Kiev theater removes Zelensky name from classic play

5 months ago 125

The Ukrainian president’s namesake is a clueless housekeeper in a comedy by playwright Ivan Karpenko-Karyi from 1900

A character in a classic play who shares his surname with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has been renamed in a production by a popular Kiev theater, local media have reported.

A hapless butler named Zelensky is among the personages of ‘The Master’, one of the most famous works by Ukrainian playwright Ivan Karpenko-Karyi.

The author himself described his 1900 comedy as “angry satire,” denouncing the greed of the bourgeois class in the Ukrainian lands of the Russian Empire.

However, the list of characters in the new production of the play by the Teatr na Podole doesn’t appear to include the name ‘Zelensky’, but a ‘Zalusky.’

The editor-in-chief of Ukrainian outlet Glavkom Nikolay Podvezyany was first to point out the modification made to the classic work.

“In ‘The Master’, Karpenko-Kary has a not-the-most-skilled housekeeper named Zelensky. As you remember, in the play he complains about his subordinates, ‘the kholops,’ who according to him ‘have the power,’ and is scared that they’ll ‘say something inappropriate,’” Podvezyany recalled in a post on Facebook on Monday.

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Vladimir Zelensky (R) and Valery Zaluzhny (2nd L) visit a training center at an undisclosed location in Ukraine, November 3, 2023 Zelensky slaps down Ukraine’s military leadership

But in the production of the play by the Teatr na Podole, “the events are moved to modern times and Zelensky became... Zalusky,” he wrote. “Is it censorship already or not?” the journalist wondered.

Podvezyany also noted that the surname ‘Zalusky’ sounds a lot like ‘Zaluzhny,’ referring to the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, General Valery Zaluzhny, with whom President Zelensky reportedly has fallen out.

Ukrainian outlet NV Life contacted the Teatr na Podole about the name change, but was told that its artistic director Bogdan Benyuk would not be commenting.

The issue of censorship has been a hot topic in Ukraine recently, with the editor-in-chief of the Zerkalo Nedeli paper Yulia Mostovaya claiming last month that Zelensky had ordered journalists to avoid reporting on corruption in his government until the end of the conflict with Russia.

READ MORE: Zelensky orders reporters to keep silent about corruption – Ukrainian media

In June, Semafor news site reported that Western journalists covering the fighting between Moscow and Kiev had been working under severe restrictions, with the Ukrainian authorities forcing them to show only what the military wants them to see and stripping the credentials of those who tell uncomfortable truths.

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