Levin Floor Statement on 20th Anniversary of Ukrainian Independence

Sep 23, 2011 Issues: Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker:

I rise today to mark the 20th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from Soviet rule.  

Since August 24th, 1991, the people of Ukraine have remained steadfastly focused on securing a stable democracy and a free market economy in Ukraine, and I commend them on their democratic achievements.  During the 2004 Orange Revolution, I was proud to stand with hundreds of Ukrainian Americans demonstrating in front of the Embassy in Washington, wearing our orange scarves and demanding that democracy required rejection of a rigged election.

I also rise to express my deep concern over the erosion of democracy under the current Yanukovych Administration, which places the successes of the Orange Revolution in jeopardy.  Reports from the April 2011 Freedom House assessment are alarming, particularly the anecdotes of the Administration’s use of violence, intimidation, and selective prosecution of opposition leaders and suppression of the media.

We in the United States must continue to stand with those living under oppressive and tyrannical regimes as they struggle for their freedom.  

Last week, members of the Congressional Caucus on Ukraine introduced a bipartisan resolution to commemorate Ukraine’s independence and to express strong and continued support to the Ukrainian people in their efforts toward ensuring democratic principles.  

I urge all of my colleagues to support this resolution.