Volodymyr Sobchuk was among the first to see these unique photographs, selected during The Day’s International Photo Contest. He is a historian, but doubles as the university’s library director. His opinions are always interesting, because, having the time and opportunity to take a closer look at the photos, perhaps, more than once, he always determines correctly the idea that prompted The Day to tour Ukraine’s provinces with this or that exhibition. This time, Sobchuk took an interest in the photograph that was, maybe, relatively unpopular with the general public. The exhibition’s comments book features much more enthusiastic reactions to such photos as The Hutsul Haiku, which, admittedly, is an excellent professional artwork.
“As for me, I was impressed by the Brethren photo,” Sobchuk says. “It shows two Ukrainian lads, one wears an embroidered shirt, while another is a uniformed riot policeman. Nonetheless, they can be brethren still, for both grew, I suppose, in this country, but they are on opposite sides of the barricades, that is, of social confrontation now. They are ethnically Ukrainian, but are both of them members of the Ukrainian nation... I look at this picture and another special force comes to my mind: the Sich Riflemen, the corps that was created by Yevhen Konovalets after the First World War. As much as 60 to 70 percent of its servicemen were Galicians, with soldiers from the Dnipro Ukraine making up the rest. It is known that the high level of intelligence was the condition of admission into the corps, with patriotism and combat skills coming second and third. We see monuments to this special force of the Sich Riflemen erected all over western Ukraine now. The corps’ high-ranking officers became the founders and leaders of the Ukrainian Military Organization and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists later on. So, Brethren attracts me because of its profound historical meaning. The public values The Day’s photo exhibitions highly exactly because all their exhibits are meaningful and make one think, while there are many people today who do not want to think... Hence, I am delighted that so many young people have visited The Day’s photo exhibition, including not only students of our university and the city’s junior colleges, but many students of the local secondary schools, too.”