State Honours to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group


On 9 November 2006 Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko awarded State Honours to mark the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Ukrainian Public Group to Promote the Implementation of the Helsinki Accords.  The Presidential Decree had been signed the previous day.

Before the presentation of the Awards, the President, speaking on behalf of the Ukrainian people and state, expressed deepest honour and gratitude. “It was you who laid the first foundation stones in creating civic society in Ukraine. You were the first to hold the freedom of the individual and citizen equal to the freedom of the people and to place their rights higher than those of the state”, Viktor Yushchenko stated.

The President pointed to three worldview activities of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group: awareness building activities and the renewal of Ukrainian statehood, a challenge to the communist totalitarian system and the preservation of the deep democratic tradition of the Ukrainian people. The “Ukrainian Helsinki Group” brought the struggle of the Ukrainian people against totalitarianism into the context of the world democratic process”, he stressed.

The President recalled the outstanding figures of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, among them Vasyl Stus, Ivan Kandyba, Oles Berdnyk, Mykola Rudenko, Viacheslav Chornovil, Yury Shukhevych and Levko Lukyanenko. Some of them were honoured with the title of “Hero of Ukraine”. Petro Grigorenko, co-founder of the UHG, was posthumously awarded the Honour “For courage” 1 class.

The Group was the impulse for the modern political movement in Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko stated. It was they who initiated new political movements – Narodny Rukh Ukrainy [The Popular Movement of Ukraine - RUKH], the Ukrainian Republican Party and the Democratic Party of Ukraine.

“Today’s state honours for a major personal contribution to the national and state regeneration of Ukraine indicate that the State remembers its heroes and seeks to pay due tribute to their deed undertaken in the name of the present and future generations”.

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