Cultural Amnesia in War-Torn Ukraine
Leo Tolstoy and his wife Sophia in Gaspra, Crimea, where they lived in 1901-1902. Who is the Tolstoy of the Ukrainians? Don’t you dare say Tolstoy. Lest anyone think that America’s race radicals have a monopoly on historical erasure, the liberal elite of Ukraine have taken up their own campaign of posthumous cancellation. Born to a family of old nobility in Western Russia in 1828, Tolstoy is universally renowned for monumental works like War and Peace and Anna Karenina.
The move is part of a broader effort to “decolonize” Ukrainian public culture, purging all potential links to the young Slavic country’s much larger neighbor. In his early twenties, Tolstoy served as an artillery officer in the Imperial Russian Army during the Crimean War of 1853-56, in which Ukraine was merely a battleground between Russia and an alliance of Western powers (and the Ottomans). Mikhail Bulgakov may not have quite been Tolstoy, but The Master and Margarita is one of the great works of 20th century literature. Was Tchaikovsky Ukrainian? Was Bulgakov Russian? I’d answer yes to both, though I’d say the same to the inverse just as quickly.
Ukrainian and Western authorities do a great disservice when they answer Putin’s twisted truth with out-and-out fabrication. It is becoming increasingly clear that the great division after the modern world will be between historical and ahistorical regimes: those that recognize the power of history and the reality of the incarnate order, and those that admit only to abstractions detached from the men and centuries that laid down their foundations. Ukraine, as it attempts to blend hypernationalism with a new liberal identity, finds itself torn between the two.
Read full article at The American Conservative