“Every year we celebrate an anniversary of the Battle of Berestechko. Of course, that’s a right thing to do. But we were defeated in that battle. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s history bears victories. And we should remember, celebrate, and be proud of them, too. In a sense, what took place near the Orsha was an ATO of the 16th century. We can absolutely draw parallels with what is going on today,” historian and art expert Mykola Bendiuk considers.
On September 8, 1514, 500 years ago, a united army of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish Kingdom with Prince Kostiantyn Ostrozky at the helm, defeated the army of the Principality of Moscow. The forces were uneven, for the army led by Kostiantyn Ostrozky was three times smaller than the army of the enemy and counted for nearly 30,000 men. However, it was able to defeat the enemy.
“Russian historians are trying to downplay the meaning of this victory. But in fact this battle was very important, and not only for Ukraine,” Bendiuk continues. The thing is that it was the time the prince of Muscovy seized Smolensk and started inroads to other territories. So, be it not for the Battle of Orsha, this kind of occupation would persist. However, the victory of the army headed by Prince Ostrozky changed the flow of events.
The first painting dedicated to this victorious battle was created in the 16th century. Now, five centuries later, the artists have taken up this topic again. “It will be again Prince Ostrozky, only interpreted by Kyiv artist Yurii Nikitin, who agreed to work with web cameras switched on. And it is very good that the process will be shown online. For under these circumstances there will be a discussion held by art experts, historians, and other specialists. They may give appropriate advice as for the details, like buckles on the clothes or footwear. All this is historical authenticity,” Bendiuk assures.
This will be an experiment for Yurii Nikitin. The thing is that creation of a battle painting usually takes much time. “Taking into consideration what is going on in Ukraine these days, creation of such a painting about a victorious battle is important,” considers Yurii Nikitin.
Creating of the picture is only a bright beginning of the East-European forum “500th anniversary of the victory near the Orsha.” The event will include a scholarly conference, a roundtable dedicated to politics, and a meeting of the ambassadors of Poland, Lithuania, and Belarus, as well as festivals with the participation of re-enactors, musicians, and a series of presentations, in particular, the launch of the historical painting. The geography of activities is quite broad: the organizers plan to involve all the cities which used to be property of the Ostrozky princes.
“The history of Ukraine has many dates which should be known. We would like to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the victory near the Orsha not just with a cultural-artistic event, but a more complex one. That is why the idea of holding such a forum emerged. Apart from that, the activities will have a charity component,” head of the East-European forum “500th anniversary of the victory near the Orsha,” Anastasia Haidukevych explains.
The charity events will be aimed, in particular, at helping the Ukrainian military men who are now serving in the east.
Photo from the Facebook page of the Community “The Victory of Prince Ostrozky in the Battle of Orsha”