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Ukraine’s European integration impossible without decommunization

The Lenin monument is being pulled down in Kharkiv on 28 Septemnber 2014. Photo: fb/leonid.logvinenko
Ukraine’s European integration impossible without decommunization
Article by: Oksana Yurynets
yurinetsEditor’s note: this is a transcript of a speech delivered at the Venice Commission session on 26 January 2016 in Strassburg by Oksana Yurynets, Head of the Subcommittee on Regional and Transborder Cooperation between Ukraine and EU Countries of the European Integration Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

First of all, I would like to highlight the importance and the urgency of the issues that we are discussing today. The success of the decommunization process might have a great impact on the future of Ukraine, united Europe, democratic ideals, and even the world order.

Is it possible to complete European integration of Ukraine without decommunization? Certainly not. Completion of this process will symbolize Ukraine’s civilizational choice. Is it possible to combine that choice with communist principles? No. Because communism does not allow any alternative, it does not accept anything else except communism, it destroys everything that opposes the system.

Modern Ukraine does not have any political future with the remnants of the communist regime past. Everything that was Ukrainian was destroyed during the communist era, being artificially replaced with “sovietness” — de facto, with russian chauvinism. Even today, the regime is still trying to reverse, stop, and erase the European path of Ukrainian people.

Decommunization is a declaration of war to puppet democracy. For many years the political elite was trying to build something new, but forgot to get rid of the terrible elements of the past. The system that was consciously destroying the human mind by not perceiving individuals, but only a mass, and divided society into party players and soviet citizens who were only bolts in the communist machine.

For decades, a pseudo democracy was being formed: new parties and structures had multiplied, but none of them possessed democratic values. As it turns out, the Ukrainian people understood and accepted real democratic values much faster then the political elite. Ukrainian people gave and continues to give their lives for European future without the communist cancer.

The greatest threat to the communist past are not visual symbols, names of cities or streets. , it’s Ukrainian consciousness distorted by famines, repression and inhuman abuses. Fear and pain of the past and the uncertainy of the future – still does not allow for some of Ukrainians to accept something completely different from communism. As a result – we have an annexation of the Crimea and war in the eastern Ukraine. That’s why de-communization for me is a first of all a struggle for discommunization of consciousness. The acceptance of democratic ideals and their implementation in state practice – will be the measure of our efficiency.

We have to admit that making decommunization happen is not an easy task for us. We are fully conscious of our responsibilities before the Ukrainian people and the world community. Revision of the past is needed in order to prevent errors in the future. Without restoring historical truth we will always feel the burden of the past and our obligations before the millions of innocent victims who were so cynically eliminated by the communist system.

You can not build something new on an old and rotten foundation. I am convinced that  implementing the decommunization laws and eliminating symbols of totalitarism in Ukraine will create an impetus for further reforms in education, culture, economy and will help to fight corruption. Decommunization is the path back to home for the Ukrainian people, to a strong, united and democratic Europe!

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