Ukrainian Poets at Euromaidan

  • By UC Family Magazine
  • 24 Jan, 2014

Writers are always where their people are, and the people are on EuroMaidan.


Ukrainian artists, authors and critics have been supporting the students and the planned integration into European society at EuroMaidan. These activists have spent their days and nights in the center of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city. Andrey Kurkov, Iren Rozdobudko, the Kapranov brothers, Oleh Kotsarev, Bohdan-Oleh Horobchuk, Pavlo Korobchuk, Olena Herasymyuk, Midna, Taras Malkovych, Khrystyna Vengryniuk, Dmytro Lazutkin, Andryi Bondar, Oleksandr Boichnko and others like them have dedicated their time and impassioned readings as participants in the protest for freedom.

One of the first literary events, held near the Liadski Gate, and next to the burning wood that kept the people warm was the reading of “At the Barrels”. During this evening performance the faces of the activists and artists appeared on a huge screen for all to see while electic generators buzzed in the background. Young people, standing in line for hot tea were able to watch and listen to Andruchowytsch, Karpa, Dnistrovyi, Babkina, Polezhaka and Malihon recite their poetry into megaphones.

Other memorable Euromaidan events included the active participation of Ukrainian authors, such as Irena Karpa and Svitlana Povaliayeva that took place in shifts at night.There was a raid on Mazhyhirya, otherwise known as  Yanukovych’s luxurious residence by poets, incl. Andriy Liubka.  Morning coffee sessions with Oleksandr Irvanets was held in the famous café, Kupidon. There was a similar Euromaidan in the city of Kharkiv which was organized by Serhiy Zhadan and supported by Oksana Zabuzhko. A joyous celebration for Christmas and the New Year was held on both Maidan Squares. A special space for artistic actions was created in the centre of Kyiv and called, ‘The Art Barbakan’. Here nightly readings of poetry and prose were presented to the numerous literature-lovers who were gathered there.

Another act of protest took place at the prison in Lukyanivka. Here writers were put into a situation where they could be arrested for arriving wearing masks and helmets and pans on their heads, otherwise known as grounds for arrest under the new ‘dictator’ laws. All-in-all, a significant attempt was made to display the absurd nature of these laws.

It is suggested that every day special attention should be drawn to the creative expression of writers’ perceptions of the given situation at Maidan.  This can easily be accomplished on respective Facebook pages.  For example, so far Yuri Izdryk posted new revolutionary poems, Irena Kapra sang little revolutionary songs and Andryi Liubka, Oleksandr Boichenko and Andriy Bondar have been analyzing the scale of the current events, suggesting possible solutions and sharing the news of the day.

Written by Nata Koval

It pains me to see people getting hurt and killed by their own government. I also feel inspired by their courage and determination to put everything on the line for a country where people’s voices are heard and considered. I want to feel hopeful that the conflict will not breed more violence, that the movement will not get co-opted by the far right forces and that the result will be a transparent and responsible government and a stronger, more prosperous country. Ukrainians deserve nothing less!


–  Oleksandra Budna, social activist and photographer, Toronto

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