19.02.2008 20:57
Press office of President Victor Yushchenko

Mrs. Kateryna Yushchenko's speech during ommemoration servise in memory of Lev Dobryanskiy

On behalf of myshelf, jmy husband, President Victor Yushchenko, and many, many people of Ukraine, allow me to express my deepest condolences to the family of Dr. Lev Dobriansky - dear Julia, Larisa, Paula, and other loved ones - to his many colleagues and friends, to his countless former students, and to the American people.

Dear Friends, there is a saying: "The service we render others is the rent we pay for our place on earth."

Dr. Dobriansky rendered a service to millions of people imprisoned for decades behind the walls erected by communist regimes in Europe, Asia and around the world. For years - no, for decades - when so many politicians, diplomats, writers, journalists, and experts declared a certain reality, Lev Dobriansky said loudly, clearly and without fear, that all people have the inherent right to be free, and, just as importantly, that nations too have the right to independence and sovereignty. Lev Dobriansky courageously championed the cause of captive nations, the cause of millions trapped in terror and slavery. As a scholar and economist, he analyzed the economic fallacies of communism, as an intellectual and philosopher he openly declared the advantages of democracy, freedom and human rights. He talked of the artificial famine in Ukraine - the Holodomor - he talked of the Gulag, he talked of dissidents and freedom fighters throughout the world, he talked of the right of nations to independence.

For this Lev Dobriansky was criticized, he was threatened, he was ridiculed. In the 60s, 70s, and 80s, he spoke of those things that were out of fashion, of the realities that tyrants spent billions to hide, of the truths so many influential people in the West preferred to ignore.

But... may we all have the opportunity to discover the rightness of our dreams, the satisfaction of seeing our deepest beliefs reach fruition. May we all be able to spend the last years of our lives witnessing how the causes we championed become reality, how those who criticized our strongest views recant, or, ironically, even join our chorus. Lev Dobriansky achieved this.

He realized his dreams, he realized the hopes of dozens of captive nations, the prayers of millions of repressed peoples. He was even able to help erect a monument to his strongly held beliefs, to the horrors of communism and the victory of the human spirit over totalitarianism.

I grew up as a patriot of my parents' native country, Ukraine, and someone deeply grateful to America's example of freedom and democracy, its willingness to champion these rights throughout the world.

I entered Georgetown University with the desire to advance these fundamental beliefs. And here, at Georgetown, I had the fortune to meet Professor Dobriansky in my first semester.  Professor Dobriansky, who introduced me to monetary policy, to graphs of supply and demand, to so many facts that seemed so difficult to me at the age of 18.

I remember the first time I came fearfully to his office in my freshman year, waited in line while other students met with him, and then admitted that I had no idea what he had talked about in class that day. And he spent time explaining the graphs and charts to me. And he spent time talking to me about his work with captive nations. And over time we spent hours talking.

He convinced me to change majors from international politics to international economics. He convinced me to dedicate my life to human rights, captive nations and Ukraine. He convinced me to become his assistant, and later to take over the Washington office of his organizations, the Ukrainian Congress Committee and the National Captive Nations Committee. This led me later to study International Finance at Chicago, then to work at the State Department Bureau for Human Rights, the White House of President Ronald Reagan and the Congress, and, then, at the earliest opportunity, to implement what I learned in a growingly free and independent Ukraine.

And today, I often find myself marveling how much the world has changed in our short lifetimes. And how Dr. Lev Dobriansky knew it would happen so many, many years ago.

We are all judged by our family, our friends, our enemies, our deeds, and the impact we have had on the lives of people. At the end of our lives, may all of us here in this hall today be able to show at least a small fraction of the achievements of Dr. Lev Dobriansky - a wonderful, happy, loving and successful family; thousands of grateful friends, colleagues and students; some appropriately vanquished enemies; and millions of  people, in many countries and on many continents, who knowingly or not, owe their well-being to a hero, a scholar, a man who fought for their rights and freedoms, an idealist whose understanding of  the inherent evil of totalitarianism and vision of peoples' natural desire for freedom and independence are as actual today as they were 50 years ago.

God bless Dr. Lev Dobriansky, his family and his legacy.

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