UWC Calls upon President Victor Yanukovych to Stop anti-Ukrainian Actions in Odesa
July 21, 2011
UWC CALLS UPON PRESIDENT VIKTOR YANUKOVYCH
TO STOP ANTI-UKRAINIAN ACTIONS IN ODESA
On July 21, 2011, in response to requests made by leaders of Ukrainian organizations in Odesa, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) sent a letter to President Viktor Yanukovych, with a copy to Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Nina Karpachova, expressing grave concern about the onset of Russification, the distortion of Ukraine’s history, the disrespect for the national cultural heritage of the Ukrainian nation, open anti-Ukrainian propaganda, the fueling of inter-ethnic animosities and the exertion of physical and moral pressure on Ukrainian community activists in Odesa.
The UWC noted that the above-mentioned anti-Ukrainian and anti-constitutional actions and events in Odesa are also being reported by Ukrainian media outlets.
The UWC referred, in particular, to the practice in Odesa of stripping the Ukrainian language of its status as the only state language and substituting Russian in its place. For example, in December 2010, the Odesa municipal authorities, on the initiative of Party of Regions member, and mayor of Odesa, Oleksiy Kostusev, introduced Russian, by city council decree, into the municipality’s administration, and are now conducting city council meetings exclusively in Russian http://www.unian.net/ukr/news/news-410774.html .
In the same vein, city authorities resolved in June to strip all 124 local schools of their Ukrainian language status and designate them as bilingual instead http://www.unian.net/ukr/news/news-440089.html
The UWC stated that Odesa city councillors are blatantly disregarding and discouraging the recognition of the country’s well-known figures. An obvious example of this was the decision, on February 28, 2011, by the city council to reject a request to erect a monument in Odesa to the last leader of the Zaporizhzhian Sich, St. Petro Kalnyshevskyi. This decision reversed the previous approval which was granted to proceed with the monument. Incredibly, the main reason given for disallowing the monument to St. Petro Kalnyshevskyi was that he was an enemy of the Russian empire.
In addition, the UWC focused attention on the uncivilized broadcasts by the television station ATV in Odesa, which continues to spread anti-Ukrainian propaganda, fuel inter-ethnic hatred, provoke social tension and civic unrest, and defame the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate, the Ukrainian World Congress, the history of Ukraine and its prominent historical figures.
The UWC condemned the anti-Ukrainian and anti-constitutional actions in Odesa and called upon President Viktor Yanukovych, as the guarantor of the Constitution of Ukraine, and Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Nina Karpachova, to ensure respect for and compliance with the Constitution of Ukraine in Odesa, particularly Articles 10 and 11, which state as follows:
“Article 10. The state language of Ukraine is the Ukrainian language […]
Article 11. The State promotes the consolidation and development of the Ukrainian nation, of its historical consciousness, traditions and culture […].”
The UWC also called for an urgent investigation of the aforesaid actions and a stop to the Russification occurring in Odesa, particularly the repudiation of the only state language in the municipal administration and education system, the full observance by the Odesa television station ATV of the applicable Ukrainian broadcasting legislation, the cessation of anti-Ukrainian propaganda which promotes hostility, and the guarantee of respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms in Odesa.