MARYNOVYCH Liuba Mykhailivna


author: Vasyl Ovsiyenko

L.Marynovych: My name is Marynovych Liubov Mykhailivna, or, as is our custom, Liuba Marynovych. I was born on February 20, 1948 in southern Ukraine, so to speak, in the former reserve of Russian Empire.

V.Ovsiyenko: But there should have been a concrete place of birth…

L.Marynovych: Yes, in the former Village of Malynivka, now it is called Pidlisne. In Soviet times it was named Malynivka in honor of rural correspondent Hryhoriy Malynovskyi: you may remember the novel Weeds by Andriy Holovko? The depicted events took place in our area.

V.Ovsiyenko: May you name oblast and region, please?

L.Marynovych: Novoodesky Region, Mykolayiv Oblast. I was born into a family of rural teachers. My father was a school principal and a teacher of Ukrainian language and literature. My mother was an elementary classroom teacher; like my father, she worked all her life in the same school; now she is retired. They were real teachers, such as they should be. When I finished school, I also went to join a pedagogical educational establishment. I studied for four years, and then I worked as a teacher in two villages in Mykolayiv Oblast four years. But I did not like to be a teacher; I was very much drawn to Kyiv. I dreamed to be a proofreader in a publishing house.

V.Ovsiyenko: Now, tell us, please, where and when you studied.

L.Marynovych: I first studied in Vissarion Belinski Mykolayiv State Pedagogical Institute, Russian branch of the Faculty of Philology, in 1965-1969. Why Russian Faculty? Like many others, in my youth I was idealist and romantic; the distant lands−Siberia and Kamchatka−attracted me… I thought I needed to know Russian language to be able to work anywhere “in the vast Union”. Don’t be surprised: I was a typical product of the time and the place; I was “a Komsomol member, sportswoman, activist”. In my youth I took interest in a lot of things: I was engaged in sports− track-and-field events, basketball, boat racing, hiking, and dancing, both folk and ballroom dances.

And since I was very much drawn to Kyiv, I still dared to enter Kyiv University, the faculty of journalism… Earlier I used to write for our regional newspaper occasional articles. I gathered the papers, went to the editor and asked for a reference; I did not say anything to anyone, even my parents; I phoned them from Kyiv already… Oh no, I beg your pardon, I made a clean breast of it and my parents let me go. I joined postal tuition department. It seems I studied there from 1972 to 1978.

V.Ovsiyenko: Postal tuition department. And where did you live?

L.Marynovych: One year, already an external student, I continued working as a teacher in Novoodesky Region. Upon graduation from the Mykolayiv higher educational establishment I worked for three years in the Village of Mykhailivka at first and then in the Village of Novo-Sofronivka. So from that very village I went to Kyiv. And in the second year of study at the correspondence department of the Faculty of Journalism I found a job in Kyiv and moved there. My school friend, who already lived in Kyiv and worked as a juvenile service inspector, helped me to get settled. At first I lived in the workers’ dorm in the urban settlement of Bucha near Kyiv. I worked at the Vyshcha Shkola Publishing House. How I got there? As easy as pie, as they say: I was walking down the street, came across an information desk and asked for addresses of publishers the names of which I liked: Vyshcha Shkola, Radianska Shkola and Ukrayinska Entsyklopediya. I started making a round of these publishers. I came to the Ukrayinska Entsyklopediya and they told me: “We do not employ external students, we have very rigid rules.” I went to the Radianska Shkola Publishers and they told me that they just did not have vacancies. Then I proceeded to the Vyshcha Shkola Publishers and they said on the hoof: "Well, we’ll employ you as a proofreader." I was very surprised and said: "I’ve just walked in from the street, you do not know me.”−“We’ll get to know you during the period of probation.”

I began working at the Vyshcha Shkola Publishers on September 13, 1973. I remember it very well, because just then there was a coup in Chile, and my co-workers discussed the murder of Salvador Allende and storming of the Moncada Palace (*The Presidential Palace La Moneda in Santiago. – Note of decoder Vyacheslav Baumer).

I really liked proofreading. I do love working with words. Maybe it’s my father’s influence. I would like to touch on my father’s life.

My father Mykhailo Vasyliovych was born in 1921. My mother Nina Yosypivna says that I am my dad’s daughter. I have a younger brother, but he was considered to be a mother’s son, though he was not mamma’s darling. Valery is currently working as a teacher of Ukrainian language and literature and foreign language and literature in the Village of Pidlisne where our roots were. My father graduated from the same high school as I, only he specialized in Ukrainian philology (my brother as well). Actually, it was he who awakened in me an interest in words and literature. He was an excellent elocutionist and a literate writer; he was admired by the villagers. He was one of the first literate men in the village. Even the old men turned to him to get this or that explanation. And during the war (he was an artillery man) he was surrounded and spent a short time in German captivity. Still before the war, he became a member of the Communist Party[1], and for that captivity he was expelled from it. Nevertheless, he became a school principal in our village. Later the officials offered him to re-enter the party, but he refused (saying that let them restore my membership if they want to). The villagers still remember him as the best director in our village, for he enjoyed authority. He was a very honest man, never touched someone else’s property, though he administered funds, particularly during the school repairs. Actually he was a truth-seeker; he attracted all villagers who were dissatisfied with skinflint chairman of the collective farm. It is clear that he did not suffer reprisals like political prisoners, but since my childhood I knew that we must defend the truth and one can suffer from it.

I will never forget how my father read to my brother and me when we were still small kids… He opened the old edition of Kobzar (I still keep it) and read "The Haidamakas”. The part "Gonta in Uman" impressed on me a great deal and I later learned it by heart and recited it at one evening. He used to organize school theme soirees dedicated to Shevchenko, Franko, which attracted many villagers. In the evening of life my father was no longer the principal: he was a teacher. It was a result of "fighting" with the head of the collective farm and regional administration…

It’s a pity that my father did not know Myroslav. He loved to talk with clever persons. Once and again I imagine how they would have met with Myroslav and conversed together. They would be like-minded persons. In the same way my mother and my brother are like-minded persons with Myroslav. They at once admitted Myroslav into the family, in spite of the fact that I married him in exile as a «dangerous special state criminal." They just trusted me, and therefore they trusted my chosen one.

V.Ovsiyenko: Are not your father alive?

L.Marynovych: He is no more. He was a disabled war vet, second group due to a wound. He died at the age of 63 in the hospital in Mykolayiv in 1985, a year later than Borys Dmytrovych Antonenko-Davydovych (I remembered about Borys Dmytrovych, because he was my second father, my spiritual father). They were both my equally dear men, and as I said, I have two guardian angels, and I imagine that they were my angels.

So I came to Kyiv and began working as a proofreader at the Vyshcha Shkola Publishers. I worked honestly and in two years I joined the editorial staff responsible for unification of terminology, that is the department of copy editors, where I mad better acquaintance of Mykhailyna Khomivna Kotsiubynska. She, as well as Borys Dmytrovych and Nila Yakivna Kucheryavenko, head of the department of copy editors, fostered my taste for proper Ukrainian language (because you know what kind of spoken Ukrainian they use in our villages in the south: sort of mixed Ukrainian−Russian dialect).

I used my energy to be ahead of schedule, as well as to do a lot of things for fun: German courses, scuba courses, embroidery, sewing and weaving, ski trips, swimming, rowing, etc.… But all of it receded into the background, and then was completely gone when I met Myroslav Marynovych and Mykola Matusevych. It happened in October 1976… In the neighboring Radianska Shkola Publishing House the personnel organized a bus trip to Poltava. They took us as well: Nila Yakivna, me and my friend, who also worked as a proofreader. When we came to the Radianska Shkola, we saw near the bus handsome guys in sardaks[2] (it was cool to see such guys in such costumes in Kyiv); one guy was black-moustached and another was red-moustached. Later we became better acquainted: the dark blond guy was Mykola Matusevych and dark-haired guy was Myroslav Marynovych. There were also Mykola Netiaha and two girls: Olga Heiko (later we made friends with her) and Liuda (her last name has escaped me) who sang in the chorus of Leopold Yashchenko… These guys prepossess me. First, in the bus they sang very beautiful Ukrainian songs, not trite ones like “Blackthorn’s Flowering" constantly broadcasted, but real good songs. When the bus stopped at a gas station, they organized an interesting game for us. In short, I regarded them with wonder… I remember Poltava for the "early snow on green leaves"[3] and museums of Korolenko and Poltava Battle. Olga and Liuda, with whom we put up in Poltava, overheard my conversation with a friend and said, “Oh, these girls speak Ukrainian.” They offered us to come to them to learn Christmas carols. We met at the apartment of Olia and Pavlo Stokotelnys and then went caroling. I wrote about these my first carols in my memoirs about Borys Dmytrovych. (They were published abroad under the pseudonym "Uliana Drobot" and later in independent Ukraine, under the pseudonym "Y. Bairak" in the book: Bonfire. Borys Antonenko-Davydovych seen by his contemporaries / Compiled by Borys Tymoshenko. Kyiv: Olena Teliha Publishers, 1999, pp. 288-309).

We were friends with them for a short time only. A few months later, in April 1977, the guys were arrested for participating in the Ukrainian Helsinki Group. We were not allowed to attend the trial, and we were freezing for several days at the door of the court in Vasylkiv. I continued to meet with my new company, and we always talked about Mykola and Myroslav when we gathered together.

Who were my new friends in Kyiv? My circle included Olga Heiko, Tamila Matusevych, Nina and Yevhen Obertases, Halyna Didkivska, Olga and Pavlo Stokotelnis, who were of my age, and two great figures in my life, who really changed my outlook: Mykhailyna Khomivna Kotsiubynska and Borys Dmytrovych Antonenko-Davydovych. Those were Myroslav and Mykola who introduced me to Borys Dmytrovych. It happened on January 29, 1977. When we came to Borys Dmytrovych as guests, he told us about the heroes of Kruty. As a schoolgirl I read about him in Dnipro Monthly, which my father had subscribed, and then paid attention not only to his narrative Behind the Screen, but also to his articles on Ukrainian language written in a smooth style. I remember his name, but I could not imagine that I would be able to get to know him personally. And Mykhailyna Khomivna Kotsiubynska was my spiritual mother. She helped me to make progress and to master the language.

There was such an occurrence. When she and I worked in the copy editors’ department of Vyshcha Shkola Publishers Mykhailyna Khomivna was subjected to criticism at the general meeting of the publishing house personnel after publication in the Literaturna Ukrayina of M. Podolian’s article “The Bird From Under the Roof of OUN”. I was on vacation then and I dropped in there by chance, but, hearing about the meeting, I stayed. After all those speeches the question was brought to a vote: "Now, let’s vote for signing off Mykhailyna Khomivna Kotsiubynska.” Of course, the forest of hands voted “aye”. “Who votes “nay”? And two hands were shown: of the editor Liuda Korobova’s and mine. After that Liuda had to give up her job and leave Kyiv and I was downgraded from the copy editor to proofreader once more, because they said that Mykhailyna Khomivna exerted a negative influence on me. People reacted to this event in different ways: some colleagues approached me and quietly expressed their support and some said: “We will know now what a worker from the street is worth. Only those who belong here may be employed…” And Mykhailyna Khomivna was let alone at work.

I also experienced a considerable influence of Valeriy Marchenko, when he returned to Kyiv for a year or a year and a half between the first and second arrest (from May 1981 to the arrest of 21 October 1983.--V.O.). I met him at the apartment of Borys Dmytrovych. Valery was an active man. Do you know him personally?

V.Ovsiyenko: Yes, I knew him a little, over there, in the Urals.

L.Marynovych: He said that if I studied at the faculty of journalism, I had no right to sit on my hands and write nothing: “Here you often meet with Borys Dmytrovych, you should write everything down and then write about him. Nobody knows how long he will last. And not just about Borys Dmytrovych, you should write about others as well.” Valery brought me an old typewriter "Underwood" (which I still have; I keep it, because it may be of use for the future museum of dissidents) and showed how to use it, because I still did not know how to type.

My first piece was about Mykola Matusevych: he disappeared somewhere. Valery handed it to the West through a German from the FRG, but I lost traces of it somehow. And I have not even a copy of the sketch.

And the second article was about Borys Dmytrovych. At first I wrote down his poems, “poems by Katrychenko” (a pseudonym of B.A-D.—V.O.), and he checked my records (somewhere I still have the drafts of poems with his amendments), then I jotted down his stories about himself and about Ukrainian history in general, and then I began keeping a diary where I wrote about my communication with Borys Dmytrovych. He wanted me to entitle the story about him "In the grip of circumstances”, because he often said that he felt the tight grip of life. Then I wrote another piece (I find difficulty in defining the genre, because it was a kind of mix, but Myroslav said he liked the piece when I brought this thing to him in exile). Somewhere abroad it was published, of course, under a pseudonym. On the eve of Borys Dmytrovych’s centenary it was published in an abridged form in the book “Bonfire”. Have you come across this book?

V.Ovsiyenko: I have the book and I have read it.

L.Marynovych: Have you? I’ve been thinking that maybe I could publish In the Grip of Circumstances as a pamphlet because the book of memoirs The Bonfire was very long in preparation. You see how much time has elapsed: fifteen years after the death of Borys Dmytrovych; he died in 1984.

…Well, now probably I may touch on Myroslav, right?

V.Ovsiyenko: Right you are.

L.Marynovych: I fared hard, by the way, because I lived alone in Kyiv, cut off from my family. I left my family khata at seventeen, when I entered the teachers’ training college; afterwards I made only flying visits to my home. And one period was especially hard, because I had a tiff with Mykola Matusevych. He sent letters in which he expressed his burning anger with the Kyivites that irritated many a people. I felt that I must, being his friend, write in a friendly way, though not at his level of creativity, that Mykola as Ukrainian political prisoner had to be more restrained setting an example… I do not remember the exact wording. In general, it is not necessary to record; I just want to explain the situation before becoming close friends with Myroslav. Or maybe you’d better switch off recorder?

V.Ovsiyenko: As you say. Shall I switch it off or let it be?

L.Marynovych: Well, it’s all the same, let it be; you can obliterate the recorded material later.

V.Ovsiyenko: Let it be.

L.Marynovych: Letters that came from Mykola and Myroslav were very different. When you read a letter from Myroslav and you feel the warm rays of love, good jokes, and support. Meanwhile the letters from were often angry and featured stinging jokes. He did take not my letter as a friendly one and wrote to my sister a hostile letter about me. It was painful for me (besides during those days one by one died Borys Dmytrovych and my father). Even my heart began to ache for the first time in my life, and Yevhen Proniuk gave me all sorts of herbs. He had recently returned from exile and helped me. Actually the guys began to return, Oles Shevchenko, if I’m not mistaken…

V.Ovsiyenko: Proniuk returned in July 1984 and Oles came back in May 1987.

L.Marynovych: Yes, Yevhen Proniuk then helped me: he gave me herbs and rendered moral assistance. However, I craved Myroslav. I tried to write letters to these guys staying in the concentration camp, but they did not answer me, because we were not close friends.

V.Ovsiyenko: From the high security camp one could send only two letters per month, from the cell-like room every two months, and from the cooler you could not correspond.

L.Marynovych: Yes, they wrote to their relatives only. I read their letters to their mothers and sisters. Sometimes Mrs. Liuba−then she was Mrs. Liuba for me and now she is like my mother−came to Kyiv and brought letters with her; or Nadiya, Myroslav’s sister, came and I read Myroslav’s letters. Or Myroslav wrote to a close friend, such as Olia Heiko (she was much better acquainted with them and Mykola) and I read those letters as well. And Tamila Matusevych gave me Mykola’s letters to read.

As soon as they had been transferred from the concentration camp to the place of internal exile−both Mykola and Myroslav−I tried to send them parcels containing apples, or some delicacies, or even with some food products. I tried to do it unobtrusively… I did not want to present it as a sort of feat. I always realize my place. I understand quite well that I am not a heroine; I am very far from this. On the contrary, in my life there are many things for which I blush with shame and I ask God for forgiveness. But I hope that much changed for the better since I became Myroslav’s wife.

So I packed a weighty suitcase with food and went to Myroslav. It was on 20 April 1986. I took a vacation from work and went to him by air for a week.

V.Ovsiyenko: Where was he?

L.Marynovych: He was in exile in Kazakhstan, in the Village of Saralzhyn.

V.Ovsiyenko: Oh, this was the same village where Marchenko lived?

L.Marynovych: Right, the same village where Marchenko lived, and Zorian Popadiuk. (Valeriy Marchenko served his term of exile in the Village Saralzhyn[4], Uyilski Region, Aktyubinsk Oblast, from July 1979 till May 1981; Zorian Popadiuk from June 1981 till September 2, 1982−V.O.). It was a long and adventurous trip to Kazakh steppes. I reached the village late in the evening and it was already dark when the Kazakh boys showed me the way to Myroslav’s cabin… You know, one test shows that I am a living embodiment of an ideal, because I always took interest in lofty matters and self-improvement. On the other hand, some other tests show that I am an adventuress. I agree that I am an adventuress, because otherwise I would not go to visit a guy in exile… We met. I told him Kyiv news very quickly and then mainly he was speaking. At the time Myroslav was working as a carpenter at the rural workshop. He came home at dinnertime and had his dinner which I had cooked and then we kept talking from 01 pm till 03 pm. The same happened when he returned home after work and we kept talking sometimes till 02 am or 03 am. He told me about the Theory of Quesnay, Mykola Rudenko, read his “Gospel of the Christ’s Fool”, explained it, sang different songs, played accordion…

V.Ovsiyenko: Carpenter, as St. Joseph?

L.Marynovych: Yes. And as well as Jesus before 30 years of age…

At times we went for a stroll in the fields and entered into conversations. And there in the steppe the tulips were out and it was very good. In general, the weather kept fine and I did not see and feel the hot breath of sand storms that were frequent there… I will never forget how we walked round Saralzhyn trodding on the wall of earth surrounding the village, when the sun was setting down beyond the sands. Myroslav was telling me something on this wall of earth and the wind was disheveling his hair. He reminded me Shevchenko in exile then. And sometimes he reminded me of Jesus Christ as he also worked as a carpenter, and in general, what he said was so spiritually close to Christ! (At that time I started to change my atheistic approach for the religious one under the influence of Valeriy Marchenko).

When a week later Myroslav escorted me to the bus stop (it was April 26, 1986, on the same night there was an explosion in Chornobyl), I went toward Chornobyl disaster and Myroslav remained there. Well, of course, I left him and cried bitterly. Everything ahead was shrouded in mystery.

I realized that this was the most important meeting of my life, that he opened his mind to me. Having returned home, to my parents, I told my brother that a great event had taken place in my life. Earlier, of course, I liked Myroslav as well, as a friend, as a guy, when had gathered together in our circle before the arrest. And finally everything happened like a poet wrote: "She came to love him for his torments, and he loved her for her compassion."[5]

For some time we corresponded with Myroslav, and in October he was given a leave. They wore him out with drawing up of documents, bullied him, but eventually they let him go. He spent his leave with his mother and sister in Drohobych. Olga Heiko and I called on him and it was my first encounter with this town. When he was on return trip from Drohobych via Kyiv to the place of his exile, fifteen Kyivites met his train at half past two in the small hours, and then the whole group went to Zhulyany. He had to go by air via Kharkiv to Aktyubinsk. And there, in the Zhuliany public garden, he told me: "I would like to cast in my lot with yours." Without a second thought I agreed to become his wife.

I picked up my time, left Kyiv and went to him. The times were uncertain. Although the first reverberations of Gorbachev era were already heard, nobody knew whether the political prisoners would be released. And I am very glad that in our life together there was a Saralzhyn beaten-cobwork cabin, which he lovingly put in order. His mother (and his sister too) came there, decorated the cabin with all sorts of embroidery, carpets, rugs. In the Kazakh village he had Ukrainian oasis.

V.Ovsiyenko: And Zorian Popadiuk has recently told me that Myroslav should be grateful to him for the renovation he carried out.

L.Marynovych: A joker he is. For Myroslav in the shed, which he was assigned as dwelling, he laid flooring and finished surface of the ceiling, whitewashed the walls, manufactured simple wooden furniture, added on kitchen and inner and sun porches, even fenced the yard and planted sunflowers there. The Ukrainians are thrifty people and they like that the work goes on swimmingly… It seems Zorian, like Valeriy Marchenko before him, lived in a room at the outpatient clinic. Myroslav showed me where Valeriy Marchenko lived. It is necessary to clarify with Zorian. Maybe, he meant Saralzhyn in general?

V.Ovsiyenko: Maybe. It was a hot place properly furnished with informers.

L.Marynovych: Yes, of course. There a militiaman was assigned to him, the KGB officers used to drop in. Myroslav knew those informers, but said that compared with the Slavs they were simple children of steppe.

V.Ovsiyenko: So when did you go there again?

L.Marynovych: I arrived on December 24, 1986, just at the Catholic Christmas. This was the day of our civil marriage, you might say. Soon we invited Kazakhs so that they could come to know me better. I was all in a twit, especially when older Kazakhs started coming in. Myroslav worried too, but when he saw me in the corner scared out of my wits, he suddenly laughed and calmed down. Everything went on wheels. It was necessary to do everything Kazakh way: sit everyone on a felt mat, put pillows under, and pour tea in Kazakh style… Well, I tried my best.

V.Ovsiyenko: And why did you decide that it was necessary to adhere to their customs?

L.Marynovych: Because you have to adhere to the customs of the people among whom you live… We were welcomed and accepted by a group of 24-year-old boys and girls, though we were 38 then. They were all former classmates who used to meet on March 8, New Year and they invited us to participate. The Muslims came to Myroslav on Easter. We remembered them for a very long time and we were in correspondence with them long after we left there. Later they also came to Drohobych. And no wonder Myroslav during his first vacation went to Saralzhyn. Because we left our friends there.

They are very sincere, direct, neat… I remember how, after our return to Ukraine, Myroslav and I went to Kyiv from Drohobych and we went to call on our friends Stokotelnys. And in the lobby of the riser, when we kept waiting for the elevator, two girls were standing nearby. They were drunk, had painty faces, and blabbed something. Myroslav and I exchanged glances comparing these babes with modest Saralzhyn beauties, we’d left recently. The comparison was certainly not in favor of these Kyivites.

So we had respect for the Kazakhs, and they respected us… When Myroslav’s mother came to him, they spoke highly of me to her, “She even poured tea the Kazakh way.”

So, a few winter months−the first steps of our family life−we spent in the beaten-cobwork barrack, where Chechen families lived in the next room (they made some money on the side working as construction job foremasters). I have already said that Myroslav made the dwelling comfortable and we felt cozy there. There was a sort of a small stove in the corner of our room: in our village they call it kabytsia. When we kindled the fire, it was warm in the room for a few hours and reflected light played on the walls. The floor was covered with a flat mat and on the walls there were an icon, crucifixion, Kozak Mamai paintings, embroidered towels, over the wooden bed there hung carpet a embroidered by mother and over the sofa there was a canvas blanket instead of a rug. Myroslav covered the ceiling with polyethylene to prevent the fall of whitewash; the Kazakhs came to him to look and adopt the how-tos. We drew water from the nearby well and, to keep on the safe side, we stored water in a few buckets. We cooked food on a gas cooker. We hung our laundry outside on the ropes. The pit latrine was also outside, behind the barrack. Sometimes you could see a Chechen wife heading there with a special jug of water in her hands.

The choice of food products for cooking at the food store was insufficient, but we were rather inventive. There were bigger problems with bread because we do not bake it, but for Myroslav as an exile they daily left in the bakery a loaf or two, and we could buy it. Myroslav sometimes at home fed occasional bums similar to those described by Valeriy Marchenko in his essay “Bottle of perfume”.

Sometimes we were invited to visit the Kazakhs or Chechens, and sometimes we invited them. Fortunately, we had no problems with the treat, if it was not for some special reason (e.g., Myroslav’s birthday). If it was just a pastime party, tea and biscuits from the store sufficed. The Kazakh Boys and girls sang Kazakh songs and joked. Myroslav also sang taking his accordion. He knew both Kazakh and Chechen songs. Of course, he also sang Ukrainian folk songs and Russian romances. We had our pictures taken. The Kazakhs loved to have their photos taken and Myroslav learned to take pictures. We have a heap of photos as a keepsake of the time.

And then a pardon was granted… It seems at the end of March, we learned about pardon. Then we bustled about collecting our belongings, farewell visits during the last three days, half of the aul came to see us to the car… And on 2 April 1987 we were in Drohobych already. Myroslav did not want to live in Kyiv; he wanted to live near his mother, to support her because she had been on pins and needles waiting for him. In general, the Marynovychs is a very closely fused trio: mother, daughter, and son. The suffering brought them together, made them love one another, made them worry about one another.

At the beginning of my family life with Myroslav completely different people (both Kazakhs and people with whom we trained home: I remember one Uzbek from our compartment and Ukrainians, especially Drohobych towners) used to persuade me to protect Myroslav and help him. Usually Myroslav laughed and replied as follows: "And no one persuades me to look after Liuba.” And I knew very well whom the Lord had sent me, and never over-emphasized myself in his life…

So we arrived in Drohobych. I exchanged my one-roomed apartment in Kyiv for the three-room apartment in Drohobych. After a while we took my nephew Mykhailo to our apartment creating a three-member family. In this way we made our Ukrainian catholic family. No wonder, perhaps, every one of us, each on his own, so longed for Kyiv… Goodness knew what was brewing.

Myroslav’s mother lived five-minute-walk away and they saw each other daily.

At first I was sick for a long time because the climate in Drohobych was nonsalubrious for me but it passed away, I acclimatized. I began to look for work. If in Kyiv I had no problems with employment because I was a good proofreader (I say so because, for example, the administration of the publishing house didn’t like the idea of letting me go, despite the past incident), the situation in the town was unfavorable.

V.Ovsiyenko: February 1, 2000, the third Marynovych cassette, Liuba is speaking.

L.Marynovych: Recently, at the Vyshcha Shkola Publishers I worked in the reprint department. At the time we broke new ground in the publishing industry; I worked there as a proofreader and from time to time I edited texts as well. The editors held me in high respect, but still I left the job for the head of the department afforded himself to raise his voice (obviously, he wanted to show off in front of his young wife). I went to work for the All-Union Research Institute of Chemical Design. There I worked as an editor in the department of information and actually from there I went to Myroslav in Saralzhyn. That was my last job in Kyiv.

Therefore when I came to Drohobych, not only Myroslav as a former prisoner, but I could not find job as well. When Myroslav finally was accepted for employment as a worker at the oil refinery, I was with an effort employed as a junior researcher at the Drohobych Local History Museum. But soon I had to quit the job because of psychological incompatibility with another worker. And then for some time I worked in the department of housing and communal services as an inspector managing complaints. I made good friends with Hania Hrynchyshyn there who helped me and supported in everything.

In my time Drohobych was an ideologically oppressed Soviet town. And when I walked down a street in embroidered shirt, people gaped at me even more than in Kyiv… At first I did not quite understand the local dialect, especially older Halychyna people, but then I got used to it and eventually fell in love with Drohobych towners.

In 1990 drastic changes set underway in Drohobych, the rising tide of national revival was on the agenda. The rallies were held across the town. When Myroslav Hlubish was elected the Chairman of the City Rada and Mrs. Vira Bais became his deputy, they offered me a job in the department… Its name has slipped my mind. In short, I wrote the minutes of the city rada (by the way, we discontinued Soviet numbering, and immediately began everything anew: the first democratic convocation, the second convocation…). If one rereads them now, s/he enjoy the reading very much. There were a lot of unconventional ideas, you know. The disputes of deputies among themselves, their funny tricks, their high aspirations and belief that they really could make a difference… and then a disappointment set in, because hardly anything could be done, and they became discouraged…

But I had to leave this job as well because I was taken ill with backaches, I developed osteochondrosis and I was even registered as a disabled person during a year.

Later I began working in the office of the Ukrainian Association of the "Amnesty International". I should dwell about Amnesty International a bit more. This organization played a very important role in our life with Myroslav. Myroslav was the first member of Amnesty International in Ukraine. Or maybe a little earlier, in 1989, Oleg Pokalchuk became the first member and Myroslav joined the organization in the late 1990s. He received a letter from Alexei Smirnov from Moscow, his friend, who was also kept in the concentration camps. I do not know, whether they were friends or not, but in any case they were there together. He offered Myroslav to join the Amnesty International. When I saw the questionnaire which was sent down by Smirnov, I also got a yearning to show my gratitude to the Amnesty International for their supporting of Myroslav in the concentration camp and exile. Incidentally, in spring of 1990, Myroslav and I went to France at the invitation of Avignon Amnesty International group whose "named son" he was, and met with Agnes Erkens, who corresponded with him, and other members of the Amnesty International. This was apparently the first trip of Myroslav abroad… So I asked Myroslav: "May I join the organization as well?" I thought that Amnesty International was such a high and honorable title and I did not know whether I earned the right to become the member of this organization. Myroslav wrote to Smirnov and he sent me a questionnaire as well. And then we started receiving letters from the girl from London, from the International Secretariat of the Amnesty International - Geza McGill and Yuliya Sherwood’s from the Amnesty International Development Department. They wrote that we could organize an initiative group of the Amnesty International if we had like-minded persons or friends.

And we certainly made friends easily here. We made the acquaintance of the guys and girls before the national revival in Drohobych and told them about Borys Dmytrovych, about Stus, read his poems (Mykhailyna Khomivna sent us handwritten texts as there were no publications yet), and poems of Yaroslav Lesiv. The life and soul of the party was not only Myroslav, but musician Bohdana Cheredarchuk as well. We called the group informally Rodyna. And I told Myroslav: "Come on, let us offer them to become members of Amnesty International, maybe they want to as well?” And Myroslav answered: "Do not press them.”−“Well, I will note press them, I will just ask them.” And so I talked to them and they said they were interested. Geza McGill and Ulla Birgegord from the Swedish section of Amnesty International (later Yuliya Sherwood repeatedly visited us as well) came to stay with us. Here, at this table where we are sitting with you now, we sat with our friends when we created the group: the first group of Amnesty International in Ukraine was founded in March 1991.

After a short time, somewhere, maybe, in six months, our Rodyna became the first recognized group of Amnesty International not only in Ukraine, but in the FSU in general. It was given the name "Ukraine-1". Myroslav was its chairman. We began to correspond with other members of Amnesty International, whose addresses were given us by the International Secretariat; then Myroslav traveled with Geza in Ukraine and in other cities the new groups emerged. In this way the Ukrainian Association of the "Amnesty International" gradually grew out of our apartment. I was its out-of-staff secretary and conducted all correspondence. When the organization became legalized Myroslav was the Chairman of its National Committee (then I was elected the head of our group of Amnesty International) in the course of several years. And the first office of the Ukrainian Association of the “Amnesty International”, its head office, was located here in Drohobych. I was there a clerk because I did not know English. Igor Savchak was Director of the Office.

Generally for me the theme is very painful, the theme of Amnesty International… I must admit that I felt myself the mother of the organization: I did not get enough sleep because of this social work; we were spending our own money to cover the needs of Amnesty International, to pay for direct mailing, when we had problems even with envelopes at the time of ruin. For three years we held amnesty workshops in Drohobych, kept a good house for visitors from all over Ukraine and from abroad. Myroslav and I treated amnesty movement work with tender care. And then new people began popping up among the members of amnesty movement who treated Amnesty International as a means to earn money, to travel abroad and realize their ambitions. I also may admit that they had joined our organization with the task to ruin it or at least to make it a puppet dodgy enterprise. (In any case, currently nothing has been heard of the Ukrainian Association of the "Amnesty International", I do not even know if it still exists). They were very pushy and useful work turned into empty verbosity, endless showdown under the guise of democratic debate, and permanent confrontation. The unselfish spirit of the amnesty movement began to weather. We had a hard time with the organization for a few years and then I quitted the office and cancelled my Amnesty International membership. I retained only my membership in the Drohobych Unit of the Union of Ukrainian Women.

For a while I was unemployed, but helped Myroslav a lot, read his article. Some articles on the religious studies Myroslav gave me to translate from Russian into Ukrainian. At that time Zinoviy Antoniuk and he prepared for printing, you might say, the first ecumenical anthology in Ukraine, which has been recently published as Signs of Time: On the problem of understanding among the Churches. I have forgotten what I translated there: either the article "That they may all be one" by Zablotskyi or "Conversations with Patriarch Athenagoras" by Olivier-Maurice Clément  (or, perhaps, both). I found it a very difficult work for Ukrainian religious terminology after the Soviet era was a blank slate[6]. Translating the book was no small feat: I keyed in many articles, repeatedly performed text editing and proofreading. I used to go to Kyiv to proofread the latest printouts (though my last name is somehow absent in the publisher’s imprint). Thanks to this work I learned a lot about religion. In order to get a deeper insight, I went on vacation and took with me the Religion Studies Dictionary numbering 400 pages and some other handbooks which I read from cover to cover lying on the beach.

So I became interested and increasingly began to make a careful study of the topic, and then I suggested: "Myroslav, I read quite a lot of your articles. Could I be considered for the job?" (Meanwhile Myroslav got working as the Director of the Institute of Religion and Society at the Lviv Theological Academy). He said: “Well, I’ll try and talk with our rector so that it just would not look like nepotism.” They thrashed the matter out and Rector Father Mykhailo Dymyd said: “That is your own business: you take personnel and you are responsible for the outcome of their work. But you and not your wife shall be the director of the institute.”

So I started working with Myroslav as an administrative assistant on publishing issues. I am very satisfied with this work and I love the LTA staff. I do want to say that it makes me glad, that Myroslav and I always had the same interests: before we were absorbed with the "Amnesty" and now we immerse into a religious theme. And we are always looking to each other, because we have a lot of things to be done together…

Here are my diplomas. I entered the Kyiv University in 1972 and graduated in 1978. Right. As I said.

V.Ovsiyenko: So this is a journalistic diploma and what about the diploma of a teacher?

L.Marynovych: Here it is: "Russian language and literature, high school teacher." Entered in 1965, graduated in 1969.

* * *

V.Ovsiyenko: 2 February 2000, Ms. Liuba Marynovych is going to add something.

L.Marynovych: …Recently, I try to tell Drohobych towners as much as possible about the activity of Ukrainian Helsinki Group. The Drohobych towners know more about UIA, than about the UHG. After celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Group in Kyiv, which you organized, Mr. Vasyl…

V.Ovsiyenko: That was in 1996, 5 or 6 November in Kyiv.

L.Marynovych: Fifth and sixth of November, two days. I was at the celebration instead of Myroslav, because he was on a business trip abroad, and after that I wrote an article which was printed in five consecutive issues of Drohobych newspaper Halytska Zoria. This same newspaper at different times featured my articles about Iryna Senyk, Yakiv Suslensky, funeral of Vyacheslav Chornovil in Kyiv, and activities of our Drohobych Union of Ukrainian Women.

I also want to touch on certain our common affairs with Myroslav. For example, I would like to tell how Myroslav and I created together the book Calling to One Another Over the Abyss (the correspondence with the great friend of Myroslav and me Zenko Krasivsky with American Iris Akahoshi, who was a member of Amnesty International). They both are no more already. Friends of Iris (among them are Americans of Ukrainian descent) came up with the idea of the book and turned to Yevhen Sverstiuk, and he turned to Myroslav and me. He also authored the foreword to this book… Well, it’s not a correct statement. The three of us created this book, because the letters of Iris were translated from English by Myroslav’s sister Nadiya. Myroslav thought out the structure of the book, edited the translation and prepared notes while I keyed the letters on the PC, I could make out Mr. Zenko’s handwriting and I collated the letters in the sequence of time of writing. The book was published in Kharkiv with the assistance of Yevhen Zakharov. For us this work left an important footprint in our lives, because those letters are simply extraordinary (though the printing quality leaves much to be desired). Later we wrote the script after the book, and our group of Amnesty International repeatedly performed at various gatherings and meetings of Amnesty International members. [And those were amazingly beautiful, exciting evenings, much better than the performance of Zankovetska "U.B.N." Theater.--Later amendment by L.M.].

I also want to mention our joint work with Myroslav editing the translation by Mark Tomashek of the book of Raymond Schvager Must There Be Scapegoats? Violence and Redemption in the Bible. It was very interesting for us to work because among other things it gave us some insight into the psychology of the tragic collapse of Ukrainian Association of the “Amnesty International”.

What other good works did I accomplish? During my membership in the Amnesty International I worked on the publication of the Ukrainian version of the manual for the participants of amnesty movement The First Steps. Then I prepared a Ukrainian reader for the pupils of lower and middle classes on human rights under the title Who am I? Who are we? (In fact, it was the brainchild of my nephew Mykhailo and me, because he was also a member of the Amnesty International and carried out the design of the reader). Now I plan to compile such reader for senior high school students. The compilation is about ready; it also contains written materials on Ukrainian dissidents or nonconformists. The reader will also include the samples of nonconformism in other nations.

All this work is accomplished mostly on a voluntary basis, it is a nonreimbursable work. But I like it, because I am really gladded with it, though sometimes I get too tired.

The most significant and the most important thing for me is to help Myroslav according to my lights. It’s a priority for me: I am the first reader of his articles.

V.Ovsiyenko: As well as the editor and proofreader. Thank you.


[1] The proper name of this party in pre-war period was as follows: the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) (translator’s note).

[2] A sort of traditional Western Ukrainian outerwear like a jupe (translator’s note).

[3] A line from a well-known pop song (translator’s note).

[4] Now: the Village of Kemer (translator’s note).

[5] The author of the Ukrainian text gives her Ukrainian interpretation of Russian translation by P. Venberg. The original text of Shakespeare is as follows: "She loved me for the dangers I had pass’d, And I loved her that she did pity them." Othello, 1,3 (translator’s note).

[6] The author was not a professional translator. In fact, the developed Ukrainian terminology was in use in numerous Ukrainian publications of Kyiv Patriarchate, Ukrainian Autocephalous, Catholic, Byzantine-Rite Catholic and Protestant Churches. Also a number of special works dedicated to terminology issues, as well as several dictionaries were out (translator’s note).

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