

event which should be viewed

through the prism of friendly Ukrainian-

Bulgarian relations.”





To what extent is it important to

spotlight the themes of Ukrainian history

in Bulgaria and Bulgarian history in



mission” in Sofia

Ukrainian Ambassador to Bulgaria Mykola

BALTAZHY: “We should not only study each

other’s history, but also exchange experience”

“There are a lot of maxims, such as

‘whoever does not know his past does not

deserve a future’ and ‘whoever does not

know his history will have to re-live it

again,’ and they are all still topical. But this

conference is very important, as far as finding

the truth about little-known events of

those years is concerned, for there are

very many attempts to falsify historical

events and facts. Against the backdrop of

a hybrid war on the part of Russia, the research

of history without dogmas and

stereotypes, an independent analysis and

expert examination are the main instruments

of defense from propaganda and manipulations

that pose a real threat to

democracy and security.

“Among those who stood at the origins

of Ukrainian-Bulgarian relations in the early

20th century were such figures as Professor

Oleksandr Shulhin, the UNR’s first

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassador

to the Kingdom of Bulgaria, and Professor

Ivan Shishmanov, a well-known

representative of the then Bulgarian intellectual

elite, the son-in-law of Mykhailo

Drahomanov. These prominent diplomats

and civic activists enjoyed high prestige

in their countries which maintained

high-level bilateral relations.

“The conference made an in-depth

analysis of historical documents. The

Ukrainian academics cited unique archival

documents in their reports. They also

staged a superb exhibition about the stormy

events of the 1917-21 Ukrainian Revolution

in the Grand Hall of the Bulgarian

Academy of Sciences. What also aroused

keen interest was a documentary film on

signing the Brest-Litovsk Peace Treaty,

which in fact meant international recognition

of the UNR’s independence.

“Even after the UNR had ceased to exist,

Ukraine had very good relations with

Bulgaria in all fields. Besides, it is of

paramount importance that the two friendly

countries established relations not in

1918 – they date back to the olden times of

Kyivan Rus’ and the First Bulgarian Kingdom

or even to the period when the ancient

Ruthenian and ancient Bulgarian ethnicities

were being formed.

On the danger of provocations...

Photo by Ruslan KANIUKA, The Day

KYIV. JUNE 19, 2018


Valentyn TORBA, The Day

While the parliament was

considering a number of

issues on its agenda on

June 19, tumultuous events

took place near the central

entrance of the Verkhovna Rada building.

That location hosted protests by miners,

Chornobyl victims, and veterans of the

Soviet war in Afghanistan. The protest

would have most likely stayed littlenoticed

had its participants not broken

through and reached the walls of the

building in Konstytutsii Square. There

was a clash between protesters and lawenforcement

personnel. According to

Andrii Kryshchenko, the Kyiv head of the

National Police, three law-enforcement

officers had suffered light injuries at the

hands of the protesters. He also said that

the police had detained a protester who

attacked a law-enforcement officer.

“We did not know almost till the

last moment that Chornobyl victims and

anti-terrorist operation (ATO) veterans

would join the protest as well. It was the

police who informed us about it, as

they tried to prevent any incidents,”

chairman of the Confederation of Free

Trade Unions of Ukraine Mykhailo

Volynets commented for The Day. “To

make our speeches heard, we took turns

using the Afghanistan veterans’ sound

equipment. The ATO veterans, like the

Afghanistan veterans, demanded reinstatement

of their benefits they had had

unfairly taken away. Secondly, they demanded

fairly calculated pensions. The

government has been promising it for

a long time. In turn, the miners have

wage arrears going back to 2015. This

problem could have been solved had the

parliament voted to include on the

agenda Mykhailo Bondar’s bill on the allocation

of funds for wages, technical

equipment and capital investment in

the coal industry. We need it because at

this time, a huge amount of coal is

purchased abroad. The tempo of coal

imports is increasing. Last year, our

foreign coal purchases stood at 52 billion


“There was also an exchange of opinions

about the current stage of bilateral

Ukrainian-Bulgarian relations. We can

see a fruitful development of the political

dialog, sectoral and interregional cooperation,

and city twinning. From the very

outset, Bulgaria has been supporting territorial

integrity of Ukraine, sanctions

against Russia, systemic reforms, the European

and Euro-Atlantic integration of

our state. It made strenuous efforts to

grant Ukraine a visa waiver. We cooperate

very well within the framework of international

organizations. This was also the

object of a two-day discussion. Therefore,

it is beyond any doubt that the conference

is of not only purely academic, but also of

practical importance.

“In addition, in the course of the conference,

the Ukrainian Institute of History

and the Bulgarian Institute of Historical

Studies signed an agreement on cooperation

and resolved to form a Ukrainian-Bulgarian

commission for historical research.”

“Any demands, including those of purely

social nature, become a priori political at

this juncture,” an MP asserted







The newspaper Den also took part in

researching Ukraine’s relations with her

“southern Orthodox and Slavic sister”

Bulgaria in the publication My Sister

Sofia. Den’s editor-in-chief Larysa Ivshyna

notes in the preface to this book that

“the history of Ukraine and Bulgaria is like

a history of two sisters separated in early

childhood.” And what similarities in the

two countries’ history do you see?

“Ukrainians and Bulgarians are very

close peoples. If you make a comparative

analysis our states’ historical development,

you will see, for example, that Kyivan

Rus’ and the First Bulgarian Kingdom

were boosting their might almost simultaneously

in the 9th-10th centuries. But,

undoubtedly, two great events played a special

role in the interrelations between the

two peoples – the creation of the Slavic

script and the adoption of Christianity.

“Later, Ukraine lost its statehood

for several centuries, while Bulgaria was

part of the Ottoman Empire for almost

five centuries. We should also take into

account that our peoples have always

helped each other – the most illustrious

example of this was participation of

Ukrainian volunteers, medics, in the liberation

of Bulgaria from the Ottoman

yoke. There are also many examples of

Bulgarians helping the Ukrainian people

in their liberation struggle – even in the

era of Zaporozhian Sich.”

“When people began marching to the

parliament building, head of the State Security

Department Valerii Heletei approached

me and said that his people

would fight to the death in case of an assault

on the building,” Volynets continued.

“I explained that nobody was going

to carry out an assault. If we wanted just

to enter the parliament building, it would

be no problem at all. The scuffles took

place only after the riot police appeared.

Then Iryna Herashchenko, the first vicespeaker

of parliament, emerged from the

building, and she obviously did not understand

the miners’ issues. She said she

would visit affected regions and figure out

why there were arrears. I think that she

ought to be more prepared.”

Herashchenko, meanwhile, explained

to the media that she had invited an initiative

group selected by the protesters to

enter negotiations. She added that following

a meeting between members of the

initiative group and leaders of the largest

parliamentary factions and individual

MPs, their demands would be discussed at

a meeting of the Verkhovna Rada’s Committee

on Veterans, Combatants, ATO

Soldiers, and People with Disabilities.

“We have to work out a plan outlining

what can be done right now, what can be

included into the budget for 2019, and

what cannot be done, and we must honestly

say that,” Herashchenko stated as

quoted by ukrinform.ua.

“I have a lot of acquaintances among

the organizations that joined these

protests,” MP Viktor Chumak commented

for The Day. “They sent me

their demands, and these demands have

nothing to do whatsoever with the powers

of the Verkhovna Rada. They all belong

to the cabinet’s responsibilities: benefits,

monetization, and so on. Their demands

are addressed primarily to leaders

of the nation. Who are these national

leaders? What do they have to do with

the parliament? Therefore, all this

protest, which took place outside the

Verkhovna Rada building, had no direct

relation to it. Social benefits are set by

the Cabinet of Ministers. I have not

found out who was the main driver of

this event, but it seems to me that it was

directed against serving Prime Minister

Volodymyr Hroisman. This is a warning

to him, even though it was made public

not outside the cabinet offices, but

rather outside the parliament building.

With whom is Hroisman now in conflict?

One person only, and his name is Petro

Poroshenko. Hroisman is friends with

numerous parties and factions, as well

as MPs elected in single-member constituencies.

Meanwhile, Poroshenko is

greatly dissatisfied with Hroisman’s

work. Therefore, it seems to me that the

source of the protests should be sought

in Bankova Street [where the Presidential

Administration is housed. – Ed.].

Any demands, including those of purely

social nature, are a priori political at

this juncture.”

Any Ukrainian citizen enjoys the

right to protest and to defend their social

rights. It is another matter under

what conditions all this is happening.

Firstly, we must not forget that we

have a war to deal with, although

this is not a valid reason for the government

to engage in speculations

and ignore problems. Secondly, with

the presidential election approaching,

any social or economic issues can

be used by politicians to their own

ends. Therefore, citizens need to be

particularly attentive and responsible

given this reality.


No.39 JUNE 21, 2018




The Trans-Anatolian Natural

Gas Pipeline (TANAP), which

will transport gas from

Azerbaijan to Turkey and then

to Europe, was opened at a

ceremony in the Turkish province of


“Today is an historic day. The

TANAP project is an outcome of multilateral

cooperation as well as of political

will. It is especially gratifying

that we are launching it ahead of

schedule. It will be Europe’s largest

gas pipeline. We are planning to make

the first delivery of gas through this

pipeline to Greece in June 2019,”

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

said, commenting on the opening


In addition to Erdogan, President

Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine,

President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan,

President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia,

leader of the Turkish Republic of

Northern Cyprus Mustafa Akinci,

energy ministers of several countries,

and top executives of energy

companies, also attended the ceremony.

Incidentally, Maros Sefcovic,

Vice President of the Commission for

the Energy Union, was conspicuous

for his absence, although TANAP is

part of the Southern Gas Corridor

whose main objective is to strengthen

the European Union’s energy security

and reduce dependence on gas

supplies from Russia.

“It is energy security, also for

our state, as well as competitiveness

and diversification of gas supplies

to Ukraine,” President Poroshenko

tweeted. He emphasized that Ukraine

hopes to receive TANAP gas through

Bulgaria and Romania.

It will be recalled that Azerbaijan

and Turkey made a deal to build this

gas pipeline in June 2012, after which

Ukraine expressed a desire to take

part in the construction, but Azerbaijan

announced soon after that it

was not interested in this.

The Day spoke with Mykhailo

HONCHAR, president of the Strategy

XXI Center for Global Studies,

about TANAP’s prospects and role in

the energy security of Ukraine.

“Although ‘a red ribbon was cut’

yesterday in the Turkish province of

Eskisehir, the prospects of this natural

gas supply corridor are rather

bleak and remote.

“The point is there is a marked difference

between the concept and the

present-day shape of TANAP and the

Southern Gas Corridor as a whole.

“Firstly, it will be impossible to

reach the rated capacity immediately.

Moreover, the current negotiations

show that TANAP can ensure gas

supplies to Turkey only. Europe is out

of the question so far, for this requires

the construction of the Trans-Adriatic

Gas Pipeline, on which Azerbaijanis

are working now. But it will carry

Azerbaijani gas to southern Italy.

“The total rated capacity of

TANAP is 31 billion cubic meters of

natural gas. They are going to start

building its first stage with a capacity

of 16 billion cubic meters, with

6 billion going to the Turkish market

and 10 billion to southern Italy, but –

let me say it again – after 2020, when

the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline is


“Besides, the Azerbaijani State-

Run Oil Company, the main project

implementer, aims to supply about one

billion cubic meters of natural gas to


What is the place of Ukraine in

these plans?

“We are not present at this stage.

And not only we.”

Then what was the subject of

Poroshenko-Aliyev negotiations?

“A bomb went off in


noticed it”

Mykhailo HONCHAR on why he thinks that

the prospects of the Southern Gas Corridor, which is intended

to strengthen the European Union’s energy security, are bleak

“They discussed prospects. Remote

prospects. Ideally, if things go

as planned, Ukraine will use this corridor

of Azerbaijani gas supplies after

2025 – on condition that Azerbaijan

increases gas production. It is

another important moment.”

No less important is the Russian

factor – to be more exact, the Kremlin’s

opposition to non-Gazprom gas

pipelines. To what extent is it likely

that Russia may hinder carrying out

the Southern Gas Corridor project?

“The total supplies of Azerbaijani

gas to southern Italy will be a

meager – by the European market’s

yardstick – 10 billion cubic meters.

This pales in comparison with the

450 billion cubic meters the European

market consumes annually. But while

TANAP is still in its infancy, Russia

is already saying there should be

Russian gas from the Turkish stream

in the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline in

accordance with the EU’s Third Energy

Package. What is the Jesuitical

essence of Russia’s move? It torpedoes

the Third Energy Package by all

means, but in this case it is trying to

push its gas into the Azerbaijani gas

pipeline, taking advantage of the European


“And I am not sure at all that the

10 billion cubic meters of natural

gas, which are supposed to reach

southern Italy, will be of Azerbaijani

origin from the Shah Deniz gas field.

Most likely, Russia will pressure

Azerbaijan, and there will be a 50-50

ratio in the pipeline.

“Russia is doing its best to minimize

the supplies of non-Russian gas

to the European Union. It is being assisted

in this matter by such countries

as Germany, Austria, and

France, which, ‘for some reason,’

pay no attention to non-Russian gas

supplies. Take, for example, Azerbaijani

gas. They knew it would come!

They even drew up the Nabucco project

for this purpose on the initiative

of an Austrian company. But, ‘for

some reason,’ Nabucco ‘died,’ giving

way to a Turkish project. But, ‘for

some reason’ again, neither the Austrians

nor the Germans are saying, as

our President Poroshenko is, that

they would be glad to receive Azerbaijani

gas. They are not saying that

it is necessary to build a system of

convectors or even a new pipeline, as

part of the TANAP project, so that

this gas could run not to the ‘blind alley’

called southern Italy, an agrarian

region without any major industrial

consumption, but to Baumgarten

in the center of Europe [Baumgarten

has one of Europe’s three

largest gas distribution centers and

is an international gas trade hub. –

Ed.]. In this way, this gas could also

reach Germany. But both the Germans

and the Austrians remain tightlipped

about this option.”

In other words, you are saying

TANAP could be an alternative to

Nord Stream 2?

“Quite right, although it would be

more exact to say: the Southern Gas

Corridor, which is a project and a top

priority of the European Union, is an

alternative to both the Turkish Stream

and Nord Stream 2, while TANAP is

its basic part – 31 billion cubic meters.

“The total capacity of the Southern

Gas Corridor is 60 billion cubic meters.

But it will only be worthwhile to

reflect on the possibility of this when

the project of transporting Turkmenian

gas across the Caspian Sea

gathers momentum.

“This is part of the original idea.

The Turks also want TANAP to transport

Turkmenian gas.

“But Russia strongly opposes

this, and Azerbaijan is not exactly interested,

frankly speaking, in having

a rival in the shape of Turkmenian

gas. The reason is clear: Turkmenistan

is the world’s fourth

largest depository of natural gas after

Iran, Russia, and Qatar.”

What did you mean when you

said “for some reason” three times,

when explaining why the leading EU

countries do not support the gas

pipeline projects initiated by the EU?

“Gazprom has managed to corrupt

the European Commission. The

ample proof of this is discontinuation

of the inquiry into Gazprom’s abuses

on the European market, which

was launched in 2011. We know that

Gazprom came through unscathed on

May 25.

“I said as far back as 2015: a bomb

went off in Brussels, but nobody noticed

it. This abortive inquiry caused

a scandal.

“It is a victory of Russian gas

corruption in Brussels and of corruption

in the capitals of major EU

member states which have miraculously

forgotten about European priorities,

including Nabucco which has

Photo by Mykola LAZARENKO



even been officially closed, but enthuse

over the Russian-backed South

Stream and Nord Stream 2. Hungary

is actively examining the possibility

of supporting the second stage of the

Turkish Gas Pipeline. The same applies

to Bulgaria, whose president

and premier suddenly paid official visits

to Moscow in the course of one

week to meet Putin. Following this,

Putin condescendingly told the Bulgarians

that the second stage of the

Turkish Gas Pipeline will be called

Bulgarian Gas Pipeline.

“In principle, there is nothing

strange about Bulgaria, for, out of all

the EU countries, it may be called the

one most affected by post-Soviet corruption.

Unfortunately, it has not

yet pulled out of that quagmire.

“Hungary is also, in principle,

a phenomenon of post-Soviet corruption.

“But the countries that are trying

to teach us how to live – Germany,

Austria, and France, – three

refined countries of Western Europe,

are forgetting their European

priorities. Well, if you love Russian

gas streams so much, why don’t you

recall the option of supplying Turkmenian

gas to Europe through Russia,

using the Ukrainian gas transportation

system? I think the only

answer is corruption.”

As you regard gas and its supply

routes as a geopolitical security factor

rather than an economic category

(a marketable product), I cannot

help asking you about your personal

opinion of Angela Merkel’s position

on the impossibility of Russia’s

reinstatement in the G8 elite

club. Why does Germany behave so

contradictorily: the “green light” to

Nord Stream 2 and the “red light” to

Putin in the G8?

“The answer will sound rude and

perhaps even vulgar. Germany was

paid for supporting Nord Stream 2 but

not for Russia’s reinstatement in the

G8. As the Americans say, ‘it’s nothing

personal, just business.’

“I don’t mean the chancellor personally.

But we know very well that

in such countries as Germany the position

of the topmost leader is of

paramount importance, even though,

on the whole, the policy of Germany

is the sum of the influences of various

actors. Those who are now running

the show there are oriented to

Russia in terms of not only business,

but also political relations.

“We are going to see Russia activate

behind-the-scenes contacts with

G7 leaders in order to gain support not

only from Italy and the US for the return

of Putin to the negotiating table.

“The Kremlin needs support from

European heavyweights in this matter.

Bu it is either France or Germany,

or, still better, both of them. That’s

why the Russians activate their

Moscow-Paris and Moscow-Berlin

lines. The arguments are predictable:

‘You in Berlin and Paris have always

favored dialog, even in the difficult

times of the Cold War, and dialog is

the format of the Group of Eight.’

“Frankly speaking, G7 decisions

are absolutely ‘impotent.’ We already

felt it last year, when a communique

on increasing sanctions against Russia

was announced. So what? Only the

US and the UK expanded the list of

sanctions. What is more, Britain did

so only after the Skripals were poisoned.

The rest of the countries were,

on the contrary, speaking of easing the

sanctions in spite of what Russia was

doing. Putin deserves being brought

to the Hague-based International

Criminal Court for war crimes and

crimes against humanity for the 2016

Aleppo bombing alone.

“I am sure the Russians will be

mocking at the G7. For Putin said

clearly: we did not quit, we were not

let in.”

By Oleksandra KLIOSOVA

Photos by the author

and Natalia MYDLIAK


This year, national-level centennial

celebrations for the 1917-

21 Ukrainian Revolution are

continuing in Ukraine. Let us

remind our readers that

Den/The Day declared 2018 to be the

Centennial Year of Hetman Pavlo

Skoropadsky. Active citizens have

held various events aimed at reviving

the memory of the Hetman, such as a

solemn prayer service honoring the

centennial of Skoropadsky’s proclamation

as Hetman and a march dedicated

to the 100th anniversary of the

Ukrainian State in Kharkiv. Meanwhile,

history students enabled residents

and guests of the capital to feel

themselves transported to revolutionary

Kyiv during the last weekend.

On June 15 and 16, students

from the faculty of history, Taras

Shevchenko National University of

Kyiv conducted dramatized Skoropadsky-themed

tours, named

“Night at St. Sophia. Hetmanate.

1918” and hosted by the National

Sanctuary “Sophia of Kyiv,” with the

support of the Cultural Heritage

Protection Department of Ukraine’s

Ministry of Culture.

“Conducting Skoropadsky-themed

tours was a dream of my life! When

competing in the All-Ukrainian Historians’

Tournament as a ninth-grader,

I had to answer a question about

the hetman, so I started taking interest

in his biography. He is superficially

studied at school, but when

you delve deeper into this topic, you

understand the true scale of this figure,

the concept of the Ukrainian

Revolution. You are fascinated and

because of it start to get involved in

this process more and more,” we were

told by Oleksii Rudenko, who leads the

Night at the University Creative Association

of Faculty of History Students

at Taras Shevchenko National

University of Kyiv.

Rudenko created the Night at

the University Creative Association

in 2016, and it has become known due

to its volunteer project of holding

dramatized tours of various structures

in Kyiv. This project is growing

in popularity and attracting more and

more spectators every time. Young

historians have succeeded in moving

beyond their alma mater, unlike most

similar university associations, and

they are confidently marching ahead

as they vary the subject and scope of

the events they hold. In the less than

two years since the association’s establishment,

the students have conducted

a series of tours, in particular,

presented the “NATO Night” project

with the support of the NATO Information

and Documentation Centre

in Ukraine (Let us recall that The Day

covered it in its No. 28 of May 8,


“We will travel today exactly

100 years back in time. From now on,

the only reality is that of the Ukrainian

State of Hetman Skoropadsky!” the

tour guide began. Although it is wrong

to call this lad a tour guide, he is

rather a guide into the world of Skoropadsky,

a graduate of the Faculty of

History and Philosophy of the University

of St. Volodymyr and an ensign

of the 1st Serdiuk Guard Regiment of

the Ukrainian State Army.

The events unfold quickly, actors

unexpectedly pop out of the crowd, locations

change, and red-faced visitors

with enthusiastic looks run as they

follow the guide in order to have time

to see more. It seemed as if Bishop

Nykodym had just blessed Skoropadsky

in Sofiiska Square, but a moment

later, people find themselves in the

sanctuary. All of a sudden, everybody

looks up at the belfry, from

TOPIC OF THE DAY No.39 JUNE 21, 2018 5

Night at St. Sophia.Hetmanate. 1918






where young men read out the Letter

of the Illustrious Lord Hetman of All

Ukraine to the Ukrainian People.

There was also time for interactive

experiences involving the visitors.

All the present were recruited into the

army and underwent a formation drill

session led by a captain. In addition,

anyone could hold a rifle for a time and

try their hand in a saber fight. At the

end of the training session, the captain

named those selected for the army, and

advised everyone else to work for the

benefit of the Ukrainian State and the

Illustrious Lord Hetman as civilians.

Then the time travelers, that is,

the visitors, went to Zvirynetsky Fort,

where weapons and ammunition were

stored during Skoropadsky’s reign. It

was located on the territory of the present-day

Hryshko Botanical Garden

and took its name from one of the capital’s

neighborhoods, called Zvirynets.

The guide told them that on June 6,

1918, the military depot in Zvirynets,

holding 2 million shells, exploded and

covered with debris Pecherskyi District,

while the University of





from Kyiv



the past

St. Volodymyr had even had its windows

shattered by the force of the

blast. Approximately 1,500 people

became casualties, and 900 homes

were destroyed. Panic started throughout

the city, and Kyivites began to

leave Kyiv in droves, thinking that the

Bolsheviks had shelled it. Skoropadsky

reacted instantly to this tragic event

and set up a committee to assist the

victims of the explosion. In addition,

the residents of Kyiv actively participated

in the collection of funds for the

needs of the victims.

“But not all people living in Kyiv

were really worried about that matter.

After all, speaking about the Hetmanate’s

time, it is also important to

understand that those people who did

not imagine their life under new, revolutionary

conditions were extremely

pleased with this type of government.

For them, the one-man government

was much more understandable,”

concluded the guide.

A great deal of attention was also

paid to the issue of autocephaly, which

is now just as relevant as 100 years ago.

The tour team explained to visitors that

the All-Ukrainian Church Council,

held in May 1918, elected Antonii, a

man of outright Ukrainophobic views,

as Metropolitan of Kyiv. At the same

time, the All-Ukrainian Orthodox Assembly

of Churches called for the convening

of another council, which would

consider the possibility of autocephaly.

Autocephaly (that is, independence

from the Moscow Patriarchate) enjoyed

particular support from Skoropadsky

and President of the Ukrainian

State’s Council of Ministers Fedir

Lyzohub. In July 1918, it was precisely

St. Sophia that hosted the All-Ukrainian

Church Council, which confirmed

the election of Antonii as the new

metropolitan, but most of the government,

that is, everyone apart from

Lyzohub, was not in favor of autocephaly

or even mere autonomy of the

Ukrainian church.

The event turned out to be incredibly

interesting and informative

for adults as well as young members

of the group, who may start wanting

to become historians some day as

well. Thanks to the creative students

of the Night at the University Creative

Association, visitors were able

to “see” many of the famous figures

of the time: Skoropadsky, his wife

Oleksandra Skoropadska, Symon

Petliura, Volodymyr Vynnychenko,

Fedir Shvets, anarchist Marusia Nikiforova,

actress Maria Zankovetska;

join the military of the Ukrainian

state; become “witnesses” of several

murders and one of the attempts on

the Hetman’ life, and ultimately, to

touch history in person.


No.39 JUNE 21, 2018



By Maria PROKOPENKO, photos by

Mykola TYMCHENKO, The Day

“When we were making this film

and, in general, watching the story of

Oleh and Oleksandr, we decided to

calculate the distances they ‘traveled’

on the expanses of Russia. It came to

a total 20,000 kilometers for both of

them, a half of Earth’s circumference

at the equator,” Angelina KARIAK-

INA, coauthor of the film Across

Half the World at Gunpoint: the Story

of Sentsov’s and Kolchenko’s Imprisonment,

said during the film’s

premiere at the Zhovten movie theater.

In addition to Angelina, Natalia

Humeniuk, Anna Tsyhyma, and Natalia

Kaplan, Oleh Sentsov’s first

cousin, worked on the film, which is

a Hromadske TV (Community Television)


“It is not just entertaining mathematics.

This confirms once more

that, like, in principle, all the

‘Crimean cases,’ the Sentsov and

Kolchenko case is extremely important

to Russia,” Angelina continues.

“They wanted to punish these

people cruelly for all to see. For deporting

an individual beyond the

Arctic Circle, where only a few days

are sunny and warm, to the town you

can only reach from Salekhard, if you

are lucky enough, in the winter

across the frozen river or, otherwise,

on helicopters or motor boats,

is a torture.”



Oleh and Sashko were arrested in

Crimea in May 2014. They were tortured

and then taken to Moscow’s

Lefortovo pretrial jail. Then there

were trials in Rostov-on-Don and

conviction for terrorism – 20 years in

a high security prison camp for Oleh

and 10 years for Sashko. They were

transported to their destinations.

Sashko is serving his sentence in the

Kopeysk prison camp near Chelyabinsk

– not exactly a health resort. Besides,

inmates had been cruelly brutalized

in this camp until recently.

They even staged a peaceful protest

in 2012, after which the prison administration

was changed and the

regime was eased. Oleh was first deported

to Yakutia and then it was decided

to isolate him still more tightly.

Since the fall of 2017, Sentsov has

been serving his term at the “Polar

Bear” prison camp in Labytnangi, Yamalo-Nenets

Autonomous District

of Russia. Oleh drew attention to

himself and the rest of “the Kremlin’s

captives” when he went on a

hunger strike on May 14. He demands

that all the Ukrainian political

prisoners in Russia and Crimea

(there are 70 of them, according to

human rights activists) be freed.

Kolchenko also went on a hunger

strike on May 31 but discontinued it

recently due to poor health.

“I went to the Urals only, but

even this struck me. We were more or

less aware of where we were going.

Besides, we had been to Russia before

– we covered the trial in Rostov.

So we expected nothing extraordinary.

But it is a different thing when

you know all the logistics of communicating

with a political prisoner.

Suffice to mention parcels, letters,

visits….” Kariakina says. “We could

not speak directly with Sashko

Kolchenko. We came to the town,

where the prison camp was located,

approached and photographed it.

Then Sashko’s lawyer came out to

meet us. We received the letter he

had just written. This struck me in

purely human terms.”

Both Kolchenko and Sentsov have

non-public lawyers who bring and

take letters, tackle certain procedural

problems. “The cases of Ukrainian

political prisoners may cost these

people a career, so they are trying to



“Across half the world at gunpoint”

From Crimea to Yamal: Kyiv saw a film on the

imprisonment of Sentsov and Kolchenko

do this without too much publicity,”

Angelina explains. Besides, the public

regularly receives information

about Kolchenko from human rights

activists Tatiana and Nikolai Shchur.

Earlier, when they were part of the

Civic Supervisory Commission, they

could even see Sashko. But the

Shchurs were expelled from this commission

in 2016, and they have to

work through a lawyer now.




A lot of the powers-that-be, including

Foreign Minister Pavlo

Klimkin; Vadym Chernysh, Minister

for Temporarily Occupied Territories

and Domestically Displaced Persons;

and Hugue Mingarelli, Head of the

EU Delegation to Ukraine, came to

see the film.

“The film, the idea, is super. It is

important that there are true emotions

here. Whenever you work on

this kind of subject, involve others,

trying to explain to our friends what

it is all about, you will never explain

it rationally. And this film is an

emotion,” Klimkin said after the

preview. “We have agreed that, after

the film is dubbed into English, we

will try to ‘plug’ it not only among

politicians, but also where it is in

principle possible.” Incidentally, you

can already watch the film Across

Half the World at Gunpoint on Hromadske

TV’s YouTube channel.”

“It is very difficult to free

Sentsov. But why only Oleh? I am always

saying we should not decide on

who is more important. Oleh is a

unique personality. Whenever I address

any audiences, I just quote a

fragment from this letter – why he

went on a hunger strike. When everybody

hears that, in reality, he is

starving not for himself but for the

release of all the political prisoners

and hostages, this creates an altogether

different impression,” the

foreign minister added.

Liudmyla Denysova, the Verkhovna

Rada Human Rights Ombudsperson,

told journalists recently

that she is planning to visit Ukrainian

political prisoners in Russia and

Crimea – first of all, Oleh Sentsov,

Oleksandr Kolchenko, Stanislav

Klykh, Mykola Karpiuk, Roman

Sushchenko, and Resul Veliliaiev.

“The fact that we managed to get

permission for Ms. Denysova to visit

our political prisoners gives us an opportunity

to see our guys’ physical and

psychological condition and support

them in some way,” Klimkin noted. “I

was trying many times to reach Oleh

by phone. Once, on his birthday, there

was a hope, but they canceled the call

in ten minutes. In other words, such

contacts are very limited – his cousin

Natalia, his lawyer… But we must increase

pressure on the eve of the FIFA

World Cup – any pressure, be it political,

media-related, human, or on the

part of civil society. Russia is not indifferent

to whether or not the championship

will be a success. It is all too

clear why Oleh chose the very moment,

and we should take advantage of this





Petro Vyhivskyi, the father of

Valentyn Vyhivskyi who was absurdly

sentenced in Russia to

11 years in prison for espionage,

liked the film Across Half the World

at Gunpoint. He believes such films

should be made about all “the Kremlin’s

captives.” “The whole world

knows about Sentsov and Kolchenko,

but there are almost 70 more people

about whom very few know. And

their relatives cannot fight for them

because they have no access to either

the media or our governmental bodies,”

Petro explains.

“Valentyn is serving his sentence

in Kirov Oblast, Russia. Relatives

have been out of touch with him

since February this year, when he was

detained in what is known as ‘all-purpose

cell.’ Petro Vyhivskyi does not

know what for. “The Ukrainian consul

visited Valentyn a little more

than a month ago. My son and I were

supposed to have a long meeting,

but there are restrictions on visits in

such cells. There are no restrictions

on correspondence, but his letters are

held up in the prison. The consul says

he receives some of our letters, but we

get none from him,” Petro says. “We

will get permission for a new visit

somewhere in the fall if the son does

not have his stay in the ‘all-purpose

cell’ extended. But this punishment

is also likely to be extended for up to

a year. The son used to be kept in a

solitary confinement cell without

restrictions, and now he is in a smaller

one-man cell with all restrictions.

He cannot phone home, has no TV, radio,

or newspapers. Four walls,

meals, sometimes a walk – and that’s

all. We used to send books, but he was

given none of them. He can only

take some from the prison library.”

Asked if he feels any progress in

the question of political prisoners’ release,

for there have been several

international meetings on this matter

since Sentsov went on a hunger

strike, Vyhivskyi says: “I will feel it

when my son is at home.” In conclusion,

Petro called on Ukrainians not

to go the FIFA World Cup in Russia.


One of the most dramatic moments

in the film is when Natalia Kaplan

is standing behind the fence

near the prison camp in Labytnangi.

Sentsov’s cousin muses that it is impossible

to pull him from captivity,

although he is just a few hundred meters

away. And it does not matter

what distance separates them –

10,000 kilometers or these meters.

“This makes it clear what captivity,

especially undeserved one, really is,”

Kariakina says.

Incidentally, funds were being

raised during the Zhovten preview for

the families of Ukrainian political

prisoners. About 19,000 hryvnias

were collected – almost as many as the

kilometers Sentsov and Kolchenko

“traveled” at gunpoint. You can also

support the relatives of “the Kremlin’s

captives” by remitting funds in

line with the following details:

EDRPOU (Unified State Register

of Enterprises and Organizations of

Ukraine) code: 41757119

Recipient: charitable foundation

“Relatives of the Kremlin’s Political


Settlement account: 26006300032429

MFO (sort code) of bank: 322669


CULT URE No.39 JUNE 21, 2018 7

By Dmytro DESIATERYK, The Day

We hope that this text by

Dmytro Desiateryk will

launch a thorough discussion

about what exactly can

be considered a product of

Ukrainian culture. For example, is the

“Ukrainianness” of a cultural product

influenced by the language in which it was

created? After all, there is still no

consensus on this matter, just like before.

Even if the answer is available, it is a

multi-layered one... We call on you, dear

readers, to join the conversation.

It is unrealized, since a question that

should not have arisen anymore is appearing



So, it surfaces time and again, even if,

fortunately, not as often as before: is Muratova

a Ukrainian filmmaker?

Overall, if the creator lives on the

territory of Ukraine, shoots films at the expense

of the Ukrainian budget with Ukrainian

actors, there is nothing left to discuss.

But, apparently, this is not enough to

satisfy some of the most enthusiastic

guards of the national culture’s purity.

For example, Muratova is blamed for

making Russian-language films.

Oh well.

When I go to a market near my house,

I pass by an agitation tent of the National

Corps. I have never heard from the

youths standing there (there is a whole

brigade of them) and distributing newspapers

of that organization as much as

one word in Ukrainian.

Language is a means of communication.

A tool. A form. With it, one can get

completely different results, do entirely

different things.

One can, for example, praise the

Russian Empire, promote the Kremlin order,

and lie on the TV.

One can also give combat orders in the

same language as one is fighting separatists

in the Donbas.

Viktor Yanukovych spoke fluent

Ukrainian, and it is no less fluent when

coming from supporters of the approach

“things are not so clearcut” and “stop the

fratricidal war in eastern Ukraine” (yes,

yes, they do exist, and there are not as few

of them as we would like).

Is Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi’s multiple-award-winning

film The Tribe less

Ukrainian because its characters communicate

in a sign language alone? Why

is Oleksandr Dovzhenko’s silent film trilogy

Zvenigora – Arsenal – Earth called

“Ukrainian”? Should the Russian-language

film Donbass by Serhii Loznytsia,

which voluminously and meticulously

shows how the “Russian World” cripples

the occupied territories, be removed from

our cinema tradition? Does Lars von Trier

stop being a Danish director, and Wim

Wenders a German one, because they

both regularly film in English?

For everyone but civil servants, it is

not the language of communication that is

important, but what people say in that language

and with what consequences.



Muratova’s penultimate film,

Melody for a Street Organ (2009), is an

ideal example of Ukrainian content of her

films. Thus, it is worthwhile to cover it

in more detail.

After the death of their mother, Olenka

(Olena Kostiuk) and Mykyta (Roman

Burlaka) set out on Christmas Eve to find

their parents. Evicted and robbed everywhere,

frozen and hungry, they pass

through all levels of urban chaos, from the

railway station through a casino, an auction

house and entrances of apartment

buildings to a supermarket with its festive

atmosphere, only to finally lose each other:

Olenka is detained for stealing bread,

while Mykyta freezes to death in the attic

of a house which is being rebuilt.

Let us start, actually, with the language.

Among other components of the

polyphony of the film, one of the most interesting

is the unprecedented, for Muratova,

emphasis on Ukrainian. At first,

World after Kira:

by 18 films better

Now, when Kira Muratova is gone, one

starts sensing the true scale of this

figure, which seems to be still unrealized

the children observe a mummers’ procession

on a suburban train, with its participants

carrying an octagonal star and

singing Christmas carol “Good Evening to

You.” Then, a station bum (Nina Ruslanova),

just as rejected and persecuted as

Olenka and Mykyta, explodes with a long

monolog: “Our Bethlehem is full of poor,

barefoot people in tattered clothes! Where

are the Magi? They are carrying gold to the

rich...” The foreman of the builders who

found the body of Mykyta had berated his

employer who did not give him a well-deserved

leave and failed to pay the wages on

time, and he tells his story in Ukrainian,

but reproduces replies of the absent miser

in a high disgusting voice speaking Russian.

Finally, after a terrible discovery in the

attic, the credits are accompanied by New

Year carol “The Little Swallow.”

A closer examination reveals that besides

Ukrainian speakers, the film features

Russian speakers of the same class,

and there is neither social nor characteristic

difference between the two groups:

the ornately-speaking madman in a knitted

cap, who watches on as Olenka and

Mykyta are robbed by homeless in a railway

hangar, a veteran who strives to get

into the high comfort room as if he was assaulting

the Reichstag, elderly Zoia,

standing on the snow-covered stairs in the

city at night, who loves “apples, cherries,

sweet cherries, strawberries, grapes,”

and others. All of them sing songs on the

roadsides of a Babylon formed by mixing

Odesa and Kyiv, making up the general

polyphony of the poor who will eventually

enter the promised Kingdom.

There is, however, another element of

Ukrainianness that will help us understand

the structure of the film.

The procession in the train is a simplified

version of the vertep, the folk puppet

theater. In today’s Ukraine, companies

with stars, in simply decorated costumes,

with a minimal repertoire of songs

perform predominantly to earn money

and foodstuffs for celebration (the vagrant

played by Ruslanova complains,

among other things, that “they even do

not let me join a vertep company”). But

now we are talking about a much older

genre, namely the vertep drama.

It necessarily includes two planes of

the narrative: the biblical story of the

birth of Christ and semi-improvised scenes

featuring recognizable types: the Gypsy

Man and Gypsy Woman, the Zaporozhian

Cossack, the Pole, the Muscovite, and the

Jew. Herod, who seeks to kill the newborn

Christ, is the key antihero, but Death

eventually takes away the wicked king. The

architecture of the vertep chest recreated

this duality of sacred and earthly. The secular

life unfolded in the lower part; meanwhile,

the upper level, depicting the Bethlehem

Cave, hosted only canon plots, including

the Adoration of the Shepherds and

the Gifts of the Magi.

The puppets and theatrical performance,

sufferings of children, religious rituals,

and social inequality – all of these

long-standing motifs of Muratova’s cinema

oeuvre – are linked into a single whole

by the vertep. Here all the key elements of

the vertep performance are observed: the

earthy bustle at the bottom, social plane;

characters change in the string of tragicomic

scenes; the large number of characters

also does not contradict the paradigm

of the vertep, which shows primarily

figures of the viewer’s own period; numerous

songs, monologs, sermons; there is

also a superior (literally top) part where the

child calms down on the bed; builders, acting

as shepherds, come to him and freeze

in a mise en scene which resembles the

iconography of adoration because of its

static nature and poses of the participants;

there are even fully matching characters:

the Gypsies at the station (they refuse

to tell Mykyta’s fortune, only saying

“Oh, poor lad!”), the beggars (the vertep’s

Savochka the Beggar), the supermarket

guards, persecutors of children, who push

Mykyta out, to be tormented by underage

criminals, and arrest Olenka. All this suggests

that the procession in the beginning

of the film marks the notional border, on

crossing which Olenka and Mykyta find

themselves, in a sense, inside the vertep,

and bring it into action. At the same time,

the canon scenes are immediately introduced

by a traveling seller of holiday

cards: the Magi and Shepherds, the Holy

Family, and King Herod’s Soldiers Massacring

the Infants. It is the last card that

is picked up by Mykyta, as he chooses his

own story and fate.

Having introduced the vertep structure,

Muratova subjects it to deconstruction

with the same determination as

the linear plot of her anti-fairy-tale. The

lower boundaries of the puppet house

have greatly expanded. Instead of a chorus,

we listen to a collective aphasia of mobile-equipped

banterers at the station. The

sacred part is reduced to verses and inappropriate

sermons. There are “shepherds,”

but they have no words of respect,

only swearing at the miserly employer and

nervously hiccupping in the attic. The

heavens are empty. The upper level is involved

only in the final, where the place

of the living infant Christ is taken by the

dead – in essence, killed – little kid, also

the son of a carpenter. Herod is removed

from the frame (to the auditorium?), as

the massacre of the young and defenseless

will happen just fine without him. God is

absent, but Christmas preparations continue.

What should have become the beginning

of history becomes the end.

The Christian space is timeless, simultaneous:

he who lies in the Bethlehem

Cave, is immediately crucified. The one

who froze to death in the attic is an innocent

victim just as much. This also reflects

the logic of the vertep, which, according to

the observation of the Russian scholar

Olga Freidenberg, is genetically linked to

the temple box, which was a copy of the

tomb and the temple alike: in both cases,

the dead man and the (puppet-like) godhead

were always placed atop of it and/or on a

special raised platform.

Thus, redefining the vertep drama,

Muratova does not “steal Christmas” – she

just reproduces its other side, diametrically

opposed to the festive pathos. Thus, she recovers

its initial tragic nature.


In view of the above, it seems that the

question of the territorial affiliation of

Muratova’s directing legacy comes from

a wrong context. First one should ask:

what is Ukraine?

The answer has been obvious for the

last four years: Ukraine is Europe.

This answer has been bought with

blood. Vladimir Putin did not forgive us

this answer, and took revenge by occupying

20 percent of our territory. To oppose

it means to endanger our own future.

So, again: Ukraine is Europe. But

Muratova really was a European director.

On the one hand, the Ukrainianness

means joy of life and seeking delight in the

transient (the classic example is the poem

“A Cherry Orchard by the House”). On the

other hand, it also means rejecting any

leaders and having constant doubts in authorities

and authoritative ideas. Love

for a heated discussion (famously described

as “three hetmans out of two

Ukrainians”). Anarchy as a principle of solidarity

and protest. Indestructible sense of

humor. In aesthetics, it includes the rejection

of imperial literature-centrism in

favor of visual richness and looking at the

world with wide-open eyes (it was not for

nothing that in the autonomous Ukraine of

the 17th and 18th centuries, not yet completely

subjugated by Russia, it was the

fine arts that flourished: painting, architecture,


And all these are characteristic properties

of Muratova’s cinema oeuvre. Her

films are appropriately witty at every degree

of dramatic tension. Her characters

always hold fast to their beliefs. Even

episodic and secondary characters have

colorful, sometimes to the point of eccentricity,

tempers, whether it is a station

employee or a rich criminal; conflicts

and quarrels between them are always

brilliant mini-performances with almost

musical rhythm (Two in One even takes

place in a theater). She did not stage her

performances, because she masterly organized

them in the frame. The frame itself

is always saturated with movement

and at the same time features mass of details,

which seem to have no direct relation

to the plot, but constitute the atmosphere

of what is happening – this is

always a perfect multilevel Baroque composition;

and the Baroque, in turn, is the

basic constant of the Ukrainian cultural


The main thing, however, is that Muratova

had that skeptical, sober, Cartesian

mind, but it was not cold; no director of her

time exhibited such a deep sympathy for

the weakest and most vulnerable. Moreover,

there is no trace of nagging moralization,

inherent in even the best Soviet or

Russian cinema works. This wonderful

skepticism also colored her personal communication,

and, of course, her films.

So, I will repeat: she made European

cinema here long before Ukraine began to

realize itself as Europe. As often happens

with great artists, Muratova came too early.

Only now we are catching up with her.

So, Ukraine has to do its share of the

work. We have not published a thorough

study of Muratova’s oeuvre, despite the

fact that Russians published two monographs

in her lifetime. This is only the

first step: to publish such a book, well

written and illustrated, which would be

obligatory addition to the bookshelf of

any cultured person. In the future, we also

need to publish her collected works. A

museum doubling as an artistic center.

Possibly a festival named after her. It is

necessary to start now.

Muratova made our world by 18 films

better. We are indebted to her.


No.39 JUNE 21, 2018




Photos by Ruslan KANIUKA, The Day

War is nearby

Twenty silhouettes of bullet-ridden

people on Kyiv’s streets:

about Oles KROMPLIAS’s project

Itwas mid-June 2014. Ukrainian

troops, with volunteer battalions in

the vanguard, were liberating Ukrainian

cities from pro-Russian and

Russian militants. Mariupol, Shchastia...

It seemed that we had to wait just a

little before we liberate Donetsk and

Luhansk, and recover the entire Donbas...

Then, four years ago, a dedicated and

determined volunteer named Oles Kromplias

was in the thick of events. It was his

unit that liberated Mariupol. Kromplias

recorded all the events on a unique film

camera and wrote artistic reports... for the

glamorous men’s magazine Esquire, which

then appeared in Ukrainian as well.

A successful marketing communications

specialist, he became an activist of

the Euromaidan who participated in all significant

events and photographed everything.

His pictures were included in the

symbolic collection called The 50 Best

Photos of the Revolution of Dignity.

Then Kromplias tried to help defend

Ukrainian Crimea, and he went to the

peninsula at the very beginning of Russian

occupation with several activists and

journalists. They were captured, and

Kromplias and his friends were tortured

and mistreated for a few days. Ukraine was

able to get their group released then. Upon

his return, the former marketer and

protester volunteered for the front.

It was the latter half of June 2014. In

Mariupol, Ukrainian flags were already flying,

and our boys were getting ready to go

further... Kromplias recorded moments

from the lives of his brothers-in-arms.

Here they are shown cooking a lunch,

there they are sunbathing, while another

photo shows them anxiously standing

watch... The pictures show soldiers of the

Azov Regiment, the Sea of Azov, the sun,

and the expectation that the war would end

in a few days, and all the boys would return

to their peaceful occupations.

The atmosphere of the summer of

2014 seems to have been conveyed best precisely

in Kromplias’s works. He has managed

to capture the mood of fighters who

are preparing for something unknown,

perhaps difficult and terrible, but that

which will last for a very short time and

surely end with our victory.

Kromplias’s photos show combat

episodes as well – separatists taken prisoner,

a killed Ukrainian soldier’s body

being carried on a stretcher covered

with a Ukrainian flag... But it is not

June and Mariupol, but rather the beginning

of August and the early stage of

the Battle for Ilovaisk.

In this cycle, the most striking picture

is one showing our boys just lying on the

grass before yet another forced march. It

is impossible to restrain tears when you

clearly realize that they all were still alive

in those days. It was before that direct attack

of Russian regular troops, before the

bloody “green corridor,” and before hundreds

of our boys were treacherously shot

dead by a ‘fraternal people.’

But four years is a long time. When

visiting Kromplias’s photo exhibition

“Front Line,” held within the framework

of the “War Is Nearby” project in

June 2018, all these images are perceived

quite differently than in the fall of

2014, when the author first printed them

out on returning to Kyiv after suffering

a concussion. Today, the war has become

part of our lives. And, although the project

is called “War Is Nearby,” we feel that

the war is already within ourselves.

Still, there are probably other people

for whom the reality in which Russian aggression

is being unleashed on Ukraine has

been too heavy to recognize. It is for them,

in fact, that the project “War Is Nearby”

has been launched. The photo exhibition

“Front Line” and installations on the

streets of Kyiv are elements of it.

Kromplias considers the “War Is

Nearby” project to be part of an information

warfare campaign. This is the

case, but no less important is another aspect

– not only an outwardly directed anti-aggressor

message, but also a call directed

inside us, which should awaken a

“sense of war” within us.

A total of 20 silhouettes of people

shot through with bullets – both soldiers

and civilians, and even children –

are located on the streets of the capital in

places where, according to Kromplias,

people are not ready to see them. It will remind

Kyivites and guests of the city

about the Donbas, about the fighting,

about those who died at the hands of the

aggressor, and new names are added to

the list with every passing day...

But if you, having looked at this

part of the project, will then visit the photo

exhibition, which is displayed at the

Transformer Center in Velyka Zhytomyrska

Street in downtown Kyiv, you

will be surprised, for you will not be

scared there. It only diplomatically reminds

the visitor that the front is close,

much closer than it seems to you.

Kromplias’s pictures show the war’s

light version, a war that is not shocking.

It seems almost like peaceful life. The only

difference is that there, at the front,

people die more frequently, but they always

die as heroes.

The exhibition can safely be visited

by people who are very far from the

front reality. They will be able to read interesting

stories under each photo, view

beautiful, high-quality pictures, and go

away, for example, to the nearest popular

and fashionable bar.

It is a paradox, but Kromplias’s works

do not conflict with the glamour of peaceful

life. They complement the glamorous

reality with their own war zone truth. They

say: “See, these guys have chosen to be heroes.

And you can go on to keep living your

own, non-heroic lives. However, you should

understand that if you are not heroes

yourselves, you have to support heroes as

much as possible. Because the war is nearby.

Much closer than it seems to you.”


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