War is on our calendar

A month since Russia attacked Ukraine. Human psychology works in a way that we’re getting used to, adapting to the situation, whatever it may be, protective mechanisms are activating. The case of the first civilian deaths, pictures of the first civilian house shelling and destruction by Russian were a shock to all of us. Then the avalanche of new and terrible reality only grew.


There are hundreds of civilians killed in Ukraine. In Ukraine, there are cases of executions, kidnappings, rapes, threats, looting by the Russian military, as well as the deportation of Ukrainian citizens to Russia. In some cities it is impossible to bury the dead because of ongoing shelling; someone buries their relatives in the backyards, in parks… More than 3 million refugees and millions of displaced people inside Ukraine – these people have had to leave their homes, they are homeless in fact. More than half of Ukrainian children do not live at home. Thousands of Ukrainian children live in shelters and basements. 135 children died, about two hundred were injured and maimed, and some children witnessed their parents die from injuries or fires. We already know what a humanitarian catastrophe is, when the attackers don’t allow people to leave the city, when they shoot evacuation corridors, when they don’t allow food and medicine to be brought to the occupied cities. Mariupol, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Irpin and many other Ukrainian cities and villages are now a great pain for Ukraine, as well as for all humankind and the modern world. We also now know what nuclear terrorism is. Dozens of hospitals, schools, cultural institutions, sacred buildings, historic buildings, memorials, cemeteries and hundreds of residential buildings in various cities of Ukraine were destroyed or damaged – apocalyptic pictures, like in the movies, although Ukrainians have not watched movies for a long time… There are cases where the seizure and destruction of Ukrainian books by Russian side was recorded in Luhansk and Chernihiv regions. Yes, we are still in Europe and this is the XXI century!..


At the same time, over the last month, we have seen very closely and clearly what heroism truly is. Mariupol, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Irpin, as well as Kherson, Kyiv, Enerhodar, Nova Kakhovka, Novotroitske and many other Ukrainian cities and villages are also great pride of Ukraine. It is the personification of resistance and protection of truth, justice and freedom – despite everything. Over the last month, we have realized what an irresistible force the unity of citizens is, what it is like to share your time, home, resources – for a common victory. And we also know how important the support of Ukraine and Ukrainian people in the world is!


Concert-marathon “Save Ukraine — #StopWar”—  Join!


International charity concert-marathon “Save Ukraine – #StopWar” will take place on Sunday, March 27, It will be broadcasted by TV channels of 20 European countries. 

World-renowned bands Imagine Dragons, Nothing But Thieves, Fatboy Slim, artists Craig David, Eurovision winners Salvador Sobral and Netta already confirmed their participation. Ukrainian performers, including Go_A, Dakha Brakha, Ruslana, THE HARDKISS, Jamala, MONATIK, Alyona Alyona and others, will also join the telethon.

More info: https://bit.ly/3JKGy52


“From Lviv to the Urals” – protest of Ukrainian artistic community 


In Nantes, France, russian cinema festival “Univerciné russe” is going to happen. The motto of the festival is “From Lviv to Ural”, says Iryna Tsilyk, ukrainian film-maker and writer on her Facebook. 

Besides, Ukrainian Movie Academy prepared official statement with the appeal to reconsider the vector of the event, to change the name “From Lviv to the Urals”, “as such positioning levels the borders of sovereign Ukraine, is incorrect and does not correspond to geographical and historical reality”, and to stop cooperation with Russian cinema. 


“We ask the whole world to border Ukrainian and russian cultures and not to equal them. Especially now, as Russia is waging war on Ukrainian territory and destroying lifes of Ukrainians, their houses and cultural heritage. 


According to what previously said, we ask You to reconsider the vector of the Univerciné de Nantes festival. We support Your initiative to demonstrate Ukrainian movies on festival, but we propose to fulfill all program with the movies produced in Ukraine or about Ukraine, separating our culture from russian cinema, that continues to sponsor teroristic regime of Vladimir Putin. 


Also we urge You to change the name “From Lviv to Urals” as this positioning levels the borders of sovereign Ukraine, is incorrect and doesn’t answer neither geographical nor historical reality. Ukrainian and Russian cities categorically can’t be used in a single title.


And, what is the most important – we ask You to refuse cooperation with Russian cinema, as leading European film academies and organizations have done and continue to do. At least as long as Russia’s war against Ukraine continues and as long as Russia does not pay all reparations for the damage done to Ukraine. Now the aggressor must find himself in complete economic and cultural isolation. Only by joint efforts will we be able to stop it, and thus protect not only Ukraine but also Europe and the world” (From the statement).

Mural of Ukrainian artist Nikita Kravtsov. Paris / loreline1977 instagram

“Cancel Russian culture as a tool of self-preservation”

Over the past four weeks, many cultural institutions and cultural actors around the world have expressed and continue to express their support for Ukraine and Ukrainian people in the war that the Russian Federation has started on Ukrainian territory. During this time, which has changed the world of every Ukrainian, Ukraine has called on the international community to impose sanctions on Russia not only in the economic, political, diplomatic spheres, but also in a cultural field. Many well-known institutions in different countries have stopped cooperating with Russian artists who have not condemned Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, refused to participate in Russian film festivals and book fairs, will not renew contracts for Russian translation, and world brands in culture and creative industries entertainment comes from Russian.

Why is Ukraine and the Ukrainian cultural community calling for a boycott of Russian culture? Why is Russia’s war against Ukraine neo-colonial? Why is the dialogue of Ukrainian intellectuals with Russians not possible now? Volodymyr Sheiko, Director General at the Ukrainian Institute in his article “Cancel Russian culture as a tool of self-preservation” wrotes: 

“…Ukraine’s arguments are irrefutable: Russia has waged an unjustified war against a sovereign state, it grossly violates international law, cynically kills thousands of innocent people, and deliberately destroys the architectural heritage of Ukrainian cities. Under such conditions, any cultural cooperation with the aggressor makes its crimes a norm and creates for Russia new platforms for self-presentation. In its appeals, the Ukrainian Institute emphasizes that for decades Russia has used culture as a tool for political propaganda, whitewashing its international reputation, distracting the world community from war crimes against other countries, and establishing imperial and colonial hierarchies in the world humanities.


…The metaphor of “great humanistic Russian culture” finally ended on 24 February 2022, when the first bombs fell on Ukrainian cities. However, sentiment towards Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Shostakovich or the so-called “Russian avant-garde” still is flourishing in the minds of millions of foreigners who still believe that culture can be separated from politics and the responsibility for the war can be placed on a single dictator.

Volodymyr Sheiko, Director General at the Ukrainian Institute / Photo: Конгрес Культури / Culture Congress, Lviv 2021

…the international community must finally understand that Russia’s war against Ukraine is neo-colonial, and Ukraine’s centuries-long struggle for independence is decolonization; and these existential tasks will always be mutually exclusive. Ukraine is fighting for its independence not only with weapons; therefore the cultural frontline is no less important than the military one.


…The starting point of any reconciliation with Russia is far in the future: when Russia completely leaves the territory of Ukraine, including Crimea and Donbas; is held accountable for war crimes at an international tribunal and pay reparations to Ukraine; when the Putin regime falls and the next democratically elected government, the remnants of civil society and the media unanimously acknowledge and apologize to Ukraine for all its crimes; when Russian society is able to critically consider its defeat and draw conclusions from it.


…Of course, this scenario sounds too fantastic, but it does not mean that Ukraine has to agree to compromises today. Any accelerated or premature reconciliation with Russia is extremely dangerous. It will be a new era of recolonization of Ukraine, where the discourse will be the same, following the old rules and using the old structures.” 


A full text of the article “Cancel Russian culture as a tool of self-preservation” is on Lb.ua media.


30 books to understand Ukrainians from PEN Ukraine

Source: PEN Ukraine

What do you know about Ukrainians? For the last ten years, Ukraine has been published on the covers of world newspapers with the headlines “Revolution of Dignity” and “War”. These events proved that freedom is the key value of the Ukrainian people. Why do Ukrainians continue to fight for their values, despite the aggression of one of the largest countries in the world?

We have compiled a list of fiction and non-fiction books that will help you better understand Ukrainian history and mentality. All books are available in English. 


“Explaining Ukraine”: podcast about Russian war against Ukraine 

A source to know the situation in Ukraine now is an English-podcast “Explaining Ukraine” (Ukraine World) hosted by Volodymyr Yermolenko, a Ukrainian philosopher, an analytics director at Internews Ukraine, and Tetyana Ogarkova, a literary critic, from the Ukraine Crisis Media Centre. You can listen to the podcasts on the web site and on Soundcloud, Google podcasts, Apple podcasts, YouTube too. For example, among the latest episodes – Ep. № 83: One month of war: 10 lessons learnt, Ep. № 81: Ten things to know about Ukraine and its culture. The Guardian recently recommented the podcast among top 6 podcasts about the war of Russia against Ukraine.


Ukrainian Witness: the chronicle of the Ukrainian resistance

Ukrainian Witness is the chronicle of the Ukrainian resistance to Russian aggression. This are video documents of the epoch. Here ate such topics as “Mariupol today”, “How not to go crazy during the war”, “Rock stars protect Kyiv” etc. The media resource is on Youtube and on Facebook.

Author: Danylo Movchan



CultureHeadquarters / Lviv

Cultural Strategy Institute 

Lviv City of Literature

Hnat Khotkevych Palace Of Culture

We’ll win and restore everything

Kharkiv. Missile projectile that did not explode near City Cable railway. Author: Yevgen Samborsky / Instagram

Life that won’t happen


The acute phase of Russia’s war against Ukraine, which began in 2014, has been going on for a month. From February 24, the chronology does not matter for Ukrainians. The number of victims is what’s counting here indeed. It is difficult to say the exact numbers: while we prepare the digest, they will change.


Among the dead are representatives of the cultural sphere. Let’s remember a few stories. Artem Datsyshyn, a soloist of the ballet troupe of the National Opera of Ukraine, was attacked on February 26 by the Russian troops, was seriously injured and died in the hospital. In early March during the battle with the Russian invaders in Irpin on the outskirts of Kyiv a film and dubbing actor Pavlo Lee was killed. He served in the territorial defense of Ukraine. Another case is the death of Oksana Shvets, an actress of the Kyiv National Academic Molodyy Theater, while bombing of Ukrainian capital last week. Meanwhile, today, on March 23d, the director of the Kherson Regional Music and Drama Theater Oleksandr Knyha was abducted by Russian militaries and taken away in an unknown direction.

109 empty prams. An action in Lviv on March 18. 109 empty prams placed on Rynok Square: 109 children died as a result of Russian invasion on the territory of Ukraine: shelling, rocket attacks, shooting of civilians. As of March 23, this number is 121 children. And it grows every day. A lot of children lost their parents. Currently dozens of injured children are being placed in Ukrainian hospitals.

Ukrainian manifesto stand at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair


At this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair, one of the largest fairs in the book world, Ukraine will be represented with an empty manifesto stand. This way, the Ukrainian book community appeals to colleagues from other countries for support, in order to return to the Bologna Book Fair next year.


Free presence at one of the world’s largest book fairs was made possible thanks to the joint efforts of the Ukrainian Book Institute, the Ukrainian Institute, PEN Ukraine, the Book Arsenal and the BookForum International Festival.


As noted, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy and the Ukrainian Institute have agreed with the organizers fair on providing Ukraine with a free stand.

At the same time, the organizers refused to participate in Russia and called on the publishers-participants of the fair to bring children’s books translated from the Ukrainian language of the world to collect them as part of a joint exhibition. Another exhibition planned in the central part of the fair is a demonstration of 30-40 Ukrainian books.

Photo: Lithuanian Culture Institute instagram


“Publishers without borders” on an Ukrainian stand in Bologna Book Fair / Oksana Hmelyovska Facebook

Poets from UNESCO Cities of Literature read “So I’ll Talk About It”


On March 21 World celebrates Poetry Day. Every year UNESCO Cities of Literature worldwide take part in this celebration, organizing various events around the theme of poetry – manifests, poetry reading and different artistic actions.


Nine Cities of Literature have collaborated on a chain reading of the ‘So I’ll Talk About It’, by

Ukrainian poet Serhiy Zhadan: Edinburgh, Exeter, Granada, Heidelberg, Iowa City, Kuhmo,

Manchester, Norwich, and Tartu. Poets from these cities have come together to celebrate the

culture of Ukraine, and share a message of solidarity, hope and resilience.


Poets from UNESCO Cities of Literature read “So I’ll Talk About It” by Ukrainian poet Serhiy Zhadan, translated by John Hennessy and Ostap Kin.


“Ukraine is a phoenix”: ReStart the country

Almost four weeks as Russian army cruely damaging  Ukraine’s infrastructure. The amounted losses are quite difficult to be counted precisely and are still ongoing, but it is already up to hundreds of billions dollars. Photos of destroyed Ukrainian cities are affecting. Kharkiv, Mariupol, Bucha, Hostomel, Irpin, Chernihiv, Sumy… Ukrainians don’t know when the war will end, but they are confident and ready to rebuild their homes and their country. They think about future, about their future in Ukraine.

At this stage some experts in the fields of urban planning, architecture, and economics are already considering how to revive the life of Ukrainian cities when it becomes possible. 

So, the Zvidsy Agency specializing in the development and implementation of sustainable urban and regional development projects, opens an additional forefront – ReStartUkraine initiative, a platform for the recovery strategy of Ukrainian cities and villages after the war with Russia (2014-2022).

This is an attempt to unite friends and colleagues from Ukraine and abroad to define frameworks, manuals, guidelines, and approaches to the interaction of stakeholders (ordinary citizens, military, business, city and community administrations, donor organizations, Ukrainian and foreign specialists) in the restoration of Ukrainian cities and communities. This platform will help various parties involved to be useful and coordinated in the rebuilding process.

The ReStart-initiative plans to: 

– research and analyze national and international post-war recovery protocols and adapt them to use in Ukraine (as cases of the Second World War, the war in Syria, the Balkans, Afghanistan etc.)

– collect typologies of destroyed urban and rural objects and provide clear guidelines for their revitalization;

– audit available information on the destroyed objects in key damaged cities and work on post-war recovery strategies.

“Ukraine is a phoenix. We revive from the ashes even stronger than before. Our partners, colleagues, clients – you can support us in this job,” – wrote founder of the Zvidsy Agency Olexander Shevchenko.

To join the initiative: https://bit.ly/3tEVkDI.

“We’ll win and restore everything” Aza Nizi Maza, art studio for children and adults, Kharkiv / Aza Nizi Maza Facebook

Music for your home

Iryna Manyukina from Bila Tserkva sat at the piano for the last time before leaving her ruined house and hometown.

Watch the video.

CultureHeadquarters / Lviv

Cultural Strategy Institute 

Lviv City of Literature

Hnat Khotkevych Palace Of Culture


Pray for Mariupol until it exists!

Mariupol. Photo: Evgeniy Maloletka


The city of Mariupol is still the center of a humanitarian catastrophe. 300,000 Ukrainians are being held hostage in front of the whole world. For 14 days people have no access to food, water, heat or communication. Under bombs and shelling. Without the possibility of providing humanitarian and medical assistance. Deputy Mayor of Mariupol Sergiy Orlov believes that the city is now destroyed by 80-90%, the official death toll exceeded 2.3 thousand, but many people are still under the rubble, so the death toll may be much higher.


The city services can not perform their functions well, including the normal burial of people in cemeteries. As a result, for the last two weeks there have been several mass graves. In some cases relatives bury the dead directly in yards and parks, right on a place of murder.


“We cannot bury [the victims] in individual graves because the cemeteries are outside the city and its perimeter is controlled by Russian troops,” – said Sergiy Orlov.


On March 16 evening Russian forces dropped a massive bomb on a theater in besieged Mariupol. The word “children” had been written in Russian on the pavement outside the building, clearly visible from the sky. Also terrorists bombed local pool center, where also hundreds of people were hiding. But the cruelty of the Russian occupants towards civilians knows no limits.

There were over 1000 civilians hiding inside the theater and hundreds in a pool place, while shelling was going on. Now the blockages are being dismantled at the site of the attack. By morning of March 17 information that people who were inside the theater are fortunately alive. The rescuers managed to dismantle one of the exits from the bomb shelter, through which people actually leave. However, there is no official information about the exact number of those who were in the shelter, victims or injured and what’s the situation with a pool shelter, as there are still communication problems in Mariupol.

Drama theater in Mariupol after the bombing on March 16 and before the escalation in February 2022

The world supports Ukraine and condemns Putin and Russia

On March 15, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe unanimously voted for the exclusion of Russia. 216 delegates voted for the decision, 0 voted against, 3 abstained. At the same time, Russia announces its withdrawal from the Council of Europe, an international organization founded to uphold human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in Europe.

Meanwhile the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal. The resolution, backed by senators of both parties – by Democrats and Republicans, encouraged the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague and other nations to target the Russian military in any investigation of war crimes committed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Tuesday Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša arrived in Ukraine. It is the first visit by international guests of such a level to Kyiv since the Russian armed aggression against Ukraine started. The guests were discussing further support for Ukraine with the Ukrainian leadership.

And on March 16 Ukraine became part of the EU energy system, joining the European ENTSO-E energy network. From now on, the flow of electricity between Ukraine on the one hand, and Belarus and Russia on the other, will become impossible. Ukraine will become entirely integrated with the European energy market, with all its advantages and disadvantages.

Timothy Snyder: “If Ukrainians hadn’t fought, the world would have been much darker”


Timothy Snyder, an American researcher on Central and Eastern Europe, gave an interview to the New Poland media recourse, with Slavomir Serakowsky (March 10). Here are excerpts from the conversation (entirely in Ukrainian here).


SS: What is Putin’s ultimate goal in this war? 


TS: It’s not a secret at all. It’s about the destruction of Ukraine as a state and destruction of Ukrainian people. I would like it to be clear – that’s all about genocide. If realization of such an intention requires – and it definitely will – physical destruction of the entire intelligentsia [intellectuals, experts in various spheres of life] or its deportation to Siberia, so it will take its place…

Timothy Snyder. EPA-EFE/Alejandro Garcia

TS: …The main role here [on the issue of America’s global leadership in the free world] played neither Americans nor Europeans, but Ukrainians did. Without them, we would not be able to talk about possible US leadership or any breakthrough in Germany or the European Union. If Ukrainians hadn’t fought, the world would have been much darker, yet they simply gain time for us. For reflection, for action, for cooperation, for discussion, for everything. We, Americans and Europeans, owe Ukrainians everything we do. The sanctions cost Europeans much more than Americans. For us, sanctions are a trifle, but for Europeans – no more. We may be the main partner, but I would give the role of moral leader to Ukrainians.

“I had a dream of a peaceful sky. I woke up”. Aza Nizi Maza, art studio for children and adults, Kharkiv / Aza Nizi Maza Facebook

CultureHeadquarters / Lviv

Cultural Strategy Institute 

Lviv City of Literature

Hnat Khotkevych Palace Of Culture