Monthly Archives: April 2007

AUR#836 Apr 30 Poisonous Fruits Of Hatred; 60th Year Of Infamous Operation Wisla; WWII Monument Moved, Russia Furious; Chornobly Tragedy 21

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     April 28, 2007 marks the 60th anniversary of the infamous “Akcja Wisla”,
       which was the deportation by the Polish government of Ukrainians from
       their ancestral lands in what is now Eastern Poland.

      Ukrainians living in the Lemko, Boyko, Nadsiannia, Kholm and Podlasie
      regions were sent to the so-called “Recovered Territories” of the post-war
      Polish state in the north and west of the country.

      This operation completed the deportation of the entire – almost one
      million – Ukrainian ethnic population from “Zakerzonnia” and became

      one of the most tragic events in the modern history of the Ukrainian people.
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor, SigmaBleyzer

               –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
            Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
   Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
1.                        THE POISONOUS FRUITS OF HATRED
                   “Population exchange” in the mirror of historical facts
By Mykola LYTVYN, Doctor of History, Department Chair, I. Krypiakevych
Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
The Day Weekly Digest, #36, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 21 December 2004

Interfax-Ukraine, Lviv, Ukraine, Friday, April 27, 2007
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 27, 2007

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 27, 2007
                    OF THE  WISLA OPERATION (“AKCJA WISLA”)
DECLARATION: Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Agence France Presse (AFP), Tallinn, Estonia, Friday, April 27, 2007

                 Russia Angry Over Dismantling of Soviet WWII Memorial
By Peter Finn, Washington Post Foreign Service
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
Saturday, April 28, 2007; Page A12


EUX.TV, Brussels, Belgium, Saturday, April 28, 2007
EUX.TV, Brussels, Belgium, Friday, April 27, 2007
                          AMID MOSCOW-ENCOURAGED RIOTS
               Moscow objects to removal of Bronze Soldier in Tallinn
Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 4, Issue 83
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash DC, Friday, April 27, 2007
12.                         CHORNOBYL: WE MUST REMEMBER
STATEMENT: Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA)
Washington, D.C., Friday, April 20, 2007


Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 20, 2007 

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Interfax Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Interfax Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 26, 2007


Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 26, 2007

By Breffni O’Rourke, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Interfax Ukraine News, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 26, 2007

INTERVIEW: With Thomas Tenfordee, President
U.S.-based National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements
BY: Heather Mayer, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Washington, D.C., Thursday, April 26, 2007

STATEMENT: Ukrainian Canadian Congress
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Thursday, April 26, 2007
22.                      REACHING THROUGH THE BLACK CLOUD
     College Student Mission Trip to Aid Post-Chornobyl Orphanages in Ukraine.
By Hieromonk Daniel (Zelinsky), Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
South Bound Brook, New Jersey, Thursday, April 26, 2007
Bishop Paul Peter Jesep, By Appointment of His Beatitude Metropolitan
Myfodii of Kyiv and All Ukraine, Director of Public Affairs in the United
States, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,
Kyiv Patriarchate, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, 13 April 2007
                                TO OPEN VAST NAZI ARCHIVES
Desmond Butler, AP Worldstream, Washington, D.C. Wed, Apr 25, 2007
By Karoun Demirjian, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, Tue, Apr 24, 2007
        Baltic Countries & Poland holding out for inclusion of “Stalinist crimes”
By Tobias Buck in Brussels, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, April 18 2007
Turkish Daily News, Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, Apr 21, 2007

                    “Population exchange” in the mirror of historical facts

By Mykola Lytvyn, Doctor of History, Department Chair, I. Krypiakevych

Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
The Day Weekly Digest, #36, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, 21 December 2004

A historian is neither a judge nor a prosecutor, just a biased chronicler of
the past. Yet professional documented chronicles can and must serve to
restore historical memory and help governments and honest politicians pursue
a constructive policy.

This is precisely what the half a million Ukrainians whom the totalitarian
regimes of the USSR and Poland forcibly deported from Poland to Soviet
Ukraine in 1944-1951 are demanding today.

The new architects of postwar Europe were very well aware of the Ukrainian
national liberation movement or, to use their notorious term, Ukrainian

Oddly enough, the geopolitical situation in Central and Eastern Europe in
1944 was such that deportation of socially active Western Ukrainians was to
the benefit of both the London-based Polish government in exile and the
USSR, with its communist client-state in Poland.

The Mykolajczyk government in exile sought to restore the Second
Rzeczpospolita within the borders that had existed between the two World

The pro-Soviet Polish National Liberation Committee, formed in July 1944 in
Moscow with Stalin’s approval and ‘educated’ in the Moscow suburb of
Barvikha, viewed the deportation of Western Ukrainians as a tool to ensure
stability for a new monoethnic state.
Unfortunately, the US and British governments agreed to the “exchange of
populations,” including the transfer of Ukrainians and Poles, because they
still considered Poland a sphere of their geopolitical interests.

The Kremlin in turn tried to suppress, by way of deportations, a powerful
bulwark of Ukrainian national liberation movement in the Carpathians,
spearheaded by the exhausted but unvanquished Ukrainian Insurgent Army,

the UPA.

To execute this sinister plan, Stalin attempted to use the obedient Poles.
On July 27, 1944, while the Red Army was stationed on the banks of the Sian
River, the leader of the Polish National Liberation Committee signed a
secret agreement in Moscow about the Soviet-Polish border along the

“Curzon line.”

The Poles even managed to cajole the dictator into ceding them quite a

large territory east of this line, including the erstwhile princely cities of
Peremyshl (Przemysl), Yaroslav (Jaroslaw), and Kholm (Chelm).

As early as September 9 this same Polish committee signed an agreement in
Lublin with Soviet Ukraine’s government on evacuating the Ukrainian
population from the territory of Poland, and Polish nationals from Ukraine.

Clearly, this accord was signed under the Kremlin’s watchful eye. The
contracting parties undertook to evacuate from October 15, 1944, until
February 1, 1945, “all ethnic Ukrainians, Belarusians, Russians, and
Ruthenians residing in the Chelm, Hrubieszow, Lubaczow, Jaroslaw, Przemysl,
Liskow, Zamosc, Krasnystaw, Bilgoraj, Wlodawa districts and other areas of

This was followed by the cynical statement, “The evacuation being voluntary,
no direct or indirect coercion shall be applied. The evacuees are free to
express their wish both orally and in writing.”

Yet the harsh reality of the so-called evacuation eclipsed the “voluntary
nature” of the action and entailed mass-scale compulsory deportations of
Ukrainians from such ancient Ukrainian lands as the Sian, Kholm and Lemko

Eastern Halychyna and Volyn Poles were also forcibly resettled to German
ethnic territories. Today, researchers single out several stages of the
1944-1951 deportations.
[1] During the first stage (October 15-December 31, 1944), the resettlement
of a small number of exhausted people bore some semblance of voluntariness.

Yet the oncoming winter practically put an end to departure requests from
northern Zakerzonnia (“beyond the Curzon line”), while the southern
districts ignored the action altogether.

Then, in response to Polish underground terror and by force of military
circumstances and abuses on the part of the Polish authorities, who would
close Ukrainian schools and transfer churches to the Roman Catholics, 28,589
people left for Ukraine.

The then leader of Soviet Ukraine, Nikita Khrushchev, failed to implement
the idea of establishing a separate Kholm oblast in Ukraine. As is known,
many requests of Ukrainians who were living beyond the Sian to incorporate
their lands into Ukraine have been preserved in archives.
                         SECOND STAGE OF DEPORTATIONS
[2] The second stage of the deportations (January 1-August 31, 1945) was
timed to coincide with the advance of the Red Army, which occupied the Sian
and Lemko regions.

This time, the people slated to leave were the Ukrainians whose houses and
property had been destroyed during the hostilities against the Germans in
the Lupkow and Duplian passes and as a result of forays by the Polish
underground. Nevertheless, requests for resettlement in Soviet Ukraine
practically came to a halt in the summer of 1945.

Desperate people fled to the woods and re-formed guerrilla units, while many
youths were mobilized into the Red Army. Some families sought help from
Roman Catholic churchmen and the administration of the Polish schools that
their children were forced to attend.

Many people lodged protests at the time, for example, the residents of the
village of Glomcza: “…Our homeland is here, and we are not going to leave.
We think the Ukrainian border should extend as far as Krynica.” There were
also other cries of desperation from Lemko residents: “If the Soviet Union
does not want our land, then it does not want us, so leave us alone.”

As these Ukrainian acts of protest were foiling the evacuation plans, the
3rd, 8th, and 9th Infantry Divisions of the Polish Army marched into the
Liskow, Przemysl, Lubaczow and Jaroslaw districts to help the local
authorities clear the frontier of so- called “Ukrainian nationalists.”
                          THIRD STAGE OF DEPORTATIONS
[3] Thus, the use of Polish troops signaled the third stage of deportations
(81,806 people) which lasted, by and large, from September 1 to March 1946.
The Polish troops in conjunction with some NKVD units deported most of the
Ukrainians from Nadsiannia. The slow pace of deportations in the Liskow,
Lubaczow and Sianoc districts triggered reprisals by UPA-West.

The Ukrainian insurgents destroyed communications, fomented protests against
the resettlement, and hampered the work of the evacuation commissions.  To
prevent Polish repatriates from settling in the depopulated Ukrainian
villages, the UPA often burned these villages down.

Among those who courageously defended the frontier from the terror of the
authorities and troops were the companies of Burlaka, Hromenko, Krylach and
Lastivka, mostly manned by local residents. Attempts were also made, without
apparent success, to make peace with the Armia Krajowa command.
[4] At the fourth and final stage, the deportation of Ukrainians to Soviet
Ukraine assumed the nature of ethnic cleansing, a fact that Polish officials
still do not always accept.

In the second half of 1945 and also in 1946, the Communist government of
Poland had no scruples about organizing a new “pacification,” burning dozens
of Ukrainian villages and terrorizing peaceful residents on the principle of
collective responsibility.

This forced desperate peasants to leave behind their property and cross the
Polish-Soviet border en masse – illegally, without documents. Many fled to
Slovakia and then to Germany or into Poland’s hinterland.

The fourth stage saw 154,000 people deported to the east. On the whole, the
Polish totalitarian government deported about 482,000 Ukrainians in
1944-1946. Apart from ordinary citizens, about 300 priests were also
forcibly deported to Soviet Ukraine.

The Polish government interpreted the arrest and deportation to the USSR of
Przemysl bishop Josaphat Kotsylovsky as the abolition of the Przemysl

By 1947 there was not a single Greek Catholic church left in Przemysl. In
1947-1949 the state nationalized the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s
property, with many premises being leased out to the Roman Catholic Church.

The overwhelming majority of deportees settled in the western regions, and a
third of them were moved to the eastern and southern parts of Soviet

However, secret documents of the Soviet security forces say that the flight
of “those from behind the Curzon line” from the east to the west of Poland,
where individual farming prevailed, was of a hasty and mass- scale nature.

This is why the Council of People’s Commissars of Soviet Ukraine resolved on
October 16, 1945, to ban resettlement in Ukraine’s western regions. Yet the
deportees continued to be settled without permission in Ternopil, Drohobych,
Lviv and Volyn oblasts.
Finally, the Polish government’s Operation Vistula (Akcja Wisla) in 1947,
when at least 150,000 Ukrainians were deported to northern Poland, concluded
ethnic cleansing in the eastern frontier. In the course of pre- planned
ethnic cleansing of the frontier, the two totalitarian regimes repeatedly
revised the interstate border.

For instance, during the new demarcations of the Polish-Ukrainian border in
1945-1948, Soviet Ukraine and Poland obtained 18.9 sq. km. and 20.5 sq. km.,
respectively. Under the Soviet-Polish treaty of February 15, 1951, Poland
received another 480 sq. km. of Drohobych oblast and Ukraine, a same-sized
area of Lublin voivodship.

Clearly, the repressions against and the deportations of the Ukrainians
exposed the anti-people nature of the totalitarian regimes of Communist
Poland and the USSR. The Soviet government failed to fulfill its commitments
to provide the deportees with logistical support.

Only 56% of resettled households were compensated for the property they left
behind in Poland. Sadly, the plans of Warsaw and Moscow reflected the
interests of the government, not the people.

For decades the deported Ukrainians remained a socially unprotected and
psychologically vulnerable part of postwar Soviet society.

Today the settlers hope that the government of the new Ukraine, and in the
long run of post-Communist Poland, will fully share the pain and tragedy of
the hundreds of Ukrainians who were born in the western-most Ukrainian lands
and are now advocating the current cause of Ukraine by word and deed.

Victims of the totalitarian regime are demanding a political appraisal of
these past shameful misdeeds as well as material compensation for the damage
done to their families.                             -30–

FOOTNOTE: Subheadings inserted editorially by the Action Ukraine
Report (AUR).
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Press Office of the President of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Fri, Apr 27, 2007

Victor Yushchenko and Lech Kaczynski of Poland met in Warsaw on
Friday to sign a Joint Statement on the 60th Anniversary of Operation
Wisla and a 2007-2008 Ukrainian-Polish Cooperation Agreement.

The joint statement was signed “with the aim of furthering bilateral
cooperation in the spirit of strategic partnership and continuing the
reconciliation between the two nations.”

“Unfortunately, our countries have had such sad events in history as
Operation Wisla. However, my visit today shows that Poland’s president and
I share the formula of historic reconciliation, which is important to both
nations,” he said, thanking Poland and its people for the opportunity to
honor those tragic events of the 1940s.

Yushchenko described the two countries as “strategic political partners.”
“Not only do we respect and look into our past but we also care about our
strategic future,” he said.

He said the ‘road map’ agreement contained lots of projects whose
implementation would help develop Ukraine’s ties with Poland, Euro 2012
being high on the bilateral agenda.

Kaczynski said Ukraine and Poland showed how “two friendly European states
should cooperate, even though one of them is in the EU and the other is

“However, I would like to stress that we spare no effort to ensure Ukraine
becomes an EU member as soon as possible,” he said, adding that the signed
cooperation agreement was aimed at developing cooperation between the two
countries, particularly in the energy sector.                     -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Interfax-Ukraine, Lviv, Ukraine, Friday, April 27, 2007
LVIV- Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko blames the communist regime
for its crimes, in particular the Wisla Operation.  Yuschenko said this on Friday
while attending a memorial concert in Lviv’s opera theatre to mark the 60th
anniversary of Operation Wisla.

“There is no doubt that this day is the day of sadness and the day of our
pain. Today, Ukraine is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the black
event which has penetrated our being,” he said, adding that 150,000
Ukrainians had been forcibly resettled to the so-called recovered
territories in the 1940s.

He accused the totalitarian communist regime of that tragedy. “This crime
must be punished and condemned by Ukraine, Poland and the whole world,”

he said.

Yuschenko said he had signed a decree to mark the 60th anniversary of
Operation Wisla by making lists of the deported Ukrainians and collecting
eyewitness accounts. Ukraine’s six western regions are restoring the graves
of those Ukrainians in Poland, he added.

The Ukrainian leader said Ukraine and Poland were consistently and
tolerantly restoring historical justice and added that the past must not
chain the two nations.

“Only great nations can forgive. Deep and brotherly reconciliation is the
sole way to a new life both nations are creating,” he said, characterizing
strategic relations between Ukraine and Poland as one of our biggest
historical victories.

Yuschenko reassured Ukrainian diaspora in Poland, which he called an
“integral and vital part of our big family,” his government would spare no
effort to protect their minority rights, create cultural centers and open
Ukrainian schools.

The Operation Wisla was the code name for the 1947 deportation of
southeastern Poland’s Ukrainians, Boyko and Lemko populations, carried out
by the Polish Army in order to suppress the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

Over 140,000 people, mostly of Ukrainian ethnicity, residing in southeastern
Poland were, often forcibly, resettled to the “Recovered Territories” in the
north and west of the country. The operation was named after Poland’s Wisla
River.                                                -30

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 27, 2007
President Viktor Yuschenko and Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski have
honored the memory of the victims of Operation Wisla, which was conducted
in 1947. Yuschenko and Kaczynski signed a joint declaration in Warsaw
(Poland) on Friday.

‘Unfortunately, history has left many issues for us, and today’s event,
today’s visit confirm the fact President Kaczynski and I deeply share the
formula for historical mutual understanding and historical reconciliation,
which is extremely important to the Ukrainian and Polish peoples,’ Yuschenko

He thanked Poland for the opportunity to honor the memory of the victims

of these events during his current visit.

‘Today, I am thankful to the Polish side, the President of Poland, the
citizens of Poland for the opportunity to remember those sad events of the
1940s. It is pleasant for me to be in Poland today and demonstrate deep
respect for our history and our present day together with the Polish
president, together with the Ukrainian community,’ Yuschenko said.

He added that he and Kaczynski would attend a joint Ecumenical prayer in
honor of the victims of these events after the document’s signing ceremony.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Yuschenko traveled to Poland on Friday
morning for a one-day visit.

Operation Wisla involved forcible removal of over 150,000 Ukrainians from
the southeast of Poland, where Ukrainians had lived for many centuries, to
the lands that Poland received after WWII. In turn, the local German
population was removed from these lands and deported to the Soviet Union.

The operation was performed by the regular army of Poland in 1947 with the
agreement of the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia.             -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 27, 2007
President Viktor Yuschenko believes it is necessary to seek historical
objectivity and learn joint lessons from Operation Wisla, under which
thousands of Ukrainians were forcibly removed from southeast Poland in
1947. Yuschenko announced this to journalists in Warsaw (Poland) on

“We need more historical knowledge and information about the true history.
I, primarily as a citizen, would not like the people involved in the
establishment of historical fact, historical moments, to exploit the issue
of liters of blood, the number of thousands of souls, victims of both sides.

It is very important to end the discussion regarding the role of the
Ukrainian Insurgent Army or the Policy Regional Army in the events of that
time,” Yuschenko said.

He considers it necessary to conduct the most object study of this history.
Yuschenko also considers it necessary to provide a joint assessment of these

“It is necessary to provide a joint assessment of those events, assessments
that would provide an opportunity to leave this problem in the past,”
Yuschenko said. According to him, the first task is historical while the
second is political.

Yuschenko also expressed the belief that it will only remain to outline the
lessons that should be learnt from this history if these two steps are

“If we take the first and the second steps, then one mandatory step will
remain: to come out with lessons so that we can say that we can put a full
stop to these events,” Yuschenko said.

According to him, Ukraine and Poland hold similar positions on how to assess
these historical events and believe that can be done through mutual
forgiveness and historical reconciliation.

Yuschenko traveled to Poland on Friday morning for a one-day working visit.
During the visit, Yuschenko and Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski honored
the memory of the victims of Operation Wisla.                  -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

DECLARATION: Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Tuesday, April 24, 2007

April 28, 2007 marks the 60th anniversary of the infamous “Akcja Wisla”,
which was the deportation by the Polish government of Ukrainians from their
ancestral lands in what is now Eastern Poland.

Ukrainians living in the Lemko, Boyko, Nadsiannia, Kholm and Podlasie
regions were sent to the so-called “Recovered Territories” of the post-war
Polish state in the north and west of the country.

This operation completed the deportation of the entire – almost one
million – Ukrainian ethnic population from “Zakerzonnia” and became one

of the most tragic events in the modern history of the Ukrainian people.

This preplanned military operation to deport over 150,000 Ukrainians was the
final act of the abolition of Ukrainian ethnic territory within the borders
of Poland and was followed by the takeover of all Ukrainian property by the
Polish state along with the intentional forced assimilation of the Ukrainian
population through its dispersal among the Polish majority.

The fostering the Ukrainian language, culture and faith was prohibited.
Later this process was completed by erasing traces of Ukrainian culture in
the “Zakerzonnia” region, including the destruction of churches, cemeteries,
and the substitution of Ukrainian place names with Polish ones.

This unlawfull and inhuman widescale military operation was an offence to
the dignity of the Ukrainian population, while the forceful and humiliating
imprisonment of over four thousand Ukrainians (including women and

children) at the Jaworzno concentration camp was an abuse of human rights.

The Wisla operation and the Central Labour Camp in Jaworzno led to
dehumanization of each person incarcerated there and the entire Ukrainian
community of “Zakerzonnia”.

This tragic history calls for a fair evaluation and for the redressing of
wrongs.  However, to date, the Polish Sejm (Parliament), the highest
representative body of Poland, had not followed the example of the Polish
Senate, and has failed to condemn the “Akcja Wisla”. Such an action would
exhibit a mature and honest attitude towards the past and at the same time
would symbolize a radical break with past prejudices.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress appeals to the Polish Sejm and the
Government of Poland to condemn the “Akcja Wisla” and to redress the
injustices caused by it by compensating the victims and their descendants
for their losses and suffering.

UCC appeals to Ukrainian institutions, organizations and churches in Canada
to commemorate the 60th anniversary of “Akcja Wisla” and with requiems,
church services and other commemorative events to place the names of the
victims of the ethnic cleansing of “Zakerzonnia” into Ukrainian history and
the collective memory of our people.                    -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Agence France Presse (AFP), Tallinn, Estonia, Friday, April 27, 2007

TALLINN – Estonian authorities removed a Soviet war memorial from the

centre of Tallinn under the cover of darkness Friday after riots left one dead,
triggering a furious response from Moscow.

The Russian Senate called for diplomatic relations with Estonia to be broken
off, while the Russian foreign ministry called the movement of the memorial
“blasphemous” and said relations would be examined.

Around 1,000 people — mainly pro-Russian protesters opposed to the statue’s
removal but also ethnic Estonians — had gathered late Thursday in the
square in central Tallinn where the authorities had cordoned off the
monument to Soviet Red Army soldiers.

The demonstration turned into a six-hour riot and looting spree after police
used water cannons, rubber batons and flash grenades to disperse the crowd
and prevent youths from forcing their way through a security cordon.

A 20-year-old named only as Dimitri died after being stabbed, as looters,
many of them drunken teenagers, rampaged through the capital, officials

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves roundly condemned the “looting, brawling and
robbery”, calling participants criminals. “This was a crime and those who
participated in it are criminals,” Ilves said on national television.

“The criminals who struck last night were not united by nationality but by
the wish to riot, demolish and rob. “This had nothing to do with the peace
of a burial place or preserving the memory of those who fell in World War
II,” he said.

More than 300 people, both ethnic Russians and Estonians, were detained
following the riots, which were the worst since the Baltic state regained
independence from Moscow in 1991.

Police quelled the violence at around 3:00 am (0000 GMT), and the statue was
moved under cover of darkness to a secret location shortly afterwards “to
prevent further similar gross violations of public order, which pose a real
threat to citizens’ health and property,” the government said in a

“We wanted to move the statue in an open and decent way but unfortunately
failed to do so because of vandalism and violence,” Prime Minister Andrus
Ansip told reporters Friday morning.

Excavation work to determine if any World War II soldiers lie buried beneath
the spot where the Bronze Soldier statue stood for decades has been
indefinitely postponed, the government said.

Ethnic Estonians see the statue of the Bronze Soldier as a symbol of 50
years of Soviet occupation, while Russia considers it a symbol of the fight
against Nazism in World War II.

Earlier this year, Ilves called the statue an insult to Estonians and “a
monument to mass murder”. “In our minds, this soldier stands for
deportations and murders, the destruction of our country, not liberation,”
he said in an interview with the BBC in February.

Relations between Estonia and Russia have been tense since the Baltic state
regained independence from Moscow in 1991 as the Soviet Union crumbled.

Moscow has repeatedly accused Tallinn of abusing the rights of Estonia’s
large ethnic Russian minority, and said the Estonians’ insistence that the
statue of the Bronze Soldier be moved was an attempt to glorify fascism.

The Russian senate on Friday approved a non-binding resolution calling for
diplomatic relations with Estonia to be broken off.

A spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry, Mikhail Kamynin, called the
Estonian government’s action “blasphemous” and “inhuman”, and said Russia
would re-examine its relations with the ex-Soviet Baltic state.

The head of the international affairs committee in the lower house of the
Russian parliament, Konstantin Kosachyov, called for “the toughest possible
reaction to what is happening in Estonia.” “It’s barbaric, blasphemous,”
Kosachyov said.

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, whose country lies across the Gulf of
Finland from Estonia, deplored the violence in Tallinn but insisted it was
an “internal Estonian affair.”

Latvia, which like Estonia was a Soviet republic and still has a large
Russian minority, stressed that decisions concerning the Bronze Soldier
monument fall under “the exclusive competence of the Estonian government”.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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                  Russia Angry Over Dismantling of Soviet WWII Memorial

By Peter Finn, Washington Post Foreign Service
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
Saturday, April 28, 2007; Page A12

MOSCOW, April 27 — The already tense relations between Russia and its

tiny neighbor Estonia threatened to unravel Friday after authorities in the
Baltic state removed a Soviet World War II memorial that has become the
rallying symbol of two radically different versions of history.

Violence erupted in Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, late Thursday, leaving one
man dead and dozens of police officers and protesters injured, in the hours
before the bronze statue of a Red Army soldier was removed from its location
in the city center and taken to an unknown place.

Three hundred people, many of them members of the country’s ethnic Russian
minority, were arrested as police fought running battles with demonstrators
in the city’s picturesque Old Town.

Rioting continued Friday as police fired rubber bullets and a water cannon
at hundreds of protesters, the Associated Press reported. As some people
waved Russian flags, others threw bottles and rocks for several hours.

Estonian officials continued to examine ground beneath the statue, where as
many as 14 Soviet soldiers may be buried. They said the bodies of the dead
will be removed and reinterred at a military cemetery, where the statue will
be preserved.

Russia angrily condemned the removal of the statue, which was erected in
1947, as a grievous insult to Soviet soldiers who fought Nazi Germany.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that “we must take
serious measures that will show our real attitude to this inhuman act.” The
upper house of the Russian parliament passed a resolution Friday calling on
the government to sever diplomatic ties with Estonia.

“The war against fascism did not end on May 9, 1945,” said Mikhail Margelov,
head of the foreign relations committee in the upper house, referring to the
day that Russia marks as the end of the war in Europe.

“This fight goes on, and it will continue as long as there are gravediggers
who are ready to throw out from the graves those who defeated fascism.” He
was speaking on Russian television.

For many Estonians, however, the Red Army was an occupation force that first
entered their country in 1940 as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between
Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union that carved up Eastern Europe.

The Soviets promptly annexed Estonia. The Nazis seized the country in 1941
but were driven out in 1944 by the Soviets, who remained in control until
independence in 1991.

The dispute over the six-foot statue, modest in size by the standards of
other Soviet war memorials in Europe, including Berlin, has been brewing for
a long time.

The original inscription on the monument read: “To the Soviet liberators
fallen during the Great Patriotic War.” In 1995, that was changed to read:
“To the fallen of the Second World War.” An eternal flame was also

removed in 1995.

Estonian officials said the statue had become a flash point for clashes
between Estonian nationalists and ethnic Russians, who make up about 25
percent of the country’s 1.3 million people. The government said in a
statement Friday that it was now clear that the protesters’ “real goal was
to riot, destroy, break and loot.”

A government spokesman said one man was stabbed to death and 12 police
officers and 44 protesters were injured in the worst street violence since
the country became independent in 1991.

“These actions confirm that they have nothing to do with respecting and
protecting the memories of those who fell during World War II,” the
statement continued.

But there is also little doubt that the Estonian government was intent on
expunging any glorification of the Soviet past. It accuses the country’s
larger neighbor of continuing to defend the worst actions of a totalitarian

“It is beyond my comprehension why Russia, which calls itself a democracy,
is unable to face squarely the history of the Soviet Union,” Estonian
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in an interview last month with the
Russian government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta. “Russia, unfortunately,
is still playing blindman’s bluff with the past.”

Estonian officials have pointed out that war memorials have been demolished
in Russia and generated little of the indignation directed at Estonia.

This month in the Moscow suburb of Khimki, authorities removed the graves
and headstones of six World War II pilots as part of what they said was a
necessary road-widening project. Officials also later said the site had
become a gathering point for prostitutes who desecrated the site.

Communist legislators said that local officials were little better than
vandals and that it was hypocritical to loudly condemn Estonia while
remaining silent on similar actions at home. Young communists who protested
the exhumation were reportedly beaten by police on a suburban train after a
demonstration against the exhumation.

Local officials say the remains of the pilots will be reburied on the
upcoming May 9 anniversary.                               -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
EUX.TV, Brussels, Belgium, Saturday, April 28, 2007

TALLINN (dpa) – The Estonian government pledged on Sunday morning to
relocate a Soviet war memorial to a military cemetery in Tallinn, 48 hours
after its removal sparked the worst riots in a century.

“The Estonian government will begin preparatory work to relocate the grave
marker (Bronze Soldier) on Sunday, 29 April, at the military cemetery in
central Tallinn,” a foreign office press release announced.

On Saturday night, after several days of riots that left one person dead, a
heavy police presence remained in Tallinn but there were no reports of
serious incidents and the city appeared largely calm.

On Thursday morning, police in Tallinn began fencing off the memorial site,
which consists of a seven-foot bronze statue overlooking an unknown number
of graves, in preparation for its government-ordered removal.

The nationalist government said that forensic experts would examine the
graves and identify the remains before any move would be made to lift the
statue from its plinth.

Estonian nationalists see the monument as a reminder of their country’s
illegal occupation by the Soviet Union, but ethnic Russians see it as a
memorial to Russians’ sacrifice in the battle against Nazism.

The move to isolate the memorial site triggered mass rioting among Estonia’s
ethnic-Russian minority. In two nights of street battles, one man was
killed, close on 200 were injured, and shops across the city centre were
attacked and looted.

At the height of the rioting on Thursday night, government ministers took
the decision to have the statue removed instantly and in secret.

Rumours quickly surfaced that it had been cut to pieces or melted down for
scrap. The government announcement, made soon after midnight, appears to
come in response to those rumours.

Ministers are under pressure to have the statue erected in its new home
before 9 May, the day on which Russians traditionally celebrate Soviet
victory in World War II by taking flowers to the statue.            -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
EUX.TV, Brussels, Belgium, Friday, April 27, 2007

KIEV – (dpa) – The mayor of Ukraine’s third-largest city on Friday offered
to give a home to a war memorial responsible for deadly street violence in

One man was killed and dozens were injured on the night of Thursday to
Friday after opponents to the dismantlement of a bronze memorial to Soviet
troops clashed with police in the Estonian capital Tallinn.

Myahilo Dobkhin, mayor of Kharkiv, offered his city as a new home for the
statue, now that Estonian authorities have torn it down.

“I would like to suggest to you the transfer of the ‘bronze statue’ … to
the city Kharkiv,” Dobkin wrote in a letter sent Friday to Estonian
authorities, according to the Interfax news agency.

Kharkiv’s city government would also be prepared to build a cemetery for the
remains of Soviet soldiers still buried at the Estonian monument, Dobkin
said. “We would give them the most honourable site in our city,” he said.

Russian government officials and average citizens alike have reacted angrily
to the Estonian decision to remove the monument – a move seen by many
Russians as deliberately insulting to Soviet troops who fought to liberate
Estonia from German rule during World War Two.

Estonian nationalists however have long seen the Tallinn war monument as an
unpleasant symbol of Soviet conquest of the Baltic republic, which was an
independent nation prior to Soviet invasion.

The question of whether Soviet wartime operations were good or bad for
regions adjacent to Russia is also sensitive in Ukraine – a former Soviet
republic divided roughly equally between Russian speakers living in the East
and South, and Ukrainian speakers living in the North and West of the

Traditionally, the Russian speakers believe the Red Army recapture of
Ukraine during 1943 and 1944 to have been a positive event, while the
Ukrainian speakers see it as conquest by a foreign power. Kharkiv is

located in the heart of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east.

Street fighting in Estonia in the wake of the monument removal left 44
civilians and 12 police injured, 99 buildings vandalized and over 300 people
arrested in the worst civil violence the Estonian capital has ever seen.

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                Moscow objects to removal of Bronze Soldier in Tallinn

Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 4, Issue 83
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash DC, Friday, April 27, 2007

At 5 am on Friday, April 27, the Soviet-Russian occupation of Estonia ended
in a symbolic sense with the removal of the Red Army monument known as the
Bronze Soldier from downtown Tallinn.

The expected event triggered riots by young local Russian hooligans and
drunks of irrelevant ethnicity during the night preceding the removal.

Excavation at the presumed war graves site around the Bronze Soldier was
scheduled to begin with an inter-denominational religious ceremony at 10 am
on Friday.

However, with violent rioting in full swing downtown, the government decided
at 3 am during an emergency session to have the monument removed
immediately, so as to defuse the potential for more trouble.

Some 1,500 people, mostly local Russians, some of them mobilized by the
Nochnoy Dozor (Night Watch) red-brown group, had gathered around the

Bronze Soldier in the pre-midnight hours. Some tried unsuccessfully to break
through police lines, while most of them rampaged on shopping and
residential streets downtown.

The rioting received a second wind after the looting of liquor from bars on
Tatari Street. Scores were injured, many of them by glass from vandalized
shops. One death was reported in a stabbing incident. Thirteen policemen
received injuries requiring hospitalization. Some 300 rioters were arrested
throughout the night.

The Estonian government had decided in January to relocate the Bronze
Soldier as well as any remains of Red Army soldiers that might be found at
the site from downtown Tallinn to a military cemetery outside the city.

During the intervening months, Russia’s government and television channels
instigated local Russians to protest in anticipation of this event. Kremlin
and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials as well as Russian parliamentary
leaders accused Estonia of reviving “fascism” and offending Russia as well
as local Russians through the intention to remove the Bronze Soldier and,
more generally, through the interpretation of World War II and Soviet rule
in the Baltics.

In Moscow, the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi threatened to send

scores of its members into Estonia to guard the Bronze Soldier.

Clearly, Moscow calculated that “anti-fascist” protests in Estonia would fit
well into Russia’s overall political campaign against the Baltic states on
the international level as well as in Russia itself. However, the spree of
drunken vandalism that actually ensued in Tallinn will not easily be
ennobled by Moscow as “political protest.”

A few remains of Red Army soldiers might be buried at the site where the
Bronze Soldier stood until today. The site was not treated as a war grave
during the occupation era; indeed, it was and is located at a busy traffic
intersection downtown.

More recently, Soviet nostalgics sought to re-define the site as a war grave
in hopes of staving off its relocation and that of the monument. Indicative
of Soviet Russian authorities’ disdain for the lives of their troops, the
possible military grave around the monument was not certified or


Estonian authorities offer to treat the Bronze Soldier’s site according to
international legal standards by attempting to identify any remains of
troops there and re-burying them with honors at the Estonian Defense
Ministry’s military cemetery, located on the outskirts of Tallinn.

Should any remains of Soviet soldiers be found at the Bronze Soldier’s site
(or anywhere else in Tallinn), they would not have died in combat against
German troops, but rather against a few Estonian paramilitaries desperately
resisting the occupation. The Red Army entered Tallinn three days after the
last German troops had withdrawn.

During those three days, an Estonian government legally continuous with the
pre-war Republic of Estonia exercised authority in Tallinn.

On April 18, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs chief spokesman Mikhail
Kamynin announced that a protest note had been handed over to the Estonian
Embassy in Moscow, warning of “serious consequences for relations between
Russia and Estonia” if the Bronze Soldier is relocated from Tallinn.

In the evening of April 26, Russia’s Ambassador in Tallinn, Nikolai Uspenski
appeared uninvited at the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to announce
that he was “categorically refusing” an earlier Estonian invitation to
delegate an embassy observer to the excavation of the site around the Bronze

Russian authorities overreacted again on the morrow of the Bronze Soldier’s
relocation. High-level officials in Moscow used inflammatory language
describing the Estonian authorities’ procedure as “blasphemous” and

“mocking the dead.”

On April 27, the Federation Council passed unanimously a resolution asking
President Vladimir Putin to consider breaking diplomatic relations with

The Duma International Affairs Committee’s chairman, Konstantin Kosachev,
alluded to possible economic sanctions: he is “awaiting decisions by the
executive branch, in the first place from those responsible for trade and
the economy.” Ultimately, however, Moscow’s reaction is likely to remain
confined to rhetoric.                                          -30-
(BNS, Interfax, April 26, 27)

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STATEMENT: Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA)
Washington, D.C., Friday, April 20, 2007

April 26, 2007, will mark the 21st anniversary of the Chornobyl tragedy, the
worst peacetime nuclear disaster in human history.

On the advent of this day, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America
(UCCA), the principal representative body of the Ukrainian American
community, urges all Ukrainians in the United States to solemnly commemorate
this tragic anniversary.

It is the prerogative of the world to remember this dreadful event in order
to prevent the recurrence of similar disasters.  The explosion at the
Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant changed the life of the entire planet and

many still continue to live with its horrific consequences to this day.

Tens of thousands of victims in Ukraine and other countries, whose
territories were polluted by the radioactive fallout, have suffered
immeasurable ecological, medical, economic, and social consequences.

Unfortunately, twenty-one years after the tragedy, the international
community is beginning to forget that the effects of the Chornobyl
catastrophe are long-term and Ukraine requires assistance in neutralizing
the radioactive waste produced by the accident.

Future generations will continue to experience the consequences of this
disaster and constant attention to the medical and other issues will help
guarantee the successful resolution of these problems. Ukraine’s national
treasury, by itself, is incapable of meeting the needs of the clean-up.

The UCCA urges the Ukrainian American community to hold commemorative

events on April 26th, the date of this tragic anniversary. We have a duty to
inform the wider public about the current situation in Chornobyl and the many
problems that still require resolution.

It is necessary to continue helping the victims of the Chornobyl tragedy and
work toward neutralizing its consequences by involving the international
community. Only by doing so will we be able to ensure eternal memory of this
tragic chapter in human history and prevent similar accidents from occurring
in the future.

On behalf of the UCCA Executive Board,

Michael Sawkiw, Jr., President
Marie Duplak, Executive Secretary

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Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, April 20, 2007 

KYIV – The parliament has directed the Cabinet of Ministers to improve

the social welfare of victims of the Chornobyl nuclear accident.
The relevant parliamentary resolution (No. 3396-D), which was registered in
the parliament on March 27, was approved by 250 votes. Only 226 votes were
required for its approval.

In particular, the resolution provides for indexing the pensions of
Chornobyl victims, establishing the average cost of their tickets for group
tours in order to pay them compensation for the 2005-2006 period, increasing
the expenditures on treatment of Chornobyl victims in 2007, and drafting a
program for providing them with housing in the 2008-2012 period.

Moreover, the parliament directed the government to draft a program for
comprehensive economic development of territories contaminated by radiation
and submit the program to the parliament for approval and increase subsidies
to the town of Slavutych and increase expenditures on support for
maintaining the shelter over the Chornobyl nuclear power plant’s destroyed
reactor in a safe state.

The resolution also directs the Cabinet of Ministers to take measures to
launch operation of the first stage of the Vektor complex and a factory for
processing liquid radioactive waste in 2007, construct barriers aimed at
localizing radioactive waste, and complete pre-contract negotiations on
construction of a new, safe confinement.

The resolution also directs the government to take measures to sign a
contract for construction of the confinement and start designing and
constructing it.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, 12 disabled people involved in the
clean-up operations after the accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant
went on a hunger strike in Donetsk from March 20 to 29 to demand an

increase in their pensions.

The participants in the hunger strike said that they would end the hunger
strike after a review of their pensions in accordance with the amendments to
the Law of Ukraine No. 796 of October 10, 2006 and the law No. 231-V on
recalculation of pensions to disabled liquidators of the accident at the
Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

The Cabinet of Ministers approved a national program for decommissioning the
Chornobyl nuclear power plant and transforming the shelter over the plant’s
destroyed reactor into an ecologically safe facility in March 2006.

The explosion of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant’s fourth reactor in 1986
is the worst man-made accident in history.                   -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 24, 2007

KYIV – Ukraine’s Emergency Situations Minister Nestor Shufrych and the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s President Jean Lemierre
have discussed the projects that are being implemented at the Chornobyl
nuclear power station under programs administered by the EBRD.

The press service of the Kyiv office of the EBRD announced this in a
statement, citing a meeting between Shufrych and Lemierre in London.
Lemierre stressed the importance of close cooperation between the EBRD

and the government of Ukraine on this issue.

‘Our obligations to the international community of donor-nations that are
financing these projects lie in effective and rational work with the
Ukrainian side with the aim of transforming Chornobyl into a safe and
environmentally stable system’ he said.

Shufrych agreed with Lemierre, saying that the recent conclusion of
stabilization work on the shelter over the Chornobyl nuclear power plant’s
destroyed reactor was an example of the results that could be achieved
through joint efforts.

He stressed that this complicated project, which involves performance of
work outside and inside the Chornobyl sarcophagus, was implemented on
schedule and without a budget overrun.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Shufrych said in December 2006 that the
main stage of the stabilization work on the shelter over the destroyed
reactor had been completed, as a result of which 50% of the load on it had
been shifted to a new structure.
Ukraine expects to complete construction of the new shelter over the
destroyed reactor by the year 2011.

The explosion of the Chornobyl nuclear power plant’s fourth reactor in 1986
was the world’s worst man-made accident.                    -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Interfax Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, April 25, 2007
KYIV – The installation of a new shield over the reactor of the destroyed
Chornobyl nuclear power plant will start this summer, Ukrainian President
Viktor Yuschenko has said.

“Five years ago, we reached an agreement with our partners in the world to
launch a new project for the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, which is called
Shelter. These are arch coverings, the erection of which will start in
several months,” Yuschenko said in Maryanivka in the Kyiv region on

The project has been estimated at $800 million, and “all projects related to
the cleanup of the aftermath of the Chornobyl disaster will cost Ukraine
$1.2 billion,” he said.

The project’s implementation will take several years, Yuschenko said. “The
purpose of the Shelter project is to dismantle the obstructions that
appeared there after the explosion at Chornobyl, evacuate and bury them,

and then dismantle all the installations, including the shelter itself, and
leave in fact green grass there,” he said.

April 26 will be the 21st anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster.    -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


Interfax Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 26, 2007

KYIV – Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko has urged Ukraine’s

government and society to spare no effort to revive the Chornobyl zone,
the presidential press service reported on Thursday.

“As head of state, I insist that all executive bodies make it their priority
to develop the contaminated territories, rehabilitate those affected by the
accident and create favorable conditions for their activity,” he said in an
address marking the 21st anniversary of the Chornobyl catastrophe.

Yuschenko said it was vital to introduce healthcare and economic reforms in
that area and attract investment to revitalize it. “Chornobyl’s . revival
has been and will be our paramount goal,” he said. “Our common obligation

is to take care of the people affected by the sorrow of Chornobyl.”

Lots of things have been done in the past decade but many more things still
have to be done, he added, and thanked the country’s international partners
for their assistance in dealing with the aftereffects of the blast.

“We are deeply grateful for this support. We hope all the obligations
assumed by the international community will be fulfilled,” he said. “I am
convinced we will succeed and see Ukraine prosper if we unite, particularly
to resolve our Chornobyl problems. This is our obligation and our
responsibility for posterity.”                          -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 26, 2007

KYIV- Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon calls on global
community to help revival of regions that suffered from the Chornobyl

This follows from the UN Secretary-General address on occasion of the 21th
anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster, a copy of which Ukrainian News has

The statement tells that although the world should never forget the loss and
pain caused by the tragic incident, it is imperative to move forward.

The Secretary-General underlines that, after two decades, a return to normal
life is a realistic prospect for people living in the Chornobyl-affected

To achieve this aim, what these areas need most now is sustainable social
and economic development, new jobs, fresh investment and the restoration of
a sense of community self-sufficiency. “Great progress has been achieved,
but international assistance remains essential,” Ban thinks.

The statement stresses that the people affected by Chernobyl have shown
great resilience in coping with a disaster of tremendous magnitude.

“The Secretary-General calls on the international community to do its part
in helping them to bring a region so rich in history and potential fully
back to life,” reads the statement.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, President Viktor Yuschenko calls for
rehabilitation of territories polluted due to Chornobyl nuclear power plant

The Chornobyl reactor explosion in 1986 polluted the territories of Ukraine,
Belarus Russia and less polluted territories of a number of European
countries. As of January 1, 2004, there were 2.9 million registered victims
of the disaster.                                      -30-

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By Breffni O’Rourke, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, April 25, 2007

PRAGUE – The explosion and fire at the Chornobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine
happened in the early hours of April 26, 1986, and the world would never be
quite the same again.

At first, the Soviet authorities said nothing, and the first clear
indication that something was wrong came when monitoring devices in Sweden
began registering alarming increases in background radiation.

Deep unease quickly spread across Western Europe as people realized a huge
cloud of radioactivity was drifting toward them.
In the Soviet Union and in Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe, people had still
not been told of the danger.

Finally, on April 28, Soviet television carried a short announcement that
gave no indication of the magnitude of the disaster: “There has been an
accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power station.

One of the atomic reactors has been damaged. Measures are being taken to
eliminate the consequences of the accident. Assistance is being given to the
injured and a government commission has been set up.”

That simple message did not convey the drama going on at Chornobyl. U.S.
satellite images showed that a reactor block at the nuclear power plant was
blown apart and burned out.

Teams of men were fighting to stabilize the site, with each extra minute of
exposure to the intense radiation sealing also their own fate.

It was not until two weeks later that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
recognized the unprecedented scale of the accident. In a speech on May 14,
he expressed sympathy for the victims.

“All of you know that we have been struck by a misfortune recently — the
accident at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant,” Gorbachev said. “It has
painfully affected the Soviet people and troubled the international
community. We have, for the first time, confronted in reality the dreadful
force of nuclear energy that got out of control.”
                        NUCLEAR ENERGY NOW GREEN?
The accident plunged the civil nuclear power industry around the world into
crisis, as the public turned away from the possibility of more such
environmental disasters. And so the matter might have rested, but for a new
perceived danger: global warming, thought to be caused mainly by fossil-fuel

Iran’s Bushehr power plant is one of many in construction around the world
(epa file photo) The nuclear industry has begun the fight back. Ian
Hoare-Lacy, a spokesman for an industry group, the World Nuclear
Association, says that nuclear power makes sense.

“It’s hard to see how we’re going to grapple with lowering carbon emissions
without [nuclear energy] worldwide; nuclear energy is the main technology
ready to be deployed on a much wider scale for generating electricity
without carbon emissions,” Hoare-Lacy says.

He notes there are 440 reactors now online in the world, with some 30 new
plants under construction. And if nuclear energy is going to contribute
meaningfully to carbon-emission reductions, then there could in future be a
fourfold increase in this number of reactors. Modern reactor design, he
says, removes the possibility of another catastrophe like Chornobyl.
Environmental activists disagree, and continue to regard nuclear power as
fatally flawed.

“Nuclear power could be part of the solution to global warming, but it
produces toxic waste that stays dangerously radioactive for tens of
thousands of years, it’s intimately associated with nuclear weapons, and can
be very expensive; as a result we believe there are better solutions than
nuclear power to the problem of global warming,” says Roger Higman of the
Friends of the Earth organization.

Higman lists all the alternatives, from solar and wind power to tidal power,
to efficiency improvements and electricity-saving programs. However, many
people are not convinced these “green” alternatives would be sufficient to
power the heavily industrialized world.

He also points to the issue of nuclear weapons proliferation — a potential
problem when it comes to nuclear power.

“The technologies that are used — enrichment technologies, reprocessing
technologies — can all be used to make materials for bombs, so there is an
intense suspicion of countries like Iran, North Korea, when they develop
their nuclear-power programs,” Higman says.

“That’s a big impediment to fighting global warming, because we have to be
confident that any solution we use, we are happy for other countries, other
parts of the world to use also, because global warming is an international
problem,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Chornobyl’s seething mass of radioactive debris waits. The
concrete sarcophagus built around the ruins of the shattered reactor in the
months following the fire is rotting, weakened by intense radioactivity.

A U.S.-European consortium is building a new billion-dollar containment
building, which should be ready by next year. But that won’t be the end of
the Chornobyl story by a long way.                       -30-

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Interfax Ukraine News, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, April 26, 2007

MOSCOW – Lands surrounding the Chornobyl nuclear power plant will

remain dangerous for thousands of years, Greens faction member Alexei
Yablokov told Interfax. The Greens are a component of the Yabloko Party.

It will be impossible to live even 50 kilometers away from Chornobyl,
because of plutonium pollution. Plutonium requires 300,000 years to totally
decompose, he said.

The size of the polluted area will shrink with time, but vast territories
outside the 50-kilometer radius will remain hazardous for another 180-200
years, he said.

Today, about 5 million people live on these lands in Russia, Ukraine and
Belarus, Yablokov said. The inner radiation of these people constantly grows
because of the radionuclides absorbed with radioactive food.

“After more than 20 years, the amount of radionuclides has fallen. But the
inner radiation is increasing and that will last for several years, maybe, a
decade,” the expert said. Radioactive food is responsible for 40% of
radioactive contamination of lands close to Chornobyl, he said.

“According to demographers, the death rate on these lands is 3.5-4% higher
because of Chornobyl. About 300,000 people have died due to contamination
within the past 15 years,” he said.

More than 200,000 Russian citizens took part in the Chornobyl cleanup, the
Russian Chornobyl Union said. Nearly three million Russians were affected by
the nuclear accident.

Chornobyl cleanup veterans are now suffering from endocrine, blood, mental,
nervous, osseous and intestinal disorders. More than 70,000 people have
become incapacitated, and nearly 30,000 Chornobyl cleanup veterans have
died.                                                  -30-

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INTERVIEW: With Thomas Tenfordee, President
U.S.-based National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements
BY: Heather Mayer, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Washington, D.C., Thursday, April 26, 2007

WASHINGTON -Twenty-one  years after the terrible accident at the Chornobyl
nuclear plant, now in present-day Ukraine, there continues to be
disagreement over how seriously humans and the environment have been

RFE/RL’s Heather Mayer spoke to Thomas Tenfordee, the president of the
U.S.-based National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.

RFE/RL: Greenpeace says reports from the World Health Organization (WHO)
and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have downplayed and even
deliberately reduced the number of cancers that have occurred as a result of
the accident at Chornobyl. How do you respond?

Thomas Tenfordee: The information I have is that they documented about 4,000
thyroid cases among the exposed population, but nearly all of them were
successfully treated. More than 99 percent of them were treated and have

So the number of fatalities was small, even though the incidence was quite
high compared to what you would normally expect for a population of that
size, with the age distribution they have.

I think they’ve done a good job in containing the problem. I don’t believe
there’s been any effort to conceal information. I think it’s available in
the “Chornobyl Forum” [report, from the United Nations] and a variety of
other publications.

The question that is being examined now is are there other types of disease
that may have been related to radiation exposure and people are looking to
see if there’s any evidence for an increase in leukemia or breast cancer, or
other types of noncancer thyroid diseases.

Right now the jury is still out in terms of whether there is a statistically
significant increase in those cancers among the most highly exposed

Right now, there’s maybe hints of a little excess in breast cancer and
leukemia in the most highly exposed people but as I say, the jury is still
out on that, so it will be very important to continue watching and
monitoring that population and see what might develop over the coming years.

RFE/RL: A report by the IAEA has recommended that the governments in
affected areas put more effort into easing what it calls the “psychological
burden” of the population affected by the accident — people who have been
displaced from their homes, etc.

Greenpeace says this is an attempt to divert attention from serious
illnesses that are occurring. Is the IAEA right to worry about people’s
stress levels?

Tenfordee: That is, I think, well established. There was great anxiety and I
think there was an elevated rate of abortions among pregnant women who were
exposed or potentially exposed in the Belarus or Ukrainian areas that were

Dr. Evelyn Bromet at Brookhaven National Laboratory is an expert in that
area and has studied the psychological stress and trauma suffered by some of
the population and I don’t believe there’s any debate about whether there
was a lot of psychological stress and trauma. I believe that’s pretty well
established and accepted by everyone.

RFE/RL: Greenpeace also says that UN agencies like WHO and the IAEA have
signed a memorandum of understanding that essentially says they agree not to
say bad things about nuclear energy. Because of this memo, Greenpeace says
the effects of Chornobyl have been “whitewashed.” How do you answer that

Tenfordee: I know there is great concern about the public response to any
nuclear accident. You’re fully aware of the rather overblown response in the
United States to Three Mile Island, [the 1979 accident at the Three Mile
Island nuclear power plant in New York state] which really released so
little radiation in the public domain that you’d be hard-pressed to say
there was any excess cancer at all.

Of course, Chornobyl was a much different story, that was a much more major
event that released a lot of potentially harmful radiation and the reaction
worldwide was very strong.

And so those who feel that the nuclear option is an alternative to
carbon-based fuels that are polluting the atmosphere and possibly causing
global warming — in fact, very likely causing global warming — I think
there’s a tendency to try, I don’t know what the right word is, maybe
downplay the effort or the significance [of Chornobyl].

The nuclear industry is really working hard, I’m quite familiar with what
they’re doing to improve the safety of nuclear power reactors.

The new generation of reactors will have some marvelous safety features that
the older reactors didn’t have and, of course, operationally there’s a new
awareness of the need to proceed in a proper and cautious manner in any
reactor operation. And when you have people doing experiments that were
inappropriate, under the wrong conditions, you invite accidents like

And that was just a very tragic, misguided effort by some operators at the
Chornobyl No. 4 reactor that should never have happened.

So I guess the point that probably is being made, and I haven’t heard this
directly myself but I can imagine that the attitude is look, the nuclear
industry is trying very hard to be safe because it is a viable option for
expanding our power-production capabilities and the fact that there were a
few people who did some very stupid things that led to some tragic outcomes
should not reflect on the entire nuclear industry.

RFE/RL: If you were living in one of the affected regions, how would you go
about finding objective and truthful information about, for example, whether
it’s safe to eat food produced in the contaminated region, or to move back
to one of the evacuated areas?

Tenfordee: Well, if you’re talking about people in the former Soviet Union,
there are some very credible and honest scientists at the Russian Academy of

And there are other institutes near Kyiv and I would advise them to seek
advice and counsel from the scientists at these institutes because they have
studied and published widely on the sciences and health consequences and I
have found them to be very honest, credible people.

And one thing that’s important that I think people don’t realize is that
radioisotopes like iodine-131 decay pretty fast, in other words, iodine-131
loses half of its radioactivity level in eight days. So here we are many
years past the Chornobyl events, so the iodine-131 has all decayed into
harmless daughter products.

So levels of radiation are orders and orders less than they were immediately
after the accident. So people tend not to understand that, and think, if
it’s radioactive today it will be radioactive forever. Well that’s not
actually true with nearly all types of radioactivity.

There are some very long-life radio isotopes and some of those were released
but they were in minor quantities compared to iodine-131 and even
cesium-137, another major byproduct. That has about a 30-year half-life, so
we’re only halfway decayed down and that’s still a major contaminant.

But I recommend that they seek the advice and guidance of the scientists at
the Russian Academy of Sciences and I would think their local medical
services should be able to provide them with answers to their questions.

Those are not unreasonable questions, the public asks that all the time, and
they have a right to know and a right to get the correct information.

So the answer is, yes there’s still contamination, but it’s already much
less than it was immediately after the accident, and there’s been a major
effort to try to clean up the contaminated areas.

And the Ukrainian government in particular has really gone to some great
lengths to try and ensure the safety of the land and the food products and
the water, as best they can.                                  -30-

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       Please contact us if you no longer wish to receive the AUR    

STATEMENT: Ukrainian Canadian Congress
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Thursday, April 26, 2007

April 26, 1986 is a tragic date in world history. On this day the worst
nuclear explosion in the history of mankind occurred at the Fourth reactor
of the Chornobyl nuclear power station in Ukraine, changing the lives of
millions of people forever and causing great suffering to many others.

The global scale of this tragedy shocked the world. A United Nations 1995
Report estimated that a total of 9 million people were directly or
indirectly affected by the Chornobyl disaster and that 3-4 million of those
affected were children. The people of Chornobyl were exposed to radiation
300 times greater than that from the Hiroshima bomb.

An area the size of England, Wales and Northern Ireland combined – over
160,000 square kilometres – is estimated to have been contaminated by the

On the 21st Anniversary of Chornobyl, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress
appeals to the entire Ukrainian Canadian community along with other
countries and people of Ukraine to commemorate victims of this catastrophe
by taking part in church services and other commemorative events,
remembering the liquidators and firemen who contained the disaster of the
Chornobyl nuclear power station and saved the world from an even greater
disaster, and by praying for those whose suffering from the consequences of
the accident.

This day is also a good opportunity to reflect on what has been done and
what needs to still be done. The government of Canada, along with the
Ukrainian Canadian community, has made significant contributions to Ukraine
by participating in international programs in the areas of health, the
environment, the economy and the social sphere all of which are aimed at
neutralizing the consequences of this accident.

Canada is a major contributor to the building of the so-called sarcophagus
around the crippled reactor, which acts to contain radioactive debris
emitting from the site.

UCC will continue to work together with the Government so that the most
effective and timely means are used to nullify the effects of the accident
on the population of Ukraine and to avoid such tragedies in the future. -30-
Ostap Skrypnyk, Ex Dir, Ukrainian Canadian Congress, 204 942 4627;

Cell 204 229 6577;; E-mail:
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
   College Student Mission Trip to Aid Post-Chornobyl Orphanages in Ukraine.

By Hieromonk Daniel (Zelinsky), Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
South Bound Brook, New Jersey, Thursday, April 26, 2007

At exactly 1:23AM on April 26, 2007 the world marks the 21st anniversary of
the Chornobyl Nuclear disaster in Ukraine, but the tragedy lingers in
heartbreaking ways.

Twenty one years ago, a nuclear power plant in the former Soviet Ukraine
exploded not once, but twice, soaking the atmosphere with 100 times more
radiation than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August

His Excellency Kenzo Oshima, appointed Under-Secretary for Humanitarian
Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator took the issue of Chronobyl to
heart, being a Hiroshima survivor.

In his capacity as United Nations Coordinator of International Cooperation
on Chornobyl , he launched the report “The Human Consequences of the
Chornobyl Nuclear Accident: A Strategy for Recovery”, in which he wrote:
“This accident at Chornobyl is much more than the worst technological
disaster in the history of the nuclear age – it is also a grave and
continuing humanitarian tragedy.”

The Nuclear plant is located on the border area between Ukraine and Belarus.
At the time of the accident, about 7 million people lived in the now
contaminated territories, including 3 million children.

Over 5 million people, including more than a million children, still live in
contaminated zones, according to the Chernobyl Children’s Project
International (CCPI), a Not-For-Profit organization based in New York, New

The institution provides community-level programs, and humanitarian and
medical aid programs, designed to offer hope to the youngest and most
vulnerable victims of the Chornobyl disaster – the children.

The disaster struck just as Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Secretary General of
USSR (1985-1991), who was elected as the first Communist party leader born
after the revolution in Russian in 1917, was beginning his perestroika
campaign to modernize and reform the Soviet system.

Fred Weir In These Times writes that Gorbachev won short-term political
advantage by publicly hammering his bureaucratic enemies who, true to form,
had clammed up and for 10 days refused to tell the world what was happening
at Chornobyl. The Soviet model of economic development was exposed as
wasteful, hazard-ridden and out-of-control.

Millions of people, brought up to believe in the system, irreversibly lost
faith as they floundered in that terrifying 10-day information vacuum,
wondering whether they and their children were being slowly poisoned by
invisible clouds of radiation.

Decades later, radioactive elements are spread through dust particles
deposited in the earth by rainfall or enter the food chain through plants
and animals, according to the CCPI. Millions continue to be exposed to these
low doses of radiation, and their children are showing the tragic results.
Many of them are born with disabilities so severe their parents either do
not want them or cannot help them.

Research indicates that as a result of the radiation buildup in their
system, the children face many serious health problems, including trouble
with their teeth, heart, thyroid, and ears, as well as an increased risk for
nutritional deficiency, heavy metal poisoning, and cancer.
Suddenly, such words as poor, orphan, widow became a sober reality to over
52 million Ukrainians (in 1986) and millions of people across the globe. In
months to follow the Tragedy, thousands of charitable institutions and world
governments reacted to this tragedy by offering their assistance and
humanitarian aid to those who suffered the consequences of the nuclear

Christianity demands that care for the poor and orphans is fundamental to
God’s plan and we must actively engage in identifying and implementing the
best ways to provide this care. God’s promise of care for the poor, the
orphans, and the widows has always been a tremendous source of hope during
times of severe difficulty.

 he college-age youth of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA have
admirably taken on the challenge of orphan care and advocacy in the
post-Chornobyl orphanage environment in Ukraine. In 1996 His Eminence
Archbishop Antony, announced that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the

USA was about to take on a new major humanitarian effort in Ukraine.

Thus, begun the Church’s long-term relationship with the Children of
Chornobyl Relief and Development Fund (In November of 1989, in response to
an urgent appeal from a Deputy of the Ukrainian Parliament, (Volodymyr
Yavorivsky) during his visit to the US Congress and the National Press Club,
Dr. and Mrs. Zenon and Nadia Matkiwsky organize a committee to provide an
emergency shipment of antibiotics to children’s hospitals in Ukraine.
That committee eventually becomes the Children of Chornobyl Relief Fund. At
he 10th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster the Church and the CCRDF
raised over $150,000 to establish two Neo-natal intensive care units in
Chernihiv and Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine.  The most successful effort with the
CCRDF however, has been an Orphanage Adoption Program (OAP).

It began when two sisters in California donated $40,000 for orphan care in
Ukraine. The CCRDF identified two orphanages with 120 children each, poorly
managed, deteriorated facilities, understaffed and under funded.

The Consistory of the UOC of the USA committed to a five year plan to adopt
the two orphanages in Ukraine: Znamianka, a small city in Kirovohrad
province – right in the center of Ukraine – and Zaluchya, a village in the
foothills of the Carpathian Mountains (Ivano-Fankivsk province).

Four years later, the Church sends the first College Age Youth Mission Team
to both orphanages in order to build relationships between the Ukrainian
orphans and Christians of the UOC of the USA, and by doing so to bring
Mission Team members closer to Christ through a ministry of service.
                                 FIVE SPECIFIC GOALS
The Church begins to fulfill this purpose by pursuing five specific goals:

     1) sending clothing and diapers to the orphanages,
     2) obtaining special needs school supplies for the orphanages,
     3) providing wheelchairs and required medical assistance for the
     4) raising financial assistance for projects in the orphanages, and
     5) establishing a specific prayer relationship between the Mission Team
         members and orphans so that through that ministry the students may
         “be Christ” and reaffirm the Holy Orthodox Faith among the orphans
        they care for and the people of Ukraine.

Dictionaries often define orphan as “a child whose parents are dead.”
However, very often the word “orphan” can be used interchangeably with
“outcast.” Outcast is a person excluded from a society or system. This
certainly describes many orphaned children.

Even though many orphans, or outcasts, have living parents or family, they
have been left on their own, whether children or adults, and they come in
many different shapes, sizes, ages, and races.

Charity is a multiaspect human activity, a social, psychological and
economical phenomenon which has ancient traditions throughout history.

Giving alms to poor was the original form of charity in the most remote past
and no passage in the Bible is more clear on this point than our Lord’s
words in Matthew 25: 31-46: “Whatever you did for the least of these
brothers of mine, you did for me…”
Mercy is the basis of religious morals and serves as the foundation for
various kinds of charity. Institutional childcare has a long history.
Records show that the first institutions of this kind date back to Byzantine
Empire in 335 AD and later developed throughout the Middle Ages. In Kyivan
Rus a social system of care for the needy began its formation with adoption
of Christianity.

Dr. Fedor Stupak of the National Museum of Medicine of Ukraine explains that
by his statute of 996 Kyiv Prince Volodymyr officially imposed the duty of
supporting for charity on clergy, when allotted a tithe for maintenance of
monasteries, churches, charity houses and hospitals.

For many ages the church and monasteries remained centers of social aid to
the old, crippled and sick. Prince Volodymyr himself served a model of
compassion for his people and was “true father for the poor”.
Other princes followed him. Volodymyr Monomakh stated the prince’s duties in
respect to the poor is such a way: “Be fathers for orphans, do not allow the
powers to ruin the weak; do not leave the sick without help”.

Our compassion, charity, expose the depth of our faith. A pure and undefiled
characteristic of Christianity is this: to care for orphans, widows and poor
in their distress. No passage is clearer on this point than Matthew 25:
31-46, which describes our Lord’s judgment of mankind.

He distinguishes those who have true faith from those who do not by
examining the fruit they produce in their concern for the orphans, widows,
the poor, homeless and the sick.

A sensitive social conscience and a life poured out in deeds of mercy to the
needy is the inevitable outcome and sign of true faith. God can judge from
such deeds whether ours is true love or simply lip service.

The overall goal of the Church’s efforts has been to utilize the Mission
Trips of the UOC of the USA to Ukrainian orphanages to minister to orphans
and to have positive influence on the entire Church membership through the
witness of those participating in these Mission Trips.

Hopefully such witness will foster a deeper understanding of social outreach
programs as a dimension of the Orthodox Faith and encourage the
establishment of other ministry programs based on that understanding.

Upon His Eminence Archbishop Antony’s return back from Ukraine in 2001 with
about 50 pilgrims of the UOC of the USA, the Archbishop encouraged faithful
of the Church to act upon their desire to assist newly independent country

However, his call for assistance was not one of financial aid to political
and questionable religious organizations, but to the places like orphanages,
hospitals and schools.

In other words – directly places where the aid would make an immediate
difference in the lives of people. The response was that thousands of
faithful of the Church heard the call and responded to.

Parishes as well as individual parishioners began to ship containers of
clothing to both orphanages. At the same time parishes organized fund
raising events in order to benefit Church’s Orphanage Adoption Program.

It was a sudden revival of spirit in most of the parishes, because the
images of suffering and hungry children remained on the pages of Ukrainian
Orthodox Word, the official publication of the UOC of the USA, for months
appealing for donations, relating personal accounts of missionaries about
their experiences and projects accomplished.

Dr. Ihor Mahlay, a deacon in the UOC of the USA and director of the
Consistory Office of Missions and Christian Charity of the UOC of the USA,
as well as a member of OCMC (Orthodox Christian Missions Center) board of
trustees and a member of Zoe for Life, and Orthodox organizations to assist
young women dealing with pregnancy issues, and a dentist by profession in
the USA, visiting the orphanage in 2005 treated all 120 children with basic
dental hygiene.

We were told that since then there was no dental care provided, which means
that most of these children have damaged (rotted) teeth. Our supplies for a
doctor’s office included pain medicine, tooth paste and brushes for children
as well as other basic medical items.

The second goal of the Orphanage program to provide needed supplies for
the educators in both orphanages is being fulfilled through generous
donations of individuals and parishes throughout the USA.

Beyond the missionary team’s delivery of school supplies many more boxes of
educational toys, books, notepads, pens, pencils, video and audio supplies
are sent to the orphanages on a monthly basis. Letters of gratitude and
receipts from shipping companies continue to arrive witnessing to the fact
that our aid is on its way.

While at the orphanages, it has been our experience that it is very
difficult to transport children manually from one location to another.
Whether it is a physical therapy session or massage therapy, children must
be brought from the second floor of the building to the first floor using an
old staircase.

CCRDF through its numerous charitable channels in Ukraine was able to
encourage Swiss humanitarian aid company to construct an oversize elevator
for the orphanage that transports about 35 children at the same time in
their chairs or beds. However, that still does not solve an issue of easier
mobility of children.

As of August 2005, there were only 2 operational wheel chairs and 4
tricycles available at the Zaluchia orphanage.  In addition, there were no
wheel chair accessible ramps constructed. Through the CCRDF’s intervention
and Church’s financial support the back yard play ground is being restored
and ramps are built.

The Church’s Mission Trip is a time for spiritual renewal of each of its
participants (including the leadership), as well time for reflection on who
we are as Orthodox Christians, people who claim to follow in the footsteps
of our Lord.

Each day begins and ends with a prayer. While staying at Znamianka orphanage
in Central Ukraine we lived in the orphanage building itself, which enabled
us to have children participate with us in daily prayers.

Tanay Tschaikowska reflects on her spiritual journey while at the orphanage:
“Then, while in Zaluchya, after another moving service of Holy Unction
performed by Father Daniel, I had another pivotal moment.

Each of the children was anointed, and was given an icon card of the Virgin
Mary.  All of the kids loved the gifts, and I saw many kissing the icons,
and many more asked us to kiss them.

I was sitting with Ulyana, a brilliant girl who has learned to write and
paint by grasping instruments in her teeth,  and Vasyl, a quiet, patient
little boy who has little use of his legs, and I was holding Alina, a very
young girl with Down’s Syndrome in my lap.

Ulyana turned to me and asked me to read to her what was written on the back
of the icon card.  I hadn’t really paid attention to the back until this

There, written in Ukrainian, were the Beatitudes.  I started reading them to
the kids, and by the time I had reached the end, I was in tears.  I realized
that these children truly are blessed.  They are poor, meek, they mourn;
they are all of these things.

I was crying tears of joy because I realized that though they may face great
hardships in their lives on earth, ‘great will be their reward in heaven.”

A number of children in both orphanages were not baptized. Therefore, we
baptized dozens of kids with our team members becoming Godparents.

My only hope that the team members remain true to their calling to be true
God parents for those kids. We also conducted Holy Unction services,
anointing children with the blessed oil for the healing of their souls and

As a Team we prayed every day for the orphans but we also knew  that we were
prayed for. Prior to our Trip, His Eminence Archbishop Antony led a
Commissioning of Missionaries prayer service at which he challenged us with
the words: “Do not be afraid.”
                      BE NOT AFRAID TO TOUCH, LOVE, HUG
Be not afraid to touch, love, hug; be not afraid of being touched. How
prophetic his words were, we did not only touch the lives of those children
we were touched by Christ ourselves.

These are the reflections of Laryssa Tschaikowska and Eric Senedak, both
members of the Mission Team: “At first it was shocking to see some of the
orphans’ conditions.  Some were severely physically and mentally handicap
and found it hard to communicate.

However, when we placed our hand on there faces or held there hands, you
knew that that child felt your presence.  This was the greatest feeling for
me on the mission trip.  Our original mission was to bring God to these
kids, yet it turned out that these kids brought God to me.

It was understood from the beginning that it was our mission to bring aid
and comfort to the orphans in Znamyanka and Zaluchya. We were to spend time
in each orphanage playing with the children and hoped that by our actions we
would show the face of Christ to them.

It was my duty to bring these children closer to Christ but they ended up
bringing me closer to Him. They taught me acceptance, patience, tolerance,
and most importantly love in its purest form. They taught me the true
meaning of being created in the image of Christ.”

These reflections testify to the fact that through the OAP and her mission
efforts, the Church assists her youth to recognize and develop its spiritual
potential and its ability to be true witnesses of Christ in our society.

These are several of the main goals that were achieved as this project came
into existence. It does not mean, however, that it is limited only to these
efforts. There are number of other factors that will be taken into
consideration as this project progresses in the years to come.

With the blessing of His Beatitude Metropolitan Constantine, the project is
headed now by two co-chairs, directors of the Consistory Offices of Youth
and Young Adult Ministry Natalie Kapeluch-Nixon and Missions and Christian
Charity Fr. Dn. Dr. Ihor Mahlay.

This mission trip to the Ukrainian orphanages is not simply a nice tourist
journey at the end of summer sponsored by the Church in order to reward a
group of people either for their dedication to or work in the Church. This
mission experience can significantly alter and enhance the kind of ministry
that takes place in a local parish family or greater community.

The number of college age students involved in these mission trips grows
each year and the Youth Ministry of the Church is enhanced as the program
develops an increased emphasis on ministerial social outreach and

The Orthodox communities in the 20th century had a lot of strengths,
including a stress on the importance of Faith or an emphasis on communal and
personal piety. However, a key element that was often missing was the
recognition that social action must be important part of the Church’s
The time has come in the 21st century to respond faithfully to Christ’s
commandment to “make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28: 19) and to “love
your neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 22:39).

A strong commitment to the importance and urgency of Evangelism is vitally
important both to the health of the Church and to the spiritual vitality of
individual believers.

At the same time, individuals and parishes must remember that exhibiting a
concern for the physical well-being of people enhances our witness and
follows the example of our Lord.

There are those who understand the love of Christ because they are told
about it with words. There are many others who only understand the love of
Christ because someone takes the time to show them through actions.

There are many young people who have bought into the message of the culture
around them that one will find happiness when one acquires more money, more
possessions and more power. All these can bring happiness for a time, but it
is soon discovered that they are not sufficient – one always wants more and
we strive for something “greater”.

The Church’s Orphanage Mission project seeks to provide opportunities for
college age students to experience ministry in a variety of settings so that
they can experience the joy that comes from serving others.

While the effects of the Mission Trip experience could be described with
such words as extraordinary, moving and spiritually uplifting for the team
members it is also important to reflect upon the impact that these trips
have had on the UOC of the USA. Parishes of the UOC of the USA throughout
the country have been reenergized by the spirit of 10-17 young people
traveling to Ukrainian orphanages.

At the latest Clergy Conference of the UOC of the USA, pastors of parish
communities from all over the county stated that unless our parishes begin
reaching out to the lost and searching in our own neighborhoods, here in the
USA, our efforts to assist those in other countries will fall short of

The parishes with a strong outward thrust more easily communicate the
missionary responsibility of the Church than those communities that are
content with status quo.

I am sure that the Church’s Orphanage Adoption Program in Ukraine is a
primary impetus behind the enthusiasm and change in attitude toward
community outreach throughout the UOC of the USA.

The Church as the Body of Christ is, in faith and action, the embodiment of
God’s commandment to “love one another as I have loved you,” calling us to
“hunger and thirst for justice” and to be peacemakers in a world of
injustice, oppression and poverty.

As the Body of Christ, we must reach out into our communities to serve the
“least among us” — the poor and the vulnerable. This is the work of the
community oriented parish’s outreach ministry.

As we mark the 21st anniversary of the tragic explosion, we must realize
that only with the passage of time and additional research will we
understand the full extent of the impact of the Chernobyl disaster on the
health of those in the affected regions.

Experts disagree on how many of the following problems are specifically
caused by radiation, and also recognize that poverty, poor diet, lifestyles,
and even fear of radiation, are contributing factors to the health problems
seen in Chornobyl affected regions.

However, since Christianity is not a private lifestyle choice, although some
in society would like to confine it to this, Christian living and Christian
values have public benefits and consequences.

                               CALL TO EVERY PERSON
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA calls on each person to maintain
and improve the decencies of public life and to provide sustained Christian
reflection on the principles that should animate and govern political,
economic, and social arrangements in a good society.

If you are interested in participating in a Mission Trip or make a voluntary
donation to the Orphanage Fund, contact the Office of Public Relations of
the UOC of the USA at (732) 356-0090 or
includes several photographs.  Subheading inserted editorially by the

Action Ukraine Report (AUR). 
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Bishop Paul Peter Jesep, By Appointment of His Beatitude Metropolitan
Myfodii of Kyiv and All Ukraine, Director of Public Affairs in the United
States, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,
Kyiv Patriarchate, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, 13 April 2007

The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) issued its annual
statement regarding Holocaust Memorial Day, Sunday, 15 April 2007.

It called on God’s children, regardless of faith or denomination, to reflect
on one of the most tragic and gruesome events in human history. UAOC

Church leaders directed its priests, bishops and faithful throughout the
Diaspora to remember the victims in prayers over the weekend.

“Jewish sisters and brothers were abused, tortured and murdered during the
Nazi Holocaust,” said Bishop Paul Peter Jesep, Director of Public Affairs in
the United States, who serves as spokesperson by Appointment of His
Beatitude Metropolitan Myfodii of Kyiv and All Ukraine for the Ukrainian
Autocephalous Orthodox Church, Ukraine’s third largest Orthodox Church.

“This crime against humanity is one of history’s darkest periods,” Bishop
Jesep said. “Those murdered must be remembered in our prayers, in our

hearts and in our consciences as part of the universal family to which we all

Bishop Jesep said, “Other family members like Gypsies, Communists, the
disabled, Slavic gentiles, political mavericks, gays and lesbians, Christian
pastors and priests, and uncategorized souls who thought outside the social,
cultural and political box were calculatingly and maliciously murdered in
the camps as well.”

“Holocaust Memorial Day is about one family under the same God,” Bishop
Jesep said. “Sadly, after the fall of Nazism the world still experienced
atrocities in Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda and Cambodia.

And in Ukraine we remember the artificial-famine of the Holodomor. As one,
united family we must fight bigotry and racism. An attack against one member
is an attack against all of us. It is one of the timeless reminders of
Holocaust Memorial Day.”

“President Viktor Yushchenko should especially be applauded for his efforts
to criminalize those who deny the genocide of the Holocaust and Holodomor,”
he added. “This weekend is a time of reflection as to what it means to be
part of God’s family.”                                -30-

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                            TO OPEN VAST NAZI ARCHIVES

Desmond Butler, AP Worldstream, Washington, D.C.,  Wed, Apr 25, 2007

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives is urging five countries

to speed up the opening of a secret Nazi archive that documents the lives and
deaths of millions of World War II concentration camp inmates.

In a resolution passed with bipartisan support Wednesday, the House urged
the international commission that controls access to the archives ratify
changes in a 1955 international agreement on the management of the files to
make them public. The U.S. Senate passed a similar resolution earlier this

Until recently the archives held in Bad Arolsen, Germany, had been kept in
secrecy. The documents’ importance became clearer in recent months after The
Associated Press obtained extensive access to the material on condition that
victims not be identified fully.

At its meeting last month, the 11-member commission set in motion a process
to open the records by the end of this year after all 11 had ratified the
decision. Britain, Israel, Netherlands, Poland, Germany and the United
States have ratified; Belgium, France, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg have not.

The House resolution, introduced by Democrat Alcee Hastings and Republican
Mark Kirk urged the commission to “consider the short time left to Holocaust
survivors and unanimously consent to open” the archives, if the remaining
five countries to not ratify the changes by May.

“It is beyond shameful that for 62 years, Holocaust survivors, their
families and historians continue to be denied immediate access to Nazi
archives,” Hastings said in a statement.

The House resolution also urged the countries that have not ratified the
opening to follow through and do it. The Bad Arolsen archives contain 30
million to 50 million pages of documents that record the individual fates of
more than 17 million victims of Nazi persecution, the resolution says.

The files have been used since the 1950s to help determine the fate of
people who disappeared during the Third Reich and, later, to validate claims
for compensation.                                 -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By Karoun Demirjian, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, Tue, Apr 24, 2007

WASHINGTON — Every April 24, U.S. presidents commemorate the official day
of remembrance of the Armenian genocide with a speech or statement carefully
crafted to avoid use of the word “genocide.”

U.S. officials have avoided the word because Turkey, a key ally, strongly
opposes the characterization to describe the early 20th Century deaths of an
estimated 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks.

In the past, members of the House and Senate have proposed resolutions
calling on the president to utter the phrase “Armenian genocide,” but the
efforts have run aground in the face of political concerns voiced by both
Democratic and Republican administrations.

In the past year, however, the struggle over the word “genocide” has
received international attention through a series of high-profile news
events, commencing with the passage of a bill in the lower house of the
French parliament criminalizing denial of the Armenian genocide and
extending to the political murder of a prominent Turkish-Armenian

The issue has caught the attention of many U.S. lawmakers, and with House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sympathetic to the cause, advocates are
hopeful that by next year’s commemoration survivors and their descendants
will find closure to a 92-year struggle to gain official recognition for the
mass killings that took place in the Ottoman Empire in World War I.

Aram Hamparian, executive director of the Armenian National Committee of
America, a Washington-based lobbying group, said that if the resolutions
came to a vote in the full House and Senate, they would pass. “It’s time to
let public policy catch up with the truth,” he said.

The House version is co-sponsored by 190 lawmakers, with 29 senators
supporting the nearly identical Senate version presented by Sen. Dick Durbin

Should the measures reach the floor, it would be the first time since 2000,
when then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) responded to a request from
the Clinton administration by pulling a resolution on the use of the word
“genocide” only minutes before a scheduled vote.

The bill’s advocates had hoped that Pelosi, a longtime advocate for
recognition of the Armenian genocide, would bring the bill to a floor vote
by Tuesday. Yet the bill still is lingering in the House Foreign Affairs
Committee, where it has not been scheduled for a vote.

As a member of NATO and a key transit link for oil, Turkey has long been an
important U.S. ally, and officials at the highest levels of the Bush
administration are wary of straining that relationship.

In a letter to Pelosi and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom
Lantos (D-Calif.) last month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and
Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote that Turkey — which borders Syria,
Iraq and Iran — is “a linchpin in the transshipment of vital cargo and
fuel” to U.S. troops in the Middle East.

A negative reaction from Turkey to a resolution on the Armenian genocide
“could harm American troops in the field, constrain our ability to supply
our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and significantly damage our efforts to
promote reconciliation between Armenia and Turkey,” Rice and Gates wrote.

Daniel Fried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian
affairs, added to the alarm in March when he told Lantos’ committee that
Turkey could respond to a genocide bill by blocking U.S. access to Incirlik
air base, a transit point in southeastern Turkey for nearly three-quarters
of all military cargo headed for Iraq.

But some legislators see the administration’s warnings as misapplied
fear-mongering. “You can essentially sum up the argument against recognition
in one word: expediency,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who is author of
the House resolution and represents a district with the largest ethnic
Armenian population in the country.

“I don’t see how we can speak with moral authority on the genocide in Darfur
if we’re unwilling to speak with clarity about the genocide against the
Armenians,” Schiff said. “It cannot be our policy that we’ll recognize
genocide when it’s committed by the politically weak, as in Sudan, but not
the politically strong, as in Turkey.”

Advocates of the bill add that a negative reaction from Turkey would not be
crippling. “Each time we discuss this, Turkey has predicted the end of the
world, or threatened to cut off all ties,” Hamparian said.

But since Turkey refused to let the U.S. use its territory as an entry point
into Iraq during the 2003 invasion, he said, American dependence on Turkey
has waned.

“Turkey has relationships with the U.S. because it makes sense for Turkey,”
Hamparian said. “So these doomsday threats are really just threats to punish

Turkey vehemently rejects the assertion that Armenian deaths during World
War I constituted genocide, maintaining instead that those killed — which
it numbers at 300,000 — were the unfortunate casualties of widespread war.

Genocide — or lack thereof — is a contentious issue within Turkey. Tension
spiked in January with the murder of Hrant Dink, a prominent
Turkish-Armenian journalist who had been sentenced to jail under Article 301
of the Turkish penal code, which makes it a crime to insult “Turkishness.”

Turkish officials have invoked his death — publicly mourned by Armenians
and Turks alike — as a rallying point to call for more academic and
historical dialogue between the two ethnic groups. That same call is being
echoed by those attempting to stymie debate over the genocide issue in

But Schiff questioned calls for dialogue from a country that he says is
still campaigning to censor parts of the debate. “There’s really no denying
that the murder of a million and half Armenians constituted genocide,” he

“Iran is in the business of hosting conferences denying the Holocaust. We
shouldn’t be in the business of supporting conferences to debate undeniable
facts of genocide.”                                    -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
         Baltic Countries & Poland holding out for inclusion of “Stalinist crimes”

By Tobias Buck in Brussels, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, April 18 2007

Laws that make denying or trivialising the Holocaust a criminal offence
punishable by jail sentences will be introduced across the European Union
under a proposal expected to win backing from ministers tomorrow.

The proposed legislation will also apply to inciting violence against
ethnic, religious or national groups with offenders facing up to three years
in jail.

Diplomats in Brussels voiced confidence yesterday that the plan, which has
been the subject of heated debate for six years, will be endorsed by member

However, the Baltic countries and Poland are holding out for an inclusion of
“Stalinist crimes” alongside the Holocaust in the text – a move that is
being resisted by the majority of other European countries.

The latest draft, seen by the Financial Times, will make it mandatory for
all EU member states to punish public incitement “to violence or hatred
directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by
reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin”.

They will also have to criminalise “publicly condoning, denying or grossly
trivialising crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes”
provided such statements incite hatred or violence against minorities.

Diplomats stressed the provision had been carefully worded to tackle only
the denial of the Holocaust – the Nazi extermination of Jews during world
war two – and the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

They stressed that the wording was designed to avoid criminalising plays or
films about the Holocaust, such as Roberto Benigni’s prize-winning Life is
Beautiful or the musical The Producers. The text expressly upholds
countries’ constitutional traditions relating to the freedom of expression.

Holocaust denial is a criminal offence in several European countries
including Germany and Austria. It is not a specific crime in Britain, though
UK officials said it could be tackled under existing legislation.

In an attempt to assuage Turkish fears, several EU diplomats said the
provisions would not penalise the denial of mass killing of Armenians in the
aftermath of the 1915 collapse of the Ottoman empire. Turkey strongly
rejects claims that this episode amounted to genocide.

The proposal draws what is likely to be a contentious distinction between
inciting violence against racial or ethnic groups and against religious
groups. Attacks against Muslims, Jews or other faiths will only be penalised
if they form a “pretext” for incitement against ethnic or racial groups.

This will mean that the proposal will criminalise appeals to kill or
persecute, for example, all Germans or blacks but not a similar incitement
to violence against Jews or Muslims.                     -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Turkish Daily News, Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, Apr 21, 2007

The EU justice ministers’ agreement to criminalize incitement to racial
hatred and xenophobia on Thursday in Luxembourg after long and fractious
negotiations, which took nearly six years left many parties across Europe
dissatisfied with the outcome and shed light on major differences between
member states, wrote the Guardian and Financial Times

According to the British daily Guardian, anti-racism campaigners, Jewish
groups and the EU term president Germany were disappointed with the fact
that the law does not ban Holocaust denial and Nazi symbols as such.

The European Jewish Congress expressed its uneasiness about the law by
emphasizing Europe’s special historic responsibility to combat
anti-Semitism, which was not included in the final version of the draft.

The draft has also made apparent the difference between European countries
such as Germany, Austria and France, which already have laws banning denial
of the Holocaust and Britain, Ireland and the Nordic countries that resisted
such a measure in the past so as not to compromise academic or artistic
freedom unless it specifically incites racial hatred

The business daily Financial Times reported on the other hand that the
Armenians were also displeased with the law since the events of 1915 in the
Ottoman Empire during World War One, which Armenians insist should be
recognized as genocide were not included in the text of the law.

Laurent Leylekian, the executive director of the European Armenian
Federation expressed fierce criticism and said the law showed “a great
amount of hypocrisy”. “Excluding Armenia’s suffering would be a moral
failure,” he said

According to the FT, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as the eastern
European states were also unhappy with the ultimate wording of the law that
does not contain any special reference to the Stalin and communist era
crimes.                                                -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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