Since the very childhood, he knew that he’s going to be a writer. However, he says that it’s not always necessary to write constantly. He can’t stay in one place for a long time and he’s convinced – an author doesn’t owe anything to anybody. About literature, favorite cities, Crimea, Donbas, Maidan and the difference between Ukrainians from the West and East, – the way Taras Prokhasko himself sees it, in the section “Who is” on Opinion.
About the sense of belonging to the writing
Prokhasko says that from the very childhood, he knew that his future will be connected with literature. In one of his interviews, he even confesses – he decided that he wants to become a writer, at least at the age of 12. Even when he had started studies in a completely different field, he didn’t betray this hunch.
“From the very beginning of my life, I knew that I’m not able not to think in the literary sense with at least some part of my head about anything or at any time. Even when I live a normal, down-to-earth life, it does not mean that it is schizophrenia or split, or it is graphomania, that is, accumulation, collecting of material. But even in normal life situations, the “fragment” of consciousness knows how it may turn into a page, a story, or just a sentence. I can’t completely get rid of the fact that I see literature around me. In that sense, I’ve always been a writer and never stopped being him.”
About Ukrainian literature
Prokhasko emphasizes that we lacked Ukrainian literature for a long time. And even the fact that now there are more and more writers can’t compensate for this.
“We can’t catch up with Europe, write something that hasn’t been written in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We can only increase some certain quantitative indicators. But we missed many important stages of development, so now we can only leap – to jump straight ahead, to come up with something new. But we shouldn’t try to overbid someone: let it be. It is not necessary to be dragged into competition with other works of literature. The main thing that our literature has is the development and evolution of our language. Therefore, literature is needed first and foremost by those who use this language. I do not see anything special and extraordinary that we can tell people from other cultures. After all, our literature as a tool is based on non-Ukrainian models, so it is unlikely that what it will tell about Ukraine can surprise anyone. There was a period of interest in Ukrainian literature in Europe, but it is over. Now, the only author in whom the public outside Ukraine is interested is Serhii Zhadan. Well, one must understand that Ukraine he depicts is phantasmagoric and doesn’t match the reality.”
About writers who don’t owe anything
It’s about every writer because Taras is convinced – it’s not the authors whom you should blame for the fact that from time to time they don’t meet expectations, therefore they have the right to be whoever they are, even boring, ridiculous, or miserable.
“Neither legally nor morally, is the writer responsible for anything. He has the right to be boring, ridiculous and miserable. There is nothing to expect from him. He’s not an expert, moral authority and prophet who knows what to do. At certain moments he can be everything and anything, but you can’t demand it from him. A writer should be ready that each reader will interpret him in his own way, depending on his experience and a unique set of life associations – this, for example, makes literature different from trigonometric tables. Literature is strong in its diversity: there are many books, and they have the right to be different.”
About favorite cities
Taras Prokhasko belongs to those people who, as a rule, feel comfortable at any place. But at the same time, he can go nuts if he has to stay in a certain place for a long time.
“I feel very good in the mountains, the Carpathians and very good in Lviv – except for the summer. A lot of my life experience is connected to Lviv. In addition, I really like Odesa. Also, I’ve realized that if all of a sudden, I have to leave Ivano-Frankivsk forever or just for a long time, then I would like to live in Berlin. Berlin is a very nice city; it is absolutely in line with my ideas about how it should be.”
About the Maidan
Prokhasko notes that he was at the Maidan, first of all, as a writer: he watched, observed, studied, analyzed and wrote about all of it. This way, he investigated the revolution from the inside.
“I deliberately walked among different people, I visited different groups. Every time I arrived there, I tried to be in another group of people, so I communicated with people from Ivano-Frankivsk, with my students, of course, I was among writers and artists. “
Most of all, the writer was impressed by the stubbornness of the Ukrainian authorities, and the extent to which the system did not want to listen to its own people.
“It can be different: sometimes to listen more, sometimes – less, to pretend, to manipulate, but when there is a clear danger to it, it is capable of anything. The Maidan has shown the anti-humanity of the system. I am still convinced that even today’s system of power is in its essence against a human. The only way for Ukrainian society to evolve is to continuously voice its own demands and apply efforts on its own.”
About the Donbas
For Prokhasko an ideally realistic scenario of events in the Donbas was proclaimed by him in 2016. So it is the cessation of hostilities and the transformation of the occupied territory into a grey zone for several decades. In other words, it takes some time.
“Let it be a frozen conflict – as in Transnistria (Moldova). Of course, there are lots of problems over there. Through its territory a lot of world-wide smuggling takes place, it is not recognized by the UN member states. But, what’s important – they do not shoot over there. Therefore, it’s better not to try to master all the Donbas at once. I think it takes time for everything to settle down so that emotions go down, and some new trends appear. Moreover, now, when every year there are innovations in a worldview. And they don’t bypass those people as well.”
About the difference between Ukrainians in the West and East
Taras is convinced: this difference really exists, and it manifests itself in the legacy – not only in cultural one, it is in social habits, organization of social relations and living under different systems.
“One Ukraine was an integral part of Russia, the Russian Empire was impossible without Ukraine. On the other hand, a huge part of Ukraine was some kind of periphery for completely different ideas, ideologies, and organization of society. All these things are really deep, at those levels where everyone relates to the organization of social life. In Eastern Ukraine, this is a more Russian pattern, in the West – more Central European. There are many other factors, but the most important thing is this long-lasting separation.”
About the return of Crimea
According to the author, it can be delayed even for a longer period of time than the issue of Donbas de-occupation. After all, the Crimea is an extremely important point for Russia, and the Kremlin’s recognition of wrongness in this issue requires very harsh circumstances.
“If Crimea returns, then this can happen due to some major decision of world leaders. The so-called “historical justice” is often established or legalized by the decisions of specific forces, and, for example, the fact that Western Ukraine is a part of Ukraine, and not Poland is only the decision of the world leaders.”
Text by Dmytro Zhuravel
The publication was collected from numerous interviews, speeches, and appeals of the material’s protagonist.