Ukrainian authors – When poets become soldiers

“Look at our country, take a closer look, otherwise we will be lost!” An article by a young Ukrainian translator, cultural director and literary medium, Evgenia Lobata, ends with this appeal one day after the start of the war – published in FAZ . It’s been six weeks since then. Evgenia Lobata remained in her native Chernivtsi. There she runs the Meridian Chernovich International Poetry Festival and the publishing house of the same name.

“I’m sure we will be back to normal after Ukraine’s victory,” Lobata says. Then young people demand economic and cultural reconstruction. “And of course I want to help with that.”

Humanitarian aid and national defense

As she says, Chernivtsi “is still a quiet and safe place, and only for this reason it would not make sense to leave the city.” In addition, many refugees from other parts of the country who are now looking for protection in Chernivtsi need help from the local population: “No one is waiting for us anywhere, but our country needs our support today.”

Many authors who publish in their own publishing houses now work as journalists and war correspondents. Some are humanitarian, Lopata explains, and help refugees. Still others are currently active in land protection groups, to protect Ukrainian lands from Russian invasion: poets turned soldiers.

“The Russian people share the responsibility”

Yuri Andruchovich also publishes in her publishing house Meridian Chernovitz. He is considered one of the most important cultural voices in the country. His works are internationally translated. Androkhovich does not talk about Putin’s war, but sees the responsibility of the Russian people as a whole.

On April 8, he wrote in the FAZ that the Russian people are dehumanizing themselves. “This is against the world, this is a part of humanity that has voluntarily moved into anti-humanity.”

In addition, Andrukhovich in this article describes high-ranking representatives of the EU Parliament, who still formulate the longing for union with Russia, as “participants in the war.” His analyzes and appeals became more accurate.

Appeals since 2014

Evgenia Lobata expresses her solidarity with her author and explains:

“We, the people of the cultural sector, did not start writing these reports on February 24, but we have been writing these texts since 2014 – and on a very regular basis. And we did a lot to be heard. However, we didn’t hear this until February 2022. That’s why we can sound tough on some The thing is in our statements, in our own words. But these are attempts to scream a little louder now. And we do it until we are finally heard.”

Lobata also blames the Russian people for the war: “A dictator does not constitute a nation, a nation constitutes a dictator. This means that if 70% of Russians still agree with Putin’s policies, it means that people like everything that is happening today. When you hear and read what people say Ordinary people about the war against Ukraine, you simply get the impression that they are enjoying it, and they think it is right.”

Lobata says it is very painful that people who live in the same neighborhood close their eyes and do not want to open them.

Cultural events in the west of the country

In Chernivtsi, in Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine, relatively normal life with cultural events is still possible, Lobata explains. Cultural institutions, museums, and theaters have modernized their programs.

Actors and musicians perform and recite poems, poetry evenings and discussions are held. Many of the newcomers from the cultural sector are related to each other. Or, as Evgenia Lobata puts it: “We are on the cultural front.”

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