Who dictated the “letter to the President?”?


The members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia whose names are on the list of people who signed an open letter to President Yanukovych say that the letter’s content was told to them on the phone and they themselves did not sign it.

The original of the letter has not been published on the Internet. Serhiy Kvit, President of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy says that he was phoned on Tuesday and told about the idea of the letter to the President.

“In this letter several positive examples of resolution of issues in the humanitarian sphere were given. I was told that it was in the context of an initiative from Olha Bohomolets; that she had written a letter, that the President had intervened in some specific matter and that the matter had been resolved. I was given the concept for the letter”, Serhiy Kvit said in an interview.

He added that the main idea was that the President’s personal intervention at Olha Bohomolets’ request had led to a resolution of the matter. In the letter this case was cited as a positive example of how one can resolve problems in the humanitarian sphere arising as a result of corruption.

“I therefore decided to support this idea. I did not physically sign the letter, however on the telephone haven’t heard the concept I gave my agreement”.

Serhiy Kvit refused to say who it was who described the “concept” of the letter.

The head of the Union of People working in Theatre, Les Tanyuk gave the same account in an interview.  He said that the letter had been read to him by phone and that he had agreed with its content and agreed to have his signature added.

“I see this letter which was dictated to me by telephone not as support for the President, but as a means of directing him towards real struggle against corruption which is not being waged at present in Ukraine to a full degree, especially when this pertains to issues of culture and education. I see it as one of the first statements of the intelligential that we share you ideology of fighting corruption but let’s turn this in the direction of real things, and not merely talk on that subject”, Les Tanyuk explained.  He said it would be improper for him to say who had dictated the letter by telephone, but that it had not been from the President’s Administration or the Cabinet of Ministers.

Olha Bohomolets in an interview stated that she had not seen this letter, that she had not signed it and that nobody had suggested that she did so. She gave the BBC Ukrainian Service her letter to the President where she thanks him for his help in the decision not to build a high-rise on the slope of the Bohomolets Park in Kyiv.

Public figure and poet Volodymyr Tsybulko confirms that Ms Bohomolets did not sign the letter but asserts that it was her letter that became the spur for the letter to the President from members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia.

He says that he didn’t like the style of the letter but that there were two key points – the fight against corruption and completion of reform that he couldn’t bear to think that the reforms would hang in limbo and that the situation would be very bad. “I don’t want to go on Maidan [come out into the square in protest as in autumn 2004 – translator), but if the reforms are not carried out there will be a serious social outburst”, Mr Tsybulko said. He also says that he did not physically sign the letter but did give consent to endorsement.

He also did not say who had dictated the letter to him by phone, but did mention that the letter “emerged in the recesses close to one of the groups on Bankova St [i.e. the President’s Administration].

Presidential Adviser Hanna Herman claims that after the members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia signed the letter, they faced “harassment”

One person whom the BBC Ukrainian Service, Petro Konopenko, Director of the Institute of Ukrainian Studies was surprised that the veracity of the letter was being placed in doubt. He asserts that he initiated it and talks as though the others signed it.

The BBC however notes that nobody has seen the exact content of the letter. The Ukrainian national information agency which circulated extracts from the document on the Internet asserts that they cannot provide the original in accordance with “the corporate code which prohibits circulating internal information. The Chief Editor, Olena Bylim stated that she had received the letter by email but declined to name the sender.

The open letter from members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia to the President was published on 3 August. It praises the President’s “activity in fighting a corrupt system”, says “in this we are on your side, Mr President. And we are sure that the majority of Ukrainians who want order in the country are on your side….”and more in this mode.

Please see the letter here from other Ukrainian writers and intellectuals, published just two weeks ago. They call for an end to the trials of Tymoshenko, Lutsenko and others which they see as politically motivated and stress:

“The dismantling of democracy which is taking place before our eyes will close Ukraine’s path to Europe while opening still wider the eastern gates of our Soviet past”.

Slightly abridged from the report here, and more detail added about the appeal two weeks ago

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