Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The great-grand nephew of the poet Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov, the member of the Civic chamber of Russia Mikhail Lermontov commented on the statement of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko with a quote from the poem “Farewell, unwashed Russia”, noting that the words from Poroshenko’s lips gained another meaning.
“(Poroshenko) had to look in a mirror when he said these words, because Ukraine really became the slave of its masters over the ocean, and these words receive an absolutely other sacral sense,” said Lermontov to RIA Novosti.
The member of the Civic chamber recalled that at a meeting with teachers, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin also quoted Lermontov — his lines were “I love my Motherland, but with a strange love”.
“I think that this here is, as they say, the parallel answer of Poroshenko… Poroshenko, without knowing it, these lines made a sentence about himself. A sentence – to identify himself as the slave before masters, which are not in Russia, but over the ocean,” stated the head of the Lermontov family.
What exactly was quoted by Poroshenko
On Sunday the President Petro Poroshenko congratulated compatriots on the introduction of a visa-free regime with the European Union, and quoted the lines from Lermontov “Farewell, unwashed Russia, the country of slaves, the country of Sirs. And you, in blue uniforms, and you, the people devoted to them” and a fragment from Pushkin’s poem “To Chaadaev”: “Comrade, believe me, it will rise, the captivating star of joy, and Russia will arise from slumber, and our names will be written on the remnants of autocracy”.
Poroshenko saw symbolism in the fact that the introduction of a “visa-free” regime with the EU happens on the eve of June 12th — the Day of Russia. “We finally became independent from each other — politically, economically, energetically, and also spiritually,” stated the Ukrainian president.
According to the head of State, in connection with the introduction of a visa-free regime, fate smiled at Ukrainians, “which our ancestors, for more than one generation, dreamed about and fought for”.
Earlier, Poroshenko called the decision of the European Union on the abolition of visas the last “farewell to the Soviet and Russian empires”.
The head of the State Duma Committee on Affairs of the CIS Leonid Kalashnikov, commenting on Poroshenko’s speech, advised the Ukrainian leader to remember that during the writing of the poem “Farewell, Unwashed Russia” by Lermontov, Ukraine was a part of the Russian Empire.
“If he allowed himself such freedom and relate Lermontov’s words to Russia, and Pushkin’s words to Russia, which Ukraine in general then was a part of — after all Ukraine then was included then in the Russian Empire — so I would fully relate them to Poroshenko himself,” said Kalashnikov to RIA Novosti.
“The fact that I would like and desired passionately, and what I even in those Ukrainians who come to us, that they at last got rid of this clique, which now is the leads the state that is still for now called Ukraine,” noted the Deputy.
According to him, the Ukrainian authorities will escort Ukraine to its “farewell”, which is already divided into parts. “Visibly, everything will lead to this,” he added.
In turn, the vice-chairman of the Federation Council of the Defence and Security Committee Franz Klinzewitsch considers that Poroshenko’s farewell to Russia with lines from Lermontov and Pushkin appeared “strange”.
“We can find other lines from the same Lermontov. For example, in one of his poems he compares Europe, which Poroshenko aspires to be in, with a dying gladiator: ‘Is it not you, oh European world, once you were the fiery dreamers idol, you bow to the grave with head without a glory, exhausted in the struggle of desires and doubt, without believe, without a hope – children’s playground, laughed at by an exultant crowd!'” the senator said to RIA Novosti.
“Having quoted Lermontov, who compared Europe to the dying gladiator, I am not going to claim at all that in 1836 he expected the present European cataclysms. Simply, Mr Poroshenko, don’t remember great names in vain,” added Klintsevich.
Meanwhile, according to the deputy Director of the Centre for Ukrainian and Belarusian Studies at Moscow State Lomonosov University Bogdan Bezpalko, Poroshenko’s speech shows how far as in reality Ukraine and Russia are connected.
“The fact that Poroshenko quotes the classics of Russian literature or poems attributed to the classics, because there are big doubts about ‘Farewell, unwashed Russia’, shows how far in reality Ukraine and Russia are connected, to what extent our culture, language, and mentality represent an organic whole,” stated Bezpalko to RIA Novosti.
Agreement on a visa-free regime
The document on granting to citizens of Ukraine a visa-free regime, which the President of European Parliament Antonio Tajani and the Interior Minister of Malta presiding in the EU Council Carmelo Abela was signed on May 17th of the current year, and came into force on the night of Sunday, June 11th.
Dialogue about the liberalization of the visa regime has been ongoing since 2008. In November, 2010, the European Union named the conditions that Ukraine must fulfill, and in 2015 confirmed their implementation. Originally Kiev expected to receive a visa-free regime until the end of last year, however Brussels repeatedly postponed the question, expecting to agree on mechanism to suspend the regime.
Now Ukrainians will get free access to the Schengen area for 90 days for tourist, business, and family purposes. To cross the border of the European Union, only a biometric passport is necessary for citizens of Ukraine. Thus, the border guards can demand other documents , in particular, about the purposes of the visit and the existence of the necessary money.
Although the visa-free regime doesn’t grant permission for employment abroad, some members of the European Union are already afraid of the inflow of Ukrainian labor migrants.
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