The museum of the great master has been operating for 12 years already. It was founded on a voluntary basis at the initiative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs veteran Oleh Fedorov. The Day has already reported about the museum and its founder (see The Day’s issue No. 5 from January 31, 2012). Fedorov had patronized the museum for a long time up until last year, when he was forced to stop, due to health reasons, and his “baby” was moved to the administrative building of Horlivka plant “Elastomer.”
The official opening of the Vasyl Stus Museum in a new building took place on October 15. The event brought together school students, musicians, artists, and journalists. The opening was also attended by the poet’s son Dmytro Stus, who presented the museum with Kobzar.
The first exposition of the museum is dedicated primarily to repressions in the Soviet Union. It opens with a large painting depicting Ukrainian churches and nearly 300 important figures in the history of Ukraine. Right opposite the painting there is a wall of memory – the stands on it contain information about the three stages of repressions: 1932-33, 1934-57, and 1965-85.
A square pillar in the exposition is some kind of a memorial to the victims of the totalitarian system: it represents historic information about the repressions, NKVD ‘troikas,’ as well as short notes about repressed residents of Horlivka.
Another museum hall contains many photos and documents that once belonged to Vasyl Stus. The visitors can get acquainted with the various aspects of the poet’s life from the materials presented in the glass tables. The exposition features unique documents: autobiography and employment history of Vasyl Stus, the class journal from school No.23 in Horlivka, where he worked.
The museum staff are still working on a model of a cell, where the poet had served his sentence. And there is still one empty wall in the Stus’ hall. Oleksandra Prosiannykova, the museum keeper, explained: “Materials on Taras Shevchenko will be placed here. People often draw parallels between the two poets, their lives were similar in many ways.”
By the way, Stus ‘has been sharing’ the same building with the great Kobzar in Donetsk for almost a year: in late December of 2012 Donetsk Oblast Universal Scientific Library named after Krupska opened Literary Museum of Vasyl Stus, which shares the room with Taras Shevchenko Museum. Prosiannykova stressed that the Museum in Donetsk is dedicated to the literary heritage of Vasyl Stus, while the one in Horlivka represents the facts from his life.
Currently the museum in Horlivka is patronized by the director of the plant “Elastomer,” member of the Museum Organizing Committee Hrair Khachatrian. Prosiannykova told us: “Before the museum was located almost in the city center near the traffic intersection and during the academic year school students often visited the exposition. Recently the museum has been moved to a rather distant place and the flow of visitors has decreased. Last year we made a promotional video and ran it on the local website – it sparked interest only in a magazine in Rostov. Oleh Tiahnybok once came to visit the museum, now the customers of the plant stop by every now and then. School students and their teachers came to the opening of the museum. They really liked it here and promised to organize tours to the museum. Of course, the museum will live on. We hope that this opening will help many take a step towards us.”