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  • Hannia

    INTERFAX-UKRAINE 17:24 29.01.2019
    Poroshenko names five strategic priorities to boost Ukrainian economy

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has named five strategic priority sectors of the economy which could attract billions investment and create hundreds of thousands jobs.

    "Responsible economic strategy dictates the need to clearly define priorities and focus on those sectors of the economy where we can take leading positions. They will become breakthrough points that will push us forward. They will bring means to ensure a tangible increase in people's living standards," Poroshenko said on the Forum "From Kruty to Brussels. We are going our own way" in Kyiv on Tuesday.

    According to the president, these priorities include agriculture, IT, engineering, infrastructure and logistics, as well as tourism.

    "The world's population is growing annually by an average of 80-85 million, and ... by 2024 it will exceed 8 billion, and everyone wants to eat. Obviously, there is a huge niche for Ukraine as a global agricultural leader," Poroshenko said.

    He recalled that over the past five years, Ukraine has taken the lead in the world in many types of agricultural products. "However, we must understand: true leadership is possible only if the export of processed products will significantly exceed the export of commodities," he said.

    The president also said that the IT sector will be able to help the country to increase the part of the middle creative class and provide high income jobs. In his opinion, this is important for the stability of the economy and democracy and for the country in general.

    "However, to become a true leader in this sector, it is not enough to provide services and sit on outsourcing. We need to switch to a real contribution to the domestic economy. And thanks to this, the so-called "fourth industrial revolution" will come to Ukraine," he said, adding that it is necessary to increased reliance on high-tech industries.

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  • Hannia
    INTERFAX-UKRAINE 18:00 29.01.2019
    Russia to try to use cyberattacks to meddle in elections in Ukraine - U.S. DNI

    Russia may try to use cyberattacks in order to influence the presidential elections in Ukraine, Daniel Coats, the director of the U.S. National Intelligence said on Tuesday.

    We expect Russia to use cyber technology to influence the upcoming presidential elections in Ukraine, he said at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

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  • Hannia
    INTERFAX-UKRAINE 11:44 26.01.2019
    SBU detains Kharkiv citizen fighting on side of LPR/DPR

    The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) under the procedural guidance of the prosecutor's office has detained a Kharkiv citizen engaged in sabotage and intelligence activities as part of illegal armed groups fighting on the side of LPR/DPR, who actively participated in hostilities against the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Debaltseve.

    According to the press service of the Security Service of Ukraine, officers of the special services established that the man, on his own initiative, joined the illegal armed groups in 2014.

    "Returning to Kharkiv region for rest, the fighter continued to maintain contacts with the representatives of the LPR and DPR terrorist organizations, and also recruited local residents to participate in illegal armed groups. According to the SBU, in the near future, the attacker planned to return to the occupied territory and join the LPR militants," the report says.

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  • Hannia
    INTERFAX-UKRAINE 13:22 26.01.2019
    Only five candidates for presidency in Ukraine open election funds Voters Committee
    Only five candidates for the presidency of Ukraine have opened the accounts of election funds as of January 25, the Committee of Voters of Ukraine has reported, with reference to the Central Election Commission (CEC).

    "Election fund accounts were opened by Ihor Shevchenko (the opening date is January 15), Andriy Sadovy (January 14), Anatoliy Hrytsenko (January 17), Vitaliy Skotsyk (January 21), Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (January 21)," the press service of the committee said.

    At the same time, the organization notes that as of January 25 the CEC had registered 20 presidential candidates.

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  • Hannia

    INTERFAX-UKRAINE 14:15 26.01.2019
    Patriot party nominates its candidate for presidency in Ukraine

    The Patriot political party has nominated Andriy Novak as a candidate for presidency in Ukraine.

    According to the website of the political force, the 12th extraordinary congress of the Patriot party, headed by former First Deputy of ex-Prosecutor General of Ukraine Mykola Holomsha, was held on January 24.

    Participants in the meeting decided the party would take part in the presidential election and supported the nomination of economist Andriy Novak as a candidate for the presidency of Ukraine.

    In 2012-2013, Novak was the chairman of the Ukrainian Party, but then the termination of his membership in this party was announced.

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  • Hannia
    INTERFAX-UKRAINE 17:13 26.01.2019
    Servicemen from 72nd Chornykh Zaporozhtsiv brigade will be trained under NATO standards

    Servicemen from the 72nd Chornykh Zaporozhtsiv separate mechanized brigade will be trained according to NATO standards under the guidance of instructors from the leading armies of the world, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has said.

    "Immediately after the rest and rehabilitation, it is necessary to deploy full-scale training for task performance. I know that your military unit will soon take measures to recruit personnel, acquiring weapons and military equipment. Personnel training will begin under the standards of NATO member states, in particular, under the leadership of instructors of the leading armies of the world," Poroshenko told servicemen of the 72nd mechanized brigade in Bila Tserkva.

    According to him, after NATO standards training, large-scale exercises will be held within the brigade.

    As reported, Poroshenko met the 72nd mechanized brigade, which returned to the place of permanent deployment from the zone of the joined forces operation.

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  • Hannia

    INTERFAX-UKRAINE 17:41 26.01.2019
    Reference to Roxelana's Russian origin removed from label near her tomb in Istanbul at Ukraine's request

    The mention of the Russian origin of Sultan Suleiman I's wife Roxelana (c. 1502-1558) has been removed from the visitor panel near her tomb at the Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul at the request of the Ukrainian Embassy in Turkey.

    "We are gradually restoring the historical truth: at the request of our embassy, the Turkish side has removed the text of the inscription about the supposedly Russian origin of Sultan Suleiman the First's wife Roxelana near her tomb at the Suleymaniye Mosque," the embassy said on Facebook.

    Although her real name and exact place of birth are unknown, historians are not questioning the Ukrainian origin of Roxelana who was initially the concubine and later wife of Sultan Suleiman I and named Hurrem after converting to Islam. She was the mother of Sultan Selim II.

    Most Ukrainians know about the most famous Ruthenian slave, Roxelana, Anastasia Lisovska, daughter of an Orthodox priest in Rohatyn (today in the Ivano-Frankivska oblast/region).

    She was the wife of Sultan Suleiman, The Magnificent - The Law Giver, who reignedfrom 1520-1566.He was the 10th and greatest ruler of the Ottoman Empire.

    His father, Selim I, The Grim, ruler from 1512-1520, had conquered Egypt and became the first Ottoman Caliph.Selim killed all his brothers and all his close male relatives, ensuring a smooth succession to the Turkish throne.At the time this practice was legal in the Ottoman Empire.

    During Suleiman's long reign, also at the time in which the European nation state structure was firming up, the Ottoman Empire was at its zenith and Suleiman was the preeminent ruler of 16th century Europe.Ottoman Turks controlled all the major Muslim cities, many Balkan provinces (up to today's Austria) and most of North Africa. They had naval dominance in the Mediterranean and Red Seas and the Persian Gulf. Suleiman personally led his armies, conquering Bagdad, Rhodes and most of Hungary. He also besieged Vienna.

    Suleiman was known as a fair ruler and an opponent of corruption.His greatest achievement was the reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system.He was also a great patron of artists and philosophers and it is said that his greatest influence was his legal wife, Roxelana.Before Suleiman, sultans did not marry.They kept an average of 300 concubines, four of whom were designated as bearers of anointed children, and one was designated as bearer of the sultan's heir. Roxelana'sfirst child, a son born in the harem, was strangled.

    Roxelana (c.1506 1558) was known by her Turkish name, Khourrem (Hrrem or Karima), meaning the cheerful - the laughing one. She was very high-spirited and had great storytelling abilities.

    She was captured by Crimean Tatars during one of their frequent raids into Ruthenia, what is Ukraine today, and taken as a slave to the Crimean city of Kaffa, a major slave trading center. She was then resold to Istanbul where she was selected for Suleimans harem. The harem consisted of mostly Christian girls and Roxelana joined the lower ranks of the harem, but quickly became one of Suleiman's favorites and started accompanying him on public occasions.

    This special treatment drew the wrath of Suleiman's senior consort, whose son, Mustafa, was considered heir to the throne.Roxelana used her influence over the Sultan to have Mustafa, accompanied by his mother, sent away as governor of a far province of the empire in 1534. Several years later he was mysteriously strangled.

    Next, Roxelana convinced Suleiman that his Grand Vizier, Ibrahim Pasha, second-in-command in all state & military affairs, was a traitor.He was supposedly scheming to usurp the sultans power.Ibrahim, who had openly opposed Suleimans liaison with Roxelana, and did in fact wield an unusual amount of control and favor, was assassinated in 1536.

    With her main obstacles removed, Roxelana quickly climbed to the position of chief consort in the harem, as well as chief minister to the Sultan. Then she managed to do what no Ottoman concubine before her had ever done. She convinced Suleiman to marry her.Islamic law permitted a sultan to take up to four wives, plus as many concubines as he could afford to keep, but up until Suleiman, no Ottoman sultan had ever married.Breaking with 300 years of Ottoman tradition, Suleiman married Roxelana in a formal ceremony. The marriage caused quite a stir throughout both Europe and the Islamic world.

    Roxelana bore Suleiman four more children, and one of her sons, Selim, inherited the empire.Suleiman allowed her to remain with him at court for the rest of her life, despite another tradition that when imperial heirs became of age,they would be sent along with the imperial concubine, who bore them, to govern remote provinces of the empire.The concubine was never to return, unless her progeny succeeded to the throne.

    As Suleimans chief adviser on matters of state, Roxelanahad tremendous influence upon foreign affairs and international politics. Two of her letters to the Polish King Sigismund Augustus have been preserved and during her lifetime, the Ottoman Empire generally had peaceful relations with the Polish Kingdom. Some historians also believe that she may have intervened with her husband to control Crimean Tatar slave-raiding in her native land.

    Aside from her political concerns, Roxelana engaged in major works of public building, from Mecca to Jerusalem.She had a mosque, two Koranic schools, a fountain, and a womens hospital (near Woman's Slave Market) built in Istanbul alone.

    Some of her embroidery has survived in museums. These were gifts given to the Shah of Iran in 1547 and to King Sigismund Augustus in 1549.

    Roxelana died in 1558,eight years before her husband. She was laid in a domed mausoleum in the yard of the Suleiman Mosque. Suleiman was later buried in another tomb, close to his wife's.

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  • Hannia
    2019 will be a year without Crimea for Putin, Portnikov says
    EUROMAIDAN PRESS Paul Goble 2019/01/04 - 17:01
    Remains of some of the abandoned structures built for KaZantip, an electronic dance music festival that took place in Crimea each year starting from 1992 and until the Russian occupation of the peninsula in 2014. The festival hosted more than 100,000 visitors during two weeks in August.

    The coming year, Vitaly Portnikov says, will be another year without Crimea for Vladimir Putin, one where he will not have whatever bounce the Crimean Anschluss gave him among Russians however much he may try to resuscitate that as he did in 2018 when his propagandists played up the bridge to the occupied Ukrainian peninsula.

    When the Kremlin leader seized Crimea, oil prices were still high enough that the average Russian did not feel the cost of that action to his own well-being, the Ukrainian commentator says; but falling oil prices, Western sanctions, and the Russian economic crisis have changed that.

    Russians no longer feel as they did for a brief time after the Anschluss that it was an effective step by Putin to raise them from their knees, Portnikov continues. Instead, many of them now feel they are on their knees again and they blame now not the 1990s as they did earlier but Putins policies, including his absorption of Crimea.

    Russia is falling ever further behind the rest of the world, and Crimea which until recently had seemed to Putin a pearl in the crown of his invented empire and to Russians as a significant triumph of sacred historical justice has become a burden, yet another region which needs money that Russia doesnt have.

    As a result, 2019 will be a year without Crimea, as both Russians and Putin forget about it except as a problem. Crimea will disappear from the Russian information space now until Putins successor begins talks on its return to Ukraine because they will be desperate for Western assistance for the salvation of their country and ready to make any sacrifice.

    Then and only then, Portnikov says, Russia will again remember Crimea about Ukrainian Crimea.

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  • Hannia
    English-language rehab theater for Ukrainian war veterans prepares for first performance
    EUROMAIDAN PRESS RFE/RL Bohdana Kostiuk 2019/01/26 - 12:15
    Members of the Veterano Theatre

    A unique event is scheduled in Ukrainian theatres in May, 2019 the premiere of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. Honoured Artist of Ukraine Oleksiy Hnatkovsky (director), Peoples Artist of Ukraine and director of the Ivano-Frankivsk Drama Theatre Rostyslav Derzhypilsky (artistic director), as well as veterans of the war in eastern Ukraine and volunteers (actors) will participate in the staging of the play.

    The production will be the first project of the English-language Veterano Theatre Project W (Veterans, Volunteers and William) created and launched last year. Future plans of the Veterano Theatre include tours across Ukraine, participation in international theatre festivals, etc.

    Soldier of the 81st Airborne Brigade Volodymyr Boyprav, aerial observer Yevhen Yarylo, senior soldier of the 56th Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade Serhiy Vikarchuk-Yevpatoriysky, volunteer and founder of the Veterano Service portal Larysa Mykytyon these veterans of the ongoing Russian-directed war in Donbas, war effort volunteers and many others have joined together to take part in the Veterano Theatre. But, before they can perform on the stage, they must learn English. Not only do English language courses and participation in the production of Shakespeares play open up new horizons for these Ukrainian veterans, but they also provide theatre therapy and the opportunity to communicate with like-minded people.

    The initiators of the Veterano Theatre include war veteran and co-founder of English Among People Ihor Kasyan, and chaplain and head of ELEOS-Ukraine Father Serhiy Dmytriev. Veterans, businessmen, volunteers and community activists have joined the team to create art that responds to the social challenges of our time says Kasyan. Shakespeares play was not a random choice after all, the British playwright also wrote about important social and political issues.

    Our objective is to show Ukrainian society that the veterans of the ongoing war are also creative people. We want the world to see the talent and dedication of our men and women. Learning English and performing in a play these are difficulties that veterans can overcome through work and perseverance, explained Ihor Kasyan.

    Project W is supported by the UK embassy in Ukraine and Ukrainian artists, including well-known actor and director Akhtem Seitablayev. He believes this project is a great opportunity to involve veterans in the social and cultural life of the country through art.

    Father Serhiy Dmytriyev, head of the ELEOS-Ukraine charity organization underlines that for veterans, theatre is a kind of artistic rehabilitation, as well as an opportunity to reveal their creative potential. In addition, the Veterano Theatre can resolve different social problems: for example, part of the money raised during the show will be donated to social and cultural projects organized by teenagers aged 15 to 17 years and other challenges posed by modern society.

    We plan to complete the rehearsals and present Shakespeares Twelfth Night in Kyiv and in other Ukrainian cities. Of course, Id love to take the play abroad, participate in international theatre festivals, but those are just dreams. We dont have the money for this, so we plan to organize some fundraising events to support the play and our theatre. adds Father Serhiy Dmytriev.

    After the premiere of Shakespeares play, the members of the Veterano Theatre plan to continue studying English and staging other plays.
    Translated by: Christine Chraibi
    Source: Radio Liberty

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  • Hannia
    Trukhanov Pt 2
    For example, on 14 January 2019 during just one court hearing against him, nine out of 67 case folders were considered and the next one was started, which equates to around 1,700 written pages. Experts in the Anti-Corruption Action Centre (AntAC) NGO suspect that the case is moving fast to save Trukhanov from the new High Anti-Corruption Court. Its creation is in full scale now. With the participation of international experts in the process, there are high expectations that the court will consider the top-corruption cases fairly. AntAC experts emphasize that the judges who are considering the case against Truhanov usually work at a much slower pace in other cases. For example, hearings on an armed robbery and premeditated murder have already been ongoing for five years, another involving a lombard scam for seven years.

    The method of seizure

    Ustymenko underlines that Trukhanov and associates are trying to gain maximum use of the time they have available.

    This is an unprecedented case of control over a situation by a certain financial group.

    Trukhanovs inner circle is achieving this by changing the rules during City Council sessions. The activist provides an example of the plan to change the concept of the shore protection. According to this, the process of receiving permission for construction on the coast would be significantly simplified only a signature of the head architect would be needed to build something on the beach. The activists with the help of media and MPs managed to prevent this question getting onto the agenda in the December 2018 session. However, this doesnt mean that the local authorities abandoned the idea. Attempts to simplify the permission continued in January 2019.

    Odesa authorities, the central government, and the Odesa Peoples Republic

    All of this is happening without the knowledge of the central law enforcement institutions and the central government. One of the most recent indications of their inaction was related to the situation regarding the treatment of the activist and regional political leader Oleh Mykhailyk, well-known for resisting illegal construction at Odesas seaside. He was seriously wounded in a shotgun attack on 23 September 2018, and a bullet had to be removed from his lung. The medical operation to remove the bullet was performed in Germany back in January this year. The surgery could have taken place before the new year, however the activist was waiting for Ukraines National Police and the Public Prosecutors General Office. The law enforcement institutions should have provided documents on allocating international legal assistance to the German side.

    This system does not give me any other choice than going to the operating theatre knowing that the extracted bullet will lose its meaning as highly important physical evidence in the investigation and in the further court hearing on the case. It is the bullet which could have led not only to those who carried out the attempt on my life, but also to the intermediaries and those who ordered it, Mykhaylyk wrote before the surgery.

    In the end, the German side received documents which allowed German police to be present during surgery and keep the bullet.

    Germanys government was ready to allocate money for conducting expertise on the bullet. However, up to January 17 it had not received the documents from the Prosecutor General Office of Ukraine which would allow it to do so. Germanys government also paid for the surgery and Mykhaylyks stay in the hospital. After the surgery the activist again expressed his mistrust towards Ukraines law enforcement authorities.

    Ustymenko sums up that everything going on in Odesa indicates signs of the existence of the so-called Odesa Peoples Republic (ONR), akin to Russias puppet Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics statelets in eastern Ukraine, which have since 2014 wrestled out of the control of the Ukrainian government.

    We talk about the ONR because the central government institutions are not central to Odesa. The laws of Ukraine are not enforced in this particular area of Ukraine. There is no war and formally there are authorities and law enforcement institutions. However, they are absent in the cases where a certain financial group, which in fact controls the life of the city, has interests. Lets talk about the territory which is not under control of Ukraine from the point of view of the law and the state, and which has its official and unofficial armies, Ustymenko says.

    The activist emphasizes that Ukrainian law enforcement bodies also ignore the evidence of Trukhanov having a Russian passport as well as his involvement in the international criminal group. Moreover, the activists point to the links between the City Council and groups which are in Russia.

    The activist explains the ignorance of the central government by the agreements which exist between political elites.

    The elite which became central agreed with the elite which has an influence on the region. When we talk about law enforcement action and inaction at the central level, we talk about sabotage and backing.

    Ustymenko warns that if the balance and the agreement between the center and the regional Odesa group changes as a result of election or anything else, the separatism movements can be activated in the city again which might lead to the creation of an unrecognized republic. There were threats of its creation in 2014, just after the Euromaidan. Activists accused Trukhanov in covering the pro-Russian movements which opposed the Euromaidan Revolution and called for Russian intervention. He was also noticed at their meetings. The mayor himself denied the allegations in having pro-Russian stance. Back then, the separatist movements were defeated. Trukhanov was elected as the citys mayor.

    Trukhanov, Poroshenko, and elections
    According to the activists, so far the unofficial agreement between President Petro Poroshenko and Trukhanov remains in force. The Odesa mayor helps Poroshenko get more views during the presidential election upcoming in March, while Poroshenko in his turn allows the regional elites to preserve their status. However, Ustymenko doubts that Trukhanov is able to provide votes for Poroshenko in any way other than by physical attacks.

    You cant discretely falsify more than 5% of the votes, and this would still be obvious. Plus, Trukhanov supporters are pro-Russian, so they would hardly be persuaded to vote for Poroshenko. I think that there will be attempts to physically intervene in the process in Odesa. As there is no independent law enforcement in the oblast, this would be easy to do. However, of course we [the activists] will not be passive observers.

    To illustrate how serious the situation is, Ustymenko notes that the most discussed question among activists now is how to reduce their losses in the period before election.

    Our chances to influence the situation are so low, despite the public sector of Odesa being very strong.

    The activist can hardly imagine how to loosen the grip of Trukhanovs group over the city.

    Once, Poroshenko placed his bets on these groups not on civil society and not on state bodies. In my opinion, this is the strongest financial group in Ukraine. I cannot be sure that any other person or team would be able to use state mechanisms to remove the Odesa group from their position of power. For this, there should be a real anti-terrorist operation.

    Nevertheless, Ustymenko does not give up on civil society in Odesa.

    Odesa civil society and Trukhanovs front groups
    Some time ago Trukhanov managed to create the illusion of having support with the citys civil society. In 2015, there were around five civic organizations that served as his front groups, staging protests against Russian aggression, but keeping silence on Trukhanovs lawlessness.

    They tried to show that they genuine activists by organizing some protests whichwere against some global things, but never against Trukhanov. You know, it doesnt take much to say Putin is evil, Ustymenko told.

    But these fake organizations now are disassociated from the citys real civil society, which has become stronger. The activist offers several reasons as an explanation:

    Those who participated in the Revolution of Dignity and the war have become more fearless.
    After 2014, civil society received many more formal instruments of control open databases, asset declarations, opportunities to write petitions etc.
    Experts in different fields joined civil society to consult it on a variety of questions.
    Odesa residents have become more self-organized and have learned how to create coalitions.

    Ustymenko says that the activists hope that an effective law enforcement system will be created. Despite all the troubles, he remains optimistic and believes that there will be a day when he himself will be able to benefit from the changes he and other local activists are fighting for. He also assumes that in the future, history books will describe this period as a dark chapter in Odesas history.
    Edited by: Michael Garrood, Alya Shandra

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  • Hannia
    Trukhanovs criminal grip over Odesa akin to separatist republic activist who survived murder attempt
    EUROMAIDAN PRESS Olena Makarenko 2019/01/26 - 01:40
    January 2019, the protest SOS Odesa against the actions of the local government. Activists across Ukraine joined the protest in their cities. Photo:

    While Ukraine is currently preparing for presidential elections, the situation in Odesa stands out. In this crucial period, local citizens are worrying how not to end up losing their city. Local activists are raising the alarm: during the last year the situation has become critical as the local mayor Hennadiy Truhanov, along with companies and criminal gangs associated with him, have seized complete control over the city and declared war against those who oppose their rule. All of this has been carried out against a backdrop of silence from Ukraines top officials.
    Euromaidan Press talked to Odesa activist Vitaliy Ustymenko to ascertain how the situation in the city currently looks.
    On 5 June 2018, Ustymenko was hospitalized with a stab wound to the thigh and head injuries. Photo: Vitaliy Ustymenko.

    Ustymenko, head of Odesa Automaidan, an organization born during the Euromaidan Revolution which after it focused on the fight against corruption and law enforcement and judicial reforms, is as well familiar with the methods which local officials use to stop their opponents. He was attacked physically and had criminal proceedings against him on several occasions.

    What is the conflict about

    The majority of the city conflicts are taking place because of the seizure of public property by construction companies affiliated with the city mayor Hennadiy Trukhanov. Parks, sea coastal land, and areas of the citys historic center are under threat of destruction. The conflict has also spread across the Odesa region.
    Environmental activist Ivan Rusev is fighting to preserve the Tuzlovskyi estuary park in Odesa Oblast. For his activism he was attacked around six times, including his son being kidnapped, pressure placed on his relatives and his car being set on fire. Photo:

    Ustymenko says that 2018 was particularly bad.

    Even the Prosecutor General said that the conflict in Odesa is related to seizure and development of public property. He ordered a stop to all illegal construction, but the very next day they went on and nobody could do anything about it.

    The case against Trukhanov

    In February 2018, two new institutions, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutors Office, initiated an investigation against Trukhanov. He and eight people from his inner circle are suspected of involvement in the embezzlement of UAH185mn (US$6.6mn) from the state budget. Usually, cases involving top-level corruption opened by the two bodies get bogged down in the courts. But not the Truhanov ones.

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  • Hannia
    100 years ago, west and east Ukraine united in short-lived independence amid invasion from all sides
    EUROMAIDAN PRESS 2019/01/22 - 21:36
    A man stands on the Paton Bridge during the Unity Day celebration. 22 January 2019, Kyiv. Photo: KyivPost

    Starting from 1999, Ukrainians officially celebrate the Day of Unity on 22 January, marking the anniversary of the unification of eastern and western Ukraine on this day in 1919. The Unification Act (Akt Zluky) between the UNR (Ukrainian Peoples Republic) and ZUNR (Western Ukrainian Peoples Republic) was proclaimed in Kyiv at St. Sophia Square back then, 100 years ago. This finalized a long-awaited reunion of Ukrainians who had for several centuries been divided between the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires and fought against each other as part of their armies. Alas, the dream of independent statehood for a united Ukraine was short-lived then.
    In memory of that event, on its 71st anniversary, amid rising national-liberation movements of the collapsing Soviet Union, on 21 January 1990, more than 450,000 of Ukrainians formed the first human chain symbolically uniting the cities of Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Lviv.

    The memorable date got an official status in 1999, when then-president of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma signed a decree proclaiming the Unification Day of Ukraine a state holiday, celebrated on 22 January. However, there is no day off.

    President Petro Poroshenko has reminded today that the 1919 Unification Act of the UNR and ZUNR is extremely important, and it became one of the historical foundations for the Act of Independence of Ukraine in 1991.

    Festivities and official ceremonies took place in Ukraine on the occasion of the Day of Unity today. In Kyiv, the head of the state and other officials laid flowers to the monuments to 19th-century Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko and UNR statesman Mykhailo Hrushevsky. The first couple paid tribute to the memory of Mikhail Zhiznevsky and Serhii Nihoyan, who were killed on the Unity Day amid the Revolution of Dignity in 2014. The Unity Day celebrations took place on the St. Sofia Square in Kyiv, where the Unification Act between UNR and ZUNR was proclaimed 100 years ago.

    Ukrainians formed a human chain across the Dnipro River on Kyivs Paton Bridge to symbolically unite Right-Bank Ukraine and Left-Bank Ukraine historical and territorial names for parts of modern Ukraine on the right (western) and left (eastern) banks of the Dnipro River.
    What happened a century ago?
    100 years ago

    Read more on the history of the Unity Act in our 2016 article Ukrainians worldwide to commemorate Act of Unity on January 22

    The Ukrainian National Republic (UNR), a predecessor of modern Ukraine, was declared in Kyiv on 10 June 1917 initially as part of the Russian Empires successor the Russian Republic. Later on 25 January 1918, UNR proclaimed its independence. The state included most of the regions of modern Ukraine,

    One important diplomatic action of UNR was signing the Brest Agreement in February 1918 with the countries of Quadruple Alliance, which defined UNR as an independent state. It was also recognized by Romania.

    The UNR existed on Ukrainian territory until 1920, when the UNR government went into exile. The military forces of the Republic fought in the Ukrainian territory until 1921.

    The state fell to the Russian invasion and was officially incorporated in the USSR in 1922 as one of its founding members, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

    The Ukrainian government-in-exile existed until Ukraine re-gained independence in 1991. The last President of the Ukrainian Peoples Republic in exile, Mykola Plaviuk, handed over his presidential powers to Leonid Kravchuk, the first president of independent Ukraine.

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  • Hannia
    Fact 10. The UPA/OUN in the Donbas
    Caricature found in OUN archives. It depicts Stalin in the form of a devil. Caption Fed says to Bohdan: Our leaders very worried because his fishing for members to incorporate into the party of slaves isnt going well!

    Over the years, residents of eastern Ukraine have been fed many myths and stories about the OUN and UPA, namely that nothing ever happened in the Donbas, that it was a guerrilla movement localized to western Ukraine. In fact, a powerful network of pro-Ukrainian movements emerged in the Donbas in the 1940s. More information here.

    Fact 11. Literary revival in Luhansk surprises western Ukrain
    Literary Map of Luhansk Oblast

    Students of the Taras Shevchenko Luhansk National University, which moved to Starobilsk, Luhansk Oblast, have developed an interactive project called Literary Map of Luhansk Oblast. It shows writers and poets from Ukraines eastern regions, but presents them through little-known facts. For example, Petro Shevchenko, a journalist at Kievski Vedomosti, wrote poems under the pseudonym of Petro Bilyvoda, something even his friends did not know.

    The project has been enthusiastically applauded in Lutsk and Lviv, and students from Western Ukraine called the lecture and map mind-blowing!

    Fact 12. Ukrainian songs in occupied Donetsk
    A Ukrainian music evening was recently organized in occupied Donetsk, with the likes of Ukrainian songs from such bands as Один в каное (One in a canoe), СКАЙ (SKAY), Друга р╕ка (Second River) and Okean Elzy all in Ukrainian!
    Донбасс Реалии
    April 30, 2018 ·
    Концерт, посвященный украинской музыке, в одном из клубов неподконтрольного украинским властям Донецка. 27.04.2018 Видео 1

    Translated by: Christine Chraibi
    Source: Radio Liberty

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  • Hannia
    Fact 4. Despite the tsars decree, Khrystyna Alchevska taught Ukrainian to other women
    The standard axiom a womens place is in the home was not accepted by wealthy Khrystyna Alchevska, who became one of the first women to challenge this system in the Russian Empire. In 1862, she founded and maintained the first Kharkiv Womens Sunday School (officially accredited in 1870), where ladies could study law, physics, chemistry, geography, the history of Ukraine, writing and mathematics. She taught classes in Ukrainian until forced by the government to switch to Russian. Khrystyna Alchevska taught more than 17, 000 women in Eastern Ukraine.

    Fact 5. The UNR Army liberated the Donbas from the Russian Bolshevik Army
    First Hetman Doroshenko Zaporizhzhya Infantry Regiment enters Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, April 1918

    One hundred years ago, Donbas was one of the first Ukrainian regions to be invaded by the Bolsheviks. The occupation of UNR territories was conducted in conjunction with widespread propaganda among the workers, farmers and miners, who eventually joined the Bolshevik regiments.

    However, many Donbas inhabitants regarded the Bolsheviks with great suspicion and preferred to join the partisan movement that helped the UNR army liberate the Donbas. The UNR Army fought for the territories inhabited by ethnic Ukrainians, namely, the Katerynoslav and Kharkiv Governorates.

    Fact 6. Renowned film actor and director Bykov loved to sing in Ukrainian
    Leonid Bykov was born in Cherkaske and raised in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast. The legendary Maestro, the tramp Maksym Perepelytsia, the romantic hero Alioshka, the motivated Lev Zaichyk, and the courageous Swat although the protagonists portray a stereotypical Soviet Ukrainian, they all love to sing Ukrainian songs, tell about Ukrainian traditions and their native land.

    In the film У б╕й ╕дуть лише стар╕(Only old guys go to war), Bykov plays Commander Maestro Tytarenko, who speaks poetically about his country: Here the sky is bluer and the grass is greener Tytarenko sings one of Bykovs favourite songs (it also happens to be the official song of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen) Ой, у луз╕ червона калина(In the meadow, a red kalyna), which Soviet censorship seems to have missed.

    Fact 7. The Ukrainian language dictionary was compiled by a teacher from Luhansk Oblast

    Borys Hrinchenko was invited by Khrystyna Alchevska to teach in Luhansk Oblast. He was also an editor of various Ukrainian periodicals and author of one of the first textbooks in the Ukrainian language, particularly Native Word, a reading manual for schools. He compiled the four-volume Словарь укра╖нсько╖ мови (Ukrainian Dictionary, 19071909), which was the most complete and lexically the most perfect Ukrainian dictionary at that time.

    Fact 8. Contemporary folk song of Luhansk and Donetsk: як степ широка (The wide steppe)
    The Ukrainian-Canadian group Balaklava Blues combines electronic music and folk songs, reproducing sounds and vibrations heard daily in the conflict zone. The band uses folk songs gathered from different villages of Luhansk and Donetsk, underlining that in these texts you will not hear a mixture of different surzhyks (mix of Ukrainian and Russian-Ed), but only literary Ukrainian.

    The musicians say that songs from Ukraines steppe regions sound deeper and broader in melody, the compositions are longer, unlike the songs of Western Ukraine, where you feel every mound and hill of the Carpathians.

    Fact 9. The Renaissance in the East
    Participants of a patriotic rally celebrating the 3rd anniversary of the liberation of Kramatorsk from Russian hybrid forces, Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, July 5, 2017

    According to volunteer and singer Anzhelika Rudnitska, the government-controlled territory of the Donbas is one of the most exciting places in Ukraine today, booming with an incredible number of new projects, theatres, folk arts, exhibitions, concerts and music festivals.

    Something tells me that eastern Ukraine is more patriotic than the rest of the country because they are bleeding and hurting, they are in tears and in pain. It seems to me that total Ukrainization will begin in the east. says Anzhelika.

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  • Hannia
    12 facts about the Donbas that you should know
    EUROMAIDAN PRESS RFE/RL Olha Stryzhova 2019/01/16 - 14:17

    The Donbas has never been Ukrainian!, Eastern Ukraine always bowed down low before the Soviet authorities!, Russian ideology continues to thrive in Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts!

    How many other stereotypes have we heard about these eastern regions of Ukraine?! This vision of the Donbas has been imposed throughout the country for years on end. Few people know that the OUN, the UNR army and local guerrilla groups opposed the Soviet regime and fought for the independence of Ukraine, that the Donbas rose up against collectivization, and dozens of Donbas farmers were labeled as kulaks and had their property confiscated.
    Fact 1. Strikes and protests against Soviet authorities in Donetsk Oblast
    An active anti-Soviet underground flourished in the Donbas. For example, the regional KGB was constantly on the look-out for anti-Soviet elements and activities, mentioned at secret meetings of the Donetsk regional committee of the communist party. In 1957, a miner was killed at a komsomol construction site in Khrestivka (now occupied by Russian-backed mercenaries, it used to be called Kirovske from 1956-2016, enemy militants still use this name). Soviet special services threw his unwashed body into a coffin that was too much too small and buried him hastily. As the mine administration had squandered the money for burial on liquor, so the miners revolted and called on the town inhabitants to protest. To suppress the strike and protests, Soviet troops were quickly deployed to the town and its surroundings.

    Fact 2. Home of the Sixtiers (Shistdesiatnyky)*, dissidents and founders of UNSO
    Люб╕ть Укра╖ну, як сонце люб╕ть (Love Ukraine, like the sun do love her). The poem was written by Volodymyr Sosiura, who was born in Debaltseve, Donetsk Oblast. Sosiura was forced to undergo reeducation at a factory in 1930-1931 and after WW2 he was labeled a nationalist and an enemy banderite. Many of Sosiuras poems were not published.

    *(The Shistdesiatnyky (Sixties) movement was a literary generation that began publishing in the second half of the 1950s, and played an important role in popularizing samvydav (samizdat) literature and, most of all, in strengthening the opposition movement against Russian state chauvinism and Russification. The members were completely silenced by mass arrests from 196572, and the movement died out at the beginning of the 1970s.-Ed.)

    Mykola Rudenko, co-founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, was arrested twice for his dissident activities. Author of the poem called Безсмертя нац╕╖ у слов╕ (The immortality of the nation lies in the Word), Rudenko was originally from Luhansk Oblast.

    Dissident Anatoliy Lupynis was born in Novooleksandrivka, Donetsk Oblast and spent his entire childhood in the region. He helped found the Ukrainian Human Rights Group Memorial and the Ukrainian Interparliamentary Assembly (UMA), which eventually became the Ukrainian National Assembly and the Ukrainian National Self-Defense Organization (UNSO).

    Vasyl Stus, Ukrainian poet, translator, literary critic, journalist, and active member of the Ukrainian dissident movement, spent most of his life in Donetsk. He refused Soviet citizenship because he did not want to be a slave, twice received harsh sentences for anti-Soviet propaganda, and died after a hunger strike on September 4, 1985 in a Soviet forced labour camp for political prisoners Perm-36.

    Contemporary blue-and-yellow Donbas has found its place in poetry, in the unforgettable verses of Serhiy Zhadan (born in Starobilsk, Luhansk Oblast), Oleksiy Chupa (born in Makiyivka, Donetsk Oblast) and Liubov Yakymchuk (born in Pervomaysk, Luhansk Oblast.

    Fact 3. Donbas women did not wear Russian-style sarafans (jumper dresses) and kokoshniki (head-dresses)
    Young ladies in national costumes in Yenakiyeve, Donetsk Oblast, 1924
    Young ladies in national costumes in Luhansk Oblast, 1900

    Today, Russian mercenaries occupying some territories of the Donbas continue saying that the region is basically Russian, referring even to traditional costumes and claiming that sarafans and kokoshniki have always been part of the Donetsk and Luhansk landscape.

    Definitely not! Donbas women used to wear different head-dresses such as headbands, ribbons, wreaths and scarves; they dressed in uniquely patterned embroidered shirts and dresses. Many photos from the beginning of the 20th century, and even several Soviet films testify to the fact that traditional Ukrainian costumes were widely popular in Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts.

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