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Vasyl Stus death anniversary marked with a teleconference between Ukrainian cities

Civic activists from eastern Ukraine paid tributes to the poet
10 September, 18:20

Civic activists from several Ukrainian cities resolved to hold a teleconference on the 29th death anniversary of the Ukrainian poet Vasyl Stus. The event, held on September 4, brought together residents of Kyiv, Dobropillia, Kramatorsk, Druzhkivka, Kostiantynivka, Dobrotvir, and Lviv. The Oleksa Tykhy Society and the Lviv Education Foundation co-organized the teleconference, which was moderated by Serhii Sukhoboichenko, the representative of the Open Dialog Foundation (Warsaw). According to Kostiantynivka activist Volodymyr Berezin who initiated the teleconference, this action was an attempt to build cooperation and find a way to help pro-Ukrainian residents of the liberated territories in the Donbss.

Vasyl Ovsiienko, who participated in the teleconference from Kyiv, was once a cellmate of Stus and took part in the poet’s reburial, commented: “This conversation can be described with Stus’s own words: ‘Dates of my life are really remarkable,’ because the Stus anniversary fits well a number of other important historical events. For example, Stus died in the labor camp on September 4, 1985, or 29 years ago. Poet and human rights activist Yurko Lytvyn died on September 5 the year before, and September 4, 1965 saw Stus defending arrested Sixtiers in the Ukraine cinema while watching the film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. Another remarkable date is September 5, 1918, when the leadership of Soviet Russia issued the Decree on Red Terror, which recognized the need to isolate the ‘class enemies’ in concentration camps or even execute them. As you see, these remarkable dates coincided with the death anniversary of Stus.

“It is particularly important to remember Stus now, during these events in eastern Ukraine. I was to Horlivka several years ago and met with students and pupils, in particular at school No. 23, where Stus taught Ukrainian language and literature in 1961-63. I think these people are also concerned about Stus’s fate and want to be like him, want to be citizens of Ukraine, as Stus was, even at a time when the Ukrainian state did not actually exist. Stus’s poetry is one matter, his heroic life story is another one that can be a great example for young people. We must convince young people that honor of the nation consists of dignity of each citizen. When people are indifferent to the fate of their country, heroes like Stus have to sacrifice their lives to save an entire nation. We need it now on a very large scale.”

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