The January–February, 2018 issue of Krytyka turns its attention again to the central problem facing Ukrainian society – the hybrid war with Russia in the Donbas region. Volodymyr Popenko, Associate Professor at the National Technical University of Ukraine ‘Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute,’ who specializes in the architecture of information systems and in mathematical economics, volunteered to serve in 2015–2016 in the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the 53rd Special Mechanized Brigade in the rank of senior lieutenant, most of the time in the ATO zone. In his “The Army from the Inside” Popenko describes the Ukrainian Army system, the way military equipment is repaired, the lack of automated systems, the constant fuel shortages, and other basic features of human existence in the army. In his opinion, in order for the Ukrainian Army to stop being ‘Soviet,’ it would be better to abolish it and create a new one. Unfortunately, the present war rules out such transformations.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, when the coal-and-metallurgical nature of the Donbas was formed, the industry ‘spoke’ English and German, since the engine of the region’s development was Western capital and Western technology. Later, the language of production was Russian, writes Maksym Vikhrov in his essay “Is Ukrainianization Possible? The Case of Donbas.” Having opted for Ukrainianization, Kyiv never tried to implement this course on the ground. But sooner or later one has to move from appeals and declarations to practice. Yaroslav Polishchuk, Professor of Ukrainian Studies at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań who works in 20th and 21st century Ukrainian literature, reviews in his “Metaphors and Metonymies of the Donbas” two relatively new books by authors from the Donbas region: the novels Tales of My Bomb Shelter by Oleksii Chupa and The Little Book of Farewells by Volodymyr Rafieienko. Artistic depictions of Donetsk characters have a long history, which reflects the traumatic history of the region. The experience of prolonged colonization of the Donbas gave birth to various metastases as well as the inertia of colonial consciousness. Halia Vasylenko, translator and editor, reviews in her “Recognizing Life” – two books recently translated into Ukrainian: Frames of War: When is Life Grievable? by Judith Butler, and War Diaries, 1939–1945 by Astrid Lindgren. The focus in both is on the policy of historical memory in Ukraine, and particularly on the memory of historical traumas.
The last three articles of this issue are devoted to prominent people who died in the second half of 2017. In his “Polish Historian, Freedom Fighter,” Oleksandr Avramchuk, a doctoral candidate in the History Department at Warsaw University, writes about Piotr Wandycz (20.09.1923–29.07.2017), a Polish-American historian, President of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America, and Professor Emeritus at Yale University, who specialized in Eastern and Central European history and whose fundamental book, The Price of Freedom: A History of East Central Europe from the Middle Ages to the Present, was published in Ukrainian translation by Krytyka in 2004.
In his “Soft Power Conductor,” the writer, journalist and translator, Oleh Kotsarev, remembers Osyp Zinkevych (04.01.1925–18.09.2017), who founded and for many years headed the Smoloskyp Publishing House. Eleonora Solovey, Professor and critic, discusses in her essay “Vyacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov. In memoriam” the famous Russian linguist and semiotician (21.08.1929–07.10.2017).