Writings from Ukraine Lab : the September 2022 Slavonic items of the month

Today, the day when Putin added to his illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 the illegal annexation of four more Ukrainian regions (not fully even under temporary Russian control) following further referenda not worth the paper they were falsified on, our weekly Ukrainian blog post promotes new writing about Russia’s war against Ukraine made possible by the Ukraine Lab initiative, led by the Ukrainian Institute in London.

Six young writers were selected as the 2022 Ukraine Lab cohort, their prize a 6-week residency to “produce creative nonfiction pieces which will tackle global challenges through the prism of Ukraine”.  Two pieces have just been published, in English and in Ukrainian, joining two already published, and they will later be produced also in an anthology collecting all the writing that will have come out of the Ukraine Lab project.

Just out, focusing on Russia’s war against Ukraine:

  • Лотерея по-українськи / Софія Челяк = Ukrainian lottery / Sofia Cheliak.
  • Luhansk stolen / Kris Michalowicz = Украдений Луганськ / Кріс Михайлович

Out slightly earlier this month, focusing on Ukraine and the environment:

  • Білий, чорний та безбарвний / Катерина Яковленко = Black, white, and colourless / Kateryna Iakovlenko
  • The Kyiv thickets / Jonathon Turnbull = Київські хащі / Джонатон Торнбулл

All translations are by Nina Murray.  I’ll update this post when the final two essays come out.  Do have a read of these essays and promote them to others.  It is so important to have such interesting and insightful writers in these terrible times.

Readers who use Twitter can find the Ukrainian Institute in London here and Dr Sasha Dovzhyk, the curator of Ukraine Lab, here.

Mel Bach

Untangling a record for a Ukrainian book

It crossed my mind today to look up in our staff cataloguing system books published in Ukraine and coded as being in Russian, to see whether any of them had been incorrectly coded.  The fifth result was exactly that – a Ukrainian title mangled in transliteration performed in keeping with the rules for Russian:

  • Мистецтво стародавнього Києва [by]  Ю.С. Асєєв –>
  • Mystet︠s︡tvo starodavnʹoho Kyi︠e︡va [by]  I︠U︡.S. Asi︠e︡i︠e︡v (correct)
  • Mistet︡s︠tvo starodavnʹogo Kieva [by] I︠U︡.S. Aseev (very incorrect)

Continue reading

Ukraine, Gorbachev, and nuclear power

This week, the news from Ukraine has been tentatively positive, as the concerted counter-attack against the Russian army in the south of the country has been getting under way.  But ongoing concerns about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant have also been in the headlines as, of course, has been the death of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Gorbachev was adored and hated for the actions he took and for the events that happened during his time as Soviet leader.  It was Yeltsin who formally acknowledged Ukrainian independence, but Gorbachev’s time that saw the circumstances of the Soviet Union shift towards that possibility.  Largely praised abroad for bringing the Cold War to a close, Gorbachev is remembered in some former Soviet countries chiefly as the overseer of violent suppressions of pro-independence activities in 1989 and 1990.  For those who mourned the loss of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev was also a guilty party.

The fears about the Zaporizhzhia nuclear station, currently occupied by Russian forces. are of course particularly troubling in the context of the nuclear disaster in Ukraine 36 years ago.  The item shown here, Mikhail Gorbachev’s speech on Soviet television, May 14, 1986, contains the translated text of the speech he made in the light of the appalling accident that had occurred on 26 April at Chornobyl’ (Ukrainian; Chernobyl’ in Russian).  The 14 May speech was the first full statement by the Soviet leader about what had happened weeks before. Continue reading

Ukrainian Independence Day

З Днем Незалежності України! = Z Dnem Nezalez︠h︡nosti Ukraïny! = Happy Ukrainian Independence Day!  We have three books in the catalogue with the specific Library of Congress subject heading Ukraine–History–Independence proclamation, 1991 (August 24):

But we have hundreds more under the headings Ukraine–Politics and Government–1991- and Ukraine–History–1991-, many of which could arguably have the specific proclamation LCSH added. Continue reading