09.12.2000 | I. Rapp, Kharkiv

Ivan Dziuba


D. was born in the village of Nikolayevka, the Volkovakhskiy district of the Donetsk oblast to a family of the quarry worker. Father was killed at the front in 1943, mother was a hospital attendant. In 1949 D. entered the Donetsk Pedagogical Institute from which he graduated in 1953 majoring in Russian philology. In 1953 – 1957 D. was a post-graduate of the Institute of Literature of the Academy of Sciences of the UkrSSR. From 1959 D. worked as an editor of the department of literature science and a critic of the magazine ‘Vitchizna’ (‘Motherland’). In 1959 D. became a member of the Union of Writers of Ukraine. In 1962 D. was dismissed from the magazine ‘Vitchizna’ ‘for ideological mistakes’. D. took an active part in the work of the Creative Youth Club founded in Kyiv in 1960 under aegis of the city Komsomol Committee. By and by young creative intelligentsia, whose spiritual leader was I. Svitlychny, became to dominate in the work of this club, other intellectual leaders of the club became I. Dziuba and E. Sverstiuk. On 31 July D. held the memorial evening of L. Ukrainka in the Central Park of culture and rest in Kyiv; the memorial evening was held in the park alleys, since the authorities actually prohibited the commemoration meeting. This fact D. reflected in the ‘Poyasnitelnaya zapiska’ (‘Explanatory note’) that was distributed in samizdat. In 1964 – 65 D. worked as a literary consultant of the publishing house ‘Molod’ (‘Youth’). He was dismissed for taking part in the protests against political arrests among the Ukrainian intelligentsia in 1965. He also took part in the protest action at the review of the film ‘Teni zabytykh pred-kov’ (‘Shadows of forgotten forefathers’), where he spoke on the secret arrests among the young intelligentsia that brought panic in the ranks of ‘the official representatives’ and embarrassment in the hall. D. was supported by V. Chornovil, V. Stus, M. Kotsiubinska and others. As early as in 1963 D. plans to write a work on the national policy in Ukraine According to D., there existed then an urgent necessity of such analysis. In the end of 1965 D. directed to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CC CPU) a letter with the protest against arrests among intelligentsia, explaining that this was not an adequate solution of the problems. The letter caused criticism of the authorities from intelligentsia. He appended a manuscript that later became very well-known, it was ‘Internatsionalism ili rusifikatsiya?’ (‘Internationalism or rusification?’). Confining himself within the frame of the Soviet system, not refusing from the basic statements of the official ideology, D. tried to draw the attention of the authorities to the state of the Ukrainian nation in the USSR. The strongest points of the book were the parts dedicated to rusification, to examples of the anti-Ukrainian phobias in the history of the Russian expansion and chauvinism. The book was quickly distributed in samizdat, it was read throughout Ukraine. A real cult of Dziuba appeared among Ukrainian intelligentsia. The author himself, a very modest and delicate man, was not prepared to such popularity and such public role. Rather soon the book ‘Internatsionalism ili rusifikatsiya?’ got abroad, and in 1968 the publish-ing house ‘Suchasnist’ (‘Modernity’) in Munich published D.’s work as a book. Later this book was translated to many languages and published in many countries. The publication of the ‘Internatsionalism ili rusifikatsiya?’ abroad resulted in persecution of D. In summer of 1966 he was summoned to the CC CPU, where they proposed him to publish the refutation of the ‘slanderous’ information printed in the West about the national problems in the USSR. D. refused and then an article about D. appeared in print, where he was accused of ‘bourgeois nationalism’. The Union of Writers of Ukraine was ordered to draw the proper conclusions concerning D. They held a ‘friendly conversation’ with D., but it also did not give the desired result. On the contrary, a brilliant report of D. at the memorial evening devoted to the 30th anniversary of the poet V. Simonenko appeared in the foreign press. In 1967 D. attended the court session where V. Chornovil was tried. After it D., I. Svitlychny, N. Svitlychny and L. Kostenko directed the letter of protest to P. Shelest (the first secretary of the CC CPU), where they characterized the trial as a complete violation of the procedural norms and as an avenge to a man, who thinks otherwise and dares to criticize concrete actions of the concrete state organs. In 1968 D. signed the letter of 139 Ukrainian intellectuals about the political trials in Ukraine and in Moscow. The persecution campaign against D. was started in the official press. In December 1969 the Union of Writers of Ukraine started the process of expulsion of D. A meeting was held, where only two writers made speeches against D., blaming him of divulging state secrets. D. asked a question what secrets were meant: he had no access to any state secrets. One of the two speakers was indignant: ‘Do not you think that disclosing the national policy of our party is not divulging a state secret?’ At this meeting the authorities failed to exclude D. from the Union of Writers. On 26 Dec 1969 D. wrote a letter to the presidium of the Union of Writers, where he dissociated from his foreign publishers and commentators, D. condemned them. The letter was sharply criticized by V. Moroz in his essay ‘Sered snegiv’ (‘Among snows’). L. Pliushch compared this essay with the well-known V. Belinskiy’s letter to N. Gogol. V. Moroz accused D. that he attacked his own ideas and the Ukrainian resistance. The presidium took account of this letter and permitted D. to remain in the Union of Writers, but warned him that he must take active part in the literary process on the basis of Marxist-Leninist theory and to fight without compromises against bourgeois ideology. On 26 – 27 Mar 1970 leaflets were scattered in the Polytechnic and Construction-Engineering institutes in Kyiv. The leaflets expressed the protest against the exclusion of A. Solzhenitsyn from the Union of Writers of the USSR and against persecutions of D. In the magazine ‘Ukrainskiy Visnyk’ (‘The Ukrainian Herald’) No. 2 D.’s letters were printed. They defended V. Moroz. In November 1970 D., together with V. Chornovil, B. Antonenko-Davydovych and Bobliak, refused to give testimony in the closed trial of V. Moroz. On 12 Jan 1972 D. was present in Svitlychny’s home during the search and arrest of the latter. Later D. was taken home that was also searched. Then for several weeks on end D. was called for interrogations. They confiscated the complete works of Lenin with marginal notes and underlined places. In February new searches and interrogations followed. On 2 Mar 1972 a meeting of the presidium of the Union of Writers was held devoted to D.’s personal case. This time D. was excluded from the Union ‘for abusing the statute of the Union, preparing and distributing materials which are anti-Soviet and anti-Communist in character, expressing nationalistic outlook, slandering the Soviet system and national policy of the party and Soviet state’. The decision was taken unanimously. Practically the authorities meant the book ‘Internatsionalism ili rusifikatsiya?’ of 1965, for which they tried to exclude D. in 1969, but failed. On 18 Apr 1972 D. was ar-rested. The only official accusation was again the work ‘Internatsionalism ili rusifikatsiya?’. On 11 – 16 Mar 1973 D. was tried in the Kyiv oblast court and condemned by Article 62 of the CC of the UkrSSR to 5 years of concentration camp and 5 years of exile. D. got gravely ill: he had an open form of TB and cirrhosis of the lungs. In October of 1973 D. turned to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the UkrSSR with the petition of mercy. On 9 Nov 1973 the newspaper ‘Literaturnaya Ukraina’ (‘Literary Ukraine’) published D.’s application where he acknowledged his errors. During the investigation he began to write the work meant as a critical analysis of ‘Internatsionalism ili rusifikatsiya?’. Later it was published as a booklet titled ‘Grani kristalla’ (‘Crystal facets’). The disavowal was very painful for all D.’s admirers and dissidents not only in Ukraine. The attitude of the bulk of Ukrainian dissidents was well expressed by I. Svitlychny, who learned about D.’s disavowal when staying in the concentration camp: ‘That is a pity, a great pity. What will he do now? He will not be able to write, and his life will be solitary and dull’. In the West they found more plausible the version according to which D. was supported by P. Shelest, the first secretary of CC CPU in 1963 – 1972. Sacking of Shelest in 1972, they believed, became the reason of the opposition failure in the framework of the official system and resulted in D.’s disavowal. Taking into account D.’s partial confession of his guilt, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the UkrSSR mercied D. and liberated him from the incarceration. In 1974 – 1982 D. worked as a corrector and as a literary correspondent of the Kyiv aviation plant newspaper. From 1982 he wrote many essays and books on literature. From 1992 to 1994 he worked as a Minister of Culture of Ukraine. D. is the winner of the Beletskiy prize (1987) and the T. Shevchenko state prize (1991). At present he is the academician-secretary of the literature, language and art studies in the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. He is the editor-in-chief of the magazine ‘Suchasnist’ (‘Modernity’), the president of the national association of Ukrainian studies, a co-chairman of the main editorial collegium of the ‘Encyclopedia of the modern Ukraine’. D. is one of the most respect-able and authoritative figures of the Ukrainian culture.

He resides in Kyiv.

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