Human rights activist,
politician, former political prisoner
In 1958 Levko Lukyanenko organised an underground nationalist group, Ukrainian Workers and Farmers Union. In 1961 he was arrested by KGB and sentenced to prison. After discharge he moved to Chernihiv. Levko Lukyanenko was one of the founders of Ukrainian Helsinki Union (UHS), a human rights group. In December 1977 he was again arrested and sentenced to 10 years in GULAG and 5 years of exile. In 1989 he returned to Ukraine to re-establish UHS. In March 1989 he was elected Chairman of UHS. An untiring champion of Ukrainian sovereignty, Mr. Lukyanenko played a significant role in building the independent Ukrainian state. From 1990 to 1992 he was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Canada. He has been a member of Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) from 1994 and Honoured President of Ukrainian Repiblican Party from 1993.
FROM LEVKO LUKYANENKO’S MEMORIES TO THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF UKRAINIAN FINANCIAL GROUP
I first met Ukrainian Financial Group quite unexpectedly. Once on the eve of 1996 I saw on my desk at Verkhovna Rada, as well as on other MP’s desks, a state-of-the art edition of a wall calendar with Petro ANDRUSIV’s paintwork on the front page. At that time such a quality of a print work had been quite unusual for Ukraine. As to the paintwork that caught my eye, I should remind you that Petro ANDUSIV was an outstanding Ukrainian painter that left to the United States, where he painted a number of beautiful pictures in which history, particularly a Kyivan Rus, was a dominant theme. However, in this country he was known to only a handful of specialists and patriotically minded art connoisseurs. The reason was quite obvious, as in the Soviet times Petro ANDRUSIV was declared a “bourgeois nationalist”, so the Communists were trying to protect “the people of labour” from “harmful effects” of his art. Over the time I found out that due to this calendar ANDRUSIV’s works were made available to the public in his beloved Ukraine for the first time.
I took the calendar and read its title, “Ukrainian Historical Calendar, 1996”. When I turned over the title page, I felt excited as I saw the Trident on the centrefold. (The Trident, used by Ukrainians as the national emblem for centuries, was adopted by the Parliament after a long and vehement discussion.) Beneath it, there was a map of the world where all countries that had recognised Ukraine so far were marked, and their full list was attached. Then followed the welcoming address to the readers and the calendar itself, presenting Ukrainian historical events in a novel manner, i.e. broad palette providing retrospective view of Ukrainian historical events and the struggle for independence, as well as cultural and religious events starting from Tripillya culture, Scythians, Sarmats and Antes era, through true history of Kyivan Rus, Halychyna-Volyn Princedom, Great Lithuanian Princedom, the Cossacks’ state and Hetman’s period to Ukrainian People’s Republic of the 20th century, with the latest events in the Ukrainian history provided separately.
I wish you to understand my excitement: before me was a unique piece of a historical work published in Ukraine that represented Ukrainian history free of decades-long distortions, which was perceived as a real breakthrough. A significant portion of information was presented in Ukrainian and English. As it became known later, this calendar had been issued by UFG with the view of the forthcoming 5th anniversary of Ukrainian independence. The calendar was distributed through Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other channels in Ukraine and abroad among politicians, diplomats, businessmen and other people who showed interest to Ukraine. Needless to say, in the early years of independence providing information to the world on Ukraine’s history and traditions was critically important for establishing the image of Ukraine in the world.
As I understood from the calendar, the project was funded by Ukrainian Financial Group. Furthermore, some fragments of Valery Babich’s welcoming address on the eve of the 5th anniversary of Ukrainian independence have remained topical until today. In his thoughts about Ukraine’s future, Valery referred to Petro ANDRUSIV’s picture of the medieval Princes’ convent in Lyubech on the front page. He mentioned that the goal of the convent was to consolidate the nation, stop the civil strife and try to live to the Christian values. However, the convent resulted in a failure, and Ukraine-Rus fell a prey to the enemies. Throughout our history the events ran the same pattern: as long as the Ukrainians lived without God in their heart, without love and good deeds, the state would decease, and the people would fall to great suffer. Today these words sound as admonition, and the crucifix raised in Lyubech 700 years ago as appeal to consolidation, peace and love is addressed to each Ukrainian’s heart and mind.
I was very much impressed with the calendar, so I found Valery at the Parliament session and shook his hand with the words of gratitude. We had a talk then, and Valery told me about other UFG’s initiatives dedicated to the anniversary of independence.
My meeting with Valery Babich cast more light on the UFG’s activities. I decided to invest in the company to support its activities that caused my true respect. I took all my savings and bought a few UFG shares. Although my investment activity didn’t last too long, as my personal financial position and the urgent needs of our party made me soon sell the shares, I nevertheless had a special feeling, and remained a fervent supporter of UFG.
Now, after the lapse of five years, on the eve of the 10th anniversary of our independence, I am sure UFG will come up with new projects. I have heard about a number of their patriotic initiatives, but my recollections of 1996 are the most vivid of all.
I perceive UFG as a coeval of Ukrainian independence in the light of my memories about these people, who work selflessly and persistently for the sake of Ukraine’s cultural and religious rebirth.
I would like to pass my most sincere congratulations and best regards to Ukrainian Financial Group. I know, for these people Ukrainian sovereignty and dignity are sacred. I wish UFG and all its people every success in the future in the name of our beloved Ukraine and its people.