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Talking in the shelter about what matters: Yuriy Andrukhovych

Souspilnist Foundation’s video project “Antithesis” featured the patriarch of modern Ukrainian literature Yuriy Andrukhovych. He is a postmodernist writer, translator, leader of the Bu-Ba-Bu literary performance group, and a Stanislav Phenomenon member.

Ivan Tsyperdiuk and Ira Mykhalchuk anchored the event.

We are highlighting key quotes from the conversation.

“There’s this thing that’s very characteristic of russians: they’re absolutely convinced that they want to destroy us (as if it were some sort of long-term historical task). Meaning literal physical destruction to the last Ukrainian. At the same time, they still cherish hopes that there are quite a few “good” Ukrainians here. They’ll “perfect” them in their filtration camps by deporting them to Siberia, where they’ll make proper people out of them. But this discrepancy between the task and absolute inability to fulfill it stuns me: they’re willing to destroy us without knowing anything about us.”

“Back in 1989, I didn’t quite go to moscow to gain new friendships and knowledge. I just attempted to live on a scholarship somewhere far away from home, and the two-year courses at the Gorky institute gave me this opportunity. But of course, the tendency that russia could become either a fascist or Nazi state in the future was especially noticeable in our higher literary courses. At any rate, this great imperial paranoia was inherent in quite a few of my classmates.

It was about the debate over the collapse of the Soviet Union unfolding before our very eyes. Inevitable processes were occurring in Ukraine, and I saw independence as forthcoming. In contrast, they, coming from all those provinces lost somewhere in russian hinterland, couldn’t think of anything like that at all.”

“They (russians) adore powerful rulers. Tyrants can torture them as much as they like and be adored by them as long as those tyrants are strong. As soon as the tyrants are defeated, it takes russians five minutes to hate them. And then it turns out that there are many good people around. They’ll take care of themselves.”

* In late May, MP Viktor Medvedchuk, suspected of treason and sponsoring terrorism, testified against former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. He spoke about a scheme to prise parts of the Samara-Western Direction oil product pipeline from state ownership to continue using it to pump diesel fuel. The detainee claims he dealt with the pipeline at the ex-president’s request.

I remember Medvedchuk in the late ’90s as a person you should have no trust in, even 1% trust. It’s not just someone’s useful idiot but a vicious enemy knowing what he’s doing. And each one of his statements is well-thought-out. What’s happening with him and his statements saddens me in the first place. I don’t feel resentful about it like I’d probably be in peacetime.”

“There’s this problem that prose from a trench or battle can only be rightfully written by those who’ve been there.”  Therefore, my future prose will undoubtedly be about this war but from a completely different perspective.”

You can watch the broadcast on Souspilnist Foundation’s Facebook page and our partner media platforms: KURS, Reporter, and TRC RAI.