M. Mowczan's Opening Address

24th of August 2017, Ukraine celebrated its 26th independence day. Centuries of Russian hegemony and then decades of Soviet occupancy was finally rid of 26 years ago on 24th August 1991, when Ukraine attained independence from the ‘Iron-curtained Evil Empire’ – the Soviet Union.

The past 26 years have been a mixed bag for the state and people of Ukraine. Though much has been achieved - still the progress and development is not what it could have been and certainly, there is widespread recognition and comprehension of wasted time and lost opportunities. But there is no need to despair, Ukraine is still a young state, all of just 26 years, and the sustained, combined and well-directed efforts of many people, Government, Non-Government Organizations, Civil Societies and helpful foreign partners, friendly countries have ensured that the hurdles and obstacles in the path to growth and prosperity and make Ukraine a strong, rich, powerful, globally respected country for its democratic values and people oriented rule of law in the time to come are being eradicated.

Here is a list of 26 good things achieved by Ukraine, Ukrainians and Verhovna Rada during the 26 years since independence that certainly give us hope and optimism for more positive developments and a better tomorrow for Ukraine and all her people.

  1. The steady democratization of the Ukrainian political system  (Shaping up and cleaning up of the institutions that ensure rule of law) 

  2. September 1996 - introduction of Ukrainian currency, the Hryvna

  3. Pride in language & education! Ukrainian language becomes fashionable. 60% of Ukrainians consider it their native language and according to UNESCO, Ukraine is one of the 10 countries with the highest level of literacy.  The number of Ukrainians who go to study abroad and then turn back home to apply their knowledge is growing. Over 46 thousand Ukrainians study abroad.  

  4. Pride in arts and cultural heritage – the number of museums increased from 214 to 576 since independence.  Ukrainians started buying more domestically-published books. The number of printed publications has grown from 7046 to 21330 in the 26 years.

  5. Health and wellbeing - Ukrainians live longer – in 1991 the average life expectancy was 69 years, today it’s 71.

  6. Annual Commemoration and remembrance of Holodomor – the artificial famine created by Stalin in the years 1932-33 that claimed lives of 8-10 million innocent Ukrainians.

  7. The Orange Revolution 2004.

  8. Revolution of Dignity & Freedom 2013-14 (The EuroMaidan or Maidan 2.0)

  9. Introduction of ЗНО (зовнішнього незалежного оцінювання) External Independent Testing System (EITS).

  10. Understanding and clarity of relationship with her neighbour Russia  as an aggressor, invader and occupant of Ukrainian territory and waging proxy war by actively helping terrorists in the Donbas region.

  11. A glorious cultural heritage that is being restored to its rightful position. Strengthening of Patriotism and consolidation of sovereignty and independence.

  12. Battle readiness of Ukrainian army and professionalization of the armed forces. Ukraine now maintains an army in excess of 204,000.  

  13. Press is generally free, Media censorship is low and people have freedom of expression.

  14. Successful integration with the global structural institutions like WTO, OSCE, European Council, UN organisations and Consolidation of Pro-European path and deepening of Euro-integration process (The Visa-Free Regime with the European Union.

  15. Twice winner of  Eurovision in the years 2004 and 2016 respectively.

  16. Successfull organization of Euro 2012 (the European Soccer tournament held every four years) with her neighbour Poland.

  17. The talent and achievement in the field of entertainment, sports, media and other spheres of socio-cultural activities.  
    a.In tennis, Elina Svitolina is currently 4th in WTA rankings.
    b. During the summer Deaflympics 2017 the Ukrainian national team became second best among the teams from 90 countries.     Ukrainian athletes won 99 medals including 21 gold, 42 silver and 36 bronze.
    c. Ukraine’s National Paralympic team came first in cross-country skiing and biathlon at the World Cup in Japan. Ukrainian athletes won a total of 33 medals including 11 gold, nine silver and 13 bronze

  18. Ukrainians proudly wave & hoist their national flag – one of the most potent symbols of Ukrainian statehood along with the famous trident (Тризуб) and the national anthem.

  19. Development of the largest transport/cargo airplane, AN Mriya. Today Antonov Airlines transports 35 per cent of all oversize and superheavy cargoes in the world.

  20. Agriculture sector and farm outputs have been the beacon of hope and Ukraine is the acknowledged № 1 exporter of Sun Flower oil globally. Exports of Ukraine-produced goods and services increased 2.4 times in the past 26 years.

  21. Business - Ukraine is one of the top-5 countries that demonstrated the most dynamic growth.  Of indicators assessed by the “World Nation Brands” 2016. Ukraine added 27% and its brand value increased from 44 billion dollars to 56 billion dollars.   In the ranking “Doing Business” Ukraine is in the top position among the ex-Soviet Bloc countries.  Ukraine takes the 5th position in the ranking that measures the dynamics of electro cars expansion. At the International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi the Ukrainian unmanned APC Phantom becomes one of the top-5 best pieces on show.

  22. The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement has been completely ratified by all the member-states of the EU and is a comprehensive approach towards trade structure and economic development between the EU and Ukraine.  Ukraine joined two free trade areas – that with the EU and with Canada.

  23.  The slow and steady erosion of Soviet mentality. All Lenin statues in Ukraine are now toppled.  Ukrainians have finally rid itself of totalitarian and despotic Communist Party, banned the symbols and the communist ideology that represented decades of torture, suppression and repression

  24. In 2017 Ukraine and NATO mark 20 years of distinctive partnership.  This movement towards NATO is an opening to the world - on Wednesday of the 10 invited nations who marched in the Independence Day Celebrations - 8 were NATO countries USA, UK, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania,  Poland, Estonia, and Romania also Georgia and Moldova.

  25. Independence is finally teaching Ukrainians to fend for themselves and to start believing in the fact that they themselves are responsible for building & strengthening their nation. 

  26. From 24th August 1991 onwards Ukrainians received something very prized its name is – “a Future”. 

To Ukraine’s Future ....   Slava Ukrayini  !

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