Culture News Politics Society, 27/01/2017

Anarchy and Totalitarianism Being Discussed in ‘Fifth Kharkiv’

For two days, 26–27 January, literary presentations, and public discussion are being held in Kharkiv art clubs within the cultural initiative “Fifth Kharkiv”.

Two famous writers, Ukrainian Serhiy Zhadan and Belarusian Andriy Khadanovich, who have been translating each other’s works into their native languages for more than 10 years, were reciting their stories and poems and debating with their readers on today’s literary processes in the situation of Ukrainian-Russian war.

“Fifth Kharkiv is a cultural project, organized by Serhiy Zhadan and supported by Yaroslav Markevich. It aims to unite local intellectuals, artists, activists and elite in search for the “new Kharkiv’s identity” in developing Ukraine.

This is the second event of the art social initiative. The first one took place on 13–14 December 2016, during which famous writer Oksana Zabuzhko presented her new book for Kharkivites and guests discussed the information warfare issues.

“Poets talking about politics are even funnier than politicians talking of literature,” Khadanovich stated laughing. However, the discussion was tackling the actual problems of war and threats from Russian totalitarian state.

Belarusian poet and translator answered the audience’s questions, the discussion participants were interested in the influence of Ukrainian revolution and war on Belarus and Ukrainian-Belarusian cultural ties. Also, the issues on culture functioning in times of war and dictatorship were ardently discussed. Kharkivites were amazed by Khadanovich children’s books full of good humor and exciting stories.

“What is the Fifth Kharkiv? Look at the audience, they are already here,” said Zhadan pointing at the presentation guests (more than 100 people attended the event). The poet is convinced that the number of those who would introduce positive changes in Kharkiv is much bigger and will be growing daily. So the major task is to unite their efforts.

Zhadan noted that the Fifth Kharkiv cultural project will last until the end of 2017 welcoming influential Ukrainian and foreign writers every month.