Archive for July, 2016


July 15, 2016

DSC05987My city has received a Ukrainian name it deserves. Hardly had any of the local mini-oligarchs read anything by Marko Kropytvnytskyi, who was a playwright, a stage director and an actor. Hardly had they watched any of his plays either. They are those who pathologically dislike and ignore Ukraine’s culture, its past and its future. For many months they were orchestrating  a vehement campaign aimed at tearing the city away from the Ukrainian cultural and social environment in which the city has always been. They wanted to feel psychologically sheltered in the city named after a Russian tsarina and ruled by pro-Russian money-bags. They intentionally closed their eyes and ears to the fact that this city had always stood amid wide steppes – the battlefield of the Ukrainian Cossacks for their freedom and the place peopled by the Ukrainian peasants long before the city started to exist. Marko Kropyvnytskyi always remembered it.

He was one the founders of the Ukrainian theater. In actual fact, he was THE founder. A stage director is a locomotive of the theatrical process, and Marko Kropyvnytskyi was such. He noticed the tiniest nuances of acting, he charged the actors with his energy, and in case of need, he came in with his “do-it-this-way” presentation.   His contemporaries say that during a performance one could close their eyes and simply enjoy his strong and velvety voice.  As the leader of the troupe Kropyvnytskyi  had a vision. He started his activities in the 1860s when serfdom (read: slavery) in Russia was abolished and new relationships were being formed among peasants. Kropyvnytskyi immediately grasped this new tendency: characters of his dramas are part of a much wider world, they are much more free in their feelings and in their thinking. Yesterday I took a volume of Kropyvnytsky’s plays from the shelf and re-read two of them I have known from my high school times.  I was impressed by the power of emotions exhibited by the leading characters. And when we read in modern reviews about Kropyvnytskyi being “Ukrainian Shakespeare”, we must understand that it is this “violence of passions” that gives the reviewers a right to say so. Incidentally, one of Kropyvnytskyi’s plays is titled “Поки сонце зійде, роса очі виїсть.” which may be roughly translated as “While the grass grows, the steed starves.” Interestingly, in this English form the idea (“dreams and expectations are realized too late”) comes up in Shakespeare’s Hamlet – Act III, Scene II (Hamlet is complaining to Rosencrantz about his lack of advancement (to the throne),” and when his friend tries comforting him, Hamlet answers: “Ay, sir, but ‘While the grass grows,’ –).

Марко_Кропивницький_із_родиноюNaturally, it takes some effort and knowledge to see Ukrainian “Hamlets” and “Ophelias” in Kropyvnytskyi’s plays. But when you love those people you will understand that the distance between you and Kropyvnytskyi’s characters is only 5-6 generations, and that your genes and, to a large extent, your mentality is what you, as a Ukrainian, have inherited from them, you will only be proud that you tread the same ground as he once did.  And you’ll never prefer the name set upon you by those who wanted (and want!) to colonize your minds and hearts to this great name: KROPYVNYTSKYI.

I was 15. I was standing in the same theatre Kropyvnytsky and his troupe performed some 70 years before. The play “Дай серцю волю, заведе в неволю” (tr.: “If you give full play to your emotions, you’ll meet disaster”) had been finished, but we, students, didn’t leave the house. We kept standing and clapping our hands as hard as we could. We were clapping for two, three, five, ten minutes… The curtain on the stage went up and down many a time and our favourite actors, lining up there and holding each other’s hands, bowed to us again and again… And… there was another person with all of us at that moment. The one whose name would be given to this city … but in the next century.

Besides his “serious” plays, Marko Kropyvnytskyi wrote so-called “etudes” – short humorous sketches. Among them, “По ревізії” (“The Inspection Trip” ) is my favorite. Below I give links to the full text of the “etude” with two audiobooks –in Ukrainian and in Russian. Unfortunately, there’s no English version, so far. Anyway, language barriers aside, anyone can enjoy Kropyvnytsky’s song «Соловейко» (“The Little Nightingale”) sung by the unforgettable Yeheniya Miroshnychenko. (text) (radio-book in Ukrainian) (radio-book in Russian) (song “The Little Nightingale”)


July 12, 2016

2016-07-12blgTens of thousands of Orthodox believers in Ukraine who, despite their Ukrainian citizenship, are affiliated with the Moscow Patriarchate, have started their walk (the Procession of the Cross) towards Kyiv from different parochial districts of the country, and they are going to simultaneously converge on the capital at the end of July. Officially, the procession is held under the slogans of “love and peace in Ukraine,” but the seemingly good mottos camouflage the real position and purpose of the Russian fifth column here. The Moscow Patriarchate believers in Ukraine have always been pro-Putin, so their present-day walk in the direction of Kyiv is understood as a demand for the Ukrainian government to stop the war in Donbas. Since the Ukrainian army tactics is defensive, it would actually mean to stop defending the country. The aggressor is well-known – it’s Russia, which is why it would be logical for the pro-Russian believers to arrange the procession not to Kyiv but to Moscow with the demand for the Kremlin to withdraw its troops and stop supporting the separatists in the Ukrainian East. However, they won’t do this.

Incidentally, the pro-Moscow sentiments of the walking multitude may be perceived from St George ribbons (a symbol the Russian victory over Hitler’s Germany in WWII), or divined from Czar Nicholas’ portraits carried by some marchers. This time, a Russian citizen who had been among the rebels earlier, was also recognized by journalists as a participant of this religious procession. It is easy for FSB (the Russian secret service) to infiltrate scores of their agents in the procession. No wonder, the Ukrainian nationalists threaten with blocking the walk physically, which may be what the pro-Russian “martyrs” are really looking forward to. Should anything of the kind happen, I can imagine how hysterically would Moscow react to the “fascist junta in Ukraine” waging the war against the “Soldiers of the Light.”

2016-07-12Garlic wreathMeanwhile, the people of the Poltava oblast where the Procession has just moved to, decided to meet the walkers by wearing wreaths of garlic on their heads. In this part of the country the Orthodox Christians believe, in a pagan way, that the garlic protects people from any form of devilry. Will the “charming” weapon work? Let’s live till the end of the month and see.


July 7, 2016

Here’s a post from FB which I liked. Thought it would be a good idea to translate and repost it in my blog.

Vladislava Bozhenko to АТОшні знайомства:

Мне 7 лет. Ура!!! Наконец-то мы с бабушкой едем на дачу!

14 лет. Достали предки со своими грядками!

Мне 20. Кажется бабушка сошла с ума, целыми днями рвёт траву, ладно бы на грядках, а трава вдоль забора кому помешала?

Мне 25. Дача нужна только для шашлыков.

35 лет. А не посеять ли мне редиски?

45 лет. Весь огород в грядках.

60 лет. Что-то забор травой зарос, нужно прополоть.

78 лет. Тащу тяжеленный рюкзак на дачу, дети-внуки не помогают, говорят – ничего сеять не надо, всё купим. И только правнук радует, ему 7 лет, и он счастлив, что снова лето, и мы едем на дачу. Жизнь продолжается!

I’m 7 years old. Hooray!!! Finally my grandmother and I are going to the country!

Age 14. I’m fed up with my ‘rents and their vegetable beds!

Age 20. I think Granny has gone crazy: she’s been pulling the grass all day long. I’m not against weeding the garden beds, but why not leave the grass at the fence alone?

Age 25. The country house is good only for barbecue!

Age 35. Sowing some radishes? Sounds good.

Age 45. Vegetable beds have been made all over the garden!

Age 60. There’s too much grass along the fence. Needs weeding.

Age 78. Just dragging a backpack to the country. Heavy as lead. My children and grandchildren are no help at all (“Do not sow anything, we’ll buy everything!” Ha-ha!) The great-grandson is the only delight. He’s 7, and he is happy that the summer has arrived and that both of us are going to the country. Life goes on!

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