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Ukrainians in Mozambique: An Historical Overview

Category: guests, ukraine, web 2.0
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viewpoint-east.org begins the new year with its fist guest author, Dmytro Yatsyuk. The article is about Ukrainians in Mozambique. Enjoy!

Early Ukrainian connections with Mozambique
One of the first people with a Ukrainian connection to settle in Mozambique was Leo Kröger. The son of a Ukrainian mother and German father, he was born in 1912 in Khabarovsk. His Ukrainian grandfather, Arseniy Shvorin, was a teacher in Kyiv. Arrested by the tsarist police for his participation in a populist political movement, he was deported to Russian Far East. After a long and very interesting life in China, Leo Kröger in 1954 moved to Mozambique with his family, where he pursued a career as a professional hunter. He died in 2004, just two months short of his 92nd birthday. The funeral service took place in the Greek Orthodox Church in Maputo.

Ukrainian businessman Mihaylo Tereshenko, the Minister of Finance in Kerensky’s Russian democratic government (1917), came to work in Mozambique in the mid-1950s. He worked for the Norwegian-owned company “Madal,” which was nationalized after 1975 and eventually collapsed.

There was also Pravda foreign correspondent Tomas A. Kolesnichenko (1930–2003), who, after receiving an invitation from the oligarch Jorge Jardim, an engineer and trusted friend of Portugal’s António O. Salazar, visited Mozambique at the beginning of 1960.

Also noteworthy is the 1997 visit to Mozambique of Miguel (Mihaylo) Guskow, the Vice-General Attorney of the Federal Public Ministry of Brazil. Mr. Guskow is the son of Oleksiy and Hanna Guskow, Ukrainians who immigrated to Brazil from the Odesa region of Ukraine.

Igor Sikorsky, a grandson of the famous Ukrainian helicopter inventor Ihor Sikorsky, also made Mozambique his short-term home. His business activities were related to the fishing industry.

First Mozambicans in Ukraine and first Ukrainians in Mozambique
Following an agreement between the Soviet government and the FRELIMO (Mozambican Liberation Front), the first Mozambicans came to Ukraine in the middle of the 1960s to obtain higher education. In 1964–71, António Lourenço Chade represented FRELIMO in Ukraine. Today he is an important Mozambican judiciary figure in the northern province of Nampula. Several of the Mozambican students married Ukrainian women, some of whom stayed in Ukraine while others moved to Africa. The latter included the Kyiv-born painter Maria Smoliar (artistic name: Maria Cenzani). Together with her husband Dr. Chicogo, she lived in several African countries before moving to Mozambique following its proclamation of independence in 25 June 1975. In 1990 Maria Smoliar won a prize in Japan at an art contest dedicated to ecological issues. Representing Mozambique, she sent a painting on the topic of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster.

The contemporary Ukrainian community in Mozambique
Today, the Ukrainian community of the country is made up of three different groups of citizens: medical personnel, university teachers, and women who married Africans and chose to live in Mozambique.
There are about 400 Ukrainians living in Mozambique (adults and children). The majority of them are the Mozambique-born or Ukraine-born offspring of African–Ukrainian marriages. In the last five years, several Ukrainians employed as medical personnel have left Mozambique because of the unfriendly political attitude of the Minister of Health, Dr. Ivo Garrido.

There are no officially registered Ukrainian community organizations in Mozambique. The majority of Ukrainians in Mozambique are Orthodox, and they attend the Greek Orthodox Church of Archangel Gabriel in Maputo. Until January 2007 a Ukrainian priest, Fr. George Zolotenko, served there; he is currently studying at the Ecclesiastical Academy in Greece.

There is no Ukrainian diplomatic representation in Mozambique. The closest Ukrainian Embassy is situated in Pretoria, South Africa, though Ukrainian citizens in Mozambique are served by the Ukrainian Embassy in Angola because Portuguese is the official language in both these two countries.

Political life in Mozambique
Mozambique is dominated by two political parties, the FRELIMO ruling party and the former anticommunist guerrilla movement RENAMO (Mozambican National Resistance).

The President of Mozambique is a FRELIMO candidate, Mr. Armando Emílio Guebuza. In the 1960s he received military training in Ukraine, at the 165th Training Center for Foreign Military Personnel, in the village of Peravalne, 20 kilometres outside of Simferopol. President Guebuza remembers his time in Ukraine with fondness and has not ruled out the possibility of visiting Ukraine and his old training center. These very facilities are now used by the 36th Special Brigade of the Coast Defense of the Ukrainian Naval Force and units of the National Guards of Ukraine.

First Ukrainian blog in Africa
Our blog was created on 15 January 2004, during the Orange Revolution, when we started to inform Portuguese-speakers in Angola, Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Portugal, East Timor, and Macau about events in Ukraine. This information was distributed as press releases in Mozambique, Portugal, and Brazil. As of 28 December 2009 our blog has been visited by almost 180.000 people.

••••
Blog’s address ucrania-mozambique.blogspot.com

Our blog also acts as a cultural bridge between Mozambique and Ukraine. And we interact with Ukrainian Web groups in Portuguese-speaking countries, among them pessoal.cefetpr.br/ucrania, which was created by fourth-generation Ukrainians in Brazil, and spilka.pt, the Web site of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal.

••••
NOTE
This article first appeared in “Ukrainians Abroad: News and Views’ #40”, the newsletter of the Ukrainian Diaspora Studies Initiative at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta.

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On A Happy New Year, your delightful Christmas and my visit to Kyiv

Category: ukraina, ukraine
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Friends,

From now until 11th of january I will only post sporadically. I will however try to post a review of one of Sholem Aleichem‘s novels (the post will be in English).

ukrainian xmas

I therefor want to wish you A Very Happy New year, Holidays and Christmas!

soviet new year

I also would like to add that I will be in Kyiv from 26th of january to 9 of February. If you want to meet, talk about viewpoint-east.org or anything else likewise, please write me a email.

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Sholem Aleichem, Kom in från glömskans förmak! Del II

Category: by sophie engström, gender, jiddish, literature, russia, ryssland, ukraina, ukraine, yiddish
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… fortsättning från gårdagen …

Något som han kritiserade i flera verk var utnyttjandet av fattiga. Han kritiserade till exempel Kyivs judiska plutokratin som hänsynlöst utnyttjade mindre bemedlade i staden. I hans verk Spekulanten (som kommer att recenseras här på viewpoint-east.org troligtvis nästa vecka) framkommer den kritiken med all önskvärd tydlighet.

Men det finns en annan komplexitet i många av Aleichems verk, som även den kommer att beröras i nästa veckas recension, och det är han ofta åskådliggör samhällsförändringar genom kvinnor och mäns relationer. I Classic Yiddish Fiction hävdas att han, i till exempel Tevye berättelserna, framställde det traditionsenliga i judisk kultur genom männens agerande och krafter mot social förändring genom kvinnors agerande. Detta är ett intressant påstående, som jag kommer att återkomma något till.

aleichem2

En annan aspekt av hans författarskap är ironin. Aleichem var mycket inspirerad av författaren Sholem Abramovith (även han en förespråkare för jiddish) samt Gogol. I Aleichems verk återfinner man ofta en typ av självkritiserande ironi som, enligt honom själv, är en viktig del av den judiska humorn. Men hans ironi har en tendens att ändra perspektiv. Understundom vet man inte om romanfiguren är självironisk/självkritisk eller om det är författaren, alltså Aleichem, som ironiserar romanfiguren. Detta är dock ingen osäkerhet som skapar en oangenäm förvirring hos läsaren, utan faktiskt bara en frisk metanivå som ger flera parafraser till egna misstag, dumheter eller förvirringar.

Hans konstnärliga stil är monologisk. Hans verk är ofta brev eller samtal som övergår i monolog – till exempel bekännelser för Rabbin eller till Gud eller en skriftställare som då inte alltför osökt heter just Sholem Aleichem. Hans verk Spekulanten är av sådan karaktär, den består av en brevväxling mellan den synnerligen otursförföljde Menachen Mendl och hans sarkastiska och klagande hustru i hembyn.

Jag ville skriva om Sholem Aleichem här, dels för att jag tycker hans författarskap och författarstil är mycket intressant, men också för att lyfta fram en författare som idag tyvärr befinner sig i glömskans förmak. Jag hoppas få återkomma till honom flera gånger, men att finna bra översättningar av hans verk är inte helt lätt. Att lära mig jiddish framstår kanske inte som ett lockande alternativ i dagsläget, så jag får nog försöka hushålla med de översättningar som finns. Jag hoppas i alla fall att er bekantskap med Sholem Aleichem kommer att bereda er lika mycket glädje som det ger mig.

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Sholem Aleichem, Kom in från glömskans förmak! Del I

Category: by sophie engström, gender, jiddish, literature, russia, ryssland, ukraina, ukraine, yiddish
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Sholem Aleichem är en författare som kanske är okänd för många svenskar. Men han har på senare tid upptagit alltmer av min uppmärksamhet. En del kanske känner igen hans namn från musikalen Spelman på taket som hans romanfigur Tevje mjölkutköraren utgjorde förlagan till. Noteras bör att Tevje mjölkutköraren förekommer i flera olika noveller av Aleichem, så grunden till Spelman på taket vilar alltså på flera verk och inte ett som ofta felaktigt påstås.

sholem_aleichem_100313_620px

Sholem Naumovich Rabinovich föddes den 2 mars 1859 i den ukrainska byn Voronko, I dåvarande Tsarryssland, i en fattig judisk familj. Han sägs mycket tidigt ha beslutade sig för att ägna sig åt författarskapet, och en av hans tidiga mer häpnadsväckande alster lär vara en judisk tolkning av Robinson Cruse. Sholem Aleichem är en ironisk pseudonym som i översättning blir “var hälsad” eller kanske ännu bättre “Fred vare med dig”. Sholem Aleichem ville på det tättet förstärka det komiska anslaget i hans egen person, och som författare.

Aleichem förde ett ganska kringflackande liv, vilket kan illustrera hur många judar hade det i dåtidens Tsarryssland. Antisemitismen var utbredd och flera judar råkade ut för progromer och fick därför flytta alternativt fly för sina liv. De fick inte heller mantalsskriva sig var de ville. Som exempel fick det inte mantalsskriva sig i Kyiv, utan bara under vissa förutsättningar, mot rätt betalning samt vid rätt tid. Detta gjorde att Aleichem, och många andra bodde i byar kring Kyiv. Aleichem bodde bland annat i Boyarka, en liten by sydväst om Kyiv.

Aleichem yrkesbana var dessutom ganska brokig vilket kanske inte berodde på hans judiska ursprung utan snarare på en del okloka beslut. Han försökte sig bland annat på en karriär som börsmäklare, men han slutade som helt utblottad. Hans hustru, som kom från en förmögen familj, lär ha stått för en del av familjens försörjning. Aleichem försökte även emigrera till USA två gånger. Första gången 1907, men blev tvungen att kapitulera redan 1908. 1915 emigrerade han en andra gång och han stannade till sin död året därpå. Aleichem var mycket kritisk till den judiska assimileringen i USA och några av hans senare verk kritiserar “amerikaniseringen” av nyanlända judar.

Inledningsvis skrev Sholem Aleichem på ryska samt på hebreiska, men långsamt växte sig beslutet starkt att skriva på jiddish. Han blev slutligen en mycket stark förespråkare för jiddish i Europa och han uppmuntrade många yngre författare att skriva på jiddish. På wikipedia kan man dessutom läsa att han var en stark förespråkare av zionismen, men jag skulle vilja hävda att en för stark betoning av Sholem Aleichems zionistiska verksamhet riskerar att helt förta hans kanske viktigaste arv, konsten att genom ironi synliggöra en frän samhällskritik.

… fortsättning följer i morgon ….

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A forgotten masterpiece

Category: avantgarde, by sophie engström, movies, russia, ukraine
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The movie “The Eve of Ivan Kupala” is perhaps one of the most intrigues movies I have ever seen. The movie is based on Nikolai Gogol’s short story “The Eve of Ivan Kupala” (or “S:t John’s Eve” in translation). I did read the short story by Gogol a couple of years ago, but can’t say my imagination was able to create anything like this movie. The director, Yuri Ilyenko, has made a very independent interpretation of Petro’s pact with the devil, or what is thought to be the devil.


Petro’s meeting with the devil at Bear’s Ravine

The story is, as I told above, based on a short story by Gogol. Gogol has in his turn interpreted and collected Ukrainian folk tales. The story circles about the poor peasant Petro that falls in love with Pidorka. She is much richer than Petro, and her father disagree to their love. Finially her father forbid him to ever see her again, and Petro tries to make everything in his power to see her. He gets so desperate that he makes a pact with a stranger in town, that possibly could be seen as the devil. To make a long story very short, Petro agrees to blood shred in order to get the gold so he can get his Pidorka back. After protests he agrees to kill the child, in order to get the gold. Petro wakes up after two days Petro, unable to reember how he got the money.

Yuri Ilyenko has created a nonlinear masterpiece, with very little dialogue. He has left a lot of space for your own imagination and interpretation. But the fact that it isn’t easy to follow only makes the narration more complex and intrigues.

The movie was made in 1968 but wasn’t released until 1989. I believe it could be because the spoken language is Ukrainian, which was rather controversial to use in Soviet days. If anyone can fill me in why this movie was “forgotten” about for so long, I would be more than thankful. I can’t find much info about the movie, even though I have been looking almost everywhere.

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Who is who in Ukraine?

Category: by sophie engström, ukraina, ukraine
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Feel lost in the drama of Ukrainian political life? Never knows who is who and always sits with endless google-lists and wiki-links never know what is right or wrong? Try Who is who in Ukraine. I can’t anser for everything they write, but it is a great guidance for someone with limited knowledge in Ukrainian.

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Is there a greater Scheme? – About Swedbank in Ukraine: Part 2

Category: business, by sophie engström, economy, swedbank, ukraina, ukraine
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Yesterday I wrote a short summery on what has been said in Swedish media about Swedbank’s engagement in Ukraine. Today I will continue with a possible interpretation of why Swedbank stays in Ukraine even though they loose a lot by staying.

On the 12th of December Dagens Nyheter, one of the leading newspapers in Sweden, denoted that Swedbank not only looses a lot by staying in Ukraine, but possibly also having a very unique position in comparison to other international banks. Through the the Finicial Cooperation for the World Bank, IFC, Swedbank has got a loan on about half a Billion Swedish Kronen (≈€48 000 000). And even the fact that Swedbank actually violates and working on a high risk level, IFC have no intension in breaking their cooperation with the Swedbank. For instance, 42% of Swedbank debts are risky or even bad. Moreover, the bank also has too much exposure and loans to one single customer. It is however not clear who it is it, but several observers mean it is Sergey Tigipko. This is a clear violation against the agreements with IFC. All this is very agrivating facts and also leads us to the question why Swedbank stays in Ukraine.

Knut Kainz Rognerud imples in his book Det stora bankrånet (The big bank robbery) that Swedbank, and many other Swedish banks, did in fact make the crash in the global finical crisis bigger because the banks gave unwise and very unstable loans. One might ask oneself if this could be the irony of it all. Today it looks like the banks are losing and actually risking a lot, but in a longer perceptive Swedbank will possibly be one of the only international banks left in Ukraine – and will possibly own a great deal of Ukraine’s resources. I would say that this interpretation is not too paranoid, but are only based on the simple fact, that no bank will stay in Ukraine just from pure generosity. Of course they have a greater plan with their engagement, possibly not a “scheme” but at least a plan. And that plan is not open for either of us, but concerns our well-being.

If you have any comments of thought about this let me know. It is possible you have some information I have not, and I would highly appreciate if you would share it with me.

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