The British Embassy in Ukraine recently hosted the launch of a book of articles by British journalist Lancelot Lawton, entitled The Ukrainian Question. The publication of this book is an important event for the Ukrainian public. Readers now have an opportunity to examine documents that confirm the tragic events that occurred in Ukraine in the 1930s.
“The Ukrainian question is still one of the most important ones as far as Europe is concerned. EU and NATO countries are paying a lot of attention to developing good relations with Ukraine so that it will be stable, prosperous, and independent,” British Ambassador Robert Brinkley told The Day after presenting the The Ukrainian Question.
Lancelot Lawton was a British journalist and founding member of the Anglo-Ukrainian Committee created in 1935, whose members were British politicians, historians, and other individuals who were concerned about the plight of Ukrainians. The book contains the original speech “Ukrainian Question,” and its Ukrainian translation, which was delivered in the British parliament in 1935, as well as the article “Ukraine, Europe’s Greatest Problem,” which appeared in 1939.
The British ambassador said that it is very important that Lawton’s book has appeared at this time. “This book shows that in the 1930s, when Britain and the rest of Europe faced the rising menace of Hitler’s Nazi regime, there were public figures in London who took an interest in the fate of Ukraine and Ukrainians. Today this seems rather surprising. So, in my view, it is important to reopen this fact of history and remember it,” Brinkley said.
The historian Serhiy Kot, a senior research associate at the Institute of the History of Ukraine, who prepared the book for publication, told The Day that the British journalist included an enormous amount of information in his articles. Written in a succinct style, these materials can be called a concise course on the history and culture of Ukraine. Dr. Kot noted that the British journalist had no links with Ukraine, i.e., he was not of Ukrainian descent. Lawton freely joined the initiative of civic and political figures in Great Britain, who wanted to encourage official London to establish closer contacts with Ukraine.
“London took an interest in Ukraine: this is proved by the reports and analytical notes concerning Ukraine, which were written by Moscow and Warsaw consuls, and which dealt at length with the Holodomor. In the 1930s the British wrote that the Holodomor had claimed five to seven million human lives,” said Dr. Kot, noting that it took two years to trace Lawton’s original articles, which were located at the Library of Congress in the US. A total of 2,000 copies of the book have been printed. Now the main thing is for the book to find its way to universities and Eastern European research centers. “The book will also be useful to the ‘doubting Thomases’ in Ukraine, i.e., those who are skeptical about Ukraine. They will read the British journalist’s articles and may adopt an entirely different stance; they may rethink this page of Ukrainian history,” says Dr. Kot.