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15.12.2003 | Ludmila Kucherenko, Poltava

The authorities prohibited two meetings in the Poltava oblast

   

1. The commemoration meeting devoted to the victims of the famine.

The Poltava oblast suffered from the famine of 1933 more than other oblasts. In spite of this the authorities of the Poltava oblast ignored the President’s Edict “The appeal of the participants of the special sitting of the Supreme Rada to the Ukrainian people” concerning the 70th anniversary of this tragedy. They do nothing to revere the memory of the victims of the totalitarian regime, to inform the population, especially the youth, about the sorrowful lessons of history.

The recent events became another proof of the double moral and spiritual degradation of the people, who govern our country.

Twenty members of the oblast union of political prisoners and the repressed planned to conduct on 9 March in Poltava the Day of sorrow and memory of the famine of 1932-1933. They intended to place wreaths near the former shop for trading with foreigners (now the shop “Astera”) and to march from this place to the former Kobeliaki prison (now the building of the oblast TV company “Ltava”) with candles.

The Poltava town executive committee was informed about this action in the accordance with Article 39 of the Constitution. Yet, the authorities prohibited the march and said that everybody, who wanted to commemorate the victims of this remote tragedy, had to go to the stadium “Vorskla”, where the conduction of mass actions was permitted by the executive committee.

However, just in case, six hefty militiamen were sent to the downtown, where the action was planned to be conducted. So, of whom the Poltava authorities are afraid?

2. The meeting, at which the Lubny dwellers demanded from the authorities to work off their high salaries and to obey the law

Last week the meeting was held in Lubny. It was organized by the local branches of the opposition parties. According to Article 39 of the Constitution of Ukraine, the organizers informed the authorities about the time and place of the mass action. Yet, the Lubny town executive committee prohibited the meeting, thus violating the citizens’ right for peaceful assemblies.

However, about a thousand of Lubny inhabitants came to the Kirov Square to express their protest against the action of the power and law-enforcing organs.

Former Lubny mayor Vasyl Koriak, leaders of Lubny organizations of the parties “Sobor”, “Batkivshchina” and the SPU, deputies of the town council and common dwellers spoke with bitterness about the criminal situation in the town, which had noticeably deteriorated after the appointment of V. Kharapudko to the post of the head of Lubny militia directorate. Narcomania is widespread in the town: the used syringes can be now found in every doorway. There are some grounds to think that the drug traffic is realized under the cover of militia. For a portion of narcotics the drug addicts confess their guilt, and the real criminals remain at large. The Lubny inhabitants also told that torture became a usual method for obtaining “the frank confession”.

The participants of the meeting adopted the resolution, in which they demanded to dismiss the commandment of Lubny militia, since it compromised the law-enforcing organs. In particular, the document reads: “We want militiamen to work off their high salaries and to be a model of law-obedience”.

The people spoke with indignation about the activities of the town council. The state of the town economy is lamentable. Communist A. Sobolev, the town mayor, insists that there is no money for the upkeep of the children summer camp near Sula. At the same time the business structures are released from taxes by the decision of the town council. One of the examples is the town market, which was bringing about 300 thousand hryvnas to the town budget. Maybe the town does not need this money?! Three shops for veterans were sold to private persons for the absurd price. And new owners immediately sold these shops for the real price – with five zeros.

The executive committee purchased a new building for 260 thousand hryvnas, and repaired it for 500 thousand hryvnas more. The head of the committee and his deputy will have the relaxation rooms with shower cubicles and warm lavatories. At the same time, pupils and teachers of some Lubny schools still go to the street lavatory…

According to the documents, more than 500 thousand UAH were expended for asphalting the streets, but the town dwellers cannot recollect when even the central street was repaired. The town power issues the permissions to build up the squares and playgrounds with cafes, shops and filling stations, thus deteriorating the state of the environment. The dwellers of the old town suffer from various communal breakdowns.

The situation in the privatized enterprises is also incomprehensible: the living standard of the common workers is steadily decreasing and the living standard of the owners is steadily increasing.

The participants of the meeting decided to turn to the Counting Chamber and the General Prosecutor’s office with the request to check the appropriateness of the use of the town budget and to give the legal assessment of the numerous outrageous facts.

It was unpleasant for me, a journalist, to hear from the town inhabitants that the local pro-power mass media, in the materials about this meeting, would, as always, criticize the opposition, which allegedly “uses the temporary difficulties for destabilizing the social and political climate”. The people were saying openly that they were already tired with lie.

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