President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko and his wife, Kateryna, have honored the victims of the totalitarian regime in Bykivnya. The President placed flowers on the Bykivnya Monument and then attended a service for the dead.
In his speech, the Head of State said the tragedy in Bykivnya was similar to the atrocities committed at Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau.
“It is impossible to imagine how one could slaughter one hundred thousand people in Bykivnya. What is really terrible is that nobody will tell us why these people were killed. What was their fault? They must have refused to betray their motherland, language, church and their national roots,” he said.
Yushchenko pledged to spare no effort to find out actual causes of the massacre and prevent genocide in the future. He said this tragedy affected the whole nation. “The Bykivnya tragedy is not the tragedy of the Kyiv region alone, for today we are speaking about the affiliates of the Bykivnya mass grave in Vinnytsya, Kharkiv, Sumy, and Lviv,” he metaphorically explained.
The President said the government of Ukraine would soon found a national memory institute: “We must stop being afraid of our history. We must re-write some of its pages.”
The institute is intent to preserve national memory by holding events to honor those who fell prey to genocide famines, exploring the tragic period of totalitarian repressions in Ukraine and making these facts known. The President appointed Ihor Yukhnovsky the head of this establishment.
Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov, Humanitarian Premier Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, Culture Minister Ihor Likhovy, Defense Minister Anatoly Hrytsenko and Kyiv Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky took part in the memorial ceremony.