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A Shevchenko Simulacrum

March 29, 2011

I’ve begun reading Soviet newspapers at the national library here in Kyiv this past week. I started with Bil’shovyk Olevshchyna, the raion (county) level newspaper for Olevs’k, Zhytomyr oblast’, Ukraine. While flipping through the 1941 issues I came across this picture of the famous Ukrainian writer, Taras Shevchenko:

March 11, 1941

Due to the photo reproduction quality and the fact this is a small raion level newspaper in the middle of the Polesian forest, I only glanced at the photo during my first pass of the page. I figured it could be any random Shevchenko statue (of course, like a real sleuth I ignored the “Kyiv” written underneath it), not to mention it likely didn’t even exist anymore. A few wars and the occasional fascist occupation will do that to your landmarks. But then just before I turned the page, I looked closer at the picture and after that, I simply turned around and looked out the window behind me:

March 2011 (Credit: author)

Just another day of research in Kyiv; just another day for a Shevchenko simulacrum.

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