Saturday, November 22, 2008

President's address to the Ukrainian nation on the occasion of the Day of Freedom

Dear Ukrainian nation!

Dear fellow countrymen!

I congratulate you on the Day of Freedom!

Four years ago we have vindicated it together at the Independence Square.

In those historic days millions of people across Ukraine came to squares of their cities, towns and villages to protect their right for democracy, independence and European future by protesting peacefully against government’s misrule, against ‘stolen’ elections.

In the rage of December frost the Orange Revolution brought us spring of rejuvenation. It changed Ukraine it changed all of us.

We were reborn as modern European nation, nation of proud, free and responsible citizens able to defend their freedom, statehood and human dignity.

We have proved we are the people, not a silent obedient flock that can be manipulated by anyone who wishes that. In the decisive moment Ukrainian society by showing historical love of freedom took its lot in its own hands.

The Orange Revolution became a logical continuation to previous fight for freedom by many Ukrainian generations. By our opposition we overcame fear that was injected into us by many years of imperial oppression, totalitarian terror, famines and repressions, and in full voice declared our will to live in accordance with European values, democratic principles and high social standards.

The world heard and acknowledged us. Europe welcomed Ukraine as a new member of democratic community.

Today freedom of speech and fair elections became a norm of life and we live our own way and at our own judgment.

But any revolution is only the beginning. Its ideals should be stood up for and strengthened in everyday life that follows. It is a bitter thing to acknowledge that we have wasted a lot of time and many opportunities.

Undoubtedly we have faced many challenges in these years. But we never abandoned principles of democracy. We learned to resolve all conflict situations in civilized and well thought out manner. We come more experienced and stronger out of every ordeal. This is also a grand achievement of orange days.

I believe this time Ukrainian polititians will be able to think of the state and give up their ambitions for the sake of Ukraine; that they will finally understand: the only barer and source of power in our country is the people.

This year the Day of Freedom contemporized with the Remembrance Day of victims of the greatest Ukrainian tragedy – Holodomor 1932-1933. It is deeply symbolic. Horrific artificial famine organized by criminal Stalin’s regime aimed to crush Ukrainians’ will for restoration of independent state forever.

But we have survived and won. In 1991 we obtained our independence and in 2004 we defended our freedom.

Today as never before we need energy and certitude of every citizen. I call upon the whole Ukrainian society to harmony understanding and active work for the sake of Ukraine, for the sake of our common welfare and prosperity.

Four years ago we felt our strength and believed in our destiny. No one will be able to return us into yesterday. Because the nation that came out to ‘Maidan’ and defended its freedom has a big heart and high spirit. And that means we have future.

Hail to Ukraine! Hail to Ukrainian Nation!