Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky would’ve surely fought for Ukraine todayIhor Kotsiubynsky, the great grandson of the prominent Ukrainian literary classic, is fighting in the ATO ranks near Luhansk
September 17 will mark the 150th birth anniversary of Ukraine’s outstanding man of letters Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky (he was also chairman of the Prosvita Society in his native Chernihiv and a member of the secret Brotherhood of Taras). In fact, the trace left by European modernism in Ukrainian literature is untraceable without his works (e.g., Smikh [Laughter], Vin ide [He is Coming], Intermezzo, Persona Grata, Koni ne vynni [Don’t Blame the Horses], Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, etc.) that became textbooks for contemporary college/university students majoring in literature. In Chernihiv, the Kotsiubynsky Museum staff is preparing to mark the celebrity’s 150th birth anniversary, given scarce official funds, while his 49-year-old great grandson, Ihor Kotsiubynsky, museum curator, is fighting in the front ATO ranks.
Ihor Kotsiubynsky received the call-up papers on March 17, 2014, and he has been on active duty in the vicinity of Novoaidar, Luhansk oblast. His wife Natalia (currently the museum’s acting curator) and their daughter Iryna are waiting for him to return safe and sound.
Says Natalia: “He calls us several times a week, saying he is OK adding a couple of words, considering the faltering mobile coverage in the vicinity of Luhansk. My husband says the Ukrainian army’s morale is on the highest level; that fighting the aggressor is hard, but that all his men believe in victory and will fight for it to the death… One thing he’s worried about is the command’s vague orders that tend to be confusing…”
She says some of her husband’s comrades-in-arms know that he is the great grandson of the prominent Ukrainian author, Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky, while the rest are just fighting for a free and independent Ukraine: “They started paying special attention to my husband when it became known that he and his men would be sent on an ATO mission. It was then, on the initiative of Tetiana Sosnovska, curator of the Pavlo Tychyna House Museum, that the intelligentsia of Kyiv and Chernihiv started collecting money and bought a flak jacket, helmet… medicines for my husband… we’re now looking for philanthropists to help celebrate his great grandfather’s 150th anniversary, although many say they are busy helping Ukraine fight the aggressor. I asked the owners of the local shopping malls for help; we needed cement and paint to repair the structure, especially the ceiling and socle. They all refused. I also asked some of our MPs to donate to several ready-to-publish projects commemorating Kotsiubynsky’s jubilee, including a collection of his works and those by winners of the Kotsiubynsky Prize. Few responded, so that our celebration will be on a limited scale. The Taras Shevchenko Music and Drama Theater of Chernihiv will host a commemorative soiree after the ceremony of placing flowers on his grave and presenting awards to the literary prize winners. Our museum is planning an all-Ukrainian scholarly conference (September 18-19) entitled ‘Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky: 21st-Century View.’ A number of Kotsiubynsky researchers in Kyiv, Vinnytsia, Kirovohrad and elsewhere in Ukraine have confirmed their participation… Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky would’ve fought for his free and independent Ukraine today, like the rest of Ukrainians, because he was a true Ukrainian patriot.”