Olena Styazhkina. Stigma of Occupation: Soviet Women of the 1940s in Self-Vision

This is a book about war and the inability of people to comprehend the occupation experience both when living it and in the first years after the expulsion of the Nazis.

The study is based on the story of three women and two regimes, one of which forced its citizens to be Soviet and die heroically, and the other, the Nazi one, to renounce what they had both Soviet and human. The book is about despair and survival, differences in understanding and perception of good and evil, the search for and choice between the strategies of living and dying, the subtle and uncertain boundaries between collaboration and righteousness, resistance and alienation, looting and support for others.

It is also an analysis of women’s experiences, of their traumatic and unstable search for words and mechanisms of self-description in the contexts of the “feat”, “betrayal”, “enemies”, and “heroes”. Those concepts were changing in the 1940s both due to the women’s internal intentions and the pressure of established state propaganda guidelines on the “correct conduct” of Soviet citizens under occupation. This is the story of the formation of a state policy of stigmatizing the occupied, as well as the self-stigmatization of people who considered themselves Soviet. It is a story of the nonlinearity of war experience, told in the uncodified language of women themselves, one of whom sought a canonical heroic biography, the second fought bravely and desperately for survival, and the third saved others despite the risk of punishment by Nazi or Soviet authorities.

Olena Styazhkina
Стигма окупації: Радянські жінки у самобаченні 1940-х років = Stigma of Occupation: Soviet Women of the 1940s in Self-Vision. – Kyiv: Dukh i Litera, 2019. – 384 p. – (Library of Resistance, Library of Hope).

ISBN 978-966-378-653-7

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Mikhail Fishgoit. Hope Dies Last

The book is a publication of memoirs by Mikhail Fishgoit, a witness of the Soviet era. He began his thorny path as a Red Army volunteer who went through all the horror of fighting in Crimea during World War II. Later, as an intelligence officer, Mikhail Fishgoit would enter Berlin as a victor of Nazism, yet after the denunciation of one of his “comrades-in-arms”, he would have to spend years in Gulag.

Fishgoit’s book convincingly rebuts falsified Soviet versions of World War II history and is one of the most cogent testimonies of that time. (more…)

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Kateryna Rapay. Double Exposure

Спогади Катерини Рапай – оповідь-свідчення про знаний і незнаний художній Київ другої половини ХХ століття. Нариси про близьких – родину Якутовичів, Григорія Гавриленка, Сергія Параджанова і найближчих – бабусю Зінаїду Йоффе та батьків Ольгу Рапай-Маркіш і Ніколая Рапая сплетені із розповіддю про власне дитинство і навчання в Художньому інституті.

Слово Катерини добре, чутливе, та, водночас, ретельне і без маскувань, − власне, як і належить розповідати історію. (more…)

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Volodymyr Panchenko. A Tale about Mykola Zerov

Микола Зеров (1890–1937) – ключова постать в історії національно-культурного Ренесансу 1920-х рр. Літературознавець, лідер «п’ятірного грона» поетів-неокласиків, полеміст, блискучий перекладач, київський Золотоуст, чиє ораторське мистецтво справедливо вважається неперевершеним, «живе срібло», за визначенням друзів, – усе це грані однієї творчої особистості.

«Повість про Миколу Зерова» Володимира Панченка є дослідженням історії життя цієї незвичайної людини. Проникливий аналіз різних аспектів творчості Зерова поєднується із увагою до культурного й суспільно-політичного контексту 1910–1930-х років, до літературно-мистецького середовища Києва того унікального часу. (more…)

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Dissidents: An Anthology of Texts

The anthology makes the first attempt to represent the Ukrainian dissident movement of the 1960–80s in all its polyphony, less on the sociopolitical level and more through the prism of human destinies. The stories of ideas and personal undertakings are unfolding before the readers in the vivid pulsation of texts that testify for themselves.

The anthology consists of texts written in different genres: from poetry, public speeches, and samvydav (self-published uncensored) texts, to court speeches, texts on being held in jails, special psychiatric hospitals, and prison camps, and finally, to self-reflection on personal experiences of opposing the totalitarian system. Such a variety creates a multidimensional and meaningful picture of the Ukrainian dissident movement. These texts were born in a time when being free was associated with prison camps more often than with living at large.
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