Year XIV, Issue 3-4 (149-150)

Year XIV, Issue 3-4 (149-150)UA Читати українською

April 2010
Alexander J. Motyl. Yanukovych’s Counter Revolution
Halya Coynash. Democracy Show
Discussion:
   Timothy Snyder. A Fascist Hero in Democratic Kyiv
   Zenon E. Kohut, John-Paul Himka. Should Ukrainian Studies Defend the Heritage of OUN-UPA?
   Volodymyr Kulyk. The Unavoidable Bandera
   Andrii Portnov. Contextualizing Stepan Bandera
Oleksandr Zaitsev. The War of Myths About the War in Contemporary Ukraine
Serhii Myrnyi. Chernobyl as an Info-Trauma
Oksana Yurkova. The Science of Attested Cadres
Oleksii Radynskii. Culture-cracy and Bureau-logy
George G. Grabowicz. Taras Shevchenko in the Criticism of Ievhen Malaniuk
Yevhen Sverstyuk. The System of Soviet Coordinates
Leonid Hrabovskyi. My Method
Alla Zahaykevych. Concerto Misterioso
Mark Bielorussets and Kateryna Mishchenko. A Manifesto of Memory
Herta Müller. Every Word Knows Something of a Vicious Circle
Askold Melnychuk. History and Identity are Endlessly Interesting

 

Summary

In “Yanukovych’s Counter Revolution” Alexander J. Motyl of Rutgers University examines the internal and foreign policy changes being introduced by the new president of Ukraine and the Party of Regions and sees the new regime as a form of “Sultanate” characterized by a basic instability, a tendency to curtail democracy and to mortgage economic sovereignty to Russia. He also examines various scenarios for the regime’s demise—either by loss of independence or through civic opposition. This topic is also discussed by Halya Coynash in her “Democracy Show” which focuses on the various ways democratic procedures, the Constitution of Ukraine and civil rights are being subverted as well as on the tendency of some of the democratic intelligentsia to support authoritarian moves by invoking the need to provide stability and order.

In the “Discussion” section the role and legacy of Stepan Bandera, whom President Yushchenko elevated to the rank of “Hero of Ukraine” in one of his last official acts, is discussed from various perspectives. In “A Fascist Hero in Democratic Kyiv,” Timothy Snyder of Yale University reminds the reader of the terrorist cast and fascistic proclivities of Bandera and his followers, but also notes that despite collaboration between them and the Nazis in the beginning of the occupation, their political goals were not identical and that in time this led to the Ukrainian nationalists’ campaign against both the Germans and the Soviets, and also to the ethnic cleansing of Poles in Volhynia in 1943. The author notes the different takes on Bandera in various parts of Ukraine and sees his rehabilitation by Yushchenko as an attempt to put distance between Ukraine and the legacy of Stalinism, but one that was untimely and ethically flawed.

In a polemic entitled “Should Ukrainian Studies Defend the Heritage of OUN-UPA?” which took place on the Letters to the Editor page of the Edmonton Journal, Canadian-Ukrainian historians dr. Zenon E. Kohut, the Director of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, and history professor John-Paul Himka discuss the above question as well as to what extent a democratic Ukrainian intellectual in the present should take responsibility for the views and actions of Bandera and his followers. In his essay “The Unavoidable Bandera,” the Kyiv political scientist Volodymyr Kulyk notes that reactions to Bandera depend on choosing between the historical (“What we know about his activities”) and the symbolic (“What does it symbolize”) and shows that despite obvious differences in values, in today’s threatened Ukraine Bandera should be seen as a symbol of an anti-imperialist, independence struggle and not as a symbol of xenophobia.

A similar stance is taken by Andrii Portnov in his “Contextualizing Stepan Bandera,” as he takes exception to Yushchenko’s decision, and the cult of Bandera in Western Ukraine, but still argues the need to factor in the larger historical processes of the period as well as the need to define by law the role of the UPA and its battle against the Soviet regime. 

In “The War of Myths About the War in Contemporary Ukraine,” Oleksandr Zaitsev of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv examines the two different models of historical (mythical) memory about WW II and “The Great Patriotic War,” i.e., the pro-Russian, imperialist and neo-Soviet and neo-Stalinist version of the latter (actively propounded by the present Minister of Education, Dmytro Tabachnyk) and the modern and nationalist one which both glorifies the OUN and the UPA (as in the writings of Volodymyr Viatrovych), but also, in other versions, attempts to correlate it with contemporary European attitudes.

In “Chernobyl as an Info-Trauma” Serhii Myrnyi analyzes the social, psychological and informational trauma contained in the discourse on Chernobyl in late Soviet and post-Soviet society and suggests ways in which the trauma and the whole “Chernobyl syndrome” could be better handled and ameliorated.

Drawing on her own experiences in the Higher Attestation Commission of Ukraine (VAK), Oksana Yurkova in “The Science of Attested Cadres” describes the archaic, bureaucratic and corrupt character, and destructive impact of the system of attestation that Ukraine has inherited and assiduously preserved from the Soviet period. Its contrast with world standards is particularly striking—especially in the area of plagiarism, which in today’s Ukraine has become virtually legalized. In “Culture-cracy and Bureau-logy” Oleksii Radynskii analyzes the views on academic practice of Oleksandr Ivashyn of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy whose conflict with the authoritarian practices of that University has highlighted general problems with the Ukrainian academic system.

In “Taras Shevchenko in the Criticism of Ievhen Malaniuk,” George G. Grabowicz examines the ways in which that critic exemplified the nationalist reception of Shevchenko in the interwar period (drawing in large measure on the tenets of the chief nationalist ideologue of the period, Dmytro Dontsov), but also introduced new nuances and indeed foresaw some later theoretical developments.

In “The System of Soviet Coordinates” former prisoner of conscience Yevhen Sverstyuk takes issue with some notions of dissent and its relationship to “Sovietism” as expressed by Borys Zakharov in his article on “The Ukrainian Profile of Mikhail Heifetz,” Krytyka, 2009, No. 1-2. In “My Method,” a form of treatise-memoir, a leading Ukrainian composer of the latter half of the 20th century, Leonid Hrabovskyi, describes the formation of his technique and esthetics, beginning with the 1950s, and expounds his vision of the development of Ukrainian music in the course of the last half century. The Kyiv composer Alla Zahaykevych introduces him in her essay “Concerto Misterioso.”

The issue also includes a Nobel Prize lecture “Every Word Knows Something of a Vicious Circle” by Herta Muller who emigrated from Roumania during the Ceausescu regime and received a Nobel Prize in 2009 for her work Everything I Possess I Carry With Me (Atemschaukel; 2009) which described the Stalinist deportation of Roumanian Germans to labor camps in the Donbas in 1945. Her essay is introduced by a note, “A Manifesto of Memory,” by her Ukrainian translators, Mark Bielorussets and Kateryna Mishchenko.

Robert Pyrah reports on a joint seminar by the British Inter-University Center for East European Language Based Area Studies and the Lviv Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, “Beyond Nationalism: 20th Century East-Central European Cultural Processes” held in Lviv in February, 2010 and Myron O. Stachiw reports on an International conference “World War II and the (Re)Creation of Historical Memory in Contemporary Ukraine” held in Kyiv in September 2009, and sponsored by Krytyka and a number of other institutions.

The issue concludes with an interview, “History and Identity are Endlessly Interesting,” with the American-Ukrainian writer, and founder of the literary journal Agni, Askold Melnychuk, which was conducted by Krytyka editor Alexander J. Motyl.

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