war crimes in Ukraine

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Oleksa Tykhiy is not forgotten

N. Kovalenko, Donetsk
Recently Ukrainian patriots commemorated a sad 10-year anniversary of the reburial in the native soil of the three glorious sons of Ukraine, three poets: Vasyl Stus, Oleksa Tykhiy and Yuri Lytvin. Since early 90s much has been written about those who gave their lives for the independence of Ukraine, as well as those who remained alive and continue the political fight of their brethren.

Unfortunately, the public begins to forget the pioneers of the fight. Yes, Vasyl Stus’ creations are published, but, in spite of all the efforts of the local ‘Prosvita’ and democratic public of the Donbass, where Vasyl Stus had lived his childhood and adolescence, there are not a single memorial in his honor. Vasyl, the great son of the Ukrainian people, is respected throughout the world, but the local power is still hesitating whether to mark Vasyl’s memory.

What is the destiny of Yuri Litvin’s inheritance? The question is seldom discussed in public.

It seems that careless silence has set around the name of Oleksa Tykhiy, one of the first fighters for national dignity. He was one of the three above-mentioned martyrs. He was born in the Donbass, he was arrested there. Maybe, he did not have such a poetic talent, as his brethren, but he stood at the very source of the modern Ukrainian state, and he was the precursor of the fight.

I shall remind that Oleksa Tykhiy was born in 1927 in the hamlet of Izhevka near the town of Druzhkovka. First he was arrested in 1957 for his protest against the Soviet intervention in Hungary. The punishment was fierce, but it did not break Oleksa’s fighting spirit. Having been released, he, together with ten associates, protested against non-fulfillment of the Helsinki agreements on human rights in Ukraine by the Soviet empire. Again arrested, again sent to a concentration camp in the North of Russia. In 1984 Oleksa died in the prison hospital.

Enemies of the autonomous Ukraine did much to destroy the memory of Oleksa Tykhiy, but they failed. The people always remembers its heroes. Not only in Kyiv or Lviv, but in the red, rusificated Donbass.

In the town of Druzhkovka where O. Tykhiy lived and worked, a charity fund in memory of Oleksa Tykhiy was created three years ago by the initiative of Sergiy Bazanov, the director of the ‘Prima-press’ publishing house. The other founders were the insurance company ‘Asko-Northern Donbass’ (the general director is Evhen Matushevskiy), Druzhkovka center of ‘Prosvita’ and several private persons.

The new fund soon became known. Among others, it was visited by the president of the American Committee of assistance to Donbass schools professor Vitaliy Case, our Ukrainian academician, writer and public figure Ivan Dziuba, the well-known human rights protection activist Nadiya Svitlychna, and others. And the people’s artist of Ukraine sculptor Oleksandr Skoblikov, having visited Druzhkovka, decided to sculpt Oleksa Tykhiy’s monument and erect it in the native town of the poet.

The charity fund did much for the propaganda of the activity of the Ukrainian Helsinki group. For the fund’s finances several books were published. Last year the fund organized the competition for the best publication about the Ukrainian human rights protection movement. At the end of January, on the day of memory of Oleksa Tykhiy, the results of the competition were made public. The winner of the competition became the editorial board of the newspaper ‘Donetchina’, and other six authors won encouragement prizes, among them well-known men of letters Ivan Kostyr and Yuri Dotsenko.

The decision to give the main prize to the newspaper ‘Donetchina’ (editor-in-chief is Igor Zotz) is quite fair: this newspaper has been describing the activities of Ukrainian patriots since 1990.

We must be thankful to the founders of the fund. They are genuine patriots of Ukraine. they set the goal to erect the monument of Oleksa Tykhiy in Druzhkovka and publish his selected poems. We wish then success.
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