APANOVYCH Olena Mykhailivna
author: Vasyl Ovsiyenko
Recorded by Vasyl Ovsiyenko at her home in Kyiv, apt. 55, 11, Yevhen Pottier St., on August 20, 1999.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Olena Mykhailivna, you are a well-known historian and participant of the Sixtiers’ Movement. Would you mind telling us about yourself as a dissident in science and public life?
O.M.Apanovych: I’d like to cite the introduction to the collection of scientific papers in my honor. Here is the article "Portrait of a Woman in a Historic Interior" about me. The author ventures to say that by way of my example they have renewed the tradition of publishing scientific collections in honor of scientists of independent Ukraine. The friends, colleagues, people who work in the same academic domain compile a collection and write a preface on the dedicatee. This wasn’t a strictly memorial collection of scientific papers, but rather a dedicatory edition; however, the Soviets cut it short.
"For several centuries now, there has been a well-established tradition in the scientific world to honor fellow scientists whose contribution to science was extremely important and to publish anniversary scientific editions honoring these scientists during their lifetime.
The structure of these collections was different: some of them contained a number of articles and essays brought together on the principle of similarity grouping by topic or clearly defined issue, while others treated specific, well-defined problems subordinate to the main theme of the collection. But most of them were intended to reflect the full range of research problems jubilarian in the articles of scientists participating in the commemoration." (History of the Ukrainian Middle Ages: Kozak era. Collected Papers (In honor of historian, T. Shevchenko State Prize Winner Olena Mykhailivna Apanovych.) In 2 parts. Part One. K. - 1995. - P. 4).
I worked in three domains: Kozak Period, history of Ukraine from 16th till 18th centuries, the feudal period as it was called at the time. But these definitions feudal, capitalist periods were introduced by Marxists while the rest of the world divides history into the antiquity, Middle Ages and modern times, from the mid-17th century. And we couldn’t put it this way; we had to treat this period as history of feudalism. It is now referred to as the history of the Middle Ages.
I occupied myself with the history of Ukraine, 16th to 18th centuries, that the Kozak Era. Now it can be openly called the Kozak Era. The Kozaks were the self-expression of the Ukrainian people, not only in martial, military sense, which is also important, but in the nation-making sense as well. In the beginning it was the Zaporizhzhia Sich or Kozak republic, and then came the Ukrainian Hetman state. Recently I have been elaborating the theme of the Kozak agriculture which is my innovation. (Olena Apanovych. The Lord is plowing. The subsistence farming of Ukrainian peasants and Kozaks in the context of ideas of Serhiy Podolynsky and Volodymyr Vernadsky. – The library of The Bell of Sevastopol Magazine, 1999. - 26 p.) The Ukrainians created their own agriculture. It included ecology, nature conservation, they felt themselves the children of nature and did not fight with nature as it was in the Soviet Union; as you know the latter aspired to turn the rivers back. Michurin used to say: "We shouldn’t expect mercy from nature, we should take it by force …" The Russian Empire and Soviet Empire threw us a few centuries back. So, I go on reading:
“In Ukraine, the tradition of honoring colleagues established in the nineteenth century was carried on into the first third of the 20th century. During the following decades it was interrupted” (Collection of papers …, p. 4). They managed only to publish collections of papers dedicated to Hrushevsky, Bahaliy and somebody else. “It was preserved only in academic centers of Ukrainian emigration and the diaspora.
As the historical fates decree, the scientific work of many prominent researchers in Ukraine, which did not meet the officious stereotypes, was ignored, and sometimes subjected to obstruction justifying the infamous saying “a prophet is not without honor, save in his own country.” Among the names of scientists, with scientific achievements of which should be proud the National Academy of Sciences of any state, whose thorny path of science and original creations are admired by contemporaries, there is a name of Ukrainian historian Olena Myhailivna Apanovych, the only female historian that is the Winner of the Taras Shevchenko State Prize. It is difficult even to enumerate all domains of history, in which she conducted original studies. The range of scientific creativity of Olena Myhailivna is extremely wide: medieval studies and the history of Ukrainian Kozaks, historiography and source studies, archeography and marginalization studies, Kozak chronicles and speculative philosophy of history. Besides the numerous research works O.M.Apanovych is a known popularize promoting scientific knowledge and works of the President of the UAS, glorious traditions of our tragic and legendary history” (Collection of papers…, p. 4).
I have three distinct domains: the history of Ukraine of Kozak Period, Kozaks in all aspects and speculative philosophy of history associated with the most advanced, even brilliant ideas of Serhiy Podolynsky and Volodymyr Vernadsky.
When they stigmatized Kozak studies as the "ideological crime", I was forbidden to work on it. In addition, the KGB compiled the proscription list of scientists (it was kept in the Academy of Sciences), which were not allowed to publish their works, even in the newspapers. I was expelled from the Institute of History; for almost a year I was unemployed. It cost me a lot of effort to land a job at the Central Scientific Library, manuscript department, because I’m a historian and archivist. It also means bibliology and manuscript books. I participated in scientific bibliological conferences in Moscow and Leningrad. There were always sections dedicated to manuscript books. I made a report there and noted that the manuscript book was not only a forerunner of a printed book, but a contemporary as well. In the 18th century, beginning with Peter the Great, the Ukrainian language and writing fell within the suppression actions, Ukrainian church books were not published, there was no children’s literature, medical, people used to rewrite foreign books, particularly in Polish. The Ukrainian intelligentsia and clergy, which were part of the intelligentsia, knew Polish and Latin as it was the language of science and diplomacy. They copied from various books into one and so they created manuscripts. They existed in the 18th century. And Kozak chronicles were also handwritten. Only the Hrabianka Chronicle was published in the 18th century, and all the rest−the Chronicles of Velychko and Samovydets−were published in the 19th century. I studied these books, historical collections; I have a lot of articles about these manuscript books. I studied the fund of manuscript books numbering several thousand positions; it was my scientific work.
I will tell you now about my dissidence and how they harassed me, forbade to be engaged in scientific work, and suppressed publishing. They even censured notes mentioning me. One such Hapusenko, research worker from the Institute of History, came to me in the library where I worked after my dismissal from the institute. He showed me his manuscript. He wrote an allegedly commissioned article on historiography of Kozaks. And Kozaks were a prohibited subject at the time. Therefore it was a commissioned article probably. So, he said to me: "Olena Mykhailivna, take a look at it: I had your name here, and they struck it out.” And I retorted him: “That is your problem. If you are writing an article on the historiography of Kozaks, you cannot cross me out from historiography. you could criticize me, write that you disagree with me, that I am in the wrong, but I’m publishing my works and write a lot, not to speak of the book “The Armed Forces of Ukraine” (O.M. Apanovych. The Armed Forces of Ukraine in the first half of 18th century.―Kyiv: Naukova Dumka.―1969.―224 p.).
I would say that now I feel the same attitude of the director of the Institute of History. He reinstated me in the job somewhat against his will. You know, there was the order of the President of the Academy of Sciences about the reinstatement in the job of persons dismissed for political reasons?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Yes. And who’s now the director?
O.M.Apanovych: Smoliy. And our talkative Mrs. Nadiya (Fedosova, from the Serhiy Podolynsky Scientific Society, of which O.M. Apanovych was a member.—V.O.) said yesterday at the meeting that he was dismissed. Semynozhenko was appointed the Vice Prime Minister for Humanitarian Affairs. And Smoliy became his advisor. The same happened to Tabachnyk. Anyway, it’s a demotion. He fell on his face, haven’t you heard about that?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: You mean the incident at the meeting of Russians in Kyiv? When on their request he began translating the message of the President?
O.M.Apanovych: A fragment of speech was even televised; I did not get at it at first… And his lackey’s smile going with it. Kind of Catch- 22 situation with interpretation of the message of the President.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: He’d rather slammed out of there. And apply to the militia.
O.M.Apanovych: Sure, he had no right to interpret. The President’s text was written in Ukrainian. Rylsky said: “Translation is always a rendition.” It is no good denying it. Each rendition is a kind of deviation of sorts, and in addition, one must have at least a little bit of national pride. But I’ve turned aside from the main subject. I think that somebody wrote that this text for the President. But he signed it, therefore he’s the author. Generally speaking, I don’t feel like stooping to criticize or even talk about him. So, I hope you will leave it out of your transcript. I will go on citing:
“Renewing a series of jubilee scientific collections dedicated to prominent historians, we are happy to finally pay tribute to Ukrainian scholars, who by their selfless work made an invaluable contribution to the national treasury of historical scholarship, and make it still during their lifetime” (Collection of papers. .. s . 4).
If you like, you may make a copy of this introduction.
And Dnipropetrovsk Oblast? There were five Sichs there. I actively worked and was friends with the people there. Even when I was expelled from the Institute, they continued making references to me and Olena Stanislavivna Kompan (we were ousted together from the Institute). And now they have already released such a great book. Here they included material about Zaporizhzhia.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Under the sign of Clio. In honor of Olena Apanovych. Promin Publishers, 1995, Kyiv.
O.M.Apanovych: In addition, there are articles in newspapers. I still wanted to show you an interview published by the newspaper “Nezalezhnist.” And an article about Ivan Bilyk, author of the novel “The Sword of Ares”, for which he was persecuted.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: This book came out just during my college days. We made very much of it at the time.
O.M.Apanovych: Now a second or third edition has been out. Printed by Dnipro Publishers. He asked me to preface it. And this article is very important.
The Olena Teliha Society is going to hold a soiree in honor of my birthday; they’ve put out an article covering it. I was born on 9.09.1919. These four nines indicate that God granted me a life full of energy. I seem to have established myself; but I truly met too many adversities in life. A line from Olena Teliha comes to mind: “My time was cruel as a bitch”. In my life I had to go through hell and high water, like Ukraine and our people in general.
I was born in 1919, at the height of Civil War. My father was a railroad man, Belarusian, and my mother was a Pole, a sprig of Polish nobility. And father was a villager. It was a kind of mésalliance. However it does not matter. According to family legend, I was born in the car. My parents had ten children, but elder children had died; two of them I did not even know. I was the fifth. We moved every three years. I felt the impact of war when I was 13 years old. My father was sent to work for CER, Chinese Eastern Railway.”
V.V.Ovsiyenko: It is written somewhere that you were born in Samara Province.
O.M.Apanovych: I do not know how long we stayed there, maybe just for a short time, as we moved every three years. And then we lived in Belgorod, in Sumy. Sumy I situated in Ukraine and Belgorod is, in fact, Ukrainian city as well. On the border with Russia. Then Kharkiv, then North Manchuria, and Harbin. Then I returned to Kharkiv, and then the war followed. I spent the war time in Southern Kazakhstan and Bashkiria, and then Kharkiv, where I graduated from Pedagogical Institute. Our house was destroyed. The 82nd school was half-ruined too. Some other people occupied the apartment, pilfered our furniture. Acquaintance invited us to move to Kyiv. My younger sister and I arrived in Kyiv. Since then, 1944, I reside in Kyiv. So, for 55 years now I have been a resident of Kyiv.
This is not dissent yet; only traces of this time “cruel as a bitch.”
Thus, the Japanese occupied northern Manchuria. I remember this Harbin. We were well-off there: my father was the chief railroad inspector. This railroad was built by subjects of the Russian Empire, and they remained there. In addition, there were participants of the Russian-Japanese war. The Chinese laid claim to the railroad; the USSR claimed it as well. In 1929, the conflict was resolved on parity basis: the railroad was serviced by Chinese and Soviet subjects fifty-fifty. There were a lot of white emigrants. Harbin and Paris are the biggest harbors for immigrants. They adopted Chinese citizenship and went down to work. And the USSR sent its citizens there: a part of, so to speak, aborigines adopted Soviet citizenship, and also went to work. We were warned to keep clear of them. We, sent there by our “metropolis”, went to the same school with them, but after school we were told to avoid them. I remember how the Embassy made a special mention of people with a Soviet upbringing. At home there was a popular song: “We’ll make away with Warsaw! We’ve wrecked Crimea by now”, and then we sang “We’ve wrecked Harbin by now.”
The Japanese invaded Northern Manchuria when we were still there. They set up a puppet state of Emperor Puyi. I’ve heard, he has died just recently. You know, because of shelling we even used to hide ourselves. The nearby house was ruined. So, I keenly felt the war, it affected me. The repressions set in. We went away by Pullman car. Three families were in the car: they let an NKVD trooper pass, but my father and another railroad man were detained, arrested and taken to Harbin. For one month we were kept in the car near the border. There’s a township and the last station. The car was set on fire. There was a loveable sheep dog in the car that saved us. We were able to inform the Soviet government that the entire family was detained and our parents arrested. We were released. And with me, thirteen-year-old girl, Japanese Army Commander Araki had a talk, I still remember it. It was not a questioning: he just picked my brains, as far as I remember. He knew Russian. He asked what nationality I am. I said that Belarusian, which surprised him. I was black, brunette. He asked if I wanted to stay. I said that I wanted to go home with my parents. He told me that there were difficult times in the Soviet Union and ration cards were already introduced.
And indeed, when we came back in 1933, in Kharkiv, I saw the scattered corpses. To me it was just awful, but I did not understand what it was, I did not go into the heart of the matter. Only in the sixties I learned that there had been Holodomor. The majority of people in the sixties had no idea about it; and only now, in the independent Ukraine, they began openly writing about the Holodomor. And I came to know it from Dovzhenok, Doctor and Professor. He understood and hated the regime, but could only tell it to people whom he trusted. So, he told me what happened, and said that they, Komsomol members, were instructed to ignore dying men and children even if we witnessed it ourselves. You cannot help class enemies. And I saw it and it shocked me. Although we were hard up, but there were Torgsins ("Trade with foreigners" ― Ed.); we had hard currency that my father received, and we could buy products in these Torgsins. At the time I could not answer why, I did not see into it because I was still a youngster. Already in the sixties I went through it again, because it turned out that I had been a witness to this horror. When I spoke about it I realized that the time faced me with its wolf’s muzzle.
When we got back, my father divorced my mother and broke with us. In fact, we were under my elder brother’s guardianship. Six children to take care of. My middle brother and he flung in their studies and went to work, not to be thrown out of the apartment, because it was a departmental lodging for Kharkiv railroad workers. It was on Trynkler Street. Our house was right across from Sumy bazaar and almost next to the House of Writers. There I finished 82nd school on the central Sumy Street. The Trynkler Street runs parallel to it.
I remember the guy’s name−Leonid Frenkel, with whom we had common interests. Together we were preparing for graduation exams. Once he happened to come in and say, “Here, Olena Mykhailivna, you love literature so much and dream of traveling, and here’s an ad about the enrolment in the institute combining both your wishes.” This was the Journalism Institute in Moscow, which was officially called the Communist Institute of Journalism under the CPSU (b). In addition, they enrolled only entrants with the three years of experience: party, Komsomol, or journalism. This was the first admittance of high school graduates. Throughout my life wherever I studied, I had “A” in all subjects.
I graduated from high school in Kharkiv in 1936 and entered the Institute of Journalism. I had all “A”s, but there were no medals at the time. There was only a special gilded frame. I had to get by Russian literature and language only. I was admitted. It was really an elitist institute; there was the choice academic staff; we established close links with the members of the club of journalists combining the top authors of the time! And we were eighteen-year-old girls. There were a few women, and they were older. Our stipends were high and everything seemed fine, but it all happened in 1937! The student cards to freshmen were handed by one Nodel (can’t remember his last name). He shook hands with everyone and everybody knew that he had been Lenin’s comrade. Only later I realized that it was a kind of exile for him, if he was Lenin’s comrade. A month later they collected our cards, tore out all pages inside and insert new ones signed this time by Rector Vinogradov. And then they let all hell loose in the institute. You may know this poem by Aleksandr Tvardovski "Son is not accountable for his father": "Son’s not accountable for father. But what those words can mean, You, youngsters, may not bother To know safe and clean. And during copius midnight medleys When that question broke loose You couldn’t be awry or reckless Though fathers we could never choose. The main event was five-year plan, And all minorities and hazards [indecipherable], All nationals get their deserts. [indecipherable], and be on hand if there’s shortage of ... class enemies" and so on.
Among our freshmen there were children of People’s Commissars of Georgia, you know, tough guys, they were arrested directly at the meetings… The groups literally contested to see who would reveal more enemies of people. Now about the educational process as such. Lectures were perfect. I remember there was a course "Reviews", in particular “Music Reviews”. Somebody always played… it was great, the more so I was a music lover. But these meetings… Wow, there was another happening in my life.
When we came from abroad, some of hard currency (my father was paid in Manchukuo yuans and dollars) was immediately exchanged for Torgsin coupons. Why am I telling you this? There were eagles or US$10 coins. My Mom kept them "for a evil day." And you could exchange dollars only in Moscow. When I was about to go to Moscow, my elder brother and sister said, "Here you go to Moscow, so try and change what’s left for the family.” During the partition of property with my father some money was left for the family. After an examination we were passing by the bank while going back to our dwelling. And I had clean forgotten what I had to do. To a girlfriend, whose name I cannot remember, I said, "Wait a minute, or go with me: I will change money.” She immediately informed on me, and the general meeting chastised me. It was an eerie meeting. They gathered together the whole institute, which was not that big. The assembly room was full. I remember that the older members protected me and asked why we kept hard currency. I replied that we did it for the "evil day." - "So, you mean that in the Soviet Union an “evil day” may occur?” I remember that it was terrible. After such meetings the students were expelled from the institute, and I was threatened. But then Stalin said that the son was not accountable for his father. However, Yakir’s son said he lied because the children did serve sentences.
Eventually, the Institute was closed down we studied only a year. All tenth graders were placed in different Institutes.
I returned to Kharkiv and graduated from the Faculty of Russian Language and Literature. The Russian language was okay with me. I passed my entrance Russian-language-and-literature examination.
We had finished this institution in 1941, when Nazi planes were making circles in the sky over Kharkiv. This much about my educational qualifications. I only had two “B”s: for Marxism-Leninism and something else. In total there were twenty-six subjects. It seems to me I also had “B” for Ukrainian language, but may not remember exactly. You can see it in the album that my sister compiled. She’s put everything together there.
We were about to evacuate. But it was impossible to get out. This was something terrible. The Germans had already approached Kharkiv. My elder sister made us rucksacks in which we put all that was needed. We tried to go on foot. My brother was digging trenches for defense against the Germans. Somehow the railroad workers saw to the last wagonage for themselves. However, I’ve met there a girlfriend, whose father was not a railroader, so others could manage the same. Alas, my documents were stolen. At the time they used to say that spies stole documents. I had graduated with the diploma with honors. Later they issued me a duplicate, but this time the cover was blue. They also stole my passport. In the morning we loaded our luggage, but the time of departure was not known. We spent the whole day at the car, and it was necessary somehow to go pick up the passport. But then somebody threw under my passport to my brother. Such happenings occur to me now.
On our way to Southern Kazakhstan we were bombed once. They dropped us in a god-forsaken kishlak. My sister was with her three-year daughter Kamila (my mom’s name was Kamila, and we agreed that the first child in our family would be called in honor of our mother Kamila). My sister was still under thirty and I was twenty-two and the younger sister was eight years old. And there Sharia was the working law: in the kishlak the men separated us, even a little girl had to live with some family. A teacher (I think he was Kazakh, or maybe Russian) learned about it. It was hard, but there always were good people. He got a cart and drove us out of kishlak despite the chase. So we went to Mankent; you may have heard of Şımkent, which is close by. It was also the time “cruel as a bitch.”
We came in Mankent and were billeted in the house of dekulakized women. I do not know from which exact locality she had come. It seems to me that she was from the Krasnodar Krai. She hated us. Various bugs pestered us. Maybe I needn’t telling it in all details. My sister, for example, put the bed legs in jars filled with kerosene. We were chased there as well, but again there were good people−he was Uzbek and she was Tatar−drove persecutors away.
And then we found our kin and moved to Ufa in Bashkortostan. By the way, the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine was evacuated there as well. There I saw Maxim Rylsky, Korniychuk’s wife came there (it seems her name was Wanda Wasilewska); I attended literary soiree.
But we were terribly hungry. My niece developed colitis. I donated blood and my younger sister donated. She forged something and received donor’s rations. I donated blood and gave my ration to my little niece. It included also chocolate. I was sent to work with Bashnarkomzdrav. Then I went to Bashradiokomitet as correspondent of the section of local radio. And luckily for us the ministry ordered to send people to sowing campaign. Well, they couldn’t send doctors and so they sent me. I was poorly dressed and hungry, but as luck would have it I was billeted with the hostess who had buckwheat flour and milk. When I came back to Ufa, they said I was a beautiful young woman. That’s when I stood in line for rations, one man told me, “And I thought you were not long for this world.” So I looked rather bad before.
Such were my feelings. Although it is not dissent, but even then something came to my mind that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
In 1944, a woman, who worked as a secretary of the District Komsomol Committee, helped us with re-evacuation. It was not that easy to return. We came back to Kharkiv and turned to my father’s former assistant (I forgot his name). He treated my younger sister and me in the fatherly way and said, "You stay and I’ll help you.” But our apartment was past repair, there was nothing but bare walls, and therefore we went to Kyiv.
I went to work in the archive, just sheer luck, I won’t go into subtleties. There was recently appointed director Kost Huslystyi. He was a historian and archivist, and even my teacher. There also worked Fedir Pavlovych Shevchenko. I’ve written a book about him and it is due to be out any time soon. So, since 1944 I worked in the archive. It never entered my mind: my friend, the wife of Didychenko, drew me into it. Later Didychenko was in charge of a department of the archive. So, it happened by accident. Then Kost Huslystyi told me about the Kozaks; the Archive of Zaporizhzhia Sich Kish had been just returned from evacuation at the time. This gem of Ukrainian history and literacy miraculously survived. The archive included 365 files. I wrote my thesis on this basis. Later, in the sixties, we prepared them for publication. The Archive of Zaporizhzhia Sich Kish was first prepared for publication by Vasylenko-Polonska, but the project wasn’t realized. She prepared a list of the contents of the archive. We didn’t get by with it in 1972 as well. Only two (or four) years ago they finally prepared and published the archive.
[End of the track]
There I defended my thesis. Huslystyi gave me a military theme. And I just fell in love with the Kozaks. Once in the past he told me about the Kozaks, about this archive, and ever since it became my lifework; in the archive I was a co-worker and researcher. All my life I was associated with archives. I have accumulated a lot of materials, but sometimes I miss that now I cannot just go and work in the archives. You can see for yourself my condition after a heart attack.
I’ll give you the basic dates of my life and work. I am now preparing my bibliography, in fact, continuation of it for reissue (See: OlenaApanovych. Bibliographical index. (On occasion of 80th Birthday and 55 years of scientific research). Kyiv: Olena Teliha Publishers, 1999.―82 p.). I’ll give it you when I’m thru with the additions. I’ve arranged that they make me a layout for free.
So, I defended my thesis “Zaporizhzhia army, its structure and its participation as the division of the Russian army in the Russo-Turkish war of 1748-1774.” I defended and was taken on by the Institute of History in 1950.
And now in 1950… I’ll give you. Do you have my book "The Russian-Ukrainian Treaty of 1654. Myths and Reality”? (Kyiv: Varta.―1994.―94 p.).
V.V.Ovsiyenko: No, I do not.
O.M.Apanovych: My son has accidentally come across a pack: I kept looking for it for two years in vain. I give it to you and will explain now how I’ve come to write it. Now you cane have this one.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: “Chortomlyk Zaporizhzhia Sich” (In honor of the 345th Anniversary. Kyiv: Ukrainian Kozaks.―1998.―80 p.)
O.M.Apanovych: The book came out last year.
So in 1950 I went to work in the Institute of History, and in the early 50’s there started events pregnant with dangerous consequences which I do not describe in detail here. Now, these “Theses”. Have you heard about the “These on the 300th Anniversary of the Reunification of Ukraine and Russia approved by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union”? Here I explain that this was a specifically planned crime against the Ukrainian people. The false conception of the history of Ukraine: allegedly the Ukrainian history had as its object the reunification with the Russian people in a common state. You can read it there. And then, in the 50s, I had no idea about it. Only now I’ve written about Fedir Pavlovych and mentioned that he also had to write about the reunification. But I show that he was a patriot. Now I’ll read you the annotation. The title of the book will read as follows: “Fedir Pavlovych Shevchenko: historian, archivist, historiographer, archeographer, source researcher, organizer of science, and a man.” The book contains a part "Memoirs and archeographical analysis”. So it is a half-scientific and half-fictional book.
"The book of Olena Apanovych covers the life and investigates the scientific work and organizational activities of Fedir Pavlovych Shevchenko, distinguished Ukrainian historian, archivist, historiographer, archeographer, source researcher, and organizer of science. The personality of F.P.Shevchenko, who had to live and act in a totalitarian State, Soviet Union, is shown in the context of historical period; the author depicts the hard life of intellectuals, especially heavy and difficult for Ukrainian historian. The works of Fedir Pavlovych Shevchenko written in the 50s in their new reading constitute an organic inclusion in the book. A part of them is analyzed with addition of multiple citing purified from the Marxist-Leninist rhetoric, large fragments are given in the original. “He swears there that he is a Marxist-Leninist and so on, while I write that he comes out of it and, in fact, uses the method that is part of the foundation of all science system worldwide: systems, subsystems, their relationship, their development and so on.
Thus, in this book I dwell upon this false concept, the most shameless falsification of Ukrainian history. In a nutshell:
“The Ukrainian-Russian agreement of 1654, as well as the implications of this agreement for the history of Ukraine, was most shamelessly misinterpreted. It assumed specially ugly character, when imperial communism deliberately organized a criminal campaign against the Ukrainian people: edition in 1953 of the “Theses for the 300th Anniversary of the Reunification of Ukraine with Russia approved by the CCC of the CPSU.” They were granted canonical status of ideological party regulation that absolutely everyone had to unconditionally accept and execute as the law. These theses distorted the real historical process in Ukraine, put forward wild absurd statements starting with crazy terminology like “reunification of Ukraine with Russia.” One can reunify something…
V.V.Ovsiyenko: …what was once aggregate.
O.M.Apanovych: “So the Soviet historians freaked out and resorted to myth-making, wrote anti-scientific, anti-historical works illustrating the theses of CPSU. The deadly Soviet censorship stroke out or did not allow printing works containing the slightest hints contrary to “the theses of the CPSU”. Several authors of such works were subjected to repression and expulsion from the job was the least evil. Since then the pages of books, magazines, newspaper columns, radio and television broadcasts carried screaming sermons and maintained that the Pereyaslav Council, which preceded the 1654 treaty, was the central and main event in the entire Ukrainian history, and allegedly “made true the eternal dream, the centuries-old aspirations and struggle of Ukrainian people for the reunification of Ukraine with Russia, which was a huge boon for Ukraine.” It turned out that the Ukrainian people were the only people on the planet who fought against their independence and aspired only to get into the imperial stranglehold. The Ukrainian historical figures who led the national liberation movement of our people against tsarist Russia were branded, stigmatized as vile despicable traitors and eternal worst enemies of the Ukrainian people and so on. For decades they drove in the idea. The new generations were born, grew up, were raised and educated under conditions of unprecedented falsification of history. It came down into the genetic memory, deformed national consciousness, gave rise to the national inferiority complex, historical second-rate character of Ukrainian people, fatalistic concept of the impossibility of independent existence of Ukrainians and failure to establish an independent state.”
And elsewhere I write that even now we feel the consequences of this.
It was written that I was a child prodigy since my school-age with gift for mathematics. Mathematicians also believed that I was wrong not to go in for math. Neither my father, nor my mother was a teacher, and I thought I would be supposed to become a teacher in this case, and I did not want to. The teachers relieved, and each new one maintained that I should be a mathematician. And I thought maybe if I followed the advice I would not suffer so much as with my history research. On the other hand, in addition to my artistic vision of the historical process, I like to structure material. You may feel for yourself the orderliness of my discourse and absence of inconsistencies in my narrative.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Yes, therefore your text is easy to read. I have read your book “The armed forces of Ukraine in the first half of the 18th century” very thoroughly as soon as it came out. Was it in 1969?
O.M.Apanovych: In 1969, and in January 1970 it was out.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: I still have it.
O.M.Apanovych: And how did you get it?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Just bought in a bookstore.
O.M.Apanovych: Was it still on sale at the time?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Yes, for a while. I was a student at the time. It was one of those books that we made very much of, showed to one another and advised to read. It was an event!
O.M.Apanovych: Yes, my sister filed letters about this book. When you will have the time, come and read. It really matters. You will read letters and inscriptions on the books. For me the strict, mathematical presentation of the material is not less important than the text.
Now I’ll tell you, how the Ukrainian history became more and more lucid for me.
Once, when I met with difficulties, I came to the Institute of History. Fedir Pavlovych Shevchenko asked me: “Where do you work?” I answered, “Nowhere!” He said nothing, and I asked nothing at the time. But the next day morning they call me from the Institute of History and say, “You are taken on as a research assistant.”
My younger sister and I co-resided when I worked in the archives and did post-graduate studies. I had to work in the archive, do research and technical work, as I was to support my sister. I envied those graduate students who could work in the library in the morning and I was happy when I had a month for creative and also could come in the morning. My scholarly work was kind of my guide, my dream. When I found myself in the History Institute, it was situated in the same building which is now called the Humanities Building of the University on the Shevchenko Boulevard, and where the First Gymnasium was in the past…
V.V.Ovsiyenko: I also studied there, there was my Philological Faculty.
O.M.Apanovych: In the 50s there were humanitarian institutes of the Academy of Sciences. I went up those metal stairs and thought, “God, do I really work in this temple of science?” Now, these were not mere words, they were really pertinent to the topic. I came to the Institute when on the basis of those Theses they designed a program for attack on mentality, the essence of Ukrainian people. I have an article “On the Russian roots of Ukrainophobia” (Young Ukraine.―1994.― September 29). There is a certain Shokalo, they now publish a Forum newspaper (Olexandr Shokalo, Executive Secretary of the Association “Ukraine”−Ed.). I asked him to review my book (The Lord plows.―Ed.) Wrote, and he said he would write, and it would be published in three places. I want everybody to know more about it. This is not for the sake of vanity. I want this book to be known to the largest possible number of people. Not the abstract public, but those who sway the destinies of land and peasants.
And in my book about Fedir Pavlovych, I wrote that the momentum for those Moscow so-called scientists, who developed this false conception of Ukrainian history, was given by Stalin when, in 1945, during the celebration of victory, he drank "For the great Russian people." It looked like Great Russian people was the winner, leader and so forth. Therefore the government decided to publish collected articles on the “On the Reunification of Ukraine with Russia.” Here I’ll show you the first volume. Quite a sizeable volume! The Institute of History of the UkrSSR and the Institute of History of the USSR were to execute the project; three men were appointed project directors. And Fedir Pavlovych was involved in the effort as well. We had to collect documents in Ukraine and in Moscow. But the ambassadors of Muscovy gave a false color to the events. The first volume was prepared us, six researchers: me, three from the Institute of History, from the archive.
In my book about Fedir Pavlovych I draw the reader’s attention to the fact that at the time I believed that "friendship of peoples" and “brothers nations” were good ideas. I was way-out on it. And what did I do? I did not write the preface, which I never analyzed until now. I worked with documents and considered myself a professional. While in graduate school, I passed six exams, although it should have been three. Besides special courses, I passed archive-sciences, palaeography, and Polish exams. So, I considered myself a professional.
Then I write that Nikita Khrushchev’s exposure of Stalin’s personality cult unclosed my eyes. Such was our education… I remember how at the meetings at the Institute of Journalism we shouted, "Stalin," “Hurray.” I applauded so vigorously that my hands swell. And next to me was a patron, he seems to have been a pupil of Makarenko, he had seen a great deal in his long life, because he was our senior. He said, "Well, baby, you just wait and see for yourself.” He was afraid to word it. And I applauded Stalin! When we first went to the Red Square on the occasion of a holiday, a parade, I took a pair of binoculars with me to see the “adored Stalin.” Once I got out the binoculars−and we marched very close, in long rows−I was taken by my arms on both sides: they thought I might carry explosives! And something occurred to me at the moment, but…
I write in my book, among other things, about this sudden clarification. I worked with archives and never gave it a second thought; however, the events made me to take life more seriously. I concerned myself with history and found some analogies with the present. So, I published a book in 1961, my first major monograph “Zaporizhzhia Sich fighting against the Turkish-Tatar aggression: from the 50s till 70s of the 17th century.” (AS of the UkrSSR. History Institute.―Kyiv: AS of the UkrSSR Publishers, 1961.―z299 p.). I encountered the phenomenon as follows. Didychenko was in charge of the archives, his wife Mila draw me into the archive department, because Huslystyi was their neighbor. She said that he recruited young people and recently posted a historian in charge of the archives. And do you know whom they began putting in charge later in time? These archives were under supervision of the KGB, NKVD, MGB and they began putting in charge their retirees.
So this Mila Didychenko was a nurse, a large encirclement of Soviet troops in the vicinity of Kyiv and was in a German concentration camp. She was registered in her certificate as Mariya Didychenko, and she was a Jew. So, she says that they were lined up in ranks and commanded “Jews, step forward!" She says that she was about to move, but there were older women, they caught her and retained her. And then they helped her to escape. In Germany she worked for a farmer, and then returned. At home she was imprisoned. She turned completely gray. Still young… and like marquise. This was rather befitting. But she told me that she had turned gray in the Soviet jail. I was staggered!
Such phenomena influenced my consciousness as a citizen and formed my national consciousness. The Kozaks made me a patriot. I wrote and said that it was impossible to study the history of Ukrainian Kozaks and not be a patriot. With me everything aroused protest… how could I express it? Here’s I describe something and emphasize to give a lesson for the present. It couldn’t be political journalism: the reader should compare and draw conclusions. A perfect fool will not understand and it serves him right, and a clever man must understand. The reviews read the same. In his critique Oles Lupiy wrote that one couldn’t read my book without tranquilizers. Another review reads: why do not we learn the lessons of history?
The Kozaks liberated slaves. I always emphasize that the main objective of campaigns was undermining the power of Turkey; but not the least important aim was the liberation of slaves, captives, and prisoners. When they brought the captives back to the Sich, they fed them, fitted them out and sometimes transported home. The Don Cossacks did the same. They write the tsar urging him to quickly send them their salary (bread money included): “We have the stock, but we do not touch it reserving it for these poor slaves.” I describe that the Kozaks had so strong folk tradition that even the tsarism respected it. Moreover the Zaporizhzhia Sich issued universals in order that both Russian and Ukrainian authorities would help them along their way. They granted them safe conduct. I read a lot of interrogation protocols where prisoners told how they were rescued or how they escaped. And the tsars exempted them from taxes for ten years in the places of chosen residence. They asked them where they wanted to live. In Kyiv, then let it be Kyiv. I make a point of it.
I n this way I protested against official treatment of our prisoners. On the whole, since I wrote on military matters, I resorted to in-depth studies of military manuals: textbooks for cadet schools, even "Philosophy of War" by Moltke. He wrote that in court people swear on Bible to tell the truth, only truth and nothing but the truth, while Moltke said that one should tell the truth, only truth, nothing but the truth, but not the whole truth. Now I can admit that I did not tell the whole truth, but I always, unlike the others, couldn’t help writing my mind.
I want to say that this "reunification" gave impetus to my recovery of sight. I already told about my attitude towards Stalin. I remember the year 1937. I came home for the holidays and heard my elder brother telling my sister: “When will this terror end?” I could not understand why he called it terror, because Stalin said otherwise: “you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs”. Such was my consciousness. I loved poetry, knew old romances, Vertinsky; however, I had little to do with reality. But these individual moments, especially the history, the history of Ukraine, awakened my consciousness. Consider collective farms: I did not know the whole truth, although we specifically studied the collective farm movement. I knew that collective farmers were not issued passports, they were not paid in cash, and they were not given corn. In 1947 there was famine and for ten ears the collective farmers were sentenced to ten-year imprisonment. This aroused a protest. I realized that it meant serfdom! As a historian I studied the period of serfdom at the time, and I saw that we had returned to the serf-ownership. I told it my brother. It was my elder brother, a very smart and thinking person. He was an engineering worker; he graduated after me; he defended his thesis later because he had to support our family, sisters and brothers. I said: "You know, Mykhailo, I see that our political system is nothing but serfdom.” He answered, "Why serfdom? We have slavery as well.” At the time we knew nothing about GULAG, but we did hear about concentration… Only when the perestroika started and two brothers Medvedev…
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Roy Medvedev and Zhores Medvedev…
O.M.Apanovych: I heard Roy. He said that there were four systems: slavery, serfdom and others. I saw that the serfdom was similar to slavery. I also studied the struggle against the Turkish-Tatar aggression, studied the history of Turkey and its vassal Crimean Khanate, knew processes and specific issues, I was inclined to generalize and to learn the philosophy of history.
I remember I was very fond of Taganka Theater. It was very difficult to get a ticket, but I often went on a business trip and obtained tickets. I remember how I got a new book of Voznesenski; it was put on stage then. They have a small hall there, they raise the curtain, and there’s the inscription: “Any progress is reactionary, if a man goes down.” I think, why? But it made me wonder what this means? Korzhavin wrote in the Tvardovski’s magazine… How was it called?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: “New World”.
O.M.Apanovych: "New World". Tvardovski was expelled, and these poems went to samizdat. I memorized this verse form the first time. In his article on Ivan Kalita “Moral make-up of the ruler” he wrote: “In outward appearance you’re rather nasty and vile in heart, but it is not the point: historically progressive was your creative way.” For us it was like a prayer: the tsarist government is bad, but if it is in the interests of Russia, it is progressive. So, my understanding came through history.
The sixties made of me a thinking and nationally conscious individual. I began thinking about Ukraine as a nation. I had an article in the spirit of Marxism-Leninism “National liberating wars during feudalism” (Ukrainian Journal of History.―1965.—No. 12.―P. 29-38). Under guidance of Didychenko, our head, we studied Engels. About this article they said that it was an event. Anyway, there were such press comments of Krypyakevych and Boyko, too. They once spoke well about the Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s statehood. I did not hear, but they told me that twice Dashkevych spoke and said that under those conditions one could still make her/his way… At the time I could only say "war of liberation" and in any case one couldn’t tell a single word about “national war”. And when in the sixties began to return from exile Antonenko-Davydovych, Kochur, when my "Armed Forces" were published… I preserved the Kochur’s inscription on the book. I dwell on this because those are touches of mine, as they call it, dissent. This is what he wrote, and I’m proud of it…
V.V.Ovsiyenko: "Echo" is a known book of Hryhoriy Kochur, a collection of his selected translations. The book was published in 1969. “To dear Olena Mykhailivna from her enthusiastic reader. Hryhoriy Kochur, April 23, 1969.”
O.M.Apanovych: I want to say that such a person for me was a hero. I obtained samvydav publications by hook or crook… Ivanysenko’s apartment was one floor higher here…
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Victor Ivanysenko? I knew him personally, and his son Volodymyr studied together with me at the Ukrainian Philology Faculty of Kyiv University.
O.M.Apanovych: His son teaches in the village (Hermanivka, Obukhiv Region.—V.O.) now. We met here; the whole of the company came here. We exchanged samvydav publications. I listened to all imaginable radio broadcasts: Deutsche Welle, Freedom, Voice of America, and BBC. You know, it was a sight for sore eyes. We shared with Olena Stanislavivna Kompan books. For example, I got a book of Kaufman "Four Philosophies of Ancient East”. It was a saying of Chinese statesmen “cogs in the state machine.” I remember coming to Olena Stanislavivna with this book and Ivan Yukhymovych Senchenko said: “Does our piebald read such books?”
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Chinese philosophy…
O.M.Apanovych: Yes, but do you know the origin of the saying? Sometime later I read in Dostoevsky: “I do not need your paradise, if it costs at least a drop of child’s tears” and put it together. I started to analyze and bring Stalin under deliberation. They argued and I myself thought he was doing something good. What was good, what was bad, and what outbalanced. My brother said to me, “What do you trying to think! Under Stalin, the country was pushed several centuries back.” That I remember. This uncertainty was typical of me up to the sixties. And in the sixties everything burst out; it was then that I got the show on the road. I remember that when Olena Stanislavivna said that history as a science has come to a dead end, I prophetically retorted: “There will be history.” Others remained rather skeptical about the history though.
When in the early sixties the Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture was established, I was so happy and said that historian is an armchair scientist, and from now on s/he would find practical application of knowledge and save monuments for future generations. I treated this with great enthusiasm. (Pause, rustling papers). Here you can see, "Board member of the Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture, Chairman of the Committee for setting up Volyn organization. They presented it to me and inscribed: "With Lesia Ukrainka from grateful Volyn people”. It was in 1966. And in 1972 we were driven out from the institute and forbade to be engaged in any public work. “Member of the Presidium of the Board, Head of History Section of Kyiv Organization.” As the head of the section I organized conferences, writers took part in them… I was also a "Member of the Academic Council of the UkrSSR State Construction Committee for the Protection and Restoration of Monuments of History and Culture.” They saw that I strayed from the straight and narrow, I was a professional, and had enthusiasm. In 1967, Kytsenko found me… does his name ring a bell for you?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: No, I do not know him.
O.M.Apanovych: In 1965, the government passed a Decision about perpetuation of the memorial sites of Zaporizhzhia Kozaks and announcement of the Island of Khortytsia a state preserve and setting up a memorial complex of Zaporizhzhia Kozaks, museum-panorama and the like. Deputy Head of Zaporizhzhia Oblast Executive Committee on Culture Kytsenko was the life and soul of it. Actually he was a journalist. He was at the Japanese front, and kept submitting applications to be returned to Ukraine. Later I wrote an article about him “Son of Kozak Steppe” (Zaporizhzhia Komsomolets.―1990. - September 8, 15, 22, 29, October 6; Kytsenko M.P. Khortytsia: heroics and legends. Essay on local history.—Dnipropetrovsk: Sich, 1991.―P. 119-149). He was a friend of Oles Honchar, they used to come there together; I then wrote a letter to Honchar that his poem had been published, which began as follows: "We don’t need bronze…”. For your second visit I will find where Honchar named him a son of the steppe. I wrote Honchar that I had written this essay under his influence. Kytsenko had managed everything. I should say that "in the corridors of power" it was Tronko (Petro Tymofiyovych, Academician, b. 12. 07, 1915; at the time he was Deputy Chairman of the UkrSSR Council of Ministers. - Ed.) who helped him to push all these documents. I’ll give you the book "Tales about the Zaporizhzhia Kozaks" (Kyiv: Dnipro, 1991.―335 p.) for you to read. And there you will read about Khortytsia. And Shelest supported the creation of the reserve on the Khortytsia. (P.Y. Shelest, First Secretary of the CC of the CPU from July 1963 to May 26, 1972.―Ed.).
I have a series of articles “Let’s save the past glory” (Ukrayina Weekly Magazine, 1968-69). Here’s a reference citing me, there are many of such references in the book. “Social movement for the perpetuation of the history of Ukrainian Kozaks in the second half of the fifties and eighties.” I was in the spotlight then. Kytsenko found me having read my works on Zaporizhzhia Sich. He came all right. We made friends. I was a jurywoman considering reserve projects; I drew up a list of objects to perpetuate the memorial sites of Zaporizhzhia Kozaks, found these memorials, organized them, classified; in general, I determined what is a monument and what should this notion include. All of it was published in seven issues of the Ukrayina Weekly Magazine. It was read by Shelest. He had something in his heart of hearts… I’ll give you this book. If you like, you can read it on the go. Just read about Khortytsia.
Shelest came to Khortytsia and said, “Do it guys and do it quickly!” Maybe he felt the possibility of a fatal end of all this undertaking.
I used to work evenings in the Institute of History. Dubyna, Director of the Institute, sent for me. Incidentally, he was Stalinist, but he defended us. Ye tried to protect Braichevsky and me. He died tragically, but it is another subject.
[End of cassette #1]
O.M.Apanovych: He led me into the corridor, we walk down the hall and he told me: “I’ve just come from Petro Yukhymovych”. It seems they were home-folks. Anyway, when he was appointed director, he once said to Vadym Arkhypovych: “Look, tell him to calm down… I cannot carry all of it on my broad shoulders all the time.” And Dubyna did defend us, even though he was Stalinist. He was handsome and he was good at singing Ukrainian songs. He says: “Shelest read your articles in Ukrayina and liked them very much; he asked me whether you had anything else to publish and how he could help. He knew that the scientist in those circumstances could publish a monograph on feudalism perhaps only once every in a decade. He answered, “You know, her book about the armed forces of Ukraine has been ready for publication for two years now.” – “Then do bring it out promptly and in the best way possible.” This is why the printing quality was so high: firstly, with color illustrations. The illustrations were only authentic: we were taking pictures in museums, and not doing retakes from books. It’s a pity they presented a flag that was then kept in the Hermitage in the wrong perspective. They went there as well. And now they’ve stored it up somewhere. And what about the dust jacket! Marvelous design! I owe this to Shelest. (laughs). I kept silence then, but now I say this.
I was on the jury, member of the methodological board head by Fedir Pavlovych. Here is a list if you feel like reading it. Khortytsia came into my heart and soul. I frequented there, I developed a panorama plan; together with Kytsenko and other experts I designed a draft memorial complex. I insisted that panorama should show the taking of Kaffa by Sahaidachny. And the time nobody was permitted to mention Sahaidachny. It was the time of Khotyn Battle Anniversary, in which Kozaks saved Polish Army; I published an article; in fact, I published many articles (Khotyn Battle / / Literary Ukraine. - 1971. - September 19, Khotyn War, 1620-21; Khotyn Peace 1621 / / Soviet Encyclopedia of the History of Ukraine. − Kyiv, 1972. − Vol 4. − P. 438). And then the "Literary Ukraine" published an open letter of a military man, which read: "How can you write about a traitor who campaigned against Moscow!" Now I have an article "How Hetman Sahaidachny campaigned against Moscow" published by the newspaper “People’s Army” (1999.―July 23.―4 p.).
We then lived in a sort of cosmic rhythm and managed to do a lot; Kytsenko at Khortytsia enthusiastically collected everything; memorial places on Khortytsia were studied; memorial sites were marked. It was a great time! This resolution obliged the creative associations, Academy of Sciences, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Culture to participate in the project; I compiled a list, registered all memorable battlegrounds, places associated with specific colonels, locations of Sichs, palankas, palanka centers. I managed it. And I was criticized, and they even set a rumor afloat that I wrote the book for Shelest.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Which one, “Our Soviet Ukraine”? (Kyiv: Political Literature of Ukraine Publishers. − 1970. − 280 p.)
O.M.Apanovych: Yes. (They are laughing). They maintained that he propagated the UPR. Who was appointed after Dubyna’s death? Skaba was appointed, and before Skaba there was an acting director, allegedly a city party committee secretary. So, he sent for Olena Stanislavivna Kompan and me and said that we should write a critique on this book.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: One by Shelest?
O.M.Apanovych: Yes, in fact, he was deprived of office at the time.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: You had to criticize him severely?
O.M.Apanovych: Yes, and so he told us. Olena Stanislavivna just did not understand it at first, while I understood and somehow tried to dog it. And then they expelled both of us from the institute. Then everything burst out…
I remember when this Regulation came out the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences turned to the Institute of History, the Department of Feudalism. And who studied this period? I did, therefore I developed a program of the Institute, except the one that I developed together with Kytsenko. So, we did it for the Presidium. Among others, we together with Valentyna Pavlivna Sydorenko, who was in charge of scientific studies there and was my friend, included there a series of lectures about Zaporizhzhia Sich. Those lectures were attended by multitudes of people, who were coming even from other cities. There Yaroslav Dzyra lectured about his discovery that Bilodid aspired to steal from him. And he did steal finally. It was a scientific discovery in the field of Shevchenko studies; Dzyra proved that Shevchenko knew chronicles. He found archival evidence; moreover, as a specialist he analyzed the works of Shevchenko and found that Shevchenko rehashed the Velychko’s Chronicle. In fact, he fetched documentary evidence. Dzyra’s article was published by "Komsomolskaya pravda", and Bilodid started plagiarizing. But everybody was in the know already. Therefore he drove Dzyra out of the Institute of Literature. Dzyra’s scientific adviser was Andriy Biletsky. Biletsky took notice of him as early as during the state graduation exams at the university and said, “This is my graduate student.” Dzyra wrote on the famous long poem by Ivan Franko "Moses." So, Bilodid expelled Dzyra from the Institute of Literature, and [name illegible] and Biletsky helped him to go to work at the History Institute. It was then that we became friends. He joined our trio: Braichevsky, Olena Stanislavivna and me; now there were four of us. We then called Bilodid Chornobaba. I went to Bilodid before submitting the draft project to the Presidium of the Academy. Then the Academy of Sciences had sections, and Bilodid headed the Social Sciences Section and was the vice president of the Academy of Sciences. So I came to him with this plan, a series of lectures and other activities that had been developed. I enthusiastically presented him my work, and he cast a glance at it and said, "Wow, it’s pabulum for nationalists, would you believe it!” This gives you something to think about: “pabulum for nationalists”. We’ve already known what he’s been up to with Dzyra, and his behavior alienated us.
And there was one such Mykolyshyn; he is still there. He organized these lectures at the Tochelektroprylad plant on Harmatna Street, not far from here, 2-3 bus stops.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Olexa Mykolyshyn? And I know Olexa Mykolyshyn very well!
O.M.Apanovych: So you ask him about me. We were friends with him, I liked him very much, and we delivered lectures there.
The circumstances were such that I that the first three years I was at a Ukrainian school; the Russification wasn’t on the agenda at the time. When we arrived in Harbin, where there was a Russian school, it was hard for me to be at school, because I did not know many Russian words. Then my father hired a teacher. We were taught Chinese at the school as well; he intentionally hired a teacher, because he wanted me to learn that language too. So there were two teachers. I remember my mother sent me to buy vegetables; I said that I need a beet, but nobody understood me. So the Chinese showed me vegetables one by one until it came to beets and then I said that I needed these very beets. “Oh, sviokla, sviokla!” And then I went to a Russian school. So when I returned to Kharkiv, I sort of automatically went to the Russian school and graduated from Russian secondary school… There only Ukrainian language and literature were taught in Ukrainian while other subjects were taught in Russian. And I got A’s for both Ukrainian language and literature. At the Institute of Journalism at Moscow the language of instruction was also Russian. At the Pedagogical Institute I was a student of the Department of Russian Language and Literature and somehow distanced away from the Ukrainian language of my childhood, so I did not know much Ukrainian. When I wrote my first monograph on the Zaporizhzhia Sich, and it had to be written in Ukrainian then, I hired an assistant. And when my book on Vernadsky was published, they, the other way round, prohibited to publish in Ukrainian. (Vernadsky: Life and Activity in Ukraine / K.M. Sytnyk, S.M. Stoyko, O.M. Apanovych, UkrSSR Academy of Sciences. – Kyiv, Scientific Thought Publishers, 1984. - 235 p. 2nd ed., with amendments and additions.—1988−366 p.).
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Because he was considered to be a Russian scientist.
O.M.Apanovych: No, at the time scientific publications could not could not be brought out in Ukrainian.
I remember the meeting dedicated to the Resolution at the Writers’ Association. Writer Serhiy Plachynda presided over the meeting. Dubyna and I sat on the panel. I told what was going on on Khortytsia, since no one knew what happened there. Meanwhile I was in the thick of things. I started telling in Russian. (Laughs). The notes were sent to the panel table. There was an increase in the national consciousness there. And the last two rows walked out in protest. One lecturer of Agricultural Institute (or was it called Academy then?) sent me a note: "Dear Olena Mykhailivna: If I had not heard, I would never have believed that one can tell about Zaporizhzhia Kozaks in a foreign tongue”. During the break I showed him this note, he expressed his negative attitude. I showed the note to Dubyna, and he said, "If you want, I will defend you” I told him, "You will defend me so that I will be a wreckage to Ukrainian intelligentsia forever. No, don’t do it."
But after the break I recommenced in Ukrainian: "I want to say that I am Belarusian, and so it happened that I studied more in Russian, and it’s not because I despise the Ukrainian language.” Something of the sort. “Not because I have strong opinions about Ukrainian language, but simply because I did not want to insult you with my imperfect Ukrainian.” I told this or whereabouts and an enthusiastic applause broke out! During the second break they surrounded me: "You speak rather well!" Someone came up and said, "Thank you that you are!"
There was also another occurrence. And then I learned Ukrainian, although I was not very young already. I started writing in Ukrainian. When writing "Armed Forces", those future dissidents only helped me. In general, I wrote in Ukrainian myself. I was so worried how it would turn out, but my co-worker Nataliya Stepanivna Sydorenko said, "Olena Mykhailivna, when you master Russian, it does not depend on language any more. You will write in Ukrainian equally well.” You’re reading… is this true?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Yes, you have good command of Ukrainian.
O.M.Apanovych: Really? You see, when you go into details, you can reveal what is going on in different strata. Your stratum includes inmates of prison camps; I think this is real heroism. But not all of them went to the barricades. There I wrote: “The plight of intelligentsia specializing in humanities is shown, which is especially heavy and difficult for Ukrainian historian."
The sixties made me a conscientious person. But it was on the cultural level. I was invited to the All-Ukrainian Association of Political Prisoners and Repressed headed by Yevhen Proniuk.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: So you could have been at the founding meeting on June 3, 1989?
O.M.Apanovych: I did not come, because I could not. But the invitation was so nice, I remember. They considered me a friend.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: The founding meeting took place in the open air. It had to take place in the House of Artists on the Lviv Square, but they kept the doors closed, and we assembled in a circle on Lviv Square and conducted our founding meeting. All the time the militia stood nearby and required to disperse the meeting, but we still finalized it.
O.M.Apanovych: And force was not used?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: No, they only requested to disperse. There were about a hundred of us.
O.M.Apanovych: I received an invitation. But I was preoccupied with Khortytsia work. And then, you know, now I cannot address the audience, and on television, too… a sort of complex… I feel that sometimes I translate from Russian into Ukrainian, and I’m afraid that I may not be able to translate. It happens in one’s old age and you may feel it as well… I use a lot of Russisms. But, by the way, I found a note from the sixties here. I keep notes received during my lectures. There were all sorts of questions. One wrote: "Your lecture was excellent, it captivated the world. It was kind of enchanting; we’re looking at you as a living iconostasis.” So far my lectures. Maybe this is due to emotions, or energy? I remember delivering a lecture in the Russian Drama Theater. There were great actors! Kartashova, People’s Artist, came and said, "Honey, thank you that you live in the world.” This propensity for education is in my blood, maybe. When I read a good book I always think about someone else to lend it for reading.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Yes, the same of me.
O.M.Apanovych: So, we are "twin souls." You see, I always have to explain things to another person. I remember that when a little girl I read and retold it to other children. I got a coin and began explaining: you see, it is dirty on this side, and they forced people to kiss it. A girl told her mom that I swore. You see, it is a must for me to tell, to share! I delivered very many lectures! And especially these books! You know, in the words of a Russian poet… his name starting with p, which was awarded a prize…
O.M.Apanovych: Pasternak. “The essence of creation is devotion, not aspiration for success.” Therefore I work with dedication and enjoy it a great deal! And, I realize that I have no charisma, but my creative work is charismatic. So, when perestroika began, the magazine “Memorials of Ukraine” organized the expedition “Zaporizhzhia Sich: destroyed and survived” and asked me to be the research supervisor. We sailed a boat and a bus followed us along the bank. A magazine’s journo went to a man in charge of transport, and said, “All your life you ruined the monuments of nature and culture; now try and help to preserve them.” (She laughs). It impressed on him, and he answered, “You know, I’m going to retire, but still I have time to do at least one good thing.” And gave us a free bus and boat, and we went on this trip. We started from Cherkasy and stopped at the locations of Sichs; then we arrived in Zaporizhzhia and held meetings there. They were organized by Sierykov, E-in-C of the “Monuments”… you may have known him. So he started telling about me, and I said, “Stop telling about me, you just explain them what we are doing now.”
It was in 1989. Do you know that before 1989, while Shcherbytsky, satrap of Moscow, was at the helm in Ukraine, there was neither perestroika nor glasnost in here. Only after his death it became possible to speak about the Zaporizhzhia Sich. We immediately resumed working. Because in 1972, we failed to notice how Brezhnev’s regime consolidated, and it did consolidate with time. They dealt a fatal blow to all kinds of things; we were fired, Kytsenko was sacked. By the way, he came and warned that there is a plan to arrest all scientists involved with these doings. So that was hanging over us, arrest including. However, the top men seem to shift around.
But I’ve digressed from my topic.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: We’d rather zero in on these events: arrests in 1972.
O.M.Apanovych: 1972. Arrests set in. We met with Mykhailyna Kotsiubynska, with Lina Kostenko, who lived in the same house with Olena Stanislavivna, who was a friend of mine. Her husband, Ivan Yukhymovych, was a real noble man. I wrote down memories about Olena Stanislavivna. I will prepare materials about her for the Kharkiv Human Rights Group. She’s worth to be written about. We signed a letter to the “Literary Ukraine”… I must remember this. I’ve just remembered it. Who dared to speak then? I will ask Bilyk about this, because he also suffered from it. I’ve been wanting to invite him together with Tupachevsky. Maybe you will also have a talk with him? He’s so humble; he was an ordinary Rukh member, he was never trying to become a leader, but his book “The Sword of Ares” was a phenomenon. Maybe not as outstanding as my "Armed Forces", because the armed forces, in fact, lay the foundation of the state. Then I met Serhiy Plachynda; he held my book and said: “Your book is on sale already!” And then a man asked, “It’s from Canada, perhaps?” And Plachynda answered, “No, thre were and there will be the armed forces of Ukraine!” At the meeting, Ivan Drach (this was summer of 1990; the Declaration of Sovereignty was already proclaimed), announcing my speech, said: “This Parliament kept debating whether Ukraine should have its own armed forces. But Olena Mykhailivna said that we should have armed forces twenty years ago.”
When I was preparing the registry memorial sites, the Ministry of Culture had to decide what signs should mark these locations: these sites were related either to an outstanding personality, or a battlefield. It was necessary to determine the shape and height of these… They recede in my memory; I will tellyou, when I remember how they call it. Then the head of the Department of Memorials at the Ministry of culture−and what was the name?―called me and promised to send me a guy to help me; she also asked to send her my information, because it had not been published yet. So that they could make these obelisks−now, that’s the word, I remembered it. I remember the name of the guy: Malezhyk. This guy helped me, we worked nights with him; once he said that he was an artist and that there was some small protest demonstration nearby the Franko theater. The media didn’t cover it, but the sixtiers spoke about it a lot. Not precisely the Sixtiers, but people who lived in the sixties. I believe that we may consider them the Sixtiers as well, if they were nationally conscious. We then wore a badge portraying Shevchenko and it meant… According to this guy, he was summoned to the KGB several times and asked about this subject, and the last time they said, “You’re working with Apanovych out there…” and pressed him to rat on me. “She’s too keen on Kozaks.” This was the first time I heard that. Then a Pepa…
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Vadym Pepa, Journalist.
O.M.Apanovych: Maybe I’m wrong, but he or someone else told me, “Olena Mykhailivna, why the KGB guys do not like you so much?” So I was told at the time.
After I was expelled from the Institute of History in 1972, I was unemployed for about a year.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: And when exactly did it happen?
O.M.Apanovych: That I can tell you for sure: three days before my birthday.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: On the sixth of September, 1972?
O.M.Apanovych: Yes. You can read about it. Then Shevelev (Arnold Shevelev, corresponding member of the UkrSSR Academy of Sciences.―Ed.) had trouble: his friend took away bit by bit the library of the Institute. At the time, Shelest called me back from vacation, while I was about to buy a sanatorium voucher. By the way, when I came to critically analyze the events, I began to take notice of various trivialities. Shelest said: “Our main task now is to fight against foreign publications.” The institute created a special counter-propaganda department, where Rem Simonenko worked. I thought over it: why? Life should be constructive while these developments were nothing but destruction? The struggle for purity instead of just being clean. The Institute of History is expected to promot the science of history, but not to negate or contest controversial issues.
So, 1972 is my Skaba (Andriy Danylovych, b. 1905, in 1959−1968 Secretary of the CCC of the CPU for Communist ideology; then he was appointed director of the Institute of History of the UkrSSR; academician). I was surprised. He called me back from vacation. Allegedly to hand out an assignment. I said, "That is a seconf sanatorium voucher I will have to return.” He laughed in my face and said, “Do not worry, you will buy the third one!” I was called back just to be sacked.
And then the trade union meeting at the Institute of History followed. They sent for us: Olena Stanislavivna and me. By then Braichevsky had already returned to the Institute of Archaeology; he had been sacked a few days before. He was an archaeologist. He worked there just for a few months and was fired as well. I was told that initially the institute’s trade union committee met and the chairman of the trade union said (his name I recently recalled): “We should displant these weeds (it’s about us).” Therefore, we were banished. And the decision was based on the resolution of the meeting of trade union leaders. I said: "Olena Stanislavivna, keep in mind that everything has been resolved. Therefore let’s not argue and not get involved in discussion.” So I kept looking out the window, and the head spoke to us time and again, and Olena Stanislavivna could not stand it and answered something. The head of the trade union kind of needed our statements or comments. They voted… There was one such Serbey, he studied Nazarevskyi at first. He was a good historian, we were on good terms. But he was appointed rector of the “People’s Atheist University.” Then he received a notice and had to leave the job. Santsev (?), who had written something about the Pope, received a postcard from Vatican; he even showed the stamp with an angel. He also received notices. This is very interesting. When in 1995 there was a presentation of my book followed with cocktails, he was the only one to regret: "We did not support Olena Mykhailivna.” But there was such hue-and-cry that I did not hear it. He was embarrassed because we were also friends. At the time people even crossed the street just not to say “hello” to me.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Nevertheless this union meeting voted unanimously? No one protested?
O.M.Apanovych: No one. Therefore, he repented that none of them supported me. It was early September 1972. I’ll tell you the exact date later; I’ve jotted it down somewhere. Dzyra knows better, he has tenacious memory of dates, while I forget it all.
I remember that in a day when I read on a bulletin board Skaba’s order about my dismissal from office (I called him the “programmed robot”: he was a "hater of nationalists," in his words he hated us); so I’ve read, rushed to the fourth floor to Fedir Pavlovych Shevchenko, who was then director of the institute (and he was deprived of office by the secretariat… have you read about it in Kasyanov’s book? (See: Kasyanov Heorhiy. Dissentients: Ukrainian intelligentsia in the resistance movement in 1960-80’s. – Kyiv, Lybed Publishers. - 1995. - P. 134). I rushed to just alleviate my pain talking to anybody, and he looked up and said, "I am powerless, Olena Mykhailivna, I cannot do anything." Ever since 1944 he called us by names. Then I noticed that he was packing his books, and recalled that he was dismissed before us. It was rumored that “her father was a Russian landowner.” The rumors were various and now they said: "These two nationalists are talking things over.” They meant me and Fedir Pavlovych. So we were called.
This was preceded by as follows. Usually we celebrated the Kupala Night on the hills of Kyiv. After the celebration I was summoned to the party bureau. They showed me photos of myself on these slopes. They gave a talk and forewarned me. And doctor Mykola Plakhotnyuk… he’s just visited me; he is busy creating the Sixtiers’ Museum, Nadiya Svitlychna helps him, but nobody does anything. So he came to me and talked with me. I remember him since we went to mark the Kupala Night; Vadym Pepa went as well. I remember two or three minibuses Rafik; we went to a village in the south of Kyiv Oblast. It was something magical! There they set up long tables and Plakhotniuk took care of everybody and even waited on me; they found us lodging for the night in several khatas. It was such a bright holiday. Still before 1972. And then scolding followed… didn’t he tell you?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Yes. Did the village authorities also participate in the celebration?
O.M.Apanovych: Yes. They thought that if the Kyivites had arrived, they had to help up.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: They thought that if the guests were from Kyiv, then it had been approved?
O.M.Apanovych: Yes, and it was very good. I remember there was such a feeling of solidarity. The next year we went to some village, where a teacher organized the event. We thought that more people would come but peasants ignored the event. So he hoisted the cross onto his back and went, and we joined him. And his khata we met a plump woman of advanced age in Ukrainian attire, lots of corals, beautiful shirt, and she told me something about Austria, and I asked, "Where are you from and how did you get there and from there to here?”. She says: “Via the Gulag.” Do you know who she was?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Nadiya Surovtsova.
O.M.Apanovych: Yes, Surovtsova.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Well, you see, there are not so much of such people so that we could not know them. Surovtsova: the emphasis is on the last syllable.
O.M.Apanovych: And then I saw this Surovtsova. I worked at the institute, in the library, manuscript department. It had custody of all sorts of manuscripts. I needed that work, but I was not allowed to engage in scientific work; they spied upon me, searched through all the drawers for alleged scientific books. In general, there were all sorts of discrimination and defamation… In the evenings I was engaged in research work. There I met once Mykhailyna Kotsiubynska, we exchanged kisses, and the next day my friend said that she was told: “Warn Olena Mykhailivna, because she has a son… you know how she behaves herself.”
And these “Armed forces” riveted attention not only here but also abroad. A certain gentleman arrived from America, it seems, not even a historian, he liked the “Armed forces” somuch that he wished to meet the author. He arrived in Kyiv, came to CSL, but he was told that I wasn’t there… went somewhere and did not let him through. And many years later, he attended the 1st Congress of Experts in Ukrainian Language and Literature; it seems it was in 1991; and we met there. He told me all this after thirty years. And another American arrived, a diaspora journalist. He was a show anchorperson and planned to meet Apanovych.
[End of the track]
I went to work. It was early spring, and I had a winter coat on, I was hot, I got to the library, climbed the stairs and saw my chief standing there. And before we were with him on a business trip to Skovoroda’s house in Chornukha, Poltava Oblast. And he said, “Olena Mykhailivna, will you go to the Podil division of our library (presently in the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy) and bring some materials.” I answered, “I cannot, and it’s too hot, maybe later.”−“If you cannot go, I will go.” And he was a war veteran without a leg. There was no alternative. And I went. When I returned, they told me that the American was in the Department of Rare Books at first and asked where Apanovych was. They said that I was in the Manuscript Department. That was why I was sent to the Podil. The journalist was told that I had to dispatch the director’s errand. Things like that happened at the time.
In this house lived one such Romashko, a botanist. I found a diary of Vernadsky. I did not know that it was Vernadsky’s diary, but I wrote the history of the CSL…
Hutianskyy, Director of CSL, did not want to engage me at all. And when his friend, and my fellow graduate asked, "Why do you not engage Apanovych? She is a noted specialist," he answered, “Why should I Skaba’s scum employ?” Do you understand? And Bilodid gave advance notice. He warned: “Those dismissed will knock at all doors to be employed; do not engage them.” My case was controlled by a CC instructor; he said, “Olena Mykhailivna, no complaints, only these damn four percents.” He meant job cuts. And now Paton in his order acknowledged that that the 1972 order on job cuts in the Section of Social Sciences on the grounds of alleged redundancy was in actual fact issued for political reasons. He ordered to reinstate everybody in her/his former job and pay compensation for three months. And they didn’t reinstate me for 23 years.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: The whole cohort of scientists was sacked then.
O.M.Apanovych: Philosophers Lisovy, Rozhenko. Rozhenko were never reinstated.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Lisovy and Proniuk were arrested and Rozhenko was dismissed. At the time Badzio, Svitlana Kyrychenko, Dzyra, Ivanysenko, and Serhiy Kudria were put out of work. The same occurred at various social institutions.
O.M.Apanovych: Once Stepan Khmara published lists in the “Ukrainian Newspaper”. I’ll show you ... Here’s this newspaper: “Celebration of Olena Apanovych”… It’s a pity, there are too many mistakes.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: I know this article; it was included into his book. (Stepan Khmara (Maxym Sahaidak). Nowadays about the past. Lviv, 1993.―P. 93). Mistake are due to the fact that it was written on the heels under those conditions. He presented what he managed to collect.
O.M.Apanovych: Yes. He links me to the Institute of Archaeology.
I felt such humiliation. I remember working in the evenings and writing the article. The latter was sharply criticized by an appointed reviewer. I started writing a response, and I… There was such one Biliayeva… Her husband was a KGB man. Unofficially. He had straps of KGB Captain, but worked at the Institute as a senior staff scientist. I called her a snake square in the eye…
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Snake in the grass?
O.M.Apanovych: No, rather blunt-nosed viper…
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Anyway viper!
O.M.Apanovych: Viper. It has a small knife or a bone nail file on the tongue. It takes a victim and saws its meat. So terrible was this bint. Even now there is a lot of such women. Now, when I was last invited to the library academic council, she started apple-polishing with me…
And then I wrote the book “Secular handwritten book” (Secular handwritten book in Ukraine of the 18th century. Historic Collections / AS UkrSSR. Central Scientific Library.—Kyiv.―Scientific Thought, 1983.―222 p.). In Ukraine you could publish only in Russian. The edition was delayed for two years; the book went out only in 1983.
Director of the institute Hutianskiy previously worked for the KGB, but he was sacked as a follower of Beriya. He started his career as an agent working among Lviv intelligentsia and then was transferred to Kyiv. Over there, on the street opposite the Opera House there was−you may not know−a so called “Academic barrel.” It was a mix of pub and juice-and-fizz counter. It was close to the Institute of History, in the back of the house, where you studied as well. He was treating others and drank himself, and became an alcoholic. But he was an informer. When he lost his job, he was not thirty-five yet. However, he still belonged to nomenclature and therefore he was accepted for employment in the Institute of History as a senior staff scientist; he became the secretary of party bureau and after conflagration in the CSL he became the director of the library. They promised him that he would be a corresponding member, and then the academician.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: You mean the conflagration on May 24, 1964 committed by Pohruzhalsky?
O.M.Apanovych: Yes. This was a terrible man, man-hater, and anything. He did not want to engage me in the CSL. Bilodid conceded only to recruit me as a bibliographer, not a senior staff scientist, and only to fill the vacancy at the department of manuscripts, now called the Institute of Manuscripts under the National Academic Library of the Academy of Sciences. This was because in the archive they paid for the scientific degree, and I did for the position primarily as an archivist. He would not allow me to work in the archive, only as a bibliographer. Bibliographers received no additional payment for their scientific degree. But there always exist good people… Bilodid as vice president was temporarily substituted by the Director of Law Institute… I cannot recall his name now, my memory fails me. And I had there my friend Valentyna Sydorenko and other girls, candidates of science… Oh, yes, his name was Babiy, I’ve just recalled. I went to Babiy as vice president and he at once signed my papers. So I became a senior staff scientist at the archive.
We had a task to write the history of CSL. At first Hutianskiy would not let me write anyhing, and then gave me to write the most complicated part: the foundation of CSL in 1918. I had studied it already and therefore started working at once. When looking through the unsorted archive, I found Vernadsky’s diary. There were such profound ideas… You cannot even imagine… It meant a kiss of life for me! At the time I had no idea whose diary it was. When I read down to the words: “And when I they suggested that I not only would head the Academy, become its president, but also head the interim committee for creation of the library…”, it became clear to me that this Vernadsky’s diary. I was just writing this section. I knew that there was the archive of the Academy, such a great material, I made a card file! I wrote with great satisfaction and helped to write about the funds.
Then Hutianskiy decided to take away my manuscript. I had almost finished doing it. He wanted to use my work as his own. A young woman was a scientific secretary who failed to understand anything. She came to me to find out about the sources of this or that information. He had already a part of my manuscript. He had struck out my name as the author. There was nothing I could do. Then he calls me and says, “I was THERE”. The CC was called a “hut”, and he was in the KGB, so I got it. And explained me that he took the manuscript because I was an “odious figure”, “labeled atom”, as we called it, because we were under surveillance of the KGB. That was why he decided not to do anything without a sanction, just in the case I would protest or something. In the KGB they told him: “Do not do that.” He wanted them to authorize him to take away my manuscript because I was such a nationalist. I had no idea that there existed such a magazine, and he told me that “Suchasnist” wrote that I was jobless.—“And we will show that she publishes her works!”
V.V.Ovsiyenko: We had to repulse enemy charges.
O.M.Apanovych: So I retained my authorship. (See: History of Central Scientific Library of the Academy of Sciences of Ukrainian SSR / S.K. Hutianskiy, O.M. Apanovych, Ye.M. Kravets, et al.—Kyiv, Scientific Thought, 1979.―227 p.).
They initiated steps preventing my participation in the conferences, but I was invited to take part in the conferences in Moscow and Leningrad. There I could speak; my speeches there were published in the conference proceedings.
And then I took great interest in margin studies. These are handwritten entries in manuscripts and old books. Readers took down their impressions and contemporary events. For example, I collected 12 such reports about earthquakes. This is called margin studies; margin is the space around the printed or written matter on a page. Such marginal notes were studied before the revolution, and then this domain of investigation was abandoned. So I restored this course of studies. There are articles about the contribution of Olena Apanovych to margin studies. I wrote to the journal "History of the USSR", where Alexander Preobrazhensky worked, and asked whether it is possible to publish articles on such and such issues, and he promptly answered me: “Olena Mykhailivna, we will publish everything you send us”. While in Ukraine my works were banned. My book on incunabula was brought out only two years later.
I redeemed the position only when Malanchuk was divested of office… I hope you know the story of Malanchuk? You may know he was a snitcher. And he caught it at last! He tattled to Suslov. In the morning Dorohuntsov (S.I. Dorohuntsov, Chief of the Sector of Social Sciences of the CC of the CPU) was going to displace him, and he contacted Suslov at night and was appointed Secretary of the Central Committee for ideology instead of Skaba. Or Skaba came later?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Skaba was the Secretary of Central Committee for ideology since 1966. In the late 60s this office was held by Ovcharenko, and, after removal of Shelest, came Malanchuk. Such was the succession.
O.M.Apanovych: Yes, probably then Skaba came to our institute. Earlier Malanchuk was the Deputy Minister of Education. So, Dorohuntsov had to hold a meeting in the Ministry of Education and deprive him of the office but he was promoted instead. And his friend, whose name I have forgotten, was appointed in his place. He boasted that always accompanied Malanchuk. In 1979 (?) Malanchuk was sacked because he had failed to get through to Suslov; Suslov was away or ill and Shcherbytsky replaced him. When Malanchuk was removed, they also discharged his friend, the Deputy Minister of Education. And they appointed him Director of the CSL. He knew nothing of the job, but he belonged to nomenclature. This was when Hutianskiy died. Hutianskiy and archives department head wanted me to handle archives of the Soviet period and the 19th century. And I am a specialist in 16th-17th centuries, I know the language and paleography. But something went wrong with them… maybe because Hutianskiy died, and then he came… Hutianskiy treated in this way not only me… everybody wept, because he was a terrible man. He was also a drunkard, alcoholic, so when he had hangover, he broke loose. I have no more to add… He was also a womanizer… This is my head of the department told the new director that I was a botcher. And they decided to pension me off. The order was ready already. And here I found Vernadsky’s diary. I realized that it was an extraordinary document. I grew interested in common heritage of Vernadsky. I knew that his diary contained anti-Soviet statements and understood that if I let the cat out of the bag, then my chief would place it on the secret list. Then this document would be lost for science forever. So I began stalling for time.
And then came Transcarpathian botanist Stoyko (Stepan Mykhailovych.―Ed.), whom I knew as a graduate student. Here, nearby my house, there is a hotel for the Academy of Sciences−you may know it−on Sofia Perovska Street. Our street intersects with the Sophia Perovska Street. There he put up. Once he came and said, “Oh, you have too few publications… Your works are not published.” And he started boasting about his publications. I told him that I found Vernadsky’s diary. I said: "You know, it is necessary to find a person with position of influence who knows at least a bit about the values of science and can see what it is.” At that very moment Sytnyk (Kostiantyn Merkuriyovych.―Ed.) appeared on TV; he was the Vice-President of the Academy of Sciences and the caretaker, curator of the library. I saw how well he performed, and said, “It is hard to make an appointment to see him.” But Stoyko said: “I attended the college with him and I am writing articles for him now, which he does not even read, and he himself wrote nothing, I can say this with full responsibility. I’ll talk to him. I was going to leave here, but I’ll stay purposely for the evening. He has a samovar in his study.”
Stoyko talked with Sytnyk, and two weeks later he received me and I told him about the diary. He got up, shook my hand and said: “Thank you on behalf of our science because we start to lift Vernadsky in the world’s eyes and are going to build a monument to him.” Thhere is only one monument to Vernadsky erected on the Moscow cemetery. He asked me to express my opinion as a specialist. I said that, unfortunately, we couldn’t print this diary because of certain passages… But I think an article needs to be written including extensive quoting; otherwise the document wouldn’t be published. I said: “Maybe Moscow will help?”−“No, no, under no circumstances! We should go about it ourselves.”
But earlier the new director poised over my dismissal from the CSL. And Sytnyk appended instructions to include into the work plan of Apanovych writing a book on Vernadsky. And my director yielded to the instructions. You see, I rescued a valuable idea. Then the whole book came out. (V. I. Vernadsky: Life and Activity in Ukraine / K.M. Sytnyk, S.M. Stoyko, O.M. Apanovych; UkrSSR Academy of Sciences.—Kyiv, Scientific Thought, 1984.―235 p. 2 ed., with amendments and additions.―1988 - 366 p.). My friends said that I saved Vernadsky and Vernadsky saved me for science, because the order of dismissal from the library had been signed already.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: In what year did it happen?
O.M.Apanovych: Wait a minute, we were preparing to celebrate the 120th Birthday of Vernadsky, and he was born in 1863. So, it took place in 1983. The first edition came out in 1984. Vernadsky was sort of half-banned.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: I read some of his books, there were a lot of lacunae marked in the text.
O.M.Apanovych: Here is the second edition.
Once in transit Stoyko came to me and said, “Olena Mykhailivna, I also will speak. I will write about the biosphere, but as yet I know nothing about it.” I say, "Great." Then I had a meeting with Sytnyk and told him about the book. Sytnyk okayed it, but prompted me to look for other materials. I found a lot of documents. The monograph consists of two parts. “Exploration of connections of Vernadsky with Ukraine, Vernadsky’s teaching about living matter and its role in evolution.” 20 pages of his text, and the total of 132 pages in the. The 50 pages of his text included into my 100 pages of exploration. And the rest of it I wrote myself: "Vernadsky: document materials,” “On the participation of the living mater…” I even found materials for his speeches, notes and so on. Then Stoyko Stepan Mykhailovych said: "OlenaMykhailivna, let us compile a book. I thought about a brochure at first, but the already compiled material would suffice for a book.” I spent six months studying documents and, in fact, managed to write the first part already. I studied his biography, broughtall parts together grain by grain… Later, during perestroika, I wrote articles proving his Ukrainian mentality. Do you know that he was a descendant of Zaporizhzhia Kozaks? It is by his father’s side, and by his mother’s side he decided from Ukrainian Kozak military administration. I learned it all.
In Moscow, at the Institute of Geochemistry, there is the study-museum of Vernadsky. There works such one Neapolitanska, who led the fight to publish his unpublished writings. She gave me the materials. There is such one Molchalov, which was only allowed… He found an article by Vernadsky. He said: “Olena Mykhailivna, he wrote a poem entitled “Ukraine, my native side”:
“Ukraine, my native side,
They’ve tortured you for ages,
Adversities and woes like tide
Are ebbing on your pages.
But in the days of ruin
Your children were awoken,
And with the fervor of spiritual doin’
They cast off slavery’s token.
They failed to bring it to the end…
(He was 17 at the time…)
And, lo, again they dealt with strife,
Your enemies gave their hand
And condors sprang to life.
(These eagles are carrion-eaters.)
These vultures tore you apart,
Sometimes your children were your foes
(Well, like now, huh?)
Some loved you with whole heart,
And suffered deadly throes.
Those few made all your strength,
And their way was covert,
They ousted foes, their ranks were dense,
Each was the freedom’s convert.”
V.V.Ovsіyenko: Expressive national consciousness!
“And then once more the strife began,
Your foes were never dealt away.
It seems such fate is your hardpan:
Forever destined (he underlined it) to obey.”
Well? They kept asking: “How did you manage to bring it off?" I did manage, only in the second edition.
Sytnyk realized that… So we decided that the whole book would be written by me, except for the topic of biosphere, and Sytnyk himself said that he did not understand it. Three times I revised his manuscript. I went deep into the material, I already understood Vernadsky, I learned the meaning of such notions as biosphere, noosphere, and autotrophy of humanity. A magazine asked Sytnyk to write an article on agriculture; they asked him and I wrote it. However, it should be said that both signatures were indicated at the end of the article. I proved that Vernadsky had been underestimated. I found the article “Participation of living matter in the formation of soil.” I went to Moscow and worked there in the archive; I had friends there. Nikita Khrushchev’s daughter worked in the magazine Science and Life. I talked to her and she asked to give them this article, but I said that we want to print at home first. And she suggested: “We can make an edited version.” The publication in the Science and Life Magazine came out wonderfully! When I arrived and told Sytnyk, he said, “And you did not refuse?” I am so slow to tell, it is clear that I protest. I said: no, I agreed. It all came to invitation of Fedir Volvach, who wrote notes as a biogeochemist. I did the same as a historian. Sytnyk just signed up and was listed as an author. His was a zero contribution to the article. He read that text and, of course, liked it, and said that it should be printed as soon as possible. I replied, “You know, not yet.” We worked all day long; there was one such Maya (I’ve forgotten her family name), a specialist in scientific and organizational work of Vernadsky; she made many critical comments, and I am very grateful to her. She told me to leave the amendments to the editor, and I told her that I did not work in such a way; I did not want the editor to interfere with the text, I had to do everything myself.
That was how we published the book. (This was the first edition, and the second was already amended). First, we agreed that the first part of the document featuring many Latin expressions would be prepared by Stoyko. As a botanist he knew Latin, as a Transcarpathian resident he knew Czech and German, he also knew all Vernadsky’s terms. He shirked this work, but I simply took him by the collar and made him help us. We agreed that the first part would be authored by Sytnyk−100 pages, Vernadsky’s links with Ukraine, and the second part, Vernadsky’s teaching about living matter, would be authored by Stoyko. And I presented the diary and the works of Vernadsky. The Muscovites were happy: they did not know about it. Stoyko, this friend of mine, whom I, in fact, knew from graduate school, went to talk to the new director, a friend of Malanchuk. He said: “Olena Mihaylіvna, for everything to go smoothly, you’ rather give your section to the director, so he would not interfere.” Sytnyk, who did next to nothing! I was so outraged: and he called himself my friend! I retorted, “So, you want me to be a ghostwriter?” Then Sytnyk suggested: “Do not break it into sections: let it be joint authorship.” Do you understand? Because everyone will understand that neither botanist Stoyko nor Sytnyk could write like me.
I’d like to add that when in Odesa they held a special conference on lakes’ radioactivity in the Odesa Oblast dedicated to one disciple and co-worker of Sytnyk, from all experts on Vernadsky they invited only me. I ask the organizer of the conference, a Jew: “Why did you invite only me?” And he answered: “You know, when this book came out, I look and see: Sytnyk. I laid it aside at first, because I thought: what can Sytnyk write? But when I opened the book and read it, I realized that you were the real author. Therefore I invited only you.”
But the most interesting thing is as follows. The introduction had to be written by Paton. I drafted it. And Sytnyk figures as co-author; his name goes first. The top management goes in advance of everybody. And I was anxious to publish this book… I consulted with my brother, I told him everything and asked, and how I could tell if he was ashamed while I was ready to withdraw my name so that the book would be brought out. And we also consulted with Mykhailo, how to make sure that he would not be offended. While that man did not care a straw… I tell you all of it for no particular reason… I’ve never exposed the factual aspects of this project. But this was a moral of that nullity, which destroyed (Academician Mykola) Kholodny, destroyed (Academician Dmitry) Zerov, and then bragged that he called the institute after Mykola Kholodny. Kholodny was a friend of Vernadsky. I know it from the materials.
So, Paton had to write an introduction and everything was ready. Paton arrived at the meeting of the Presidium. This session referred to biosphere reserves. These reserves need permanent monitoring. Paton avoided loading himself with these biosphere reserves, financing them, and monitoring. Sytnyk and Stoyko were expected to report. president Paton refused to sign the introduction. When he had refused, Sytnyk told Stoyko, "You know, I, too, will not be the author… I will back you.” You see, he was afraid. Our library is situated not far from the Presidency, and so during the break Stepan Stoyko came to me and asked what to do. I said: “You have to convince Sytnyk not to quit, or the book would not be published. Can you imagine what a despicable life we have here: in other countries they are fighting against plagiarism, acts of taking the writings of another person and passing them off as their own, while we are imploring him to be an author. What a terrible life we have when all values are turned upside down!”
Stoyko came back late that day (and I, as always, worked in the evenings) and said: “Olena Mykhailivna, such a victory!” It turned out that Stoyko (he was doctor of sciences and worked at the Lviv Branch of the Institute of Botany headed by Sytnyk) took floor at the meeting of the Presidium for the second time. He said, “I knew that Cicero taught that if you speak, you must first attract the attention of the listener with a kind of blow to boggle imagination and then you can say whatever you want, you will rivet the attention. I resorted to it during my first speechification. They pondered upon introduction of something in the Academy. I addressed them and said that, of course, our Academy would like to study the problem, because it is the most important issue and is of great significance and value. But our Academy is twenty years late. Twenty years ago in Czechoslovakia they published a book on the subject, very detailed monograph. And everybody shook up. Until then they were sitting and carrying out proofreading; there were mathematicians, chemists and so on. Some of those present fell asleep. And this time I applied this same technique: I said, when it came to biosphere reserves, that outstanding naturalist of the 20th century Volodymyr Ivanovych Vernadsky developed not only the teaching about the biosphere, but about the biosphere reserves as well. Now these biospheres are introduced into practice in many countries of the world. The elaboration of the idea was carried out abroad and then returned here from Paris.” And everything got under way. Paton was forced to okay these biosphere reserves. Then he took our manuscript to have a look at it. This time there was no question of introduction as we had removed his name. But he inclined his ear to our book. Then Sytnyk remained as co-author. Of course, the things went more smoothly.
The Academy was organized in 1918. Now Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskiy is treated differently. And then one couldn’t mention him, and the creation of the Academy was dated by the year 1919. In Moscow, they ridiculed us.
Maybe I needn’t go into smallest details…
In 1971, we celebrated the 350th anniversary of the Khotyn War of 1621. The celebration took place not in Khotyn, but in Chernivtsi. The book also featured my leading article which also mentioned Sahaidachny. As always, I was behind time and therefore submitted a rough draft. I made use of the very interesting material from the Polish symposium. I talked on the topic before the audience. Skaba accompanied us and said: “I go to keep a close watch on you.” He was frank this time. I wrote his speech for him, too.
A newspaper featured an article about the conference. The secretary of the oblast party committee got out of a scrape. He was rather deferential, “Olena Mykhailivna, get in my car, please.” And then I was fired. Mykhailyna (he headed the branch of the institute in Chernivtsi) gave me a ring. He asked for the phone number of Olena Stanislavivna. I asked him: “What about the collection of articles?”−“They’ve just brought it out.”−“So, send me an exemplar, please, because it contains my article.”−“The thing is that Andriy Danylovych (Skaba) instructed to cross out your name and print instead my name, the names of Mykhailyna, Shynkaruk (former Secretary of Academic Board of the institute) and a third person from Chernivtsi.” Overt banditry! That’s what we had! Such were rules of play. They didn’t imprison us, because it was hard to realize. It was not an arrest, but an employment ban! And when you were sacked you could do nothing about it. It was just a robbery in science. We felt it keenly. It was not only vulnerability that mattered; they divested us of our rights and they did whatever they liked. I think it’s a display of… In any case, we had a very hard time.
They also prevented me from meeting people. People learned that Apanovych works in the library and flocked to have the best opinion. As far as I was a paleographer and they could not read old texts, they wanted me to read for them. When it rose to the surface, the chief ordered that only he had the right of consultation. They closed this way, but people went on coming.
There was such Soviet instruction preventing foreigners to work in the library funds. But I, when they arrived, secretly showed them around for them to know. Therefore, when foreigners came, they removed entire filing boxes and hid them.
[End of cassette #2]
There was this Patricia Kennedy, a library archivist. She overviewed the state of affairs in Russia and Ukraine. They hated her and threw sand in the wheels. I said: “How fortunate you are… Here there are no opportunities to make it. It is really good that this is done.” The gape-seed! It’s just like the Americans landing on the moon. I had just been in Zaporizhzhia on Khortytsia business. I remember traveling with Kytsenko in his car and driver−or was it a nurse?―opined: “Hell with them!”
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Oh my God!
O.M.Apanovych: Horrific! I started raising objections, but Kytsenko squeezed my hand urging to become silent. And later he explained: “Stop expressing your opinions in the presence of the driver.” That’s how things are. He said: “The nurse is a Muscovite. She’s from Moskow.” The Ukrainians expressed the likely views. This was crazy!
Now, let’s go back to the library. We met with this Patricia Kennedy. There is a record: “They are kissing”. At the time Vizyr, the department head, was absent, his co-worker and substitute told me, "Olena Mykhailivna, this Kennedy (!) is eager to talk with you. You’d better answer so and so,” instructed she.
I realized that there was no good in telling her anything, expressing my displeasure. I told her that I was called bourgeois nationalist, but I was not even Ukrainian. She countered that most often nationalists were not Ukrainians: Franko was German… Altogether she named three persons. This she said, and then someone else started talking. She allegedly came in order to establish the initials of some authors. I saw that she held notes on several articles about the library science, which I did not know. Even several my articles. I asked her: “How did you know?” She said, “Computer search results.” And I did all my text work manually. Sometimes I identified copyists by their hand. I maintained that these copyists were, in fact, co-authors. I took one sample as a canonical reference, followed the lines with my finger and checked all books. Not always the names were signed−something was crossed out, something was added−and I identified the copyist. And she said it might be done with the aid of computer…
And then the deputy director, who later became director, when Hutianskiy died, said: “Our curator has recently visited me,” it was a KGB officer. Each institute and each archive had a curator. So he asked, “How did this Patricia Nixon happen to find Apanovych?” And he answered, “Maybe a catalog search.” I had quite a lot of publications.
I would like to return to the archive once more. We really were good friends, there were many young persons aged 24 or 25. Director of photo-radio-archive Radiy Semenovych (I forgot his family name) was our friend; meanwhile he was on friendly terms with the curator. He said, “You may know that when he comes your co-workers go to meet him and submit their reports. He collects them all.” It took place in every department. In this way we identified all informers. And all kept an eye out.
Since then I did not want to concern myself with Stoyko. To begin with, it was his suggestion to remove my name from the book. And when the book had been almost ready, a booklet was made. A leaflet featuring his portrait. In Ukrainian, Russian and English, very beautiful. He brought a booklet to show it to some clerk at the Presidium, some paltry functionary who was in charge of their institute. And that one asked, “Why have you mixed up with Apanovych? She’s under KGB surveillance! Go to Sytnyk and let him strike out her name.” And he told me this on the phone. I asked, “And you went?”−“I went but Sytnyk was absent.” Can you fancy that? A friend’s call! A little later he gave me a ring. It was a party line; the telephone was fixed just over Vizier’s head. I answered the call over his head, and Stoyko told me in an even voice: “You know, Olena Mykhailivna, Kostiantyn Merkuryevych Sytnyk attended the recent Rivne Conference. I reminded him about it. He said it was nothing, it happened in the past”. The perestroika was on the threshold. I thought: “And you, scoundrel, had to convince him that it was a trifle in the past!” And Sytnyk did want the book to come out. That’s how the cookie crumbles.
A friend of mine told me−it took place when, in fact, perestroika began−that the new director delivered a speech to the heads of departments. And he said that there might be some rationalizations and some co-workers would be pensioned off. For example Apanovych neither wants, nor can work. The secretary of the party organization−she worked in the department of my friend, whom I helped a lot−asked him, “What do you mean? Why?” Then this my friend, head of the department, put together my books… Vernadsky had just come out… It seems this was the first edition. She showed him my articles and he was surprised and asked me to come. I came, confided my version of things to him, and he asked, “Why did not you complain?”−“To whom could I make complaints? To whom? The campaign to discredit me and discriminate was under way! Once I was walking with my friend, doctor of sciences, along the street and he introduced me to a retired teacher saying that I was the author of the “Armed Forces” and the teacher kissed my hands. All of it happened outdoor. They were the people, and who was able to protect me in the library?” After that conversation I sat at my table until the ninth hour and cried my heart out recalling all those insults… Such a terrible life I remembered…
I should say that afterwards I made friends with all my co-workers in the library, and now we were one family. Only with the library management… So I cried, and then remembered a saying of Lev Tolstoi. He said that a person was all-powerful, s/he could make progress if s/he had the willpower to win. But “a person grows infinitely weak, when s/he spares herself/himself.” And I thought that I truly established myself as a scientist despite all impediments, right?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Yes, of course!
O.M.Apanovych: And I felt better! Because before a weight sat heavy on my heart! Persecutions were springing up on every side, and I still… I love aphorisms; over my bad I hung such a saying: "Adversities you don’t decry, you’ll weather every rock; just brace your heart and stop your cry, and you will win against the clock!"
And I was also fond of yoga and meditation. One Leningrad poet translated the Indian formula of meditation; I chose this one: “The rhythm of creative work wins both fortresses and bastions of evil.” Only to sit down and work! I think that all ongoing electioneering and multitudes of registered candidates which in the wake of elections will dispute the outcome of these same elections is nothing but petty scheming! New appeals and litigations… and waste of huge expenses! They need to work instead of going blah-blah! I remember how Chornovil organized the trial of the Communist Party, they even tried to ban it at the time… Where did it take place? Not in the Lenin Museum, but in a large half-empty hall… Were you not there?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: It took place in the October Palace: now it is the Cultural Center, former NKVD.
O.M.Apanovych: Oh yes, and they said, why they arranged it there… because there was this… Do you remember how many people were there? The hall was not full. There was a brilliant report by Yaroslav Dashkevych… do you remember? The best one, and, in general, all reports were good. The indignant people rose to their feet and asked why there were no teachers, why students were absent, why organization was so poor? The audience grieved at a pro-forma meeting! He read out greetings, and I remember sitting with Olena Phylymonivna Serhiyenko, who publishes the annual Science and Culture. He read out a telegram of Athena Pashko, who ran an association…
I still want to say about the development of personality.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Tell, please, we still have half an hour.
O.M.Apanovych: I want to finish this line with the topic I started with. My reading of samvydav, meeting and talking with Ivan Svitlychny who gave me his translation of Béranger…
V.V.Ovsiyenko: When did you meet Svitlychny?
O.M.Apanovych: Well, we met at different parties in the sixties. I knew his wife and Mykhailyna Kotsiubynska through Ivanysenko. I remember being told that they gave the go-ahead to the “Internationalism or Russification?”by Dziuba. I was acquainted with Dzyuba. We met with him even when the KGB sent him to edit a company newspaper. He was given an apartment then.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: It was the newspaper printed at the aircraft plant.
O.M.Apanovych: Yes, and did you know such Leonid Ivanenko? He visited Dziuba. I remember Ivan’s “blank eyes”. His wife said, “Lukash threw out works of Lenin, Stalin, and I reminded him that he was a family man, that he had a child and a wife.” The KGB exerted pressure on her, and the fact that Ivan repented of his activity…
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Yes, she had a hand in it. Yuriy Lytvyn said about such incidents: “The woman is an ally of the KGB.”
O.M.Apanovych: Really! And she had such a wonderful mother who discharged a term… It took an unexpected turn… And his wide open eyes were blank, he was silent… I remember. So I belonged to this circle, I knew them all. I was familiar with them, they gave me their books, and I presented them my “Armed Forces”, which they appreciated very much. You see, it was a very specific circle that experienced such…
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Yes, some of them went to prison, and some stayed in place and lay low, and some of them yielded to the influence of… So, for example, there was KGB officer Honchar. I was brought from Mordovia to the KGB for conversations in 1976. So this KGB officer Honchar gave me a book by Ivan Drach “Kyiv Sky”, for which Drachwas awarded the Shevchenko Prize.
O.M.Apanovych: Or maybe the Lenin Prize?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Shevchenko. There were several poems about Lenin and the Party. And the KGB officer commented on Ivan Drach: “He also could do time!” Some were imprisoned, others were broken, but some of the rest resisted. Neither there nor here. You also resisted the temptation.
O.M.Apanovych: Olena Stanislavivna also…
V.V.Ovsiyenko: And therefore you still remained a candidate for sciences…
O.M.Apanovych: You know, when perestroika began, they started telling me that Braichevsky…
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Candidate of sciences…
O.M.Apanovych: Yes, he defended his thesis, and the defense was very simple. You had to write a report, which would pass like a doctoral thesis. But I thought I was very emotional and it might cost me a lot. I’d rather write books. Even now I have zillion offers; In the first half of the 90s I published three books. The first book – “Ukrainian-Russian agreement of 1654. Myths and Realities.” 1994. (Kyiv. Bonfire.―96 p.). This book hang around publishers for two years and the project dragged out. There was the presentation and I could give you materials. Nobody before me wrote about this agreement. And this book came out last year: “Chortomlyk Zaporizhzhia Sich” (Kyiv. Ukrainian Kozaks, 1998.―80 p.). And here are “The tales of the Kozaks” (Kyiv, Dnipro, 1991.―335 p.). A 1991 run of 115,000 copies was sold out. The Dnipro Publishers executed it.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Then followed “Hetmans of Ukraine and Commanders of Zaporizhzhia Sich Kozak Camps” (Kyiv. Lybed, 1993.―287 p.)
O.M.Apanovych: Yes, it came out in 1993, and the Shevchenko Prize was awarded in 1994.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: For this book: "Hetmans of Ukraine and Commanders of Zaporizhzhia Sich Kozak Camps” (Kyiv. Lybed, 1993.―287 p.).
O.M.Apanovych: For this book. And instead I might have spent a lot of moral forces to defend the thesis!
V.V.Ovsiyenko: It is simpler for you to write books.
O.M.Apanovych: So I decided for myself. It came to me, when the prize was already awarded, and on the day when it had to be presented−I will show you pictures now−by Oles Honchar. And in the morning we were invited−all winners of the prize, it is already a tradition−to the Shevchenko museum so that we could make a speech there. I spoke briefly and said that when Ukraine gained independence… I said this, it was so and I didn’t think otherwise… I sat down and thought how I in my life, with my abilities and energy can help to develop the Ukrainian statehood? I decided that since the national historical memory was stolen from Ukrainian people, I have to take part as a historian and scholar in writing books and articles to help bring this national and historical memory back. And awarding me this highest prize means nothing but recognition of my work. The name of Shevchenko illuminates this Prize and it lifts me to the heights of spirituality. It was said from the heart. They say that my name… this title is higher than the title of academician. Right?
O.M.Apanovych: Is this the Antonovych Prize?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: “May 26, 1995; Foundation of Omelian and Tetiana Antonovych…” Then you were also awarded the Antonovych Prize? Very beautiful letter of commendation.
O.M.Apanovych: Couldn’t arrange as yet to frame it and hang on the wall.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Olena Mykhailivna, please tell us how you were reinstated at the Institute of History?
O.M.Apanovych: It’s a long story. Smoliy put about rumours (so Raisa Ivanchenko told me) that Apanovych was a popularizer. Her words rather amazed me. Usually we greeted one another. And then I heard that Smoliy was married to her daughter. He rumored it after I had been reinstated. He gave a ring to Yaroslav Dzyra, which had been reinstated before me.
Yevhen Proniuk, when Paton addressed the House, asked him a question: what about those who were given the sack in 1972? He answered that they would tackle this issue. So Valery Smoliy received me and asked, “Where do you want to work, Olena Mykhailivna?” I said, “What do you mean by asking me where? I want to go to the department where I worked as a pro, that is the former Department of Feudalism, and now the Department of Middle Ages.” And he said, “And what can be done with Kotliar and Serhienko?” And Kotliar fears me like death because at the first archeographical conference I spoke against him. He reviewed the book of Kytsenko “Khortytsia: heroic deeds and legends”. Based on this review by Kotliar the Oblast Party Committee ousted from the place the Deputy Head of Zaporizhzhia Oblast Executive Committee. Fedir Pavlovych Shevchenko presided at this meeting. And I said that the statement of Kotliar were more reactionary than the manifesto of Catherine II on the destruction of Sich. He argued that the “Russian Government” was two centuries late to liquidate the Sich because, firstly, the Zaporizhzhia army as a backward force somehow prevented the development of martial arts in Russia and hindered frontier settling−you understand? The Kozak Sich had been ruined, Zaporizhzhia lands parceled among landowners and foreign immigrants, while they brought their serfs and settled them there. And there was one more point. So Smoliy said, “Here Kotliar…” I said, “You know, probably my biological time is running short… everything will be as God disposes. I will not spend this time on destruction, fight, proving anything. I just have to work constructively.”
Defending their theses, Mytsyk, Shcherbak tried to prove: afer Holobutsky and Huslystyi there was no further development of the historiography of the Kozaks not. They started writing something only since the mid-eighties, that is during the perestroika. That the way to strike me out… But I don’t care.
So, I started telling you but not finished that in 1989, when we went on an expedition “destroyed and preserved”, when we arrived in Lviv at the conference… it was called “Christmas meetings”, when our expedition met with the public, when in the Writers’ Assosiation Roman Krypyakevych-son came up and said, “OlenaMykhailivna, if you only knew how my father spoke highly of you…” I used to meet Krypyakevych. We spoke at a meeting in the house of culture at a very big plant: the audience chamber was enormous, the weather was bad, it was winter, blizzard… but the hall was full. When they announced that Olena Mykhailivna will speak now−we sat there as if on a podium−the whole audience stood up. I was persecuted at the time. I burst into tears…
When invited to make a speech in Baturyn… they celebrated the anniversary of something, Drach conducted a meeting of Coordinating Council, there were representatives from abroad. The director of Paris Petliura library arrived as well. And there I spoke at the conference. Whilemounting the rostrum I met a female kolhosp worker, a simple villager, who said: “Olena Mykhailivna , if only you knew how we liked listening to you on the radio.” A man from the village came by bike, ex military. He showed me his conspectuses of books, even manuscripts. Another had the “Armed Forces”. So I don’t care two hoots about Smoliy! Look here, Ivan Ivanovych Bilyk writes: “Now, Olena Mykhailivna is writing; her patriotism is boundless”.
This is what I wanted to finish with. I developed my outlook in the sixties. I started with the Kozaks. I felt so romantic about their fights… I studied archives containing dispatches directly from the battlefield. I describe fighting as if from above and as if from within. When Kost Huslystyi read my third chapter based on the archives, he asked, "Where did you copy it from?”. I even cried. Directly from the archives! Braichevsky’s wife−and she’s an architect and a bit of an artist−said: “Olena Mykhailivna, how do you manage to describe fighting? I’ve read and I can draw the battle layout now, create a picture.” So I couldn’t care less about those guys. There was one more crook in my lot; they wanted to shelter themselves behind my authority and put off to me a hack thesis trying to appoint me a scientific tutor. That’s nothing but a trifle in the presence of such recognition! But it is not the recognition which matters. Here is this book that will be of benefit to the public.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: It’s about agriculture of Kozaks and peasants, right? (Olena Apanovych. The Lord is plowing. The subsistence farming of Ukrainian peasants and Kozaks in the context of ideas of Serhiy Podolynsky and Volodymyr Vernadsky. – The library of The Bell of Sevastopol Magazine, 1999. - 26 p.)
O.M.Apanovych: Yes. I will give you sixteen books for the Serhiy Podolynsky Scientific Society. Let me make corrections in one copy. Small amendments in three places. Here on the 10th page it is necessary to add “destroying the environment”, “the achievements of several generations of both warring parties”. This was prompted by a woman who taught ecology in the Military Institute. And I write on environment here. And page 16, where Kratko is mentioned… should be not 1977, but 1997.
I’d like to know whether information on a dissident for the Kharkiv Human Rights Group has any limits?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Information has limits, but the audio track is stored on tape and written down on paper for the archive and for editing for printing.
O.M.Apanovych: Oh, God, really? And I stumbled through my talking there! I am not a good narrator.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Your story was very good. When the text is transcribed, I’ll offer it for editing.
O.M.Apanovych: Let’s assume that this is the first step. I’ll still find materials. Here is my article on Ivan Bilyk for you to read. Then you will be able to interview him as well.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Right. Before turning to him I should do my homework. The knowledge of “The Sword of Ares”, which I read long ago and forgot many details, wouldn’t suffice.
O.M.Apanovych: So I’ll tell him. I would really like him to write to the Literary Ukraine Weekly this year. But to all appearances, you will have no time to finish writing before the anniversary. I am preparing an edition of “Kozak encyclopedia for young people. Collection of articles about the historical existence of the Ukrainian Kozaks”. This is not a classical encyclopedia; I simply alphabetize the articles. When you need to write a synthetic history, you have to leave something out. For example, you describe a battle and never mention it again. Or a person. And the rest of the material you put aside. I have a big article on Vyhovsky, but I have no sponsor. It is waiting for a sponsor in the publishing house. It was order by the Rainbow Publishers. I have many offers these days. For example, the newspaper “People’s Army” published 16 articles of Kozak military art: “Kozak Armata” (People’s Army.―1998.―July 11. - p. 5), “Ukrainian Kozak Army” (People’s Army.―1998.―July 11.―p. 4), “Armor Bearer” (People’s Army.―1998.―Aug 28.―p. 8), “Ukrainian Hetman State” (People’s Army.―1998.―July 25.―p. 4-5), “Ukrainian Kozak Art of War” (People’s Army.―1998.―July 25.―p. 5), “Campaign of Hetman Sahaidachny Against Moscow” (People’s Army.―1999.―July 23.―P. 4 ) is a brilliant article; “Sloboda Kozak Regiments” (People’s Army.―1999.―May 7.―P. 4-5), “Saltpeter Making and Manufacture of Gunpowder for the Kozak Army” (People’s Army.―1999.―Apr 17.―p. 5), “Armament of the Kozak Army” (People’s Army.―1998.―Aug 12.—p. 5), “Kozak Fortress” (People’s Army.―1998.―July 14.―P. 7), even with a portrait. You’d better take a picture of me, but not now… so I look badly inside here. Come on Sunday, I do not feel like doing it now. Look here: “Chyhyryn, Chyhyryn. 350 years ago Chyhyryn became the capital of the Kozak State” (People’s Army.―1998.―July 7.―P. 4-5, July 8th.―P. 4-5), they printed it in two issues. Now, I love this Pavlo Skoropadskiy (Builder of the Ukrainian Hetman State / / Government Courier.―1995.―August 31.). “Kozak Outwear” (People’s Army.―1998.―Oct 13.―P. 4-5). All of it was printed in the “People’s Army”, where a series of my statist articles were brought out. Here is the article "Archive of the Kish of Zaporizhzhia Sich" (Burning Bush.―1995.―no. 1-2.―P. 131-138), “Hetmans’ Universals” (Burning Bush.―1995.―no. 1-2.―P. 138 -139), thse are government documents, “General military chancellery” (Burning Bush.―1995.―no. 1-2.―P. 140-142); “Zaporizhzhia Kozaks after 1775. Transdanubian Sich. Black-Sea Army. Kuban Cossacks (Burning Bush.―1995.―no. 3-4.―P. 173-185), “The Art of Zaporizhzhia” (Burning Bush.―1995.―no. 3-4.―P. 129-133). Do you understand?
V.V.Ovsiyenko: Yes. I’ll hack it all and make a getaway. It is about closing time in the underground. 25 minutes to go.
O.M.Apanovych: Maybe I was a little chaotic ...
V.V.Ovsiyenko: It is good that we’ve recorded it all. Someone had to do it.
O.M.Apanovych: Do you know someone from Kharkiv has already recorded me. He works with Isayevych. He wrote a tome. He wrote about the repressions in the Institute of History, and named us. The order of the President reads that these were repressions and Rozhenko is still isn’t reinstated… That one from Kharkiv tortured me till the small hours and I told him something. Do you know this man? I will find this tutorial, it is quite a tome. Also, some of my relatives were recorded.
[End of the track]
O.M.Apanovych: I think what else to tell you.
V.V.Ovsiyenko: I will come next time with a dictating machine. But now I have 24 minutes left until shut down time.
O.M.Apanovych: Well, do run now, run for God’s sake.
[End of the interview]
V.V.Ovsiyenko: On September 16, 1999, at the House of litterateurs in Kyiv the anniversary evening of Olena Apanovych took place. Then I recorded her concluding speech.
O.M.Apanovych: My dear friends! That’s how I perceive all of you present here. You’re my readers and I love and respect my readers.
I want to tell a little bit about the process of my creative work and the place and role in it of my readers.
After completion of the first phase of work on the preparation of the book or article with the search of historical sources, relevant literature for my topic of study and reflection, analysis, synthesis, and generalizations, tackling emerging issues and problems, and, as the completion of this phase, formulation of concept and generation of the idea that is a full historiosophical understanding of the topic I finally get down to a second phase, i.e. writing.
I tell you at once that I never write indifferently; entering the unknown space, as always, I address or see in my imagination my readers. Sometimes there even appears an image of the particular reader; at this time my intellectual work is joined by spiritual effort. I have a great sense of gratitude to my future readers, because thanks to them I have the opportunity to express myself. Volodymyr Vernadsky, the greatest naturalist of the 20th century, a descendant of Kozaks, in one of his letters wrote, I quote: “The self-expression of each individual is not an accidental and indifferent fact in the universe.” I am glad that I can share the acquired historical knowledge with others. I like enlightenment on the so called genetic level. I prefer to write the true story and I am happy that now I can contribute to the most important thing, i.e. to the return of national historical memory to Ukrainian people, revival of national consciousness and dignity, and education of Ukrainians.
Among my readers I see historians, scholars, professors, teachers, for whom I publish the results of my scientific research. But I also do a lot of writing for the so-called general reader: pupils, students, humanitarian and technical intelligentsia, peasants, and workers, and make it in an easy literary style. But these works lose not an inch of scientific character. I expound new ideas and messages, highlight sophisticated new questions and problems, lay down unknown facts, but does not overload the text with references either at the bottom of a page or at the end of the book or article: they impede understanding of the text. Only most important and absolutely necessary references I somehow insert in the text.
Actually, I spare neither my time nor my energy to help readers easily and clearly perceive my text, even if it needs a considerable effort. It happens many times rewrite a sentence, choose different words so that they could co-exist well, twice, three times rewrite paragraphs and pages. Finally, comes the solemn moment: I can make a fair copy of it. I must admit that I have not mustered the typewriter and, especially, computer; my weaponry includes a pencil and a pen.
But before I’m going to make a fair copy, I feel a rush of my inspiration, even physically I feel pricking in my fingertips, shivers down my spine and a chill. Then I get up, shuffle my feet around the room, calm down, and start reading (and I read aloud). Why do I read? To control the rhythm of the message. Since my young age I instinctively kept time of my phrases. Later I met with the scientific proof of it. When the Rhetoric of Feofan Prokopovych, Rector of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (early 18th century) had been translated from Latin I read in the section on letters a clearly expressed opinion: the scientific literature should have its rhythm. And still later I learned that rhythm is a manifestation of harmony. And harmony is the main law of the cosmos.
I must say that in the Soviet times, when the “Scientific Thought” edited for publication my first monograph “Zaporizhzhia Sich fighting against the Turkish-Tatar aggression: from the 50s till 70s of the 17th century.” (AS of the UkrSSR. History Institute.―Kyiv: AS of the UkrSSR Publishers, 1961.―299 p.), the editor… well, what editors did we have at the time? Their main objective was censorship. And they made everything fit the standard. They changed even the style. When I told him: “You’ve just crossed out a word and this omission violates the rhythm”; he laughed at me. I was lucky when I wrote "The armed forces of Ukraine." Then my editor was Borys Mozolevsky. He then worked in the editors’ office; he was in love with archeology, in summer he participated in expeditions. He was a poet, he gave me his book. But he also thought, and felt the rhythm. That’s why we got along very well. Perhaps this book was a success also due to him because he, firstly, helped me to improve the text and, secondly, because he preserved the harmony. All of it influenced the reader.
I have to say one more thing. Here I see that you’ve come. And it fills me with such gratitude to you. I’m sure that Tiutchev was wrong telling: “In fact, we’ll never know, How our words’ll echo.” And your coming here shows me how my words will resound. And all your kind words… I think they are a little exaggerated like they do it on all holidays, but I’m so happy that I hear the echo of my words, and your kind and beautiful words inspire me to crave for the heights of the spirit! I want to say that I love all of you, I kiss and hug all of you! I wish that God may help you in your good works, your labor for the benefit of Ukraine, may the Lord help us all! And we still need to do a lot to improve our lives and fill our independent Ukrainian state with the Ukrainian content.
Once again thank you very much for your coming and pouring on me such a good and beautiful energy! (Applause).
[End of recording]
The parts of this interview were published in:
V. Ovsiyenko. When the Kozaks became an ideological crime ... Fragments of the unpublished memoirs of Olena Apanovych / / Politics and Culture Magazine, 2000.―no. 10 (45).―March 17. - p. 41 - 43. - Photo.
V. Ovsiyenko. Olena Apanovych witnesses / / Proceedings of 10th July academic readings. Issue 1.―Kyiv: Center of spiritual culture. 2002.―p. 48-57.
 Puyi died in 1967.
 Kish - Government of Zaporizhzhia Sich.
 Also in 1654 there did not exist such political entity as Russia; there existed Muscovia, with which a part of Ukrainian military chieftains concluded an agreement. At the time the Tsar had an official title of the Tsar of the whole Rus and not Russia, which came to be at the time of Peter the Great.
 For a short period of time, after ths History Institute, the building belonged to the Ministry of Agriculture.
 The Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture was founded on Dec. 21, 1966.
 Tronko Petro Tymofiyovych (b. July 12, 1915, c. Zabrody, Kharkiv Oblast - † September 12, 2011)
 Sviokla is Russian for beet.
 The Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine was adopted by the Ukrainian parliament on August 24, 1991.
 Ukrainian analog of Russian samizdat.
 Military camp or ruling Military Association in the land of Zaporizhzhia Sich.