2017 marked the beginning of Ukraine’s cultural renaissance



Article by: Andriy Lyubka

In 2017 Ukraine did not succeed in setting an example of successful reforms, but culture is the one sphere where achievements have been undeniable. The past year can definitely be called the year of the renaissance of Ukrainian culture. Most importantly, there is every reason to believe that in 2018 the resurgence in Ukraine’s cultural production will continue and strengthen.



Poster for the Ukrainian feature film “Cyborgs”

This was indeed the first year when audiences went to see Ukrainian films not for patriotic reasons but because of their entertainment value. Moreover, in 2017 there were so many Ukrainian films that many people were not able to see all of them — especially in the fall, when a new domestic film was released almost every weekend. Successes were not far behind. “Cyborgs” (feature film chronicling the heroic defense of the Donetsk airport — Ed.) was a film whose quality was in no way inferior to Western films and which will continue to bring pleasure in the coming years. The comedy “Dzidzio Contrabass (with a record breaking Ukrainian box office of 22 million hryvnias — Ed.) not only paid for itself but also was profitable for its creators. “The Stronghold ” (“Storozhova Zastava”) was an adventure/fantasy film for children and adolescents executed at a world-class level. Finally, work also began on popularizing Ukrainian history– “Chervonyi” was an action film about the uprising of UPA soldiers in a Soviet labor camp that  received good reviews while also generating decent box office receipts.

The 2018 budget for state financing of cinema production has been increased significantly, so we can hope for progress in this area. It is also important to encourage the growth of movie theaters in order to provide access to new films for the inhabitants of small towns and district centers.


A visit to any bookstore reveals the impressive diversity of the Ukrainian book market. Ten years ago only children’s literature was of high quality and quantity. In 2017, however, it became obvious that the entire book market in Ukraine is getting on its feet. The translations are particularly gratifying — now the world bestsellers are published by Ukrainian publishing houses almost concurrently with Western markets.

The business and motivational book category is flourishing, and these books were top sellers in the bookstores throughout the year. Thus, the system of licensing the importation of Russian books has breathed new life into Ukrainian book publishing, which is gradually changing into a profitable business rather than a hobby. In addition, a Ukrainian Book Institute was finally established in 2017– an institution designed to promote both reading and Ukrainian books at home and abroad.


Singer Oleh Skrypka, leader of the rock band Vopli Vidopliassova

Singer Oleh Skrypka, leader of the rock band Vopli Vidopliassova

The same way that restrictions on the importation of Russian books have revived Ukrainian publishing, the introduction of quotas for Ukrainian music in radio broadcasts has given impetus to the development of the domestic music industry. It turns out there were quite a few new bands (that is, they already existed but the listening public did not have the opportunity to discover and hear them), and the quality of their product is absolutely competitive. This fact has been confirmed by statistics from the radio stations: according to government data, all national, regional and local radio stations in 2017 exceeded the required quotas for Ukrainian-language songs on the air by 25%.

We hope that the flowering of the Ukrainian music industry will encourage the moral revival of certain performers, so that next year we will no longer see Ukrainian stars appearing on Moscow stages and award ceremonies.


Poster for the Ukrainian film "The Stronghold"

Poster for the Ukrainian film “The Stronghold”

” It would seem these are only words … Words and voice — nothing more. But the heart beats — and comes alive. When it hears them” (from a poem by Taras Shevchenko).


As we can see from the reviews in the fields of cinema, book publishing and music, there were significantly more opportunities to hear the Ukrainian language in Ukraine in 2017. In addition, the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) passed the law “On Education,” where article No. 7 allows for the process of the linguistic decolonization of Ukraine to begin.

The plans are even more ambitious for 2018. Society is demanding the passage of bill No. 5670-D, “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language,” which will restore to the Ukrainian language the rights it deserves to have in its own country. Additionally, the approaching elections will encourage politicians to prove their own patriotism ,which means this bill has fairly high chances of becoming law.

Wishes for the New Year

In the coming year we wish for the Ukrainian culture to continue its dynamic development and for other areas — especially the economy, medicine, and the anti-corruption fight — to follow culture’s example and not lag behind too catastrophically. Happy New Year!

Andriy Lyubka

Andriy Lyubka is a Ukrainian poet, prose writer, and essayist. He is the author of eight books and the winner of the “Debut” and “Kyiv Lavra” literary awards. His works have been translated into more than ten languages. 

Translated by: Anna Mostovych

Source: Radio Svoboda

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  1. Avatar Robert says:

    Keep up the great work!

    Slava Ukraini!!

  2. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    Time to bury the Soviet past.

  3. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

    How ironic. The diminutive dictator (Vovochka Putin) while sitting on his golden toilet seat in the Kremlin, schemed at great length as to how he could best destroy a sovereign Ukraine in order to make Russia “great” again. So he occupied Crimea and Eastern Donbas with the full expectations that a New Russia (Novorossiya) would soon follow as Ukrainians from Eastern Ukraine and Southern Ukraine up to the breakaway Moldovan Region of Transdnister would embrace a revived Russian Empire. Wrong! The exact opposite occurred as people throughout Ukraine, regardless of their ethnicity, rallied against Russia’s Grand Pederast and expressed a fervent patriotism that had never been seen before in Ukraine’s entire history. Then, to add some extra hot sauce to his wounds, NATO was reinvigorated, Russia was cast out of international banking circles, sanctions against Russia were imposed by the Western powers, Ukraine became an Associate Member of the EU, both the Ukrainian culture and language made a spectacular comeback and all at Russia’s expense. So what did the little Russian troll learn from all of this? Probably not very much considering the fact that more and more people consider him as the fool’s idea of a fool.

    1. Avatar RedSquareMaidan says:

      Additionally, in chekist Putin’s attempt at protecting RuSSian language he made it a pariah and less fashionable than ebola in Ukraine. Ukraine’s new 2nd language is English as it should be.

      1. Avatar Oknemfrod says:

        With the way Putler misuses and abuses the Russian language, the best thing he can do to protect it is to shut up. For he can barely speak in coherent sentences, not to mention that pathological lies coming out of his oral crack are fabricated in a vernacular akin to the “English” spoken by a gangsta from a ‘hood.

        I’ve had many a chance to observe that Russian spoken in Kyiv, the accent notwithstanding, is much cleaner and more intelligible than that spoken in Moscow and even in the Russia’s “cultural capital” St. Petersburg, let alone in the province. Hence, Putler sending troops to “protect” Russian in Ukraine is similar to a brothel pianist sending goons to Carnegie Hall to “protect” music.

        1. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

          Excellent observations. So what does this use of “gutter language” when addressing the general population tell us about this creature which has emerged from the gaseous swamps of Muscovy? Has it been a result of his upbringing or his association with lowlife peers or a byproduct of his training with the KGB? Perhaps Russia’s Grand Pederast has felt it necessary to use “gutter language” in order to connect with his fellow members of the Russian Mafia and/or by extension those who use “Neanderthal Russian” on a daily basis since it is both common and popular? Then again it may be a combination of some or all of the above. In any case, comparing Vovochka Putin to Napoleon or Nero could be viewed as an affront to those characters. His place on the ladder of vulgar despicable individuals would be a few rungs closer to the bottom.

          1. Avatar Oknemfrod says:

            It’s rather a number of circumstances. But a lot of people exposed to bad influences have an inborn “thou shalt not” moral immunity to resist absorbing them into one vicious combo like this monster has. It takes a special kind of fertile, utterly immoral terroir to grow this kind of ugly freak of nature even in a supporting environment and with plenty of irrigation.

            The civilized world hasn’t invented, and will never invent, a means to prevent some bipeds from developing into monsters like Lenin, Stalin, and, yes, Putin. However, there exist plenty of means on part of the civilized world to prevent them from wielding power in the first place, let alone getting to the point where normal people are compelled to negotiate with murderers and usurpers like Putin or Kim Jong-un and shake their little sweaty hands in hope they’d relent. The problem is that many “world leaders” with enough power to nip a zit in the bud are malakas who keep procrastinating till the zit grows into cancer.

          2. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

            True enough. It should also be pointed out that dictators that are also imperialists such as Putin almost always if not always indulge in great efforts to see what they can get away with. As such, when they are finally stopped, totally preventable and in some cases irreversible damage has already occurred with the consequent mop up operations proving to be very if not extremely expensive. In that regard, Hitler’s Third Reich and the evolution of the Soviet Empire have proven to be classic examples for all of humanity.

          3. Avatar Oknemfrod says:

            You’ve hit the nail on the head.

          4. Avatar RedSquareMaidan says:

            Even today, Russians call for revolution…but they love little Putin. The sick ruSSki Mir crowd loves an external revolution. Something civilized, law abiding people won’t understand. Such animals cannot be reasoned with, only put down, sadly.

          5. Avatar Dale Davies says:

            He grew up a street rat in St. Pekersburg.

          6. Avatar Dale Davies says:

            When you work with pigs all day, you go home smelling like a pig!

    2. Avatar Dale Davies says:

      Should change his name from Vladomir to Holodomir.

  4. Avatar Albion says:

    The cultural renaissance in Ukraine is part of the existential war-effort against Russia, confirming the Roman dictum that the nation is built on ART as well as war.