All-Ukrainian Action “Art Against Drug Addiction and AIDS” (2003-2004)

The all-Ukrainian action “AIDS concerns everyone! Art Against Drug Addiction and AIDS” was initiated by the Mikhail Bulgakov Creative Foundation, the State Committee for Family and Youth Affairs, the Central Department of Culture, the British Council, and the Ukrainian Center for Educational Reforms. The goal of the all-Ukrainian action is to attract the widest possible circle of the population, especially young people, to the problem of the spread of drug addiction and AIDS in Ukraine and to prevent the possibility of their further spread. After all, drug addiction and the closely related HIV/AIDS epidemic today is a major problem for Ukrainian society, which can lead to catastrophic socioeconomic, demographic, and political consequences.

The high rate of growth of HIV/AIDS is largely due to the lack of awareness in the population, in particular the burgeoning generation of young people, about the virus and the methods of transmission. The use of narcotic substances faces practically no conscious resistance from young people and is perceived by society as a bad habit rather than a deadly disease. The ideological and creative basis of the All-Ukrainian action “Art Against Drug Addiction and AIDS” was the premiere of the theatrical performance “Lay Down the Word ETERNITY” based on the works of M. Bulgakov, which was directed by the People’s Artist of Ukraine, director and art director of the Kiev Academic Drama Theater on Podol Vitaly Malakhov. Appealing to Bulgakov’s work is an attempt by means of drama to show the viewer that health and life is the most precious treasure, and everyone has only personal responsibility to themselves for their choice. After all, things will be as they are, but, one day, everyone becomes confronted with the choice of how to act, how to live, how to build their own world, leaving no room for drugs.
The second stage of the action was a charity performance from the theater on Podol “Treasure of Bahram” for orphans from boarding schools and orphanages. As part of the tour around the cities of Ukraine, mainly – the southern regions: Crimea, Odessa, Nikolaev, Kherson, Zaporozhye, Energodar, White Church, Kiev – there were meetings, round tables, press conferences, training for volunteers of social services, and attendance by workers of rehabilitation centers for addicted people. Artists are obliged to turn to the pressing problem of AIDS, to talk about it in understandable and accessible ways to ordinary people. Popular people (actors, musicians, poets, politicians), having a huge impact on people, helping to better communicate information about AIDS and drug addiction, in many ways prove to be precisely the convincing force that unites people into funds for fighting AIDS, forcing them to unite to confront the epidemics of the XX century.