In this diary, Sparinsky recounts his daily life in Kiev, his conversations with his compatriots, his impressions of the advance of Russian troops, his descent into shelters, the sound of bombs, planes and emergency sirens, the smells of war, the fears and hopes that haunt them, the defensive of the Ukrainians to hinder the Russian advance, the difficulty to detect false news, the rumors that are shared through cell phones and the stories he manages to read through the Internet, from the action of Russian troops against the civilian population to the birth of babies in the subway stations.
In the midst of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the intention of this initiative is to reflect the humanity, intelligence and sensitivity of the Ukrainian people through their music, trying to contribute to understanding the country as something more than the space of a geopolitical war.
Daniel Martín Sáez, from Sinfonía Virtual. Journal of Music and Musical Reflection (www.sinfoniavirtual.com), contacted Ukrainian composer Alexander Sparinsky, currently in Kiev, who was writing a diary of the invasion for his daughters. They agreed to publish this diary along with fragments of songs from traditional Ukrainian music, chosen by Sparinsky himself to illustrate, among other things, "the centuries-old traditions of Ukraine's struggle for its freedom and independence."
The text is edited in bilingual English-Spanish format, and includes the original texts of the songs quoted in Ukrainian, not only with the intention of reaching as many people as possible, but also to reflect the relevance of intercultural dialogue and translation for the understanding of diverse cultures.
On March 1, the entry for the first day, corresponding to the beginning of the war on February 24, was published and was read in the subject of Music and Culture at Granada as an example of the importance of music in military conflicts and, specifically, of traditional music for understanding the culture of other peoples.
In the following days, the entries corresponding to the following days of the invasion were published. From the first month, however, the publications became weekly due to the "new normality" of the war. After the third month, it was decided to publish the next entry in monthly format, and the last three in quarterly format, ending the diary to start new projects. Currently, therefore, the diary is complete and includes up to August 24, 2022.
February 27, 2022
And here we go in the battle of life,
We are solid, strong, unbreakable as granite,
For weeping has not given freedom to anyone yet,
And who is a fighter - he gets the world.
March 3, 2022
"Talking on WhatsApp with my eldest daughter. Anna has been living and working abroad almost two decades. Throughout the conversation, she does not tire of reminding us what awaits us in Europe at any moment, that I just have to come, that we will find a place to live. I try to calm her down and explain her how difficult and dangerous it is to leave Kyiv now. Too dangerous. And then there is the moral aspect: I cannot leave my house, my city. This is my land! After all, for the rest of my life, I would be ashamed: both in front of her and in front of my youngest daughter and all the rest... My eyes, as it is often said, are totally wet. Thanks to whom, should we, Ukrainians, make our children suffer?"
March 8, 2022
"Today is March 8. In a world that is not at war, a holiday: International Women's Day. Today women must fight. As centuries ago they fought for their rights, for equality and justice."
March 13, 2022
- “Wow! Do they have names?”.
- “Of course,” the master explained in the tone of a guide. This is Snow, this is Wind, and this is a girl, she is Summer.
- “Summer? Where is Spring? Have you forgotten about her?”.
“No, I haven’t forgotten,” the child, who had matured early, answered firmly. “I just won’t sculpt it. In the spring we have war and Putin. And in the summer there will be no more. My mother promised me”.
April 13-23, 2022
The new week began with the premiere of a new work, “Old House”, a documentary video-essay. The poems were long ago written by Boris Slutsky (1919-1986), a Russian-speaking poet from Kharkiv.
August 24, 2022
With this entry, Alexander Sparinsky ends this Diary, six months after the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with the aim of carrying out other initiatives and continuing to publicize the reality of his country.
March 1, 2022: "I get to thinking: why do I spend days on the net and near the TV, contacting friends and colleagues, and writing a diary at night? Why translate and publish it on the Internet? Maybe I’m afraid not to live to see the next day, or just not in time to finish some?".
March 5, 2022: "I catch myself thinking that this Diary is needed and important not only for my daughters! And, therefore, I am writing and collecting information from all possible and impossible sources".
Some reactions to the Diary
"This is a very positive international bridge of friendship in the truth about the current tragedy in Ukraine".
Dean of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Great Britain
"This is very atmospheric Sasha; you capture the mood brilliantly. Dear Lord - It’s like a movie come to life. Please keep writing, even if the communications go down. It will be a record - and hopefully seem like a bad dream in due course. I’m still pray, pray, praying that this is intimidation rather than occupation. Taping up your windows!"
Ukrainian Institute London
Author of Borderland: a Journey through the History of Ukraine (1998)
DISCOVER UKRAINIAN MUSIC
Serhii Plokhy, The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine, 2015
"The appearance of Ukraine on the center stage of European and then American politics is not a fluke. Ukraine, the largest post-Soviet republic after Russia and now the object of Russian aggression, has become a battleground in the last few years. Unlike its East Slavic neighbors, Russia and Belarus, Ukraine has mantained democratic institutions and politics throughout the tumultuous years of the post-Soviet transition and oriented itself toward the West in its geopolitical aspirations and social and cultural values"