Home | Campaigns | About Us | Join Us | Store | Login

Ukraine: La lutte se continue!!!
Tuesday November 22nd 2005, 3:01 am
Filed under: General
Written By:

In Ukraine, one year after the Orange Revolutiuon the battle for the countrys future is still underway. Ukrainians, my dear compatriots, are trying to understand what has changed during this year.

No doubt, Ukrainians have changed a lot. For the first time we have felt responsible for the future of this land. For the first time people like me – unmarried started to think in what country will their children live. For the first time we have seen how mighty we can be.

At the same time, after 9 months of new regime many feel dissappointed. They have many reasons for that.

The organizers of mass election fraud are still free, not in jail. The people who are known to be related to gross money laundering and stealing of states budget money are still free. Part of them are hiding in Moscow. Others live in Ukraine withought being disturbed by police. Those who unlawfully privatized the state enterprizes are called investors now. Those who were related to killing Georgij Gongadze are still not in court but aim for Parliament.

The active participants of the Orange Revolution are really infuriated by that. The fact that those who violated law for years are free to do what they need is essentially a signal that there will be no punishment for a behaviour like that in the future. And these are not economic hardships who dissappoint us. We are saddened by that lack of justice that is still felt so vividly in Ukraine.

Some people are dissappointed about the economy. Yes, it is not in the best condition. But it is in a pretty good condition, given such radical changes, given the millions of Hrynjas (National currency- Hryvnja) that were printed before the Revolution to give people more money just before the elections, given the dozens of billions stolen from the state budget in 2004.

Though the GDP may not sour that high, but people feel real use from that GDP. For example, $1600 of help for a birth of a child is a great support to young family. It may sound funny for American, but for these money in Ukrainian village one may buy house, cow, a flock of geese – almost enough to sustain a young family.

Today is the day when the revolustion started. I remember that morning after sleepless night waiting for ballot count. We gathered in the very center of Kyiv, already understanding that those in power are trying to cheat on us once again. I remember so vividly the amusingly big crowd of people listerning attentively to oppostion leaders. Civil disobedience… we do not believe them anymore… we are fed up… we are the people, we are Ukrainians… I still cannot forget these emotions…

Back in 1991 my father voted for Ukraines independence one in 2004, just one year before this writing I understood it is my turn to vote. Opposition leaders asked elder people to go home and bring warm clothes to those younger who were to stay in tent city. I asked my father to bring me my warm skiing suite. We were to stay for a long time.

We knew we could encounter SWAT at any moment. But, strangely, there was no fear, but there was an unbelivable unity. I cannot forget that frosty weather and hundreds of people bringing hot tea to us, so that we could withstand the weather. And, probably, the most stunning was a peaceful resolvency among people. For the whole time of revolution I have heard just about one fight. There were two fellows fighting and people around them instanteneously moved at several meters from them, saying they are provokers. The two stopped their fight at the very same moment.

What was so touching about the revolution is that at last Ukraine saw its face. Elder people that always grumbled about impudant young people have suddenly recognized their grandsons in many of unfamiliar young faces. People like me, mostly students, were deeply touched when these old people, for whom it was so hard to carry the begs brought us food ad warm clothers. It was an honour for us to block Presidential Palace, guarded by SWAT along with people of my fathers age. Several generations, all the regions have come to look at each others eyes and to understand – we are the people, we are the Ukrainians.

Today I wear orange. I am proud of that. We still have much work to do. We have to bring justice into our country. Not just new laws. Justice and freedom. We have to ward off counter-revolution movements inspired by Russia, we have to fight corruption… La lutte se continue…

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

My friend I know not where your revolution will end, but already it has inspired this man to be a more active part of the global revolution for opportunity, life and liberty.

Below is a blog I published a little less than a year ago when I came to vist your fair city just before the President was sworn in. TAK!!!

Ahhh Kyiv
Sunday January 16th 2005, 7:51 am Edit This
Filed under: General
Written By: andrei
As we came in for a landing I saw some of the outlying area. Fields, some used some neglected dotted with houses and trees. Some houses brightly painted in leaded pastel colors � greens and rose colors. Other buildings abandoned and falling back into this long inhabited earth. There were long stretches of road lined with trees older than the buildings I saw. Everything was wet with winter rains.

When we landed we exited the plane on the tarmac and got on a shuttle that would take us to the terminal. There was a bit of a wait, but none of the agitation thatr would come with such a wait in the US. What were we waiting for � maybe a dozen things that did not go like clockwork, baggage being unloaded, airline crew members finishing up paperwork, a young couple with a new born. I think the father of the newborn was Irish but I did not hear the mother speak so I could not tell if she was as well. A few of us helped them get their things in the shuttle and away we went to the terminal building.

There to wait again in line to have our passports checked. Again the Irish man and his wife and baby came up after most of us had been in line a little bit. A large strong faced Ukrainian man told the family that they should not wait in line, they should go to the front. That this was a normal courtesy in the Ukraine. A woman and another man around him assured the family that this seemingly unbelievable act of consideration was indeed true and they happily went to the front of the line and were long gone before we even came close to our bags.

As we waited we caught site of several things about the Ukrainian people. One of the first was that the men here seemed more fully formed than the men in the US � they seem less filled with doubt and questioning. They force my knowledge of who these men are to the surface � more Ukrainians died in WWII than any other nationality � even Germany. The women also have this quality about them, but in the eyes of the Ukrainian women is stored the story of the hardship and the hopes of the people here. It is at once beautiful, ancient and like ice � not chilly � more like the ice on the edges of roves after a winter storm when the morning sun is caught there.

It was not long before this that we realized that for all of our preparations we had failed to arrange to be met at the airport. I shuffled through my bags to find some cell phone numbers. When we finally got through customs with our large cart full of luggage, we tunneled through a flood of people toward the outside world. Suddenly at the end of the tunnel we were assaulted by a mob of cabis all trying to win our business. Just when I was thinking � Oh my God this is going to get crazy � there was a sign that said Andrei Hedstrom and Mike Nathanson.

Ahhh Kyiv � you open your arms to embrace us. It was Yevgen, who we had been working with for some months but had never met. A small slender man from the region close to the Carpathian Mountains with a low and deep voice. He had come with a driver from the company we have been working with. We loaded up our luggage and streamed away through a light rain that turned to snow as we moved through the outlying neighborhoods of Kyiv.

I was struck by the masses of people out in this weather. Moving between massive residential high rises and along sidewalk tents that houses outrdoor restaurants, shops and bars. The further we went into the city, the older it got, until we were passing buildings that looked a hundred years old or so. Decorative fronts with balconies lined a wide cobblestone street with sidewalks almost as wide. A great open feeling exists in the Kyiv streets. Again, people everywhere and I was struck by how much the people here love to be outside � even in this weather.

We were blessed to find that they already expected to simply drop us off to get some sleep and then arranged to meet us for dinner that night. I threw open the window in my bedroom and climbed into bed. All of a minute might have passed before the cold air and the sound of Kiev sent me to sleep. Ahhh Kiev.

Several hours later Mike woke me to say that Yevgen and Roman were on their way to take us to dinner. A word about Roman. This blog is already too long to go into detail about him so I will do that later, but suffice it to say � he is everything want would want to have in a business associate, a friend or a brother. He and I have formed a strong bond over the last few years of doing business together.

Yevgen and Roman brought us to a local Ukrainian restaurant serving traditional food. As we waited for Roman�s wife Ira (pronounced Yeara) we snacked on pickles, pickled cabbage, pickled tomatoes, breads, horseradish and mustards and sallow (salted Ukrainian pork). We drank a smoked stone fruit juice � tasted like smoky apricot tobacco for a pipe � the smell of a relaxing grandfather but sweet like a soft grandmother. This juice was followed by a similar juice made from rose hips.

We had a salad � more like a slaw � of beets, nuts and dried fruits. Soon after this came the first toast of the night. It was a honey pepper vodka that had been sitting on the table waiting until we had adequate food in our stomachs. We were instructed to get a pickle to chase the drink and roman held up his shot glass filled with the honey colored vodka. He spoke of his wishes for us to be touched by this place and by its people, and for this to be the beginning of a long connection with both. It was a storytellers toast � patient and measured and from a fiery heart. It matched the vodka.

Then came borsht � the famous beet soup of Ukraine. It was fantastic � enough that I will be searching for good borsht in San Francisco and will not rest until I find it. Actually, we were invited to Roman and Ira�s home to make borscht with them � I hope this will happen while we are here. Evidently people love to cook in their homes here. I would love to learn to make it for my friends and family at home.

To tell you the truth, I could not wait to have another shot of this vodka. As everyone who knows me would attest, I am not a big drinker, so this is a little strange. I proposed a toast and assured Roman that we had been to the Ukraine even before we arrived, by way of the good people we had been working with. I told them I felt blessed to be able to build bridges with people so generous and welcoming. I told them I wished this was a beginning of a long relationship for our businesses and families. The third toast was offered up and we were told that the third toast is a traditionally always the same. �To Love�.

The night ended with a nice long walk through the city. Our turning point was the tent city that was erected by the protestors of the rigged elections. Still many remain waiting until the new president is sworn in. It occupies the entirety of a large section of one of the main city streets � in San Francisco this would be like building a tent city on market street or in front of city hall. Complete with large tents � stoves to heat them, people crowded around open fires talking, laughing, drinking, singing. The perimeter of the tent city is every form of makeshift barrier, covered in messages, drawings, found art and posters. Orange is everywhere! The mood is that of pride and contentment. There seems to be so little nervousness in this city, as so many larger ones I have been to. The Ukrainian people are decent and content people who have found a voice and raised it to change their future and that of their children.

They are at the beginning of a new chapter in their long country, and I am filled with gratitude to be moving through it. Leaving my small wake, adding my smiles my questions and some small measure of my days. Ahhh Kyiv.

Comment by andrei hedstrom 11.22.05 @ 3:32 am

These are pictures form revolutionary Kyiv. I can not look at them emotionless.

Comment by dingo_the 11.22.05 @ 6:41 am

Yes, there’s still work to do given many of the criminal perpetrators are still at large. May they soon find themselves held accountable for theft and murder–they are capable of more of the same if they are allowed to get away with it.

It always seems such a struggle (in the USA) to get the UNITY in organization you experienced during the ORANGE REVOLUTION–I admire your resolve and your hard work, a journey that continues. You still have your heart and soul in it–a worthy example and inspiration for us all.


Comment by tao 12.04.05 @ 10:02 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>