Anna Kuzma, for Polish Radio, in Kyiv
Polish Radio 1, Warsaw, Poland, in Polish, July 12, 2003
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English on July 12, 2003
[Presenter] The echoes of yesterday's ceremonies organized on the 60th
anniversary of the Volyn atrocity are not fading.
According to Prof Wojciech Roszkowski, the word sorry was lacking. The
Polish Academy of Sciences [PAN] historian feels that the cause for this is
the social and historical situation reigning in Ukraine.
Prof Roszkowski nonetheless stressed that he had expected, as he put it,
something more during the commemorations in Pavlivka.
[Roszkowski] This is the result of a certain social atmosphere that reigns
in Ukraine. On the one side, one could understand the Ukrainians who have
been altogether mangled by history and have also borne enormous losses,
above all on account of the communist system, and from Stalin in particular.
But we had a completely different story here. Something else was at stake
Polish Slavomir Janitsky, center, holds a Polish flag as he stands with
Ukrainian mourners holding Ukrainian flags at a ceremony commemorating World
War II massacres in the village of Pavlivka, about 30 km (18 miles) east of
the Polish border, western Ukraine, Friday, July 11, 2003. Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma and his Polish counterpart Aleksander Kwasniewski
joined thousands of mourners at religious ceremonies Friday to commemorate
mutual wartime atrocities in which tens of thousands of Ukrainians and Poles
(AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (Bild 1)
(Click on image to enlarge it)
I had expected something more, even taking into account the second cause,
that is the political campaign, current political life in Ukraine, and the
fact that Kuchma as if could not politically allow himself anything more.
But, well, we should regret that such is the atmosphere in Ukraine and that
the Ukrainians are unprepared for this reconciliation. It seems that this
ceremony did rather show this up.
[Presenter] Andrzej Przewoznik, the secretary-general of the Council for the
Protection of Memory, Struggle and Martyrdom, said that the issue of
complete Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation was a matter of a long process that
has already begun.
[Przewoznik] I do not hide that it was difficult to expect, although many
people and very many circles were counting in these words - that there would
be this word sorry, which would dot the i as regards Volyn - that these
words would be said. Nonetheless, I feel, and I do so as a participant in
the ceremony, that this is an historic and important event.
[Presenter] In turn, Prof Miroslav Popovych feels that President Leonid
Kuchma said in Pavlivka everything that he was allowed to by the political
situation in Ukraine. Prof Popovych told [public] Polish Radio that
President Kuchma's speech should in minimum degree satisfy the expectations
[Popovych] Everything that is indispensable in this situation has been said.
I think that this is the minimum of what they could do, but nonetheless we
do have this step which was indispensable in this situation.
[Presenter] Prof Popovych noticed that in another internal situation in
Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma could have said more in Pavlivka.
[Popovych] The maximum would be the following: we forgive and we ask for
forgiveness, and that is that. There was much pressure from various sides,
and I understand that this was also not straightforward in Poland. I think
that this is a basis, the principle on which we can build and further
develop our relations.
[Presenter] President Leonid Kuchma said during the commemorations of the
Volyn tragedy that there was no moral justification for the murders of the
civilian population. He honoured all the victims of Polish-Ukrainian
conflicts, both Poles and Ukrainians.
The Ukrainian leader added that the main burden for the bloody events in
Ukraine rested on extremists from national liberation movements of both
nations. It was not nations but hatred and intolerance that were the causes
of the tragedy, Leonid Kuchma said.
Commenting on yesterday's commemorations of the 60th anniversary of the
tragedy in Volyn, the Ukrainian press stresses that the meeting in Pavlivka
and the joint statement by the Presidents Aleksander Kwasniewski and Leonid
Kuchma were a symbolic gesture of reconciliation. According to Ukrainian
commentators, now the truth about the events in Volyn should be sought
solely by historians.
[Reporter] The long and controversial history of the commemoration of the
anniversary of the Volyn tragedy has come to its logical end, argues the
Lviv paper Postup. The paper nonetheless notices that words of forgiveness
were said in Pavlivka, but there was no apology. Postup expects the slowing
down of the discussion in political circles.
The Kiev daily Den, associated with the authorities, feels that after much
speculation and emotions associated with the commemorations, the subject of
the Volyn tragedy has been exhausted. The search for the historical truth is
already another matter, in which politics cannot interfere, the paper notes.
In its view, the Ukrainians should take a lesson from the recent events,
learn from the Poles how to pay attention to their history and move-on.
The necessity of forgiveness is written about in a special commentary Postup
commentary by Ilko Lemko. How many times do you have to ask a brother for
forgiveness? Seven? Or perhaps 77, as Christ taught, he asks. The publicist
stresses that the ability to forgive, although difficult, is indispensable.
Pain still nests in the hearts of many witnesses of the Volyn tragedy, but
the hour of mutual repentance and forgiveness should come. And this not at
the dry, official level, but in the hearts of ordinary people, appeals the
Postup commentator. This was Anna Kuzma, for Polish Radio, in Kiev.