Year XVII, Issue 11-12 (193-194)

December 2013
Andriy Plakhonin. The Generals of Earlier Maidans
Tetiana Ogarkova. A Double-sided Maidan
Andriy Chernikov. An Opposition Isn't a Luxury, It's Just a Vehicle  
Victoriya Narizhna. Euromaidan and the Written
Yurko Prokhasko. The Revolution of Evolution
Oksana Forostyna. Still Growing Up
Andriy Kozlov. A Trial is On Trial
Volodymyr Ryzhkovsky. Navigating Ukrainian Emotions
Christopher de Ballaigue. Turkey: "Surreal, Menancing... Pompous"
Dmytro Shevchuk. Traps of Post-Communism
Martin Luther King, Jr. The Letter from Birmingham Jail



“Ukraine at the barricades!” is the title of the November-December, 2013 special issue of Krytyka which projects an overview of history in the making. The articles included here had been readysince December, but events were continually overtaking us. At the moment a retrospective glance is essential. 

The issue opens with “The Generals of the Earlier Maidans” by Ukrainian historian Andriy Plakhonin. He gives an overview of the first month of the Euromaidan: its ideas, itsleaders and speakers, the balance of power and the role of the media, and theperspectives as they appeared in the last days of December.

Tetyana Ogarkova of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, continues the retrospective from the perspective of mid January, finishing her article just before the clashes started on Hrushevsky Street. In her “A Double-sided Maidan” she explores the two dimensions of the Maidan: the positive, uplifting, and emotional on the one side, and the negative, reality-check dimension of zero political results on the other. It reflects the state of vagueness and calm on the eve of the violent stage.

Andriy Chernikov, a Ukrainian journalist and editor, uses the metaphor of a car and paraphrases an old Soviet proverb in his “An Opposition Isn’t a Luxury, it’s just a Vehicle.” He analyzes the failures of the three opposition leaders during the first month and a half of the Euromaidan, and highlights the short power distance between them and the people of the Maidan that makes Ukrainian opposition unique in the post-Soviet context. 

Volodymyr Yermolenko, a Ukrainian philosopher and essayist, examines the difference between “two Europes” in his essay “Dreams of Europe.” The first Europe is a Europe of rules and regulations, and the other one is spontaneous and emotional, a Europe of faith. „We Ukranians, we are that other Europe,“ explains Yermolenko.

In her “Euromaidan and the Written” Victoria Narizhna, a translator, poet, and psychoanalyst, reviews the media representation, reports and reflections on the Euromaidan in Ukrainian, Russian, and Western media. The review was written in mid-January, but the author was already perspicacious enough to point out that many articles in the Western media were biased and looked very much like they were part of a PR-campaign of a third party.

Jurko Prokhasko, the Ukrainian Germanist and translator, wrote his article on January 20th, on the second day of violent clashes in Kyiv. In his “The Revolution of Evolution” he revises his statements and ideas on the Euromaidan of the “pre-16th January era” and also tracks the historical lines which interlace with one another in the idea of the Maidan. Prokhasko explores the tectonic shifts in Ukrainian social texture--as best as one could inthose days.

In her “Still Growing Up” Oksana Forostyna, executive editor of Krytyka, also reviews the different stages of the Euromaidan, although in terms of the rapid changes of the Ukrainian self-image – from an immature community to audolescence, and then towards maturity. An attempt to draw a line between good and evil is also at issue in the article. 

Andriy Kozlov, a Ukrainian lawyer and the coauthor of one of the programs of reform developed by Maidan civic activists, gives an outline of solutions and options for much needed judicial reforms in his “A Trial Is on Trial.”

Volodymyr Ryzhkovsky of Georgetown University explores the emotional potential of Ukrainian nationalism and the role it played at the Maidan in his intimate piece “Navigating Ukrainian Emotions.” The author also examines Ukrainian “emotional communities” and the mission of intellectuals in these days.

British-Iranian journalist and author Christopher de Bellaigue provides a background of the protests at Taksim Square, including the profile of Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan, in his article “Turkey: ‘Surreal, Menancing... Pompous’.” The article first appeared in The New York Review of Books (vol.60, No. 20) which Krytyka presents in Ukrainian translation as the exclusive partner of the NYRB in Ukraine.

In his “Traps of Post-Communism” Dmytro Shevchuk of the Ostroh Academy reviews the Ukrainian translation of Zone of Transition: On the End of Post-Communism by Boris Buden, German-Croatian philosopher. “What is actually Post-Communism?” is the focus of both Buden’s book and its review by Dmytro Shevchuk. The issues of Western cynicism toward the latest revolutions and the challenges of a post-revolutionary period makes this piece essentialreading.

The issue concludes with one more text that is suddenly up-to-date:: the full Ukrainian translation of “The Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. which is a classic and must read for the American audience, but was little known in Ukraine. Now, Ukrainian readers may gain new insights while reading it.

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