Back on July 31, I formally gave notice that I would be retiring as editor-in-chief of The Ukrainian Weekly and Svoboda, the Ukrainian National Association’s two official publications, as of December 1. That time has now come. This is my last issue. As I write this farewell, I am filled with sadness, but also with appreciation and pride for the work the UNA’s newspapers have done and, I have no doubt, will continue to do.
Forty-three years is a serious chunk of time to fit into 70-plus lines in an editorial… It’s an impossible task. Let me just say that during those more than four decades at The Weekly, and the last 13 at Svoboda as well, our editorial staffs produced issues every week without fail in a most professional manner. We met our deadlines no matter what – whether it be the nuclear accident at Chornobyl in 1986 or the proclamation of Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on 9/11 in 2001, the Orange Revolution of 2004-2005 or the Euro-Maidan/Revolution of Dignity of 2013-2014.
During those years, we covered multifarious developments within our Ukrainian community in North America; U.S., Canadian and other international developments that affect Ukraine and Ukrainians; and, of course, the major news from Ukraine. If you are a subscriber to this paper, you’ve lived through an unbelievable period of history along with us. Our work has been detailed in annual reports to the UNA General Assembly and in quadrennial reports to UNA conventions; it has been highlighted in our annual Year in Review issues. However, there are some achievements of which we’re particularly proud that I’d like to note here.
In 1983, The Weekly published a special issue on the Great Famine of 1932-1933 with the aim of promoting awareness of the Holodomor among non-Ukrainians – especially among public officials and the media – as well as to remind Ukrainians of this genocide. The issue went through several printings; over 40,000 copies were printed and disseminated. In 1984, we released an 88-page compilation of articles titled “The Great Famine in Ukraine: The Unknown Holocaust” that was sent to subscribers, members of the U.S. Congress, the news media and others. It was The Weekly that advocated most strongly for the establishment in 1985 of the U.S. Commission on the Ukraine Famine. All of the foregoing was in keeping with the reason our newspaper was founded in 1933: to tell English-language readers the truth about the Famine raging in Ukraine.
In January 1991, we opened a full-time Kyiv Press Bureau. Thus, our reporters were on the ground before Ukraine re-established its independence in August of that year. In 2000-2001, we released our two-volume “The Ukrainian Weekly 2000,” a compilation of stories about the major events covered by this paper since its founding through the 1990s, thus bringing the century (and the millennium) to a close. In 2001, we released “Ukraine Lives!” Dedicated to the 10th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, it featured historic articles published in The Weekly about that historic chapter in our nation’s history.
Thanks to the work of our tech wizard and webmaster Ihor Pylypchuk, our newspapers’ websites contain digitized versions of every single issue published since Svoboda’s establishment in 1893 and The Weekly’s in 1933. Imagine, all the issues of both papers published since their founding can be read by interested persons around the world!
And there is so much more that was accomplished…
None of it could have been done without our editorial staffers. That’s why I’m proud to list their names: co-editor Ihor Dlaboha in the early years; the late Helen Smindak, who came to fill in when Mr. Dlaboha left; and all the valuable editorial staffers who followed: Ika Koznarska Casanova, George Zarycky, the late Marta Kolomayets, Natalia Dmytrijuk, Michael Bociurkiw, Natalia Feduschak, Chrystyna Lapychak, Khristina Lew, Tamara Tershakovec, Roman Woronowycz, Andrij Wynnyckyj, Irene Jarosewich, Andrew Nynka (yes, the very Andrew Nynka who has been tapped as the UNA newspapers’ next editor-in-chief) and Matthew Dubas. I can’t thank them enough.
Ours was always a small but dedicated staff, composed of editors who took pride in their work, were true professionals and were dedicated to the Ukrainian community and nation. And there were also production staff members, our newspapers’ administration, part-timers, summer interns, correspondents in the U.S., Canada and Ukraine, columnists and community activists – too numerous to list, but no less appreciated. Lest we forget, there was the print shop crew that printed and mailed the UNA’s publications for many, many years, until the shop was shuttered and their work was outsourced in 1998.
Thanks are due also to the credit unions who have been our strongest financial supporters after the UNA, and to all who donate to our press funds and the UNA Publications Endowment Fund. We are grateful also to the devoted readers who have supported our work with their subscriptions – many of them for decades.
Speaking for my fellow editors, I want to underline that we are honored to be an essential part of the UNA’s long history of fraternal service. I personally thank the Ukrainian National Association and all the people with whom I’ve worked for giving me this unparalleled opportunity to serve the Ukrainian nation through the UNA’s two newspapers.
I wish my esteemed and dear colleagues, including our newspapers’ new editor-in-chief, much success, enthusiasm, fortitude and patience as they begin yet another new chapter in the history of Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly.
Respectfully and fraternally,