The March-April issue of Krytyka opens with Yaroslav Hrytsak’s article “Flight of the Bumblebee.” The Ukrainian historian pays his respects to his former student Bohdan Solchanyk, one of the “Heavenly Hundred” (the Maidan protesters shot by snipers in January and February 2014). He also explains how Bohdan Solchanyk and his comrades were arguably killed twice, both by snipers and by the Russian propaganda machine, and why the Maidan occasioned long-term shifts in Ukrainian society which are invisible both to the Kremlin, and largely to the Ukrainians themselves.
John-Paul Himka, history professor at the University of Alberta, warmly recalls his acquaintance with Professor Ivan Lysiak‑Rudnytsky and their long-standing friendship. In his essay “A Man Much Missed” Prof. Himka reflects on his mentor’s intellectual biography and his impact on Ukrainian humanities, but mostly on his personal virtues and details of his biography.
Marci Shore, associate professor of History at Yale, gives a broad picture of the everyday life of Jews in modern Ukraine. In her “Rescuing the Yiddish Ukraine” she begins with the Maidan story of a Jewish fighter as an introduction to her review of Jeffrey Veidlinger’s book “In the Shadow of the Shtetl: Small-Town Jewish Life in Soviet Ukraine” about Ukrainian Yiddish-speakers, the Holocaust survivors, in distant villages and small towns. The piece appeared in The New York Review of Books (vol. 61, No. 10) which Krytyka presents in translation as the NYRB’s partner in Ukraine.
Ostap Slyvynsky, poet, translator and co-editor of Radar magazine (Poland — Ukraine — Germany) dedicates his essay “A Soldier in a Bell Tower” to the 100th Anniversary of World War I. He shares a family story about the brother of his great-grandfather and his failed attempts to avoid that first war of the 20th century.
Krytyka publishes one of the works of Boris Dubin, recently deceased Russian sociologist, translator, and poet (1946–2014). His “The Great Russian Novel” (an article from the book Semantics, Rhetoric and Social Functions of the “Past”: On the Sociology of the Soviet and Post-Soviet Historical Novel) presents a thoughtful and extensive overview of Russian historical fiction and its ambiguous contribution to the imperial myth. In his “Escape from Utopia” Mykhaylo Nazarenko, Kyiv- based literary scholar, takes up this story with a (sometimes frightening) update on one of the odd offsprings of that narrative: Russian post‑Soviet fandom. Some of the representatives of this genre became famous/notorious, as leaders of the Donbas terrorists in 2014.
Ukrainian scholar Vadym Osin summaries the results of his long-term research on “neopatrimonial academia,” the post-Soviet phenomenon of an academic degree as one of the status symbols sought by the Ukrainian authorities. In his “Corrupted Knowledge” Osin analyzes the data on academic degrees held by the authorities, and the correlation between their interest in academia and their access to power and money. His conclusion is that a degree usually is a status symbol, and that peer pressure among the various post-Soviet elites shapes this trend.
The issue concludes with the final installment of the “The University From Within” by Olha Demianenko (a pseudonym). Demianenko shares her insights about the hardships students of colour have to overcome in Ukraine — especially female students who are challenged both by racial bias, and by gender discrimination.