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20.05.2007

Remembrance Day at Bykivnya

   

According to a Decree which President Yushchenko is planning to sign in the next few days, Ukraine will remember the Victims of the Communist Regime on the third Sunday in May each year. The President spoke of this during his address at a ceremony to honour the victims of the Stalinist regime at the State Historical Memorial Complex – the “Bykivnya Graves”.

President Yushchenko said that he couldn’t understand why up till now there are still those who try to stop a free people and free nation from speaking about the victims of political repression and Holodomor. [the Famine of 1932-1933].

“Why do we know so little about the communist, totalitarian regime? I’m sure that there are many political players who will hate such historical truth since with such political history there is no place for them in today’s political life, they have no political future”.

Speaking about the victims of Bykivnya, the President stressed that this was not an issue of any political expediency.  “I am first of all basing this on our Christian morality”. He added that Ukrainians must definitely uncover the historical truth.

He paid attention to the need to create a fully-fledged national reserve in the Bykivnya Forest and the need to have both proper financing and a supervisory council. He promised that the reserve would be complete. At the same time he pointed out that at the political level decisions on the creation of the reserve did not come easily. “We have been creating it for years, and it is constantly being torpedoed. There is the permanent wish to make us forget, to ensure that our children, our great grandchildren do not know about this event. This was exactly what happened around the Great Famine, about the victims of collectivization, the same as about the 1920s”. He expressed sorrow that we live in an age where the nation cannot answer the question how many people it lost in the 1920s and 30s, nor in the War and post-War years.

“We are speaking of this not just to stir up emotions. I am convinced that it is only possible to speak of the future through the spectrum of the truth, whatever this may be”.

President Yushchenko thanked all those who come here every year in May to honour the memory of the victims of the communist repression. He stressed that we must come here, in order to remember our history, and to consequently not repeat its mistakes. It was also necessary for the authorities and political order, “so that we’re not indifferent to what debates are presently going on among those in power, so that we don’t think it doesn’t concern us, our life, that it’s secondary as long as the economy and business are moving. So that we don’t think that politics doesn’t concern us. In fact, when we forget about politics, politics begins to speak about us and determine our fate and then tens and hundreds of innocent people pay a heavy historical price”.

“I would like to say to each of you that it is crucial to talk about past history, understanding what you do it for. I am convinced that of those 120 thousand (people whose remains are buried in the Bykivnya Forest), not one who was guilty lies buried here. Today no person who has found out about the Bykivnya Tragedy can tell his or her grandchildren why their grandfather or grandmother was shot and buried in this place. There was no reason”. He stressed that the regime hadn’t liked being priests or simply Ukrainian. “The main guilt for this tragedy lies, undoubtedly, with the regime – that was the political order of the time.”

In ending, the President called for a minute’s silence.

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