Last Saturday, 24 September, the Dutch-Ukrainian community in the Netherlands celebrated 25 years of Ukraine’s independence at the MeetingDistrict in Nieuwegein near Utrecht. It turned out to be a really special event, which brought together culture, art, presentations, discussions, modern interpretation of traditional cuisine and even a mini ornithological exhibition. The organizers (Platform Cooperation Netherlands-Ukraine Foundation SPSN-O, Brand New Ukraine Foundation, “Oekraïners in Nederland” Foundation, Taras Sjevtsjenko Foundation, Stichting Spoetnik and Roesalka Dancing and Singing Group) welcomed more than 130 visitors, including a guest of honor, the spouse of the Ukrainian Ambassador Olexander Horin, Natalia Tymoshenko.
Latest of Laura Starink ‘Battle for Ukraine. Referendum on a country in revolt’
Laura Starink, a Slavic scholar, journalist and author of four books about Russia, referred to her latest book during this Ukrainian festival. It’s called ‘Battle for Ukraine. Referendum on a country in revolt’ (‘Slag om Oekraïne. Referendum over een land in opstand’) and was published before and dedicated to the April 6 Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Starink pointed out the omnipresence and complexity of corruption in Ukraine, which she compared to the situation in Bulgaria, Romania and Italy. She emphasized that this problem cannot be resolved in one day. Unfortunately, it was used as a strong argument by the No-campaign before the referendum. Starink underlined the role of Russia in Ukrainian crisis. She said that everybody understands who is the boss in that part of the world and that Russia’s presence in Donbass is undeniable since the separatists do not make any moves without orders from Moscow. At the same time, Starink expressed her concern with the freedom of speech in Ukraine, targeting of journalists and recent leaks of personal information of journalists who worked in Donbass.
Delicious nostalgia by distinguished Ukrainian chef-cook Igor Bragin
Visitors of the festival had an opportunity to enjoy a special dinner prepared by a distinguished Ukrainian chef-cook, Igor Bragin. He offered his own vision of Ukrainian traditional cuisine in modern interpretation. The taste of the five-course menu was very familiar and recognizable to Ukrainian expats, featuring the well-known kholodec’ (aspic), varenyky (dumplings) and zrazy (potato croquets).
Ukrainian art and culture abroad
“Ukraine 25 years independent” festival introduced a number of Ukrainian artists and performers from abroad: painters Vlada Lisinenko and Larisa Shlyakhova, folk group “Roesalka” (Mermaid) from Hengelo, Utrechts Byzantijns Koor, violinists Elisabeth and Arkadiy Romanskyy, dancers Ira Koval and Peter Aubel and singers Viktoriia Bril and Elena Kopanychuk. The dinner show was hosted by Kate Orange (Kateryna Vinitsky), a Ukrainian electronic pop singer from Rotterdam, who will release her new album next Saturday, 1 October.
Door: Yana Ballod
Photos: Arnaud Insinger, Iryna Savenko and Yana Ballod