A Fragment from Joan the Battalioniere
Autumn in Kyiv is a whimsical invention of the aesthetes, for you feel that you live just in a Cézannist landscapes and not in a usual, real city. What may be better than Kyiv with its wonderful streets, parks and buildings? For those in love with olden things and landscapes the city is a fantastic treasure, more fantastic than even Mazepa’s.
Its history is so colorful, perhaps, more colorful than any other city in the whole world. A history filled with wars, ruins, and rebuilding. A whimsical creation of an ancient jeweler could not be better than this city. And no novelist could have invented the events Kyiv had weathered.
In an incredibly interesting way, historical monuments are intertwined here with novelties and factories. At Volodymyr’s Hill, the Cable-railway does not interfere with the magnificent St. Andrew’s Church, and the factory funnels never ruin the evening harmony of Podil lights. On the contrary, a tram rattling along Khreshchatyi Yar and the austere Arsenal approaching the slim belfry and lacy domes of Lavra, both add to romantic and exotic air of Kyiv.
On the background of a deceptive evening shot through with electric rings of lights, enclosed by heavy masses of buildings, at a corner of modern, loud streets, the metallic voice of the radio transmitting foxtrot rivals the voices of hurdy-gurdy and kobza players singing about Morozenko and Baida. A shadow of a festively clad in a precious overcoat Cossack emerged from the song, and walks through the streets and listens, enchanted, to the metallic radio news on revolutions and workers’ strikes.
A true Kyivite feels miserable in any other city however wonderful.(Geo Shkurupii. Joan the Battalioniere. Kyiv: Tempora, 2018, pp. 302–303.)
The novel Joan the Battalioniere (1930) dwells upon an unexpected and little-known topic of a female battalion in the First World War.
Singing about Morozenko and Baida – refers to well known historical songs about Cossack leaders: Oi, Moroze, Morozenku about Stanisław Nestor Mrozowicki also known as Morozenko and V Tsarehradi na rynochku about Dmytro ‘Baida’ Vyshnevetskyi.