June 30, 2015

Five years ago, on June 30, 2015, Refat Chubarov, the head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, spoke during a panel discussion, “Crimea: Memories, Reality and Vision,” at Ukraine Crisis Media Center in Kyiv, where he stressed to state policymakers on the importance of a strategy in returning Crimea to Ukraine.

“Strategy is not somebody’s whim or a word in fashion. Strategy drives many daily practical decisions. It provides direction on how we must protect the rights of Ukrainians who remain in Crimea,” Mr. Chubarov said.

Return to Yanukovych’s selective justice condemned as thousands protest plan to arrest Poroshenko

Former Soviet dissidents have added their voices to a strong statement protesting the ever-increasing criminal prosecutions brought against former President Petro Poroshenko. They consider these “selective justice and political persecution,” returning Ukraine to the times of Mr. Poroshenko’s predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych.

Their warning that this damages Ukraine’s image in the world was surely confirmed on June 18 by reports in the international media about the thousands who came to show support for Mr. Poroshenko at a court hearing that had initially been to seek his detention. The hearing was eventually adjourned until July 1, however concerns about selective justice are hardly allayed by the fact that the judge hearing the case is Serhiy Vovk, who gained notoriety under the Yanukovych regime for his role in the politically motivated prosecution and imprisonment of Yuriy Lutsenko.

A look at the founding of the Harvard Ukrainian Research institute

I read Thomas Prymak’s “The generation of 1919: Pritsak, Luckyj and Rudnyt­sky” (May 24) with considerable interest. I now write to make one rather important correction and to share a personal anecdote.

Whereas Dr. Prymak writes about it being the Ukrainian Canadian community that established the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, he writes that it was Prof. Omeljan Pritsak who “made a special mark by founding the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (HURI) and its journal Harvard Ukrainian Studies (HUS)…” Perhaps because Dr. Prymak is a Canadian, he might be less informed about the history of events in the U.S. Whereas the statement about Prof. Pritsak founding the journal is certainly accurate, the statement about HURI is only half true.

President Trump and coronavirus

Dear Editor:

This is in response to the letter to the editor titled “Has coronavirus become Trump’s Chornobyl?” by Andrij Skyba (June 7).

To equate Chornobyl with the coronavirus is like comparing apples and oranges. President Donald Trump did not cover up a disaster. He banned travel from China to the U.S.A. on January 31 amid protests from many political leaders. His travel ban saved many thousands of lives here in the U.S.A.

There was an impeachment going on at the time and the U.S. Congress completely ignored the approaching pandemic.

Thanks for reporting by Mark Raczkiewycz

Dear Editor:

I look forward with great pleasure to the reportage by Mark Raczkiewycz on events in the Chicago Ukrainian community. I have worked in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village most of my adult life, and can attest to the veracity and accuracy of Mr. Raczkiewycz’s articles. His stories (May 10, June 6, June 21) are not only spot on, but he captures the essential mood of the Village’s diverse community in these difficult times.

The Ukrainian Weekly is fortunate to have this competent reporter on board. He adds new breadth and dimension to the Weekly’s geographic coverage of Ukrainian events in the Midwest.

Musings on race

“Стихія” (stykhiya): it’s a wonderful Ukrainian word conveying an overwhelming elemental force of nature: a hurricane, drought, famine, locust infestation, forest fire, flood, plague. But it also has a social/political connotation characterizing as “стихія” a population erupting in massive, seemingly spontaneous actions: a national uprising, a revolution.

Ukrainian history is rife with these kinds of “стихії” (plural). For generations, peasants endured serfdom and national oppression until Bohdan Khmelnytsky in 1648 was moved to right a personal wrong and, to his astonishment, channeled pent-up rage to establish the first Ukrainian state since Kyivan Rus’. His statue dominates St. Sophia Square in Kyiv. More recently, we had the Orange Revolution in 2004-2005 and the Revolution of Dignity in 2013-2014 – both spontaneous, both transformative.

Why Ukrainians should support the Black Lives Matter movement

Ukrainians in the United States and elsewhere have much in common with African Americans. We can learn a lot about their shared struggle by comparing African American and Ukrainian history.

African American history in America

For over 350 years Black people endured the cruelty of slavery, racism and Jim Crow laws in America. Historians have estimated that of the over 10 million Africans that fell victim to the slave trade, between 300,000 and 400,000 were brought to the United States during the 17th and 18th centuries. One source points out that, outside of the traditional count of the slave trade, an additional 500,000 Africans also came against their will, under compulsion or duress, as indentured servants, or perished en route to America. Taken together, as many as 900,000 Africans were forced in a variety of ways to come to the United States, or perished along the way.

What do Russia, Antifa and Black Lives Matter have in common?

During the past several years, the Atlantic Council has been running reports on how Russian cyberwarfare and disinformation have been working overtime to undermine Western democracies in general, and Ukraine in particular. While Ukraine has been the target of Moscow’s attention, recently its tactics have evolved and shifted to exploit civil unrest in the United States.

The United States today is in the midst of an existential crisis that is tearing the country apart at its seams. Much of the harm is self-inflicted, but a good part is due to hostile outside players such as Russia and China sowing discord. The civic unrest and riots that rocked major cities across the United States in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing were aggravated by a radical movement known as Antifa and its collaborator Black Lives Matter. Although a relatively small segment of the demonstrators, these groups have created mayhem, causing incalculable property damage well beyond their small numbers.

Ukrainian pro sports update: basketball

Los Angeles Laker Kyle Kuzma jack-hammered a third-quarter dunk over Golden State Warriors’ Juan Toscano-Anderson in the third quarter of a February 26 NBA game, eliciting a raucous celebration from his two all-star teammates. LeBron James happened to be sitting on the Lakers’ bench in a black coat, while Anthony Davis was nearby after diving into the stands to save a loose ball from going out of bounds. The slam was “with authority” and emphatically emphasized Kuzma’s turnaround performance in the 116-86 win over Golden State.

Having unsuccessfully delivered consistent results in his role as a primary scoring option for much of the 2019-2020 season, the 24-year-old Ukrainian pumped in 18 points and helped build a lead big enough to rest L.A. starters the entire fourth quarter.

UNWLA branch in North Port holds virtual literary evening

NORTH PORT, Fla. – On Sunday, June 7, Branch 56 of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, which is based in North Port, Fla., broke the tedium of the coronavirus pandemic by hosting a literary evening. The branch did so safely and in full compliance with CDC guidelines by hosting the evening’s entertainment on an online platform, offering live virtual meetings with audio and video features.

The president of UNWLA Branch 56, Alexandra Popel, opened the event by welcoming all participants, which at times topped 80 guests. The participants joined the virtual program from around the world.