On Dialogue While Bombs Are Falling: PEN Ukraine Addresses the Global Intellectual Community 

On Dialogue While Bombs Are Falling: PEN Ukraine Addresses the Global Intellectual Community 

As members of PEN Ukraine, writers in a variety of languages and representing a number of nationalities, and recognizing that, in a time of war, all who work in cultural fields bear a special responsibility both to culture itself and to the lives of those under siege, we would like to address the international intellectual community.

Ever since February 24th, when Russia launched a full-scale war against our country, we’ve been receiving daily requests to engage in dialogue with Russian intellectuals on the question of reconciliation. At the same time, a number of our colleagues abroad have reacted harshly to our call for a boycott of Russian culture. This reaction only serves to distract the world’s attention from the war crimes being committed daily by Russia in its war against Ukraine.

Our concern is that, in Russia’s totalitarian society, culture is an instrument of influence and propaganda, and can be used to obscure the countless war crimes being committed by Russia against Ukraine. Today, in the name of "Russkiy Mir", Russian soldiers are murdering civilians, bombing hospitals, elementary schools, theaters, libraries, and universities, destroying not only Ukrainian culture as a whole but also the diverse cultures of the many minority communities living in Ukraine.

We remember those few individual representatives of Russian culture who, eight years ago, when Russia occupied Crimea and a part of our eastern territories, stood up in defense of Ukrainian territorial integrity. We also value the support of those who speak out against the war today. While we ourselves have often expressed our support for those writers, scholars, and human rights advocates who’ve openly opposed the Kremlin, we have to assert that, as long as bombs and missiles are falling on us, dialogue about reconciliation is impossible.

Today, and until that moment when the last Russian soldier has left Ukrainian territory, the only appropriate subject for our discussions with the international intellectual community must be about the need for an immediate cessation of Russia’s war crimes, not about the merits of its culture.

The statement signatories (the list is being updated):

  1. Andriy Kurkov, writer, President of PEN Ukraine
  2. Myroslav Marynovych, publicist, Honorary President of PEN Ukraine
  3. Ola Hnatiuk, researcher, translator, professor at the NaUKMA and University of Warsaw, Vice President of PEN Ukraine
  4. Serhiy Zhadan, writer
  5. Ihor Isichenko, historian, Archbishop
  6. Igor Kozlovskyy, religious scholar, historian, writer
  7. Mykola Riabchuk, writer, publicist, Honorary President of PEN Ukraine
  8. Ostap Slyvynsky, poet, translator, Vice President of PEN Ukraine
  9. Tamara Hundorova, professor, literary scholar
  10. Olha Herasymyuk, journalist, head of the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine
  11. Oleksandra Koval, Director of the Ukrainian Book Institute
  12. Alim Aliev, Deputy Director General of the Ukrainian Institute
  13. Iryna Starovoyt, poet, professor at the Department of Culture, UCU
  14. Taras Prokhasko, writer
  15. Askold Melnyczuk, writer (USA)
  16. Maria Tytarenko, media researcher, essayist
  17. Taras Luchuk, translator
  18. Anatoliy Dnistrovyi, writer
  19. Tetyana Teren, journalist, Executive Director at PEN Ukraine
  20. Olha Luchuk, literary scholar
  21. Vano Krueger, poet, philosopher, culturologist
  22. Stepan Protsiuk, writer
  23. Halyna Coynash, journalist
  24. Oleh Kotsarev, writer
  25. Alexei Nikitin, writer
  26. Romana Romanyshyn, author, illustrator
  27. Andriy Lesiv, author, designer, researcher
  28. Andrij Bondar, author
  29. Victoria Amelina, writer, founder of the New York Literature Festival
  30. Maksym Bespalov, writer
  31. Petro Yatsenko, writer
  32. Kateryna Kalytko, writer
  33. Yurko Prokhasko, translator, essayist
  34. Taras Vozniak, political scientist
  35. Vasyl Makhno, writer
  36. Iryna Vikyrchak, culture manager, author
  37. Marjana Savka, writer, publisher
  38. Hryhoriy Falkovych, poet, Director of the Sholem Aleichem Society
  39. Oles Ilchenko, writer
  40. Iryna Slavinska, journalist
  41. Oleksiy Panych, philosopher, translator
  42. Oksana Forostyna, author, translator
  43. Iza Chruślińska, writer, publicist (Poland)
  44. Diana Klochko, art historian, lecturer
  45. Olha Mukha, culture analytic, manager
  46. Victor Morozov, translator
  47. Yuri Matevoshchuk, culture manager, translator
  48. Pavlo Volvach, writer
  49. Bogdan Kolomiychuk, writer
  50. Halyna Vdovychenko, writer
  51. Natalka Sniadanko, writer
  52. Vitaly Chernetsky, literary scholar, translator
  53. Anna Vovchenko, translator
  54. Kateryna Mikhalitsyna, writer, translator, editor
  55. Nathalie Beltchenko, poetess, translator
  56. Kateryna Botanova, critic, curator
  57. Olia Rusian, writer, journalist
  58. Mark Andryczyk, translator
  59. Ivan Andrusiak, writer, editor
  60. Halyna Kruk, writer, literary scholar
  61. Andriy Puchkov, art historian, professor at the NaUKMA
  62. Andrij Wachtel, philosopher, translator
  63. Oksana Mamchenkova, journalist, Project Coordinator at PEN Ukraine
  64. Yuliya Musakovska, poet, translator, communications professional
  65. Haska Shyyan, writer
  66. Pavlo Korobchuk, writer
  67. Oleta Haleta, literary scholar
  68. Vadym Karpyak, journalist
  69. Iya Kiva, poet, translator
  70. Alla Tatarenko, translator, literary scholar
  71. Eleonora Solovey, literary scholar
  72. Tanja Maljartschuk, writer
  73. Petro Rykhlo, translator, literary scholar
  74. Oksana Lushchevska, writer
  75. Mykola Semena, journalist
  76. Andriy Pavlyshyn, translator, historian
  77. Borys Khersonsky, poet, translator
  78. Natalka Bilotserkivets, poet
  79. Oleksiy Sinchenko, literary scholar
  80. Anastasiya Levkova, writer, editor
  81. Oksana Kutsenko, writer
  82. Vakhtang Kebuladze, philosopher, publicist, translator
  83. Volodymyr Rafeyenko, writer, literary scholar
  84. Yevheniya Chupryna, poet
  85. Svitllana Povaliayeva, writer

Appeals signed (the list is updated):

So far no one
March 18, 2022
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