‘Cultural raids’ to eastern Ukraine: Musicians act while state backs off
In June and August, the Ukrainian rock bands with the support of the volunteers arranged concerts in Luhansk and Donetsk regions, where the patriotic literature was also spread for donations to help the army.
As the Human Rights Information Centre correspondent reports, such bands as The Shadow of the Sun, The Jungle Cat, The Haydamaky, singer Serhiy Fayfura and activist Vasily Panchenko visited Artemovsk and Kurakhovo, Donetsk region, on June 14-16.
Musicians note that now the residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions are affected by the influence of the Kremlin propaganda. Hence, the separatist sentiment exists in the eastern regions.
“Eastern regions, of course, somewhat differ from the central and western Ukraine,” singer Serhiy Fayfura says. “And the reason is clear. The propaganda of the Kremlin exerts pressure on the eastern Ukraine today. It’s a lie. And this lie shapes their perception of what is happening in Ukraine.”
According to the musicians, now it’s extremely important to fill the eastern Ukrainian with the cultural content. “If the state does not do this,” Andriy Voloshyn, Deputy Head of the NGO International Initiative to Support Ukraine, says, “the activists and artists will do that.” According to the activist, the Ukrainian Government works inactive in the east.
Musicians say they were welcomed heartily. “There were no concerts in Kurakhovo for three years,” Serhiy Vasyliuk, frontman of The Shadow of the Sun emphasizes. The musician hopes to give concerts in each locality in the territory, close to the front line.
Serhiy Fayfura explains the importance of holding the pro-Ukrainian cultural events in the east of the country, “We come to heal people with truth, not to cripple them with lie.”
The musicians believe the cultural trips to the east to be their mission, as people from the eastern regions are waiting for the Ukrainian cultural revival.
August 14-17, the musicians arranged concerts in Luhansk region, visited Novopskov, Svatovo, Starobelsk, and the military units.
According to Oleksandr Yarmola, frontman of The Haydamaky band, we need to fight for the next generations, because the children are very active in perceiving such cultural events, and adults usually follow the children.
In the near future, the musicians plan to organize their next trip to Donbas and visit the south of Ukraine. This is the region, where the Russian propaganda is also stirring, so some people may be vulnerable to the pro-Kremlin messages, the musicians say.
In general, the musicians believe that regular cultural events can break the separatist sentiment in the east.