Eve of Vasyls Nativity: history of dissidents
We invite you to the Vechir Rizdvianykh Vasyliv (Eve of Vasyls Nativity) initiated by the dissident and philosopher Yevhen Sverstiuk. The event will be held on January 12 at 17.00 at the Kyiv City Administration on 36 Khreshchatyk Str.
Annually, in January, we traditionally celebrate the Eve of Vasyls Nativity; special guests come together and recall the Vasyls: Stus, Symonenko, Chumak, Ellan-Blakytnyi, who were born on these days of the Christmas season.
January 12 marks the Day of the Political Prisoner. It was on this day of 1972 that an “ultimate pogrom” of the generation of the sixties began in Ukraine. Just in the course of a few days, Ivan Svitlychnyi, Yevhen Sverstiuk, Vasyl Stus, Ivan Dziuba, Viacheslav Chornovil, Ivan Hel and others were arrested.
History repeats itself. Nearly 70 political prisoners and 24 sailors-prisoners of war celebrated Christmas in Russian prisons. More than a hundred are in the basements of the Kremlin-occupied Donbass. And nowadays even an ordinary Crimean farmer Volodymyr Balukh demonstrates what Vasyl Stus called during his life as ‘rebellion’.
“The system has long and successfully threshed such people… had I stepped on the throat of my own song, forgot my principles, then, to be out of the prison, it would’ve been enough to confess my guilt, to break morally… I do not want that once my descendants, all of Ukraine’s children, reproached me for showing weakness,” from the last word at the trial of Volodymyr Balukh.
The winners of the Vasyl Stus Prize will take part in the Eve: folk-ethnographic band “Dai Bozhe” (With God’s Will), performer of the sung poetry Olena Holub, human rights defender Olexandra (Lesia) Matviychuk, bard Igor Zhuk, kobzar Taras Kompanichenko, “Chorea Kozacky” band, historian Volodymyr Viatrovych, poet-dissident Mykola Horbal and others.
The event will also feature publications prepared by the “Klio” Publishing House especially for this year’s Day of the Ukrainian Political Prisoner: “Life as a Penance” – autobiography of Vasyl Ovsienko, a civil activist, publicist, dissident movement historian, prisoner of conscience who spent thirteen and a half years in captivity for “anti-Soviet propaganda and agitation”; and the book by Georgii Kasianov “The Dissenting: Ukrainian intelligentsia in the resistance movement in the 60-80s of the XX century”, centered on the confrontation between Ukrainian intelligentsia and the Soviet state. As well as attempts for national cultural revival of the 1960s and its suppression, political currents within the dissident movement, “Ukrainian samvydav”, repressions against dissidents, human rights movement.
Specialty of the Eve: During the event, everyone interested can sign a Christmas card for the hostages of the Kremlin, and it will be handed over to the addressees by the organizers.
Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance
“Klio” Publishing House
Center for Civil Liberties