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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

“Third revolution” of Maria Lykhvar

An 81-year-old resident of Zaporizhia has been taking part in Ukrainian protest actions for 25 years and is a habitue of the local Maidan
29 April, 2014 - 10:45

The recent months in the country have been marked with unseen before upsurge in civic activity. Tens of thousands people came out to the streets of Ukrainian cities in order to firmly defend their right to a better life. Zaporizhia is no exception. At local Euromaidan people got acquainted with one another, exchanged opinions, and showed creative talents. The weekly meetings became a good tradition. Owing to the constant attention of mass media to popular meetings, some of their participants are now easy to recognize. Zaporizhia residents with a firm civic stand include not only representatives of the young generation, but also people with rich life experience. And 81-year-old Maria Lykhvar, who has not missed a meeting in spite of the weather and the fact that she walks with crutches, is one of them.

Zaporizhia residents consider this woman a model of idea consistency and spiritual firmness, because for her whole life she has always been fighting for the freedom of opinion and supported independence of Ukraine. At the turn of the 1990s today’s pensioner was an active participant of the People’s Movement and in 2004 passionately supported the Orange Revolution.

“This is the third revolution I am making,” Maria Ivanivna says, “in the end of the 1980s I took part in reviving of the Ukrainian language by Prosvita and attended the actions in support of the democratic values and independence of Ukraine, and in 2004 I came out against Kuchma’s criminal power.”

According to the 81-year-old patriot, the Soviet time was a time of total lie, and the state of the USSR embodied the evil Ukrainians today have to fight. “My mother died of starvation in 1933, the same year I was born. The same fate awaited my father’s mother in 1947. Living in a village, we were working hard from morning till night, but we did not have money even to buy boots and coat, because all money went into the city, and it was impossible for a villager to get a passport. Can truth be on the side of such state?” the elderly activist asks.

Maria Lykhvar always talks to people who disagree with her and tries to convince them that the nostalgia for the USSR is vain, because she is convinced that life then was not better than today. She always emphasizes that freedom and other spiritual values are more important than primitive satisfaction of material needs. Maria Ivanivna calls with contempt people who live according to the principle, “having something to eat is the most important thing” the “walking stomachs.”

Maria Lykhvar is getting a small pension, but this fact did not prevent her from taking part in raising money for revolutionary needs. As for her material state the pensioner calls herself ironically a businesswoman who gathers empty bottles in the street.

It is not hard to see the patriotic old woman in Zaporizhia Maidan, because she always carries with her a unique knitted blue-and-yellow flag, which she created in faraway 1989. “For me it became a kind of symbol of changes,” Maria Ivanivna explains, “because this flag has seen with me all the revolutionary events that taken place in Ukraine over the past decades.”

At the moment the experienced activist continues to visit on regular basis the Sunday meetings near the ODA and initiates founding of an association of the children of war in the city.

By Andrii VASYLIUK, Zaporizhia