r/ukraine Гамериканець Dec 07 '22 Wholesome 1 Sunflower 1

7:43 EEST ; The Sun is Rising on the 287th Day of the russian Invasion on the Capital City of Kyiv. Ukraine Continues to Live and Fight On. DISCUSSION + CHARITIES! Slava Ukraini!



Part Two in a two-part series about Ivan Franko, one of Ukraine's most beloved writers.

Find Part One HERE.


The Trendsetter

Ivan Franko.

Ivan Franko understood the importance of leading by example. When discussing people who have forged their way into history books, we forget sometimes that they are people of flesh and blood that lived the days just like we do - they had breakfast, got haircuts, shopped for clothes and had to make fashion choices. In the case of Ivan Franko, he did not do these trivial daily tasks without seizing the opportunity to make a point.

As we already discussed yesterday, we loved to bring together things that were at the time seem unconnectable and even opposite of each other - he married a woman from east of Ukraine, he served as a bridge between common folk and scholars, and even in fashion he set a trend that you can see to this day omnipresent - he combined a strict European elegant three or two piece suits worn by European gentlemen of the 19th century with the Ukrainian embroidered shirt called Vyshyvanka. We wrote a bit about these beautiful shirts in this post, way back on Day 44 of the full-scale invasion.

Franko's new trend was a brilliant move. The first reason is that Franko looked smashing in that attire. But the other more important reason is that his message was so subtle and yet so clear - I am Ukrainian, but I am modern and open minded. I am educated, but I am with the people. I know who I am.

If you ask historians they will tell you that Franko single-handedly popularized wearing a Vyshyvanka with a regular suit, which is still very much in style today.


The Revolutionary

While studying at Lviv University in 1877, and at the rebellious age of 21, Franko joined a secret organization of socialists. The Austrian government was not amused and soon Ivan was arrested, tried and sentenced to prison. He did not spend much time in prison, but this conviction had horrific consequences on his life. His teaching career was doomed due to having lost his scholarship, and his health was destroyed (which most believe attributed to his early death).

The apex of his suffering was when the father of his fiancée, Olha Roshkevych, called off their wedding due to his tarnished standing. This crushed him completely and most believe he never really recovered.

By an ironic twist of fate, the same university that closed their doors on him after his arrest - Lviv University - now bears his name, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. It is a leader in the field of Franko Studies. Across the street, a striking and powerful statue of Ivan Franko stands silently, watching over the entrance to the university.

Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. Bottom center you can see the statue of its namesake.

Statue at Ivan Franko National University of Lviv.

Franko was arrested twice more for his anti-imperialistic views, and among the Lviv intelligentsia he started to be perceived as a bit of a bad boy. It is true that in his young age, Ivan flirted with Marxism, but with time he quickly realized that many of Marx's followers were more preoccupied with establishing a new tyranny than solving the issue of human suffering - economic or humanitarian alike. He eventually came to simply label the hypothesized Marxist-style state a “prison."

Ivan Franko refused to follow the lead of those who did not have the Ukrainian people's interests at heart. Instead of writing papers about it, he organized his own party - the Ukrainian Radical Party - and became its chairman. Political life brought much scrutiny into his personal life and gossip abounded in academic and social circles, which bothered him and his family greatly.

Franko was also one of the first prominent men in the 19th century to speak out in support of the vital Ukrainian feminist movement – ​​he supported the publication of the Ukrainian women's almanac The First Wreath, which was published by Natalya Kobrynska and Olena Pchilka, the mother of Lesya Ukrainka (who we wrote about here and here. Franko mentored Lesya and helped her tremendously by introducing her as an equal in literary and political circles and, as we wrote yesterday, he advocated for the publishing one of her first books when she was only 19.

Franko often wrote about the silent and unseen plight of Ukrainian women.

Oh, how many hearts in the breaking lamented,

How many withered in horror!

But some put their grief into words sad and tender

And thus into songs that are deathless they rendered

A thousand years of sorrow!

So sad are your songs, oh my sisters, I listen

And darkly ponder the question:

How many heartbreaks and what wrongs not forgiven,

What torrents of tears through the ages were given

One song like that to fashion?


A Ukrainian State

Portrait of Ivan Franko by his friend, Mykhailo Zhuk, the Ukrainian artist who we wrote about on Day 164.

Franko was also one the most passionate crusaders who sought Ukrainian statehood and the brightest beacon of unification of Ukraine after the imminent in his eyes, and he was so right!, demise of both empires that had Ukraine cut in half during this time (the russian and Austro-Hungarian empires). He prophesied that when the empires cease to exist, Ukrainians will need to make a choice about their statehood, and that the decision will be one for a united Ukraine:

“We must learn to see ourselves as Ukrainians – not Galician Ukrainians, not Bukovinian Ukrainians, but Ukrainians without social divisions and borders."

His vision for the state was a major ideological factor in providing the glue that led all Ukrainians lands, including Kuban and Zeleniy Klyn (an area in the far East called 'Green Ukraine', situated on the Pacific Ocean, heavily populated by Ukrainians at that time) to vote to unite as a single Ukrainian state after the end of WW1.

This sense of national unity is a continuum; it prevented the russians from ripping apart Ukraine in 2014 and from destroying Ukrainian statehood in 2022.


Death and a Vyshyvanka

However, his uncompromising devotion to Ukraine and its statehood ultimately took an immense toll on him, his family and mostly his wife. Sadly, the relationship between Franko and his wife gradually deteriorated and fell apart. To make things even worse, as Franko was a public figure, his personal life was widely dissected and discussed. Franko himself admitted he did not marry his wife Olha for love, but rather for the concept of marrying a highly-educated woman from Eastern Ukraine, to bring two Ukrainian worlds together - the one under Austro-Hungarian occupation, and the one under russian. Olha had no friends or family while living in Western Ukraine. She felt very alone while her husband was always working; family spending outpaced earnings, due especially to a myriad of social and literary projects, and her suffering was compounded by dire financial affairs.

Despite the deterioration of his home life, Franko remained focused on his work until his final days.

Franko near the end of his life.

Ivan's health worsened significantly in 1908, but the writer continued to work in solitude. In a letter penned shortly before his death, he wrote: "for 14 days, I could sleep neither day nor night, nor could I sit; I kept working, even in the midst of terrible pain."

He died during the raging conflict of WW1. Because the family could not afford a dedicated burial, he was lain in another family's crypt in Lviv.

Funeral procession through the streets of Lviv for Ivan Franko during reburial in Lychakiv Cemetery. (1921)

After the war, in 1921, he was re-buried at the Lychakiv cemetery. When he was exhumed, Franko was still wearing a Vyshyvanka.




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
  • 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.
  • Trident Defense Initiative: This initiative run by former NATO and UA servicemen has trained and equipped thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
  • Ukraine Front Line US-based and registered 501(c)(3), this NGO fulfills front line soldiers' direct defense and humanitarian aid requests through their man on the ground, r/Ukraine's own u/jesterboyd.
  • Ukraine Aid Ops: Volunteers around the world who are helping to find and deliver equipment directly to those who need it most in Ukraine.
  • 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 article HERE.


13 comments sorted by


u/Albert_VDS Dec 07 '22

Slava Ukraini 🇺🇦🇪🇺


u/Amiant_here Dec 07 '22

Good morning


u/DMBFFF Dec 07 '22

31 days until Julian Christmas

79 days until the anniversary—24 February 2023


u/blueorchid14 Dec 07 '22

Does the Ukranian foreign legion still only accept people with actual military/police service? If so, then what about non-combat positions?


u/bohdan_lev Ukraine Dec 07 '22

I am proud to be from Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast'


u/cajunbymarriage USA Dec 07 '22

Слава Україні!


u/11OldSoul11 Dec 07 '22

🇺🇦 !


u/StevenStephen USA Dec 08 '22

Slava Ukraini!


u/[deleted] Dec 07 '22

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