In the early hours of the morning of 18 January in Vinnitsa our friend and colleague Sergiy Naboka died. And now only in our memory we will be able to see his smile, to hear his exact and profound estimations of the events, to feel his hand on the shoulder and to hear his energetic „Yes!“. He was a very tolerant person – absolutely different people gathered at his funeral. Yet, it was very different for him to coexist with the todays contempt to people and their freedom, with the disdain to everything Ukrainian. Sometimes he lost his temper, and in such moments he was ready to take a gun to his hands. The burden of the negative information was too heavy for him. Maybe, this was the reason why his heart failed – the heart of a poet, through which all crack of the world passed…
I know that he should reproach me for this „lofty style“. But this is a truth.
Journalist, poet, dissident, organizer of the Kyiv democratic club and the Ukrainian culturological club Sergiy Naboka was born on 26 April 1966 in the town of Tula in the family of journalists. Later his family moved to Kyiv.
Sergiy began to read freely since he was five years old. When he was 13-14, he read the work by Lenin „State and revolution“, after which he became a staunch anti-Soviet and anti-communist. Afterwards he read the textbook „History of the UkrSSR“. This textbook generated many questions, to solve which he had to read other open and „recommended literature“. In these books Sergiy disclosed „a tremendous deposits of brazen lie“.
Sergiy was strongly impressed by the arrests of the people, who came to Taras Shevchenkos monument on 22 May 1972. In general, Sergiy lived like other young people of this time, but he also listened to the foreign radio and participated in the political discussions. Maybe this was the reason why Naboka was enlisted to the army, although he was not-able-bodied. He served in a building unit in different places.
After the demobilization Sergiy Naboka was a student of the faculty of journalism of the Kyiv University (1976-81). He worked as a literary editor in the publishing house „Mystetstvo“. The general atmosphere in the country was depressing, this was the bloom of the zastoy(depression) period. Sergiy met his former schoolmates, he felt the necessity to undertake some activities. In 1979 Naboka became a co-founder of the Kyiv democratic club, where they organized philosophic and religious seminars, interchange of books and the literary discussions.
As Sergiy himself told, the kernel of the club consisted of those, who wanted to do something, the second layer – of those, who wanted to be present, and the third level – of those, who did not want to act and were afraid of everything, but who were curious about the club activities. All in all, the club gathered 40 or 50 persons.
The members of the club were certainly tailed. When five club members, on the eve of the day of Ukrainian political prisoners, tried to distribute the leaflets that read „Compatriots! 12 January is the day of Ukrainian political prisoners. Let us support them!“, the arrests began. All in all, four persons were arrested for this.
On 11 January 1981 Sergiy Naboka was arrested too. Along with the distribution of the leaflets he was accused of writing „slanderous“ verses and articles, participation in compiling the manifest on the internal policy of the USSR and the text „Perspectives of infilling the spiritual vacuum of the Soviet society“. According to Article 187-1 of the Criminal Code of the UkrSSR S. Naboka was condemned to 3 years of incarceration. He served the sentence in the criminal camp No. 78 (the village of Raykivtsy, the Khmelnitska oblast).
After the release in 1984 Naboka returned to Kyiv and started the religious activities. For a year he worked as a janitor in the Kyivo-Pecherska Lavra, then as a librarian and loader. During the perestroyka he took part in the restoration of the Ukrainian Autocephalic Orthodox Church (UAOC). Sergiy was proud that the UAOC community organized by him and his associates was the first in Ukraine.
In 1987-1989 Sergiy Naboka was the organizer and head of the Ukrainian culturological club. Later the club joined the Ukrainian Helsinki Group (UHG).
In 1989 Sergiy edited the independent newspaper „Golos vidrodzhennia“ („The voice of renaissance“. Although it was advertised that this was a newspaper of the UHG, the UHG practically did not participate in the edition. Sergiy and his wife made up the newspaper, printed at their own expense in the Baltic republics and distributed in the downtown of Kyiv.
Since 1989 Naboka worked as the commentator at the radio „Liberty“. He also was a co-founder, co-owner and the general manager of the Ukrainian independent information agency „Respublika“ („Republic“). Since 1994 Naboka was the President of the Ukrainian media club and the main editor of the press-center „Gariacha liniya“ („Hotline“). For some time Sergiy Naboka was a presenter of the night broadcasting of the TV company „Era“.
In memory of Sergiy Naboka
The eve of the Epiphany was darkened by the grief news: Ukraine lost Sergiy Naboka…
I was not acquainted with Sergiy Naboka personally, I knew him by his publications and appearances by radio and TV. In spite of this I was painfully stricken by his untimely decease. I do not like the stilted speeches, but today I want to say: we lost an extraordinary man, the model of professionalism and civil consciousness.
Journalist Naboka seemed to repeat the worlds of poet Irina Ratushinska: „No, my Ukraine is not dead! Do not bury her!“. He gave exact, sarcastic and sometimes even mocking definitions of the events and personage of the modern Ukraine, every his word was permeated with the remarkable intellect, dignity and respect to everybody, with the calm confidence in the victory of common sense. And he was not afraid! He was not afraid to be a Ukrainian, to call a spade a spade, to declare openly that he understood all „petty ruses“ of the politicians. Sergiy behaved as a free person in free country, and urged us to follow his example.
Sergiy Naboka left us, but I trust: his Ukraine remained in the hearts and souls of his numerous readers and listeners. And this is the moral ideal, from which the noble and humanistic Ukrainian National idea will spring up.
Viktor Dzereviago, an engineer