The Ukrainian World Congress issued the following statement on May 18. May 18, 2017, marks the 73rd anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars from Crimea in 1944 on the order of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. On this day, declared in 2015 as the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar people by the Parliament of Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tatars were deported from the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine to various regions of the Soviet Union, with close to half perishing either during the journey or within a year of being exiled. The Crimean Tatars returned to the peninsula in 1987, and in March 2014 once again faced persecution, and the curtailment of human rights and fundamental freedoms with the illegal occupation of the peninsula by the Russian Federation. The representative assembly, Crimean Tatar Mejlis, remains banned by the occupying Russian authorities, having been branded as an extremist organization.
There is an old saying: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. It’s been a long time since the world order has hovered on the brink as it is doing now. In the European Union, some members are leaving, while others are reversing course from open societies to insular ones. North Korea is flexing its nuclear power. The Middle East is chronically unsteady, while Palestine and Israel are geometrically apart on a settlement.
“Today, we commemorate the 73rd anniversary of deportation of Crimean Tatars from their historic homeland – Crimea. We remember with compassion other ethnic groups of Crimea that faced this challenge: Germans, Greeks, Armenians, Bulgarians, Karaites and others. …Deportation is a crime without a statute of limitations and criminals who cold-bloodedly planned this act of genocide are not eligible for forgiveness. … “In 2014, shortly before the 70th anniversary of [this] deportation, post-Soviet but still authoritarian Russia annexed Ukrainian Crimea.
Many thanks to Eugene Stakhiv for the very interesting and informative article on “Ukraine’s technological ‘fingerprints’ ” (April 8). It is indeed important for us to realize the many contributions that Ukrainians have made to the world of science. I would like to add the name of one more remarkable Ukrainian physicist, who among other notable scientific accomplishments, also happened to translate the Bible into Ukrainian. Recently I was perusing a book on unusual short stories on “science and life,” with the interesting title of “The Kindly Dr. Guillotine” by the biophysicist Harold J. Morowitz. In his chapter on “Continuing Education,” he describes his long quest to find out more about the co-discoverer of X-rays, the Ukrainian physicist Johann (Ivan) Puluj.
UNITED NATIONS – More than 100 people gathered at the United Nations headquarters in New York to hear Prof. Timothy Snyder, who was the guest speaker at a discussion on May 16 that was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the U.N. He was introduced by Yuri Vitrenko, charge d’affairs of the mission, and Prof. Snyder thanked the guests and former ambassadors of Ukraine to the U.N. in attendance – Yuri Sergeyev and Valeriy Kuchinsky. Opening the talk, “A Dialogue with Timothy Snyder about Ukraine,” Dr. Snyder discussed the parallels between the lessons of the 20th century and his latest best-selling book, “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.” But he also noted the difference between historians and diplomats – historians do not need to be diplomatic, constantly talk about the past and how Ukraine is a prime example of a country still overcoming tyranny. From the framework of colonization versus de-colonization, in light of the contributing factors that led to the first world war, Dr. Snyder noted the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire, the Hapsburgs and others that saw the rise of national identity across Europe. But in the case of Ukraine, it had no sustainable state boundaries recognized by the international order of the time. By 1923, the USSR had incorporated Ukraine into its structures and there would be an internal policy of colonization, first under Lenin and then under Stalin.
ByChristopher Guly / Special to The Ukrainian Weekly |
OTTAWA – The design for a Victims of Communism memorial in Ottawa submitted by Ukrainian Canadian architect Wiktor Moskaliuk’s team topped one independent poll as the public favorite, but didn’t fare as well in a survey led by the Canadian government, which likely gave the design of another team, without a Ukrainian connection, the edge in winning the competition. On May 17, the Canadian government announced that a five-person jury it assembled had selected the design by a team led by Toronto architect Paul Raff. Called “Arc of Memory,” Team Raff’s concept involves a sculptural array of more than 4,000 bronze rods arranged along 365 stainless steel fins configured into a gigantic arc, and is “intended as a dynamic living calendar that would commemorate moments of suffering and injustice that eventually resolve into reflection and gratitude,” according to a news release by Canadian Heritage, the government department that oversaw the design competition. Mr. Moskaliuk’s team included Washington, D.C.-based Ukrainian American architect Larysa Kurylas and landscape architect Claire Bedat, also based in the U.S. capital. Based on the results of an online Canadian Heritage poll, conducted in March and after the winning design was revealed, Team Raff scored the highest in overall favorability with 23 percent; Team Moskaliuk received 14 percent, or the second-lowest score among the five competing firms.
The results are based on a “regionally and linguistically representative” sample of 500 of the 717 surveys received.
EDMONTON, Alberta – Approximately 40 people attended the University of Alberta symposium on “Crisis and Identity: Cultural and Linguistic Perspectives on Ukraine and its Diaspora” held on March 21. Organized by Alla Nedashkivska, lead researcher of the Nationalities, Culture and Language Policies Cluster of the Research Initiative on Democratic Reforms in Ukraine (RIDRU), the day offered three sessions with two speakers and one discussant. In the first session, Marianna Novosolova of Dresden Technical University offered a detailed analysis of several war poems providing evidence of the distancing of Ukrainian and Russian identities as a result of the war. The audience welcomed future research about the Russian perspective and a comparison between it and that of Ukrainians. Irene Sywenky of the University of Alberta noted that, despite the Chornobyl disaster and its political significance (e.g., resulting in the Green Party), there is little in contemporary Ukrainian literature about the environment, particularly in contrast to the Romantic poets.
• Elina Svitolina won the Italian Open tournament in Rome on May 20-21 after winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 against Simona Halep of Romania in the final. Svitolina is ranked by the WTA in sixth place amongst the best tennis players in women’s singles. In the 2016-2017 tour, Svitolina tops the rankings, and with her fourth major title win this season, she leads the tour with 31 match wins. In the quarterfinal, Svitolina won 6-3, 7-6(9) against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic. Svitolina is set to play in the Roland Garros tournament, known as the French Open, that begins on May 27 and ends on June 11.
BRUSSELS – The European Union’s decision granting visa liberalization for Ukraine has been published in the EU’s official journal, paving the way for the visa-free regime to enter into force on June 11, 20 days after its publication on May 22. The document was signed on May 17 in Strasbourg by representatives of the European Parliament and the European Council. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who attended the signing ceremony, called it a historic day for the nation. “It is an absolutely historic day for Ukraine, for my 45-million nation, and I am absolutely confident that this is a historic day for the European Union,” Mr. Poroshenko said at the time, adding that “Ukraine returns to the European family. Ukraine says a final farewell to the Soviet and Russian empire.” Ukrainian citizens who have biometric passports will be able to enter all EU member states other than Ireland and the United Kingdom without a visa and stay for up to 90 days during any 180-day period.
OSPREY, Fla. – At the celebration of Earth Day on April 22 at Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey, Fla., the Ukrainian community of southwest Florida had an exhibit about the Chornobyl nuclear disaster that took place 31 years ago on April 26, 1986. The exhibit consisted of books about Chornobyl by prominent scholars, a fact sheet about Chornobyl and a fact sheet about Ukraine prepared by Nellia Lechman and Vira Bodnaruk. Members of Branch 56 of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America who volunteered to be present to give information to the many visitors that day were: Lesia Popel, Areta Baranowskyj, Anna Macilienski, Christyna Sheldon and Lida Hausman. Also present were Dr. Bohdan Bodnaruk, Ostap Macilienski and Tom Hausman.
NEW YORK – The regular general meeting of the New York Branch of the Selfreliance Association of American Ukrainians (SRAAU) was held on Sunday, April 2. The meeting was significant because it was held on the 70th anniversary of its founding in 1947 by post-war Ukrainian immigrants coming to the U.S.
Ever since its establishment, the association has worked for the good of the Ukrainian American community, including by providing social service programs for the elderly and newly arrived emigrants as well as sponsoring the Self Reliance School of Ukrainian Studies. The Selfreliance Association of American Ukrainians Inc. is also the initiator of an organization of Ukrainian professionals in the U.S. as well as the Self Reliance Ukrainian Federal Credit Unions. The branch president, Natalia Duma, opened the meeting by welcoming the attendees and the president of the SRAAU board of directors, Oleh Lopatynsky. An invocation was offered by the Rev. Artemiy Novitsky, OSBM, and a minute of silence honored the memory of deceased members.
EAST CHATHAM, N.Y. – While Vovcha Tropa Plast Camp took a much-deserved rest in its natural splendor during the fall, winter and spring months, members of the Regional Camp Commission (known as OTK, for its Ukrainian name, Okruzhna Taborova Komisiya) never afforded themselves a respite. After cleaning and winterizing the camp facilities and grounds in the late summer and fall, OTK quickly switched gears and initiated its planning process for this summer’s camp season. To start, OTK held board elections on December 3, 2016. After thorough reporting, audit and a vote of confidence granted to the outgoing board, the following were elected for the next two years: Taras Popel, president; Adrianna Knihnicky, vice-president, camps; Joe Patti, vice-president, facilities; Larissa Popel, secretary; Dan Bojcun, treasurer; Mark Turczan, inventory officer; and Daria Patti, administrator. Each elected board member forms a committee of volunteers who serve an array of functions, ranging from registration, medical affairs, counselor staffing and training to finances, communications, facility maintenance, inventory and boutique.
KYIV – President Petro Poroshenko touted Ukraine’s deepening integration with the European Union and fielded questions about law and order, corruption, progress on reforms and his businesses on May 14 during his first news conference in 16 months. Speaking of the EU’s decision to waive visa requirements on May 11, the president said: “Only crazy people can consider Ukraine to be part of the so-called ‘Russian world.’ Ukraine is part of a united Europe stretching from Lisbon to Kharkiv. For three years Russia has tried everything to block Ukraine’s path towards the EU. But nothing will stop our path to Europe.”
He said that on May 17 he will visit Strasbourg, where the Council of Europe is located, to attend a signing ceremony of the visa-free travel legislation on the back of a working visit to Malta on May 16. Mr. Poroshenko, 51, will also start a series of meetings with the leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, starting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on May 20.
KYIV – Portugal was the top vote-getter in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, the annual festival traditionally watched by a television audience of an estimated 200 million people. Some 4 million people watched the contest’s grand final, breaking previous records, according to the official website of Eurovision 2017. Singer Salvador Sobral was declared the winner early on May 14 in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, giving Portugal its first victory since it initially entered the contest in 1964. The winner was determined by a combination of points awarded by national juries and voting by telephone and text message from participant countries. The winning song was titled “Amar Pelos Dois,” written and composed by the singer’s sister, Luisa Sobral.