12.12.2001 | Vasyl Ovsienko, Kyiv

Oleksa Tykhiy returned to motherland


What is the Ukrainian world standing upon? On the piers, which are the martyrs of the Ukrainian spirit.

Donbass that was totally russified in the 20 thcentury by liquidating Ukrainian education and transmigrating hundreds of thousands of alien population, the part of Ukraine, whose native population was decimated by famines and repressions – it was this land that gave Ukraine such outstanding personalities as Mykola Rudenko, Petro Grigorenko, Ivan and Nadiya Svitlychny, Ivan Dziuba, Vasyl Stus. It was them, who determined the profound Ukrainian spirit of this land. They like piers stood against filthy flows of communist propaganda that was carried out by thousands of cynical agitators. All spiritually alive people of the 60s-80s harked to their words, prohibited and jammed. Their works were distributed in samizdat, they sounded on the radio ‘Liberty’. The Ukrainians in Donbass knew that genuine and authentic, which they had, had national roots, since alien and foreign is temporary and fragile.

In the constellation of the mentioned names the name of Oleksa Tykhiy is a brightest. Oleksa Tykhiy was a teacher and human rights protector, who perished in a Soviet prison in the Urals 17 years ago, on 6 May 1984. In 5 years, on 19 November 1989 he returned to Ukraine, in glory and honor, together with Vasyl Stus and Yuri Litvin. They were reinterred on the Baykovo cemetery in Kyiv. This event was anticipated by Stus:

‘Our remains will return,

and we shall remain invincible.’

The appearance of a Charity fund named after Oleksa Tykhiy in Druzhkivka confirms that he returned to Ukraine forever. He was born near Druzhkivka in the hamlet of Yizhivka on 27 January 1927, it was here that on 1 July 1977 he was condemned actually to death.

This fund was created in December 1997 by the publishing house ‘Prima-press’ that publishes the newspaper ‘Okno’, insurance company ‘ASKO - Donbass-Pivnichny’, Druzhkivka organization of ‘Prosvita’ and several private investors. One of the investors is Mykola Yanko, a former teacher of Tykhiy, now a 90-years old member of the Ukrainian Geographical society.

A bilingual (predominantly Russian) newspaper ‘Okno’ that has the motto ‘Quot homines, tot sententiae’ (‘As many people, so many opinions’) was the first local edition to give truthful information about their outstanding compatriot. Beforehand the name of Oleksa Tykhiy was ignored or mentioned in a negative sense. It is not surprising that such publications caused both praise and criticism, the newspaper was even called a ‘fascist’ one. The newspaper honestly published all these opinions.

Another noticeable figure born in Druzhkivka is sculptor Oleksandr Skoblikov. Now he resides in Kyiv. He is the author of Gogol’s monument in Rusanovka, academician Vernadskiy’s monument, a co-author of the memorial to sailors of Kyivan river flotilla and -- it must be confessed – of the notorious monument of ‘reunification of Ukraine with Russia’. He also created scores of memorial plates and Taras Shevchenko’s monument in Charlette de Soir. Once in a talk with Sergey Bazanov, the manager of the O. Tykhiy fund, the sculptor complained that monuments created by him spread throughout the world, but no work of his stands in his native Druzhkivka. Then the fund proposed him to make the monument of Oleksa Tykhiy. O. Skoblikov has already sculpted several sketches. Architect Feshchenko, who constructed the monument of founders of Kyiv on the Dnieper bank, agreed to erect Tykhiy’s monument.

A considerable sum of money is needed, about 20 – 25 thousand USD (or, as they say now, ‘conditional units’). It must be a tremendous bronze monument on a granite pedestal, that will decorate one of central squares in Druzhkivka – Oktiabrskaya (it shall be renamed to Oleksa Tykhiy’s square). This is a wonderful place: the monument will stand on the picturesque slope, on the background of the sky.

The fund punishment a number of articles in the local and central press, a lively discussion started. The idea wins more and more supporters, some of them among the local authorities. The more so that the idea is backed by noticeable fellow countrymen: Vitaliy Keys, a co-chairman of the Committee of assistance to Donbass schools and a professor of the Rutger university (USA), Nadiya Svitlychna, a laureate of the Shevchenko National prize, Ukrainian organization ‘Verkhovinki’ from the USA represented by Roksolana Sira. All of them visited the fund. Academician Ivan Dziuba, an editor of the Encyclopedia of the Modern Ukraine, also supported the idea.

In the end of 1998 the fund, in order to make its activities more popular and to encourage the authors who write about the human rights protection movement in Ukraine, organized a competition for the best publication of the similar kind, in particular, about the Ukrainian Helsinki group, one of whose founder-members was Oleksa Tykhiy. Next year the publications came mainly from Donbass, then only a third prize was handed. Many publications came by the end of 2000. The commission did not manage to evaluate all the works by Tykhiy’s birthday, so the prizes were given on the day of his death.

On 19 May in Kyiv Sergey Bazanov, the manager of the fund, and Evhen Matushevskiy, the general manager of the insurance company ‘ASKO - Donbass-Pivnichny’ awarded the winners.

The first prize was not awarded: the jury decided so because there were no fundamental works on human rights protection. By the way, the competition is carried out among newly created works reflecting today’s level of the topic.

The second prize (Hr 1000) got journalist Vakhtang Kipiani for a series of articles in ‘Kyivskie vedomosti’ about human rights protectors Mykola Rudenko, Viacheslav Chornovil, about Solovki and Sandarmokh.

The third prize (Hr 500) was awarded to the Kharkiv Group for human rights protection. As to the total volume, its output is much larger than any contribution, but, as S. Bazanov remarked, it is rather their professional duty. The prize was awarded, first of all, for the publication of the bulletin ‘Prava ludyny’, edition of three-volume memoirs of former political prisoner Mikhail Kheyfets and ‘Advocate’s notes’ by Dina Kaminskaya.

A special prize (Hr 500) was given to Andrey Kudin for his book ‘How to survive in prison’ based on his experience of staying in Kyiv Lukyanivska prison in 1997-1998.

Three encouraging prizes (Hr 200 each) were awarded. Oleg Orach of Donetsk origin, who wrote a book of memories about Vasyl Stus, writes now the book about this great friend. Journalist Yaroslav Tinchenko, along with a number of articles about human rights protectors, published, in ‘Kyivski vedomosti’, a very original interview titled ‘Son for father’ – the interview with Yuri Shukhevich, a son of the legendary commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Rebel Army general Chuprinka, who spent more than 30 years in prison and colonies. Lviv journalist Oleg Stetsishin published, in the newspaper ‘Ekspress’, the interview ‘The exchange of the century from the viewpoint of Valentin Moroz’ – about the exchange of five convicted dissidents for two Soviet spies on 27 April 1979.

Oleksa Tykhiy’s family participated in handing the awards.

The fund created its own site, where documents on the human rights protection movement are placed. The site is registered in almost all search systems of the world and is very popular. It contains, in particular, some document about Oleksa Tykhiy. The publications of the mentioned winners also will be input there.

The competition is lasting. New contributions will be admitted until December of the current year. We must remember that the goal of the Oleksa Tykhiy Charity fund is noble: the erection of Oleksa Tykhiy’s monument in the town of Druzhkivka, the publication of his works and memories about him.

The fund address: 26 Lenina St., 84202, Druzhkivka, Donetsk oblast; tel. (06267) 424-97, fax (06267) 456-68.


Bank account: 26004301470173 в АК ПІБ м.Дружківки, МФО 334334, ЗКПО 24815184.

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