The November-December issue of Krytyka opens with the Ukrainian translation of a special report on the Kremlin’s concept of nonlinear war “The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money” by American journalist and author Michael Weiss and British author, TV producer, and journalist Peter Pomerantsev.
The authors explore the tools the Kremlin uses to prey on the weaknesses, contradictions, and blind spots of the Western countries. The report was presented by The Interpreter, a project by the Institute of Modern Russia. The translation appears in several issues of Krytyka (see issue No. 9-10, 2014 for the first part). In this part of the report, the authors examine the weaponization of information, particularly through such tools as the Russia Today news channel, social media, spinning Western media, the weaponization of culture and ideas, the weaponization of money, including corruption, and also look at how the Kremlin plays different games in different regions.
Political analysts Ivan Kolodiy and Mykhailo Minakov look at the political changes in Ukraine during 2014 in their “Legitimacy Revisited.” They highlight three trends of 2014 to predict developments in 2015, namely the crisis of state sovereignty, the growing influence of civic associations, and the rise of Ukrainian oligarchs. The authors also point to the risks ahead for Ukraine as a sovereign subject and for the legitimacy of its institutes. “The Ukrainian Constitutional Process in 2014” by Vsevolod Rechytsky, an expert for the Constitutional Assembly of Ukraine, continues the issue of challenged legitimacy by focusing on the legal regulation of the new political reality and the roots of today’s problems back in 2004. He also questions the notion that a parliamentary republic is the best option for Ukraine and argues that a presidential republic is more relevant.
In his “The Invention of a Historic Homeland” the Ukrainian historian Mykhajlo Gaukhman reviews the Russian translation of the book “The Invention of the Land of Israel” by Shlomo Sand, an Israeli author and historian of Tel Aviv University. Gaukhman steps back from Sand’s approach and reflects on the mental mapping of European nation formation.
The Ukrainian literary scholar Oles Fedoruk addresses the roots of Russian imperial paranoia and its tragic consequences in Ukraine today, through a focus on his expertise, i.e., the life and legacy of the Ukrainian national poet Taras Shevchenko. In his “Shevchenko and Censorship” he explores the case of one document, a report of the St. Petersburg Censor’s Committee of June 1887, on an anthology of significant Ukrainian texts and politically suspect authors.
Oleksandr Boron, head of the Shevchenko section of the Institute of Literature of the National Academy of Sciences continues with a focus on the legacy of Taras Shevchenko in his “Clarissa Was Here.” He explores the traces of Samuel Richardson’s novel “Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady” in Shevchenko’s novel “The Artist,” as well as in Shevchenko’s use of the epistolary mode in general.
The issue concludes with an essay “In Memory of Oleh Lysheha” by Kost’ Moskalets, Ukrainian poet and essayist. Moskalets writes on his recently deceased friend, the outstanding Ukrainian poet and dissident, Oleh Lysheha (1949-2014). “The Selected Poems of Oleh Lysheha,” published by the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute in 1999, won the 2000 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation and revealed him to the broader public as a uniquely gifted poet, towering over his contemporaries. Moskalets further develops the uniqueness of Lysheha in connection both to his links with Ukrainian underground poetry of the 1970s, and especially with respect to the shamanic and philosophical features of his poetry.