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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

The price of freedom

Our Ukraine party and Vasyl Stus Memorial Association present electronic version of The People’s War exhibit
17 February, 2011 - 00:00

We still hear, often enough, that the freedom, independence and sovereignty of Ukraine were obtained without a struggle, almost “for free,” so they are actually random and temporary things (the latter point, due to “strategic” considerations, is sometimes skipped in public speeches). But let’s think about it again: aren’t such allegations in large part deliberate historical lies, to put it mildly? After all, everybody who wanted to learn about what superhuman, terrible price was paid for freedom of Ukraine, or wants to do it now, could (and can) do it. And, in the process, he or she can find that freedom deserves defending!

A generalized summary of the Ukrainian people’s war for their own state (together with new documents) was offered to visitors of an electronic version of a museum exhibit, aptly named The People’s War. The presentation took place on February 7 at the Kyiv city branch of the Vasyl Stus Memorial Association’s premises, with support from the political party Our Ukraine and assistance of the President Viktor Yushchenko Institute. The Memorial’s staff put enormous effort into the creation and development of this unique virtual museum, having collected some 70,000 pages of rare, previously unknown documents on the national liberation struggle of the Ukrainian people in the 1917-32 period. The documents were previously kept hidden in the central state and Security Service of Ukraine archives in 18 regions. The exhibit is the result of more than two years of work conducted by scholars of the Kyiv Memorial; more than 350 collections and around 1,500 archive files were digitized and processed by them. The exhibit uses 320 photographs, many of which are exhibited for the first time.

The event was attended by former President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko, leader of Our Ukraine, former chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, chairman of the Kyiv Memorial Roman Krutsyk, former Foreign Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Ohryzko, poet and social activist Ivan Drach, and many journalists, as well as international and NGO representatives. Victor Yushchenko stressed that this exhibition is very important and necessary for Ukrainians, because it teaches us national pride, which is essential if our nation is to find its path to the future. Addressing the youth, the third president of Ukraine said: “The stands of this exhibit are for you, they tell the story of your grandfathers and great-grandfathers, of their struggle for freedom.”

Krutsyk described in detail all 24 stands. Their names are enough to reflect their contents: “The Ukrainian awakening (1914-17),” “State-building under the Central Rada,” “The Hetman regime,” “Directory of the Ukrainian People’s Republic,” “Occupation,” “Crimes of the [Communist] Central Committee in Ukraine” (there are quite a lot of new documents at this stand!), “Bolshevik pillaging,” “Destruction of spiritual life” (the stand shows how closely the Bolsheviks monitored religious life – everything was under their control, they blew up, closed and destroyed churches), “Crimes against humanity” ( this stand tells how they surrounded, burned down and destroyed whole villages, which were “infected” by rebellious tendencies). All said, it is only a fraction of the exhibit.

The effect of such measures will not be felt immediately, but it certainly will be in the future. As aptly said by Nalyvaichenko, this exhibit is a WikiLeaks for liars that, unfortunately, currently influence the humanitarian sphere in Ukraine.