The Muse of the Bloodlands - Reconstructing the Concealed Biography of Renata Bogdanska-Anders, aka Irena Yarosevych - Presentation by Bohdan Nahaylo, Thursday, September 27, 7.00PM

Survival, adaptation and creative self-affirmation in Europe’s “Bloodlands”. How did a Ukrainian starlet of the later 1930s from a prominent Western Ukrainian family end up as the wife of Free Poland’s leader, its First Lady and icon? And how did she survive the advent of Soviet rule, the war years, and end up living in London for most of her life?  The fascinating and hitherto concealed story of Renata Bogdanska-Anders, aka Irena Yarosevych (Nizhankivska on her mother’s side, and “plastunka” – member of the banned inter-war patriotic Ukrainian scouts movement), including an interlude with Poland’s most celebrated Polish and Jewish music hall and cinema stars and Stalinist terror, has now finally been reconstructed. After pioneering research by the presenter, the true story of this remarkable woman, symbol of her complex epoch, can now finally be told. The presentation with newly discovered audio and visual material is a must for anyone interested in the complex modern history of Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Poland and the Soviet Union.

Bohdan Nahaylo is a British-born writer and specialist on the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He was previously a regular contributor to the British and US press and academic publications. Born in 1952 in Wolverhampton of Ukrainian parents, he was educated as a historian and political analyst at the Universities of Leeds, Manitoba and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He worked for Amnesty International in London as a researcher on the USSR, as a journalist in the UK, and on the research and broadcasting staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich, where from 1989 to 1991 he was Director of the Ukrainian Language Service and from 1991 to 1994 the Deputy Director of the RFE-RL Research Institute. His book, co-authored with Victor Swoboda, was the widely acclaimed Soviet Disunion: A History of the Nationalities Problem in the USSR (1990), appeared in British, American, Italian, Japanese and French editions. In 1999 he published The Ukrainian Resurgence, a history of modern Ukraine, which appeared simultaneously in British and North American editions. He has since been working as a senior official with the United Nations.

The talk will be held in English. All Welcome. Free Admission.

7PM, Thursday, September 27, Ukrainian Institute in London

79, Holland Park, London, W11 3SW

For more information please contact us at info@ukrainianinstitute.org.uk