At opening of new Holodomor monument in Kyiv 'The Candle of Remembrance' 

Press office of President Victor Yushchenko, Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, November 22, 2008

KYIV, UKRAINE - Dear Ukrainian nation, Honorable guests, Dear fellow countrymen,

Seventy five years. The length of a normal human life. The time that might have been filled with happiness, used for leaving a trace on this earth, for continuation of one's kin and life.

The following are recollections from Savyntsi village in Kyiv region: "In Vasyl Tanchyk's family he and his wife died with their small baby still alive and holding tight to its mother. So this infant was also taken to the cemetery and thrown into the grave and it set there for a while in a corner of the grave until it was covered up with earth..."

In the twentieth century. In the heart of Europe. The human life was covered with black earth; our life, Ukrainian life.

When did it happen, Ukrainian nation, that your stars turned into bitter and black wormwood?

Four or three centuries before that?

When did it happen, Ukrainian nation, that your star bright eyes became black holes?

Eighty years ago? Or maybe seventy-five? Sixty-five? Or was it after the loss of state, famines, or wars?

As if in Revelation to John a biblical third of our soul, our kin, land, life, our memory was devoured by black apocalyptic stars.

Do we comprehend magnitude of this loss? Do we understand our responsibility? Do we understand that here lie the roots of our present being?

My words bear no sorrow or grief.

My words bear national pain.

My words bear strength of the great nation.

This day unites millions. Thus dearth steps back.

We are alive. We are the state. We overcame.

We have defeated evil.

Today Ukraine and the world observe the 75th anniversary of the cruelest crime committed against our nation - Holodomor of 1932-1933.

Today on Dnieper hills we open a national sanctuary - the Memorial to victims of genocide.

After seventy-five years the nation and the state pay off debts to our deceased brothers and sisters.

I am grateful to all the fellow countrymen and Ukrainians of the world, who have been seeking for and restoring the truth about Holodomor. I call upon you not to stop this blessed work.

I am grateful to the heads of states, to parliaments and governments, to international organizations and to public for brotherly solidarity with us.

We uncover knowledge before ourselves and before the world about one of the most horrendous catastrophes in the history of mankind that we have suffered.

Its scale is unimaginable and immeasurable.

On the peak of Holodomor 25 thousand people died every day in our land.

Terror with the famine in Ukraine was a well-planned act of genocide. This fact is obvious.

Unlike in other regions of the USSR, in Ukraine people have been bereaved of everything to the last bit.

The territories of Ukraine and Kuban, where majority of Ukrainians lived, were surrounded by military units to kill the last bit of hope.

About Ukraine Stalin had only one aim: to subdue peasantry, to exterminate nation's elites and to break the spine of Ukrainians who were the second largest ethnical group in the empire and potentially posed the biggest threat to it.

I have a document from those times in front of me. It is a death record of Andriy Ostapenko of May 13, 1933. "Cause of death - provide detailed: Ukrainian".

What was to be next? A clear field. As Italian consul in Kharkiv Sergio Gradenigo wrote, "colonization will transform ethnographic character of Ukraine. It is possible that in a very near future neither Ukraine nor Ukrainian nation will exist..."

Ukraine has survived. And Ukraine overcame.

With brotherly respect and sympathy we bow our heads before all those who suffered from Stalin's regime as we did: before Russians, Belarusians, Kazakhs, Crimean Tatars, Moldovans, Jews, and tens of other nations.

Our pain gives us strength and dignity.

We call upon all, and first of all upon Russian Federation, to condemn crimes of Stalinism and of totalitarian Soviet Union, together, as true brothers who are honest and pure before each other.

We were together in this hell.

We reject arrogant, blasphemous lies that we accuse any nation of our tragedy. This is not so.

There is only one criminal. And that criminal is imperial, communist, soviet regime.

Those who deny Holodomor today and justify Stalin with 'rational manner of government' put black and doomed mark of evil upon themselves.

We condemn even the slightest attempts to justify butchers of our nation.

We need truth, empathy and joint judgment over tortures of the past.

For Ukraine, the Memorial we are opening today is a symbol of our purification.

To this place leads a bright path from Mykhaylivska Square where sacred peoples monument of remembrance stands.

To this place streams of people from everywhere flow; to this place all Ukrainian rivers flow that are carried to the sea by Dnieper.

Here, at this place, I want to say the innermost.

I pray to God for purification for our nation.

I ask forgiveness for all the sins, those conscious or not, that were made by us during a thousand years history.

I ask for cleansing from evil and the original sin of hostility between brothers, which was always standing in our way towards united and strong state.

I ask for cleansing from pride and betrayal.

I ask for cleansing from faith in idols and from goddamned serfdom to others' capitals.

I ask for cleansing and liberation from fear, from that demon that prevents us to believe in our own strength, in our roots, in our own national ‘the I' that was, and always is born on this wonderful land.

To believe. Once and for all. For everyone.

Our stars turned into black and bitter wormwood when we lost ourselves, when we lost our dignity, our essence, when we allowed fracturing and subduing our spirit.

From that point begins our weakness and disbelief in ourselves.

From that point begins our passiveness, our provincial humility and fear-produced, in pseudo-irony hidden disrespect for national pride and national values.

What I say is no pathos. The nation should bear responsibility for its past, for every mistake imprinted on its brow.

Only through being honest with ourselves no matter how painful it can be, only through comprehension of our belonging to all that is Ukrainian we will clear the way towards new life and new future.

Thus our victory comes.

Victory of united and eternal Ukraine.

Victory of the nation and the state over serfdom.

Victory of life over death.

Today is not only the Day of Remembrance.

Today is the Day of Freedom.

The Day of our greatest and most important Freedom from fear and expectancy of impending doom.

From the darkest void the nation is able to return its light and do a miracle, which will prove before His eyes the it has right for free and happy life.

Because the light is here. It is in our hearts.

I believe deeply and firmly that if today a candle of remembrance lights up in our every window, we will understand that most important thing -

The nation is back.

Our nation will live forever.

Let those who perished be remembered forever and hail to Ukraine.



PERSONAL NOTE:  Saturday, November 22, 2008 was a historic and important day in Ukraine, for Ukrainians around the world and for the international friends of Ukraine like myself.  The events of this day in Kyiv, for those who I visited with and for myself, were absolutely amazing, powerful, dramatic, moving, compelling, and a long time coming.  The day started with snow, then rain and then snow again.  But no one seemed to care...their minds and hearts were on the 75th Commemoration of the Holodomor 1932-1933.  For those who had the opportunity to be in Kyiv today and participate in the events this day will remain in their hearts, minds and souls for ever.  This was one of those special moments of a lifetime.
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Director
Government Affairs, Washington Office
SigmaBleyzer Private Equity Investment Group
President/CEO, U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC)
Publisher & Editor, Action Ukraine Report (AUR)

Member: International Holodomor Committee (IHC)
Founder/Trustee: "Holodomor: Through The Eyes of Ukrainian Artists"

1701 K Street, NW, Suite 903, Washington, D.C. 20006
Mobile in Kyiv: 380 50 689 2874
[email protected]; [email protected]

View also Yushchenko’s speech on youtube: