Similar articles

State Honours to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Ukrainian Helsinki GroupMyroslav Marynovych on the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and much moreTo those who balanced over a Soviet precipicePress Conference opens events marking the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Ukrainian Helsinki GroupVasyl Ovsiyenko, former Soviet dissident and Ukrainian human rights activist on the BBCVerkhovna Rada also marks the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Ukrainian Helsinki GroupOn the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the Ukrainian Public Group to Promote the Implementation of the Helsinki AccordsThe founders of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and all those who asserted their freedom and oursLast chance for Russian court to end persecution of historian of the Terror Yury Dmitriev Sergei Kovalyov, Heir To Sakharov Who Always Put Principles First, Dies At 91Legal Opinion on the political motives of the criminal prosecution and violations of human rights in criminal proceedings of Konstantin ZhevagoProsecutor General Venediktova is helping Russia by destroying Ukraine’s vital War Department Prisoners’ rights in Ukraine 2014-2021: KHPG reportAppeal of human rights organizations to the UN Special Rapporteur on Combating Torture regarding the shameful response of the Government of Ukraine to the CPT report on the results of the ad hoc visit in August 2020Report on the monitoring visit to the state institution “Berdiansk Correctional Colony No.77”Shevchenko and Russia’s first Ukrainian political prisoner in occupied Crimea Protests throughout Ukraine following 7-year sentence against civic activist Serhiy SternenkoUkraine imposes sanctions on pro-Russian MP Medvedchuk & his wife. What about criminal proceedings?Russia indoctrinates children to want ‘to defend’ occupied Crimea against Ukraine Two-year sentence on ‘defamation’ charges for writing about Russian occupiers of Crimea

Acceptance speech on receiving the State Award “For Courage” 1 class

Myroslav Marynovych

The President’s Secretariat in Kyiv, 9 November 2006

(recorded from memory)

Mr President,

I have the great honour of thanking you on behalf of my fellows here today and of the relatives of those unjustly killed. These people feel very strange here, in the Secretariat of the President – they were much more accustomed to police stations and cells. Of course, each believed that Ukraine would one day pay tribute to their cause, the cause to which they had dedicated their lives. However they were also able to wait. Governments, parliaments and presidents changed, however the state figures from whom they would have received state honours with tears in their eyes were each time somewhere beyond the horizon. We have today received them from you, Mr President. However, before I speak of this, let me mention our Parliament which passed a Resolution on marking the anniversary of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, which is in pronounced competition with your Decree.

We cannot accept this Resolution from those who with the one hand pay tribute to the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, while with the other reject a draft resolution on marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the prominent members of this group - General Petro Grigorenko. We cannot accept this Resolution from a Parliament a majority of whom still label members of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the fighters of the Ukrainian Resistance Army (UPA) “bandits” and “the dregs”.

However in your case, Mr President, we accept this honour from the hands of a man who for the first time in Ukraine’s history has raised to state level the honouring of the victims of Holodomor [the Famine of 1932-1933] and who is seeking to pay tribute to the fighters of UPA. We accept this honour from the hands of a President who can be criticized, and it is in this that freedom lies. You can be reproached for mistakes however no one can accuse you of encroaching upon human liberty. This for us, former human rights defenders, is of fundamental importance.

How could we serve our people today? Most of those here now have grey hair, most have fulfilled their “Cossack duty”. However we are convinced that the moral principles which once compelled us to resist remain exceptionally important today also. This is first of all the intense love for Ukraine which guided our actions. We see the lack of this love today. It is secondly the love of truth which alone can set us free. This love of truth later brought us together on Maidan. And thirdly, it is the love of God who spoke to us in the prisons and labour camps in different ways – for some in religious language, for others secular – and people responded to that call.

We express our sincere thanks, Mr President, for this great honour, and may God bless your good plans and initiatives! As a token of our gratitude, we would ask you to accept two modest gifts – a memorial medal issued by Radio “Svoboda” for the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and a copy of the Biographical Dictionary of Dissidents published for this anniversary by the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group.

 Share this