Year XXII, Issue 7–8 (249–250)

August 2018
Vsevolod Rechytsky. Informal Constitutionalism, the Effect of the US
Mykola Riabchuk. Divorce in Red
Maryna Poliakova. To Repaint or to Dismantle?
Olha Poliukhovych. Who’s Afraid of Yurii Kosach?
Costica Bradatan. Philosophy Has a Lot to Learn From Film

Summary of this Issue

The July–August, 2018 issue of Krytyka opens with an article on “Informal Constitutionalism, the Effect of the US” by Vsevolod Rechytsky, Associate Professor of Constitutional Law at the Yaroslav the Wise National Law Academy of Ukraine, constitutional expert of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group and member of The December First Initiative Group. Rechytsky analyses the effectiveness criteria of modern constitutionalism, their practical consequences, and total effect. Developed capitalism or informal constitutionalism alone cannot exist. It is also worth noting that the American constitutional model was not only the first such model, but also one that works at maximum speed. Informal constitutionalism in the American style is not a doctrine of the authority and wisdom of the state, but a profound insight into the nature of government relations within civil society. It was and remains a great intellectual temptation for Ukraine.

In his “Divorce in Red” Mykola Riabchuk, writer and publicist, President of the Ukrainian PEN Center, political scientist, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, lecturer at the University of Warsaw and the Ukrainian Catholic University, reviews the recently published Ukrainian translation of Stephen Velychenko’s Painting Imperialism and Nationalism Red: The Ukrainian Marxist Critique of Russian Communist Rule in Ukraine, 1918–1925 (Toronto, Buffalo, London: University of Toronto Press, 2015; Lviv: UCU Publishing House, 2017). He sees it not as an apology for Ukrainian national-communism, but rather as a problematic and complex historical phenomenon that cannot be squeezed into the black-and-white scheme of ‘de-communization’ laws. At the same time it reminds us of the imperial character of Russian communism, which the author accurately outlines (in the spirit of Ukrainian Marxists) as ‘imperialism in red.’ As a history of events, this book is not remarkable, but as a story of ideas and ideological struggle it is extremely interesting and thorough.

Maryna Poliakova, cultural expert, journalist, art-observer of the online magazine In Kyiv, in her “To Repaint or to Dismantle?” reviews a through and far-reaching study by Oleksandr Hrytsenko on The Presidents and Memory: Memory Policies of the Presidents of Ukraine in 19942014: Backgrounds, Messages, Implementation, Results (Kyiv: K.I.S., 2017). She puts the basic question of who actually ‘manages’ memory: presidents, ministers, local elites? Did the previous three Presidents of Ukraine have a clear plan on historical politics, or did they act situationally? Is there such a plan for other such issues? This book required fundamental research and patience as it analyzed not only twenty years worth of Ukrainian official documents on cultural policy, but also whether various ‘government orders’ were implemented, and what resonance they had.

93 years have passed since Yurii Kosach (1908–1990) began his creative activity, but the works of the writer remain mostly a blank spot in the history of Ukrainian literature, states Olha Poliukhovych, literary scholar, lecturer at the Department of Literary Studies at the National University Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, and editor at the Kyiv-Mohyla Humanities Journal. Her article on “Who’s Afraid of Yurii Kosach?” draws on her presentation on Yurii Kosach’s ‘Pro-Soviet’ Stance in the USA in the 1950s–1960s, made on February 26, 2018 at the Seminar at HURI. Poliukhovych argues that the obstacle to understanding the rich and extremely interesting Kosach heritage is that he maintained contacts with Soviet Ukraine while living in the United States. Particularly it concerns his editing of the pro-Soviet journal Beyond the Blue Ocean (Za synim okeanom), which was published in New York in 19591963. As a reward for this Kosach had the opportunity to visit Ukraine and to participate in its literary and public life.

“Philosophy Has a Lot to Learn From Film” by Costica Bradatan, Professor of Humanities at Texas Tech University and an Honorary Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of Queensland, Australia, was first published in the online magazine Aeon in 2017. Krytyka offers a Ukrainian translation of this essay on Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece Rashômon (1950). The philosophical puzzle at the core of Kurosawa’s film is what if we really cannot know and tell what is actually going on? Kurosawa’s characters look at the same world, yet for moral or cognitive reasons their accounts of what they see are worlds in themselves, making it impossible to know what the actual world is like. The film’s ultimate message is that we are fundamentally unable to ‘tell the truth.’

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