Ukrainian activists successfully pressured the national university to purge Mikhail Bulgakov
A memorial plaque to novelist and playwright Mikhail Bulgakov, erected in 2017, has been removed from Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv. Ukrainian activists campaigning against the Kyiv-born author celebrated Monday’s decision as a triumph over Russia “Occupation.”
“Bulgakov is a symbol of Russian culture, and has nothing to do with Ukrainian culture – on the contrary, in his works he denigrated everything Ukrainian”, said Tatiana Shvydchenko, an activist with the NGO Expert Corps, who called for the plaque to be removed.
On his Facebook page, Shvydchenko called Bulgakov a “Ukrainophobe and cantor of the Russian world” adding that the memorial to him was one of “atavisms of the occupation period, which it is urgent to get rid of.”
Bulgakov (1891-1940) was born in Kyiv and attended high school in the building currently housing Shevchenko University – which is why local authorities honored him with a plaque in 2017.
Although best known for “The Master and Margarita” – published long after his death – Bulgakov’s novel “The White Guard” is set in kyiv during the tumult of 1918. Although the novel was banned by the government Soviet, the play based on it – “The Days of the Turbins” – was said to have been one of Joseph Stalin’s favorites.
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Shvydchenko also demanded the removal of a memorial plaque dedicated to students and teachers who died for the Soviet Union during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), calling it a “marker of the Russian occupation”.
In announcing the long-announced purge of Russian language and literature courses from state curricula on Tuesday, the Ukrainian government specifically said that Bulgakov – as well as “Taras Bulba” author Nikolay Gogol – would not be not affected because their “Life and work were closely linked to Ukraine.”