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The Klitschko brothers, Taira, and the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group will receive the Lev Kopelev Prize

03.07.2023    available: Українською | На русском
On June 30, the Lev Kopelev Forum, founded in Cologne, Germany, announced three laureates of the “For Freedom and Human Rights” award, bestowed annually since 2001.

Ілюстрація: Марія Крикуненко / Харківська правозахисна група, на основі фото від AP і Getty Images [клички тайра хпг]

The current prize has been awarded to the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG), paramedic Yulia Paevskaya, and Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko brothers. For the first time in the award’s history, all laureates are Ukrainians. The Forum noted that in 2023, the Ukrainian people were awarded the prize and selected representatives listed. There was no award given the prior year.

“Lev Kopelev, born and raised in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, dedicated his life to fighting for peace and human rights. We are confident that today he would firmly stand up for Ukraine, his Motherland,” — the Kopelev Forum said in a press release.

Lev Kopelev was a human rights activist, writer, and committed humanist. For a long time, he lived in Kharkiv. He spent ten years in Soviet camps and became an active participant in the human rights movement, for which he was subsequently deprived of Soviet citizenship and moved to Cologne.

Kopelev was a sharp opponent of intolerance. He was a cosmopolitan who believed that “a lie can only be defeated by the truth.” The award, named in his honor, recognizes people, projects, and organizations actively involved in actions true to the spirit of Lev Kopelev.

In 2015, the director of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Evgeny Zakharov, personally became a laureate of the award. KHPG and its affiliated publishing house “Rights of People” published almost all the books written by Kopelev and his wife, Raisa Orlova. In addition, in 2021, KHPG presented the Ukrainian-language biographical publication “Lev Kopelev. Humanist and Cosmopolitan” by Swiss writer Reinhard Mayer. Most of the books are available for free from the Human Rights Online Library.

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group is grateful for the high appreciation of its work and congratulates Yulia Paevskaya and Vitaliy and Vladimir Klitschko, with whom it has the honor to share the award.

“Humanitarian human values are what Lev Kopelev defended resolutely and always, regardless of citizenship and geography of residence. And this is what KHPG strives for in its daily work,” wrote Vsevolod Rechitsky, chairman of the KHPG Council, in a letter to Lev Kopelev’s Forum and its chairman Thomas Rota. “No less significant was his [Kopelev’s] contribution to the struggle for the freedom of the individual in all its senses, for the joy of human existence and peace, which is so relevant for Ukraine today.”

The Lev Kopelev Prize 2023 presentation will take place on October 22, 2023, at noon in the central hall of the Cologne Regional Savings Bank (Kreissparkasse Köln).

The full press release of the Kopelev Forum regarding the current award is available on the website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group.

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