Project “16 Days of Gratitude”: day 11

Day 11. And so, day after day, we walk around Kyiv in search of the Lithuanian traces. We dive into our ancient past and emerge in the present. One day we climb the Castle Hill to see and feel the medieval city, the next day we travel along its urban streets, we stumble over ancient stones, where time seems to stop and get lost in the wilds of a metropolis that never sleeps (although now it is silent due to the curfew hour from 23:00 to 05:00). We, as good friends, won together, because this would be our common victory, and together we would strive for it. When one of us had a thorny path, the other would always come with consolation and help. In the history of Ukraine, such a crown of thorns was the Holodomor of 1932-1933, caused by the Bolshevik policy, which claimed the lives of more than 4 million Ukrainians. In the memory of the dead and of this tragic page in the history of Ukraine, the National Museum of the Holodomor-Genocide was built. Not far from it, we will look for the next Lithuanian steps, which were made by the Presidents of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus and Dalia Grybauskaitė, who placed foundation stones next to the museum during their visits to Ukraine (2008 and 2009) and planted viburnum bushes in memory. At the state level, on November 24, 2005, Lithuania recognized the Holodomor of Ukrainians in the 1930s as an act of genocide. Therefore, every year, blooming with a symbolic white color in spring and replete with a new crop of red berries in autumn, these viburnum bushes once again speak of the invaluable support that Lithuania provides to Ukraine. And today, when our country is suffering from the Russian aggression, you do not stop visiting Kyiv:  numerous are the visits of the President Gitanas Nausėda, who was awarded the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise 1st degree in 2021 for his outstanding personal contribution to strengthen Ukrainian-Lithuanian interstate cooperation. In November 2022, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania Ingrida Šimonytė was awarded her own plaque on the Alley of Courage, located next to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. This plate was created as a token of gratitude for the help that Lithuania provided to Ukraine in the fight against the Russian aggressor. At its opening, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said: “this is a place for great people who help Ukraine, support us since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia. I want to thank you.” Therefore, every step that we take by Kyiv is also a gratitude to Lithuania and to the people of Lithuania for the invaluable help. Thank you for always being there. And tomorrow we will meet again.

Dr. Ruslana Martseniuk

Photos: Office of the President of Ukraine and by dr. Ruslana Martseniuk

Project “16 Days of Gratitude”: day 10