The price of freedom

Ukrainian dissident Levko Lukyanenko explains how was created and approved by the Act of Independence of Ukraine

Dissident, founder member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, a political activist Levko Lukyanenko forever entered the history of Ukraine as the author of the Act of Independence of Ukraine. 24 years ago it was at the hands of Lukyanenko wrote the text of the document on the pages of an ordinary notebook and read out publicly at the Sofia Square in Kiev.

On the eve of Independence Day of Ukraine Lukyanenko during a public speech in Kiev he told how the fate of Ukraine 25 years ago and showed the most unique act. “New time” the written text of his speech.

How it was

In fact, it was so. On August 23, a meeting of the Verkhovna Rada – the first was in the building of the Verkhovna Rada, because before that the People’s Parliament met in the Writers’ Union. And then the Communists lost, so we went early as the building of the Verkhovna Rada. We gathered in a wing of the park on the 5th floor. There’s a room, round there yet, there began to be discussed.

The communists wanted to join the People’s Rada, because lost and feared that they could be condemned for treason, and this – 15 years in prison. Since they were so Gorny, that at least is applied to the wound. And we have gathered as the winners. And now it depended on what to do next. And one gets, the second, the third – the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada, and say, “I offer, while the Communists are so kind and will vote in favor of our proposals, let us accept the bill.” Offers the bills, which were aimed at enhancing Ukraine’s sovereignty. I then stood up and said: “Dear colleagues, let’s do something else, let Ukraine proclaimed an independent state, then we will not have to cheat, it can be pushed.” I’ll tell you frankly that such a proposal is well apprehended, as a revelation,

It seems Pavlychko sat there on the edge, he says: “Let Levko write a paper.” I say, “Okay.” I got up, took two steps and think: “And what I do, let someone invite”. I looked back and saw Sandulyak. Sandulyak – deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, as the highest level of the deputy he had the right to attend meetings of the Board in an advisory capacity. I say, “Let’s go, Leonty Ivanovich.” And I knew him, it is a famous physician, academician of medicine, a wonderful person, public-spirited. Important for me it was not that he was a doctor, and that he is a good and patriotic man. We are going.

Мы зашли в крыло от [нынешней] улицы Грушевского, тогда это была улица Кирова, сели. Я достал из папки тетрадь эту. Обычную школьную тетрадь, которая у меня в папке была для того, чтобы кому-то записку передать. Вырвал, написал, передал, для работы. Я обратился к нему с таким предложением: “Смотрите, какой документ нам надо сделать, нам дали время – полтора часа”.

It was 10:30 and we had to come at 12 o’clock. I say: “I propose to write a short paper, there should be the proclamation of Ukraine as an independent state and nothing else at all.” Because if we start something to justify and there links different still do something, and then the Supreme Council can begin to discuss and discussion can drag on for tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, the Communists fear will pass, and they have blockages. He agreed that it is necessary to write the shortest document. Then I started to operate by exclusion, when it is not clear at what pace to become, first, yeah, here it is impossible, you can not go there, then you can here. According to this method, I wrote the first word in this notebook on the cover – it was the word  Law. And then he crossed out, because the law – a legal act of repeated action. And we should not reusable, we need proclamation of Ukraine as an independent state.

Further wrote: Universal . I know that such a versatile, I like Hetman terminology, terminology Ukrainian People’s Republic, the political terminology Petliurism, because it is our past, our history. But someone says, “Wait, that’s Petlyura period, let’s do something else.” I cross out it. And Sandulyak says: “Or maybe the Act would have passed?”. And then I wrote:  Act . Indeed, it is a normative act of single-use, but it has greater legal force. So we agreed on a name.

Then I began to write. Sandulyak consulted, and 12 hours, we have prepared this document, came back to the People’s Parliament. In the hall where some 120 people had it during the holiday season, people dispersed, and came to Kyiv those from nearby areas. Maybe half was. I reported to the People’s Parliament the text of the document. We began to edit. It seems that we should consider, but not all, because I wrote here –  the restoration of Ukrainian statehood. A man asks: “Wait, what was the closest Ukrainian statehood?”. Well, it was the closest statehood UPR, it was Petliurism, and it is impossible, because the Communists oppose, they know what Petliura. Petlyura – is a traitor of the Ukrainian people, he served under the Empire, he was bourgeois. Poor people, who can only be. Well, we deleted. I then wrote –  Proclamation , it was already coming. And in this way we finished. Pavlychko put foreword, it is also accepted. Edited, sent to the secretariat to ensure that it is published tomorrow, distributed to all MPs. It decided that the document should declare Lukyanenko tomorrow, the 24th, from the podium of all deputies. Thus ended the 23 number.

24 started also interesting. We agreed to the Verkhovna Rada. Meeting was chaired by [Ukraine’s first president Leonid] Kravchuk. He announced, I get up, stands up [MP Vladimir] Yavorivsky. Kravchuk called Yavoriv to the podium, he read. Many were angry because the decision was to read Lukyanenko and read Yavorivsky. The explanation then was this: Kravchuk figured hall, the Communists have been the third part, Yavorivsky – their Communist and Lukyanenko – nationalist, and all against Lukyanenko. And he thought that if Lukyanenko read out, the Communists will fill up, and if Yavorivsky, it will. And he gave his word Yavorivsky, he read. If this interpretation is correct, then it is very clever, so I’m not angry any Yavoriv nor Kravchuk.

Independence Price

The idea that we independence fell from the sky – is false. I know that even [the People’s Deputy and Secretary of the NSDC Oleksandr] Turchynov – a clever politician, but he has written a great article which argued that our independence had fallen from the sky. I did not fall. Since 1945 – with the end of the Second World War and until 1956, 11 years of independence against Moscow invaders fought Ukrainian Insurgent Army. 11 years old, without any external assistance. No weapons, no clothes, no medicine, no food, nothing. Now for the 1956 year. It was two years break, you might say, but it also does not break, because then arrested the group, which was a continuation of Bandera struggle. a new period begins since 1958.

I was the creator of the new strategy of the struggle for independence of Ukraine. Peace, based on the domestic law of the Constitution of the Union and Ukraine, the Ukrainian SSR and of international law. The fact that the international law, international law, it has since 1945 issued the brackets this form of government, the Empire, and proclaimed a new principle – the right of nations to self-determination. So, I built on the basis of domestic and international law, the strategy of the struggle for independence of Ukraine. That was 1958.

In 1961 I was arrested ( then Lukyanenko was sentenced to death, but later softened the sentence to 15 years in prison for the fact that he had the idea of the Ukrainian SSR separation from the USSR). The arrests continued in 1958, and in 1959 – this period was marked by arrests and individuals and groups. Anyone who says that our independence had fallen from the sky, do not know that even members of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union not only receive 10 years in prison and 5 years of exile, but perished in this struggle, ostensibly peaceful. Died Vasiliy Stus, our talented poet, in this struggle in that period died Oleksa Quiet – very clever philosopher and expert on the history, language advocate. Next Yuriy Lytvyn – it has twice sat, a talented poet, he also died. It was not a bloodless struggle, not a discussion in the office with the KGB. All this happened in harsh conditions of imprisonment, which led to the deaths. Therefore Independence in Ukraine came as a result of persistent, consistent and continuous struggle of the Ukrainian nation.

After 25 years, I’m staying at the same positions as they were then. From the very beginning, even when he got his law degree and understood the situation in Ukraine, than in our strength and who our main enemy, since I oppose the federal structure of Ukraine, with the unitary device. As for [the deceased People’s Deputy Vyacheslav] Chornovil, he also consistently advocated a federal structure of Ukraine, in which we disagreed.

I studied the history of the struggle of the Ukrainian nation for independence, and in front of my eyes was the Cossacks, and the different periods: the armed struggle, the first wave of struggle, then Bandera, the second wave of struggle. So for me, the movement of Ukraine’s independence has been associated with the history of the Russian Empire and the movement of it to collapse, because no empire existed forever. Already at that time the Russian Empire lost the basic criteria and the principles on which it was built, it has exhausted itself. Therefore, I know that the fight will lead not just to democratization and to the proclamation of the Independent State.

Sourse, 24/08/2016

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