2014-2015: Living in historic times

At New Year’s, we reflect on the year gone by and look to the next. For Ukraine 2014 – which for all practical purposes started at the end of November 2013 – was fraught with history: peaceful demonstrations, which featured guitars, religious services and an endless flow of speakers, attracted hundreds of thousands over the course of many months, along with millions more in scores of cities and towns around the country and tens of millions participating in the movement online. Like the Orange Revolution, the Euro-Maidan continued well into the cold of winter. By their massive presence, Ukrainians affirmed their resolve to orient their country on Europe and its standards and values, and away from Russia and the moral rot and corruption it’s associated with. On a February night, government snipers turned a demonstration for Europe into a revolution as the smoke and fire of a Maidan turned violent generated yet another hero-martyr story: the Heavenly Brigade (Nebesna Sotnia).

The peacock and Christmas

“Pavochka khodyt’, piriachko hubyt’” – the peahen is walking and is losing her feather. These are the beginning lyrics from a number of Ukrainian koliadky [carols] and shchedrivky [New Year’s songs] on the courting/romantic theme, one very common in these ritual songs. But why the pava [peahen] or pavochka [peahen, diminutive], especially when it is the male peacock [pavych] with the fancy plumage, not the dowdy pava? Even in the pre-Christian era of Winter Solstice ritual songs, poetic license was prevalent. The pava is the female (the human one), the one who is being courted, who is preparing for marriage, who is picking up the dropped feathers to plait into a beautiful wreath for her wedding.

Light! Peace! Love!

CHRISTMAS PASTORAL LETTER

Pastoral letter of the Permanent Conference of the Ukrainian Orthodox Hierarchs Beyond the Borders of Ukraine on the approaching feast of Nativity of our Lord. To the venerable clergy, monastics and faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Beyond the Borders of Ukraine and to our brothers and sisters of the faith in Ukraine. Beloved brothers and sisters: Christ is born! “Do not be afraid…” These are the words of the angel to the shepherds when he announces that a Savior has been born for us. “Do not be afraid” is also the greeting the angel gave to Zechariah in announcing the birth of John the Baptist and to the Mother of God in announcing the birth of Jesus.

Dec. 31, 1999

Twenty-five years ago, on December 31, 1999, Boris Yeltsin resigned as president of the Russian Federation and shifted power to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Paul A. Goble of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), analyzed the significance of the transition of power. Russia’s relationship with the West, Mr. Goble explained, had been based more on personal rather than political levels – with individuals meeting with the leader in Moscow. It was a practice that could be traced to Soviet times and continued under Mr. Yeltsin. The reliance on a personality in Moscow and the inevitable change requires Moscow to establish new personal ties that take time and energy, especially the intense deliberations about what kind of relationship it should be.

Resolve to send us your news!

Our loyal readers have no doubt noticed that during 2014 we’ve carried news about our community activity from Boston to Seattle, from Minneapolis to North Port (Florida), from Montreal to Edmonton, and so many points in between. We hereby express a heartfelt thank you to all those who shared the news from their communities and about their organizations. Your contributions of stories and photos have enriched the pages of The Ukrainian Weekly and helped us fulfill our role as the Ukrainian community’s foremost newspaper. Now, we are at the end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015, a time of year when we all make resolutions for the coming year. Allow us to once again extend an invitation to join us in this endeavor known as The Ukrainian Weekly in the hope that your resolutions will include submitting materials to our newspaper.

Stefaniya Shabatura, 76, artist, former Soviet political prisoner

KHARKIV, Ukraine – Stefaniya Shabatura, artist, former member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and a former Soviet political prisoner, died on December 17 after a long illness. She was 76. Ms. Shabatura was born on November 5, 1938, in the Ternopil region and was very young when her father was killed in World War II. She graduated from two art institutes in the 1960s, specializing in creative embroidery. She was also an active member of the Lviv Club for Creative Young People and took part in circulating samvydav literature.

Oleh Lysheha, 65, poet, playwright, translator and PEN Award winner

KYIV – Oleh Lysheha, a Ukrainian poet, playwright and translator, the first Ukrainian to receive the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, died in Kyiv on December 17. He was 65. His works are known to audiences in the United States thanks in large measure to Yara Arts Group, which presented bilingual (Ukrainian-English) versions of his poetry in its productions. He was born in Tysmenytsia, Ukraine, on October 30, 1949, into a family of teachers. In 1968 Mr. Lysheha entered Lviv University, studying foreign languages, and during his last year there was expelled for his participation in an unofficial literary circle, Lviv Bohema.

Anatole Kolomayets, artist and Holodomor survivor, 87

CHICAGO – Anatole Kolomayets, a prolific and well-respected Ukrainian American artist passed away peacefully in Chicago on December 9. Mr. Kolomayets was born on February 12, 1927, in the “chornozem” (black earth) of the Kobeliaky region of the Poltava Oblast in eastern Ukraine, the oldest son of Ivan Kolomayets and Maria Vasylenko. He was born at a time of great turmoil in that part of the world; when he was 5 years old, Stalin’s Famine decimated the land-holding class of Ukraine. Several members of the immediate family perished during the Holodomor, but Mr. Kolomayets’ father moved the family to the big city of Dnipropetrovsk, where he spent his childhood and first showed a talent for drawing and sketching, often serving as the illustrator of the school newspaper. In 1941, the family fled the second world war and arrived in Belgium, where Mr. Kolomayets worked in the coal mines at night and attended school during the day, eventually completing two art degrees at St.

WFUWO participates in Beijing +20 review

GENEVA – The United Nations NGO Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) in Geneva organized and hosted an NGO Forum on November 3-5 that immediately preceded the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe (UN ECE) conference November 6-7. On the agenda for the UN ECE was the review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action 1995 at its 20-year mark (2015). Close to 700 representatives of 350 non-governmental organizations from 56 countries of the UN ECE region convened for the NGO Forum to assess progress made in implementing the promises made to the women of the world at Beijing and to make recommendations for the future. Ukraine, and many of the countries that are home to the Ukrainian diaspora (North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia) are included in the region embraced by the UN ECE. The World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations (WFUWO) was among the forum’s participants.

Conference in New York examines Ukraine conflict and gender violence

NEW YORK – The New York Regional Council of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America hosted a conference on “The Ukraine Conflict and Wartime Gender Violence” jointly sponsored by the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations and the UNWLA at the latter’s headquarters here on December 6. The conference explored the multitude of ways the Ukrainian war affects women. Over 40 people attended the multi-generational event. Program director and moderator Dr. Marta Kichorowska Kebalo, the WFUWO’s main representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council in New York, introduced the theme of the conference. She started by giving an overview of the history and politics of the current events in Ukraine.  The war has affected women, as participants, as victims and as caretakers.