Nation Address

by the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma,

Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ivan Plusch

and Prime Minister Victor Yuschenko

Dear compatriots!

We have been forced to address you by the attempts to put Ukraine through a great trial, to pull it into a whirlwind of sick passions. Notably, this is being done at the point when we just started to overcome the long economic crisis, when the people have a real hope for improvement.

We have to call things by their names: an unprecedented political campaign featuring a psychological war has been unleashed against our state.

Ukraine and the world will eventually know the names of those who ordered, masterminded and carried out – the driving forces – of this provocation. However, we all see now the involvement in it of those Ukrainian politicians and those political forces who have nothing but personal interests and ambitions, selfish aspirations and current expectations. They are instigating an atmosphere of hysteria and psychosis, hoping to put out of balance the legitimate state institutions and to get to power at any cost.

This time, the disappearance of journalist Georgy Gongadze and the so-called tape scandal have been used as a pretext for social disruption. They were followed by loquacious generalities about the encroachment on the press and democracy in Ukraine. The directors of the current actions themselves acknowledged that in lieu of this pretext they would have found any other.

We deeply and sincerely sympathize with the family that has been stricken by the plight and apologize for some actions by the law enforcement bodies. Following procedural requirements under current legislation must not contradict the understanding of limitless human sorrow. The instances of unprofessional conduct in the investigation into the case of Gongadze are obvious and regrettable. Now, all measures are being taken in order to ensure its soonest and most comprehensive completion. The results of the analysis of all the circumstances will lead to the most serious conclusions.

On the other hand, we strongly disagree and will never accept making the tragedy a joker card in cynical political speculations and using it in order to defame our country in the eyes of the Ukrainian and the global community; uninhibited and impunitive dissemination of illegitimately obtained, unverified or falsified information; launching games under slogans of democracy protection which put the very existence of Ukraine, its territorial integrity and social peace at stake; pushing through scenarios leading to destructive consequences and more tribulation for the people.

In a democratic society, everyone has the right to hold his own beliefs and express them publicly. However, there is a border that no one, under any conditions, may cross. This is the Law and responsibility for every word.

Dirty techniques are not rare in contemporary world, with its tough methods of political struggle. But even against such a background, the current events in Ukraine stand out by their cynicism and contempt for legal and moral norms. That is discrediting state officials, politicians and political forces, blackmailing the state bodies and manipulation of public opinion.

Today’s unconcealed calculation is aimed at deluded ordinary performers. Since the absolute majority of the Ukrainian people does not respond to the provocative calls of these “professional revolutionaries”, they have nothing left but to appeal to extremist forces, to the emotional crowd in order to use it as a battering ram and a means for intimidating ordinary people with ominous analogies. It is enough to take a closer look at their symbols and slogans, at the stage properties of their political shows in order to see that we are facing a Ukrainian variance of national socialism.

Recently, a National Salvation Forum has appeared, set up on unknown basis and widely publicized. The leaders of this sundry conglomerate, resentful of their own political losses and fiascos, are indeed looking for salvation. Though not for the state and the nation, but for themselves – from political bankruptcy and oblivion and – some of them – from criminal responsibility.

Each of us, esteemed compatriots, has to understand that the only hope of these petty politicians, who have burnt all their bridges, is that the sparks of enmity, irreconcilability and malice will spread across the whole of society, enter your homes and your fates. Trying to give a new birth to the threat of a large-scale civil conflict, which the Ukrainian state has managed to avoid during the most difficult stages of its development, they hope to stay adrift amidst chaos and uncertainty, in the absence of power and order. Such “saviors” do not see in their narrow-mindedness, or do not want to see the potential harm that their unconsidered and reckless actions will cause.

Of course, we should not dramatize the situation. For the dimensions of the entire society and its life, all this fuss is nothing more than microscopic and short-lived anomaly, which is not to decide the future of Ukraine.

Still, we can not ignore that the attempts to instigate street elements, blatant provocative tricks that they use to deepen the split in society and push the authorities to counter them by force, pose a real threat to the national security of the state.

We should not forget the lessons of history. You will recall the origins of fascism.

We state that in the interest of citizens, society and the state, such attempts will meet an active and resolute counteraction with the use of all means envisaged by the law. No one should have any illusions about this.

Anarchy, arbitrary action and breach of law will not be allowed!

The state’s leadership remains open for political dialogue and is continuously leading it – but with those who really want a dialogue, who are capable of a dialogue and who consider it as the only correct and possible way of resolving differences and disagreements, strengthening political stability, speeding up the resolution of economic and social problems and improving people’s lives, which is a priority, a decisive and all-important issue for us now.

Doing everything to further develop democracy, to ensure accord in society and to consolidate it around constructive and creative objectives, we are counting on your understanding, assistance and support, dear compatriots. It has been the Ukrainian people’s most powerful resource during the years of establishing our country. It is a vital necessity now – in order to, among other things, rebuff the anti-state forces, whatever flags these forces are flying.

We shall keep focusing the efforts of the authorities and all of the branches and structures of power on ensuring a peaceful present and a clear, predictable future for Ukraine. The unity of our positions and approaches, aimed unequivocally at rebuffing destructiveness in politics, is corroborated by this statement.

February 13, 2001