Rep. Levin Commemorates 20th Anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence

Sep 15, 2011 Issues: Foreign Affairs

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) today introduced a resolution to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence and to express strong and continued support to the Ukrainian people in their effort to ensure democratic principles.  

“As we witness the historic calls for democracy around the world, it is critical that the United States continues to stand strong with the Ukrainian people,” said Rep. Levin, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus. “Today’s bipartisan resolution has special meaning to the people of Ukraine who continue to strive towards a more democratic and open society, and indeed to all of us who value freedom.”

On Aug. 24, 1991, the people of Ukraine proclaimed that they would no longer be subject to Soviet rule, inspiring the world with their call for democracy and the rule of law.  Building on the gains of the 2004 Orange Revolution, the Ukrainian community has remained steadfastly focused on securing a stable democracy and a free market economy in Ukraine.

Despite this, reforms made since the revolution are now in jeopardy.  Since the inauguration of the Yanukovych Administration, frequent reports of the regime using violence and intimidation against journalists and opposition leaders have been on the rise.  On Aug. 5, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and organizer of the Orange Revolution was placed under arrest by the Yanukovych Administration, renewing concerns in the community that the current regime is backsliding on democratic principles.  

“Democracy does not always come easy and sometimes there have been difficult days for Ukraine in achieving its fulfillment,” said Rep. Levin.  “I am hopeful and optimistic that Ukraine will continue on the path of freedom as it carries out the spirit embodied in the Orange Revolution and as we observe the 20th anniversary.”

Rep. Levin is a long-time ally of the Ukrainian-American community, leading Congressional efforts to foster stronger U.S.-Ukraine bilateral relations and the securing of a stable democracy in Ukraine.  In 2005, Rep. Levin sponsored legislation authorizing the Government of Ukraine to establish a memorial in Washington, D.C. honoring the victims of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide.  This legislation passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate in 2005 and 2006, respectively.