New York, NY (UCCA) – On October 14, 2009, a government decree, signed by Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, was issued allotting five million hryvnias (approximately $625,000) toward expenses for the building, transporting and erecting of a memorial on U.S. federal land in Washington, DC dedicated to the victims of Ukraine’s Genocide of 1932-1933.

 

With the support of the Ukrainian World Congress, in particular its President and General Secretary, Evhen Czolij and Stefan Romaniw, respectively; the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) Executive Board members, Tamara Olexy, President; Andrew Futey, Executive Vice President; Larissa Kyj, UCCA Board Member; and, Michael Sawkiw, Jr., Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS) Director and Chairman of the U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness 1932-33, have been conducting ongoing discussions with Ukraine’s administration and government to secure funding for a memorial dedicated to Ukraine’s Genocide of 1932-1933. 

After months of corresponding with President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and continuous dialogues with various Ukrainian government officials, on October 14, 2009, the Ukrainian government, as part of its law for “Zakordonnoho Ukrainstva” issued an allocation of funds for the Memorial.  In August 2009, during the Ukrainian World Congress annual Board of Directors’ meeting in L’viv, Ukraine, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko stated her support of the the Ukrainian Holodomor Memorial in Washington, DC and resolved to undertake this endeavor.  Tamara Gallo-Olexy, UCCA President, spoke of the Prime Minister’s commitment to the Holodomor Memorial:  “We are pleased to see that the Holodomor memorial is being vigorously pursued by the Ukrainian government.  To have received this financial commitment of 5 million hryvnia means the project can move onto its next phase.  The Ukrainian community should be proud of its dedication to this worthwhile project.”  In addition, according to the General Secretary of the UWC, during a meeting with Ukraine’s President on October 13th, President Yushchenko stated that he sent the Prime Minister a letter urging her government to support the Holodomor Memorial project in Washington, DC.  

The October declaration from the Cabinet of Ministers mentions that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Culture and Tourism (MCT) will work together in selecting the best model for the Memorial, based upon a competitive design process.  The announcement comes almost three years to the day since President Bush signed into law on October 13, 2006 the authorization for a Holodomor memorial in Washington, DC.  Ever since then, the U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness 1932-33, along with numerous Ukrainian national organizations and the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington, DC, has worked diligently to choose a suitable site in the heart of U.S. capital for this solemn memorial. 

Following numerous hearings, in October 2008, several federal commissions eventually designated the parcel of land located at intersection of North Capitol Street, Massachusetts Avenue and F Street NW for the Ukrainian Genocide Memorial.  An official ground-breaking ceremony was then held in December 2008 with the First Lady of Ukraine in attendance, along with the main congressional sponsor Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) – co-chair of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus – and hierarchy and clergy of the Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox Churches.  The site is prominently located not far from Washington’s Union Station, and is within walking distance of the U.S. Capitol building, the Supreme Court, and the National Mall.  The location is highly visible both to tourists and to everyday Washingtonians and offers ample space for erection of a memorial in a dignified setting.

Commenting on the recent allocations decree, Michael Sawkiw, Jr., Chairman of the U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness 1932-33 stated:  “The passage of this appropriations bill brings us one step closer to realizing our dreams of further informing the American public about the horrors the Ukrainian nation endured during the Genocide of 1932-19933.  This memorial will stand throughout the years as a testament to all who perished.  We couldn’t have done it without our multi-faceted supporters in the U.S. Congress, the Bush Administration, the Ukrainian community, the Embassy of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian government.”

The process to bring this project to fruition has taken many years.  The Ukrainian American community promoted this issue in the U.S. Congress for several years.   A long-time champion of the Ukrainian American community, a strong supporter of Ukraine’s democratic development, and a co-chair of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus (CUC) Sander Levin (D-MI) introduced HR562 in the House of Representatives in 2005. Subsequently, the following year, the United States Senate passed by unanimous consent HR562, a resolution authorizing the Government of Ukraine to construct a monument to the victims of the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933.  The longtime effort of the Ukrainian American community led by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) and its Washington, D.C. office, the Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS), had come to a successful conclusion. 

Though the Ukrainian government has secured funding for the Holodomor memorial in Washington, DC, funds are still needed for the payment of various environmental assessments that have been undertaken by the U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness 1932-33.  The U.S. Committee appeals to the Ukrainian community for donations to help fulfill our dream of erecting a memorial in our nation’s capital to the 10 million innocent victims of the Ukrainian Genocide.  Tax-deductible donations can be made on-line at the U.S. Committee’s website http://www.ukrainegenocide.org.   Please visit this website for updated information, and remember to support the activities of the U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness 1932-33.  With your continued help, we can see this important project through to completion.

October 26, 2009