Tomorrow (March 8) is International Women’s Day. In the Soviet civilizational world, this was traditionally a day off from work; and is still observed so in countries like Russia and Ukraine. But the Ukrainian government wants to cancel this holiday, as part of its de-Russification agenda.
I have this piece by reporters Darya Volkova and Evgeny Pozdnyakov. Ukrainian Parliamentary Deputies have submitted a bill to the Rada, proposing to cancel this holiday. On the official portal Diya, which is the equivalent of the Russian “Government Services” site, a questionnaire was placed. The sociological survey asked respondents whether they approved of cancelling Women’s Day. More than 2.1 million citizens responded to the survey, of which 1.3 million (62%) wanted to keep the holiday.
Similar results show up in every sociological survey done. The Ukrainian government (Ministry of Culture) was forced to take the mood of the population into account. Therefore the holiday will be kept, at least for now.
Plans to cancel the holiday were announced as far back as 2017. The initiator was Vladimir Vyatrovich, of the Ukrainian Nationalist Institute for National Memory. [yalensis: these are the morons who push Ukrainian fake history in its most ludicrous form; for example, how the ancient Ukrainians built the pyramids, etc.] Vyatrovich lobbied to rename the holiday and move it forward one day, to March 9. Just so they wouldn’t be in sync with Russia. His project was not successful at the time, either.
Over the past year bills have been proposed to move several Soviet-era holidays: March 8, May 1, and Victory Day. To replace March 8 the deputies propose to introduce a new holiday called “Day of the Ukrainian Woman”. They want to set it on February 25, which is the birthday of the Ukrainian poet Lesya Ukrainka (whose real name was Larysa Petrivna Kosach).
Unlike some other cultural figures whom the Ukrainians have tried to coopt and claim as their own, but who are actually Russian or other — Lesya was an actual Ukrainian. Born in 1871, this young woman spoke in Ukrainian and wrote in Ukrainian. She was a Ukrainian patriot and worked tirelessly to promote Ukrainian culture and language. Hence, she is actually a good choice, if the Ukrainians want to have a woman role model to look up to. She was very well educated, spoke and read in many languages, travelled, and was a prolific writer (poems, plays, novels, etc.) In short, she was one of the cultural figures who helped to create the literary Ukrainian language which marks it as something more than just a regional dialect. At the same time, she was cosmopolitan, widely travelled, and a citizen of the world. She was passionate about humanity and social justice.
As a young woman, Lesya became a communist. She is the person who translated Marx’s Communist Manifesto into Ukrainian. In 1907 she was briefly detained by the Tsarist police, who were worried about her radical beliefs. They let her go, but she remained under surveillance by the Tsarist Okhrana for the rest of her life. She died in 1913; sadly, she did not live to see the Bolshevik Revolution. I am not sure how she would have reacted to it, but I suspect that she and Lenin might have seen eye to eye on their creation of a Socialist Ukrainian state. Lesya would have been free to pursue her cultural agenda: Developing and perfecting the Ukrainian literary language, encouraging all forms of art and culture, improving the lives of her fellow citizens.
One needs to remember how different things were back then. Back in those days, it was the Great Russian Chauvinists who were the baddies. Ukrainian patriots came in various flavors, ranging from socialists/communists to proto-fascists. Lesya hailed from the former group.
In case the current crop of Ukrainian Nationalists/fascists should suddenly realize that Lesya is not really their gal (she’s good for the de-Russification thing, but not so much for the de-Communization thing), they have a backup plan: To replace Women’s Day with Mother’s Day (on the American model), which would be celebrated on the second Sunday of May.
According to Russian Parliamentary Deputy Anatoly Wasserman, ordinary Ukrainians don’t even see the women’s holiday as having ideological significance; for most, it’s just a traditional day off, and a way of showing respect for the women in their lives: giving them flowers, etc. The holiday arouses good and tender feelings in people, and it is wrong for the Ukrainian ideologists to try to insert political ideology into every single thing. Ukrainian Human Rights activist Larisa Shesler points out the traditional holiday is also connected with the start of spring and summons feelings in people, wherein they feel an impulse to say something nice to the women they love.
Shesler: “In my opinion, the desire of the Ukrainian Nationalists to take March 8 away from women is connected not only with a desire to distance themselves from Russia. But also to show their inclination towards Western values. You see, our [Russian] holiday always underscored not just the strength of woman, but also her beauty, her tenderness, her femininity. For contemporary Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Washington, this aspect of things is considered unacceptable.” Shesler goes on to opine that Westies and their politics of feminism want to see models of strong and successful women. “The Ukrainian government wants to see Lesya Ukrainka as just such a model. But those proposing this, don’t actually know anything about her. We are talking about a woman who did not set herself in opposition to Russian culture. It’s true that she adopted the pseudonym Ukrainka, but her main goal in life was the struggle for social justice.
“Nonetheless the Ukrainian Nationalists are attempting to elide that fact out of her biography and present her as a figure that is useful to the current regime. As we can see, these people have never read the books and letters of Lesya Ukrainka, they are not familiar with her thoughts and ideas.”
Last year since Western “thinker” suggested that “after victory” Ukraine should switch to the Latin script in order to bond with “Western values”. Even the nazis said this was a bit much.
Well, we’ll have to wait and see what happens if Poland takes a chunk of Galicia/Volhynia. They might want to do some Polonization there.
not surprising that a “country” well known for its sex tourism, porn and human trafficking would have…”mixed” feelings about women. as for the “feminism” of the west, it’s basically sound and fury signifying nothing but a C-suite job at a war profiteer company or paying for college with onlyfans nudes. and that’s only when they actually know what a “woman” is:
as for the poet, she’s just another example of revisionists trying to turn losses into victories. if she had the depth and intellect to translate marx i doubt she’d relate to the shallow “thinking” of corrupt kiev bureaucrats and their black sun attack dogs.
I can actually tolerate the man dressing up as a woman and holding up a chocolate bar. The one thing I cannot tolerate is the nose ring. Those things give me the willies!
Yalensis, thanks very much for introducing Larysa Petrivna Kosach. She sounds very much worth reading. I read the Wiki article, but it didn’t quote a single poem. I could find only one site with one translation of an early poem by her. Are there any secret online sites that have a decent selection? Btw, I think she would be horrified if she could see what the fascist ultranationalists are doing to Ukraine now.
Replacing International Women’s Day with Mother’s Day is a shockingly bad idea. Mother’s Day goes with Father’s Day, and mothers do not represent all women by any means. Was Larysa Petrivna Kosach a mother? Emily Dickinson, for example, certainly wasn’t. Censoring /deleting “International” is also a terrible idea. The purpose of “International” is to stress that women around the world share many things that men don’t and that women need to communicate beyond national boundaries in order to improve their situation. It is a day celebrating solidarity and communication and sharing of visions for the future for ALL women everywhere. I’ll bet that at least some Ukrainian women make a point of communicating with other women in other countries on 3/8. I know that in Japan some women’s groups invite women from other Asian countries to come to Japan and give talks or lead discussions about the common problems women in East Asia face, e.g., the lingering influence of highly patriarchal and male-centric Confucianism in most of East Asia, despite significant gains made by women since the end of WWII. I remember one Japanese writer writing something like, “It was very exciting to be with these other Asian women, who shared their experiences with us. I think we all viscerally realized that we are not just members of our local cultures only. We realized that, as women, we were also all one!” 3/8 is a day about bursting national boundaries. Come to think of it, maybe we should also have International Men’s Day, so men could also communicate better and realize that ultimately we are all one and at an even higher level men and women could realize we are all one. Maybe even the stone-age Banderistas could somehow figure out that those POWs they are torturing and killing are actually their own brothers.
Imagine saying “French Women’s Day” or “British Women’s Day” or “American Women’s Day.” Just saying them out loud makes me, at least, feel chauvinistic and petty. The very concept prioritizes the nation and makes all women in a nation a sub-category of the nation. That sounds rather fascistic to me. And, given what pols always do, such a day in Ukraine would surely turn into an annual insult fest praising Ukrainian women over all other women. Why do I keep having sudden flashbacks to the 1930s and 40s? The self-identities of the Ukrainian fascists are so fragile that they are unable to deal with difference and otherness except as threats and evil. They give a new meaning to “cancel culture.”
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Thanks, Dao Gen! I agree that Larysa sounds like a fascinating person. I had heard of her before, of course, but only vaguely, and I admit I never read any of her works. Main reason being, I can’t read Ukrainian, and when it comes to poetry, well, you know it’s almost impossible to translate from one language to another.
Your point on Mother’s Day is very well taken: Not every woman is a mother. So, non-moms would feel left out. Your example of Emily Dickinson is a good one: Women deserve to be respected and celebrated for their achievements, even if they never pushed a baby out of their womb.
Your example of Japanese women meeting with other women from the Asian civilizational world is very inspiring. It is very true that women all around the world face similar problems: dealing with the patriarchy, finding a decent job, getting an education, raising their kids, etc. This is why Marxist-Leninists traditionally founded Women’s Auxiliary mass organizations which agitated for the special needs of women within the broader socialist movement. There was a time when every Communist Party (of any nation) had a women’s auxiliary. These mass organizations were sometimes very successful in agitating for issues such as publicly funded childcare, public health initiatives, free education, etc.
Bourgeois feminists, on the other hand, don’t like to admit that the international women’s movement was basically founded by Marxists, and that Engels himself provided the ideological foundation with his seminal book, “Family, private property, and the state”.
In other words, “Women’s Lib”, traditionally speaking, is a socialist thing!
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The whole miserable bunch of them are the property of Uncle Sam, they’ll do as they’re told.