Year XV, Issue 5–6 (163–164)

May 2011
Yuri Matsievskyi. Seduced by Authoritarianism
Mykola Riabchuk. Liberal Nationalism and Its Enemies
Anastasiya Salnykova, Olena Hankivsky. Mainstream and the Devious Paths of Ukrainian Gender
Volodymyr Ryzhkovskyi.Making Bloodlands
John-Paul Himka. The History of Bloodlands and Curing "Memory"
Svitlana Filonova. The Last Frontier
Ihor Ilyushyn. The Past On Trial
Bohdan Klid. Journey to Pawłokoma
Albina Pozdnyakova.Other Days in Lviv
Agnieszka Wуjciсska. A Journey Into the World of Another Person
A.G.Narrative Discourse of Identity
Oleh Shynkarenko. Societies Beyond Reality
Vasyl Lozynsky. Franz Kafka and the French Post-Structuralists
Viacheslav Levytsky. Meditative Subtitles for Filmed Poetry in 3D
Oksana Lutsyshyna. 3 AM in Boston



The May-June issue of Krytyka opens with Yuri Matsievskyi’s “Seduced by Authoritarianism” in which the scholar at Ostrog Academy in Ukraine focuses on three basic issues. First, the fact that the slide into authoritarianism, so widely discussed by pundits, is complicated by a number of structural causes, which is the reason why during a year and a half Yanukovych’s regime could not do any better than quasi-authoritarianism. Second, the quick concentration of power was a result of “constitutional devolution” i.e. the deliberate demolition of the rule of law by all the key players. Finally, the author proves the claim of the Ukrainian authorities on “recovery of stability” to be false and proposes two alternative plans of action.

In “Liberal Nationalism and Its Enemies” Mykola Riabchuk, political expert and Krytyka editor, questions the conventional view that liberalism and nationalism are irreconcilable. Riabchuk emphasizes the role of nationalist mobilization and the importance of national emancipation for the liberal anti-Communist movements in Central and Eastern Europe, hence the organic presence of these concepts in the region. His main focus, however, is on the ideas of liberalism and nationalism in the Ukrainian context, their evolution, the interpretation given to them by the authorities, perceptions of them by Ukrainian- and Russian-speakers and the correlation of these notions with the different identities Ukrainians now have.

Anastasiya Salnykova of the University of British Columbia, and Olena Hankivsky of Simon Frazer University, review in “Mainstream and the Devious Paths of Ukrainian Gender” the research of gender mainstreaming in Ukraine based on dozens of interviews with officials, academics, pundits, and activists. The authors conclude that gender equality implementation had mixed success in Ukraine: the very term ‘gender’ is novel, and attitudes towards women remain traditional. Legislation was adopted to enshrine gender equality but this has not translated into social change.

Ukrainian historian Volodymyr Ryzhkovskyi in “Making Bloodlands” and John-Paul Himka, history professor at the University of Alberta in “The History of Bloodlands and Curing “Memory” review Timothy Snyder much-talked-about book “Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.” Both authors pay special attention to Snyder’s neologism “Bloodlands” revealing it not just as an apt area description but as an unconventional approach turning real geography and political geography into
their discursive forms. While Himka focuses on the impartial and painful key points Snyder reveals in his book, such as Jewish and Ukrainian collaboration during the Second World War, and “competitive martyrology”, Ryzhkovskyi discusses Snyder’s broadening of the conceptual innovations and intellectual continuity in the Central-European discourse during the last 30 years and his blending of several intellectual traditions. Continuing on the topic of historical memory, Ukrainian journalist Svitlana Filonova in “The Last Frontier” tracks the framing of Second World War memorabilia in Soviet times, and focuses on its potential for conflict today. Ukrainian historian and professor at the Kyiv Slavonic University, Ihor Ilyushyn, examines in “The Past On Trial” the materials of the Polish Institute of National Memory concerning the UPA anti-Polish action in Volhynia and the anti-Ukrainian operation “Vistula.” Dr. Bohdan Klid of the University of Alberta in “Journey to Pawіokoma” looks at the ordeals of Polish-Ukrainian relations during the Second World War through the texts of Canadian historian Peter J. Potichnyj, including both his academic works and his personal memoir of the Pawіokoma massacre.

Albina Pozdnyakova, poet and translator, in her review “Other Days in Lviv” depicts pre-War Lviv as seen by the Dutch author Jan Paul Hinrichs. Hinrichs based his book “Lemberg – Lwуw – Lviv” on the memoirs of nine famous writers, among them – Joseph Roth, Stanislaw Lem, Bruno Schulz, Bohdan Ihor Antonych and Jуzef Wittlin. Almost all of them spent their childhood or early years in Lviv, and enriched the vision of the city with the Polish, or Jewish, or German perspective, either with love or sadness.

In her review “A Journey Into the World of Another Person” Agnieszka Wуjciсska introduces Krytyka readers to the short history of Polish reportage as a genre, from Soviet times to the 2010 triumph of the “literature of fact” on the Polish book scene. She deals with the authors Ukrainian readers are familiar with, and those that have not been translated, and thus demonstrates how a culture can open itself to the world. In his letter “Narrative Discourse of Identity” our reader A.G. takes issue with some terminological points in contemporary historiography.

In “Societies Beyond Reality” the Ukrainian journalist and video-blogger Oleh Shynkarenko opens one more perspective on how the Central-European cultural opposition of Soviet times can be re-read and how it takes on a universal dimension. He looks at the work of known Hungarian colleagues, especially the films by Bela Tarr based on the works of the prominent novelist Lбszlу Krasznahorkai, both unfamiliar to Ukrainian audience though consonant with their cultural context. 

In his “Franz Kafka and the French Post-Structuralists” Vasyl Lozynsky, a Kyiv-based lecturer in Germanic studies and translator, re-reads the studies “Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature” by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari and “Before the Law” by Jacques Derrida.

In “Meditative Subtitles for Filmed Poetry in 3D” the Ukrainian writer Viacheslav Levytsky turns his review of the new edition of poems by the iconic Ukrainian futurist Mykhajl’ Semenko into a fond sketch on the life of a dandified artist and his entry into the Kyiv of the early 1920s.

The issue concludes with an essay “3 AM in Boston” by Oksana Lutsyshyna, a Ukrainian writer and professor at the University of South Florida. She balances her private experiences, both in Soviet and post-Soviet Ukraine and in the US, with the Western perception of post-colonial fears and experiences of oppression, discrimination, and restraint.

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