Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Romeo and Juliet Story from the Post-Soviet Space

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 21 – There are two kinds of stories that come from the former Soviet space: those that could only happen there because of the nature of the systems people there have experienced and continue to experience, and those that could happen anywhere because they reflect the human condition but sometimes take on a distinctive shape in those countries.

            One such story, a post-Soviet version of the classic Romeo and Juliet plot appeared in the Pskov editor of Moskovsky Komsomolets yesterday (mk-pskov.ru/articles/2017/02/19/pskovich-doshyol-do-kieva-po-shekspiru-a-ne-po-prilepinu.html) and has was relayed by the After Empire portal today (afterempire.info/2017/02/20/rij/).

            The heroes of this story are a young man aged 14 from Pskov and a young girl 15 from Ukraine’s Donbass who became acquainted via the Internet before Putin’s Anschluss of Crimea tore their world apart.  They had been corresponding for some time but their parents objected to a meeting, more it appears for political than personal reasons.

            The family of the Pskov Romeo didn’t like the idea that their son was going to associate with Banderites, an attitude strengthened by the fact that the Pskov division was nearby and the young man was approaching draft age.  Juliet’s family also had doubts about a meeting, but the two sets of parents ultimately began a negotiation.

            And in a post-Soviet update of the Shakespearean classic, a Ukrainian Orthodox Church priest intervened and proposed that the two meet in Slovakia where both could enroll in the university.  “Not without difficulties,” which the Pskov paper describes in detail, the two young people were able to assemble the documents they dneeded.

            “The mother of the girl met her chosen at the Polish border,” and despite all the problems with transportation – the only way to get there was by bus through Lviv, widely suspected of being a hotbed of Banderites – the young “Moskal” managed to come together with her beloved, thus ending in a happy way this age-old but distinctly post-Soviet story.

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