Family Story

Among the distinguished members of Inna’s immediate family, there were outstanding scientists: world class expert on physical chemistry and nuclear science, the academician Solomon Jelovich who played a pivotal role in the scientific assessment immediately after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear explosions in 1945; and one of the leading defence scientists, the father of precision bombing mechanisms for aviation Solomon Buyanover.

Other members of Inna’s family were the noble Jewish family of Palei in Ukraine. Inna’s maternal great-grandmother was the sister of the well-known historical personality, Sergei Paleiwho was a notable engineer and leader of the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community in the beginning of 20th century. It was thanks to his personal influence that the Rabbi Yitzhak Schneerson, the father of the 7th Lubavich Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was accepted as the Chief Rabbi of the Ekaterinoslav (pre-revolutionary name of the city) Jewish community where he served for 39 years until he was arrested by the NKVD and sent into exile in Kazakhstan where he died in complete sickness and poverty.

Inna’s maternal great-grandfather Meer Chigrinsky was the man who personally saved the 50,000-member strong Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk in Ukraine from Stalin’s famine of the 1930s. The story about it is written in the well-known memoir of Rebbetzin Chaya-Mushka Schneerson, the wife of the Chief-Rabbi Yitzhak Schneerson and mother of the 7th Luvavitch Rebbe.

Inna’s parents, Anna Pinsky-Buyanover and Isaac Buyanover, were both very able intellectuals and champions in their corresponding fields. Anna Buyanover has been a legendary teacher of languages who trained many generations of pupils and has authored revolutionary methods of teaching for both teachers and students. There is a special Anna Buyanover museum in the one of the schools in Ukraine that preserves her legacy. Inna’s father Isaac Buyanover was a very talented engineer and inventor who had had many patents in his name. He was also a very advanced chess-player and keen photographer.

In an historical perspective, Inna’s father’s family came from Toledo, Spain, and Inna’s maternal family is traced as coming from Krakow, Poland. Eventually, and following the historical migration of the Jewish people, both families went through similar routes crossing France, Germany, Poland and Lithuania, and coming to Ukraine in the 19th – beginning of the 20th century.

Inna has graduated with honours from the Dnepropetrovsk University in Ukraine at the end of the 1970s and worked on her dissertation as a philosopher and specialist on the behavioural aspects of biology and psychology. In parallel with her scientific research, she was always writing and being active in several genres of prose, poetry, and essays. Following Inna’s husband Michael’s scientific career, the family moved to St Petersburg (then Leningrad) in the early 1980s where Inna gave up her scientific career and started to work in theatre as a dramatist. Her years in the Academic Maly Drama Theatre led by Lev Dodin, the best and legendary late-Soviet theatre, enriched her significantly with regard to the qualified art and its approach. At the same time, Inna continued to write actively, and became the art editor for the Actors Union which has been known for its liberal views and inventive approach to creativity.

In the late 1980s, both Inna and Michael Rogatchi decided to try to apply their creative visions, and not less importantly, their moral stand using the opportunity to work in their own, semi-free under the late-Soviet conditions, theatre in St Petersburg, The People’s House. Inna’s key play for the theatre, Playing the King, was a super-hit in the late 1980s all over the former Soviet Union and abroad. Inna has authored a few more plays, as well. One was called In the Mirror of the Zone and reflected the theme of the human and moral response in any society to the situations prompted by a nuclear catastrophe.

In the unfolding of the family’s tragedy and while trying to save the life of their only child,Julia-Yenike who had contracted cancer as the result of the Chernobyl catastrophe, the Rogatchis went to live in Finland in the end of the 1980s. Their only daughter is now buried there, and Inna and Michael have become Finnish citizens. Since that time, they have been living and working in Finland.