Year XV, Issue 3–4 (161–162)

March 2011
Ievhen Zakharov.Political Persecution in the Country Run by Yanukovych
Arch Puddington and Christopher Walker. Saying the Unsayable: Revisiting International Censorship
Robert A. Saunders. WikiLeaks are not Terrorists: A Critical Assessment of WikiLeaks Challenge to the Diplomatic System
Ievhen Minko. The Dictatorship of Transparency
Dmytro Shevchuk. Culture in the Internet
Iulia Soroka, Ielena Gapova. Bare Freedom and Bodies on a Ladder
Larisa Lisiutkina. The Phenomenon of Femen: Portable Explosives made in Ukraine
Oleksii Radynskyi. Ukrainian Exploitation
Serhy Yekelchyk. What Is Ukrainian about Ukraine’s Pop Culture?
Ryszard W. Kluszczyński. Viewer as Performer
Ievhenia Kononenko. Text without Context
Andrzej Chciuk. Bruno Schulz—Enchanted and Normal
Natalka Ryms’ka.Andrzej Chciuk and his Kingdom of Balak



The March-April issue of Krytyka opens with Ievhen Zakharov’s “Political Persecution in the Country Run by Yanukovych” in which the co-chairman of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group argues that according to the European Convention on human rights as well as other international statutes the actions of the Yanukovych regime against their opponents and critics can be considered political repressions which violate basic civil rights, especially that of free assembly and speech and may lead to the appearance in Ukraine of political prisoners or prisoners of conscience.

In “Saying the Unsayable: Revisiting International Censorship” (which is translated from the November-December issue of World Affairs Journal) Arch Puddington and Christopher Walker analyze the phenomenon of “creeping censorship” and various attempts at limiting the spread of information across a broad spectrum—from governments, business magnates and local activists to authoritarian regimes and indeed the UN or to courts of democratic countries. Continuing on this topic, Robert A. Saunders, assistant professor of politics and history at the State University of New York–Farmingdale, examines in his “‘WikiLeaks are not Terrorists’: 

A Critical Assessment of WikiLeaks’ Challenge to the Diplomatic System” the cultural fall-out of the WikiLeaks scandal and the attempts at demonizing WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange as “high-tech terrorists.” In “The Dictatorship of Transparency” the Ukrainian journalist Ievhen Minko looks at the way in which authorities and elites in the “First World,” who for years had spoken of the need of “transparency,” were quick to condemn WikiLeaks, while authoritarian regimes proceeded to glorify it—despite their own ideological principles and practice. Dmytro Shevchuk, of the Ostrog Academy in Ukraine considers in his essay, “Culture in the Internet,” the changes in culture, particularly in strategies of creativity and structures of identity brought about by the new generation of the internet, Web 2.0 and also examines the so called new media and the new anthropology that is associated with Homo virtualis.

The “Discussion” section contains materials focusing on the controversial activities of the Ukrainian feminist movement “Femen” which has gained considerable notoriety for demonstrating by baring the female body. Iulia Soroka from Kharkiv and Ielena Gapova of Western Michigan University in a conjoined text entitled “Bare Freedom and Bodies on a Ladder” take issue with the provocative and exhibitionist nature of these protests. In “The Phenomenon of Femen: Portable Explosives made in Ukraine,” Larisa Lisiutkina of the Free University of Berlin opines that “Femen” reflects on the nature of Ukrainian society and its readiness to active protest in authoritarian circumstances.

Oleksii Radynskyi of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy focuses in his essay “Ukrainian Exploitation” on the two most notorious Ukrainian pop-stars, the drag-queen Vierka Sierdiuchka (Andrii Danylko) and the “singing rector” (Mykhailo Poplavskii) and examines the way they project (and parody and, for some, demean) Ukrainian identity in a fashion reminiscent of “blaxploitation films.” In the process they also reveal various mechanisms stemming from Soviet values and practice as well as a response to the powerful models of Russian and global show business.

In his “What Is Ukrainian about Ukraine’s Pop Culture? Serhy Yekelchyk of the University of Victoria also focuses on the figure of Vierka Sierdiuchka and looks at its dependence on popular Ukrainian traditions, especially of the clown (fool) that forces the audience to laugh at its own stereotypes and prejudices and emphasizes the positive effect such a phenomenon has in a bilingual society and for a national identity that is still being formed.

In his “Viewer as Performer” Ryszard W. Kluszczyсski looks at the “rhizomic archipelago” of interactive art and traces its origins from the European avant-garde through the art of the 1950s and 1960s, and then on to happenings, installations, video-art, cyber-art and up to interactive or participatory art proper.

In “Text without Context” Ievhenia Kononenko reviews Lina Kostenko’s new novel “Notes of a Ukrainian Madman.” She views it as a socio-cultural, ideological and psychological text that channels its pathos and resentment in the guise of a pseudochronicle by a not-very-persuasive middle-aged programmer.

She also sketches out the uncritical and quasi-religious adulation that the text has received from the author’s cult followers. The issue concludes with an essay by Andrzej Chciuk (1920–1978) on “Bruno Schulz—Enchanted and Normal” which deals with the major Polish writer of the early 20th century (1892–1942), whose reputation continues to grow and who like the author was born in Drohobych, Ukraine. This is accompanied by a biographical sketch “Andrzej Chciuk and his Kingdom of Balak” especially written for the Krytyka edition of Chciuk’s memoirs by Natalka Ryms’ka.

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