KYIV – Among the first people to pinpoint that Russia engages in lies on an industrial scale packaged as actual news was Yevhen Fedchenko, 41, director of the Mohyla School of Journalism.
He and his colleagues noticed the practice during the Revolution of Dignity that ended in February 2014. That month, disgraced Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia after leaving behind a dry treasury and a graft-infested, dysfunctional government, along with 100 civilians killed by his law enforcement personnel.
ByChristopher Guly / Special to The Ukrainian Weekly |
OTTAWA – Canada’s Official Opposition Conservative Party has joined the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) in calling for a Canadian-led United Nations peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine.
“The defense of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should be a priority for Canada’s government on the international stage,” said Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer on November 9 when he announced that a Conservative-led Canadian government would call for such a mission that “would allow Ukraine to restore control over its eastern border with Russia” and ensure the Russian military stays out of Ukraine.
SOMERSET, N.J. – Preserving and making accessible the rich collections of Ukrainian American archives and museum collections was the focus of a three-day conference titled “Conservation and Preservation” held by the Ukrainian Heritage Consortium of North America (UHCNA) that took place October 27-29. The conference provided a unique opportunity for member organizations to get exposure to professional-level museum, archive and library procedures.
According to the chief of the General Staff of Russia, Valery Gerasimov, in the last five years Russia has profoundly increased its military presence in key regions of the world, in some areas “reaching the level of the Soviet Union” (Vpk.name, November 9). Speaking on November 7, Russia’s top-ranking military official devoted significant attention to Crimea, which Moscow had forcibly annexed from Ukraine in spring 2014.
WASHINGTON – Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), and Chris Smith (R-N.J.) on November 8 announced the formation of the Victims of Communism Caucus for the 115th Congress (2017-2019).
The Victims of Communism Caucus is a bipartisan group of members of Congress dedicated to raising awareness of how communism victimized and enslaved more than 100 million people in the past and how its tyranny in the five existing Communist countries – China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam – and its legacy in the post-Soviet sphere shapes international relations today.
Billed as “A Concert for Unity,” the November 13 performance at the Washington National Cathedral of the Mariinsky Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev, with pianist Denis Matsuev, drew peaceful protesters who carried placards and distributed leaflets pointing out that Messrs. Gergiev and Matsuev were among the Russian cultural activists who in 2014 signed a public letter in support of President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Crimea and Russian annexation of that Ukrainian territory. Among the protesters was Alexa Chopivsky, executive director of The American Center for a European Ukraine. Security guards asked Ms. Chopivsky to leave the cathedral grounds, but she insisted she had a right to be there as a member of the National Cathedral community (she had attended a private all-girls’ school affiliated with the cathedral). Security then summoned police, who arrested Ms. Chopivsky, handcuffing her and taking her to the police station.
With the recent passing on October 12 of Prof. Natalia Ishchuk Pazuniak, our American community lost one of the last experts in the field of the Ukrainian language and its history. She was also a pillar of the Ukrainian community in Philadelphia, and belonged to numerous organizations, continuing the tradition of her ancestors. Through her maternal line, she was a descendant of the Polubotok, Myloradovych, Skoropadsky and Shulhyn old Ukrainian lines; it was her great-great aunt Yelysaveta Myloradovych who provided the funds for the Shevchenko Scientific Society, when it was established in 1873. This tradition of cultural and community activism greatly influenced Prof. Pazuniak’s life and choices. She was born on February 24, 1922, in Kyiv, where the Shulhyns were among the leading families in the Ukrainian cultural and political life.
The centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution was marked in various ways around the globe. For example, as noted by RFE/RL, the Russian Communist Party on November 7 staged a celebratory march in Moscow, while in the Baltic states, the date was not marked at all. In Ukraine, the date is solemn and sorrowful, as it recalls more than seven decades of Communist Party rule, oppression, the Gulag and murder on an enormous scale. The number of Ukrainian victims of Soviet repression cannot be fully known; millions died in the Holodomor of 1932-1933. In The Washington Post, columnist Marc A. Thiessen wrote: “The death toll of communism, cited in ‘The Black Book of Communism,’ is simply staggering: In the USSR, nearly 20 million dead; China, 65 million; Vietnam, 1 million; Cambodia, 2 million; Eastern Europe, 1 million; Africa, 1.7 million; Afghanistan, 1.5 million; North Korea: 2 million (and counting).
Seventy years ago, on November 23, 1947, the Chicago Tribune Press Service’s correspondent Hal Foust, reported about a 21-year-old Ukrainian partisan fighter named Olga, who with a small troop of seven male fighters had recently surrendered to the U.S. authorities in the occupied zone of Germany. She did not want to identify herself further because her relatives in Ukraine would be likely enslaved or killed by the Reds because of her deeds. “Her five-foot figure may lack that ‘new look’ but it has the old-fashioned charm of sturdy capabilities. Olga, the daughter of the Kozaks, is an unwilling citizen of Russia, detained by the United States occupation army for possible repatriation. If sent back home, executed as a rebel probably would be her fate. She has been a combatant in the little-publicized guerrilla fighting behind the Iron Curtain which she and her thousands of co-belligerent describe as their war for Ukraine independence from the Kremlin,” Mr. Foust wrote.
The following Joint Legislative Resolution was adopted by the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly on November 7. The text of the resolution was provided by the office of Sen. Anthony R. Bucco. His co-sponsors were Assemblymen Anthony M. Bucco and Michael Patrick Carroll.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress issued the following release on November 11 for Remembrance Day. On November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m., the guns of Europe fell silent and peace returned to the continent after four years of war. Each year on this date, Canadians gather from coast to coast to honor the brave men and women who fought with valor in defense of liberty on so many battlefields throughout the history of our country. Today, we pause to remember our soldiers, who have served defending our way of life and who serve today in the Canadian Armed Forces. From Passchendaele to Normandy to Korea to Afghanistan, Canadians have fought with honor and courage so that we may be free.
Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea was the first time since the second world war that one sovereign nation has forcibly taken territory from another in Europe. Since then, Russia has fomented conflict in the Donbas, repeatedly violated the national airspace of several European countries, and mounted a sustained campaign of cyber espionage and disruption. This has included meddling in elections, and hacking the Danish Ministry of Defense and the Bundestag, among many others. It is seeking to weaponize information. Deploying its state-run media organizations to plant fake stories and photo-shopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions.
As Canada’s minister of national defense, I am proud that the past year has seen increased coordination and cooperation between the Canadian and Ukrainian governments. Having just returned from my second trip to Ukraine, I am pleased to share with Canadians the way our governments are continuing to work together. In March, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and I announced the extension of Operation UNIFIER, ensuring Canadian soldiers will continue to train members of the Ukrainian armed forces. As of September 1, the Canadian Armed Forces’ Joint Task Force-Ukraine has trained more than 5,580 Ukrainian soldiers in over 140 courses. The opportunities for learning on both sides are paying off, as soldiers from each country benefit from the knowledge and experiences of the other.
The most egregious aspect of this whole sordid episode is that Russia 2018 will be the first time the World Cup finals will be hosted by a country that is under sanctions for invading a neighbor. As new crises arise with the frequency and intensity of early autumn’s Atlantic hurricanes, the international community must not be distracted from pre-existing problems. North Korea, in particular, may pose an existential threat in its neighborhood and beyond, while ethnic cleansing in Myanmar and the Kurdish and Catalan referenda could still ignite serious tensions. Yet, as U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence recently reiterated, Russia continues to undermine its neighbors’ sovereignty. The Kremlin shows no signs of a serious commitment to its obligations regarding Ukraine. In short, Russia remains a very real revisionist threat to the international order.
WASHINGTON – The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation has announced the launching of its Biotechnology Initiative, which will support the advancement of biotechnology in Ukraine. The program is supported by an initial gift of $250,000 by a foundation donor, Irene Hoffman. The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation is a publicly supported 501(c)(3), not-for-profit non-governmental organization established in 1991 to support democracy, a free market and human rights for Ukraine. Over the course of 26 years, the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, with offices in Washington and Kyiv has directed over $43 million to build peace and prosperity through shared democratic values in programs focusing on economic development, education, health and humanitarian aid, and public policy. Discussions have already been taking place with Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly with the intent of maximizing efforts for the initiative and helping Ukraine focus on its specialization development strategy for biotechnology.