The new President of Ukraine started speaking Russian when addressing the citizens of Donbas. The speech was interrupted several times by the applause of Parliament members and guests.
Dear compatriots, from Lviv to Donetsk, from Chernihiv to Sevastopol!
We, the Ukrainians, are “a living light in the family of European peoples and active collaborators of European civilisational work.” This was said by Ivan Franko.
“Plant our feet and heart in Ukraine, and keep our heads in Europe,” was the bequest of Mykhailo Drahomanov.
The return of Ukraine to its natural, European state was dreamt of throughout many generations. The dictatorship that reigned in Ukraine in the last several years strived to deprive us of this perspective – the people rebelled.
The victorious Revolution of Dignity did not only change the government. The country became different. The people became different. The time for irreversible positive changes has come. In order to make them, we need, first and foremost, peace, security and unity.
A real war, planned and developed in Ukrainian Donbas is standing in the way of the colossal opportunities for European modernisation of Ukraine, that presented themselves after the fall of tyranny. Before, many have thought that we gained Independence without any effort.
This is not true! Entire generations of Ukrainian patriots fought fought for our independence, our freedom. The heroes of the Heaven’s Hundred fell for it. Ukrainian soldiers and peaceful civilians are dying for it. I am asking to commemorate those who fell for the will and independence of Ukraine in a moment of silence.
Moment of silence.
I am assuming the post of President in order to preserve and reinforce Ukrainian unity. Provide long-term peace and guarantee stable security. I know that peace is the most important thing the Ukrainian people are wishing for today. The head of state has a wide range of varied instruments for the provision of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and peaceful life for the citizens. Power and determination will not be lacking. I don’t want war. I don’t want revenge. Though before my eyes is the enormous sacrifice that the Ukrainian people have made. I want peace and I will achieve unity for Ukraine. Therefore I begin my work with a proposal of a peace plan.
I insist that all those who got armed illegally, to put down their weapons. I return I guarantee, first, amnesty for those whose hands have not been stained with the blood of Ukrainian soldiers and peaceful civilians. And those who are not involved in financing terrorism.
Second, a controlled corridor for Russian mercenaries that are willing to return home. Third, peaceful dialogue.
Naturally, not with “Streloks,” “Abwehrs,” “Devils” or any other filth. I am talking about dialogue with the peaceful citizens of Ukraine. Even those who have a vision of the future of Ukraine different from my own. Today, I want to address our compatriots from Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts separately.
(He starts speaking Russian)
Our dear brothers and sisters, our compatriots!
Many of you have already felt the “wonders” of terrorist government. They, besides pillaging and humiliating peaceful civilians, have brought the already crisis economy of the region to the brink of complete disaster. But we will not lead you under any circumstances.
The national elections of the President have put a complete stop to the myth of the so-called illegitimate Kyiv government. This myth was planted and grown by Russian propaganda and Yanukovych’s clan, which betrayed Donbas and stole more from it that the entire country. They exclusively ruled Donetsk Oblast for 17 years. And now they are financing terrorists. It is them who are totally responsible for the political and socio-economical situation which the region has ended up in. For unemployment, poverty and the refugees. And for the murdered civilians, and the tears of the mothers.
What will I bring as President to you, when I come in the nearest future? Peace. A project for the decentralisation of government. The guarantee of free usage of the Russian language in your region. A firm intention not to divide Ukrainians into right and wrong. Respect for the specifics of the regions. The right of local communities to their own nuances in issues of historical memory, pantheon of heroes, religious traditions. A project, which has been developed before the elections in collaboration with our partners from the European Union, to create new workplaces in the East of Ukraine. A perspective of investment, a project for economical reconstruction of Donbas.
Today we need a legitimate dialogue partner. We will not speak with terrorists. And the acting members of the local councils do not represent anyone anymore. And we are ready to declare early local elections in Donbas.
(He switches back to Ukrainian)
This is my peace plan for Donbas and the entire country. The issue of territorial integrity of Ukraine is not to be discussed. As soon as I have sworn “to protect the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine with all my deeds,” I will always remain faithful to this sacred oath.
The number of people that I have had the honour to meet during my electoral campaign surpassed a million. Ukraine is varies, but it is strong in spirit, and in spirit it is united! The will for peace and unity of our state dominates in all Ukrainian oblasts. I am deeply touched by the patriotism of the citizens of southern and eastern Ukrainian oblasts from Odesa to Kharkiv oblasts.
Peace has not yet come, but already today we can firmly state that tremendous ordeals have united the Ukrainian family. They made us stronger as a Ukrainian political nation, which is sure in its European choice. Our people have never been as strong as they are now. But freedom is not given once and for all. It has to be fought for constantly.
The peace that we are hoping to reach in the nearest future will not last long if we don’t strengthen our security accordingly. For peace to last, we need to get accustomed to living in conditions of constant preparation for war. We have to keep our gunpowder dry.
The army and its rearmament using the efforts of the Ukrainian military-industrial complex is our main priority. What is more, the state orders to the military-industrial complex facilities will push for the re-industrialization of the economy. Those who save on feeding their own armed forces is feeding the enemy army. And our army has to become a real elite of Ukraine. The word “General” has to be associated not with the word “corruption,” but with the word “hero.”
We have to make our own effort to achieve everything that the provision of stable peace and security of Ukraine depend on. Our best allies and best guarantees of peace are the army, the fleet, the National Guard and professional special services! Nobody will protect us until we learn to defend ourselves.
I will use my diplomatic experience to ensure the signing of the international agreement which would replace the Budapest Memorandum. Such an agreement has to give direct and reliable guarantees of peace and security – to the extent of military support in case of threats to territorial integrity. Any aggressor on the Ukrainian border has to remember the Biblical wisdom: live by the sword, die by the sword!
The citizens of Ukraine will be unable to feel the virtues of peace and security until we regulate our relations with Russia. Russia has occupied Crimea which was, is, and will be Ukrainian. Yesterday, during a meeting in Normandy, this is what I told Putin – Crimea is Ukrainian. Period. There cannot be compromise with anyone in issues of Crimea, European choice and state order. And the rest has to be discussed and decided at the talks table.
Any attempts at external and internal enslavement of Ukrainians encounter and will encounter a confident response. We want to be free. And living in a new way is living freely in the conditions a political system which guarantees the rights and freedoms of the individual and the nation. I would like to emphasise my dedication to the idea of the parliamentary-presidential republic. No usurping of power!
European democracy for me is the best way of state government which has been invented by humans. European experience tells us that the majority of power already has to be delegated from the centre to the local government bodies. The reform regarding decentralisation will begin this year with amendments to the Constitution.
The newly-elected local Council will receive new powers. However, Ukraine was, is, and will be a unitary stare. Illusions of federation are ungrounded in Ukraine. An important part of social demands to the full reboot of the government are early elections of the Parliament.
Let us be frank. The acting members of this honorary body do not accord with the society’s moods. Because it changed significantly in 2012. And living in a new way means not to go against the will of the people.
Living freely means freely using one’s mother-tongue. According to article 10 of the Constitution. It deems Ukrainian the only official language but guarantees the free development for Russian and other languages. The words “work,” just like “peace,” “salary,” “pension,” “stipend” sound the same or very similar in both Ukrainian and Russian.
The availability of work is what gives a person the opportunity to live prosperously. I have received the biggest professional satisfaction from the creation of new jobs. What can make a person happier than work and a dignified salary for it? Workplaces have to be organised by business owners. And the head of state has to provide the conditions in which nobody and nothing prevents people from working.
The state will value the investment of the employer and taxpayer in the economy and social sphere. The provision of the people with work and dignified pay is the first guarantee of internal peace and national security.
Though the government of economical processes belongs to the competence of the free market or the government, the President, as guarantee of the Constitution, is obliged to provide the conditions for innovational economy and social justice.
An even distribution of national riches is of utmost importance today. But before we distribute national fortune, we have to multiply it. Ukraine has everything it needs to provide the people with European welfare.
We know how to and want to live on our own labor, we are able to be creative and innovative. We are even learning not to be jealous of the successes of one’s neighbour or colleague. But we are still lagging behind. Why? Because, as opposed to us, the countries of the European community have built an economy of free competition. Of new ideas, business initiative, hard work, constant self-perfection. This is how it will be in Ukraine.
However, for this, we need to destroy corruption. We need a national anti-corruption pact between the government and the people. It is simple in its essence: the officials don’t take, and the people don’t give. We cannot change the country if we don’t change ourselves, our own attitudes to our lives and to the lives of the entire country.
Each one of us is partially responsible for the fact that Ukraine has entered a crisis of statehood. Some considered it a norm not to pay taxes. Some lived in luxury on state funds. Some voted and protested for money. Some got undeserved privileges and awards. And all together they ruined the foundation of social trust, bases of law and social organisation.
Ukraine’s European choice is the heart of our national ideal. This is the choice our ancestors and oracles have made. And what should we do, in order to live freely, live in prosperity, live in peace and security? All of this is written in the agreement for political association and the free trade zone with the European Union.
We all made an effort for this document. Now I dream of making it reality, and for this we have to sign the economical part of the agreement as soon as possible. I have my pen in my hands, and as soon as the EU approves the according decision, the signature of the Ukrainian President will immediately appear on this fateful document.
We don’t have the right to delay the signing of the economical part of the agreement. The same regards the swift implementation of a visa-free regime for Ukraine with the EU. We have finalised the first stage and will be able to finalise the second one very quickly, so that starting January 2015 Ukrainians will have the opportunity to travel without visas.
We see the association agreement as only the first step to Ukraine’s full membership in the EU. Nobody has veto power on Ukraine’s European choice. To admit this is to realise policies of peace and tranquility in Ukraine. But this policy has gone bankrupt in the thirties of the previous century.
To realise our ambitious plans, we need not only peace and unity of the country, but also the consolidation of all patriotic, pro-Ukrainian, pro-European powers. We have to constantly remember the harsh lessons of the national liberation battles of the 17-20’s of the previous century. Back then our politicians were unable to unite and counter aggression together.
Volodymyr Vynnichenko fought against Mykhailo Hrushevsky, Simon Petliura – against Pavlo Skoropadskiy. And Nestor Makhno – against everyone. The constant arguments and conflicts between leading Ukrainians caused the loss of our sovereignty. We have to draw conclusions not only from the century-old archives, but from the recent events as well.
We don’t have the right to repeat old mistakes and we have to provide for the coordinated work of the President, the Verkhovna Rada and the Cabinet of Ministers. The time has come to build a new great country. Modern, highly technological, able to defend itself, able to compete. Let us account for the experience of the countries that appeared on the political map only several decades ago, but have become leaders, having betted on the development of intellect and modern technologies. As the most valuable thing is not money, not factories and businesses, but the “human resource capital” that Ukraine has.
There is no doubt that we will overcome all difficulties. We will fight for the territorial integrity of our state, we will provide peace and tranquility. Nobody will turn us into slaves of criminals and bureaucrats, into the servants of the colonial government. We have the support of the entire world. In the last three days I was able to see it for myself.
All of Ukraine and all the Ukrainians in the world have united around the ideas of independence, freedom, dignity, legitimate state, European integration. The people have expressed their important opinion. During the revolutionary events. During the fight against aggression. During the elections. Now it is our turn, the government’s. I am extending a hand of peace to everyone who voted for me, and those who did not. To all those who will help establish peace, order and tranquility in Ukraine. And all those who believe in Ukraine’s European future.
We are a people that was torn away from its big Motherland – Europe – and we are returning to it. Finally and irreversibly.
Peace to us! God bless us! Glory to Ukraine!
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina