50 years after Soviet trial, Ukraine officially exonerates renowned filmmaker Parajanov
Photo: Anton Drobovich / Facebook

The National Commission for Rehabilitation at the request of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINM) rehabilitated the Ukrainian film director of Armenian origin Sergei Parajanov, the head of the UINM Anton Drobovych said.

In 1973, the Soviet authorities accused Parajanov of "Ukrainian nationalism and homosexuality" and sentenced him to five years of strict regime camps.

"Half a century has passed since his trial, but now, even in the legal sense, justice is triumphant. It is a pleasure to write about it on the centenary of the birth of the key author of Ukrainian poetic cinema," said Drobovych.

At its last meeting in December 2023, the National Commission for Rehabilitation rehabilitated the prominent Armenian film director who was born in Tbilisi and was in a Russian prison for Ukrainian nationalism.

According to Drobovych, the Office of the President and Ukrainian human rights defenders, in particular the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, supported the consideration of the case. He also thanked his colleagues from the National Commission for Rehabilitation and the State Archive of Kyiv Oblast, who provided scanned copies of the archived criminal case for consideration.

"Thanks to them, historical truth overcomes oblivion and repression, and there is also hope that other complex and high-profile cases of Ukrainian dissidents, who were tried in the USSR under both political and fabricated general criminal articles, will be considered in the future," added the head of the institute.

Sergei Parajanov is a Ukrainian-Armenian director, screenwriter, artist. He was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, and came to Ukraine by distribution after studying at a university.

On September 4, 1964, he presented the film "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors", which he shot based on the work of Mykhailo Kotsiubynskyi. This film brought Parajanov international recognition. In particular, 39 international awards, 28 prizes at various film festivals (including 24 Grand Prix).

During the premiere of the film, a protest took place in the Kyiv cinema "Ukraine". The creative intelligentsia publicly condemned the political repressions taking place in Ukraine. Having been persecuted and trying to avoid arrest, Parajanov was forced to leave for Armenia.

In 1973, he returned to Ukraine, when the USSR authorities arrested and sentenced Parajanov to five years in prison for homosexuality, although the indictment included articles "for speculation" and "for Ukrainian nationalism." He served his sentence in the Lukyanivska prison, a colony in Perevalsk.

Due to ideological censorship, his films "Intermezzo" (also based on the work of Kotsiubynskyi), "Kyiv Frescoes", "Icarus", "The Confession" were not released.