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Year in review (by The Ukrainian Weekly) 1988

Year in review (by The Ukrainian Weekly) 1988

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www.ukrweekly.com The Ukrainian Weekly was founded in 1933 to serve the Ukrainian American community and to function as a vehicle for communication of that community's concerns to the general public in the United States. Today the English-language newspaper publishes news about Ukraine and Ukrainians around the world; its readership, though mostly North American, is worldwide. The Ukrainian Weekly's editorial offices are in Parsippany, NJ. It is published by the Ukrainian National Association, a fraternal benefit life insurance society, based in Parsippany, NJ. Read more at www.ukrweekly.com
www.ukrweekly.com The Ukrainian Weekly was founded in 1933 to serve the Ukrainian American community and to function as a vehicle for communication of that community's concerns to the general public in the United States. Today the English-language newspaper publishes news about Ukraine and Ukrainians around the world; its readership, though mostly North American, is worldwide. The Ukrainian Weekly's editorial offices are in Parsippany, NJ. It is published by the Ukrainian National Association, a fraternal benefit life insurance society, based in Parsippany, NJ. Read more at www.ukrweekly.com

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Published by: The Ukrainian Weekly on Feb 08, 2013
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Human rights and national movements in USSR
It was during 1988 that the worldwitnessed the dramatic emergenceof the question of national rights inthe USSR into the forefront of human rights issues: a problem thathas quickly developed into a majorchallenge to Soviet leader MikhailGorbachev's experiment in democratization and restructuring.Indeed the world had not seensuch a surge of independent political activity amid what was alwaysbelieved to be a passive, repressed society in the Soviet Union. Inheer numbers, even the independent activity of the Khrushchevyears paled In comparison to themasses of people in various republics that expressed their long-suppressed hopes for much-neededchange in regard to policies affecting nationalities.A general atmosphere of changein the Soviet Union as well as theachievements (however limited) ofthe bold national movements inArmenia and in the Baltic republicsset the stage for the eruption ofnational rights activity by variousunofficial groups into a mass movement, mostly in western Ukraine -though there were rumblings in themore Russified eastern Ukraine.National rights activity during1988 took its most radical form
theBaltic states, in Armenia and later inGeorgia, where popular fronts andalternative political parties wereformed and quickly moved theirgoals from the issue of nationalautonomy and sovereignty to national democratic self-determination and independence. What wasparticularly unusual about thesemovements was that at their forefront were Communist Party leadersin their respective republics, whoshared many of their goals andchallenged the central governmentin Moscow on a number of occasions - most recently before theNovember 29 meeting of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on amendingthe Soviet Constitution.In the boldest measure by a Sov-viet republic challenging the changes to the Soviet Constitution thatwould limit the political autonomy ofall the republics, the Estonian Supreme Soviet declared sovereigntyon November 16 and approved anamendment to the republic's
stitution that would give Estonianauthorltip.s thft right to veto
leglslatiorf within the republic. TheSoviet government, however, declared the Estonian move unconstitutional,but did provide some minorconcessions to Baltic demands bymodifying two clauses limiting itsown power to adopt new laws determining the composition of theSoviet Union and to repeal lawspassed by individual republics.The nature of the republicanleadership in the Baltic states hasallowed for far greater tolerance ofnational rights activity in the form ofmass meetings and demonstrationsthan in any other republics.Even the persistent demands ofthe Armenian population for thesecession of Nagorno-Karabakh, apredominantly Armenian-populated region of Azerbaidzhan, fromthat republic to be joined with theArmenian SSR were tolerated forseveral months early in
year untilthey resulted in the violent
Armenian riots in the city of Sumgait, Azerbaidzhan. Since then Armenia has reportedly been a heavily militarized zone with extra Soviet troops and strict curfews, andthe crackdown on national rightsactivity has intensified. On March 25perhaps the best known Armeniandissident. Paruir Airikian, aleaderofthe Union for Self-Determination,was arrested on charges of
Soviet slander" for compiling andpublicizing a list of victims of theriots of Sumgait in February.
washeld for four months without trialand then stripped of his Sovietcitizenship and forcibly expelledfrom the Soviet Union on July
In an August
interview with TheWeely in New York, the 39-year-oldformer political prisoner who hadcooperated with several Ukrainiandissidents on an All-Union Committee in Defense of Political
soners in late 1987 and early 1988,described how he was forced onto aflight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,where he was held hostage
in a
hotelroom for four days and finally released in order to request politicalasylum at the U.S. Embassy.Undoubledly the authorities
theUkrainian republic, whose ranksinclude many leftovers from theBrezhnev years of stagnation, haveshown the least tolerance for independent political activity, particularly in the form of mass publicmeetings, which dominated ourfront pages during the summer of1988.While 1987 brought the renewalof any active dissent from
period ofstagnation on a small scale amongthe already well-known generationof activists of the
1960s and
1970s, in1988 we saw this activity multiplyand spread and diversify among ayounger generation of activists in avariety of forms.We reported.in January the reactivation of the Ukrainian HelsinkiMonitoring Group by the editors ofthe independent jounral the Ukrainian Herald, on December 30,1987,In a statement dated March 11, anew UHG executive committee,including well-known Ukrainiandissidents Vyacheslav Chornovil,Zinoviy Krasivsky and MykhailoHoryn,wrote:"The new social conditions in theUSSR, the release of a significantportion of political prisoners, and atermination of criminal proceedingsagainst human rights activists havemade it possible to activate theUkrainian Helsinki Group in Ukraine."The first step or this reactivizationwas the December 1987 announcement that the Ukrainian Heraldwould be the UHG's official pressorgan and that
journal's editorialboard had been co-opted in to thegroup.Due to the emigration of MykolaRudenko, the UHG's first chairman,to the United States with his wife,Raisa, on January
LevLukianen-ko, a founding member, assumed itsA Lviv artist's depiction of the
tality of "Bloody Thursday."chairmanship from his place of exilein the Tomsk region.From 13 members inMarch,to theUHG's transformation into the Ukrainian Helsinki Union on July
theorganization now claims nearly 600members in Ukraine and outside itsborders, organized in branches byoblasts, raions and cities.With the surge of independentpolitical activity in Ukraine due tothe process of democratization, theUkrainian Helsinki Union has e-merged as a leading force in testingthe limits of glasnost and peres-troika,In its declaration of 20founding principles, dated July 7,the first paragraph of the preamblestates:"The Ukrainian Helsinki Union, asa federative association of
ruling rights defense groups andorganizations in the oblasts, raionsand cities of Ukraine and beyond itsborders, is being formed on thebasis of the Ukrainian Public Groupto Promote the Implementation ofthe Helsinki Accords and conformsits allegiance to the rights defenseprinciples of the group's declarationof November 9, 1976.""Although the Ukrainian Helsinkiunion supports all the constructiveideas of the government that pertainto the restructuring and democratization of Soviet society, the unionreserves for itself the right of democratic opposition as an effectiveform of activating democratic processes in society."Some of the 20,000 who attended
July 7
public meeting in Lviv.
25, 1988
1988: A LOOK
In addition to The Ukrainian He
the UHU's official press organ,three new major independent journals appeared this year in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. The threenew publications attempt to coverthe socio-political, cultural andreligious aspects of movementsseeking to speed up the process ofdemocratization.The journal Yevshan-Zillia actually commenced publication in thefall of 1987 and Is edited by IrynaStasiv Kalynnets, a poet, ethnographer and cultural rights advocate. Itfocuses primarily on current Ukrainian cultural, literary and artistic lifein Lviv.In January, the first issue of Ka-fedra was published under the aegisof the Ukrainian Association of Independent Creative Intelligentsia(UANTI), Mykhailo Osadchy. a 51-year-old poet, literary critic andformer political prisoner serves aschief editor of the new literary andcultural journal, created to publicizethe works and activities of membersof UANTI who hail from ail over theUkrainian SSR, and focus on thearts in general, past and present, allover the republic.The fourth unofficial journal inLviv, The Christian Voice, appearedin January. Edited by
of theCommittee for the Defense of theRights of Believers and the Churchin Ukraine, the journal focuses onthe movement for religious rights,especially the Ukrainian CatholicChurch, in Ukraine.The Ukrainian CulturologicalClub in Kiev also
publishing ajournal, Kolo, this year and organized a number of public gatherings in
Ukrainian capital city on eco-iogical and cultural issues as
Some 500 people marched onKiev's Khreshchatyk Boulevard onApril 26 to mark the second anniversary of the Chornobyl nucleardisaster, carrying placards thatread: ''Nuclear Power Plants Out ofUkraine" and "Openness and Democracy to the End/' in a protestorganized by the UCC. Some 20were detained during the demonstration,while one of its organizers,О і es Shevchenko, who alsoneeds the Kiev branch of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union, was arrestedand held for 15 days on administrative charges.The most extraordinary massmeetings occurred, however, in Lvivover the summer. On June 16, between
gathered inLviv, where they heard speakersdeclare "no confidence" in the locallist of delegates to the unusual 19thCommunist Party Conference,which began on June 29. The rallywas called by a new Action Groupto Establish the T.H. ShevchenkoNative Language Society, whichreconstituted itself as the ActionGroup to Conduct Meetings. TheNative Language Society was denied access to the local Palace ofCulture for a regularly scheduledmeeting three days earlier and decided to hold a rally at the foot of theIvan Franko statue across from IvanFranko State University. Among thespeakers were activists VyacheslavChornovil, Mykhailo Horyn andBohdan Horyn.The next rally, which attracted upto 50,000 people, was to scheduledto discuss a revised list of officiallyapproved conference delegates.Instead, authoj:ities a^ttem^ted todisperse the crowds gathered infront of Druzhba Stadium on June
When the crowds were deniedentry into the stadium, many of themmoved on to the Lenin monument infront of the Opera Theater. Amongthose that spoke were Iryna Kaly-nets and a new young activist, IvanMakar.On July 7, between 10,000 and20,000 people witnessed thelaunching of the Democratic Front toPromote Perestroika, which represented a federation of various localinformal groups, headed by the 30-year-old Mr. Makar and anotheryoung activist, Ihor Derkach.However, after tolerating thesethree mass public meetings in Juneand July, the largest of which, onJune
attacted up to 50,000 peo
the local authorities in Lviv usedforce
administrative methods tobreak up another such gathering onAugust 4. On what was referred toby sevejraL groups as "Bloodythursday," a total of 41 peoplewere reportedly detained that evening and most were fined or sentenced to 15 days of administrativearrest.In order to prevent such gatherings throughout the Soviet Union,the Soviet government passed a lawin July placing severe limits on theorganization of such gatherings.Even before "Bloody Thursday"there were signs that the
authorities were taking a tough line a-gainst revival of open dissent in thecity ahd revitalization of its publiclife as seen in actions againstleading activists, including attacksin the press. In one such attack inLvovskaya Pravda on July 24, theLviv city procurator's office announced that it had begun criminalproceedings against a group ofleading activists, among them Mr.Chornovil the Horyn brothers, Mr.Makar and Yaroslav PutkoThe ultimate crackdown came onAugust 4 when local riot policeviolently broke up
gathering organized by the Initiative Group of theDemocratic Front to Promote Pere^stroika. The Lviv authorities did theirutmost to prevent the meeting scheduled to take place
ofAugust 4 - warnings were published in the local press pointing outthat the gathering was prohibited,and the head of the initiative group,Mr. Makar, was arrested at
9 a.m.
onthe day of the planned meeting.Several thousand people nevertheless gathered in the streets surrounding the cordoned-off statue ofIvan Franko, and started to singpatriotic songs. At this point, specialriot police with dogs were let looseon the crowds. They are reported tohave beaten and injured people,dragging some of them by by theirhair or feet to waiting vehicles, andseizing cameras from anyone takingphotos.The local authorities reacted onceagain with force against participantsof
public meeting held
September 1 without official permission.Some
residents gathered infront of Ivan Franko State Universityfor a silent demonstration. The riotpolice began pushing the crowds inall directions in an effort to dispersethem and photographed them. Theparticipants began s-iouting, "FreeMakar" and "Fascists," as they:,march.ed away from the university, toward^the Lviv Opera Opera Наадгand Lenin monument. That area,however, was completely surrounded by militia, who reportedly begangrabbing individuals and shovingthem into vehicles.Some 15 persons were known tohave been detained orfined,including Mr. Derkach of the initiativegroup, who organized the meeting.The young activist was reportedlyfreed after threatening to inform the.Western media and governments.Despite continued attempts bylocal authorities to intimidate theactivists in Lviv, the
dissidentsrallied to the defense of Mr. Makar,the young construction engineerand Communist Party member arrested on the morning of August
ACitizens' Committee in Defense ofIvan Makar, headed by BohdanHoryn, was formed and launched aneffort to find a Western co-counselto represent
what couldhave been the first political trial ofthe glasnost era.The UHU also issued an information bulletin titled "Ivan Makar -The First Political Prisoner in Ukraine of the Period of Restructur
Western pressure, both governmental and non-governmental, aswelt as local pressure played a rolein the release of Mr. Makar on November 9. The charges of
Soviet slander" and "disrupting thepublic order" were dropped and Mr.Makar was reportedly compensatedfor three months' salary.Unfortunately, it appears that theharassment of Ukrainian nationalrights activists in Lviv, Odessa andKiev, as well as other cities, has notceased.Vasyl Barladianu, a leadingUHU activist in Odessa, was beatenby thugs on November
as he wasabout to enter a train station andcatch a train bound for Kiev toattend a meeting of the UHU Coordinating Council.Stepan Khmara was arrested onDecember 3 in Chervonohrad for 15days under administrative charges,apparently to prevent the dissidentfrom participating in a scheduledmeeting in Lviv on December 10 tomark Human Rights Day. The topicof the unauthorized rally held onthat day at the foot of the Leninmonument was changed in solidarity with the victims of the earthquakein Armenia to a day of mourning.Some
residents reportedly participated in the UHU-orga-nized meeting.Hundreds of Ukrainians in Kievobserved Human Rights Day onDecember
OctoberRevolution Square, organized bythe local Democratic Union. Thisunauthorized meeting resulted insome detainments of local activists.Some 10,000 people attended anofficially sanctioned public meetingon November
that focusedon ecological issues, as well aspolitical concerns. It was organizedby the Ukrainian cultural heritagegroup Spadshchyna, a Kiev University student group called Hromada,the ecological group Zeleny Svitand the informal ecological groupknown as Noosfera. The rally waaddressed by well-known literaryfigures, Yuriy Shcherbak and Dmy-tro Pavlychko, and rights activistOles Shevchenko and the newlyreleased Mr. Makar.At the conclusion of 1988 we arehappy to report that no UkrainianHelsinki monitors remain either inprison, labor camp, psychiatrichospital or exile, though an uncertain number of Ukrainian politicaland religious dissidents remainincarcerated.Among the former inmates ofPerm Camp 35 is Petro Ruban, whowas released on
May 25 as a
result ofPresident Reagan's visit to Moscow.The 48-year-old sculptor emigratedto the United States in July to joinfamily members. His arrival waspreceded by that of his wife, Lydia,and paraplegic teenage
Marko,who arrived in January for medicaltreatment.Also arriving in the United Statesfor medical treatment this year wastwo-year-old Hanna Sverstiuk, Yevhen Svertsiuk's granddaughter, a-iong with her mother, Maria.
hasundergone surgery and radiationtherapy for
tumor at Philadelphia's Children's Hospital since herJuly 17 arrival. The giri's paraplegicfather, Andriy, arrived in the U.S. onAugust 14.Oksana Meshko, 83, foundingmember of the Ukrainian HelsinkiGroup came to Australia and thenthe U.S. to visit relatives, but isplanning to return to
uary.-The Rev. Vasyl RomamuK, thedissident Ukrainian Orthodox cleric, and his
Tar emigrated toCanada on July 27.The future of the movements fornational rights in the USSR is difficult to predict but it appears that theindependent activists are determined to continue despite attemptsto intimidate them.A forest liturgy celebrated in Zarvanytsia allowed 10,000 members of theUkrainian GatlU)lic Church, to mark the Millennium of the Baptism of.-/^
^^':-.- Ukraine. "' -^---'-^'^
25, 1988
The year of fhe Millennium
If our readers were asked to describe the year 1988 in just oneword, that word would no doubt beM-i-l-l-e-n-n-i-u-m. For in 1988,Ukrainians throughout the worldcelebrated the Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine, the
anniversary of a Christian heritagewhose roots date back to 988 withthe baptism of the people of Kievan
on the banks of the DnieperRiver by Prince Volodymyr theGreat.And celebrate they did with morethan 500 various events in everycorner of the world which Ukrainians call home. Jubilees took placeeverywhere - from Cairo, Egypt, toAtlanta, Georgia. In the UnitedStates and Canada, Ukrainians asked their non-Ukrainian friends andneighbors to "Come Celebrate with
as Millennium billboards, designed by Luba Maziar, publicizedthis historic anniversary. More than380 posters depicting the goldendomes of Kiev's St. Sophia Soborwere displayed along U.S. highwaysfrom Los Angeles to Stamford,Conn. The blue and gold billboardsalso added color to the late springcityscapes of New York, Chicago,Denver, and various smaller citiesand towns in North America. Commuters using public transportationin such urban areas as New Yorkand Cleveland were made aware ofthe Millennium as buses displayedMillennium panels.However, Ukrainians in the freeworld not only asked the public tocelebrate this jubilee; they alsoenlighted people and governmentsabout the continued religiouspersecution of believers in SovietUkraine.When Canadian Deputy PrimeMinister Don Mazankowski joinedUkrainians in Ottawa on January 22to proclaim 1988 the Millenniumyear in Canada, Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic hierarchs reminded their faithful thatthis would alsobe the year to disseminate information about the destruction and
dation of the Ukrainian Autocepha-lous Orthodox Church in Ukraineand the Ukrainian Catholic Church.The United States Congress
lowed suit, passing a resolution,which discouraged the U.S. government from taking part in Millenniumceremonies in the Soviet Union aslong as individuals remain harassedand imprisoned for their religiousbeliefs, called for the legalization ofthe Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox Churches in the Soviet Union,and urged its leadership to continuespeaking out against violations ofreligious liberty.This angered the deputies of theSupreme Soviet of the UkrainianSoviet Socialist Republic and theyresponded to this resolution,
ding a letter charging that it is of"biased character," carries "groundless statements" on violations of theUniversal Declaration of HumanRights and that "no people here (inUkraine) are imprisoned or persecuted for their religious
victions."The U.S. National Committee toCommemorate the Millennium ofChristianity in Ukraine reacted tothis letter, calling the Soviet Ukrainian deputies "willing surrogates inwhitewashing , the Kremlin's
gious rights abuses in Ukraine.Under the guise of fraternity amongSoviet nations, their statementattempts to further promote misconceptions and historical Inaccuracies designed to usurp Ukrainian identity," wrote the commit
The National Committee continued to inform the U.S. governmentabout religious rights abuses, andtogether with Congress hosted apysanka and icon exhibit In theRotunda. In gratitude to the senators and congressmen, the national committee presented eachone with a Ukrainian pysanka, asymbol of rebirth and life, duringthis year's Easter season.In May, Cardinal Myroslav IvanLubachivsky, leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and Metropolitan Mstyslav Skrypnyk of theUkrainian Orthodox Church in the
met with President RonaldReagan, appealing to him to demand religious liberty for Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox believers during his summit in Moscow inlate spring.May 29, the Feast of the Pentecost,was proclaimed a "Day of Prayerand Unity" by the World Congress ofFree Ukrainians and the NationalCommittee. The day was markedwith the joyous ringing of churchbells for 1.000 seconds - the resounding peals were dedicated tothe 50 million Ukrainians - Orthodox, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist,Pentecostal -- in the Soviet Unionwho continue to live under a system that does not allow them toworship freely,Keston College, a religious rightsorganization, based in England,commemorated this day also as"Suffering Church Sunday," a dayduring which Western Christianswould think, pray and celebratewith believers in the Soviet Unionand Eastern Europe.The first of the Ukrainian communities in the free world to markthe Millennium was the Ukrainiansettlement in Great Britain onSunday, May 29. In an ecumenicalceremony. Cardinal Lubachivskyof the Ukrainian Catholic Churchand Metropolitan Mstyslav of theUkrainian Orthodox Church issueda joint statement.In response to the Soviet usurpation of the Millennium of Christianity in Kievan Rus', Ukrainian Americans held a Truth March in Washing
on Sunday, June 5, the sameday the Soviets marked the Millennium of the Russian OrthodoxChurch in Moscow. After one weekof the officially sanctioned celebrations, the commemoratrionsmoved to Kiev, with more than 500spiritual leaders representing over100 nations joining the hierarchs ofthe Russian Orthodox Church tocelebrate the Christian faith in asociety where the official line toesatheism.(In a most "benevolent gesture,"the Soviet government gave theMonastery of the Caves, the KievPecherska Lavra, back to the Russian Orthodox Church.)The leader of the Universal Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II didnot go to Moscow, deciding thatthis was "not the most appropriatetime," however, he did send a delegation, which included CardinalsAgostino Casaroli, John O'Connorof New York, Johannes Willebrandsof the Netherlands and Josef Glempof Poland, among others.The holy father also issued twomessages on the occasion of theMillennium, one an apostolic lettergeared toward the general publicand one for Ukrainian Catholicsspecifically, and in July Vaticanrepresentatives met with leaders ofthe Russian Orthodox Church inFinland, which did not make Metropolitan Filaret of Kiev happy. Theupset Filaret stated: "Restoration ofthe Church will mean a deteriorationof brotherly ecumenical relations,"referring to the Russian OrthodoxChurch and the Vatican.Also absent from the official celebrations in the Soviet Union wererepresentatives of the Greek Orthodox Church, who decided toboycott the Millennium celebrationsof the Russian Orthodox Church,which reportedly challenged theGreek ecumenical patriarchate'sauthority.On June 5, as the official jubilee ofthe Millennium was getting underway in Moscow, the unofficial Ukrainian Culturological Club hosted itsown observances, right in the cradleof the birth of Christianity in U"kraine, the capital city of Kiev, in aceremony at the monument to St.Volodymyr. Although a represen-The Ukrainian Orthodox faithful gathered in South Bound Brook, N.J., tomark the Millennium of Christianity. Metropolitan Mstyslav Skrypnyk,
mate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (center), was joined by manyhierarchs for
iAfturo Mari/L'Osseivatore Romano
A view of St. Peter's Basilica during papal mass celebrating the Millenniuiti of Christiismity in Ukraine.

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