viewpoint-east.org

Bandera is still not an easy task to solve

Category: by sophie engström, EU, guests, ukraine
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I was asked a while ago to publish an open letter to the Portuguese MP’s of European Parliament signed by President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal, Pavlo Sadokha, 
President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal “Sobor”, Oleg Hutsko and the 
President of the Association of Ukrainians Algarve, Natalia Dmytruk. The open letter is a criticism against that the European Parliament adopted a resolution on 25 of February of 2010, starting “[d]eeply regrets the decision of the outgoing Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushchenko, is granted posthumously to Stepan Bandera, leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN)[…]“.

It is not an easy task to write an objective analyze how European Union, Ukraine, Russia should deal with the historical legacy of Stepan Bandera. I therefore hesitaed in doing so, and instead I refer to an article at Kyiv Post, published on the 13 of April 2010.

The open letter below was previously published at ucrania-mozambique.blogspot.com

ASSOCIAÇÃO DOS UCRÂNIANOS EM PORTUGAL
Rua Félix Correia Nº1, 2-Esq., 1500-271 Lisboa
tlm.: 967135885 / 964795123 NIB 506 695 107
e-mail: ucranianosemportugal@gmail.com

17/03/2010

Open Letter to the Portuguese MP’s of European Parliament
Dear. Mr. / Mrs., MPs,

It is now widely accepted that the European project has contributed decisively to the economic and social stability of the continent and to promote freedom and equality of citizens in Europe. Its democratically elected representatives consider the main objective of the European Union to ensure the welfare and protection of citizens rights, and for that, and based on the lessons of history, rejected any form of discrimination (racial, ethnic, religious, etc.). However, this does not mean the denial of historical and cultural heritage of the peoples of Europe, oppositely, the preservation of national cultures and languages, and respect for the historical past are some of the essential prerequisites for EU membership.

Speaking of historical past should be remembered that Ukraine never has any expansionist ambitions, and, oppositely, was the battleground of rival imperialist powers, with the consequent loss of sovereignty and national identity. During the World War II following the Nazi and Soviet aggression, Ukraine lost about 7.5 million inhabitants and approximately 2 million of Ukrainians were deported to labor-slave activities to Germany.

On the other hand, Ukraine, was also the scene of totalitarian tragedies, one example being the Great Famine of 1932-1933 (Holodomor) – qualified recently by the European Parliament of “horrendous crime against the Ukrainian people and against humanity” – that killed about 7 millions of Ukrainians as a result of famine caused by the Stalin dictatorship. At that time, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), headed by Stepan Bandera, was forced to use the only language understood by a totalitarian regime and that could receive the attention of the international community: language of strength. On 22 of October of 1933, the Soviet consul in Lviv was killed by a militant of OUN in retaliation for the millions of Ukrainians decimated in the famine genocide.

This fact regain an greater meaning if we remember that other dramatic moments of the twentieth century, there was a need to commit a similar acts. For example, between 1920–1922, the militants of Armenian Revolutionary Federation killed several leaders of Turkey, in response to the Armenian genocide; on 27 of May of 1942, agents of the Czechoslovak secret service murdered the British Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich, responsible for terror in Bohemia – Moravia and one of the key masterminds of the genocide of the Jewish population. 

Still on past history, the European Parliament adopted on 25 of February of 2010, a resolution on the current situation in Ukraine, stating that:
20. Deeply regrets the decision of the outgoing Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushchenko, is granted posthumously to Stepan Bandera, leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), which collaborated with Nazi Germany, the title of “National Hero of Ukraine” and expects that new Ukrainian leadership to reconsider this type of decision and reaffirm its commitment to European values.

In this resolution, Parliament claims his right to indicate to Ukrainians how they should interpret their own history. Moreover, what is the basis of what decision? Is there any sentence issued by an International Tribunal to sentences Stepan Bandera or Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) for collaboration with Nazi Germany? Have been carried out a thorough historical investigation of the Ukrainian independence movement?
It is important to realize that Stepan Bandera symbolizes in an undeniable and tragic way, a struggle for Ukrainian independence, finally achieved in 1991, was an inspiring idea to generations of freedom fighters and, simultaneously, the target of hatred of those who have imperialist designs for Ukraine.

On 30 of June of 1941, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union, OUN proclaimed the restoration of independence of Ukraine. This act represented a clear challenge to racial and expansionist plans of Hitler, which, in turn, wanted to convert Eastern Europe into a huge Germanic empire. Therefore, the German authorities demanded that the leaders of OUN abdicate its purpose, and at the refusal, unleashed a campaign of violent repression, forcing the independence movement to go underground and fight against the two occupying powers in Ukraine: the Soviets and the Nazis.

In July of 1941, Stepan Bandera was arrested and sent to the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen, where he remained until October 1944. Two of his brothers were deported to the extermination camp of Auschwitz, where they was brutally murdered. In the ravine of Babi Yar in Kyiv, alongside with thousands of Jews, were also murdered hundreds of militants of the OUN. Stepan Bandera himself also met a tragic end, when he was murdered in 1959 in Munich, victim of a secret agent of KGB.

At the Nuremberg Trials of 1945 was revealed a secret document of Einsatzkommando C / 5, dated of November 25, 1941, which invalidates any argument about the alleged complicity of Bandera and OUN with the Nazis:
There is evidence that the movement of Bandera prepares a revolt in Reichskommissariat, whose aim is to create an independent Ukraine. All members of the movement of Bandera should be immediately arrested and, after a thorough interrogation, secretly wiped out like bandits. 

In fact, what occurred was a brave and determined resistance of the independence movement against the violence used by totalitarian powers who wanted to order the Ukrainian nation to the slavery and extermination.
We, Ukrainians who came to Portugal in search of work and a better life, we have been committed to contributing to the progress and welfare of the host country. Many of us have chosen Portugal as their second home, receiving, therefore increasing visibility and relevance to our civic integration.

Therefore, in the dual capacity of Ukrainian and Portuguese fellow citizens, is urgent to repeal section 20 of the European Parliament resolution of 25 of February of 2010, in which the National Hero of Ukraine is unreasonably accused of cooperating with the Nazi tyranny. It is a moral imperative to recognize Stepan Bandera not only as a figure in the history of Ukraine, but also the universal fight for freedom and human dignity.

Yours sincerely,
President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal – Pavlo Sadokha 
President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal “Sobor” – Oleg Hutsko 
President of the Association of Ukrainians Algarve – Natalia Dmytruk

____
Attachments:
1.
20. Deeply deplores the decision by the outgoing President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, posthumously to award Stepan Bandera, a leader of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) which collaborated with Nazi Germany, the title of ‘National Hero of Ukraine’; hopes, in this regard, that the new Ukrainian leadership will reconsider such decisions and will maintain its commitment to European values;

2.
Open Appeal from Ukrainians to the Members of European Parliament with regards to the defamation of Stepan Bandera in the text of the Resolution of the European Parliament on the Situation in Ukraine from February 25, 2010.

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A Missing Gaze

Category: by oleksiy radynski, guests, movies
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Melody for a Street Organ (2009) by Kira Muratova compensates for the 20 years-long absence of social cinema in Ukraine in a strikingly unexpected way. To capture the social reality of Ukrainian society is not an easy task, since, like any other post-Soviet society, it avoids a direct look at its basic manifestations (like marginalization of large social segments and dissolution of interpersonal links) by rendering them invisible for the mass media apparatuses. In order to assemble the mosaic of unrepresented society, Muratova has chosen the vantage point that is generally repressed in contemporary Ukraine. Her latest film is set in public spaces where taking pictures is usually prohibited for reasons that are neither explained nor questioned, in spite of availability of those spaces for the general public: the train station and the supermarket.

The first part of the film follows a couple of homeless kids through a railway station, where they are confronted with a series of unfavourable circumstances, while the second part takes them to a supermarket, where the penniless protagonists, hallucinating from hunger, are trying to get some food. Still, those areas – the railway station and the supermarket – are only seemingly excluded from democratic representation, since they are subjected to numerous surveillance apparatuses that not only passively collect information but also actively constitute the social relations at the observed territory, producing the subjectivities of those under surveillance. By entering this domain of monopolized representation with her camera, Muratova gets an opportunity to spy at the members of contemporary society reduced to their purely functional, mechanical identities – those of the train passengers or supermarket clients.

This reduction is obvious in numerous film scenes where the kids appeal to occasional strangers with a cry for help only to get a standardized, artificial, ‘cinematic’ reaction from the people who cannot transcend their prescribed social roles. In a crucial episode of the film, the kids occasionally witness the extrinsic child beggar telling their own numerously repeated story verbatim to a stranger and getting a generous reward. The shock that children experience in the course of the scene is quite similar to a shock of the viewer confronted with Muratova’s numerous episodic characters that despite of their constructed, unnatural behaviour (or, maybe, precisely owing to these features) are strikingly recognizable in their representation of post-Soviet social identities. Rather than reproduce “reality as it is”, Muratova focuses on fiction underlying the reality itself, a fiction that is deconstructed from an ‘impossible’ viewpoint of the camera sneaking after the people who unconsciously perform their prescribed identities.

Oleksiy Radynski is an essayist, editor and scholar of film theory. He is a postgraduate student at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and collaborator at Visual Culture Research Center at the same university.

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viewpoint-east.org now with google reader

Category: by sophie engström, sociala medier
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Check out viewpoint-east’s new google reader bundle!!

I strongly recommend you subscribe to it ; )

And are you in it? If no, send me your URL and I will probably add you : )

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Boris Ryzhy – The unwilling survivor

Category: by sophie engström, movies, poetry, russia
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How do you describe a suicide, what it implies in loses and sorrow for people close to you? How do you describe the devastating emptiness and hopelessness that the survivors need to live with? I would say that in many aspects it is not possible, but if you have an interest in understanding, without exploiting, there are a possibility that you will be able to describe both the cruelty in being left behind, and how survivors find their way out from the labyrinth of sorrow.

In the documentary Boris Ryzhy, about the poet with the same name, made by the dutch filmmaker Aliona van der Horst, you can actually feel the sorrow in your own breath while watching it. van der Horst has managed to find the special situations, when words has no use and life itself seems to be more grim than ever.

In the introduction we see a woman wondering around in a suburn district. She is trying to get a hold on somebody that knew Boris Ryzhy. After being reprimanded by a babushka, she finally finds somebody that wants to help her and let her enter a staircase in one of the houses. The woman explains that she and her brother lived in this house when they were small. She starts to ring the door bell to the first flat in the house. She does not present herself to the lady that opens the door, but tells her about the film that Ailona van der Horst is making. She says it is a film about her brother, the poet Boris Ryzhy. She asks the old lady if she remember him, and the old lady does not remember him. The woman, the sister of Ryzhy, starts to recite a poem that Boris Ryzhy wrote, but her voice cracks, and finally she starts to cry. The woman that opened the door starts immediately to ask her about why she is crying: “Is he dead? What happened to your brother?” she asks. “He is dead. He committed suicide”, answers the sister. I believe most spectators literary can feels the pain in her voice.


The trailer for the documentary by Boris Ryzhy by Aliona van der Horst.

The documentary then continues with, as it seems, an endless desire to try to understand why Boris Ryzhy decided to end his own life. Was it because many of his friends died already? Was it because he and all his friends lived in a violent world, with gangsters that lacked empathy for suffering? Did he feel alienated or was he just a mad genius that took suicide as a desperate wish to be accepted as a poet? Aliona van der Horst investigate and gets self-disclosure and fearless help from Boris Ryzhy’s family – the wife, son, sister and mother. But even so, she never comes close to explain why, except that it is necessary to accept the unacceptable. The death of somebody you love. This is however not a failure by van der Horst, but actually a strength to a story, that could have became extremely pathetic if it was made in a less intelligent way. To tell the truth, this is actually one of the best documentaries I have ever seen, and I have seen quite a few.

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Boris Ryzhy, born in 1974, grow up in Yekaterinburg. His family was well-educated family and his father was a geologist, unknown what his mother did, though. When he was rather small his family moved to a rough area in Yekaterinburg. There Boris had to learn how to survive in the tough environment. He started to boxing in the same age as writing poems (14 years old) and violence and poetry seems to be utterly connected for him. Boris Ryzhy’s poems often depict and describe the neighbourhood that he and his sister grow up in. It seems like he never left the area in his soul. One of his very old friends, that Aliona van der Horst managed to track down, describes Boris as rootless and very lonely man, even though so many loved him.

Boris Ryzhy committed suicide by hanging in May 2001, 26 years old. It is impossible to tell how his talent would develop, because his poems mostly describe the Jelstin years during 1990s. How crime and gangesters are more usual than ordinary jobs and loving and caring situations. Even so, Boris Ryzhy was not a gangster all though, but was also a PhD in Geophysics.


The poem “Show me, Gypsy woman” read by Boris Ryzhy.

In the documentary it is perhaps Boris Ryzhy’s wife that says the most devastating words. She tells about her and Boris childhood, how they were encouraged to believe in the communist future, and they thought they lived in the perfect socialist society. But when they finish school in 1991, the Soviet Empire fell apart. It didn’t come as any surprise for them, but after the fall of the empire, the “first generation of perestroika” was abandoned by the society itself. The only way that far too many saw, was the road of criminality. “We are the generation of body guards”, she says when she stands at Boris grave at the cemetery, and around her we see hundreds of graves for young men born in the beginning of 70s that dead in the mid 90s.

It is obvious that Boris Ryzhy felt as a survivor, and to survive in this “war”, like one of his friends remarks in the documentary, is “a shameful business”. We can only hope that Boris Ryzhy’s legacy will survive, because his poems is not only violent but alos beautiful. And they are a legacy from a time that we all must try to prevent to return.

If you want to read Boris Ryzhy in English you can find some here.

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The Russian-Chechen-conflict: A reminder

Category: chechnya, russia
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The motto “violence begets violence” seems, sadly enough, to be confirmed a day like this, the day after the bombing in Moscow metro. While my thoughts goes to all those innocent victims that this conflict seems indefatigably rearm, I would like to remind you about the essay The Russian Chechen Conflict factors that triggered the conflict to become an armed conflict in 1994-1996 and then again in 1999 (divided in two part) that Anders T Carlsson published here previously. Part I and Part II. To deconstruct and get a deeper understanding, can actually imply a better possibility to defeat anger and fear!


Photo from Georgia, near the Chechen border. Thank for photo from cinto2.

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Cha-Cha-changes – S:t Petersburg 1995/2010 with a new perspective

Category: art, guests, russia
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Last week viewpoint-east.org introduced a new element, a virtual gallery. After Maria Magnusson’s set S:t Petersburg 1995/2010 was published, I thought to myself that it would be nice with a reply, from today’s Petersburg. I started to search and I found Ekaterina Khozatskaya, an Urban Sketcher for S:t Petersburg.

Here is her set cha-cha-changes and below you can read her own thoughts.

I was born in S:t petersburg 23 years ago and lived there for all my life. I was only 9 years in 1995, so I don’t remember much from that time. I remember my school, coffe with buns, women selling “Pribaltic”-sweaters and wool hoods in front of DLT (Leningrad trade house). Illegal, I suppose.



15 years have passed, Life differents much, but it seems that it has always been like that. 
People moved from kitchens and backstreets to bars and cafes. Sushi restaraunts on every corner, coffe shops, and italian restaraunts, english pubs and swiss bakeries.


Hypermarkets, and shopping centers: “Red triangle” boots replaced by hundreds of foreign companies.

 It’s not a problem to go abroad any more. 

In the 90’s it was hard to imagine that computers, internet, mobile phones would exists in almost every house.

 But today it is a fact!

Of course it’s not for everyone and you can still meet lots of people like on Marias photos, which are not victims of fashion, and lots of shops without food, still.

But a lot of things have changed. As you can see in my sketches.

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Dza in London at RBMA

Category: by sophie engström, music, russia
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The annual Red Bull Music Academy in London has just finished and one of the participants was Sasha Dza, the how2make frontier that previously been highlighted here at viewpoint-east.org. So I connected to him, in London, to ask about impressions from the two weeks long experience at RBMA.

Dza – † Dance With Me ( preview ) by DZA

Sasha Dza: RBMA is a really heavy and nice experience for all participants. Every time, when I’d meet some one who has been a participant at RBMA before, they have told me to remember only one thing, Get a lot of sleep before academy! Because while you are there you will not get any sleep in two weeks!. And that was really true! Every day implies intensive studio work, lectures and live chatin’ with famous musicians like Hudson Mohawke, Roots Manuva, Busy P, Dj Zink, Marco Passarani, FlyLo (Flying Lotus) and many more.

It was also very cool to collaborated with another participants, such as Ad Bourk, Homeless Inc., Los Macuanos, Nando Pro and Hudson Mohawke. This guys gave me crazy energy and new inspiration!

RBMA has finished last week, but I have stayed in London for a few day to enjoy new places, museums and people.


Photo: Dan Wilton

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