Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

The volunteers driven by force


Yesterday a meeting of some political forces was held in defense of the President. Similar meetings are held now in most towns of Ukraine. The meeting in Nikopol was initiated by the People-democratic party represented by Sergey Timoshenko, the head of the local party organization and the charge d’affairs of the town executive committee. Since the meeting was organized by the supporters of stability, i.e. the current authorities, that was why they had to provide the audience. Young robust people came and left in their work collectives during the work-time. The opposition timidly distributed leaflets.

Newspaper ’Reporter’, 11 January 2001, Nikopol

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On 10 January on the insistent recommendation of the local power workers of communal services and budget organization were voluntarily driven to the meeting organized by town executive committee officials in order to demonstrate their faithfulness to and solidarity with their ’favorite President’ L. Kuchma for all the good, which he had made to the Ukrainian people (including inhabitants of Nikopol) and will make. Every boss was given the exact number of people that he had to bring to the meeting during the working hours. Imagine, for example, a head of the department of blood transfusion on the day of gathering blood from donors! Or a maternity hospital, where the patients are asked to postpone the act until doctors and nurses finish to express their political loyalty! As a result, about 400 of the obedient citizens gathered at the entrance to the Victory Park, where about fifty more active figures did their best to express the ’people’s love’ to the President. The speakers hysterically appealed ’to disband the Supreme Rada’, while the audience lazily applauded. The majority of the audience did not listen to the speeches read from sheets of paper and demonstrated the tendency to disappear, which was not so easy under stern glances of their bosses of bosses of their bosses. That is why people scratched, yawned and to shifted from one foot to the other. They showed their love to the President and their hate to the Supreme Rada in a rather lazy way.

The day before the meeting some offended teachers phoned to our newspaper. They complained that they forced to go to the meeting to support the implementation of the referendum results. That is one of the complaints verbatim: ’We were told that our presence at the meeting was compulsory. They threatened to count us. Who will not come, will be separately questioned.’

Newspaper ’Nikopolskiye izvestiya’, 11 January 2001, Nikopol

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