Thursday, November 17, 2005

In Paris yesterday, Yushchenko put flowers to Symon Petlyura's grave (three photos at - here).

In Paris today, at the age of 86, died Marina Denikin-Grey, daughter of General Anton Denikin (two recent photos of her in the Kommersant - here).


Petlyura's Wikipedia bio is here; Denikin's here.


I don't have any particular feelings for either of these men, and I have to admit I know very little about them - but I do find it amazing that their life and afterlife stories seem to cross at some really significant points:

- before and during WWI, both served in the Russian Tsarist army, with Denikin based first in Kyiv, then in Galicia;
- during the civil war, Petlyura fought against Denikin, among others;
- after the Communists came to power, Petlyura and Denikin both eventually ended up in France;
- during the Soviet times, they were never mentioned in a positive context, let alone praised, not officially anyway;
- now they've both reclaimed their 'national hero' status in their respective motherlands, with Denikin's body re-buried in Moscow in a lavish ceremony a month or so ago.

If nothing else, this means that at some well-hidden level Russia has changed as much and in the same direction as Ukraine.


I don't care about Denikin or Petlyura, but I did fall in love with Denikin's daughter, who has died today.

At 86, she had the energy of a beautiful, young woman, she was shining all the time in this really contagious way, and she looked both fragile and resilient, both very kind and very tough - at least, this was how she appeared to me on TV.

In one interview with her, I read that she'd spent 40 years with her third husband; they both loved tennis, but she also loved football (soccer), while he hated it; when she gave him a second TV set as a present, he was extremely happy, because that meant he'd be able to watch whatever he liked while she was watching her football!..

Rest in peace, Marina Antonovna.


  1. "Petlyura served in Tsarist Army" is not quite true; as far as I remember, he was working in some sort of NGO:

  2. Max's link is to the typical Soviet bullshit, or I mean ideology, that is used to discredit everyone and anyone standing against whatever direction the Soviet winds were blowing at the moment. Of course, in Peljura's time, his crime was that of fighting for the Ukrainian National Republic that eventually declared its independence from the Russian Empire. Petljura was a bourgeois-nationalist of sorts, but his supporters included other nationalists from a liberal to quite conservative orientation; "national-communists" or those who wanted socialism in Ukraine with a Ukrainian face; social-democrats; as well as proto-fascist elements that were growing in strength, not just in Ukraine, but in Russia and all over Europe, too, at the time. Like Nestor Makhno, Petljura's image is victim of a successful Bolshevik propaganda machinary that painted him as an anti-Semite and pogromist. This is bullshit. Max's link has a link to some images that show Petljura in this light. In actual fact, both Petljura and Makhno took very strong stances against anyone in their armies who committed pogroms. They both ordered the execution of any ataman (roughly, captain) in their armies who engaged with his troops in anti-Semitic acts. But it was very effective to paint them as masterminds of pogroms. Nonetheless, they both had Jewish supporters.

    I don't have links off the top of my head, but the information is out there for anyone who wants to try to cut through the fog of Soviet ideology, as well as of the revisionist history typical of what has been quite rightly criticized as "the Holocaust industry." There is no doubt that people associated with either of these two, very important figures in Ukrainian history were anti-Semites and pogromists; but the important thing here is that both of these leaders took strong stances against such actions. And we now know even more so that this is the truth about them because of access to formerly, top-secret Soviet files. A book was recently published on Makhno using such documents that disproves the myth.

    So much of Ukraine's real history is waiting to be thusly rescued.

    And oh, the other problem with the link that Max gave: Petljura is categorized as a "terrorist." Whatever.

    Best wishes to you Neeka, as you await the birth of your child! I am glad you got out of that terrible sauna. . .am enjoying reading your thoughts in these days, as usual. . .