Numerous, unjustified, cruel and inhumane crimes of the Soviet government affected all spheres of life, in particular our cultural heritage.
Unbearable pain, unhealed wound of Ukrainian history.
Young, talented, true patriots devoted to ideas are representatives of the Executed Renaissance. Many of them participated in various creative associations: “Vaplit”, “PLOW”, “STAR”.
These people created the art, the culture that the communist government was afraid to talk about. All of them (according to some sources, up to 30 thousand people) were repressed, executed, and suppressed by the Stalinist regime. Stalin could not understand that someone could contradict the authorities and write about Ukraine with enthusiasm. What is known and what should be known? Let’s figure it out.
What are they?
The Executed Renaissance (Red Renaissance) is a generation of artists (writers, artists, architects, directors, screenwriters), spiritually developed and culturally educated people, mostly destroyed during the Great Terror. The name “executed Renaissance” belongs to Jerzy Giedroyts, who suggested it to Yuriy Lavrynenko for an anthology of Ukrainian culture in 1917-1933. You fully know at least one representative of this era, and before that we will introduce you to an incredible place built specifically for these outstanding figures.
1927 in Kharkov, according to the project of Dashkevich, the construction of the legendary house “Slovo” began. Just imagine, so many famous people live in one building. But was everything so rosy? Everyone concentrated in this 5-story building: the green-eyed Tychina in a white summer jacket over his naked body, Mark Johansen with two dogs and boots, as if he was ready to go hunting at any moment, the artist Anatoly Petritsky in foreign-made clothes, the exemplary family man Pilipenko (aka “Dad”), Mikitenko is the only one who had his own secretary, and also competed with Khvylev and Kurbas – a famous director, founder of the Berezil Theater and a real dandy.
It all started in 1933
when rumors spread that the villages were starving. Then Volnovoi goes on a business trip to see with his own eyes what is happening. “It was not the village that rumbled in front of us, but a weak pipe …”. Of course, the Soviet elite could not allow such information to leak. Also, his “outrageous work “I am Romance”, where the Chekists are depicted as tyrants, reflects the whole essence of the black tribunal, supposedly forcing to kill their own mother.”
“So, we must be worthy imitators of this glorious, Cossack, and most importantly irresistible kind. We must not allow any more torture, torture, repression and genocide against the Ukrainian nation.”
For the Slovo house, the start of the NKVD repressions was the kidnapping of Yalovoy from his own apartment. At night. From 12 to 13 May 1933. The last, crushing blow to the mind of Khvylovy, who was a stubborn communist. However, he did not advocate a system of annihilation and totalitarianism… So on May 13, having invited Kulish, Prosvesitelsky and Epik to his place, he will write: “Yalovoy’s arrest is the execution of a whole generation. For the generation of Yalovoy, first of all, I am responsible – Nikolai Khvylovy.” A shot rang out, with which Ukrainian literature perished before our eyes.
On March 26, 1933, it was ordered to establish permanent control over Ostap Vyshnia. On December 1, 1934, he, as well as Epik, Polishchuk, Voronoy, Podmogilny, Vzhitsky, Slisarenko, Dosvitny, Kulish and many others, were kidnapped by the GPU outside the Slovo house.
On the same day, all the news about the murder of Kirov “buzzed” and the mass repressions were silent. Fear and uncertainty haunted the artists, the residents of the house slept dressed. It is impossible to imagine the tension that hovered in the air over the Ukrainians simply because they did things differently, they did things in Ukrainian, they did things differently than the Soviet government wanted them to.
On October 27, 1937, 1,111 Solovki prisoners were shot.
More than 300 of them are Ukrainian artists. The destruction continued from November 1 to November 4, 1937 in the Sandarmokh tract. Director, actor, playwright Les Kurbas, outstanding writer and translator Valeryan Podmogilny, playwright Nikolai Kulish, poet Nikolai Zerov, poet and literary critic Pavel Filippovich. After prolonged torture, all were sentenced to death on Solovki.
There were those who submitted and went to cooperate with the USSR.
For example, Maxim Rylsky, Vladimir Sosyura and Pavel Tychina. Regarding the latter, Alexander Oles wrote a poem with the words: “And you sold out to them, Tychin, and did you go to the Muscovite?” Therefore, their works, written to order, were kept and allowed to be read, and pro-Ukrainian authors were tried to be forgotten: their works were burned, and the real was presented as a lie.
Many victims of terror were rehabilitated in the late 1950s, but their works were again banned. Therefore, the artists directed their work towards European literature: neo-romanticism, symbolism, expressionism – these are the directions that the USSR was unknown to, and the authorities loved the “established form”: write about what you are told.
The works of prominent figures of Ukrainian culture have come down to us thanks to the fact that they were transferred abroad, where they were later published.
After all, with biographies of artists ended with the same word: “Shot.” And who managed to get out of there, then, accordingly, he could not create, and any deed could be his last.
The Stalinist regime crippled souls, destroyed families, mercilessly destroyed the intelligentsia of the Ukrainian people, because they were afraid of a massive rise in national consciousness, uniqueness and an established personality as such.
“A talented writer must either abandon Ukrainian literature, migrate to Russian … or he will be sent to prison.” Such sentences have been repeatedly heard by those who are called the treasures of the nation. And yet, despite the prohibitions and threats, they continued to develop culture, making a significant contribution to history and to future generations.
This is the color of the Ukrainian nation, leaving behind works that demonstrate the courage and will of the Ukrainian young generation. They risked and died for us, their consciousness and identity were feared by the entire regime of that time.
So, we must be worthy imitators of this glorious, Cossack, and most importantly irresistible kind. We must not allow any more torture, torture, repression and genocide against the Ukrainian nation.
[Writer Irina Mirochnik is the President at IMMER Group & Doctor of Philosophy in Law(PhD)]
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