war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.


Retort of mankind shall be dignified and moral

The world shuddered... This banal description of the state of human souls after the tragic events of 11 September in super-cities New York and Washington of the super-country is nonetheless correct. Yet, such a state may not serve as a justification of reflex retaliation. Yet, it demands a thorough analysis of the new conditions and inventing adequate retorts to the challenge thrown to the society, which traditionally regards itself as civilized and democratic.

Feeling condolence to the innocent victims, the American society must remember that most of its advantages it procured owing to basing its development on the principles of the Christian morals. Contrariwise, if politicians neglected these principles (for example, during the war in Vietnam), the advance of the society braked or even terminated. May be I somewhat idealize the American democracy, but, in my profound conviction, every time, when a consecutive rise occurred, it was forestalled by a thorough analysis by the society of its ‘behavior’, followed by the correction to the side of the common sense and morality. It happened after the assassination of Martin Luter King, after the Watergate scandal, etc. One can only envy this feature of the American society. I want to believe that this time this feature will again be demonstrated fully. However, for the time being the actions develop according to another script.

Revenge and haughtiness are not Christian merits. Yet, American politicians just appeal to these features of the public. They hurriedly plan retaliation, when the actual criminals are not found, and nobody can say what is the ‘international terrorism’, against which they appeal to unite. Who knows, what dominate in this fever: the old-testament ‘eye for eye’ or the pinched pride (some insolent dwarves dared to show that even giants cannot feel themselves absolutely safe). Anyway, there appeared the organizers of the ‘anti-terrorist block’ for the unconditional support of ANY revenge actions of the USA against ANYBODY, whom they have a whim to consider guilty! Here one cannot find either common sense or Christian moral. This is very dangerous for the further lot of the world: they try to force us into a ‘war of civilizations’, the ‘opposition of Christianity and Islam’... One gets an impression that some politicians dream about Armageddon and passionately try to start it! Russian political analysts ‘ruminate’ on the inefficiency of the UNO in the struggle with the international terrorism and on the need to replace this respected organization with either the ‘Big eight’ or with some other extraordinary organization. This is an attempt at the freedom and democracy in the entire world, and not on the side of Islam fundamentalists!

Let us analyze coolly, if it is justified to begin the ‘anti-terrorist’ feverish campaign giving ‘carte blanche’ to the aggrieved side? Let us think if the planned ‘revenge actions’ will be capable to nullify the probability of other similar tragedies either in the USA or in any other county?

On 11 September life for the umpteenth time vividly showed that mankind, in its scientific and technological progress, reached the level, where the potential of a separate individual or a small group of people become comparable with the potential of state structures, especially in bringing harm to people. The price of a mere error, as well as the activities of a criminal or sick mind, even of an individual, becomes too high. The consequences of accidental (Chernobyl, Bhopal) or purposeful (poison admixed to medicinal drugs by a worker of a pharmaceutical factory) man-caused catastrophes are not less impressive than using atomic weapons. This is well known both to mentally unhinged people and to potential terrorists. That is why no forceful means exist even if all the United Nations will join the ‘anti-terrorist alliance’. At the same time there appears a prospect of the construction, under anti-terrorist slogans, of such a new Weltordnung that will horrify everyone. President Bush already declared that every state must decide on which side it is: on the side of the USA or on the side of the terrorists. Tertium non datur! If to recall that several days ago the countries, which ‘hide or train terrorists’, were called as objects of the retaliation, we see that the world community is blackmailed to force them to unite against those, at whom ‘uncle Sam’ will point. Today the enemies are the long-suffering Afghanistan and, ‘possibly, Iran and Iraq’. Not bad at all! And who will be tomorrow? Some other ‘accomplice’? Maybe even Ukraine, whose security services were already forced to refute the information by foreign ‘well-wishers’ about the alleged existence of Islamic training centers in Kyiv and Kharkov?

Envious prospects, indeed! We must either become uncritical supporters of the USA in their still fuzzy, and maybe unjust, ‘revenge actions’, thus risking to become victims of the revenge of the US adversaries, or to stay under the treat of being beaten for ‘assistance to terrorists’!

Meanwhile, to get rid of the rascals, who use civil aviation planes as weapons for terrorist attacks, is possible using quite other method, the method, which is quiet, cheap and absolutely reliable. To this end any penetration from the passenger compartment to the cockpit must be made impossible, and any intercom communication between the passenger compartment and the cockpit must be carried out through ground stations. And that will be all! Then terrorist would be unable either to master the control of the plane or to put the moral pressure upon the crew. Then it will become impossible to use a plane as a guided bomb. It will be sufficient for the start. And then it will be not needed to demonstrate the muscles, to coercively divide the world into hostile camps, to bombard actual or imagined ‘terrorist centers’, thus giving birth to new waves of grief, hate and revenge.

Meanwhile, it is worth to unite the healthy intellectual forces of humanity for determining the most vulnerable points of civilization, where a lonely criminal or maniac can inflict a catastrophic harm. It is necessary to develop the similar standards and safety measures for defending such points. It would be useful to study in all details the very phenomenon of terrorism: individual, state, international, together with the causes of its appearance. I am sure that the public study of the latter question will enable mankind to become better. That will be a dignified, moral and efficient response to this challenge. All the rest is from the Evil One.

22 September 2001

A dialog between civilizations

The terrorist acts in the USA convinced everybody that the conflict between civilizations in our world does exist. This conflict is not confined to differences in geography and religion, as some political analysts imagine (or want to imagine). One of the Russian political analysts, an MP, expressed his attitude approximately so: ‘It suffices to have a look at the map to conclude that all terrorist regimes and intentions are confined within the boundaries of the Islamic world’.

Yet, let us listen to what a Serbian from Macedonia said to a Ukrainian interviewer: ‘Americans and the NATO support Moslems, supply arms to them. If the NATO did not stand in our way, we would overcome the provocation in less then no time’. The reaction of traditional opponents – followers of Barkashov and members of the UNA-UNSO – coincide wonderfully: they express their satisfaction caused by the terrorist acts directed against the super-state, myth of whose invulnerability was, on their opinion, ruined. The opinion of the most notorious ‘left’ Ukrainian MP Ms. Vitrenko coincides with the opinion of the lunatic fringe. She also expresses her satisfaction, although no one can suspect her on belonging to Islam.

So, the 21 stcentury began under the slogan: ‘Fundamentalists of all countries, unite!’ Against whom? Against civilization, which advances and ruins (or already ruined) the traditional way of life.

Traditional societies or carriers of traditional (in Vitrenko’s case, totalitarian) outlook cannot help understanding that the world, becoming more united, introducing similar legal norms, making unique standard demands of different countries and their citizens, cut the ground from under their feet, turning members of a community (religious or ideological) into individuals, which remain face to face with global and particular problems that they had no habit of solving. The Serbian national imperial fundamentalism caused – for the umpteenth time – a series of Balkan wars: in Bosnia, Croatia, Kossovo and now in Macedonia. The role of the West – coercion to peace – is certainly understood by the carriers of the imperial outlook as a violence, since they got accustomed to be inhabitants of an empire and cannot think themselves outside this framework. The same type of outlook we can observe in Russian right radicals. And not only in them! The visit of Pope Joann-Paul II to Ukraine vividly demonstrated that the Moscow Patriarchy and its hierarchs are hostile to other forms of Christian belief; they regard the expansion of Catholic or Greek-Catholic churches as a threat to their existence, that is they beforehand consider themselves noncompetitive. The inability to compete, a corner stone of fundamentalism, can be observed, to some or other extent, in all above-listed cases.

The global noncompetitiveness can undermine and already undermines the existing equilibrium in the world. Philosopher Francis Fukuyama buried history too early, in my opinion, since it has not begun yet to treat the conflict between civilizations. Totalitarianism was a brainchild of the Western civilization and the West overcame this disease switching in its immune system: the global approach to humane values, priority of an individual and individual rights. Naturally, having overcome totalitarianism in the Western Hemisphere and having almost destroyed it in the world, the ship of the Western civilization lay over in the opposite direction. Unique standards in the approach to individual rights plus informational and economic expansion caused the opposition namely on the individual level in the above-mentioned countries. If the imperial fundamentalism in Russia and Serbia may be regarded as remaining phenomena, which nonetheless may lead to local wars and conflicts, then religious fundamentalism is flesh of flesh of the activities of the Western civilization. It must be confessed that Islam is not less tolerant (and was even more tolerant in the Middle Ages) than Christianity. Recall, for example, that it was in Islamic countries, where Spanish and Italian Jews, who were persecuted in Europe, saved themselves. Christian communities existed peacefully in Moslem countries. As the youngest of the world religions, Islam absorbed both Judaism and Christianity. Moslems have a cult both of Moses and Jesus. The very syncretism of Islam could not negate the participation of Moslems in world orchestra of cultures. Yet, in the 20 thcentury this tune sounded weaker and weaker. The Western world overcame the Moslem one in all parameters of economic and technical progress. It was unavoidable since individual freedom determined the process. But the Western world appeared incapable of understanding that another way of existence does not violate the world rules, but is a search of the way of existence. A long lasting and incompatible with the Western one. I am repeating: Islam is the youngest world religion and it is still looking for the form of adaptation in the quickly changing world.

We have got accustomed to mix together the terrorist regime of Saddam Hussein, a socialist and outstanding democrat, and a similar looking regime of Muammar Kaddafi in Libya, on the one hand, and the traditional Islamic counties living by laws of the shariat, on the other hand: Saudi Arabia, Bahrein, Kuwait and Iran. However, in spite of following the shariat, these countries differ from each other both with traditions and with legislation. What makes these countries nearer to each other and further from the Western countries, is communal, collective consciousness. In these countries an individual is protected in a peculiar way: by family, tribe, religion. Once I happened to talk with an Arab student, who spent several years in Europe and then studied in Kharkov pharmaceutical institute. In Europe she was horrified by the fact that offsprings live separately of their parents, do not help each other and meet mainly on holidays. She was astonished with the solitude of unmarried women, who, in Islamic countries, continue to live within families of, firstly, their parents, and then of their brothers, who have the duty to look after them. Surely, she was struck by a small number of children both in Europe and in our country, and she was overwhelmed with our attitude to mothers with many children. And she was surprised with our disorderly life: by this she meant the absence of the daily rules of traditional behavior equally in Europe and in Ukraine. It goes without saying that the girl was from a wealthy family, where all the children, except the youngest, studied abroad and intended to become professional in their home country. However, in Europe she felt herself lonely and unprotected. It should be noted that she felt herself safer in the USSR of the beginning of the 80s, since the family relations in the USSR were closer and more habitual for her. Yet, it certainly could not be compared with that way of life, to which she got accustomed in Algeria. I have dwelt on this accidental acquaintance on purpose, since I want to point out that most citizens of Moslem countries, especially of those, where regimes were steady, feel themselves prosperous and safe, and they are ready to defend the values of the countries, where they live.

Now let us recall quite another time and quite another country: the Russian Empire, members of the ‘Narodnaya Volya’ and individual terror. The assassination of Alexander II, a czar, who wanted to reform the country and to introduce the constitution. Then the persecutions of liberals. Obviously senseless and heroic deeds of terrorists caused by not less senseless and criminal unwillingness of the czar to understand the problems of the country, which he ruled. As a consequence, the apocryphal Lenin’s statement ‘We shall follow another way’, and this notorious way, which our fathers and we followed. The disability to listen to each other never leads to solving any problems. I am not a supporter of individual terror, I am rather supporter of Alexander II. Terror is the meanest and the most horrible phenomena in the world.

Dropping bombs and launching rockets will never replace the intelligible dialog between civilizations. In my opinion, the UNO, as it functions now, cannot fulfil the tasks, for which it was created. A dialog between different cultures must be carried out in the UNO framework. As to the application of force, it can be of use only if most peaceful citizens of different cultures understand that the force is applied justly.

On the terrorist acts in the USA

(Statement of Russian human rights protection organizations)

We assess the terrorist acts committed on 11 September in New York and Washington as a crime without precedent. The organizers of this horrible action chose the peaceful population as a victim, and they did it with premeditation. The consequences of the conception of ‘collective responsibility’ in its worst version were demonstrated to the entire world. We, together with the American people, mourn for the perished and sympathize with the victims.

We believe that the US people and government will find a dignified retort to the terrorists in this tragic situation, and will not disgrace themselves with primitive revenge and acts of ‘collective retaliation’.

We endorse the intention to unite the efforts of all democratic countries in the struggle with international terrorism pronounced by the heads of different countries.

At the same time we cannot help being worried by some utterances made public in mass media by a number of political commentators and public figures, both in Russia and abroad. We repudiate so-called simple solutions of complicated problems. We repudiate the conjecture of the ‘global Islamic plot’, confusing such different phenomena as international terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism, barbarous rule of Talibs in Afghanistan, dictatorships in Iraq and Libya, the war in Chechnya, conflicts on the Balkans, the Arabic-Israeli conflict, etc. We protest against the attempts to use the American tragedy for unleashing religious and interethnic enmities, in particular, for the propaganda of hate to Moslem peoples. These attempts will not make the world safer.

We, Russian human rights protectors, are specially worried by the easily anticipated intentions to use the new situation in the world for justifying forceful methods of solving the Chechen problem. Our viewpoint underwent no changes: the only way out of the Chechen dead-end is the peaceful negotiations. It is forceful methods that obligatorily imply the escalation of terrorism.

The terrorist attack was directed not only against the American cities. The war is declared against the base of the modern civilization: principles of liberty, democracy, human rights. If peoples and leaders of democratic countries hearkened to the irresponsible appeals and forgot their principles, then the terrorist would be considered as winners in this war.

Moscow, 12-14 September 2001

Sergey Kovalev, Arseniy Roginskiy, Aleksandr Daniel, Elena Zhemkova, Oleg Orlov on behalf of the Russian organization ‘Memorial’

Elena Bonner, Yuri Samodurov – the Sakharov Public center and museum;

Lev Ponomarev — all-Russian movement ‘For human rights’

Svetlana Gannushkina — Organization for aid to refugees and enforced displaced persons ‘Civil assistance’

Larisa Bogoraz;

Ludmila Alekseyeva, Viktoriya Malikova – Moscow Helsinki group;

Yuli Rybakov, a deputy of the State Duma of Russian Federation;

Sergey Yushenkov, a deputy of the State Duma of Russian Federation;

Yulia Goriacheva, Ida Kuklina, valentina Melnikova – Union of Russian committees of soldiers’ mothers;

Mara Poliakova, Sergey Pashin – Independent expert and juridical council;

Father Gleb Yakunin -- Public committee for protecting the freedom of consciousness;

Mikhail Arutiunov – International Assembly;

Aleksandr Luboslavkiy – magazine ‘Protection of human rights and freedoms’.

The collection of signatures is being continued.

Statement of the Kharkov Group for human rights protection

We are shattered with the unprecedented crime against mankind committed by terrorists in the USA and aimed at the peaceful population. Since WW2 the Western world has not seen such a brutal violation of general norms of human morals. The Kharkov Group for human rights protection expresses sincere condolences to families of those, who perished or suffered from this horrible terrorist act. We are sure that this grief and this test will unite the nation even more closely, and the American people, as a result of this tragic situation, will become battle-hardened in the struggle for freedom and democracy. The struggle with the international terrorism as with the Evil, which challenges our civilization, has become the prior joint task of the civilized countries.

Yet, we are disturbed by the anti-Islamic hysteria that is spreading in mass media. Some Russian and Ukrainian political observers openly identify Islam with terror. This may lead to the growth of anti-Islamic moods in the society, to inter-religious and interethnic conflicts. Islam is a great world religion that, in the course of the world history repeatedly demonstrated tolerance and reticence. It gave birth to a number of great scientists and scholars. Terrorist regimes and groups are not the peculiarity of Islamic countries. It will suffice to recollect that communism and nazism appeared inside the Christian civilization, recall the IRA activities, ethnic purges in Croatia and Bosnia, etc.

Spreading anti-Islamic moods is dangerous for our country, since we have areas inhabited by Moslems, for example, the Crimea, who are convinced and conscious citizens of Ukraine.

We are also worried that the world community, under the pretext of the struggle with terrorism, may go to the ungrounded limitations of democratic institutes. This especially concerns the young democracies of Middle and east Europe, where the strengthening of law-enforcing organs may lead to the excessive control and pressure by state on the civil society, which is too young to oppose adequately.

We stress that terrorism cannot be defeated by purely forceful methods. We mush fight with it on the ideological front and, moreover, on the outlook level. The tragedy of the USA must teach tolerance to all of us, for only in this way it is possible to unite all the healthy strata of the world population, including Moslems.

Workers and members of the Kharkov Group for human rights protection

15 September 2001

Freedom of conscience and religion

Why the authorities work side by side with Judaists?

When we hear that human rights, in particular, religious freedom, is observed in Ukraine, we feel doubt. In the beginning of February of the current year a group of Jews from Dnepropetrovsk, having prepared all the needed documents, turned to the Dnepropetrovsk oblast administration with the request to register the Dnepropetrovsk religious community of progressive Judaism. Since the moment of handing the documents for registration the members of our community underwent various forms of pressure with the aim to prevent the registration or to postpone it as long as possible.

B. Volodarskiy, the head of our community, who, on behalf of all, made the needed procedural steps, suffered the attacks from the US citizen, Shmuel Kaminetskiy, the rabbi of the religious community Habad, as well as other members of this community: Aleksandr Fridkis, Semen Sokol, Mikhail Karshenbuam and others. In their telephone calls and personally they asked and demanded to immediately stop the registration procedure. Strangers threatened Volodarskiy and his family by phone. Since April Volodarskiy, without any reasons, is persecuted by the city militia department for struggle with the organized crime. Somewhat later the city militia department in charge of passports and migration, without any explanations, confiscated his passport that has not been returned by now. In the small hours of the morning of 30 April some strangers put on fire Volodarskiy’s house, but the fire was extinguished. At 10 a.m. on 30 April some voice warned Volodarskiy by phone that, if the community did not stop its activities, the house would be burnt down.

On 28 April 2001 N. Shvets, the head of the Dnepropetrovsk oblast administration, signed at last the decision about the registration in Dnepropetrovsk of the religious community of progressive Judaism. We were informed about this decision by the department in charge of religious on 4 May 2001.

They told us our registration number (176-p) and promised that in the afternoon of 7 May they will hand us all the registration documents after fulfilling needed technical procedures.

On 7 May about noon we requested the department clerk about our documents. Having learned that the document were prepared, the group of members of our community accompanied by a photographer came there at 2 p.m. However, the documents were given to us. N. Pogrebniak and A. Severin, the clerks of the religion department refused to hand us the documents. They explained that their head O.Zabegaylo was on leave and they could not do this without him. O.Zabegaylo returned from his leave a month ago, but up to now neither he, nor anyone of his clerks have explained the situation to us.

We turned to N. Shvets, the head of the Dnepropetrovsk oblast administration, on 22 May, but still have not any response. The clerks of the religion department avoid to meet us. Our complaint to the State committee of Ukraine on charge of religion has not been answered and has not given any results. We can only guess about the real reasons of the situation. But in any case we regard what happens as an arbitrary actions of bureaucrats, trampling our right for the freedom of consciousness and our civil rights in general.

On behalf of our community we turn to you with the request to help us to join public Jewish organizations of local, all-Ukrainian and international levels, which will be useful for our city.

The appeal is signed by 8 persons

Court practices

Quality of the autumn recruiting campaign of 2000.

The Kharkov Union of soldiers’ mothers permanently monitors the quality of recruits from Kharkov and the Kharkov oblast. The monitoring of the autumn recruiting campaign of 2000 was conducted with the support of International fund ‘Vidrodjennia’ and National Institute of democracy.

We sent questionnaires to all military units, to which recruits from Kharkov and the oblast had been directed. The number of the officers, who answer our questionnaires, grows from year to year. From many military units we received not only filled in questionnaires, but also accompanying letters, in which the officers, commanders and their deputies in indoctrination, write about their problems. The real care of servicemen and army is felt in these letters. This testifies that commanders sympathize with our studies and find our work useful. This also shows that the armed forces by and by a structure more open for public control.

Table 1

Recruiting campaign

Number of distributed questionnaires

Number of answers

Percentage of answers





Spring 2000




Autumn 2000




In the military units, about which we have information, 1346 soldiers of the autumn-2000 call-up are serving, which makes about 60% of the total number of the recruits (2280 persons). To compare, we had the information about 50.57% of recruits after the spring campaign of 2000.

Table 2

1346 persons are accounted for

Among them:



Got into hospitals or medical units within the first month of service



Have chronic diseases, which got more acute in the beginning of the service



Have deviations in behavior, have criminal records, used narcotic drugs



Have suicidal inclinations



Recruited with the violation of laws (have the right for postponement by Article 17 of the Law ‘On military duty’)

Concealed chronic diseases from medical commission to get to the army



Declared their unwillingness to serve



Attempts of desertion



Suicidal attempts



Are essentially underweight



Commanders of 12 military units (15%) have no claims to the quality of recruits. During the spring campaign the corresponding number was 28.57%.

The question: ‘How many recruits from this call-up, in your opinion, are incapable of service?’ was answered by not all commanders. They preferred not general evaluations, but facts. Yet, about seven soldiers the commanders were categorical. This means that seven recruits (0.52%0 were certainly not-able-bodied. We think that this number is substantially underestimated. By analyzing the questionnaires, we conclude that most of the recruits, who got into raws 1-10 of Table 2, are nor able to be adequate soldiers. This means that the percentage of rejects is about 18%.

Let us compare these data with those of spring-2000.

Got into hospitals or medical units within the first month of service

Table 3













Have chronic diseases, which got more acute in the beginning of the service

Table 4













Have deviations in behavior, have criminal records, used narcotic drugs

Table 5













Have suicidal inclinations

Table 6













Concealed chronic diseases from medical commission to get to the army

Table 7













Declared their unwillingness to serve

Table 8













Attempts of desertion

Table 9













Suicidal attempts

Table 10













The question about the underweight was not included into the spring questionnaire, so it is impossible to make the comparison. Some commanders, answering the spring questionnaire, wrote that underweight recruits couldn’t be good soldiers; that made us include the question to our next questionnaire. Is it reasonable to recruit young men with dystrophy? Some think that these men will come to the norm during the service. We disagree with this fantasy – army is not a sanitarium. Such soldiers are unable to overcome the difficulties of the military service. We insist that such boy must go through a program of rehabilitation that will unable the boys to become able-bodied. We consider that the Kharkov oblast administration and Kharkov city council could find finances to medically examine 50 boys and send them to proper sanitariums for cure and rehabilitation, and thus avoid the shame of directing dystrophic youths to the army.

In general, as one can see from the comparative tables, the choice by medical characteristics has improved, which testifies that members of the medical recruiting commissions understand that it unreasonable to send not-able-bodied recruits to the armed forces. If earlier any complaints at the state of health were estimated as an attempt to dodge the service, now most of such complaints are carefully checked. It follows from thew data that the number of recruits, who managed to conceal their diseases, has diminished, which also testifies on better examination. Lately medical commissions never refused the requests of the Union of soldiers’ mothers to additionally examine a recruit. Unfortunately, cases are known when the medical inspection was careless and dishonest. It especially concerns those, who have allergies. In some medical establishments the personnel takes money from recruits and their parents for analyses. We consider it inadmissible. In some expert medical departments and laboratories the quality of the medical equipment is inadequate. So, neurologic examinations made in city hospital No. 20 and the medical department of ‘Turboatom’ plant are often unconfirmed by additional examinations in medical establishments of higher level. TB dispensary No. 1 has no equipment for the needed biochemical inspections at all. All the listed drawbacks worsen medical examination of recruits.

To illustrate, we shall list several examples. Private Ya., called by Moskovskiy district recruiting commission (DRC) of Kharkov, spent his first months of service in hospital: painful osteochondritis of the rib-case, scoliosis. Private P. came to his military unit without completing his treatment of acute pneumonia; private T. Came to the place of service on 20 December 2000 with the remaining phenomena of the cerebral brain trauma that he got on 23 November 2000. They both had to stay at a hospital to rehabilitate. Could the commission wait a little until the boys got healthy, and they call them to the army?

It is also disturbing that some boys (about 8%) turned to medics at once after arrival in their units. They complained at catching cold and disordered stomach, which testifies of improper conditions either at assembly points or during the transportation. All this requires additional studies.

The sick may not be called to the army. They cannot serve properly, they become objects of dedovshchina, they desert of commit suicides. The call of mentally abnormal youths is especially dangerous: the danger threatens not only them personally, bit also people near them. That is why the data from tables 5 and 6 cause alarm. For example, private S., called by Kharkovskiy DRC, suffers from schizophrenia, privates S. (Leninskiy DRC) and B. (Dergachevskiy DRC) have suicidal attempts in the anamnesis, private V. (Vovchanskiy DRC) suffers from enuresis. Viacheslav S. was demobilized from the army according to Article 14б ‘Psychotic and non-psychotic psychic disorders caused by organic damage of the cerebral brain accompanied by moderate psychic disturbances’.

Many respondents of ours note that the number of recruits, who have not finished secondary schools, is growing. Some of the recruits have not finished even middle grades, have criminal records, take or took narcotic drugs. ‘The work of the commission of studying moral and working features, professional and physiological selection showed that 36% of young soldiers have 4 group of neuro-psychic stability, 22% are related to the ‘risk group’ since they have suicidal inclinations, 8% have criminal records... Servicemen having behavioral deviations and related to the risk group undergo individual psychological work, the control over their activities is increased...’ – writes the commander of a military unit. How easier the work of officers would have been, if only physically and psychically healthy recruits had got to the army! The officers could have concentrated their efforts on the proper military training of the subordinates.

One of the letters from officers we want to quote almost fully: ‘... 161 recruits from Kharkov and the Kharkov oblast were sent to our unit. Upon the whole, we are satisfied with them. Most of them are able to fulfil fully their service duties; moral and physical conditions of recruits-Kharkovites make them adjustable for the military profession and joining the collective. However the social and economic problems of our society are characteristic of these recruits too. More than 40 recruits grew in incomplete families, 10 – in unfavorable families, 15 – tasted narcotic drags before the army. They had problems with their elementary military training at schools and other educational establishments. These and other problems mentioned in the questionnaire must be taken into account by recruiting commissions’. Some other letters also note the low level of the recruits’ calisthenics and the level of pre-army training.

We have received encouraging answers too, as in the previous poll. For example, the officer from a training military unit wrote: ‘The fact that 80% of Kharkov recruits could pass the test of their moral and physical features and can fulfil their duties in serving with arms is a proof of the high-quality preparation to military service and positive motivation for mastering military arts. Recruits from Kharkov serving in our unit showed the best result compared to recruits from other regions of Ukraine’.

On the one hand, it is pleasing to know that recruits from Kharkov and the Kharkov oblast are somewhat better prepared for army than youths for other regions, but, on the other hand, why to call to the army people, who may not be entrusted weapons? After the previous polls we came to the conclusion that 18-20% of recruits are unable fulfil fully their military duties. This one fifth does make the risk group, which serves as nutrient medium for dedovshchina, suicides and desertions. The fact that the state in other regions is even worse does not console us. One must not refer to ‘social and economic problems’. Yes, we have difficulties, but they will not disappear if 800-100 persons per year are excluded from the economic life and sent to the army, where they are useless at best, or dangerous at worst. In general, the dedovshchina in the army reflects in civil life and then returns back to the army. This chain reaction should be broken, for which bot the army and the society as a whole should be invigorated.

We believe that our previous report that was sent to the Ministry of defense, Kharkov oblast recruiting commission and Kharkov city council was accepted by the corresponding authorities with comprehension. The Kharkov city council held a session, at which the participants listened to the report ‘On the state of training of youth of pre-army and army age of Kharkov for the service in the armed forces of Ukraine’ and approved the decision about the improvement of such training. Kharkov city educational department distributed in schools the brochures for future recruits and their parents. The brochure was compiled the Kharkov Union of soldiers’ mothers. Representatives of our NGO were included into recruiting commissions with the right to advise. All this confirms that the Kharkov authorities’ attitude to the recruiting problems is responsible, and that they are ready to cooperate with NGOs.

Almost every family is connected with army problems in this way or another, so such problems worry the whole society. So it is not surprising the Union of soldiers’ mothers is a rather important organization in Ukraine.

The Kharkov oblast Union of soldiers’ mothers insists on the creation of the professional army in Ukraine. Yet, while the common military duty exists, we shall insist on the proper choice of recruits: only physically and mentally healthy and properly trained youths must get to the armed forces.


The Ukrainian Constitution prohibits to use coercive labor.

Citizen S. Denshchuk turned to the Nikopol district court with the claim against the administration of the enterprise, where the claimant works. Denshchuk considers illegal the decision of the administration that ruled to use a high-skilled professional for sweeping snow.

S. Denshchuk is the head of the independent trade union at the Nikopol plant of ferroalloys (NPF). The claimant is represented in the trial by V. Kornienko, the deputy head if the Nikopol organization of Rukh (UNR), a member of the independent trade union at Pivdennotrubny plant.

The ‘Prava ludyny’ editorial board considers that this case may become an important precedent not only for those, who protect human rights, but for all working people, who lately, as in the Soviet times, frequently get to similar situations. That is why we decided to publish Denshchuk’s writ and to inform our readers about the further development of this case.


Plaintiff: Sergiy Denshchuk
Defendant: Administration of the joint-stock company ‘NZF’.

on canceling the order and recompensing of the moral damage. The compensation sum – Hr 5000.

I work as a worker of the furnace in the joint-stock company ‘Nikopol palnt of ferroalloys’ since 1997. On 28 December 2000 in order No. 185 the shop superintendent diminished my wages for December by 20%, allegedly for a brutal violation of item 3.1 of the shop rules, namely for my refusal on 21 December 2000 to sweep the snow, according to ‘The plan of removing the snow...’ signed on 26 September 2000 by the chief engineer of the plant without the agreement with the independent trade union of the plant.

I do not agree that I have violated any rules, since Article 43 of the Ukrainian Constitution reads: ‘the use of coercive toil is forbidden’, and, according to item 12 of the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Ukraine No. 9 of 1 November 1999, a coercive toil is defined as any work not envisaged in the labor contract, provided that a worker disagrees to fulfil the work. I had enough reasons to disagree, which will be described below. Thus, starting from items 5 and 12 of the above-mentioned Resolution, the legality of the ‘The plan of removing the snow...’ is very doubtful, whereas order No. 815 is obviously illegal.

The size of the compensation was determined by me with the account of part 3 of Article 11 of the Civil-Procedural Code of Ukraine and basing on the fact that the minimal size of moral compensation is determined by part 2 of Article 440-1 of the Civil Code as five minimal wages and accounting of such factors aggravating the guilt of the administration:

It is quite obvious that the administration perpetually, consciously and purposefully exerts pressure on myself because I had not sold my share, resist arbitrary actions of the administration and initiated the creation of the independent trade union, which I headed. For this the administration has already tried to illegally punish me four times. The three previous orders the administration had to cancel, since I turned to court.

The administration clearly ordered to send to the cold nobody but me. This is irregular and proves the biased attitude of the administration. Up to now foremen got the order to send a definite number of people, and then they made a personal choice.

On 21 December 2000 the administration knew very well that I had just came to work after a disease, so the work outdoor was harmful for me.


Article 43 of the Constitution of Ukraine; item 12 of the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Ukraine No. 9 of 1 November 1999;


•  To cancel order No. 185 of 28 December 2000.
•  To recompense the moral damage by the sum of Hr 5000.

The administration recompensed the claimant his wages after he handed the writ to court, thus acknowledging that their actions were illegal. The case is still not considered because of the overload of the court.

During the talk with Vladimir Kornienko we learned that similar attitude to the Independent trade union was observed at Nikopol Pivdennotrubny plant during the creation of the trade union 2-3 years ago. Yet, lately the attitude has improved, the administration understood that the trade unions movement is a serious and lasting matter.

NGO activities

Presidential election in Belarus

A successful political promotion must have a certain strategy. The promotion of totalitarianism has only one strategy – systematic lies. A sample of such strategy has appeared in the Internet-space of Ukraine. This week I found a letter in my e-mail box. The letter was from an Aleksandr, a complete stranger to me, and read as follows: ‘Gentlemen! I offer to your attention information from an eyewitness of the recent events in Belarus. See’.

Being rather interested in Belarus events after a three-week sojourn to Vitebsk, I followed the advice. What I read on the site seemed very familiar to me, then I guessed what namely was familiar. State-controlled mass media in Belarus published similar texts throughout the summer. The main theses of the agitation are the following: Belarus has the best economic state among the CIS countries; Belarus is on the economic upraise; the GNP and wages increase; a record crop is harvested; the living standard of Belarus citizens is permanently growing; President Lukashenko is a successful and responsible politician, a self made man, father of the nation; the opposition is paid by the USA and Western Europe, while the supporters of Lukashenko are patriots, who do not permit imperialists to ruin the country.

The arguments are very simple, and can be understood even by an illiterate heavy-drinking peasant in the backwoods. All these arguments appeal to the people to close their ranks to protect their country against external enemies and their internal mercenaries. An appeal to start fighting was always enthusiastically accepted by a lumpen. In fact, almost all the above-mentioned are false. And these falsehoods are Dr. Goebbels style, when the facts, which men see with their own eyes, are overcome by the repetitive propaganda. This is one of the main features of totalitarianism.

Actually the economic state of Belarus is not brilliant, it is approximately on the level of that of Ukraine (or a little bit better) and much lower than that of Russia. Actually, the economic state of Belarus resembles that of Ukraine in 1993-94. Most industrial enterprises do work, but, except infrequent exceptions, unprofitably, great lots of not unsold goods feel the stores. The trade is state-controlled and would not stay any competition. Kolkhozes dominate in agriculture, which is unprofitable too. To assist agricultural workers the youth is coercively driven to kolkhozes for season works. The fuel during the harvest campaign was ‘voluntarily’ donated by oil traders.

In fact, the economic state of Belarus is the preserved state of Ukraine in 1994, and we know from our own experience that this is a very expensive affair. Certainly, when the economic is unprofitable as a whole, this deficit can be paid only from external sources. And Belarus found such sources at the expense of the collision of geopolitical interests of Russia and the West. President Lukashenko successfully used the Russian chauvinism and weak spots of Eltsin’s regime for solving economic problems of his country. For example, thanks to the treaty on customs import got to Russia through Belarus, the taxes were paid only in Belarus. What the Russian budget lost, the Belarus budget gained. Another important source of income was the re-export of Russian fuel that was sold to Belarus at much lower prices than the average. It was easily done under Eltsin’s rule. Now, when Putin came to power, such affairs became more difficult.

The West, although it seems surprising, also essentially helps Belarus. The assistance of the West to NGOs of Belarus many times exceeds that to Ukraine. Belarus journalists estimate this assistance as 1.4 billion USD.

However, the enormous sums that were expended for preserving the economic state have not led to the creation of any new tendencies. Any essential structural changes have not appeared in industry and agriculture of Belarus, the problems have been accumulating, and the external assistance may stop one day. That will be a collapse. Much worse one than that in Ukraine in 1995. It shall happen because the resources of Belarus are exhausted, and no inner productive sources exist.

Thus, the growth of economics in Belarus is a myth. Nothing permits to expect the development. On the contrary, the statistic organs of the country inform on the substantial decline of production this year. As to the GNP growth, such figures are easily fabricated in the authoritarian state and really mean nothing.

A real growth of economics is observed now in Russia and Ukraine, unlike Belarus.

The most doubtful link in the chain of arguments is the thesis about the high and permanently growing living standard in Belarus. On my first day in Vitebsk standing in a queue in a food shop I accidentally overheard a talk of two elderly women. One of them joked: ‘Because of poverty I live on potatoes only and still is buxom’. But potatoes in Vitebsk were more expensive than in Ukraine (400 Belarus rubles per kilogram, the exchange rate being HR 1=270 Belarus rubles). Almost all victuals (except milk and curds), are more expensive or much more expensive than in Ukraine. It especially concerns meat and fish. Salami costs Hr 30-40 per kilo, sausage – Hr 20-30. Besides the quality of Belarus products (especially cheese, sausage, cigarettes, vodka and butter) is very low. Conscientious sale assistants warn consumers that the cheese (sausage, etc) is locally made. Products from Russia and other countries are sold in infrequent private shops.

I especially surprised in shops selling industrial goods. In each big store there are big posters with so-called assortment minimums – lists of good, which must be on sale. The minimums must be fulfilled under the threat of punishment. There was a big showcase packed with socks, but I could not find a pair to match my suit and fit my feet. The prices were much bigger than in Ukraine. For example, there was not a pair of socks cheaper than Hr 3.5. We know what is inflation, but in Belarus, beside the usual substantial inflation, they have another tendency: the prices grow in the USD equivalent too. This is one of the consequences of the monetary politics of Lukashenko, in this way he tries to raise average wages up to $100.

On the other hand, communal services in Belarus are much cheaper than in Ukraine. Urban transport is very cheap (60 Belarus rubles or 22 Ukrainian kopecks), long-distance transport is much more expensive.

As to the average wages, it is about 120 thousand rubles in industry and 90 thousand rubles in the budget sphere (that is Hr 450 and Hr 300, respectively). It is a little more than our wages, but, having in mind the difference in prices, the living standard in Belarus is about the same as in Ukraine. But the quality of life in Ukraine is better, since the quality of goods and services is much better. As to pensions, my acquaintance in Vitebsk gets 40 thousand rubles (Hr 148) and says that she can hardly survive.

In general the living standard is not an absolute measure. For today’s Belarus it is essential that the living standard is lowering all the time, whereas in Ukraine it is on the uptake. A year ago people in Belarus lived much better than Ukrainians. In 1995 the average wages in Belarus were $100, whereas in Ukraine it was about $20.

The decline tendencies make citizens of Belarus dissatisfied, and the efforts of the official propaganda to convince people that they live well are not very successful.

The official method is to intimidate the population that they will live even worse, if they do not vote for Lukashenko. If an individual like Goncharik comes to power, then the country will be ruined and robbed. Propaganda created the image of Lukashenko as a successful and clever politician. In the actual fact, he is a man of moderate intellect, culture and education. Such a person would hardly do something good for the country in our times. What concerns the opposition, it deserves a special and rather difficult discussion.

One may put a question: what is the goal of Belarus propaganda’s coming to the informational space of a foreign country, even through the international net? Is it an attempt to justify the numerous violations of voters’ rights, which occurred during the preparatory campaign and actual presidential election of this year?

** *

On 10 September at 4:15 in the morning Lidia Ermoshina, the head of the Central Election Committee (CEC), declared on TV the preliminary results of the election after having got the data from 100% of polling stations. According to the Committee data, Aleksandr Lukashenko got 75.6% of the votes, Vladimir Goncharik – 15.4%, Sergey Gaydukevich – 2.5%.

At half past eight another set of data, which was processed by the public organization ‘Independent observation’, appeared. Mecheslav Grib, the head of the Club of Voters of Belarus, told that these two sets of data differ from each other by 10%, so in any way Lukashenko won the election in the first tour.

Somewhat later the official site of ‘Independent observation’ refuted this information. The site read that because of the obstacles for observers their results couldn’t either refute or confirm the CEC results of the election. The OSCE did not accept the results of the election.

Lukashenko and other post-Soviet dictators must understand that it not observance that threaten their power, but quite different processes. Independent observance guarantees the people their right for reforms through democratic elections.

Unfortunately, in Belarus the election was carried under the conditions of unprecedented pressure on the system of observance, in contrast to election-99 in Ukraine, when the observation was successfully conducted by the Committee of Voters of Ukraine. The observance system underwent especially great pressure on 9 September, the day of voting.

The day before, of 8 September, the CEC took a decision not to admit the observers from the human rights protection center ‘Viasna’. This decision concerned about 2000 persons and was taken by the CEC in connection with the complaint of 4 citizens. The complaint read that they were not members of ‘Viasna’ and had been included into the number of observers without asking their consent. Since the observers were brutally pressed (and even fired from jobs), it was not difficult to find four claimants.

On 9 September the same lot was granted to observers from the L. Sapega fund. As Mykola Statkevich, the head of the Belarus Social-Democratic party, told on 9 September, optimistic hopes of the observers failed, and many polling stations remain without objective control. According to Statkevich the power was guilty of this.

On the contrary Yuri Soloviov, the first secretary of the Belarus Union of Youth, expressed his satisfaction with the way, in which the election was carried out. In his interview to ‘Belarusska delovaya gazeta’ he remarked: ‘You say that observers were not admitted to polling stations? I know nothing about that. We had 7000 observers from our organization. We could send more, but the CEC asked us to limit the number’.

Coordinators of the program of independent observance had an especially difficult day. Some of them were detained, criminal and administrative cases were started against them. So, Sergey Malchik, the coordinator in the Grodno oblast, spent this day in the KGB cooler, he was released only after 6 p.m., so early, perhaps, owing to the interference of Russian MP Vadim Bondar.

The security services officers motivated their actions by the investigation of a criminal case about appearance of leaflets appealing to violent changes of the state order. The leaflets were signed by a non-existing organization ‘Belarus liberation army’. On the eve of the election V. Goncharik declared that the appearance of these leaflets was provocation. Yet, as it should be expected, the leaflets became a pretext for repressions of the activists of election headquarters of the only oppositional candidate and of the observers.

‘Along with the detentions of the activists the security services conduct searches in the offices of democratic organization and political parties’, the press-center of V. Goncharik stated in its declaration of 9 September.

At the time, when Malchik was released, other two coordinators, Svetlana Nekh and Vadim Saranchukov, remained in the captivity. Coordinators in Minsk were also detained.

Since the evening of 8 September ‘problems’ with the Internet began in Belarus, e-mail stopped to function in the domain .by. Most sites were also inaccessible. E-mail could not pass to some addressed abroad. This attack lasted during the whole day on 9 September: at 13:00 local time the Belarus monopolistic provider ‘Beltelekom’ blocked the access to social and political sites, which elucidated on-line the course of the presidential election. Sites of ‘Charter-97’, radio ‘Liberty’, newspapers ‘Nasha volia’, ‘Belaruska delovaya gazeta’ and ‘Belaruskaya gazeta’ were blocked, at 16:30 other sites were cut off: site of the public organization ‘Independent observation’ that presented the information about the numerous violations of the election laws, sites of the information agency ‘Belapan’, radio ‘Ratsia’ and V. Goncharik.

In the evening, before the votes were counted the telephones were cut off in the headquarters of the observers. In Vitebsk all the telephones of the oblast headquarters of independent observance and the election headquarters of V. Goncharik were cut off about 7 p.m. In this way the transmission of practically all information on violations of the election laws was blocked. In Grodno the telephones were cut off not only in headquarters, but also in private flats of its members and observers.

About 8 p.m. the both telephone lines were switched off in the editorial board of the newspaper ‘Rabochiy’, where the press service of ‘Independent observance’ operated. The logic was simple. The most active work of the press center had to begin at about 8 p.m., when the count of votes began. At 10 a.m. the connection with the coordinator of the Gomel oblast was not yet restored, so the independent observance could give the final results.

Perhaps, such a pressure on observers has never been exercised in Europe.

But the final result of an election is defined not by observers, but by voters. The election in Belarus was lost not by observers, but by the opposition. All the election campaign was disorderly, unprofessional and passive, especially in the night after the election.

At about 9 p.m. several events were occurring in Minsk.

The CEC counted votes, by 23:00 25% of the bulletins were processed. But in the headquarters of the LDPB the results were already known, so they quietly celebrated the end of the campaign. They filled their glasses with good 10-year-old whisky and Oleg Markevich, the deputy head of the party, summed up their efforts. ‘Let us be realistic’, he said, ‘it was very difficult to win. However, at the next election we shall have no troubles in making our candidate known. We have worked for the next election’. At 22:30 Gaydukevich planned to go to the CEC, but, having learned the results, he changed his mind.

The peace and assurance reigned in Lukashenko’s headquarters, they were sure of the victory.

Meanwhile the opposition conducted the meeting on the Zhovtneva Square, where they protested against the falsification of the results. The number of the participants of the meeting was 3-5 thousand. Vladimir Goncharik arrived at 21:30.

Six trucks with armed OMON servicemen went toward the square, two more OMON companies were positioned near Volodarska prison. The servicemen armed with shields and clubs occupied six small buses, three wagons and one big bus.

In spite of the appeal of an opposition leader to remain on the square until morning, by 23:00 only about 15 hundred people remained. Mainly it was youth, members of the movement ‘Zubr’. Slogans were proclaimed: ‘Long live Belarus!’, ‘Independence!’ and ‘Down with Lukashenko!’ Militia was vigilant, but did not interfere.

People were dispersing. At 2:40 about 200 participants remained on the square, and they intended to leave. Goncharik stayed on the second story of the building of the Federation of trade unions of Belarus and was expecting the results of the parallel count of votes. Goncharik intended to use these data at the press conference appointed at 10 a.m. Pavlo Severinets, the leader of ‘Young front’, was disappointed since the action on the Zhovtneva Square failed to be massive.

As to the four columns that must come to Minsk from the four towns of Belarus, they would be a decoration at best and will be unable to change anything. The atmosphere of the failure got palpable.

Vladimir Nekliaev, a well-known Belarus poet, waited in the hall of the building of the Federation of trade unions. The poet now resides abroad, but he came to Belarus on special purpose to support the opposition at the election. He was disappointed by the fact that Valentina Polevikova, the head of Goncharik’s headquarters, was not present in the place, where their supporters gathered. In his opinion, this happened also in the times of Semen Sharetskiy, when the old nomenclature appealed to people to go to meetings and marches, but they themselves refused to participate.

At 5 a.m. some activists of ‘Zubr’ and ‘Young front’ climber on the roof of the trade unions building and put there a red-and-white flag. But the flag streamed over the roof not more than five minutes. Militia rushed into the building, the youth panicked. They had to put down the flag. The activists themselves affirm that the flag was taken down by some provocateurs, while the real patriots were preparing for the battle.

That doubtful statement was a proper end of this stillborn election campaign.

Victims of political repression

Common sense has won. For the time being...

Public protests and the peaceful protest actions organized by the Sevastopol human rights protection group resulted in the refusal of the communist administration of the Sevastopol city council to include the question about erecting Stalin’s monument into the agenda of a consecutive session.

We want to express gratitude to everybody, who sent their protest letters to the Sevastopol city council.

We suggest the legal commentary of the Sevastopol human rights protection group.

In accordance with the protocol of the meeting of the permanent commission of the Sevastopol city council in charge of education, culture, religious, tourism, sport and youth of 21 August 2001, the commission decided to introduce a suggestion to the presidium of the city council: to include to the agenda of the session the question about the suggestion of veterans’ organization to erect Stalin’s monument.

The decision of the permanent commission contradicts the Constitution of Ukraine, the Law ‘On rehabilitation of victims of political repression in Ukraine’ and the Ukrainian Law ‘On local self-rule in Ukraine’.

1. The local self-rule is a right of a territorial community to solve by themselves questions of local importance in the framework of the Ukrainian Constitution and Ukrainian laws (Article 140 part 1 of the Constitution). The erection of Stalin’s monument in Sevastopol does not concern self-rule only because it concerns the interest of the entire Ukrainian people, which suffered most from Stalinism. Thus, the permanent commission overcame the limits of the power granted to it and to the city council.

2. The Law ‘On rehabilitation of victims of political repression in Ukraine’ is operable in our country. The purpose of the Law is presented in the preamble of the law: it is restoration of the rights of the repressed. It is pointed out that ‘mass repressions, which were carried out by Stalin’s regime and its representatives in the republic, are the especially grave inheritance of the past’. The Constitutional norms that must defend citizens’ rights and freedoms, as well as elementary norms of legality, were brutally trampled in court trials and out-of-court reprisals’. The Supreme Council of the Ukrainian SSR denounced the repressions. Thus, the supreme organ of judicial power of Ukraine gave an unambiguous assessment of I. Stalin, Stalin’s regime and the repressions. Not a single organ of the state power or self-rule has the right to assess Stalin and his activities otherwise (that is positively). In this case part 2 Article 19 of the Ukrainian Constitution will be brutally violated. This clause stipulates that the organs of state power or self-rule, as well as their officers have the duty to act only in the way (within the prescribed limits) envisaged by the Constitution and Ukrainian laws.

3. According to Article 47 item 4 of the Ukrainian Law ‘On local self-rule in Ukraine’, permanent commissions, on their own initiative or on the order of the council, preliminarily consider drafts of the programs of social, economic and cultural development and local budget, reports on the fulfillment of the programs and budget, study and prepare questions on state and development of the corresponding segments of social and cultural construction, as well as other questions that are proposed for the consideration of the council, develop projects of the council decisions, deliver reports on the council sessions. In the given case the permanent commission acts not on its own initiative and not by the order of the city council, but on the initiative of veterans’ organizations and on the question outside the competence of the city council.

4. Article 2 of the Ukrainian Law ‘On local self-rule in Ukraine’ determines the principles, basing on which the local self-rule is realized, in particular, the article dwells on the relations between local and state interests. Activities of local self-rule organs and their officers contradict legal norms (in this case the Law ‘On rehabilitation of victims of political repressions in Ukraine’) and thus violate the Law ‘On local self-rule in Ukraine’. Therefore, the discussion at the session of the city council of the question that obviously contradicts the Constitution and laws of Ukraine abuse the very principles of local self-rule in Ukraine.

5. Article 2 of the Basic Law on culture determines, in the capacity of main principles of cultural policy, assertion of humanistic ideas and lofty moral values in public life, orientation to national values and values common to all mankind, acknowledgement of their priority over political and class interests. In the given case the supporters of the communist ideology act to favor their political interests, preferring them to national values and values common to all mankind.

6. Article 8 of the Ukrainian Law ‘On service in local self-rule organs’ stipulates the duties of local self-rule officers. The duties include observance of the Constitution and laws of Ukraine, non-admission of activity (passivity) that may harm the interests of local self-rule and the state. Articles 23 and 76 of the same law determine the responsibility of local self-rule organs and officers for violating the Constitution and laws of Ukraine. Thus, the law obliges local self-rule officers not to violate the legal norms, but also to prevent possible violations of laws by local self-rule organs. Otherwise they become responsible in accordance with the operating administrative, civil and criminal legislation of Ukraine (Article 23 of the Ukrainian Law ‘On service in local self-rule organs’).

Appeal of the Kharkov Group for human rights protection to the Sevastopol city council

Respected deputies!

Our public organization assesses the very fact of considering the question about the erection of Stalin’s monument in any place of the Ukrainian territory as blasphemy.

Those people, who introduce this question into the agenda, those, who collect signatures, are brutally trampling the sacred memory of millions of the perished from the criminal policy of Stalin, who was a real executor of the Ukrainian people (only the artificial famine of the early 30s reaped 8 million lives). Stalin is one of the cruelest criminals against mankind, whom the world history has known. And those, who want to erect the monument to this cannibal, are not only stirring the world scandal, but also provoke interethnic clashes in the Crimea.

Do not you know, communist deputies, who start this provocation (your action does not deserve any other name), what consequences will it have in the region inhabited by Crimean Tatars, who had been exiled from their native land and exterminated by the direct order of the Caniballisimus?

Crimean Tatars, Greeks, Bulgarians and other deported peoples will never pardon this sacrilege. Any Ukrainian citizen of any political convictions has to remember that it was Ukraine, which suffered most from Stalin’s terror. And those, who want to erect Stalin’s monument, have no right not only be a civil servant of any level, but a mere citizen.

We hope that among deputies of the Sevastopol city council reasonable and experienced people exist, who are capable of assessing the size of the international scandal to come and the dangers, which will follow because of the actions provoked by anti-state elements.

‘Prava ludyny’ editor’s comment: As we know, the similar appeals to the Sevastopol city council were sent by the Kharkov oblast Union of soldiers’ mothers and other public organizations of Kharkov.

Protests against erection of Stalin’s monument in Sevastopol

On 25 September the session of the Sevastopol city council will be opened. The question about the erection of Stalin’s monument in Sevastopol will be discussed at this session. About 7.5 thousand signatures supporting the erection was collected by the initiative of communist and veterans organizations of the city. The main argument of the initiative group is: ‘Stalin restored the city’. Local mass media started the information campaign, from which it can be concluded that Stalin played a positive role in the destiny of Sevastopol and the entire Soviet Union.

The city council commission in charge of culture, science, sport, religious and youth recommended including this question into the agenda of the city council session.

The Sevastopol human rights protection group plans to organize pickets on the day of the sitting, thus protesting against including this question into the agenda.

We ask our colleagues from other regions of Ukraine to join us and to send protest letters to the following addresses:

Председателю Севастопольского городского Совета господину Василию Пархоменко

ул. Ленина 3
Fax: (380 — 692) 540 353

Председателю Севастопольской городской государственной администрации господину Леониду Жунько
ул.Ленина 2
Fax: (380 — 692) 544 961

We also ask to direct copies of the letters to the Sevastopol human rights protection group: а/я 180, г. Севастополь, 99038; e-mail: [email protected],

phone/fax (0692) 460 175

Deported peoples

Recollections of a saint

M. Gorbal, One of sixty. Memoirs on the background of the jubilee year, Kyiv, ArtEk, 2001, 400 pages, photos.

(Горбаль М. А. Один із шістдесяти. Спогади на тлі ювілейного року.. — К.: АртЕк, 2001. — 400 с. : фот.)

On 12 September 2001 in the Kyiv teachers’ club the representation of a book was held. The book is written by Mykola Gorbal, a well-known human rights protection activist, a member of the Ukrainian Helsinki group, a deputy of the 2 ndconvocation of the Ukrainian Parliament. He reached his 61 styear on 10 September. The style of the book is very original; Mykhaylina Kotsiubinska defined it as intermediate: memoirs plus the diary of 2000. The latter circumstance defined the title. This from enables the author to think broadly and creates the feeling of the truth of a moment, since the total truth of each is composed from the truths of separate moments. This book will fill a niche in the annals of our life.

Evhen Sverstiuk, who presided at this crowded party, began his characteristic of the book as follows: this is the book by two Gorbals: Mykola, who in his dream managed to cross the Red Sea on dry land, and his brother Bogdan, an artist-primitive, who is now deceased. The book is opulently illustrated by Bogdan’s pictures.

‘People called him "God’s fool"’, told E. Sverstiuk, ‘since he never paid attention to the surface, but saw what was profoundly hidden. He was very reticent and self-contained. The both brothers were born of Anrdiy Gorbal, a rural member of intelligentsia from the village of Volovets of the Lemkivskiy district (it is better that the well-trained town variety). Their mother was a peasant woman, Tekla by name. The both brothers never betrayed their parents’ traditions and faith, having passed through the hell of the 20 thcentury’.

‘Characterizing this book’, said Sverstiuk, ‘I would say that it is very important. Everyone, who will read it or look it through, will never forget it. Two determining features of the book are as follows: 1) veracity – everything the author writes about is true; 2) the author permanently thinks of the most important. Nowadays the second feature is gift, which must be praised. The book can be related to memoirs of a peculiar kind: the attempt to write the diary of one year of life on the background of the past. This is a peculiar palimpsest: the author writes what he feels now on the background of his previous texts’.

Really, in this book the reader will find lively impressions of the most important events of 2000: the ‘parliamentary revolution’ of 1 February, Disappearance of Georgiy Gongadze, ‘cassette scandal’ of 28 November. And in between the reader will find horrible pictures of physical and psychological torture, which the author witnessed during 16 years of captivities. The figures imprinted in the author’s heart: Ivan Svitlychny, Mykola Kots, Ivan Sokulskiy, Boris Antonenko-Davydovich, Vasyl Stus, Geliy Snegiriov -- stand up on the pages, and what is written about them is pure truth. The author, like righteous martyrs of the past, feels himself obliged to tell the merciless truth about his contemporaries: there must be people in this sinful world, who must be absolutely unbiased. Many people nod encouragingly while observing such a position, but themselves never risk to take it. Nonetheless, the truthful word does not loose and does not gain importance. Some people must tell the truthful word, independent of the fact whether it is heard or not. Reading such lines one recollects Taras Shevchenko’s variety of the 11 thPsalm.

E. Sverstiuk further said that an astonishing man stands up between the lines of this book. He was three times repressed, survived the hell of the political and criminal concentration camps, and returned from there enlightened. Returned as a person full of love and trust to the world and the desire to communicate with this world. He is not one of those, who were born to hide in the trenches. On the contrary, he was ready to find his first investigating officer Bidyovka, who, for a not printed and even not finished verse ‘Duma’ (‘Meditation’), had given him a prison term, and to propose to write a joint book.

-- I cannot write, Pan Gorbal.

-- Do not be sly, Pan Bidyovka, I still keep the protocol of the search written by you, and written brilliantly. So write in the style you master, and I will write what I felt within my terrified soul, when I stayed in the KGB cellars. And then we shall unite these two parts into one book. We have no right to look at each other as enemies now. Ukraine needs consolidation of the nation, and, if the book is sincere, it will imply, who was interested in the state, when the people is divided and brother kills brother’ (p. 131).

Gorbal was able to fall into conversation with the militia captain, to whom he was taken on the Day of human rights in 1978 and they parted as friends. Next time the captain did not search Malva Landa, who brought to Gorbal some texts of political prisoners. Gorbal is ready to talk as in a friendly manner with Kravchenko, a former precinct inspector, with Kuchma, a former engineer of a rocket plant, with Potebenko, a former juridical consultant of the plant ‘Leninska kuznia’. But now they reached such a top that they do not remember how to talk. The book also contains moral assessments of Leonid Kravchuk, Viktor Medvedchuk, the ‘defender’ of Vasyl Stus and Yuriy Litvin, Sukis, Moroz and others. It is interesting what will be their reaction?

‘There are many people, who bail their moral forces from what they once had done. It is very important for a captive to be really guilty of something. If one was tailed, they had to have reasons. If Western radio stations told about one, they had to have what to say. But if someone was imprisoned for nothing, like Mykola, he had to have the support of some remote sacred things of the past. Very few of us had such sacred things in mind,’ said Sverstiuk.

Not in vain Gorbal’s mother said: ‘Your father was a saint’. His father not only prayed, but lived according to the laws of human coexistence stipulated in the Holy Scriptures and taught his children to live so. That is why the public was not surprised when Father Bogdan Ternopilskiy on behalf of Patriarch of Kyiv and all Ukraine-Russia Filaret handed Greek-Catholic Gorbal the order if Saint archistratig Mikhail. Gorbal was awarded as a Christian.

‘Reading this book I imagined how ashamed are the barristers, who tried such people as Gorbal, the barristers, who forgot ‘Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us’’, Stepan Zenyo, a member of ‘Lemkivshchina’ community said, ‘a lemkoreader would be especially affected; we will walk anew the way of deportation of this part of that Ukrainian people that lost their motherland’.

482 thousand of lemkoswere deported to the USSR, and remaining 140 thousand on the Easter (28 April) of 194 were dispersed in Poland. All in all, 622575 lemkoswere deported, 1717 of them were exterminated. Mykola recalled as his family was sent to exile, and his father raised him in his arms in the train carriage: ‘Look, sonny! This is the Dnieper! Dnieper!’

Now the lemkosfrom the ‘Lemkivshchina’ community came to greet their fellow-countryman, they sang the songs written by Gorbal in the local dialect. Gorbal was not born a politician – the KGB made him one. He was a musician and a teacher of music, but during the second imprisonment he was working in a quarry, his fingers were damaged, and now he is unable to play. His songs were sung by the sisters Galia and Lesia Telniuk (’Sisters’ tears will not fall upon the ground’), Ganna Solonychna (‘Cemetaries’), student of Vienna conservatoire Olena Nechay; fragments from the book were recited by Kyrylo Bulkin and Galina Stefanova.

‘People do not read books now’, said the author in completion. ‘Pan Osyp Zinkevich, the director of the publishing house ‘Smoloskyp’ said: „It is bad that a name index was not made in the book“. I say: „It is bad that the contents were made in the book. Because one look through the contents until he come across his name, reads about himself and drops the book“. That is why we shall never include either contents or name index. We organize presentations to get people interested... And the fact that I was imprisoned is God’s blessing. Without it I will newer got acquainted with Svitlychny, Stus, Sverstiuk – now these figures are symbolize Ukraine...’

14 September 2001

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 2001, #09