President's address on the occasion of observation of
the 75th anniversary of Holodomor 1932-1933 in Ukraine

Press office of President Victor Yushchenko
November 22, 2008

Dear Ukrainian nation,

Honorable guests,

Dear fellow countrymen,

President Yushchenko Holodomor 2008Seventy five years. The length of a normal human life. Atime that might have been filled with happiness, used for leaving a trace on this earth, for the continuation of one's family and life.

The following is a recollection from Savyntsi village in the Kyiv region: "In Vasyl Tanchyk's family, he and his wife died with their small baby still alive and holding tightly to its mother. So this infant was also taken to the cemetery and thrown into the grave and it sat there for a while in a corner of the grave until it was covered up with earth..."

In the twentieth century. In the heart of Europe. A human life was covered with black earth; our life, Ukrainian life.

When did it happen, Ukrainian nation, that your stars turned into bitter and black wormwood?

Four or three centuries before that?

When did it happen, Ukrainian nation, that your star bright eyes became black holes?

Eighty years ago? Or maybe seventy-five? Sixty-five? Or was it after the loss of state, famines, or wars?

As if in the Revelation to John, a biblical third of our soul, our kin, land, life, our memory was devoured by black apocalyptic stars.

Do we comprehend magnitude of this loss? Do we understand our responsibility? Do we understand that here lie the roots of our present being?

My words bear no sorrow or grief.

My words bear national pain.

My words bear the strength of a great nation.

This day unites millions. Thus death steps back.

We are alive. We are the state. We overcame.

We have defeated evil.

Today Ukraine and the world observe the 75th anniversary of the cruelest crime committed against our nation - the Holodomor of 1932-1933.

Today on the hills of the Dnipro we open a national sanctuary - the Memorial to Victims of Genocide.

After seventy-five years, the nation and state pay back our debts to our deceased brothers and sisters.

I am grateful to all my fellow countrymen and Ukrainians of the world, who have been seeking for, and restoring the truth about the Holodomor. I call upon you not to stop this blessed work.

I am grateful to the heads of states, to parliaments and governments, to international organizations and to the public for brotherly solidarity with us.

We uncover knowledge for ourselves and for the world, about one of the most horrendous catastrophes in the history of mankind, the one that we have suffered.

Its scale is unimaginable and immeasurable.

During the peak of the Holodomor, 25 thousand people died every day in our land.

Terror trough famine in Ukraine was a well-planned act of genocide. This fact is obvious.

Unlike other regions of the USSR, in Ukraine people were bereaved of everything to the last bit.

The territories of Ukraine and the Kuban, where Ukrainians were the majority, were surrounded by military units to kill the last bit of hope.

Regarding Ukraine, Stalin had only one aim: to subdue the peasantry, to exterminate the nation's elites and to break the spine of Ukrainians, who were the second largest ethnic group in the empire and potentially posed the biggest threat to it.

In front of me I have a document from those times. It is a death record for Andriy Ostapenko of May 13, 1933. "Cause of death - provide detail from: Ukrainian".

What was to be next? A clear field. As Italian consul in Kharkiv Sergio Gradenigo wrote, "colonization will transform the ethnographic character of Ukraine. It is possible that in the very near future neither Ukraine nor the Ukrainian nation will exist..."

Ukraine has survived. And Ukraine has overcome.

With brotherly respect and sympathy we bow our heads before all those who suffered from Stalin's regime as we did: before Russians, Belarusians, Kazakhs, Crimean Tatars, Moldovans, Jews, and dozens of other nations.

Our pain gives us strength and dignity.

We call upon all, and first of all upon the Russian Federation, to condemn the crimes of Stalinism and of the totalitarian Soviet Union, together, as true brothers who are honest and pure before each other.

We were together in this hell.

We reject arrogant, blasphemous lies that we accuse any nation of our tragedy. This is not so.

There is only one criminal. And that criminal is the imperial, communist, soviet regime.

Those who deny the Holodomor today and justify Stalin as a 'rational manner of government' put a black and doomed mark of evil upon themselves.

We condemn even the slightest attempts to justify the butchers of our nation.

We need truth, empathy and joint judgment over tortures of the past.

For Ukraine, the Memorial we are opening today is a symbol of our purification.

To this place leads a bright path from Mykhaylivska Square, where a sacred people's monument of remembrance stands.

To this place streams of people from everywhere flow; to this place all Ukrainian rivers flow, carried to the sea by the Dnipro.

Here, at this place, I want to say the innermost.

I pray to God for purification for our nation.

I ask forgiveness for all sins, conscious or not, that committed during a thousand years of history.

I ask for cleansing from evil and from the original sin of hostility between brothers, which always stood in our path towards a united and strong state.

I ask for cleansing from pride and betrayal.

I ask for cleansing from faith in idols and from accursed serfdom to others' capitals.

I ask for cleansing and liberation from fear, from that demon that prevents us from believing in our own strength, in our roots, in our own national ‘I' that was, and always is, born on this wonderful land.

To believe. Once and for all. For everyone.

Our stars turned into black and bitter wormwood when we lost ourselves, when we lost our dignity, our essence, when we allowed the fracturing and subduing our spirit.

From that point begins our weakness and disbelief in ourselves.

From that point begins our passiveness, our provincial humility and fear-produced, pseudo-ironic hidden disrespect, for national pride and national values.

What I say is not pathos. The nation should bear responsibility for its past, for every mistake imprinted on its brow.

Only through honesty with ourselves - no matter how painful it can be - only through our comprehension of belonging to all that is Ukrainian will we clear the path towards a new life and a new future.

Thus our victory comes to pass.

Victory of a united and eternal Ukraine.

Victory of the nation and the state over serfdom.

Victory of life over death.

Today is not only the Day of Remembrance.

Today is the Day of Freedom.

The Day of our greatest and most important Freedom from fear and the expectancy of impending doom.

From the darkest void the nation is able to return its light and create a miracle, which will prove before His eyes the it has the right to a free and happy life.

Because the light is here. It is in our hearts.

I believe deeply and firmly that if today a candle of remembrance lights up in our every window, we will understand the most important thing -

Our nation is back.

Our nation will live forever.

Let those who perished be remembered forever, Hail to Ukraine.