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06.04.2008

Ukrainian former political prisoners hope that Solzhenitsyn is not the voice of all Russian intelligentsia

   

A group of Ukrainian former political prisoners have called on the Russian intelligentsia to express their position regarding the genocidal policy of the Communist Party and the leadership of the USSR against the Ukrainian people in the 1930s. 

The appeal was made public by Levko Lukanyenko during a press conference at the UNIAN press agency. Levko Lukanyenko stressed that the aggressive slant to Russian official and unofficial assessments of the tragedy had in recent times overstepped all limits. He said that following the publication in the Russian media of a short article by Alexander Solzhenitsyn about Holodomor before the debate on the issue in the State Duma, it had become clear that this was not the position of the Russian intelligentsia as a whole, but commissioned by certain circles among the Russian authorities who did not wish to see the whole truth uncovered. Mr Lukyanenko added that Ukrainian human rights defenders continued to believe that true members of the Russian intelligentsia were capable of standing up for their own view on Holodomor. The statement reads: “We do not even totally exclude the possibility that Solzhenitsyn will find the courage to now also “live without lies”, which is so vital in the relations between our people and countries”.

It is stressed that recognition of Holodomor 1932-1933 is not aimed against Russia and its peoples “after all, we were all of us under the rule of one totalitarian regime”

Oles Shevchenko stated that the response by Solzhenitsyn to the declaration of 2008 as a year of remembrance for Holodomor 1932-1933 was one of the elements of a hastily planned anti-Ukrainian campaign. He noted that Solzhenitsyn had never interfered in politics. “He has suddenly expressed what they wanted to hear in the Kremlin”.

At the same time Vasyl Ovsiyenko said that this reaction from the Russian political realm was linked with the Russian empire coming to an end. “They’ve sensed that Ukraine is finally moving away from Russia. He added that it was a shame that the revered writer Solzhenitsyn had joined the “Russian imperialists”.

According to President of the Ukrainian PEN-club Yevhen Sverstyuk “Under no regime in Russia has there been such a surge of overtly false information about Ukraine as in these years. And this for some reason does not bother a writer who has been called the modern Tolstoy.

Background

On 2 April the newspaper Izvestia published a short article by Solzhenisyn [“Dividing kindred nations”]  in which he speaks of an “incredible distortion of historical fact” and says that the “provocateur din about “genocide” arose decades later, at first secretly, in the stagnant thinking of chauvinists who look on “moskali” [a moderately offensive term for Russians – translator] and now it has reached the State circles of present-day Ukraine.”

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