There is saying that geniuses are born in the provinces and dye in Paris. I think that geography doesn't play a key role for the intellectual power of this kind of people.
The last weekend of May is a holiday in Kyiv. It calls Kyiv Day. So, we have a good opportunity to talk about famous people who lived in Kyiv and made their marks in history. One of them is Mykola Lukash - the genius Ukrainian linguist who was born in 1919 in the small town Krolevets. He moved to Kyiv in 1958 and lived here to the end of his life in 1988.
This Wednesday morning, May, 27, I was near Beresteiskaya metro station. Who knows there is the monument to Demiyan Korotchenko there. To be more precise, there was the monument there till May, 27, because I found that the statue was fallen down its pedestal. I don't know if you know who Demiyan Korotchenko was. I think that not much people know about him in spite of the statement written on the pedestal of his monument: "An outstanding leader of communist party and Soviet country." I did Google research about this "outstanding leader" and found not much information about his biography, principally about his awards. I couldn't found information what he had done for these awards. But without clearly visible work all these medals and official awards, declaring someone a leader will not cause anyone's respect. Others need to acknowledge this leadership.
I think that the monument to Korotchenko was ruined because the law banning communist totalitarian regime and its symbols in Ukraine was passed on April, 9, 2015. Ukrainians associate communist leaders with terror, dishonesty and manipulation.
Although I can say not much about "an outstanding work" of Ukrainian communist party bosses but I know where they lived in Kyiv. There are two houses in the park Nyvky where monument to Korotchenko was located. These two-storied detached houses have been used as residence of communist bosses, including Nikita Khrushchev and Demiyan Korotchenko. These buildings are neglected these days but they were magnificent houses with fountains in the 1950s.
When Mykola Lukash came to Kyiv he lived in the communal apartment. He received the separate one-room flat 15 years later. But Lukash was focused more on his linguistic research rather than comfort. He had unusual lifestyle. For example, he didn't have dishes and never cooked and never locked his door. He even asked to take away a gas cooker from the kitchen because he needed more space for books. He rarely changed his clothes. In spite of constant lack of money he ate dinner in the restaurant "Intourist" where he could speak with foreigners and polish his linguistic skills.
But Lukash was one of the greatest translators and linguists in Ukraine. He could speak 18 languages. He mocked at other translators who did only literal translation and were not able to work creatively. Sometimes his translation versions were better than original texts.
We can learn from Mykola Lukash how to set unrealistic goals, achieve them and break any pedestals. Thus, he was translating Goethe`s famous drama Faust during almost 20 years. Many other famous linguists tried to translate this drama from German into Ukrainian. Ivan Franko and Mikhailo Staritsky were among them. They failed. Lukash did it and was awarded for the best translation. But Lukash couldn't receive this award in Germany because the communist bosses didn't allow him go abroad. He translated Flaubert, Schiller, Boccaccio, Cervantes, Heine and many others.
Mykola Lukash was translator, writer and lexicographer of authority but without scientific or any other state titles. He was not in pursuit of fame. But he was real leader in linguistic field.
One of my favorite quote from Theodore Roosevelt is "People ask difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives." American President knew much about those matters.
A few workers were going around the monument and discussing how to load it onto the truck when I saw the statute on the floor. The time has come to drive it away.