Year XVI, Issue 6 (176)

May 2012
Ivan Katchanovski. The Ukrainian ‘Freedom’ party should be ringing alarm bells
Taras Kuzio. The Problem in Ukraine isn’t ‘Svoboda’, it’s Yanukovych: a reply to Ivan Katchanovski
Alexander J. Motyl. Extremism in Ukraine
Enzo Traverso. The Hate factory: Xenophobia and Racism in Europe
John Paul Stevens. Should Hate Speech Be Outlawed
John-Paul Himka. Interventions: Challenging the Myths of Twentieth-Century Ukrainian History
Roman Serbyn. Erroneous Methods in J.-P. Himka’s Challenge to Ukrainian Myths
Vladyslav Hrynevych. A War About War: Memory Policy in Contemporary Ukraine
Yuri Matsievskyi. Why We Don’t Have Political Science
Ievhen Minko. An Impossible Classic
Vadym Dyvnych. A Bill for a Ritual Struggle
Volodymyr Yermolenko. The Intimacy of Magnetism
Christopher Whyte a.k.a. Crìsdean MacIlleBhàin. The Life And the Work



The June, 2012 issue of Krytyka opens with a discussion on what actually constitutes Ukrainian radicalism and nationalism. The discussion begins with “The Ukrainian ‘Freedom’ party should be ringing alarm bells” by Ivan Katchanovski of the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa.

The piece was published on the website. Katchanovki’s point is simple: implicit or explicit support for “Svoboda” (“Freedom”) from both the opposition parties, and from the government camp, should set off alarm bells about the state of Ukrainian politics. Both Taras Kuzio in his “The Problem in Ukraine isn’t ‘Svoboda’, it’s Yanukovych: a reply to Ivan Katchanovski” on the same resource, and Alexander J. Motyl in his World Affairs blog post “Extremism in Ukraine,” agree as to the extremism and xenophobia of Svoboda, but argue that many Western scholars, overestimate the support for Svoboda in Western Ukraine, and at the same time underestimate neo-Soviet and Russian extremism and radical nationalism of movements and parties of southern and eastern Ukraine, and the Crimea, particularly of the Party of Regions and the Communist Party of Ukraine.

In his “The Hate factory: Xenophobia and Racism in Europe” Enzo Traverso of Jules Verne University of Amiens, gives an overview of fascism and racism in Europe today, pointing out that “contemporary xenophobia is profoundly linked to the history of racism, [and is a] substratum of a modernity which has modified its morphology but not its function.”

One of the aspects of this issue is elaborated in a perspective on freedom of speech by John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, in his article “Should Hate Speech Be Outlawed” which appeared in The New York Review of Books (vol. 59, No. 10) and which Krytyka presents in Ukrainian translation as the exclusive partner of the NYRB in Ukraine. John Paul Stevens reviews “The Harm in Hate Speech,” a book by legal philosopher Jeremy Waldron and focuses primarily on American free-speech jurisprudence as compared with European approaches to the matter. 

“Interventions: Challenging the Myths of Twentieth-Century Ukrainian History” by John-Paul Himka, history professor at the University of Alberta, is based on his address delivered at the 2nd Annual Celebration of Research and Creative Work of the Faculty of Arts, 28 March 2011. Himka focuses on his motivations for challenging Ukrainian myths about traumatic aspects of the 20th century, and the strategies he chose for these interventions. The myths mentioned are, first of all, the 1932–33 Famine (Holodomor) and the glorification of OUN and UPA both in Ukraine and in the Ukrainian overseas diaspora. Canadian historian Roman Serbyn challenges Himka’s point of view in his “Erroneous Methods in J.-P. Himka’s Challenge to Ukrainian Myths.” They disagree both as to the meaning and the significance of the Holodomor, the Holocaust, and World War II in Ukrainian history, as well as in their vision of the proper role of myths in historical memory.

Ukrainian Memory policy, particularly concerning World War II, is the focus of the extensive overview “A War About War: Memory Policy in Contemporary Ukraine” by Ukrainian historian Vladyslav Hrynevych. His special focus is on the activities of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. 

Yuri Matsievskyi from the Ostroh Academy discusses Serhii Kudelia’s article “Is Political Science Possible in Ukraine?” (see Krytyka #1–2, 2012). In “Why We Don’t Have Political Science” he argues that Kudelia’s notions are at times unduly categorical. Matsievskyj has a relatively optimistic perspective on this issue, and he also proposes several solutions for overcoming the institutional limits of Ukrainian academia. 

In his “An Impossible Classic” the Ukrainian essayist Ievhen Minko writes on the tribute paid to William S. Burroughs both in the United States, and in the Ukrainian capital with the approach of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the author of “The Naked Lunch.” Ievhen Minko shares his impressions of the Burroughs fest in Kyiv, pointing out the considerable influence of the American writer on several generations of readers of his work in Russian. Considering the recent conservative trend in Ukrainian society, he wonders, however, as to the possibility of a Ukrainian translation of Burroughs in the near future.

Krytyka editor Vadym Dyvnych in his “A Bill for a Ritual Struggle” comments on a collection of memoirs about the recently deceased writer Oles’ Ulianenko, “On a Day
Recorded on Film” (ed. Nadia Stepula), and considers the question of creative freedom in Ukraine. In his rejoinder, “The Intimacy of Magnetism,” Volodymyr Yermolenko, a Ukrainian philosopher and essayist, responds to Vadym Menzhulin’s letter “The Machinery of Magnetism” (see Krytyka No. 5, 2012) regarding Yermolenko’s earlier article “Mesmer and Freud: On Medicine Becoming a Philosophy” (see Krytyka No. 4, 2012).

The issue concludes with an autobiographic essay “The Life And the Work” by Christopher Whyte a.k.a. Crмsdean MacIlleBhаin, a poet from Glasgow, who reveals his doubt and rapture on becoming a bilingual writer: in his poetry he has switched from English, the language of colonization and the language of his sick and hypocritical family, to Scottish Gaelic, which has become for him a poetic sanctuary.

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