Ukraine’s Zelensky: A Video Address at Frankfurt

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Recorded comments from Volodymyr Zelensky to Frankfurt will be presented in association with the Federation of European Publishers.

Volodymyr Zelensky. Image: The Ukrainian Presidency

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

A Recorded Address from Ukraine’s President
In one of the many video addresses that Volodymyr Zelensky is making during Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked siege, the Ukrainian president is scheduled to speak at Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 19 to 23). This is thought to be the first time the Ukrainian president has spoken to the world publishing community, although our readers will recall that the first lady, Olena Zelenska, spoke in August to a books-for-refugees event at the British Library.

The Buchmesse event is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. CEST on Frankfurt Thursday, October 20, in the large auditorium of Messe Frankfurt’s Congress Centre, called Harmonie Hall. Publishing Perspectives understands that the Zelensky address will be a recorded speech, and that it’s presented in association with the Brussels-based Federation of European Publishers (FEP) and the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers and booksellers association

This is the newest event added to a trade show that already includes sizeable commitments to the crisis in Ukraine and its impact on that nation’s proud and resilient publishing community.

In his October 4 address to the Ukrainian population, Zelensky described the quick-strike advances that Ukrainian forces in the south and east have been making in a robust counteroffensive effort.

As Anton Troianovksi has reported this morning (October 5) for The New York Times, “President Vladimir V. Putin signed more than 400 pages of legislation annexing four Ukrainian regions, the Kremlin said on Wednesday, forging ahead with a parallel reality in which Russia pretends to exercise sovereignty over thousands of square miles of territory that its military does not actually control.”

Zelensky, in his address to his citizens, said in part, “The Ukrainian army is carrying out a pretty fast and powerful advance in the south of our country as part of the current defense operation. Dozens of settlements have already been liberated from the Russian sham referendum this week alone. In Kherson region, Kharkiv region, Luhansk region and Donetsk region altogether. … Our warriors do not stop. And it’s only a matter of time before we oust the occupier from all our land.”

An Emphasis on the Ukraine Crisis at Frankfurt

The Frankfurt Pavilion, left, in the Agora at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019. Image: FBM, Anett Weirauch

Among many elements of Frankfurt’s programming is the “Focus on Ukraine” program centered at a 100-square-meter collective stand (including a stage) at Hall 4.0 B114.

What’s more, a special series of Ukraine-issue events is being curated for Frankfurt to run on Saturday afternoon, October 22, in the Frankfurt Pavilion, which is the large theater created for Buchmesse in the Agora. On the page of Frankfurt Pavilion events, scroll down to “Programme Highlights at a Glance,” and click on Saturday, October 22, to see the special Ukraine programming, which begins at 2 p.m. CEST.

With official details just being finalized, the pavilion’s Ukraine program will include a key figure, the activist and poet/translator Serhiy Zhadan, recipient of this year’s Peace Prize of the German Book Trade.

‘Focus Ukraine’ at Frankfurt Pavilion on Saturday

Here are some of the “Focus Ukraine” events planned for the pavilion, all times in CEST. They are open both to trade visitors and exhibitors and to members of the public who will be on the Messe on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this year.

Serhiy Zhadan

2 p.m. in English: “We Are the Price” is a discussion about the origins of wartime violence and the destruction of cultural treasure. “We are the price” is how the artist Nikita Kadan described the perception of the war. The price for freedom is paid by Ukrainians who have become targets because they live in a country that has chosen a democratic path. Many cultural workers have left their real vocation behind, they support the Ukrainian resistance or go to the front. Not only do people die in these times, landscapes, towns, and villages are also destroyed to such an extent that some of them are uninhabitable. Museums, schools and cultural centers are destroyed, it is a destruction of urban spaces, an ‘urbicide’ (Karl Schlögel).

Featured are Serhij Zhadan, Karl Schlögel, and Mykola Rjabtschuk.

Andrei Kurkov

3 p.m. in English and German: “Writing and Narrating in a State of War.” Descriptive information about this event says, “Writers are masters of observation and narration. With the art of the word they describe the universal through the concrete, through individual fates historical events are illustrated. In literature, readers also look for answers to what moves them. But what happens to the language of authors who find themselves in existential danger? Can they continue to write or do they fall silent? What does writing and literature mean in a country whose culture has been declared a target of extermination?”

Featured are the Ukrainian writers Andrei Kurkov, Lyubov Yakymchuk, and Olesya Yaremchuk.

Vasyl Cherepanyn

4 p.m. in English and German: “Is ‘Lessons From History’ an Empty Phrase?” Here, the media messaging reads, “With the war in Ukraine, the gaze also falls on the unprocessed and long overlooked violence in Russian history and present in the West. Mass destruction, which became a certainty with every liberated place like Butcha or Izjum, is the result. Why was Russia’s neo-imperial posturing and nationalist rhetoric ignored in Europe for so long? How was it possible to fall “into a sleep of history” in this country, even though it is precisely in Germany that history plays a constituent role for the postwar period. Against this background, can lessons from history still be learned for the future?”

Featured are Vasyl Cherepanyn, Manfred Sapper, and Andrii Portnov.

Ukraine’s Oleksandra Matviichuk speaks on May 30 in the opening sequence of the World Expression Forum in Lillehammer, WEXFO. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

5 p.m. in German: “Media and Civil Society in Times of War” Our programming description: “The social resilience in Ukraine and the impressive solidarity during the war are based on a functioning civil society. Civil society structures emerged as early as after independence in 1991 and further consolidated during the Orange Revolution and Euromaidan. It is noticeable that many NGOs in Ukraine are led by women, which is also true for independent media.”

Featured are Sevgil Musaeva, editor-in-chief of the online newspaper Ukrajinska Pravda, and Oleksandra Matviichuk, winner of the 2022 ‘Alternative Nobel Prize.’ (See our story from the World Expression Forum in Lillehammer: Ukraine’s Olexksandra Matviichuk at WEXFO: The ‘Interconnected World’

Kateryna Mischenko

6 p.m. in English and German: “Border Crossings: Women at War and on the Run”: “The fate of millions of Ukrainians changed at the moment of Russia’s widespread attack. In particular, many women had to leave their homes and husbands and seek shelter for their children and parents outside the homeland. The migrant movements go hand in hand with the logic of war and violence. At the same time, women are a driving force in many spheres of life in Ukrainian society and the army, which was rather an exception a few years ago. Is an emancipatory feminist movement also a response to the war?”

Featured are Kateryna Mischenko, Tayra (Julia Payevska), Tamara Martseniuk.

Read more about special Ukraine-related programming at Frankfurt here.

Follow our coverage of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and its impact on the country’s publishing players and international industry reactions. More on the Ukrainian Book Institute is here

More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, more on the German book and publishing market is here, and more on book fairs and trade shows in the world publishing industry is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.