The November–December, 2017 issue of Krytyka opens with four articles on the 20th anniversary of Krytyka Journal.
George G. Grabowicz, Dmytro Čyževs’kyj Professor of Ukrainian literature at Harvard University and Krytyka’s editor-in-chief, outlines in “Krytyka’s Model” the birth of an idea and the form of the new Ukrainian journal, Krytyka, that combined two preexistent models — the American New York Review of Books and the Parisian Kultura. He describes the first steps of this new publication, some of its prominent contributors and its reception in Ukraine and abroad. He also focuses on Krytyka’s book publishing program, on the Ukrainian Academy of Science and its inability to respond to current challenges, and what he sees as Krytyka’s main task — nurturing an intellectual stance that can adequately respond to all that is new.
His perspective on Krytyka’s launching is described in “Our Common Code” by its first executive editor, now President of the Ukrainian PEN Center, Mykola Riabchuk. He emphasizes the three main requirements that Krytyka set for itself: quality of texts and designs; a problematic and thought-provoking approach; and particular attention to analysis and intellectual discussion. He also considers some key problems facing Ukrainian cultural space particularly the issues of audience and its support.
Andrii Mokrousov, director and executive editor of Krytyka’s books publishing program, was executive editor of Krytyka Journal from 2001 till 2013. In his “Criticism as Brainstorming, Rethinking, and Agreement: Notes to the Anniversary of a Hopeless Project” he compares Krytyka with Hesse’s Kastalien, the almost unbelievable world of perfect and sophisticated people. Mokrousov writes about several generations of authors, its new mode of writing, and the context of Ukrainian periodicals, in which Krytyka was to find its special place. He also reviews the most important — historical, literary, sociological, anthropological and so on — books of Krytyka Press, written by Ukrainian and foreign scholars (totaling nearly 200 items).
Writer, journalist, managing partner of Yakaboo Publishing, Oksana Forostyna was executive editor of Krytyka Journal from 2013 till 2016. In “Solutions for the Next Republic” she recalls her first acquaintance with Krytyka as an absolutely unusual phenomenon in post-Soviet space and analyzes its thematic “phases,” as when Krytyka was obliged to switch from literature and the arts to acutely political issues. To deal with these different tasks, she contributed to the establishment of the online project Crіtical Solutions and to developing other facets of Krytyka’s web-project. Forostyna compares it to a kind of Noah’s Ark, or club — free of internet trolls, a unique platform for discussion.
Aleksandra Hnatiuk, Dr. habil., a specialist on Ukrainian literature and culture and Professor at Warsaw University and the Kyiv-Mohula Academy, wrote her “Conditio sine qua non” as a review of Ukraiński emigrant. Działalność i myśl Iwana Kedryna-Rudnyckiego (1896–1995) by Mariusz Sawa (Lublin: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, 2016). Biography is not the most developed genre in Ukrainian literature — all the more so full-scale biographies of Galicians. That is why Mariusz Sawa’s monograph on Ivan Kedryn-Rudnytsky, a journalist and politician from Galicia, is a major breakthrough. At the same time, Hnatiuk notes that the lack of a deeper knowledge about the period in question and randomly chosen sources resulted not only in interpretative mistakes and inconsistencies, but also in various factual errors that the book abounds with.
“The Intelligentsia as a ‘Terrorist Threat’” by Svitlana Oslavska, journalist, cultural scholar and editor of the bibliography department at Krytyka Journal, examines the current repressions against intellectuals in Turkey. For her essay she communicated with various Turkish scholars, educators, workers in the field of culture, and journalists. As she sees it, in the year and a half since the coup attempt of July 15, 2016, Turkish society has been divided into those considered “already-the-enemy” and those who can still be accused of betraying the homeland.
“The Camel’s Stomach,” an essay by Vasyl Makhno, Ukrainian-American writer and translator, describes his recent visit to Mongolia and the questions it poses for him: What is Mongolia? What can the camel’s stomach contain? Is Mongolia definitely lost to history or is it still looking for its place in the modern world?