Love, Ukraine

Ukraine's upcoming elections have been receiving zero press, even though this election is seen by the country's intelligentsia as a do-or-die situation. Below are two open letters issued by some of Ukraine's top writers.

1. Oksana Zabuzhko writes:

Dear friends,

I'm writing you this from the country, now haunted with the gory prospect of being forcefully turned, in a week, into one of the most terrible thugocratic dictatorships that Europe has witnessed since Hitler and Stalin. You may find this an exaggeration, yet it's not. It's usually so human, to refuse to believe the worst - until it's too late. Besides, from my recent conversations with my friends and journalists from EU, I know how little information can be found in the European media on the situation in Ukraine - and, as a result, how little understanding there is of what is really at stake here this fall.

Last night the first blood was spilled on the Kiev pavement. The autocratic post-Soveit regime, which since the late 1990s has been smothering the buddening Ukrainian democracy, and is by now wholeheartedly hated by the vast majority of population (from 67% to 85%, according to the polls!), has given us its final proof, that there'll be NO - however heavily falsified - "free elections" on October, 31. There'll be a WAR - an open war, launched against the people of Ukraine by the handful of gangsters now at power, whose only goal is to stay at power after the 31st - at ANY price.

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2. An open letter signed by twelve of Ukraine's leading writers:

We, the undersigned Ukrainian writers, do not belong to any political party. We are not involved in any party or ideological confrontations, and in this sense we are completely apolitical. Above all, we prize human individuality, i.e., self-sufficiency and personal freedom. Moreover, since these very values are under threat today, as never before, we are taking advantage of our right to express ourselves publicly.

TODAY the Ukrainian (?) "prime minister" Yanukovych consented to the atypical fusion of the criminal Ukrainian government with Russia's neo-Chekist regime, and by TOMORROW every last trace of Ukrainian democracy will have disappeared, just as this has happened with Russian democracy.

TODAY the Ukrainian (?) "prime minister" Yanukovych is rejecting Ukraine's European future, and by TOMORROW every Ukrainian city may become a military base for Russia's armed forces. The only thing left of Ukraine will be its name, hymn, and national emblem (there is no certainty with regard to the latter two attributes, if you recall the example of Yanukovych's historical fatherland, Belarus).

TODAY the Ukrainian (?) "prime minister" Yanukovych is threatening us with dual citizenship, and by TOMORROW Ukrainians will again be foolishly sacrificing their lives for the sake of the "great empire." By TOMORROW armed fighters will be taking Ukrainian schools and hospitals hostage; by TOMORROW Moscow generals taken out of the deep freeze will be terrorizing Ukrainian civilians.

TODAY the Ukrainian (?) "prime minister" Yanukovych is handing out to his nephews and favored cronies the finest plots carved out of national preserves, palaces and villas, parts of coastlines and reservoirs, forests and mountains, and by TOMORROW for our survival (or extinction?) they will allot us something along the lines of a last reservation with a ruined, depressing landscape.

TODAY the Ukrainian (?) "prime minister" Yanukovych is promising to grant the language of pop music and Russian criminal slang the absurd status of "second state language," and by TOMORROW it will ultimately force out the "first state language," pushing it to the sidelines and margins. By TOMORROW the language of the semi-literate "Russian professor" and his pals will unconditionally reign over the entire "guelder rose and nightingale" territory of Ukraine.

TODAY the Kremlin spin-doctors, those unparalleled cynical managers of presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych are determining your future and ours, and by means of the blackest type of PR and primitive anti-Western rhetoric are, with no difficulty whatsoever, conducting their geo-strategic experiments with "a country that no one is sorry for." By TOMORROW Ukraine will be turned into a black hole in the center of Europe, where presidential candidates are poisoned with impunity, journalists are murdered, and an entire nation of people is kept in submission, apathy, and hopelessness.

Yes, we are truly in danger--Ukraine and its independence, and the independence of each one of us. That is why we, the undersigned Ukrainian writers, are calling on Ukrainian electors to give their votes on Election Day to Viktor Yushchenko for President of Ukraine.

Yanukovych stands for the irrevocability of a puppet dictatorship. Yushchenko stands for the irrevocability of democracy.

Yanukovych stands for a corrupt, criminal, and degenerate government. Yushchenko stands for civic rights and freedoms.

Yanukovych is a Soviet-era man and a criminal, while Yushchenko means a chance for cultural diversity.

Yanukovych means isolation from Europe and the world. Yushchenko means the dismantling of borders, understanding.

A vote for Viktor Yushchenko is the European choice, not the Single Economic Space.

A vote for Viktor Yushchenko is a choice made free individuals, not frightened zombies.

So if THIS government hates THIS person SO MUCH, then our choice is the correct one.

Let us choose TODAY, because TOMORROW they may deprive us of the very chance to vote!

Yuri Andrukhovych
Andrii Bondar
Oleksandr Boichenko
Ivan Andrusiak
Natalka Bilotserkivets
Yuri Vynnychuk
Yuri Izdryk
Oleksandr Irvanets
Irena Karpa
Vasyl Kozhelianko
Taras Prokhasko
Mykola Riabchuk

Translated from the Ukrainian by Marta D. Olynyk


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