In Ukraine, the battle for books has already been won

Attendance is regular, tells us the boss, Andrii Reznichenko, who is also the spokesperson for the bookstore chain of the same name. At the beginning of this war, the sale of books in the country increased. Ukrainian books, especially. And Western authors are also translated.

We do not sell books by Russian authors here.the bookseller told us, with a smile.

The author and professor of literature Vira Ageeva, who came to give a lecture at the bookstore.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

Today Andrii Reznichenko invited the author and professor of literature Vira Ageeva to deliver a small interview. His book, published in September 2021, six months before the outbreak of war, became one of the country’s biggest bestsellers and has had to be reprinted several times since its publication. Its title (free translation): behind the curtain of empire.

Customers are increasingly asking us for books on Ukrainian history and cultural identity, emphasizes Andrii Reznichenko. They love it.

Vira Ageeva’s book is somehow prescient. This explains its success. By exposing the history of Ukrainians’ struggles for the preservation of their language and their culture, the author shows that the Russian neighbor has sought for centuries to deny this existence. And this attitude still persists today.

A blue blanket, crossed by a gray bow.

Vira Ageeva’s bestselling book.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

: \”Êtes-vous notre Cassandre? Vous prédisez l’avenir!\””,”text”:”Quand la guerre a éclaté, les gens m’ont dit: \”Êtes-vous notre Cassandre? Vous prédisez l’avenir!\””}}”>When the war broke out, people said to me, “Are you our Cassandra? Predict the future!”Vira Ageeva told us in a quiet corner of the bookstore, after her conference.

This literary specialist’s analysis of the cultural conflict between two neighboring countries is quite radical. He asserted without fail that the Russians did not have their own culture before conquering the Ukrainian territory and occupied it, from 17e at 20e century.

They built their culture based on conquered neighboring countries, including Ukraine in particular, he said. Then they seek to destroy us. And we never accepted.

When the sound is triggered special military operations in UkraineVladimir Putin has indeed declared that Ukrainian identity and culture do not exist. This is madness! replied Vira Ageeva. He lies, he takes himself for God, he wants to rewrite history. This clearly shows that this war is not only for territory, but also for historical truth.

Close-up of his concentrated, serious expression.

Author and literature professor Vira Ageeva in an interview.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

To support his demonstration, the professor of literature at the University of kyiv recalled the contributions of many Ukrainian authors. Like poet Taras Chevtchenko, who became a national hero and whose effigy appears on 100 hryvnia banknotes, the Ukrainian currency.

He added that great Ukrainian authors participated in the European existentialist movement in the 1930s.

Vira Ageeva also wants to mention her compatriot Lessia Oukraïnka who described Russian culture as dark and black like a prison, in opposition to Ukraine based on the ideas of freedom and individual rights.

It is precisely our attachment to freedom that best defines us., abounds Kateryna Devdera, poet, author and teacher of literature, met in Lviv a few days before. He left the capital when war broke out in February.

The candle lit his face.

Kateryna Devdera, poet, author and teacher of literature, became known in Lviv.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

12e et 13esiècles, les gens ont appris à se développer et à se défendre par eux-mêmes. C’est ce qu’on observe encore aujourd’hui quand des hommes et des femmes se portent volontaires pour aller combattre avec les troupes dans l’est du pays.”,”text”:”Toute notre histoire est marquée par cette valeur essentielle. Depuis l’établissement des tribus cosaques aux12e et 13esiècles, les gens ont appris à se développer et à se défendre par eux-mêmes. C’est ce qu’on observe encore aujourd’hui quand des hommes et des femmes se portent volontaires pour aller combattre avec les troupes dans l’est du pays.”}}”>Our entire history is marked by this important value. Since the founding of the Cossack tribes in the 12the and 13e centuries, people have learned to develop and defend themselves. This is what we still observe today when men and women volunteer to go and fight with the troops in the east of the country.

The poet said that he was greatly inspired by Ukrainian folk songs: There is also melancholy, in all of this, he added. But above all there is a lot of humanity.

Suddenly, unsurprisingly, the power went out in his small apartment on the eighth floor of a tower with no functional elevator. The candle is ready, on the table.

This is one of the positive effects of this war, launching the girl with humor. Because of all these breakdowns, without computers, we read more books.

A wide and full book behind him.

Bookseller Andrii Reznichenko.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

This is also observed by the bookseller Andrii Reznichenko in kyiv, where power cuts are daily and many. People are reading more and we are selling more books since the Russian soldiers attacked our power stations. Reading also acts as a tranquilizer, according to what she hears from her clients.

The spokesperson for the Ukrainian bookstore chain pointed out that books from his country occupy the first ranks of their sales charts. Issue 1, by fiction writer Max Kidruk, has a particularly provocative title: The Colony, the New Dark Age.

The Ukrainian literary offer has also increased dramatically over the past fifteen years, the bookseller noted. Lots of new local authors.

The Russian invasion certainly strengthened the sense of cultural belonging in Ukraine. Regardless of the outcome of the clashes on the battlefield, the Ukrainian victory in the war of books and identity is certain.

Censorship or not?

A new law banning the importation of books published and printed in Russia or Belarus, an allied country, was adopted by the Ukrainian parliament in June. It also places restrictions on the import of books in the Russian language, regardless of country of origin. Therefore it is not just an economic penalty.

Is this censorship, as Russia claims? The Ukrainian government maintains that this process is necessary to counter centuries-old attempts to eradicate Ukrainian identity. Moscow responded by claiming that these measures were making it harder for Russian speakers in Ukraine.

This is not really censorship, said bookseller Andrii Reznichenko, because the works of great Russian authors such as Pushkin, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy are not affected. The law is actually aimed at post-Soviet literary production. One might reply that this is really a question of censorship for modern authors who did not renounce their Russian citizenshipaccording to the words of the law.

However, the law is still not being implemented because President Volodymyr Zelensky, an actor in his former life, has not yet signed it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *