Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska received the Dissident Human Rights Award, awarded to Ukrainian people, at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Washington.
Since 2015, the prize has been awarded to activists and dissidents — representatives of enslaved peoples for their courage in defending human rights and freedom. This year, for the first time, it was awarded not to a specific individual, but to the entire people of Ukraine for the “courageous struggle for freedom and against Russia’s aggressive war.”
“Although the Memorial is dedicated to the victims of the crimes of communism, it is worth remembering that communism is only one face of totalitarianism. But we can easily recognize totalitarianism by its main features – aggression, violence, complete devaluation of human life. Russia has not been called communist for a long time, but Stalin’s methods of governing and enslaving other peoples are still practiced there,” Zelenska wrote.
“Our long-suffering warning to the world: remember that the darkest past easily returns. And in some places it has not disappeared and only pretends to be modern. At the price of heroic efforts, we fight not only for our freedom. We are fighting to ensure that Stalin’s Great Terror is never again used anywhere in the civilized world,” Zelenska added.