Scandal surrounding Chernivtsi bookstores began almost a year ago. It started from the intention of the Oblast Council to merge ten booksellers in one bookselling public utility company. The initiators of the merging claimed that there will be no destruction of the already existing bookstores. Instead, according to them, they wanted to give “a second wind” in order to not only prevent bankruptcy, but also to improve conditions, increase popularity, and profitability. Given the fact that despite the status of oblast bookstores all of these bookselling facilities are located in the center of the city, some of directors, members of the local community, and deputies had their doubts. They suspected that the planned reorganization will mask the intention to vacate attractive premises. Moreover, there has been a precedent, when over a decade ago two bookstores in the downtown Chernihiv sunk into oblivion. Therefore, activists organized a number of rallies and other actions to protect books and bookstores. However, on May 31 Oblast Council still rendered the decision about the reorganization and launched the liquidation procedure. Directors of the three most successful public bookstores opposed this decision. They filed a request to the court to stop illegal, in their opinion, decision.
“The decision of the Oblast Council with regard to the reorganization in black and white states that the directors of the public bookstores will be dismissed. And despite verbal assurances that we shall get new jobs, there have been made no proposals in this regard, as well as no relevant official documents were ever given to us,” said former director of the bookstore “Bukinist” Maryna Libanova.
After the Chernivtsi Oblast Administrative Court refused to initiate legal proceedings, on February 5 it should be considered by the Kyiv Commercial Court.
Meanwhile, along with book lovers, young people, writers, journalists, Chernivtsi intellectuals, and MPs associated with the city, famous authors Andrii Kurkov, Ihor Pomerantsev, and Oleksandr Irvanets stood up to defend the Chernivtsi bookstore network. They all are good friends and highly value the bookstore “Bukinist” and its director Maryna Libanova, thanks to her efforts this bookstore became a real cultural mecca of the city. There were numerous autograph sessions of authors well-known in Ukraine and abroad. Thanks to the installations of startling Anatolii Fedirko, for whom the facade of “Bukinist” became almost like a home, the bookstore became well-known all over the world.
“Literary path of Ukraine passes through the door of ‘Bukinist.’ It is a fresh path, well trampled by both young and not so young authors. If it closes, fewer writers and poets will be coming to Chernivtsi,” Andrii Kurkov addressed his colleagues asking to support his position for defending Chernivtsi bookstores.
To be continued