Year XIX, Issue 1-2 (207-208)

April 2015
Mykola Riabchuk: The "Two Ukraines" Reconsidered: The End of Ukrainian Ambivalence?
Michael Weiss and Peter Pomerantsev: Ukraine and the Advent of Non-Linear War
Dmytro Shevchuk: The Unbearable Lightness of Evil
Kenan Malik: Je suis Charlie? It’s a Bit Late
Olena Styazhkina: A Country, a War, and Love (excerpts from “Donetsk Diary”)
Marco Carynnyk: A Bit of Blood-Stained Batting. Kharkiv, Saturday, May 13, 1933.

Summary of this Issue

The January-February, 2015 issue of Krytyka opens with “The ‘Two Ukraines’ Reconsidered: The End of Ukrainian Ambivalence?” by Mykola Riabchuk, an overview of the ongoing discussion around Riabchuk’s notion of “Two Ukraines.” Updating it to include the latest developments, Riabchuk claims that the real divide is not between Russophones and Ukrainophones, or the “East” and the “West,” but between two different types of Ukrainian identity: the non- and anti-Soviet one and the post- or neo-Soviet one. However divisive other factors might be, the present external threat to the nation makes them largely irrelevant, bringing instead to the fore the crucial issue of values epitomized by the two different types of Ukrainian identity.

Krytyka continues the Ukrainian translation of a special report on the Kremlin’s concept of non-linear 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 Western countries. The report was presented by The Interpreter, a project of the Institute of Modern Russia. The translation has appeared in two earlier issues of Krytyka (see No. 9–10 and 11–12, 2014 for the first and the second part). In this part of the report, “Ukraine and the Advent of Non-Linear War,” the authors examine the Kremlin’s weaponization of information, culture and money as an integral part of its vision of 21st-century “hybrid” or “nonlinear” war, and its military involvement in Ukraine as an instance of such a war. The authors also propose a set of tools for the West to respond to the challenge of hybrid warfare, whether used by the Kremlin or other oppressive regimes.

The Ukrainian philosopher Dmytro Shevchuk of the Ostroh Academy also reflects on the “hybridity” concept, tracing it back to Hannah Arendt’s notion of the “banality of evil.” In his “The Unbearable Lightness of Evil” he reviews the Ukrainian translation of “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil” by Arendt.

In his “Je suis Charlie? It’s a Bit Late” Kenan Malik, British writer and broadcaster, challenges the unwillingness of mainstream media, activists, and academics in the West to stand up for basic liberal principles, and their readiness to betray the progressives within minority communities. He believes that that was the main reason why the Charlie Hebdo massacre was possible, and calls for a more robust defense of free speech.

In “A Country, a War, and Love,” Olena Styazhkina, a Professor of History at Donetsk University, shares some extracts from her “Donetsk Diary” and focuses on the period of pro-Maidan manifestations in Donetsk in 2014, and the subsequent takeover of Donetsk by Russia-backed separatists. She grieves for the loss of her city, but also writes of her sense of gaining a country, i. e., Ukraine.

The issue concludes with an essay entitled “A Bit of Blood-Stained Batting. Kharkiv, Saturday, May 13, 1933” by the Canadian writer Marco Carynnyk. In his essay Carynnyk reconstructs the last day and the suicide scene of the outstanding Ukrainian writer Mykola Khvylovy.

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