WASHINGTON – Anne Applebaum, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist and commentator, who has spent most of her career writing about the historic developments in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and Russia, was honored with the 2017 Omelan and Tatiana Antonovych Foundation Award for her work and its effect on Ukraine.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Washington Group Cultural Fund launched its 2017-2018 Music Series on September 24 with a concert by Gerdan, an ensemble already known and greatly appreciated by audiences from its earlier performances in the greater Washington capital area. This time it was an all-Ukrainian program of classical, folk and ethnic jazz/fusion music. And after the loud and emphatic standing ovation at the conclusion of this concert at the historic Lyceum museum in Alexandria, Va., there was no doubt that members of the audience will return to enjoy Gerdan the next time the ensemble performs in this area. The Cultural Fund’s co-director Laryssa Courtney described this Washington-based ensemble named for a Carpathian mountain necklace in her introductory remarks, noting that a Gerdan performance is always “dazzling.”
The trio – violinist and soprano Solomia Gorokhivska, flutist Andrei Pidkivka and pianist Daniel May – began the first half of the program with six well-known traditional Ukrainian folklore pieces.
WASHINGTON – U.S. relations with and future support for Ukraine was the focus of two important gatherings in the nation’s capital held in recent days.
The first, a massive reception held September 12 in the very spacious hall of the U.S. Institute of Peace, was hosted by the Embassy of Ukraine to mark the 26th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence and the upcoming 26th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with the United States.
WASHINGTON – Among the major events that brought Ukraine into the spotlight in the U.S. capital in the middle of June – in addition to the visit here by President Petro Poroshenko and his meeting with President Donald Trump, and the visit a few days earlier by the chairman of Ukraine’s Parliament, Andriy Parubiy – was the June 14 Ukrainian Day on Capitol Hill.
WASHINGTON – During his two days of meetings in the U.S. capital – with President Donald Trump and other senior officials in his administration – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed his satisfaction with the support Ukraine was receiving from the United States, especially with respect to Russia’s aggression.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The renowned Ukrainian American violinist Oleh Krysa returned to the U.S. capital area on May 21, and an enthusiastic audience welcomed him back after his seven-year absence from The Washington Group Cultural Fund music series at the historic Lyceum, in Old Town Alexandria, Va. Accompanying him was pianist Irina Lupines, his colleague from the Eastman School of Music, where they are teaching the next generations of this world’s aspiring violinists and pianists. Introducing the artists, the founding director of the TWG Cultural Fund, Laryssa Courtney, asked all in attendance to dedicate that afternoon’s concert “to the memory of a very accomplished and lovely pianist, Tatiana Tchekina,” Mr. Krysa’s wife, who accompanied him at his last TWGCF performance at the Lyceum in 2010, but died three years later in a tragic auto accident in Rochester, N.Y.
“She is missed not only by her family and her friends, but also by her students – she was a professor of the Eastman School – and by the entire music community,” Ms. Courtney said. The concert began with Mr. Krysa performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Ciaccona” from Partita No.
WASHINGTON – For those in the U.S. capital area actively interested in finding a resolution to the dire situation Ukraine and other countries find themselves in because of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pursuit of military aggression and an active disinformation policy, the Atlantic Council think tank discussion “Connecting Ukraine’s Past and Present – from Holodomor to the War in Donbas,” was a great step forward to a better understanding of how and why that situation developed as it did and what needs to be done to resolve it. The panel and open discussion on February 21, moderated by Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Timothy Fairbank, included Michael Sawkiw, director of the Ukrainian National Information Service; Naphtali Rivkin, a research fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation; Nadia McConnell, president of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation; and John Herbst, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and now director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. As Mr. Sawkiw pointed out in his opening remarks, Russia’s use of disinformation is not something new. He noted that French writer Marquis de Custine, who traveled to Russia often in the mid-1800s, indicated in his book “Letters from Russia”: “Russia lies, Russia denies the facts, makes war on the evidence, and wins.”
And that “informational war” continues today, Mr. Sawkiw said. The Soviets denied until the 1980s – about the time when Ukrainian Americans started raising the issue in this country – that Stalin launched the Holodomor, the artificially created famine in the 1930s that killed millions of Ukrainians.
WASHINGTON – On Sunday, February 26, United Help Ukraine Vice-President Oksana Osipova joined with U.S.-Ukraine Foundation President Nadia McConnell and representatives of Russian, Belarusian, Baltic and American organizations and addressed the group of people that gathered across the street from the Russian Embassy in Washington to commemorate the life and work of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian politician, statesman, outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his undemocratic and authoritarian regime, and an outspoken supporter of Ukraine. Two years ago, on February 27, 2015, Nemtsov was assassinated in Moscow near the Kremlin. The Magnitsky Act Initiative and the Free Russia Foundation have outspokenly stated that the Putin regime is responsible for his murder. Nemtsov had compiled an extensive report detailing the takeover of Crimea by Russian troops and their participation with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. He supported Ukraine’s sovereignty, visited the Maidan in Kyiv and addressed at a mass gathering in Moscow denouncing Russian aggression in Ukraine.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington and the Ukrainian Museum-Archives (UMA) of Cleveland have signed a cooperation agreement to digitize UMA’s collection of archived materials from post-World War II Displaced Persons (DP) camps. The agreement was signed on February 6 at the Holocaust Museum in Washington by UMA Acting Director Andrew Fedynsky and USHMM Collections Director Michael Grunberger, as witnessed and applauded by representatives of their museums, the U.S. government, and Ukrainian American and other interested organizations. Opening the event, Mr. Grunberger noted that digitalizing UMA’s collection – “one of the world’s most important collections of Ukrainian history and culture” focusing on the post World War II period – will help “ensure that our collections document the stories of non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution as well.” And having that information digitalized will make it available “to anyone, anywhere and anytime.”
Also focusing on the importance of having this information available to all, Mr. Fedynsky stressed that it is needed by people and nations as well. “If you don’t have a past, you don’t have a future,” he said. “That’s why we have a Holocaust Museum.
WASHINGTON – When the Ukrainian singer, composer and poet Solomia entered the stage at St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral on December 4, the people in the audience knew that all the proceeds from the ticket sales would go to help feed, clothe and care for the many orphans who lost their parents in the armed struggle being waged in the eastern part of Ukraine. But they could hardly have imagined what they would be getting in return: the deeply touching performance of Solomia’s own songs, her poems, her musical accompaniment and explanations of what was being presented and what Ukraine was undergoing. Solomia (Olena Karpenko is her real, off-stage name) wrote the words and music of all the songs she performed, as well as the short poems she recited. She noted, however, that some were based on other authors, like Lina Kostenko, or novels, like “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors,” or foreign songs, like “Anyone Can Fly.”
Near the end of the two-hour presentation, Solomia performed what she wrote last year about her brother, “Ty” (You).