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Thursday, October 5, 2023

Former Ukrainian dissident in the war: we smell the dead of the Russian empire

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Myroslav Marynovyč devoted his life to the struggle for human rights and freedom. Among other things, he was at the birth of the first human rights organizations in Ukraine, which soon brought him into conflict with the Soviet regime, and then in a penal colony. How does your life experience with opposition, prison and the struggle for independence reflect what is going on between Ukraine and Russia today?

What will you hear at 5:59 in today’s episode?

  • What is the story of Ukrainian dissident Myroslav Marynovich, who spent part of his life in the notorious Perm-36 camp and in exile in Kazakhstan?
  • What parallels do you see between Russia today and the former Soviet Union?
  • And according to him, is it possible for Ukrainians and Russians to meet again?

He was born in the west of the Lviv region, just a short distance from the Polish-Ukrainian border, less than four years after the end of the Second World War and with it the horrors that no one wanted to live with again.

But even for the post-war generation to which Myroslav Marynovyč belonged, the reality of the Soviet Union was not free from the pitfalls and risks that life, freedom and human dignity were at stake.

Marynović himself became dissident over the years and fought for freedom. Finally, for this reason, he entered the notorious Perm-36 correctional camp in the Urals, which formed part of the Soviet gulags.

“The camp was not a sanatorium, it was physically demanding, but I remember peace in my soul back then. I felt I had chosen the right side,” explains Marynovič.

He said from the beginning he felt that the Soviet Union “built on lies” would not survive. “We also feel something similar today, the dead smell of the Russian empire. The Ukrainian dissident, not of Russia as a nation, but long live the Russian empire, which is nearing its end,” he said.

Nation’s Memory Award

Ukrainian dissident Myroslav Marynovyč received the Memory of the Nation Award this November. “It is very important for me to thank the whole world for making us feel that we are not alone right now. I am very grateful to the Czechs and Slovaks because without them and without the support of the world we would not have been able to do this,” he said.

“Russia will not change”

Even in Ukraine’s present situation, Marynovič remembers his past sufferings. “Unfortunately, Russia does not change. It does not want to live in the future, it follows its own example from the past, wants to act according to them even today, and hopes to drag the world around it into that past with it,” he explains.

Photo: Dominika Kubištová, Seznam Zpravy

From a shot with Myroslav Marynovyč.

According to the Ukrainian dissident, both countries can find common ground in the future. But it will probably take decades. There are several steps to take before that: the overthrow of the Putin regime, the punishment of war criminals and the payment of compensation.

“And the fourth – this is perhaps the most important point – there is a need for a time of repentance in the Russian nation. The Russians must understand and repent of their crimes, only then can reconciliation be possible between Russians and Ukrainians,” Marynovich thinks.

On the 5:59 podcast, you’ll also find out if the Ukrainian dissident was surprised at how Ukrainians reacted to aggression, or why he doesn’t want to use Russian today despite being fluent in the language. Listen to the audio at the beginning of the article.

Editor and Associate Editor: Barbora Sochorova

Translator: Martha Burdiak

Sound design: David Kaiser

Sources of sound samples: CT24

Broadcast 5:59

News podcast of Lenka Kabrhelova’s team. It’s an important topic every weekday in the sixth minute. Through the lens of Seznam Zpráv, the most important events in the Czech Republic, the world, politics, economy, sports and culture.

You can find an archive of all episodes on our website. Write us your observations, comments or tips via social networks or by e-mail: zaminutusest@sz.cz.

Source: Seznam Zpravy

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