Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur

Representing the 9th District of Ohio

Ukraine

The author of Bloodlands asks Germany to understand and respect Ukraine the nation.

This 2.5 hour video is mostly in German. Here is a summary of the English-language lecture of Timothy Snyder between [00:16:25 -- 00:35:45]. The other English-language speaker is Verkhovna Rada deputy Oksana Syroid between [01:13:30 -- 01:20:15], [02:00:30 -- 02:06:15], [02:19:25 -- 02:21:08].

CDU/CSU-Fraktion im Deutschen Bundestag


[00:16:25 -- 00:17:52]
Ladies and Gentlemen. It's a particular pleasure to be here. I have the luxury as an outsider that I don't have to criticize the German debate. Instead, I can praise the German debate for existing at all. Germany is one of the few European countries where the debate on Ukraine continues. I can't say that I am always pleased or impressed by every argument that is made but I think that it is an extraordinary thing that one continues in this country to try to understand what this conflict is all about. It's my firm belief that history can help. Not because history leads us to some direct political conclusion, but because history can help us to avoid some of the most fundamental mistakes. Even if we all understood history perfectly, we would disagree about what policy to Ukraine or policy to Russia should be. But there are some fundamental things, I think, maybe then we would be able to share. And I would like to start with what I take to be fundamental.


[00:17:52 -- 00:19:32]
Ukraine has a state, has a language, has a culture that has a history. Historians can, and will, disagree about interpretations of that history. No doubt, even today in these 15 minute presentations you will hear accents fall in different places. What cannot be denied, however, is that the history is there. The history exists. And what I want to make clear in the first few minutes of my presentation today is that the history of Ukraine is not only a history of war. My concern, when I speak about the history of Ukraine, as a history of the battlefield, as a history of civilian deaths, which, of course, it is in the twentieth century, -- my concern is that this will make Ukraine more distant to you than it really should. The interesting thing about Ukraine -- and this is why the work of the Deutsche-Ukrainische Historische Commission will be so important -- is that so many aspects of its history are familiar. Ukraine -- like Germany, like much of the rest of Europe -- has a history of medieval conversion to Christianity. It has a history of medieval urban law, which was continued to the Grand-Duchy of Lithuania into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It has a history of the Renaissance. The Kyiv Mohyla Academy was the oldest institute of higher education in east Slavic lands. When this part of Ukraine was incorporated by the Russian Empire, it was the largest educational institution in the Russian Empire.


[00:19:32 -- 00:21:34]
Kyiv-Rus-Ukraine has a history of reformation of Protestants and Catholics, but also, of course, of Orthodox. It has a history of three-sided, or even more complicated, reformation. The Jewish history of Ukraine is, perhaps, the richest history in all of Jewish history. The only possible competitor is Poland. The whole history of the Shtetlakh(?) -- the whole history of the Jewish town -- was built in Ukraine. Jewish history, which is, of course, the central part of European history makes no sense without Ukraine. Ukraine had wars of religion beginning in 1648, just as the wars of religion in central Europe stopped. And, of course, Ukraine also has a history of national ideas and national movements. What I am trying to say, before I speak of the wars and the suffering in the twentieth century, is that there are many chapters of Ukrainian history -- all of which will be familiar to any German, any European with the most basic of historical education and some of which are extraordinarily interesting. So, while I am going to be speaking mainly of the history of the Great War -- of the Second World War -- of the reasons why Germans might want to feel a sense of responsibility for Ukraine, I also want to emphasize that there is a brighter -- and perhaps a more interesting history of Ukraine -- that in a better moment when we didn't have to be concerned with the war that is taking place now in southeastern Ukraine, we might be reading about medieval or renaissance or reformation Ukraine -- that the history of Europe itself is enriched by this country. Or, to put it in a different way, in so far as Germany is better than everyone else at carrying on historical discussions, it can only be the case that adding Ukraine to European history will make these discussions more interesting. This is not just a matter of informing policy, it's simply a matter of  conclusion aha(?). These are things that every European should -- and I am confident that at some point will -- know.


[00:21:34 -- 00:25:53]
That said, the moment when Ukrainian history does start to become exceptional is the beginning of the twentieth century. Not because there are no national movements, there are. The Ukrainian national movement goes back to the 1820's and 1830's. It goes back to Romanticism, the same as the German national movement does. In the nineteenth century, there is a fairly broad Ukrainian national movement. During the First World War, far more people die for Ukraine independence than die for the independence of pretty much any other east European state. The fact that it's not achieved changes our perspective. Right? Because we think of history in national terms, so the fact that there is no Ukrainian state after the First World War means that we forget about the history of Ukraine during the First World War. And what I would like to stress in the next couple of minutes is that the experience of the First World War on the territories of today's Ukraine was excruciatingly intense. It contained many of the moments which will be familiar to you, but also a whole series of other events . Now, as I say, there was a national movement in Ukraine. It was much like the Czech national movement. When empires fell apart, the national movement tried to form a state. The reasons why this national movement failed have to do with the large number of very powerful projects that surround Ukraine. But let me give you the chronology. The First World War begins with the Russian Empire advancing into the Hapsburg Monarchy. As it advances into the Hapsburg Monarchy, where is it advancing? -- into Galicia, into the territory that's now western Ukraine. And what does it do? It expropriates the Jews who live there, who in the Hapsburg Monarchy could own property. In 1915, the Russian Army is driven back. What does it do then? It deports tens of thousands of Jews from the territory of today's Ukraine, which was then, of course, the territory of the Russian Empire. In 1917 - 1918, we have the Russian revolution, which for Ukraine is a moment where Ukrainian independence is declared. But it is also, of course, the moment of the beginning of the Russian civil war. Now, from the point of view of these territories -- the Western Russian Empire -- Ukraine, also Belarus, the Baltic states -- the Russian civil war is like the First World War all over again. The First World War is over in the West, it continues with a similar scale and rate of killing for another several years in Ukraine -- in the Western Russian Empire. And this war that we call the Russian civil war -- correctly because it is in the Russian Empire -- takes place largely in Ukraine, largely in Southern Ukraine. And a huge number of the casualties, military and civilian, are inside Ukraine. So inside Ukraine in 1918-1919 you have a revolution and a counter-revolution. A war between the Red Army and the counter-revolution army known as the White Army. You simultaneously have a Ukrainian national army trying to found a Ukrainian national state -- fighting at one time or another against both of these armies. So you have a three-sided civil war. During this three-sided civil war, pogroms are committed against Jews by all three sides, although predominantly by the Ukrainian national army. When the Red Army defeats the White Army and defeats the Ukrainian Army, the Ukrainian Army then allies with Poland in 1919. And Poland and Ukraine together defeat the Red Army, which is the last time the Red Army will be defeated until Afghanistan. Right? In 1919-1920, the Polish Army --  with Ukrainian allies, which is often forgotten -- defeat the Red Army, first at Warsaw and then drive the Red Army back. Now, this is an extraordinarily important moment. I am not going to try to make it more dramatic for you than it needs to be, but you might remember that where the Red Army was going to after Warsaw was Berlin. So if there is anyone, who thinks that wasn't a good idea, you might remember that the trail of the Red Army westward is littered not just with Polish but with Ukrainian corpses. Ukrainians are buried in Polish cemeteries all the way to Warsaw, because the Ukrainian Army was then fighting the Red Army, just like the Polish Army was.


[00:25:53 -- 00:27:38]
What this brings though, is not a clear national victory. So, in general in Eastern Europe, whether you won a war or lost a war did not decide whether you got national independence. It had almost nothing to do with it. It was basically a matter of chance. The Ukrainians were involved in winning this war against the Bolsheviks, but they are not rewarded with national independence. Instead, the territory of today's Ukraine is divided -- mainly into two pieces. Most of it becomes the Soviet Ukraine, the western part becomes part of Poland. This is the treaty of Riga of 1921. Now, why is this so interesting and important? It is interesting and important for a couple of reasons. The first is that this means that the Soviet Union is established as a state with a boundary as opposed to being an international revolution. The second reason this is important is that everyone at this moment acknowledges that there is a Ukrainian nation. This is what I find so interesting. It is very strange to be a historian in 2015 and listen to people deny the existence of the Ukrainian nation; whereas a hundred years before even the Bolsheviks were perfectly aware that there was a Ukrainian nation. They had just been defeated by a Ukrainian army on the battle field. They were perfectly aware there was a Ukrainian nation and that is why the Soviet Union was established as a federation of nations. Right? That is why it is not an international revolution. Why there is a Ukrainian Republic in the west of the Soviet Union. Because everyone at the time -- Lenin, Stalin, you name it -- knew that there was a Ukrainian nation. Even Joseph Volt(?), who was then reporting from Ukraine, wrote to people in Berlin articles saying and I quote, "Ukraine is a nation that certainly deserves its own state."


[00:27:38 -- 00:30:24]
Now, being part of the Soviet Union was, of course, not the same thing as being an independent nation state. To put the matter very simply what it meant was that the Ukrainian territory of the Soviet Union -- this western territory, this very sensitive territory, this borderland territory from Moscow's point of view -- was at the center of the Soviet effort to modernize. At the center of the Soviet effort to prepare for war. And although these are not strictly speaking wars, I am going to mention them because they are related to wars. There is the war against the kulak in the early 1930's. The attempt to prepare the Soviet Union for conflict with the capitalist world, which is particularly painful in Ukraine. Ukraine is regarded as strategically sensitive, but it is also the place in the Soviet Union along with southern Russia that produces the most food. And therefore when agriculture is collectivized, Ukraine suffers the most and more than 3 million people starve unnecessarily. The second round of preparation for war -- the great terror of 1937 and 1938 -- leads to the execution of some 700,000 Soviet citizens. I would emphasize all across the Soviet Union, but disproportionately in Ukraine. The Ukrainian people who live in Soviet Ukraine are more likely to die in the terror in 1937and in 1938 than anyone else. And when the war comes -- and these are the main remarks and the ones with which I close -- when the war comes in 1941, Ukraine is at the center in three different ways. The center of the Second World War, of course, is the German-Soviet war -- the war of 1941 -- and Ukraine is in the center of that in three different ways. The first -- and this may be the most important part and as you can correct me, but I think this is the part which is most often forgotten in Germany -- Ukraine is at the center of German war planning. From the point of view of Hitler, the whole point of the Second World War was to win lebensraum and what lebensraum meant was above all things Ukraine. Ukraine was going to be the territory which made Germany autarchical, which allowed Germany to become a world power, which would allow Germans to purify themselves as a race, but also sustain themselves as a people into the indefinite future. Lebensraum meant Ukraine, which meant that Ukraine was treated as a colony. Hitler spoke of Ukrainians as people who could be pacified by giving them -- I'm quoting now -- a few beads, as one gives to colonial peoples. Hitler said that once Ukraine was conquered all that Germans would have to do was to put up loudspeakers on poles in each village and play music on Saturdays and Ukrainians would dance around the poles and therefore be happy. The image was a purely colonial one.


[00:30:24 -- 00:31:21]
The second way that Ukraine is at the center of this war is in the way the war was actually carried out. All of the territory of today's Ukraine was occupied by German and allied forces for a good deal of the war. By comparison only 5% of the territory of today's Russia -- 5% -- was occupied. The totality of Ukraine was occupied for much of the war. In absolute terms, the civilian fatalities in Ukraine were probably greater than civilian fatalities in Russia. In relative terms, they were hugely greater than the fatalities in Russia. And, of course, these fatalities include the Holocaust. Right? The center of the Holocaust next to Poland is Ukraine. And insofar as there is German discussion and a sense of  responsibility for the Holocaust as an event, this must concern these inhabitants of Ukraine as well.


[00:31:21 -- 00:33:00]
The third way that Ukraine is at the center of the Second World War has to do with its end, that is, with the victory of the Red Army. The victory over the Wehrmacht is largely the credit of the Red Army, which took most of the casualties and inflicted most of the casualties. But, of course, the thing to remember is the Red Army was a Soviet army. In fighting on the Western Front it was a disproportionately Ukrainian army, because as it took horrible losses, it recruited from the territories where it was. Right? The southern part of the campaign of the Soviet forces were called the Ukrainian front. Not because the army was made up of ethnic Ukrainians, but because that's where the war was taking place -- in Ukraine and in Belarus and, of course, it reached eastern Europe. So, one is aware in Germany that Germany was liberated by the French, the British, the Americans. One is not aware that more Ukrainians died fighting the Wehrmacht than the Americans, by far. More Ukrainians died fighting the Wehrmacht than the British, by far. More Ukrainians died fighting the Wehrmacht than the French, by far. More Ukrainians died fighting against the Wehrmacht than the British, the French and the Americans combined. Combined. As far as I know, no one in this country has pointed this out during these debates about historical responsibility. And it seems to me to be relevant, which is not to take away from the achievement of the Red Army as such, nor from the Russians, who were the only people who died in greater numbers on the battlefield than the Ukrainians. It is to point out that the Soviet army was an international force which included a very large number of Ukrainians. 


[00:33:00 -- 00:35:45]
Now, when we keep these things in mind, then we have a chance to come clear about one thing which I would like to be very explicit about. There are such things as historical mistakes. There are interpretations that differ. There are things that are mistakes and one mistake is to say Russian and mean Soviet and to say Soviet and mean Russia.  That is simply a mistake and one that is made too often in this country. If one wants to talk about Soviet institutions, one uses the word Soviet. If you are going to switch over to national terms, and use the word Russian that then means Russian. And if you are using national terms, you have to also use the national term Ukrainian and Belarusian. Saying Soviet and meaning Russian and saying Russian and meaning Soviet is simply a mistake. It's like saying Austrian and meaning German or something. It's simply a mistake. Right? That's a mistake you wouldn't make. Right? That's a mistake you wouldn't make. And interestingly, you would feel guilty about it. Right? OK. So you should feel guilty about getting other kinds of terms(?) confused as well. So, where I am leading you with this is a very simple point. The point -- and this is now just a suggestion -- is that there is a blind spot in the German historical debate. In all of the ways that the Germans have taken responsibility, which for me are exemplary. Right ? Which for me are exemplary, ??? is why I became a historian. The attempt of Germans to take responsibility and to consider the past is in many ways exemplary. But there is a big blind spot and that blind spot is precisely in Ukraine. And I worry that it's more than a blind spot. I worry that there is a tradition of colonial thinking about Ukraine, which until it is recognized as such can not be overcome. The temptation to say there's no country, there's no language, there's no state, there's no history that's a colonial temptation. And when the idea of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is revived -- as it has been from Russia in fall and in spring, as you all know -- that is an invitation to a colonial discussion. Right? The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is an invitation to a colonial discussion between Russia and Germany. That's one way of talking about the past. I would like to think that here in Germany and in Europe, in general, we have found a better way to talk about the past and I hope in the 15 minutes that I have been given to you, I've succeeded in conveying a little bit of how I think that discussion might look. Thank you very much for your attention.
[00:35:45]

 

Standing in Solidarity

Walking with the People of Ukraine

 


 

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” – John Lewis

 

 

Zbigniew Brzezinski - On the Crisis in the Ukraine




Fact Sheet

Russian Fiction: The Sequel
Ten More False Claims about Ukraine

 

“No amount of propaganda can make right something that the world knows is wrong.”

– President Obama, March 26

 

Russia continues to spin a false and dangerous narrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine. The Russian propaganda machine continues to promote hate speech and incite violence by creating a false threat in Ukraine that does not exist. We would not be seeing the violence and sad events that we've witnessed this weekend without this relentless stream of disinformation and Russian provocateurs fostering unrest in eastern Ukraine. Here are 10 more false claims Russia is using to justify intervention in Ukraine, with the facts that these assertions ignore or distort.

1. Russia Claims: Russian agents are not active in Ukraine.

Fact: The Ukrainian Government has arrested more than a dozen suspected Russian intelligence agents in recent weeks, many of whom were armed at the time of arrest. In the first week of April 2014, the Government of Ukraine had information that Russian GRU officers were providing individuals in Kharkiv and Donetsk with advice and instructions on conducting protests, capturing and holding government buildings, seizing weapons from the government buildings’ armories, and redeploying for other violent actions. On April 12, armed pro-Russian militants seized government buildings in a coordinated and professional operation conducted in six cities in eastern Ukraine. Many were outfitted in bullet-proof vests, camouflage uniforms with insignia removed, and carrying Russian-designed weapons like AK-74s and Dragunovs. These armed units, some wearing black and orange St. George’s ribbons associated with Russian Victory Day celebrations, raised Russian and separatist flags over seized buildings and have called for referendums on secession and union with Russia. These operations are strikingly similar to those used against Ukrainian facilities during Russia’s illegal military intervention in Crimea in late February and its subsequent occupation.

2. Russia Claims: Pro-Russia demonstrations are comprised exclusively of Ukrainian citizens acting of their own volition, like the Maidan movement in Kyiv.

Fact: This is not the grassroots Ukrainian civic activism of the EuroMaidan movement, which grew from a handful of student protestors to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians from all parts of the country and all walks of life. Russian internet sites openly are recruiting volunteers to travel from Russia to Ukraine and incite violence. There is evidence that many of these so-called “protesters” are paid for their participation in the violence and unrest. It is clear that these incidents are not spontaneous events, but rather part of a well-orchestrated Russian campaign of incitement, separatism, and sabotage of the Ukrainian state. Ukrainian authorities continue to arrest highly trained and well-equipped Russian provocateurs operating across the region.

3. Russia Claims: Separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine enjoy broad popular support.

Fact: The recent demonstrations in eastern Ukraine are not organic and lack wide support in the region. A large majority of Donetsk residents (65.7 percent) want to live in a united Ukraine and reject unification with Russia, according to public opinion polls conducted at the end of March by the Donetsk-based Institute of Social Research and Policy Analysis. Pro-Russian demonstrations in eastern Ukraine have been modest in size, especially compared with Maidan protests in these same cities in December, and they have gotten smaller as time has progressed.

4. Russia Claims: The situation in eastern Ukraine risks spiraling into civil war.

Fact: What is going on in eastern Ukraine would not be happening without Russian disinformation and provocateurs fostering unrest. It would not be happening if a large Russian military force were not massed on the border, destabilizing the situation through their overtly threatening presence. There simply have not been large-scale protests in the region. A small number of separatists have seized several government buildings in eastern cities like Donetsk, Luhansk, and Slovyansk, but they have failed to attract any significant popular support. Ukrainian authorities have shown remarkable restraint in their efforts to resolve the situation and only acted when provoked by armed militants and public safety was put at risk. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observers have reported that these incidents are very localized.

5. Russia Claims: Ukrainians in Donetsk rejected the illegitimate authorities in Kyiv and established the independent “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”

Fact: A broad and representative collection of civil society and non-governmental organizations in Donetsk categorically rejected the declaration of a “People’s Republic of Donetsk” by the small number of separatists occupying the regional administration building. These same organizations confirmed their support for the interim government and for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

6. Russia Claims: Russia ordered a “partial drawdown” of troops from the Ukrainian border.

Fact: No evidence shows significant movement of Russian forces away from the Ukrainian border. One battalion is not enough. An estimated 35,000-40,000 Russian troops remain massed along the border, in addition to approximately 25,000 troops currently in Crimea.

7. Russia Claims: Ethnic Russians in Ukraine are under threat.

Fact: There are no credible reports of ethnic Russians facing threats in Ukraine. An International Republic Institute poll released April 5 found that 74 percent of the Russian-speaking population in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine said they “were not under pressure or threat because of their language.” Meanwhile, in Crimea, the OSCE has raised urgent concerns for the safety of minority populations, especially ethnic Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, and others. Sadly, the ethnic Russians most at risk are those who live in Russia and who oppose the authoritarian Putin regime. These Russians are harassed constantly and face years of imprisonment for speaking out against Putin’s regular abuses of power.

8. Russia Claims: Ukraine’s new government is led by radical nationalists and fascists.

Fact: The Ukrainian parliament (Rada) did not change in February. It is the same Rada that was elected by all Ukrainians, comprising all of the parties that existed prior to February’s events, including former president Yanukovych’s Party of Regions. The new government, approved by an overwhelming majority in the parliament -- including many members of Yanukovych’s former party -- is committed to protecting the rights of all Ukrainians, including those in Crimea.

9. Russia Claims: Ethnic minorities face persecution in Ukraine from the “fascist” government in Kyiv.

Fact: Leaders of Ukraine’s Jewish as well as German, Czech, and Hungarian communities have all publicly expressed their sense of safety under the new authorities in Kyiv. Moreover, many minority groups expressed fear of persecution in Russian-occupied Crimea, a concern OSCE observers in Ukraine have substantiated.

10. Russia Claims: Russia is not using energy and trade as weapons against Ukraine.

Fact: Following Russia’s illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea, Russia raised the price Ukraine pays for natural gas by 80 percent in the past two weeks. In addition, it is seeking more than $11 billion in back payments following its abrogation of the 2010 Kharkiv accords. Russia’s moves threaten to increase severely the economic pain faced by Ukrainian citizens and businesses. Additionally, Russia continues to restrict Ukrainian exports to Russia, which constitute a significant portion of Ukraine’s export economy.

# # #

 


 

Kaptur Urges World Community To Help Strengthen Ukraine


TOLEDO, Ohio (March 3, 2014) -- Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) today called upon the world community to help strengthen the fledgling government in Ukraine, which she termed “very weak.”

Appearing on CNN’s “New Day” program, Congresswoman Kaptur, co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, said the United States, working with its allies in Europe and elsewhere, has a “moral responsibility” to Ukraine.

She termed the current situation “extremely dangerous” and represents “the most critical moment” that Ukraine has faced since the fall of the Soviet Union.

“Ukrainians fight. And Russians fight. And the history of the Twentieth Century is that there is no place on earth where the soil is more blood soaked than there, and so there is a moral responsibility for our world. The United Nations should be working overtime to try to de-escalate the tensions there. I’m so disappointed in Russia. This was not the way to proceed. Right after the Olympics, we hoped for a different kind of world,” she said.

“This particular type of incursion had been thought about by our own government, we were concerned about it, but Russia in some ways was isolated and felt vulnerable and part of the problem is the weakness of the Ukrainian state. Again, my plea for the world community, particularly the OSCE and the United Nations, the European Union, to do what is necessary to strengthen the existing government of Ukraine.

“It’s very important for us to send observers to Ukraine now. We have relationships through our Guard with her military. I think we need to think very strategically with our European allies and allies around the world about how we add strength to Ukraine’s forces in the form of observers in the form of advice and assist her at this really critical moment—the most critical moment she has faced since 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union.”


###

Ukraine: The Haze of Propaganda by Timothy Snyder
http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/mar/01/ukraine-haze-propaganda/

Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine by Timothy Snyder
http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/mar/01/ukraine-haze-propaganda/
 
Also by Timothy Snyder:
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hilter and Stalin; published by Basic Books

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 6, 2014                                                 Contact: Josh Drobnyk/Tim Foster (202) 225-4961

Levin Joint Statement on Meeting with Ukrainian Parliamentarians


WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) this week joined with his fellow Co-Chairs of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, Representatives Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), and Caucus Member, Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL), in issuing the following statement regarding their meeting with opposition Members of the Ukrainian Parliament, Oleh Medunytsya and Volodymyr Shulha:

“Ukraine stands at a critical juncture in its current political and economic crisis; consequently, our meeting with our impressive Ukrainian colleagues could not have come at a better time. President Yanukovych and his allies face a stark choice—continue down the road of repression or respect the desire of millions of Ukrainians for democracy and fundamental human rights.

“We deeply appreciate the opportunity to hear the unique, firsthand perspectives of Mr. Medunytsa and Mr. Shulha, both of whom laid out in stark terms the challenges they face. Despite the difficult road ahead, we are encouraged by their impassioned advocacy for a fully democratic Ukraine—a goal that we share. Accordingly, we assured Mr. Medunytsa and Mr. Shulha of our continued support for a Ukraine that is truly free and for U.S. and international actions toward that goal.”



Mr. Medunytsa and Mr. Shulha, members of the United Opposition Fatherland Party, were elected to the Verkhovna Rada in 2012. Several leaders of the Ukrainian-American community also attended the meeting, which took place Wednesday, Feb. 5.


###


 

[Congressional Bills 113th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [H. Res. 447 Engrossed in House (EH)] H. Res. 447 In the House of Representatives, U. S., February 10, 2014. Whereas a democratic, prosperous, and independent Ukraine is in the national interest of the United States; Whereas the Government of Ukraine has declared integration with Europe a national priority and has made significant progress toward meeting the requirements for an Association Agreement; Whereas on November 21, 2013, following several months of intense outside pressure, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych abruptly suspended negotiations on the Association Agreement one week before it was due to be signed at the European Union's Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania; Whereas this reversal of stated government policy precipitated demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens in Kyiv as well as in cities throughout the country; Whereas the demonstrators have been overwhelmingly peaceful and have sought to exercise their constitutional rights to freely assemble and express their opposition to President Yanukovych's decision; Whereas the demonstrators have consistently expressed their support for democracy, human rights, greater government accountability, and the rule of law, as well as for closer relations with Europe; Whereas on November 30, 2013, police violently dispersed peaceful demonstrators in Kyiv's Independence Square, resulting in many injuries and the arrest of several dozen individuals; Whereas on December 11, 2013, police raided 3 opposition media outlets and the headquarters of an opposition party; Whereas on December 11, 2013, despite President Yanukovych's statement the previous day that he would engage in talks with the opposition, police attempted to forcibly evict peaceful protesters from central locations in Kyiv; Whereas several journalists, including from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and civic activists supporting the demonstrators have been brutally attacked; Whereas on January 16, 2014, the Ukrainian parliament passed, and President Yanukovych signed, legislation which severely limits the right of peaceful protest, constrains freedom of speech and the independent media, and unduly restricts civil society organizations; Whereas the passage of these undemocratic measures and President Yanukovych's refusal to engage in substantive dialogue with opposition leaders precipitated several days of violence and resulted in several deaths and hundreds of injuries, as well as numerous allegations of police brutality; and Whereas in the face of spreading demonstrations, Ukrainian Government representatives and opposition leaders have entered into negotiations which on January 28, 2014, resulted in the resignation of the Prime Minister and his cabinet and the repeal of most of the anti-democratic laws from January 16, 2014: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives-- (1) greatly values the warm and close relationship the United States has established with Ukraine since that country regained its independence in 1991; (2) supports the democratic and European aspirations of the people of Ukraine, and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear; (3) calls on the United States and the European Union to continue to work together to support a peaceful resolution to the crisis, and to continue to support the desire of millions of Ukrainian citizens for democracy, human rights, government accountability, and the rule of law, and closer relations with Europe; (4) urges the Government of Ukraine, Ukrainian opposition parties, and all protesters to exercise the utmost restraint and avoid confrontation, and calls on the Government of Ukraine to live up to its international obligations and respect and uphold the democratic rights of its citizens, including the freedom of assembly and expression, as well as the freedom of the press; (5) condemns all acts of violence and calls on the Government of Ukraine to bring to justice those responsible for violence and brutality against peaceful protesters, and to release and drop any criminal charges against those detained for peacefully exercising their democratic rights; (6) welcomes the repeal by the Ukrainian parliament of most of the anti-democratic measures adopted on January 16, 2014, and urges President Yanukovych to continue to engage in substantive talks with opposition leaders to address the legitimate grievances of the opposition, and to take additional steps to de-escalate tensions; (7) urges the United States and the European Union to continue to make clear to Ukraine's leaders that those who authorize or engage in violence against peaceful protesters will be held personally accountable; (8) supports the measures taken by the Department of State to revoke the visas of several Ukrainians linked to the violence, and encourages the Administration to consider additional targeted sanctions against those who authorize or engage in the use of force; and (9) urges all parties to engage in constructive, sustained dialogue in order to find a peaceful solution to Ukraine's current political and economic crisis. Attest: Clerk.

Ms. KAPTUR. I want to thank Ranking Member Eliot Engel of New York for his great leadership and Chairman Chris Smith of New Jersey for bringing this vitally important resolution up tonight.

Madam Speaker, I rise to express my support for House Resolution 447, supporting the courageous democratic aspirations of the people of Ukraine. I want to thank, on a bipartisan basis, Congressman Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania for his cochairmanship of our Ukrainian Caucus. We all stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

The people of Ukraine have the human right to choose their own future, free of intimidation and fear. What courage it took for these interfaith religious leaders at Maidan to stand with their religious symbols, icons, and crosses and other religious garb, along with their leaders, with their backs to the barricades, protecting the students as they faced the police.

Over the past few months, the world has stood witness as Ukrainians have risen up, united in their desire for a more free, transparent, and democratic Ukraine. If one knows anything about the history of Ukraine, one knows what it took to do that in that place.

The passage of House Resolution 447 here this evening means that our Congress stands in solidarity with those in Maidan and that we lend our support to the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians peacefully demonstrating in the freezing, bitter subzero temperatures for over 2 months for a more democratic and better future for all their people. If there is a God--and I believe there is--surely he or she will look down on this place and bless these people.

The Ukrainian national anthem opens with the words:

Ukraine's glory has not yet died, nor her freedom; upon us, fellow compatriots, fate shall smile once more.

Indeed, fate shall smile once more upon Ukraine. Long live Ukraina. Long live her young people who hold in their hearts the democratic future of that nation.

Madam Speaker, I urge the passage of H. Res. 447. I say to my colleagues here, this is a most important crossroads in history. Truly, this country can be the borderland nation that links West and East and South and North in that important part of the world.

The world needs Ukraine. She is already the third-largest grain exporter to the world's people. Her talent, her artistry, her vision has been quashed for so many, many, many decades and generations. Now is her moment, and we stand with her people, aspiring to that better day for all.

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Madam Speaker, I just want to take 30 seconds to respond and thank the gentlelady from Ohio for her very eloquent defense of the Ukrainian people and for, again, reminding Americans and the world of the pivotal role that the patriarch and the highest, as well as people who are just among the faithful, are playing.

The religious community is standing in solidarity with those who are aspiring for freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights. And they have literally put themselves between the police and the barricades in a way that puts their very lives at risk, holding up crosses, holding up other, as the gentlelady said, icons of faith to say that we serve a God of peace and reconciliation.

Ms. KAPTUR. Will the gentleman yield?

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. I yield myself an additional 30 seconds, and I yield to the gentlewoman. Ms. KAPTUR. I would just say to the gentleman, looking back at the history of Ukraine and that region, the fact that you would have leaders of the Jewish faith, leaders of the Islam faith, leaders of Christian faiths, be they Orthodox or Uniate or Roman Rite, all--all-- risking their substance, it is just incredible.

This should be on the front page of every newspaper in the world, and world opinion should move progress forward and help those people who have stood in that bitter cold weather for over 2 months. Unless you have traveled to Ukraine and experienced those temperatures yourself, you would not fully appreciate what they are enduring.

 

Пані КАПТУР: Я хочу подякувати заступнику голові Еліот Енґел з Ню Йорку за його хороше провідництво та  голові Крис Смит з Ню Джерзі за те що він сьогодні вечір подав цей законопроєкт до дискусії.


Пані Спікер, я встаю виявити свою підтримку законопроєкру 447, котре підтримує відважне демократичне прагнення українського народу.  І хочу подякувати на базі єдності між двома партіями Конгресмена Джима Ґерлаха з Пенсилвенії за його співголовство української фракції Конґресу.  Ми всі стоїмо в солідарності з українським народом.


Український народ має людське право вибрати своє власне майбутнє, без залякуванню та без страху.  Яку хоробрість це вимагало коли духовенство різних віровизнань стояли на Майдані з іконама, символами, та хрестами, обороняючи студентів з плечми до варикад і лицем до міліції.


Протягом останних кількох місяців, світ був свідком того, що українці повстали з'єднані в прагненню до вільній, відкритій, та демократичній України.  Знаючи історію України, знаємо яку відвагу такі вчинки вимагають.


Якщо ми тут сьогодні вечір ухвалимо законопроєкту 447, це значить що наш Конґрес стоїть в солідарності з тими на Майдані і що ми підтримуємо тих сотні тисяч людей котрі мирно демонструють на Майдані, котрі вже понад два місяці мерзнуть задля демократичну країну і за краще майбутнє для свого народу.


Якщо є Бог — і я вірю що є — напевно він чи вона побачить Україну і благословить її людей.


Національний гімн Україну починається цими словами:


            ''Ще не вмерла України і слава, і воля.  Ще нам браття-українці усміхнеться доля.''


Звісно, доля усміхнеться щераз Україні.  Хай живе Україна на довгі літа.  Хай живе на довгі літа її молодь, яка тримає в своїх серцях демократичне майбутнє своєї держави.


Пані Спікер, я спонукаю ухвалення законопроєкту 447.   Я кажу своїм колегам що ми зараз при надзвичайно важливому роздоріжжю в історії.  Дійсно, ця країна може стати зв'язком між Заходом і Сходом, між Півднем а Північом в тій важливій частині світу.


Світові потрібна Україна.  Вона на третому місці в світі в експортів зерна до різних народів по цілому світі.  Її таланти, її мистецтво, її майбутнє декадами і поколіннями вже придушували.  Зараз її момент, і ми стоїмо з народом, очікуючи кращого дня для всіх.


Депутат СМІТ з Ню Джерзі: Пані спікер, я хочу коротко відповісти та подякувати пані з Огайо за її виразну оборону українського народу і за те що вона щераз нагадує американському народові та світу ключеву роль котру грають патріарх і духовенство, а також і прості віруючі.


Духовна громада стоїть в солідарності із тими котрі прагнуть до свободи, до демократії, до пошани до прав людини.  І вони стали між міліцією та барикадами, ризикуючи свої власні життя, і тримали вгору хрести та ікони, як пані Каптур сказала, щоби показати що ми всі служимо Богу миру та злагоди.

Recent news on Ukraine from Rep. Kaptur:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-next-for-ukraine/2014/03/21/dab50db8-b131-11e3-a49e-76adc9210f19_story.html

http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2014/mar/01/ukraine-haze-propaganda/

http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2014/02/house_passes_ukraine_resolutio.html

http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2014/02/03/Marcy-Kaptur-s-Ukraine-roots-run-deep.html

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/mar/20/fascism-russia-and-ukraine/

 

Additional resources on non-violent demonstration:

http://www.aforcemorepowerful.org/resources/nonviolent/methods.php

http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1887394_1861256,00.html

More on Ukraine

March 6, 2017 Press Release

Cleveland -- On Monday, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Dean of the Ohio Delegation and founding Co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, will hold a press availability regarding concerning reports that President Donald Trump's campaign met with Russian officials last year.

February 3, 2017 In The News

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), along with one other Democrat and two Republicans, today introduced a resolution aimed at uniting Congress behind a tougher line on Russian aggression in Ukraine. The resolution calls on Russia to stop violating the agreed upon cease-fire, and stop the violence in eastern Ukraine. Miss Kaptur, a founding co-chair of the House Ukraine Caucus, attributed the resolution to new attacks by Russia on Avdiivka in the Donetsk Region of Ukraine.

February 3, 2017 Press Release

Kaptur introduces bipartisan House Resolution calling on Russia to stop the bombing and violent attacks in eastern Ukraine
With many dead and dozens wounded, Kaptur leads call for Russia to stop the killing

February 2, 2017 Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 2, 2017
Bryan Shuy (Harris), 202-225-5311
Josh Stewart (Kaptur), 202-225-4146
Aaron Clark (Fitzpatrick), 202-225-4276
Emily Del Morone (Levin), 202-240-9855                                            

 

Bipartisan Ukrainian Caucus Co-Chairs Statement on Escalation of Violence in Eastern Ukraine