Life in Ukraine. Live, @ first hand.

Andriy Kurkov: Language is a Tool of Culture, not Politics

Kyiv, March, 7th, 2014 – Andriy Kurkov, Ukrainian novelist, journalist and public figure commented on the Crimea problem stating that preserving Crimea is instrumental to preserving the Ukrainian statehood. In Mr. Kurkov’s opinion, Ukraine should stay within the borders determined by international treaties. ‘I do not measure Ukraine in the percentage of population or territory, I take Ukraine as a whole’, he said.

Commenting on Russia’s common misconception that Ukraine is populated by fascists, A.Kurkov stated that those so-called ‘fascists’ include at least 10mln Russian-speaking ethnic Russians living in Ukraine and supporting Maidan.

The key problem, according to Kurkov, is that up to now, Ukraine hasn’t managed to create a unified cultural space. This was one of the reasons for the active development of the Russian book market in Ukraine. In the early 90’s, the share of Russian books on the shelves of Ukrainian bookstores was about 85 – 95%. Today, the proportion of Russian books to Ukrainian is 70 to 30.

Answering the question about the presence of his books in the Russian market, A.Kurkov said that after his book President’s Last Love had been published in 2004, his works were prohibited in Russia for 18 months despite the fact that he has always written in Russian. Today he maintains a dialog with Russian writers about the event in Ukraine, but only on an informal level.

Andriy Kurkov is a popular Ukrainian novelist, Journalist, screenwriter, public figure. He is the author of 13 novels and five books for children. His books inspired more than 20 feature and documentary screen versions. Mr. Kurkov’s books were translated into 36 languages. Since 1998he has been member of the European Film Academy, a permanent member of the jury of the European Film Academy “Felix”. In early 2005, Andrey Kurkov became persona non grata in Russia. One possible reason for this might be, according to the writer, criticism of Russia’s official policy during the Orange Revolution.

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