Vasyl' Stus and Russian Culture: a Complex Issue

Alessandro Achilli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


his article is part of a larger project, aimed at studying the many influences and intertextual connections of Vasyl’ Stus, a key figure for contemporary Ukrainian cultural identity, with writers of both Western, Ukrainian and Russian literature. Scholarship on Stus is growing rapidly, yet on the whole it fails to grasp the breadth of his knowledge of foreign literatures. More specifically, studies on the difficult last twenty years of his life often tend to obviate a truly scientific approach to his literary heritage. For fairly obvious reasons, one of the most neglected aspects of his biography as a poet is the role of Russian language, culture and literature in his artistic development. This article argues that a detailed study of the writer’s Russian readings and of the possible influence they might have had on his work would help better understand his literary genealogy, his way of thinking and his poetic work. Discussions of works and authors of Russian literature constitute a significant part of Stus’s letters. Russian (Soviet) reviews and translations were often for him the key to various foreign literatures and cultures. Russian writers and thinkers aroused his interest in a particular, “privileged” way. Special attention is also paid to the role of Donbas culture in shaping the identity of the young Stus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of European Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Stus
  • Russian literature
  • Ukrainian literature
  • poetry
  • Comparative Literature

Cite this