Kurkov on the fate of Ukraine

Literalab favorite and author of the Death and the Penguin Andrey Kurkov has written a compelling piece about the protests and government crackdown in Ukraine for English PEN. The opening paragraph, with its account of the murder of two protesters and the abduction from a hospital of two opposition activists, one of whom was then killed, is terrifying.

Naturally though, both for Kurkov and his country, there is also a good bit of absurdist comedy mixed in, such as when President Yanukovych, after doing his darndest to avoid the Euromaidan protests altogether, stages a meeting with student protestors, “during which some cheerful students brought in from the east of the country expressed gratitude to Yanukovych for their wonderful lives and promised that they would always support him in whatever he did.”

Interior_troops_officer_holding_a_gun_pointed_at_the_line_of_protesters,_Dynamivska_str._Euromaidan_Protests._Events_of_Jan_19,_2014

Overall though, he paints a bleak picture in which new laws might make not only protestors and anyone opposed to the president criminally liable, but even opposition parliamentary deputies. The result, he fears: “This may well lead to the disintegration of the state of Ukraine itself, with the Russian Federation waiting in the wings to make the country’s eastern and southern regions its ‘protectorates’.”

Protesters_on_the_barricades,_seen_through_the_lights_of_fire_built._Euromaidan_Protestssmall

Read the article, and while you’re at it read his novels too, at least the ones that have been translated into English (unless you can read Russian, of course).

For more on his novels:

Read my reviews of The Case of the General’s Thumb, Penguin Lost and a short but rambling account of what took me so long to read Death and the Penguin.

400px-Orthodox_christian_icon_brought_to_Euromaidan_Protests_as_a_symbol_of_faith

Photos – 1) Protester facing the massive fire set by protesters to prevent internal forces from crossing the barricade line. Kyiv, Ukraine. Jan 22, 2014, by Mstyslav Chernov, 2,3,4) Also by Mstyslav Chernov

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