Ukrainian Institute London building a new narrative of 1917 Revolution on the centenary year

The Ukrainian Institute in London contributed to building a separate narrative of a Ukrainian Revolution of 1917 in the year of its centenary by holding a dedicated series of popular events – “The century of Ukrainian Revolution: 1017-2017.” All events of the series at a glance.

This project was instrumental in projecting Ukraine’s voice what the events of 1917 meant for Ukraine and the repercussion of 1917 national revolution which took place in Kyiv at that time. Furthermore, the project went on to explore a cultural revolution in Ukraine in the 1920s, the flourishing of its arts, cinema and theatre, which came to abrupt halt in the early 1930s.

Several events highlighting the historic background of those years were held, including a public lecture by US Professor Mark von Hagen, “Why Ukrainian Revolution matters for the historians of Russian Revolutions?” at LSE, a presentation of a highly-acclaimed volume by Anne Applebaum “Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine” at EBRD and an overview of a research on peasant revolts in Ukraine following the Bolshevik takeover of 1917, provided by a PhD student Dimitri Tovkatsch. 

The Institute featured Ukrainian avant-garde cinema of the period on London’s leading platforms – the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) and Bertha DocHouse, as well as LSE. It organised the screenings of five films of the period, including three gems by Ukraine’s iconic director Olexander Dovzhenko – “The Enchanted Place”, “Arsenal” and “Earth” as well as “In Spring” by Mikhail Kaufman and “Bread” by Mykola Shpykovsky. It also provided cultural context to those screenings by holding talks and panel discussions, attended by Rory Finnin, Cambridge University, Phil Cavendish, UCL, Stavislav Menzelevskyj, National Dovzhenko Centre and Ian Christie.

The Institute extended the concept of the project into contemporaty Ukraine and explored the issue of de-communisation, a prominent feature of public like in Ukraine today, and stimulated a debate about preserving the artefacts of the Soviet era. It held a launch of “Decommunised: Ukrainian Soviet mosaics,” published by Kyiv-based Osnovy-Publishing at EBRD. 

Finally, the Institute’s Fundraising reception “Revolution!” became a culmination of these efforts and a celebration of Ukraine’s creative freedom and political freedoms of the era. “Revolution!” featured opening speeches by Anne Applebaum, columnist and author, Natalia Galibarenko, Ukraine;s Ambassador to the UK, a charitable auction featuring items of Ukrainian avant-garde, music from that period and more. See the REVOLUTION! picture gallery.

The Institute’s Director contributed to a public debate in Ukraine about how the narrative of 1917 Ukrainian revolution should be celebrated