UWC President Eugene Czolij Visits Estonia
The President of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) Eugene Czolij visited Ukrainian communities in Estonia from August 24 to 26, 2010. Accompanied by the President of the Congress of Ukrainians in Estonia (EUK) Vira Konyk, Czolij visited Tallinn, Maardu and Narva.
To mark Ukrainian Independence Day on August 24, the President of the UWC took part in a prayer service dedicated to the Ukrainian nation held in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic parish of the Mother of God with Three Hands and delivered the keynote address at a concert organized by the Congress of Ukrainians in Estonia. During the day he met with EUK President Vira Konyk to discuss the 29,000-strong community of Ukrainians in Estonia.
On August 25, 2010, UWC President Eugene Czolij attended an official meeting on the premises of Estonia’s parliament, the Riigkogu, with Estonia-Ukraine parliamentary group members Silver Meikar, Yuri Tamm and Mati Raidma. During the meeting, Eugene Czolij informed the Estonian Members of Parliament about UWC’s activities, thanked them for Estonia’s support of Ukraine and Ukrainian communities in Estonia. He also thanked them for Estonia’s recognition of the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people. The UWC President appealed to the Estonian legislators to keep track of and react to any imperialistic actions on the part of Russia and monitor reports of human rights abuses in Russia and Ukraine. The parliamentarians assured the UWC president they will continue monitoring Ukraine’s development.
Next, the UWC President attended an official meeting at the Embassy of Ukraine to Estonia. Present were Charge’ d’Affaires of Ukraine to Estonia Volodymyr Reshetnyak, Second Secretary for Cultural and Humanitarian Affairs Svitlana Hocharevska, Deputy Head of the Trade Mission Petro Kutsenko and Consul Iryna Protsyk. During the meeting the UWC President provided embassy officials with information on UWC’s activities, emphasized the need for effective cooperation between Ukraine and Estonia and called for increased support for the Tallinn-based Centre of Ukrainian Culture in Estonia.
The meeting was followed by a radio interview with Olena Khusayinova for “Chervona Kalyna.” During the interview, the UWC President spoke about the preservation of Ukrainian identity and current events in Ukraine.
Next he visited the Centre of Ukrainian Culture and met with Director Anatoliy Lyutyuk.
UWC President Eugene Czolij also attended a roundtable meeting with the following representatives of the Ministry of Culture of Estonia: Deputy Secretary-General for Multiculturalism Anne-Ly Reimaa, Ministerial Adviser Jevgeni Zurjari-Ossipov, Senior Specialist of the Cultural Diversity Department Olha Burmakina; and met with representatives of the Estonian Integration and Migration Foundation “Our People” (an institution that promotes integration into Estonian society) Kristina Pirgop and Iris Jarv; Member of European Parliament from Estonia Tunne Kelam; Member of Estonia’s Parliament Mari-Ann Kelam and representatives of the Congress of Ukrainians in Estonia Vira Konyk, Anatoliy Lyutyuk, Mykola Berestyuk, Liliya Ivanchenko, Nataliya Havrylova, Marek Litnevski and Hanna Smirnova. Eugene Czolij spoke about the activities of the Congress and discussed issues of culture and preservation of national identity. With Member of European Parliament from Estonia Tunne Kelam he raised the possibility of meeting with representatives of the European Parliament to discuss issues concerning Ukraine.
МаардаOn August 26, 2010 the UWC President attended a meeting with the Ukrainian community in the city of Maarda that was organized by the “Stozhary” Ukrainian cultural and educational association headed by Hanna Smirnova. She provided an update on UWC activities and discussed issues facing the local Ukrainian Sunday school, the “Vertep” theatre and the “Halychany” folk ensemble.
That same day Eugene Czolij met with the Maardu’s Mayor Georgi Bystrov and members of the city administration. He learned about the city’s plans for future development, including a local version of the Sorochyntsi Fair. In discussion, the UWC President raised the issue of assigning a meeting room for the local Ukrainian community.
In Narva on August 26, 2010, Borys Tutuka took the UWC President to a local cemetery which is the final resting place for thousands of victims of Soviet terror from 1945-1955, including 700 Ukrainians.
During a meeting at Narva City Hall with City Secretary Ants Liimets, the UWC President was provided with statistical data on the population of Estonia, where Ukrainians rank third in number behind the Estonians and Russians. In Narva Eugene Czolij requested authorities to allocate funds for the upkeep of the cemetery where Ukrainians are buried.
On the last stop of his visit, Eugene Czolij spoke about UWC activities and current events in Ukraine during a meeting with the local Ukrainian community organized by Halyna Malyarova. After his address, the UWC president enjoyed performances by the “Rodyna” choir, “Kalyna” vocal ensemble and the Sunday school.