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

A long path to Stus

Vasyl Stus Public Garden, for which activists have fought in courts for seven years, has been unveiled recently
28 May, 2015 - 11:33

“The way of establishing of this park was thorny like the life of Vasyl Stus,” smiles the activist of NGO “Green World” Viktor Tkachenko who together with other activists has fought for establishing of the memorable place. Together with the Green World, the members of Ukrainian People Party demanded that a public square was established. Den/The Day has been highlighting this process, and our employees planted trees during a volunteer clean-up in the park.

The park is located in a special place near the corner of Akademika Palladina Avenue and Peremohy Avenue: Vasyl Stus and his wife lived across the street in 1965-72. The decision on establishing the Vasyl Stus Public Garden was approved by the Kyiv City Council back in 2010. “Kyiv’s executive authorities with Oleksandr Popov at the helm categorically refused to implement this decision,” Tkachenko recalls. “The criminal investigation against the KMDA has been postponed for three years. However, we have negotiated with the incumbent authorities of the Kyiv City Council and have achieved certain success. The state officials have allotted the money for establishing park, and I am content at this stage.”

Oaks, maples, acacias, marigolds, and a memorable stone in the center of the public park – owing to activists, a cozy place appeared near a large transport joint. “Not only are we unveiling the Vasyl Stus Public Garden, but a green zone which meets present-day demands. We are making our favorite city of Kyiv a city of parks and squares, not of small architecture forms,” Kyiv Mayor Vitalii Klitschko emphasized, “Vasyl Stus dreamed that Ukrainians would become independent and build a democratic state. This is a task for every one of us.”

The poet’s elder sister Maria Stus came to the unveiling ceremony with grandchildren, as well as his widow Valentyna Popeliukh. Maria Stus, who was holding granddaughter Melania, shared her impressions, “I liked the park very much. This is the place where Vasyl Stus started to ‘conquer’ the Kyiv lands. He lived in a dormitory house nearby since 1963, he got married here. This is a dear place to us. I haven’t been here for ages, now everything here is so beautiful, the flowerbeds are well-attended, and it is cozy.”

The students of the Specialized School No. 200 named after Vasyl Stus recited the poet’s poems at the opening. “My favorite poem by Stus is A snowball tree in Kolyma frost,” admits a student of the eight form Mykhailo Stashuk. “Vasyl Stus was not afraid to express his opinion, and it was very hard in the 20th century. Today we must defend our country, and for this we must have an opinion of our own and be well-educated. At this unveiling ceremony I feel elation. Today such event may seem unimportant, but this is a cultural heritage of the future generations.”

By Maria PROKOPENKO, The Day. Photo by Ruslan KANIUKA, The Day