On January 28, within the framework of Dniprovsky Historical Club, joint project of “Tkuma” Institute, Museum “Jewish Memory and Holocaust in Ukraine” and Institute of Social Studies, the presentation of “Kholodnyi Yar” movie was conducted. The presentation gathered about hundred viewers.
Within the framework of Dniprovsky Historical Club the presentation of a short documentary “Kholodnyi Yar” was held. The film is talking about the unrecognized Kholodnyi Yar republic that little less than a century ago fought for the freedom of the Ukrainian lands from the “white” and “red” interventionists.
The movie was created by Ukrainian public movement “Don’t be Indifferent”, whose mission is to promote recovery of Ukrainian civic consciousness, and the studio “Dyvaky production”. The film was presented by initiators of its creation and direct participants in the shooting process: Oksana Levkova, leader of “Don’t be indifferent” movement and producer of the movie, Yuri Mytrofanenko, Candidate of Historical Sciences, historian and consultant of the film, as well as Vladyslav Kutsenko, the head of the military-historical club “The Rebel”, whose members took part in the filming process.
The moderators of the meeting were Dr. Igor Shchupak, “Tkuma” Institute and Museum “Jewish Memory and Holocaust in Ukraine” Director, as well as a regular guest and participant of “Tkuma” Institute projects, Oleh Repan, Associate Professor of History Department of Oles Honchar Dnipropetrovsk National University, who also took part in the creation of movie as an actor in one of the episodes.
The materials of the same book by writer and historian Yuri Horlis-Gorsky were used as the base for the short documentary (it lasts only 25 minutes). The film tells about the formation, existence and liquidation of Kholodnyi Yar republic, which until now remains virtually unknown page of Ukrainian history of the last century, which was thoroughly hushed up during the Soviet era, and today, according to the authors of films, is ignored by the state.
Kholodnyi Yar republic, was established in Cherkasy region in the area of forest tract Kholodnyi Yar, and existed for three years, from 1919 to 1922. During this time it carried out organized resistance to the Bolshevik hordes, uniting thousands of “cossacks” and more than two dozen settlements. Kholodnyi Yar republic was liquidated during a major operation of Cheka troops and Yuri Horlis-Gorsky, direct participant in the event, at that time osavul of Kholodnyi Yar Cossacks kuren and one of the nearest colleagues of Vasyl Chuchupaka, the first Otaman of the Republic, kept the memory of it and its heroes who fought for Cherkasy region as part of an independent Ukraine (Our site deliberately uses such names of ranks and kinds of troops, in order to emphasize the fundamental difference from the imperial units – www.djc.com.ua).
“Why did we choose this theme? It brings together, – said Yuri Mytrofanenko – Kholodnyi Yar republic existed for a few years, and it was the systematic and organized struggle. Those people were the “uniters” who fought in their territory for an independent Ukraine. It was real example of self-sacrifice, conciliarity and genuine unification”.
The film was shot in historic places, in particular – in Cherkasy region since the summer of 2013, involving not professional actors, but “re-enactors” (a kind of “role players” – people interested in recreating elements of any real historical events and everyday life, or literary works, such as fantasy, and often imagine themselves as their participants – www.djc.com.ua). Initially, the organization “Don’t Be Indifferent” had an idea to create a real documentary film, observing the rules accepted for popular scientific films, primarily for students, and distribute it in schools, but then, during filming, they concluded that the picture will be of interest for much more wide audience.
The film was already presented in a number of Ukrainian cities, but the main stage was “underground screenings” in Donbas and the Crimea, in particular in Slavyansk, Kramatorsk and Druzhkovka, where the film caused a heated debate and excitement. Actually, it was the plans of the creators: to show the tape in the eastern region, where, in their opinion, the theme of the Kholodnyi Yar is largely unknown.
“A film about the Kholodnyi Yar is a picture, after watching which you understand that for a century nothing has changed: the heroes are born when the power is weak; Russians are invaders as they were; and only “small Ukrainian” is responsible for everything. If today’s young people are not educated on such tapes, the day after tomorrow we will get Donbas not only in Donbas”, – says Oksana Levkova.
In addition to the viewing, participants of the presentation talked about the process of creating the film, which was shot entirely with the support of the public. Oksana Levkova noted that the idea of the film emerged a few years ago, two-thirds of the cost were covered by not indifferent people, who not only provided financial assistance, but also helped in many other aspects. As for the distribution of the film “Kholodnyi Yar”, the question of its release on Ukrainian television channels is under consideration.
Guests of the event were able to learn not only about the shooting process, but also about the Kholodnyi Yar and iconic figures associated with the history of the Kholodnyi Yar republic, about those few books that are devoted to Kholodny Yar rebels. Yuri Mytrofanenko told about the origin of the Kholodny Yar republic centered in Motroninsky monastery when one detachment of 22 people, called to defend the monastery, became a union of several thousand soldiers, and told about the origin of the motto “Glory to Ukraine – Glory to Heroes!”, which today acquired special significance. According to Yuri Mytrofanenko, it initially, contrary to popular belief, appears not in the western Ukrainian lands, but in the Dnieper region. In such way soldiers greeted each other in areas of the Kholodnyi Yar republic, and then the motto sounded like: “Glory to Ukraine – Ukraine with Glory!”. Later this greeting was spread to the western Ukrainian lands, most likely due to Yuri Horlis-Gorsky and his novel, and in Galicia it acquired different sound: “Glory to Ukraine – Glory to Heroes!”.
The final conversation went beyond the scope of the Kholodnyi Yar and touched on the reliability of the factual material, the importance of a proper approach to the interpretation and use of historical facts drawn from the scientific and literary sources. At the end Oleg Repan recommended to all present to go to Kholodny Yar and promised, if necessary, to give advice everyone on where to go and what to see. Everyone had an opportunity to contribute to the development of the movement “Don’t Be Indifferent” by making a donation to the organization of patriotic actions, in particular, for travel of historians to Donbas with similar meetings and lectures.