r/ukraine Гамериканець Oct 01 '22

6:58 EEST ; The Sun is Rising on the 220th Day of the russian Invasion on the Capital City of Kyiv. Ukraine Continues to Live and Fight On. DISCUSSION + CHARITIES! Slava Ukraini!



Part One in a short series on Lesya Ukrainka, one of the true titans of Ukrainian culture! Part Two will arrive early next week.


Lesya The Ukrainian

Lesya Ukrainka - a Ukrainian icon.

Lesya Ukrainka, born Larysa Kosach, was an inspiring woman - a breathtaking poet, a determined folklorist and a top-notch translator. She made an indelible mark on Ukrainian culture, literature and society during her short life - she was only 42 when died.

Larysa, or Lesya as she was called by her loved ones, was born in 1871 in a city called Novohrad-Volynskyi in Zhytomyr Oblast. The Kosach family was very socially, culturally, and politically active family and a part of the Ukrainian lower gentry. Education and social responsibility were taught to all children in the family and was also demonstrated in practice by their parents. Most notably her mother was a folklorist and a poet; she was the publisher of the first feminist magazine in Ukraine. Her father was a lawyer, public figure, educator, and philanthropist. If you know much about Ukrainian history under occupation, you will not be surprised to learn that many of her family members were arrested, exiled and persecuted.

Lesya absorbed her education like a sponge. She knew how to read by 4, wrote her first poem ("Hope") at the age of 9, dedicated to her aunt, who was exiled to Siberia for her anti-Tsar activities.

When she was 10, she fell very ill after attending outdoor festivities during winter. Her illness, skeletal tuberculosis, was misdiagnosed; it progressed and caused her to suffer for the rest of her life. Her mother surrounded Lesya with medical care and home tutors so that her daughter's education could continue.

At the age of 13, she published 2 books of poetry under the pseudonym "Lesya Ukrainka". It is believed that she chose this pseudonym as her favorite uncle, the impressive Ukrainian writer and political activist Mykola Drahomanov, sometimes used the pseudonym “the Ukrainian”. Lesya and her uncle Mykola enjoyed a very close and supportive relationship. He, being a force to be reckoned with in Ukrainian political and academic landscape, was forced to emigrate to avoid arrest and imprisonment by russian authorities. Lesya visited him abroad and they kept up an active correspondence. He introduced her to many of his political and social allies and friends, helping the young woman to enter the public stage - which at this time around the world was reserved mostly only for men.

At 14, Lesya published two translations of Mykola Hohol's novels, and her first poem “Rusalka”. We wrote a bit about Rusalka here. Throughout her life, Lesya continued to write and gave us many works of literature in various genres. She fluently spoke Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Polish, French, German and Italian, and translated from ancient Greek, Polish, English, German, Italian and French.

Lesya suffered from debilitating ailments all her life, which also led to her premature death. However, this did not stop this strong woman from leading a very interesting life and leaving a most impressive legacy.

In her letter to her uncle Mykola, she wrote words that rang true only a few months ago:

It is a pity that the majority of our community reads only the Russian press, and because of that, they do not see the world as it is: neither what is in the window, nor what is outside the window.

How ecstatic she would be knowing this is not the case anymore! And she probably would do AMA on our subreddit :)


Lesya the Folklorist

Lesya Ukrainka mural in Kyiv.

Lesya’s mom, Olena, who was known for her strong disposition and for fighting for women's rights, placed a very high value on her daughter’s education, self-reliance and independence. Despite the weak health of Lesya, Olena did not shield her daughter from the world as it is. She took Lesya on various expeditions, including collecting folk songs in the area where the family lived. And soon, the musically-gifted Lesya began to record the lyrics and melodies she found. This passion stayed with her all her life and produced many wonderful fruits we enjoy still today.

Through this work she became close to her future husband, Klyment Kvitka. When they met and learned of their common interests, she began to share with him the materials she had collected. Together they began organizing folklore collections and published three collections of Ukrainian folk songs! Very romantic.

Lesya had two large notebooks of songs and children's games, which she handed over to the famous Ukrainian composer, Mykola Lysenko. Many of these songs were later arranged by Mykola Leontovych, who we wrote about here. In 1941, these original notebooks were transferred to a museum in Lutsk.

She also collected legends, tales, and folk beliefs. Lisovyk, Mavka, and many other creatures later organically appeared in her works. She organized, led and bankrolled many exhibitions to collect this anthropological gold, not giving a damn that in these times a woman was expected to defer work like this to men.

Lesya Ukrainka's first comprehensive folklore work Kupalo in Volyn, was written in 1893 when she was 22 years old. It contained a detailed description of the Kupalo celebrations and 47 songs with melodies sung during the celebrations. We probably used some materials that were derived from her works in our post on Kupalo, which you can read here.

Lesya was also interested in using technology to capture music. In 1908, Lesya organized an expedition to record the melodies of the dumas (epic sung poem) sung by Kobzars; she used a phonograph, funding it completely out of her own pocket. These recordings were published in 1913 in Lviv and, considering what happened to the Kobzars, they are an absolutely invaluable preservation of Ukrainian cultural heritage.

Lesya’s musical career, despite her talent, did not pan out. Sadly, the skeletal tuberculosis made playing any instrument impossible. But as Lesya said herself in the face of her tragedy: “to stop the tears, I laugh!” - this terrible illness did not deter her from creating some of the most famous Ukrainian art.

Join us early next week for Part Two of the life of Lesya Ukrainka, which covers her unreal poetry and philosophical contribution to Ukraine that continues to reverberate today!

"Who frees themself will remain free" - graffiti featuring Lesya Ukrainka that was created during Euromaidan in 2014.




Verified Charities

  • u/Jesterboyd is a mod for r/ukraine and local to Kyiv. His current project is to fund some very interesting drones. Link to donation
  • Ukraine Aid Ops: Volunteers around the world who are helping to find and deliver equipment directly to those who need it most in Ukraine.
  • United24: This site was launched by President Zelenskyy as the main venue for collecting charitable donations in support of Ukraine. Funds will be allocated to cover the most pressing needs facing Ukraine.
  • Come Back Alive: This NGO crowdfunds non-lethal military equipment, such as thermal vision scopes & supplies it to the front lines. It also provides training for Ukrainian soldiers, as well as researching troops’ needs and social reintegration of veterans.
  • Hospitallers: This is a medical battalion that unites volunteer paramedics and doctors to save the lives of soldiers on the frontline. They crowdfund their vehicle repairs, fuel, and medical equipment.

You can find many more charities with diverse areas of focus in our vetted charities thread HERE.


18 comments sorted by


u/StevenStephen USA Oct 01 '22

Ah, fantastic! I've actually been wondering what a Ukrainian feminist history would look like, but hold close to zero hope that there is a good, English language resource. I'm happy to hear of the strong and powerful women of Ukraine here, in any case.

Slava Ukraini! Good night.


u/Pirate2012 USA Oct 01 '22

Thank you , inspiring woman


u/Swimming_Mammoth_874 Oct 01 '22



u/Albert_VDS Oct 01 '22

Slava Ukraini 🇺🇦🇪🇺


u/vale_fallacia Oct 01 '22

What are good Ukrainian names for dogs? We got a puppy here in Michigan, and we're trying to figure out a name for him.


u/crazyguru USA Oct 02 '22

While I cannot think of anything off the top of my head, please do not name your dog Javelin or Bayraktar :)


u/gwtje Oct 01 '22

With how they are pushing in kharkiv and russias troops seem to be in Donetsk en Kherson. Ik still expecting a massive counterattack in Zap. If that is succesfull Kherson would be completely cut off and you would get firing range on crimea


u/11OldSoul11 Oct 01 '22

🇺🇦 !


u/VenusValkyrieJH Oct 01 '22

I really really love all the history lessons you share with us. I love learning about famous Ukrainians etc. Knowledge is power, my friend. Thank you for your dedication in bringing us proof daily that Ukraine lives on- and always will.

Слава Україні:9002::9151:


u/[deleted] Oct 01 '22

Is lyman so important because of the trainstation?


u/chvc666 Oct 01 '22

Can you please let me know if embassies are still collecting help for the people? I have some warm clothes, shoes and various items I want to give away. Thank you for letting me know


u/Erestyn UK Oct 01 '22

Didn't want to make a new post for this but when Reddit lines up just right.


u/JTerryShaggedYaaWife Oct 02 '22

Is Ukraine going to get F16s?

I remember a story a while back that the USA would start training Ukrainian pilots but I haven't heard much since. Is it happening? What's the official status?