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Ukraine Heritage Spotlight: Cancelling Russian culture

Holistic Heritage

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Episode  ·  27:46  ·  Apr 16, 2024

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The ongoing war in Ukraine has not only caused physical damage. Russia’s continuing “special military operation” also has a cultural dimension, one which Ukraine is now having to fight against, and not just with heavy weaponry.In this episode of Ukraine Heritage Spotlight, we are in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv to meet renowned historian and public intellectual Professor Yaroslav Hrytsak.Hrytsak recently published a book on Ukraine which underlines the nuances of the country’s history and culture, entitled Overcoming the past: the global history of Ukraine [originally published in Ukrainian as: Подолати минуле: глобальна історія України and recently translated into Polish as: Ukraina. Wyrwać się z przeszłości by the International Cultural Centre in Kraków]. So what is the cultural state of Ukraine today and what should Ukrainian society be doing to protect its culture and heritage? “War leads to homogenisation of the cultural space,” Hrytsak says. While Ukraine is “leaving behind” Russia’s imperial legacy, this has also meant the “cancelling” of Russian culture to a certain degree.Hrytsak underlines that this does not mean the eradication of Russian culture, but simply taking it down from its pedestal. “We talk of a ‘great’ Russian culture, but not a ‘great’ French culture, for instance,” the historian states, quipping that a statue of Balzac in Ukraine would be more suitable than one of Pushkin, for instance.However, while Russia poses an “existential threat” to Ukraine and her culture, paradoxically it has meant that artists and thinkers are more creative than ever before. Professor Yaroslav Hrytsak met John Beauchamp and Katarzyna Jagodzińska, head of the Europa Nostra Heritage Hub in Kraków, at the beginning of April 2024 at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv to talk about how Europe must realise the importance of Ukraine in the European cultural landscape despite it being on the periphery.

27m 46s  ·  Apr 16, 2024

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