The legendary poet Lina Kostenko turned 93 years old

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All her life, Lina Vasylivna has been fighting for Ukraine, for its freedom and principles. And today her poems inspire and support Ukrainians.

Lina Vasylivna Kostenko was born on March 19, 1930 in Rzhishchev, Kyiv region. Her father is a teacher who knew 12 languages. He was sentenced to 10 years in a labor camp as an “enemy of the people.”

11-year-old Lina wrote her first poem on the wall of the trench where she hid with her parents during World War II. She published her poetry for the first time when she was 16 years old.

In Soviet times, she took an active part in the dissident movement. In 1965, Kostenko signed a protest letter against the arrests of the Ukrainian intelligentsia. In 1968, she wrote letters in defense of Vyacheslav Chornovol. For her steadfast position, she was excluded from the literary process for a long time. “The era is unfavorable – even in the cradle of Genyaim, it broke the spines”, Lina Kostenko once wrote, but they couldn’t break her spine. For more than 15 years, she wrote “on the table”, it was not printed, but she persevered.

Among the most famous works are “Berestechko”, “Marusya Churai”, collections of poetry “Vitryla”, “Rays of the Earth”, “Garden of Non-melting Sculptures”, prose novel “Notes of the Ukrainian Samashedsho”.

Lina Kostenko’s book is a must-have in the home libraries of many Ukrainians. She is the most quoted Ukrainian writer.

“Each nation has its own disease. In Russia, it is incurable.” Lina Kostenko wrote many years ago. Today, everyone was convinced of this. The prophetic words belong to her: “And horror, and blood, and death, and despair, and the clatter of a ravenous horde, the little gray man was the bed of black trouble.”

Lina Kostenko at the presentation of the Legion of Honor eagle. Photo: Borys Korpusenko

On July 14, 2022, on the day of the National Day of the French Republic, French Ambassador to Ukraine Etienne de Ponsin presented the Order of the Legion of Honor to the Ukrainian writer and poet Lina Kostenko. Membership in the Legion of Honor is the highest distinction and official recognition of special merit in France.

“The world is divided into the plague and its victims, and my choice is not to side with the plague. In general, this was the motto of the sixties – do not side with the plague, but now it is an alternative for all humanity, because the vibrios of the plague did not disappear anywhere, as Camus predicted, and these vibrios grew, filled with rage and now fell on Ukraine in the form of the ugliest war Lina Kostenko noted then.

We join the greetings of millions of fans of the beloved poetess and wish Lina Vasilievna good health, inexhaustible inspiration, a peaceful sky and victory over the Moscow horde!.

Maria Kataeva

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