KERHONKSON, N.Y. – On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Soyuzivka Tennis Camp, more than 60 former campers, counselors, and friends gathered at the Soyuzivka Heritage Center during the weekend of October 1-2. Those who attended the camp came to reminisce about the good times they had and the friendships they made, as well as to honor those who made it possible. The highlight of the festivities was the banquet, which included a cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres, held on Saturday night. The atmosphere was happy, with smiling faces all around as people greeted each other with hugs and kisses. Commencing the program, Petrusia Sawchak talked about how the camp began, what it was like and how it evolved throughout the years.
Back on July 24, this newspaper’s front page carried a story headlined “Ukrainian American radiologist tapped as Ukraine’s deputy minister of health.” Our new correspondent in Kyiv, Mark Raczkiewycz, reported that Dr. Ulana Suprun – whom most readers will remember as director of humanitarian initiatives for the Ukrainian World Congress and director of the organization Patriot Defence (which has provided combat lifesaver training to Ukraine’s soldiers and has distributed tens of thousands of NATO-standard individual first aid kits to those on the battlefield) – had taken on this challenging new assignment. Then, on August 1, came the announcement that Dr. Suprun was now Ukraine’s acting minister of health. The new leader of the Health Ministry continues to care about saving the lives of Ukraine’s troops. In August, there was news that Dr. Suprun had accepted U.S. government donations of the first batch of field litter ambulances to Ukraine’s armed forces. “The army is short of armored vehicles for fast evacuation of injured soldiers to the hospitals where they can be treated by professional doctors,” Dr. Suprun noted, while expressing hope that, working together with their American partners, Ukrainian armed forces will continue to focus on medical training.
Thirteen years ago, on October 29, 2003, Ukrainian communities across the United States answered the call put forth by the Ukrainian World Congress to protest against Russia’s latest violation of Ukrainian sovereignty – the building of a dam from the Russian mainland to Tuzla Island in the Kerch Strait of the Black Sea. In Chicago, more than 300 people demonstrated at Daley Plaza at a protest that was organized by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America. UCCA Illinois Division President Orest Baranyk said the demonstration had a three-fold aim: “to condemn Russia’s effort to land-grab Ukraine’s Tuzla Island as well as Moscow’s threat to “use bombs” against Ukraine; to demand that the U.S. vehemently protest Moscow’s threat, particularly since America gave Ukraine assurances in 1992 that it would protect Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons to Russia; and to reinforce Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryschenko in his meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov in Kyiv on October 30. In New York City, protesters, including students of St. George Ukrainian Catholic School, members of the Ukrainian American Youth Association, Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization, the UCCA and the Organization for the Defense of Four Freedoms for Ukraine gathered at the Russian Mission to the United Nations.
Vladimir Putin and the country he heads are far weaker than Moscow propaganda suggests and, what is equally important, far weaker than many in Russia and the West think – the result of a successful combination of propaganda and dramatic action against those within his country and abroad who are intimidated or unwilling to stand up to him. And, while it would be a mistake to underestimate either, it is also a mistake to overrate Mr. Putin’s power and that of Russia because to do so gives him and it victories they do not deserve. Moreover, it leads the population of his country and the leaders of Western countries to underrate their own powers and to assume that there is little or nothing they can do. To fail to understand the weaknesses of Mr. Putin and those of Russia is to ignore one of the major drivers of the Kremlin leader’s behavior and thus to fail to anticipate or respond appropriately to Mr. Putin’s actions, which in the past and even now are driven less by his and Russia’s real strengths than by his and Russia’s profound weaknesses. Russian political scientist Dmitry Oreshkin says that Mr. Putin has nothing to offer his people to gain their support and to consolidate public opinion except “militaristic rhetoric and short victorious wars.” But the effect of those wars – and there have been three so far – quickly exhausts itself (apostrophe.ua/article/society/2016-10-15/u-putina-sereznyie-problemyi-emu-srochno-nujen-podvig/7760).
ByHalya Coyness / Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group |
October 16 was the 109th anniversary of the birth of Petro Grigorenko (1907-1987), Soviet general, Soviet dissident, victim of punitive psychiatry and defender of the Crimean Tatar people. His friend Mustafa Dzhemilev is now again in exile, and the Crimean Tatars are facing persecution in their homeland under Russian occupation. Grigorenko served as major general during World War II and could have remained a respected war hero to the end of his life. From 1961, he refused to be silent and paid a high price, first being subjected to repression and then exiled in 1980. From exile he continued to represent the Ukrainian Helsinki Group and remained a voice for those persecuted in the Soviet Union until his death on February 21, 1987.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) received the Shevchenko Freedom Award, the highest accolade awarded by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the nation’s largest representation of Ukrainians in America. As noted by the UCCA, the award, named after Ukraine’s poet-laureate and national hero Taras Shevchenko, is awarded to individuals who have displayed a remarkable understanding and given substantial assistance to the Ukrainian American community and the Ukrainian people. Sen. Portman, a co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, has persistently advocated for the United States to play a more active role in helping Ukraine stave off Russian aggression. The Shevchenko Freedom Award was presented in recognition of “his continued support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and for pursuing steadfast relations with Ukraine in recognition of its vital importance to trans-Atlantic peace and security.”
The senator released the following statement:
“I am honored to receive the Ukrainian community’s highest honor from the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America for my work to support Ukraine, the Ukrainian people and friends of Ukraine across the globe. I am proud of my long-established record of support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian American community, as well as for the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
TORONTO – Prof. Oleh Wolowyna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill spoke at a seminar titled “What we now know about the Holodomor: New research results” at the University of Toronto on September 15. His presentation addressed the results of research conducted in collaboration with a team of Ukrainian demographers at the Ptoukha Institute of Demography and Social Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Kyiv: Omelian Rudnytskyi, Nataliia Levchuk, Pavlo Shevchuk, Alla Kovbasiuk and Nataliia Kulyk. The event was sponsored by the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC) of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (University of Alberta) and the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine at the Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (University of Toronto). Prof. Wolowyna began by noting the progress achieved in the study of the Holodomor, particularly since the opening of Soviet-era archives some 25 years ago. However, much is still not known, and some common assumptions about the Famine have been shown to be inaccurate.
Despite the challenges of conducting excavations in Baturyn, Chernihiv Oblast, at a time of war, Ukrainian and Canadian archaeologists and historians have steadfastly proceeded with researching the town and publishing their findings. In 2015, about 45 students and scholars from the universities of Chernihiv and Hlukhiv, as well as the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy took part in the annual Baturyn excavations. Last summer, the expedition grew to some 70 members from these institutions and Sumy State University. It was led by archaeologist Yurii Sytyi of Chernihiv National University. Archaeologist Dr. Volodymyr Mezentsev of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies (CIUS) at the University of Alberta is the Canadian executive director of the Baturyn archaeological project.
• Ukraine’s junior women’s fencing foil team finished in fourth place at the Timisoara Foil Junior World Cup team tournament in Timisoara, Romania, on September 10. Ukraine earned 36 points, and in the third-place match lost 36-45 against Japan. • Ukraine’s men’s epee team won bronze after defeating Switzerland 45-31 in the third-place match at the European Championships in Torun, Poland, that concluded on June 25. Ukraine’s men’s saber team finished in 10th place, the women’s epee team finished in eighth place, and the women’s foil team finished in seventh place. Gymnastics
• Ihor Radivilov’s signature maneuver was accepted by the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), along with four other skills in men’s gymnastics, for consideration by its Men’s Technical Committee at the Olympic Games.
Three Ukrainians selected in first round of 2016 NHL draft
The theme of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft held in Buffalo, N.Y., on June 24-25 was first-round Ukrainian bloodlines. Matthew Tkachuk, son of Keith Tkachuk, Jakob Chychrun, son of Jeff Chychrun, and Kieffer Bellows, son of Brian Bellows, were all selected in the first round – three famous Ukrainian sons drafted in the top 19 selections. Seeing a Ukrainian prospect go in the first round of the NHL draft is becoming an annual tradition. (On a personal note, quite a thrill for this hockey fanatic to be writing about second-generation Ukrainian hockey stars-in-the-making after chronicling the careers of their dads. No way of getting around the fact yours truly has been around the rink a few hundred times in the past few decades.)