KYIV, Ukraine —
On Thursday, a ceremony was held to honor the memory of Maksym Kryvtsov, a well-known Ukrainian poet who was killed while serving as a soldier in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. Hundreds of individuals were in attendance to pay their respects.
A significant number of individuals assembled in the courtyard of Kyiv’s St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, a common location for ceremonies honoring fallen soldiers. Attendees brought bouquets decorated with blue and yellow ribbons, representing the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and patiently lined up to enter the monastery and pay tribute. A funeral is planned to take place on Friday in Kryvtsov’s hometown of Rivne.
Several individuals in attendance at the commemoration were comrades-in-arms, including a few who had been alongside Kryvtsov since 2014.
A soldier, known by his military nickname Grandpa, shared that Kryvtsov quickly became a warrior but was also known for his kindness. Grandpa expressed difficulty in discussing Kryvtsov, stating it feels like “a part of his heart has been taken away.”
“Grandpa reassured us that he did not pass away, but rather became our guardian angel. He will forever be by our side.”
The book is receiving high acclaim.
On January 7, Kryvtsov lost his life due to artillery strikes in the Kupiansk region of Kharkiv, a crucial area in Moscow’s winter attack.
He played a key role in the Revolution of Dignity, which sparked a decade of significant transformations for Ukraine. In response to Russia’s unlawful annexation of Crimea in 2014, he also enlisted in the military. After a few years, he temporarily left the battlefield to pursue civic pursuits, such as writing poetry.
His first and last book, “Poems from the Loophole,” published in 2023, received a warm reception and high praise within Ukraine’s cultural community. The published poems primarily reflect on the harsh reality imposed by the war.
After Russia’s invasion in 2022, Kryvtsov decided to re-enlist.
The book written by Kryvtsov was chosen as one of the top books of 2023 by the Ukrainian branch of PEN, the International Association of Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, and Novelists. Additionally, his poems have been included in collections alongside the works of other poets. The book has been selling out in bookstores.
The poetry of the poet becomes widely popular.
The passing of Kryvtsov caused a significant response on social media, with his poetry becoming popular for multiple days after his death. Several people made connections to Ukrainian cultural figures who were killed during the Soviet regime’s suppression of artists in the 1920s and 1930s, referred to as the “Executed Renaissance” in Ukrainian history.
Ukrainian composer Yana Yaschuk expressed on Facebook that our artists are being killed and those responsible are mocking us.
A report conducted by Ukrainian PEN revealed that as of December 2023, a total of 95 individuals in creative fields have lost their lives in the ongoing war. The victims include actors, painters, sculptors, linguists, historians, and various others. PEN also acknowledged that the true number may be greater.
In July of last year, Ukrainian author Viktoria Amelina, who had received awards for her work, tragically lost her life in a Russian missile strike on a well-known restaurant located in Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region.
Those paying their respects kneel in mourning.
A number of Kryvtsov’s poetry enthusiasts were also present at the memorial, with some clutching his book.
As the coffin was being transported from the monastery, the people in the bustling courtyard knelt to say goodbye. Despite the air raid siren warning of a potential missile danger, the individuals remained kneeling, clutching flowers and flags.
The group made their way to the central square in Kyiv for the second part of the memorial service. Onlookers paused in the streets and a few were moved to tears as the procession, led by the poet’s body, went by.
According to Olena Herasymiuk, a poet, volunteer, and combat medic who was a close friend of Kryvtsov, he left behind more than just his poems and accounts of the time period. He also left behind his most potent weapon, one that was both distinctive and inherent. This weapon does not target a specific area or opponent, but instead affects the human mind and soul.
A large number of people gathered for the commemoration, carrying violets as a tribute to his final poem. The poem was shared on Facebook a couple days prior to his passing and became widely popular. In the poem, he expressed, “even if my hands are ripped away, violets will bloom in the spring.”