Redak­tion „novinki“

Hum­boldt-Uni­ver­sität zu Berlin
Sprach- und lite­ra­tur­wis­sen­schaft­liche Fakultät
Institut für Slawistik
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin

PEN Ukraine: On Dia­logue While Bombs Are Falling

Das ukrai­ni­sche Kapitel des PEN Clubs begründet in diesem Offenen Brief an die inter­na­tio­nale Gemein­schaft ihren Boy­kott russ­län­di­scher Kultur: “the only appro­priate sub­ject for our dis­cus­sions […] must be about the need for an imme­diate ces­sa­tion of Russia’s war crimes, not about the merits of its culture.”

As mem­bers of PEN Ukraine, wri­ters in a variety of lan­guages and repre­sen­ting a number of natio­na­li­ties, and reco­gni­zing that, in a time of war, all who work in cul­tural fields bear a spe­cial respon­si­bi­lity both to cul­ture itself and to the lives of those under siege, we would like to address the inter­na­tional intellec­tual community.

Ever since February 24th, when Russia laun­ched a full-scale war against our country, we’ve been recei­ving daily requests to engage in dia­logue with Rus­sian intellec­tuals on the ques­tion of recon­ci­lia­tion. At the same time, a number of our col­le­agues abroad have reacted harshly to our call for a boy­cott of Rus­sian cul­ture. This reac­tion only serves to dis­tract the world’s atten­tion from the war crimes being com­mitted daily by Russia in its war against Ukraine.

Our con­cern is that, in Russia’s tota­li­ta­rian society, cul­ture is an instru­ment of influence and pro­pa­ganda, and can be used to obscure the count­less war crimes being com­mitted by Russia against Ukraine. Today, in the name of “Russkiy Mir”, Rus­sian sol­diers are mur­de­ring civi­lians, bom­bing hos­pi­tals, ele­men­tary schools, thea­ters, libra­ries, and uni­ver­si­ties, des­troying not only Ukrai­nian cul­ture as a whole but also the diverse cul­tures of the many mino­rity com­mu­ni­ties living in Ukraine.

We remember those few indi­vi­dual repre­sen­ta­tives of Rus­sian cul­ture who, eight years ago, when Russia occu­pied Crimea and a part of our eas­tern ter­ri­to­ries, stood up in defense of Ukrai­nian ter­ri­to­rial inte­grity. We also value the sup­port of those who speak out against the war today. While we our­selves have often expressed our sup­port for those wri­ters, scho­lars, and human rights advo­cates who’ve openly opposed the Kremlin, we have to assert that, as long as bombs and mis­siles are fal­ling on us, dia­logue about recon­ci­lia­tion is impossible.

Today, and until that moment when the last Rus­sian sol­dier has left Ukrai­nian ter­ri­tory, the only appro­priate sub­ject for our dis­cus­sions with the inter­na­tional intellec­tual com­mu­nity must be about the need for an imme­diate ces­sa­tion of Russia’s war crimes, not about the merits of its culture.


Die eng­li­sche Über­set­zung des Briefes mit­samt der voll­stän­digen Liste der Unter­zeich­nenden kann hier auf der Seite von PEN Ukraine gefunden werden.

Bild­quelle: © PEN Ukraine, 2022