Mykola Bazhan

Петро Панч, "Львів, Коперника, 42", Вітчизна, 1960, № 2, 174
To start with, the organizing committee organized their library, and subsequently, Soviet periodicals were richly represented in the reading room. The scholars coming from Kyiv and Moscow, were presenting their reports in the club. They often arranged literary soirees actively engaging Soviet writers who came to the city with the Red Army, or arrived later. With the help of reports and personal speeches, Lviv citizens soon got acquainted with the work of Pavlo Tychyna, Maksym Rylskyi, Mykola Bazhan, Andriy Malyshko, Ivan Le, Natan Rybak, Oleksandr Kopylenko, Oleksandr Dovzhenko, Petro Pavlenko, who during his stay in Lviv actively engaged with the work of the Organizing Committee.
Роман Купчинський. Спогади поета Романа Купчинського про приїзд до Львова групи українських письменників з Києва восени 1939, 127-129

Upon arrival, [Oleksandr] Korniychuk started a very active propagandist activity. He concentrated on writers first. He arranged the first convention of Ukrainian writers of the Western Ukraine in the premises of the "[Shevchenko] Scientific Society." It was attended by 32 people, men and women, i.e. all writers of Galicia and Volyn, and even more. The meeting had people no one heard about as writers, or rather hardly ever heard of. The non-political journalists clung to the writers, too, as they immediately figured out the journalism enterprise could not rely on good prospects. "Oh, those Ukrainian journalists! They have done a lot of harm to our cause. Soviet authorities will never forget it! "

At the meeting, there was Korniychuk, Panch, Bazhan, and Malyshko, and also Dovzhenko, the a film director.

Korniychuk opened the meeting by with a well elaborated speech about the fate of Ukrainian writers in under Polish rule. He praised Franko, Stefanyk, Kobylianska (he had never heard of Fedkovych, though). He said he was sorry that the writers of the Eastern [*Obviously, had to be: Western] Ukraine were separated by Chinese walls from the parent stem. Therefore, they were not able to know the grand Soviet Ukrainian literature. Finally, it was over, and now they would all work together for a good cause of the working masses ... And all this will happen under the sun of the Stalin constitution, in a country he takes care of as a father, the greatest, and most brilliant, and so on.

[Oleksandr] Dovzhenko followed. He was a man under forty , very energetic, resolute, blond, and fiery, with an American rather than Ukrainian appearance.

In his very clear Ukrainian, he spoke about his trip around Galicia, about filming villages burned out by Poles, and about murdered or tortured Ukrainians.

— I will try hard, — added he, — to make sure it isn't lost as it has often been lost in our history. I have filmed every atrocity, and it will for ever and ever testify what the nobility-titled Poland did to you!

The mentioning of Ukrainian Nationalists and the leader Stalin (each speech had such excerpts repeated!) did not blunt the effect of his speech.

Afterwards, one of the writers wanted to expres his internationalism:

— As to me, comrades, I have no hatred for the Polish people. The people are not to blame, it is gentry who are to blame, the bourgeoisie and their henchmen!..

He believed he had touched on the best string, so he was greatly pleased with his speech.

But the poet Bazhan rose and set at him very severely:

— I am surprised to hear you, comrade, babbling such nonsense. There is feebleness in your arguments. You must and ought to feel hatred to all who contributed to your anguish, who burned villages, tied hands with barbed wire, cut tongues, poked eyes out...

The speech sounded chauvinist, while the final phrase about the sun of the Constitution and the genius hardly had any link to the rest of the speech.

Neither Panch, nor Malyshko joined the discussion. [Andriy] Malyshko, a small, plain boy, curiously eyed the faces of the writers present, while Panch, a skinny 45-year-old brunet kept sitting with his eyes down, hardly moving at all. Some imperceptible, mysterious smile wandered on his face. One could hardly say whether he was sneering at Galician writers, or the Korniychuk's words, or even at the whole situation.

During this first meeting, Korniychuk informed that the election would take place soon to the Board of the Committee of Writers of Western Ukraine, and asked to nominate and submit Ukrainian candidates. He concluded: "We do not have any party keys, instead we have the most democratic (they indulged into using this word) kind of choice — by majority vote.

— Well, then, comrade, — some of Galicians claimed, — "Zhydy"... "Yevreyi" (Jews), — he recovered, — and Poles will outnumber us.

Let's see, — smiled Korniychuk. — Say, there should be nine members of the Board. Well ... Let's see, there will be five Ukrainians, two Poles and two Jews ... And comrade Panch will go there as the chairman, representing the All-Ukrainian Union of Writers! ...
Роман Купчинський. Спогади поета Романа Купчинського про приїзд до Львова групи українських письменників з Києва восени 1939, 130
Having elected the board, the writers started looking for accomodation. They managed to find it in the palace of Count Bielski on vul. Kopernika. They immediately run repairs, brought in all kinds of furniture; and meetings and literary soirees strarted being conducted one after another. Mostly, poets from the Eastern Ukraine were reciting their pieces. Those were [Mykola] Bazhan, [Andriy] Malyshko, [Ivan] Honcharenko, [Volodymyr] Sosiura, Agata Turchynska. Those were works hastily written rather "on the run" to glorify the occupation of Galicia. Yet, the poetic culture was high, as poems were composed by talented poets, and some of them (Bazhan and Sosiura) were well-known among all Ukrainians. Patriotism and love for the homeland had not had a chance to be expressed for a long time time, until they found the opportunity in the collapse of Poland. So, the poets were riding this horse as long as they pleased. They acted as if they could feel it would very shortly end, that it was only a forced propaganda tool in the occupied Galicia. After a few months, the Bolsheviks began to treat Poles as an anti-Ukrainian power, they allowed back many initially exported "bourgeois" persons and high officials, and gradually hushed down the slogans they used to come to the Galician land...
Роман Купчинський. Спогади поета Романа Купчинського про приїзд до Львова групи українських письменників з Києва восени 1939, 132
In addition to [Oleksandr] Korniychuk and some of the youngest colleagues, all of them were suppressed by some unbelievably large burden, hanging over their heads like a tin cloud. [Pavlo] Tychyna produced an impression of a ghost, of a mummy that came to life and wandered around the world, as if he saw and heard noone, but only time after time stopped to rhyme his propaganda. However, in between the lines, the former Tychyna would flash out here and there, but only for a short moment.
Роман Купчинський. Спогади поета романа купчинського про приїзд до львова групи українських письменників з києва восени 1939, 126
I am not sure [Pavlo] Tychyna had a chance to talk to anyone, but [Maksym] Rylskyi left immediately after the meeting to have dinner with two old acquaintances of his. Sosiura very cordially chatted with everyone and invited to visit, though he would tend to forget about the appointed time and place. Bazhan also had small talks with many Galicians, he asked many questions and was interested in many things. As to the writer [Ivan] Le (the story "Mizhhirya" [Hill Pass]), as soon as he arrived, he immediately rushed to look for a good gun as he was fond of hunting, the same as Rylskyi was fond of fishing. [Agata] Turchynska was very happy to come to Galicia, she was captivated with everything she saw here, she was open to learn about everything and to go everywhere. She was interested in the Carpathians, in Hutsul, in Boyko areas, and in Galicia generally, the lifestyles and ways here. Poet [Andriy] Malyshko kept away from Galicians. He would only talk a lot and with passion at meetings or conferences. He wrote many commemorative combative poems and waited for the "merit award."
Роман Купчинський. Спогади поета Романа Купчинського про приїзд до Львова групи українських письменників з Києва восени 1939, 126
The writers were interested to see their pen-mates who had worked and were working hard in difficult circumstances, giving to Stalin what was Ceasar's, and to God what was God's. The well-known names of [Pavlo] Tychyna, [Maksym] Rylskyi, [Mykola] Bazhan, [Volodymyr] Sosiura, [Ivan] Le, [Petro] Panch, [Yuriy] Yanovskyi, and others attracted their attention and raised interest. The works of many of them have long been known in Galicia, not only among literary circles, but also among the widest public. Will they arrive? How are they going to behave? What are they going to say and what will they be asking about?
Роман Купчинський. Спогади поета Романа Купчинського про приїзд до Львова групи українських письменників з Києва восени 1939, 127

During one of such talks, a question was brought forward.

— Comrade, where is a poet Zahul now?

Korniychuk lazily lifted his eyelashes and cast a glance at the person asking the question:

— Zahul died.
— What about Savchenko?
— Which one?
— Yakiv!

Korniychuk now turned his head to the speaker too.

— Well, Savchenko, does not live as well.
— What about a poet Bobynskyi?
— Bobynskyi ... Never heard of him.
— How come? He even got the state award for his poem "Frankova smert" (Franko's Death).
— Never heard... Why are you asking? — Korniychuk asked this time and widely opened his eyes.

The eyes sparkled so that the interlocutor was confused completely.

— I ... randomly only asked of those who are gone or have gone somewhere. But I also know others, such as Zerov, Fylypovych, Tychyna, Rylskyi, Bazhan.
— But you should not put them together. Tychyna, Rylskyi, Bazhan — they all are working, they have been awarded with orders, while Zerov and Yakubskyi left for Russia. They are completely inactive now.

With that, he finished his conversation and left to another room — to the great joy of the well scared Galician who swore he would not be asking about people from Eastern Ukraine any more without prior finding out whether they were in favor, or not.