sexta-feira, 1 de agosto de 2014

Ukrainian Identity

Andrey Kurkov: first of all, it would break an old cliché that is still used by foreign journalists â€" about the Ukraine be divided in the Eastern pró-Rússia and Western. When I meet with college students, I don't see any difference between the students of Donetsk (East) and Lviv (West). The young are similar everywhere, relate to Europe and not Russia, think about your career and future achievements. However, the majority of the population was born in the former USSR, of course. It is very difficult to change the mentality of the people, but it is necessary to find a common ground.

Maria Ieshchenko: In his latest book "diary of Maidan" compares Ukraine to a sick child surrounded by "adults worried" â€" the EU and the USA. But if Ukraine was integrated into Europe with this status of "sick child", there is a risk that this tag stay forever? The country spend many years owe their salvation to Europe?

Andrey Kurkov: I don't think there is such a risk. Firstly, because Ukraine will become a member of the European Union, while continue to be a "sick child". Of course it's going to be "treated" in some way first. And secondly, there will always be other "sick kids" that Europe will have to deal with. On the other hand, the Ukraine could bring to the Pan-European social and cultural space a new meaning on the value of each nation within the EU, because if today Ukraine is getting closer to Europe is due to fight to restore national dignity again. Europe cannot fail to see that.

Maria Ieshchenko: In his trilogy "the geography of a single shot" which took 9 years to write, is studying the phenomenon of the so-called "Soviet person" (Homo sovieticus) and the "Soviet mentality". What does that mean in concrete?

Andrey Kurkov: the Soviet mentality is geared only for the great masses, where no individual, no person has value and plays no role, unless you're a leader. The Ukraine never accepted such mentality because Ukrainians are like normal European individualist and comes to us to mind an image of egocentric farmers. Does this mean we are well prepared to discuss about the limits of its territory, but would not be eager to participate in a big party. The latter is a clear sign of abnormality to the Ukraine and that's why we have 184 registered political parties that do not have any ideology. All the Ukrainians can and normally carry out their dream when they know that their future depends on them and not only of the system, the big Chief of the party, the head of State or anything else related.

Maria Ieshchenko: what role can and should have the intellectual and cultural community in Ukraine today, at this difficult time?

Andrey Kurkov: our writers are very good at public debates. Many of them are talented bloggers who raise important issues in their articles and columns. What we need now is an active and dynamic debate, a battle of words, ideas and philosophical questions. I have traveled throughout France for more than 15 years, with my books, of course, but I talk more about Ukraine than about my books. I think it also helped people in France know more about Ukraine and finally be able to distinguish the Ukraine from Russia.

Maria Ieshchenko: do you agree that it is much easier to be a patriot of a successful and prosperous country than of a troubled and in deep crisis?

Andrey Kurkov: Yes, surely that is more pleasant to be a French Patriot, like the Alps, Annecy, Paris or Strasbourg. It is much more difficult to feel any patriotism in Zhytomyr or the region. But, when historical events require a certain moment of truth for the entire country â€" when their very existence is at stake â€" then that feeling of patriotism increases within each individual, regardless of where the person was born or the language they speak. If this person has a Ukrainian passport and realizes that this is a country that needs help, there appears a wish to do something to help the country survive. This sense of patriotism also will bring new political leaders, the young generation of people who will be completely different from the post-Soviet generation and post-Communist.

Maria Ieshchenko: Many cultural figures: writers, directors, photographers refer to the events of winter in Ukraine... Describe them in his works. But where is the border, the Division of waters between honor a historic turning point for the country and make money with a theme that sells well?

Andrey Kurkov: I remember the events of 1986 during the Chernobyl disaster and someone asked me â€" "When will start writing a book about the Chernobyl disaster?" â€" and I said I would do, because that was a real drama, a real-life tragedy that changed the lives of millions of people. Is a matter for a documentary prose. Later, there was an orange revolution of 2004 and 5 or 6 books were published immediately and 2 or 3 films released â€" all these fairy tales love stories in Maidan in Kiev, and all of these stories have been forgotten, because the actual events were much more dramatic than the fruit of the imagination of writers and film directors. We can say the same about this winter: no matter the talent of the writer, he would never be able to recreate with truth and credibility of these events or create the real characters of the true Maidan â€" people real, sincere and persistent that were there. The reality was so dramatic that one should not try to change it, it should remain unchanged.

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