Today I have this rather disturbing piece about a 12-year-old Ukrainian boy who is being brutally bullied by actual Nazis (from the Svoboda Party and other armed Nationalist formations). Hence, my headline is not misleading at all. Before we start: Don’t worry, this young man is still alive and well; and with head unbowed. And if any one incident can show the utter degradation to which totalitarian Ukrainian society has degenerated, in the tormenting and persecution of one of its own, then this kid is literally the poster-child.
Friends, meet young Maxim Tkachuk. This kid is as Ukrainian as a vyshivanka (embroidered shirt) in which, as he says, he was born. He is not one of those despicable Russian-speaking children from the Donbass: He was born and raised in Volhynia, the most Ukrainian of all Ukrainian regions. And Max speaks perfect Ukrainian!
Maxim’s creator endowed this child with a specific, wonderful talent: The boy can sing! This talent was granted to him perhaps as compensation for an otherwise tough life. Not much is known about Maxim’s family, but reporters have been able to dig out, that this child was abandoned by both his mom and his dad. Who separated and divorced, and both went on to start new families; but without Maxim. Leaving the lad to be raised by a grandmother and an aunt. Who are the simplest, most normal people that you can imagine. And who found themselves fostering this prodigy.
At some point in his young life, Maxim’s guardians noticed that he had quite an amazing voice. They started entering him in local talent contests for children; which he almost always won. He racked up a whole room full of trophies and medals. It is not clear if Grandma and Auntie ever enrolled the boy in music school or paid for private lessons; once you listen to his video, you must suspect that he has had some professional training. And, in fact, what needs to be done immediately is ensure that this boy gets top-notch instruction to develop his talent! (Preferably as far away from the Ukraine as one can go, since it has proved it doesn’t deserve him.)
In any case, suspecting that this prodigy deserved a chance on the European circuit, Maxim’s guardians were able to get him to London recently (on a tourist visa). Where the boy was entered in a talent contest called Stars of the Albion. This contest had a specific theme: The songs were to be about the Great Victory in World War II.
Maxim won the contest hands down, overcoming all the other talented young artists from 23 different countries around the world. And also confirming his guardians’ hunch that he is something special and can cut it on the competitive circuit. And with Maxim immediately becoming the Pride of his Motherland, the Ukraine. Right? Wrong!
Here is Maxim’s winning song, which he performed while dressed as a pint-sized (but huge-voiced) Soviet soldier flush from victory in the Great Patriotic War. And once you see his costume and hear his song, those in the know will guess, why the Ukrainian Nazis were outraged and launched a program of planned persecution and bullying of this boy; ’cause, see, the Svoboda types are the heirs of those who lost the war to the kind of hero depicted by Maxim. As one commenter put it: “Maxim sang of victory, and of the victorious side, he identified with the winners, and he won! The sore losers of the war cannot tolerate this kind of victory… Theirs is the cult of the undeserving losers…”
About This Smuglyanka…
The song which Maxim picked for his performance is a popular Russian ditty called “Smuglyanka Moldovanka“. Which translates literally (not very politically correct) as “The Swarthy Moldavian Girl”. But might just mean something like “olive-skinned”, or “dark-skinned Moldavian girl”. Or perhaps just dark hair and/or dark eyes. It tells the story of a young man, in wartime, who meets a pretty Moldavian girl as she gathers grapes. The young man attempts to seduce her; until she reveals that she is a Soviet partisan; and she convinces him to join the partisan unit as well. The song was written in 1940 but was considered frivolous and was frowned upon; it only really become popular in 1973, when used in a Soviet film called “Only Old Men Go To Battle” (В бой идут одни “старики”), which became a blockbuster hit. After that the Smuglyanka song entered the standard Soviet and Russian repertoire as a type of folk song.
In the Ukraine, this song has come to symbolize nostalgia for the Soviet past, and respect for the soldiers and partisans who defeated the Nazi machine… Occasional flash mobs in the Ukraine burst into this song, as a way of opposing the Nazi creeps who rule the streets. For Maxim, the song is a natural fit not only for his developing voice, but also for the moral values instilled in him by his grandmother and aunt.
[to be continued]