Only a few months after Kyiv was retaken from the Nazis in November 1943, the returning Stalinists started avoiding public mention of what had happened at places like Babyn Yar. The anti-Semitism that had emerged in the resource-starved Soviet rear may have been the reason for hushing up the fate of Soviet Jews under the Nazis—a conclusion bolstered by a study of wartime Tashkent where many Jewish evacuees lived. At the same time, the Stalin regime’s wartime approval of Ukrainian nationalism to spur support for the Soviet cause was curtailed as the Kremlin encountered resistance to its return in Western Ukraine.
The legacy of the European Enlightenment was undermined since the end of the World War II. Destructive criticism of rationality developed by Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno in their Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944) left reason dethroned. Writing on the edge of time with roasting historical argumentation, the leaders of the Frankfurt School summarized the outcome of human history as the return to barbarism. Such a conclusion put into question the whole history of implementing the project of Enlightenment, as well as its grounding principle of emancipation.Although speaking on behalf of humanity, in their criticism Horkheimer and Adorno referred exclusively to the European tradition of rationality.
Meaningful and lasting reconciliation would require difficult compromises on all sides – be it by the residents of “big Ukraine” or by the residents of the non-government controlled Donbas. Since at present “big Ukraine” can only control its own choices, it is up to “big Ukraine” to decide whether to start an open but difficult dialogue that would break taboos about what constitutes a legitimate opinion or position to express. Creating public space for such a dialogue is something Ukraine has the power to do in the conditions of the continued Russian aggression and Russia’s support for the anti-Kyiv insurgency in Donbas. Inter-Ukraine dialogue by itself is not going to end Russian involvement in the Donbas conflict, but it can contribute towards reconciliation between “pro-Maidan” and...
Re-enacting real war traumas through public performance may sound risky for the amateur actors of the Theater of the Displaced. This is the challenge for Alexei Karachinsky, the team’s military psychologist. His mission is to enable participants to open up in a way that helps with the healing process, yet does not lead to new trauma arising. The therapeutic process is the primary concern here, and the show follows along organically. “It is a real thriller, perhaps the most fascinating process one could ever observe – when a person just opens up. Here, we are not actors. We are real people with real stories. This is why so many people want to watch our plays and to discuss them – because it is suddenly a real process that is happening on stage,” – says Georg Genoux.