viewpoint-east.org

A Ukrainian love affair

Category: guests, ukraine
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(Läsningstid: 2 minuter)

viewpoint-east‘s second guest writer is Maria Nilsson. She is 30 years old with a master in political science and she lived in Ukraine on and off between 2005-2007.

I have decided for once in my life to leave the politics behind and focus on something more readable as some of you might agree on. Instead of focusing on something like “Rethinking cultural identity in a post communist context – the case of Ukraine” my text is nothing but a declaration of love to a country I never thought I would fall in love with. A country that, where I m from is not known for anything apart from a nuclear power plant disaster 20 years ago, a track and field athletic called Sergey Bukka, a constant political turmoil together with a few plane crashes that makes every Swede nervous even by the sheer mentioning of the words domestic flights. I must confess that it is a love affair with obstacles. Ukraine is not an easy country to love there are no endless beaches with soft sand and blue ocean view (the views in Ukraine are mostly those of old plants), there are no fantastic sights like the ones in New York, no delicious cuisine like in France and frankly speaking Kiev does not stand a chance compared to London, Venice or Rome. The buses are not only never on time, there is not an existing timetable, the ordinary conversation tone is what other people would describe as bordering to arguing, Ukrainians have a fables for the most strange looking leather jackets combined in a worst case scenario with leather hats, they believe your femininity lays in the length of your nails and heels and vodka is consumed on the same occasions as milk are consumed in Sweden.

kyiv
photo by sophie engström

Still, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss Ukraine, if I were to live somewhere else than where I live now London, Paris or Rome does not stand a chance to certain Ukrainian cities like Kiev, Odessa or Kerch.

Ukraine has shown me that the great cultural heroines like Tjechov and Achmatova are never forgotten. As a country Ukraine has showed Europe that change is possible. Ukrainians have showed me what is like to live in a close community where people care for each other, where the next level on your career ladder is not the most important thing in life but friendship is. You have shown me that there are people willing to help other people even when they have nothing to offer but love and two strong arms.


Gender Equality in Ukraine

Category: sociala medier, ukraine, web 2.0
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(Läsningstid: 2 minuter)

wikigender is a very interesting and needed project. I agree with it, even though I often hesitate for more “separatistic” movements like that. When it comes to gender equality i think it should be mainstreamed, not separated form the general debate or issue. But if you are looking for certain information about gender situation I think it is a great project. (I also think wikiprogress is a really great idea! It is when I see projects like that i understand the extreme impact web 2.0 and social web actually have on IRL).

I also think the wikigender page about Ukraine is great, since you can find several interesting articles in the bottom, and especially then the gender watch.

But women’s representation in parliament, in Ukraine, really… well, suck. 7,1% actually makes me wishing I have had chosen an other field for my interest! But on the other hand, one might say that this only shows how smart women are compared to men; I mean, who wants to be in that swamp of corruption and stupidity anyway? And when it comes to real changes for greater gender equality my assumption is that both candidates (again) suck in that regard… I would even call Yulya Tymoshenko the worst gender equality enemy Europe has… well, possibly after Berlusconi : ))) But according to the lastest pull Yanukovych is leading with 10.5% over Tymoshenko. And since I don’t like any of them, I can’t say I feel much interest in who wins. The country need to make many changes, however, none of the two candidates are serious when they mean that want to change. And please prove me if I am wrong!

elua
Tymoshenko and Janukovych from todays Kyiv Post


Gothenburg’s Film Festival 2010 – without viewpoint-east

Category: armenia, by sophie engström, eastern europe, estonia, georgia, movies, russia, ukraine
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(Läsningstid: 2 minuter)

Gothenburg’s International Filmfestival will soon begin, from 29th of january to 9th of February. I will however not be in town since I will visit Kyiv instead to collect material and ideas for new articles for viewpoint-east and hopefully other journals/newspapers.

filmfestival

The annual filmfestival in Gothenburg is however one of the few events I really appreciate, so it could sound strange that I have decided to leave the city right during those days. But it is a matter of priorities and Kyiv won my mind battle this time. (I will however not focus that much on the Presidential election, but rather to take this as an opportunity to highlight other issues.)

Firstly, there are not even ONE Ukrainian movie this year in the programme, which is is a great disappointment. I thought we would at least find one, or to be more precise (and please DO correct me of I am wrong) that Las Meninas would be in the programme. It has never been shown in Sweden or at the festival. That is a movie that at least I would like to see.

Much more pleasing is that the festival has three movies from Georgia and at least five Russian movies. I am especially sad that I miss Russia 88 and Help Gone Mad. Help Gone Mad is probably a wonderful movie. I really enjoyed Boris Khlebnikov other movies (and especially “Free floating”).

There are two movies from Estonia, and among them Disco & Atomic War triggers my interest. That is also the only movie I have among my own resources and will watch as soon as possible.

And last and not the least, I am very sad I miss all four movies from Armenia, and then especially Border, which seems to be a very interesting documentary with a new approach. I do hope I will have the possibility to watch it in a not too distant future.

Border

ps. and don’t forget to check out the blog!


Händelserna kring svälten 1932-33 till rättegång

Category: by sophie engström, ukraina, ukraine
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(Läsningstid: 2 minuter)

Appellationsdomstolen i Kyiv har i dag startat förhandlingar inför den väntade rättegången om hungersnöden 1932-33, Holodomor, var ett folkmord eller inte. Den sittande presidenten, Viktor Jusjenko, har engagerat sig mycket i frågan. En förundersökning som offentliggjordes i mars 2009 har visat att flera av de avgörande delarna för att förvärra hungersnöden troligen skedde med Josef Stalins goda minne och aktiva medverkan. Förundersökningen har offentliggjort 3685 tidigare hemligstämplade dokument från Sovjettiden. Flera av dessa, ska enligt uppgift, vara undertecknade av Stalin själv. Genom dokumenten har man även lyckats lokalisera 933 massgravar.

holodomor

Hungernöden uppstod då Sovjetunionen inledde den avgörande fasen av kollektiviseringen av jordbruket. Dokumenten visar att den förvärrades av att det upprättades en armé som såg till att folkförflyttningar inte kunde ske samt att statsapparaten såg till att förhindra att livsmedel och andra förnödenheter kom in till regionen. Man räknar med att ungefär 7 till 10 miljoner dog under hungersnöden. 4 miljoner av de döda var barn.

burkar

Medicinhistoriska museet i Göteborg pågår det en liten utställning om hur hungersnöden drabbade Ryssland under inbördeskriget 1918 -1922. 1921 reste göteborgsläkaren Anders Wassén till Samara i Ryssland i Röda Korsets regi. Han lät då smala burkar med exemple på vad den desperata befolkningen försökte äta för att stilla sin desperata hunger. Utställningen innehåller även ett gediget fotografisk dokumentation av Wassén. Ukraina drabbades även under inbördeskriget av hungersnöd, men inte tillnärmelsevis så omfattande som den som skedde på 1930-talet.


Ukrainians in Mozambique: An Historical Overview

Category: guests, ukraine, web 2.0
Tags: , ,

(Läsningstid: 4 minuter)

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.


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

Category: ukraina, ukraine
Tags: , ,

(Läsningstid: < 1 minut)

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.


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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(Läsningstid: 2 minuter)

… 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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