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OPINION

December 1, 1991 referendum gives Ukrainian independence absolute legitimacy

1 December, 2023 Friday
17:20

The plebiscite had its own background: August 19 - the chauvinistic imperial military coup in Moscow to prevent the republics of the then Soviet Union from gaining state independence; August 24 - the adoption of the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine by the Verkhovna Rada

A proposal to hold a national referendum in support of the Act was made by Ihor Yukhnovskyi in his speech. This provoked a mixed reaction. There were some dissatisfied remarks. One of them sounded literally like this: "Are slaves asked if they want to be free?" And yet: the communists will also be preparing for the referendum. Would they want Ukraine to become independent? Discussions and arguments went on for a long time. The Act itself was approved just after 6 p.m. At the same time, a number of resolutions were being discussed and approved, including those on the referendum and the presidential election. The session meeting that day was closed at 9 p.m.

Today, we must admit that the referendum of December 1, 1991, is indeed of epochal significance: the popular approval gave the Ukrainian state absolute legitimacy, both domestically and internationally. That is why Putin's current chatter about "one nation consisting of three branches," "the original Russian territory," and thus the need for a single state are perceived as criminal neo-Nazi tricks. As a basis for consideration of criminal actions for their implementation by the International Military Tribunal in The Hague.

The three months of preparation for the presidential election and the referendum gave me the opportunity to travel all over Ukraine, meet with millions of people, and convey our national ideas to them. Viacheslav Chornovil entrusted me with meetings in the Donetsk, Luhansk, and Chernihiv regions.

“The residents of Donbas were divided into two groups (as they are now): some were considered the original natives of this land, the Wild Steppe, and therefore wanted to be with Kyiv (it was not customary to use the word Ukraine here), while others also (somewhat arrogantly) agreed because they were "tired of being the stoker of the whole Union." That is, to supply coal there. But the latter still hoped that their "blood ties" with Moscow would remain in some form ( even if not in the form of a union). This is the situation that erupted in the format of the DPR and LPR.”

There were still people living here who remembered how they were taken in echelons from their homes by the "Mother Russia" on a historical mission: to develop the "native Russian lands" that had once been seized by the Khokhols. When I told them about the independence of the Ukrainian state, they would get frankly angry, shouting that there is no Ukraine here, that they are local and will never become Ukrainians... To change the worldview and attitudes of that generation, as well as their direct descendants... I don't know, I don't want to be categorical, but I think it was impossible. We have to think about the future.

I had to visit villages that were completely destroyed by the Holodomor of 1932-1933. I had a heavy impression: those people who occupied the empty houses and deserted land did not consider themselves... I could not figure out who they considered themselves.

But I was also taken to villages where local people had somehow survived. We walked around and saw graves near the houses, small graves with crosses. With dates of life. Mostly children. It was an eerie feeling. As if you were in a cemetery.

I was then a personal representative of presidential candidate Viacheslav Chornovil...

Oh, no! They will vote for an independent Ukraine, but never for a nationalist, a Banderite released from prison! They know Leonid Kravchuk, for example. He is a well-known communist leader, their man. And these were the words of people who survived the Holodomor-Genocide, whose relatives were killed near their homes. The psychology of fear and adaptation, formed for the sake of survival, worked...

Thus, the Communist Party nomenklatura remained in charge of Ukraine, which seized state property and formed the oligarchic and corrupt system of social order in which we have to live.

Can we overcome it? We have to! Otherwise, we will be destroyed.

Source

About the author. Mykhailo Kosiv, Ukrainian politician, former member of the parliament.

The editors don't always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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