Samopomich delegation visits U.S. for meetings with officials, institutions

WASHINGTON – A delegation of members of Samopomich (Self-Reliance), a growing influential minority political party in Ukraine, came to the United States in early March to promote their country’s needs and interests with representatives of the U.S. government, international organizations and interested U.S. political and Ukrainian institutions. The visit began in New York City, where the Samopomich party’s founder and leader, Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi, had a discussion at the Ukrainian Institute of America with representatives of the city’s Ukrainian community. He also met with the New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio, reportedly discussing issues involving this country’s political support for Ukraine. Mayor Sadovyi then traveled to Washington, where, along with his party’s deputy speaker in the Verkhovna Rada, Oksana Syroid, the party’s leader in the Rada, Oleh Bereziuk, and Rada member Serhiy Kiral, they held meetings with officials at the U.S. State Department, the International Monetary Fund, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute. Commenting after his meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs A. Wess Mitchell, Mr. Sadovyi noted that the message he heard was “very clear”: passing the anti-corruption court law was crucial, and that this will affect how the U.S. and the West will support Ukraine in the future.

Ukrainians in Washington remember the Heavenly Hundred of the Euro-Maidan

WASHINGTON – A mass gathering of Ukrainian Americans with large and small Ukrainian flags in hand occupied a portion of the steps in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall February 18 to commemorate the Heavenly Hundred who were killed four years ago in Kyiv while protesting the pro-Russian government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

This now-annual event was organized by the Embassy of Ukraine and four Ukrainian American organizations, United Help Ukraine, Razom for Ukraine, the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and U.S.-Ukrainian Activists, whose representatives addressed the gathering, and the thousands of tourists walking by that Sunday afternoon.

Anne Applebaum honored with Antonovych Award

WASHINGTON – Anne Applebaum, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist and commentator, who has spent most of her career writing about the historic developments in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and Russia, was honored with the 2017 Omelan and Tatiana Antonovych Foundation Award for her work and its effect on Ukraine.

Gerdan opens Washington Group Cultural Fund’s music series

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Washington Group Cultural Fund launched its 2017-2018 Music Series on September 24 with a concert by Gerdan, an ensemble already known and greatly appreciated by audiences from its earlier performances in the greater Washington capital area. This time it was an all-Ukrainian program of classical, folk and ethnic jazz/fusion music. And after the loud and emphatic standing ovation at the conclusion of this concert at the historic Lyceum museum in Alexandria, Va., there was no doubt that members of the audience will return to enjoy Gerdan the next time the ensemble performs in this area. The Cultural Fund’s co-director Laryssa Courtney described this Washington-based ensemble named for a Carpathian mountain necklace in her introductory remarks, noting that a Gerdan performance is always “dazzling.”

The trio – violinist and soprano Solomia Gorokhivska, flutist Andrei Pidkivka and pianist Daniel May – began the first half of the program with six well-known traditional Ukrainian folklore pieces.

Washington events focus on Ukraine and the importance of U.S. support

WASHINGTON – U.S. relations with and future support for Ukraine was the focus of two important gatherings in the nation’s capital held in recent days.

The first, a massive reception held September 12 in the very spacious hall of the U.S. Institute of Peace, was hosted by the Embassy of Ukraine to mark the 26th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence and the upcoming 26th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with the United States.

Oleh Krysa returns to D.C. area

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The renowned Ukrainian American violinist Oleh Krysa returned to the U.S. capital area on May 21, and an enthusiastic audience welcomed him back after his seven-year absence from The Washington Group Cultural Fund music series at the historic Lyceum, in Old Town Alexandria, Va. Accompanying him was pianist Irina Lupines, his colleague from the Eastman School of Music, where they are teaching the next generations of this world’s aspiring violinists and pianists. Introducing the artists, the founding director of the TWG Cultural Fund, Laryssa Courtney, asked all in attendance to dedicate that afternoon’s concert “to the memory of a very accomplished and lovely pianist, Tatiana Tchekina,” Mr. Krysa’s wife, who accompanied him at his last TWGCF performance at the Lyceum in 2010, but died three years later in a tragic auto accident in Rochester, N.Y.

“She is missed not only by her family and her friends, but also by her students – she was a professor of the Eastman School – and by the entire music community,” Ms. Courtney said. The concert began with Mr. Krysa performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Ciaccona” from Partita No.

Atlantic Council panel discusses Ukraine from the Holodomor to the Donbas war

WASHINGTON – For those in the U.S. capital area actively interested in finding a resolution to the dire situation Ukraine and other countries find themselves in because of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pursuit of military aggression and an active disinformation policy, the Atlantic Council think tank discussion “Connecting Ukraine’s Past and Present – from Holodomor to the War in Donbas,” was a great step forward to a better understanding of how and why that situation developed as it did and what needs to be done to resolve it. The panel and open discussion on February 21, moderated by Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Timothy Fairbank, included Michael Sawkiw, director of the Ukrainian National Information Service; Naphtali Rivkin, a research fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation; Nadia McConnell, president of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation; and John Herbst, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and now director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. As Mr. Sawkiw pointed out in his opening remarks, Russia’s use of disinformation is not something new. He noted that French writer Marquis de Custine, who traveled to Russia often in the mid-1800s, indicated in his book “Letters from Russia”: “Russia lies, Russia denies the facts, makes war on the evidence, and wins.”

And that “informational war” continues today, Mr. Sawkiw said. The Soviets denied until the 1980s – about the time when Ukrainian Americans started raising the issue in this country – that Stalin launched the Holodomor, the artificially created famine in the 1930s that killed millions of Ukrainians.

Demonstrators in Washington recall life and work of Boris Nemtsov

WASHINGTON – On Sunday, February 26, United Help Ukraine Vice-President Oksana Osipova joined with U.S.-Ukraine Foundation President Nadia McConnell and representatives of Russian, Belarusian, Baltic and American organizations and addressed the group of people that gathered across the street from the Russian Embassy in Washington to commemorate the life and work of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian politician, statesman, outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his undemocratic and authoritarian regime, and an outspoken supporter of Ukraine. Two years ago, on February 27, 2015, Nemtsov was assassinated in Moscow near the Kremlin. The Magnitsky Act Initiative and the Free Russia Foundation have outspokenly stated that the Putin regime is responsible for his murder. Nemtsov had compiled an extensive report detailing the takeover of Crimea by Russian troops and their participation with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. He supported Ukraine’s sovereignty, visited the Maidan in Kyiv and addressed at a mass gathering in Moscow denouncing Russian aggression in Ukraine.