Pawlo Tychyna

Pawlo Tychyna (1891-1967) is the most significant member of a generation of writers who would come to be known as ‘the Executed Renaissance’ after the anthology compiled by Yuri Lavrinenko and published in Paris in 1959. These authors enjoyed considerable creative freedom in the 1920s as the Soviet Regime sought to secure the loyalty of the Ukrainian population by encouraging the development of Ukrainian culture. 

Unfortunately Stalin, who was wary of Ukraine’s growing assertiveness and independence, sought, as Rafael Lemkin noted, to destroy the nation by means of a policy of genocide aimed at the Ukrainian farmer and the country’s spiritual, political and cultural elite. During the 1930s 226 of 253 Ukrainian writers were executed or rendered inactive by the Soviet Police. They died in the underground basements of police stations, in Arctic labour camps, they were shot and tortured, they died of hypothermia, exhaustion, malnutrition. Tychyna was one of the few surviving members of this talented generation of authors. The price he paid for his survival was writing ream after ream of Stalinist doggerel. 

– from Steve Komarnyckyj’s introduction in MPT 3/12 Freed Speech