Ghost of War Past
Yevgeniya Berkovich, a Russian poet and theater director, has been arrested for supposed “justification of terrorism” in a play about Russian women who married jihadist men and went to Syria. (The play had been running for years, and which had won the Golden Mask national theater award last year.) Many seem to suspect, though, that the arrest had little to do with the play and much to do with Berkovich’s opposition to the war.
Here is one poem of hers, which was written at least a year ago but which seems to have been widely shared in the last several days, on occasion of her arrest and of the May 9 Victory Day anniversary of victory in World War II; my apologies for the clumsy translation. A few observations, based on my limited knowledge of modern Russian life: Both sides in the war, and especially the Russians, routinely invoke the heroism of the “grandfathers,” the generation of men who had fought against the Nazis in World War II. The “immortal regiment” refers to
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