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Volodymyr Zelensky


Ukraine 2021  I  Politics & Diplomacy  I  Leader


BIOGRAPHY He was elected President of Ukraine on April 21, 2019, sworn in as the 6th President of Ukraine. He was born in Kryvyi Rih in1978. In 2000, he graduated from Kyiv National Economic University, with a law degree. In the period of 1997-2003, he was an actor, performer, script writer, producer of the stand-up comedy contest team «KVARTAL 95». From 2003 to 2011, he worked as executive producer of “KVARTAL 95”, LLC. In 2011 he was Chief Executive of PJSC “Inter TV Station” and during 2013-2019, he worked as executive producer at “KVARTAL 95”, LLC.


Today we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the proclamation of Ukraine's independence! The 30th anniversary of its obtaining! And it is fairer, in my opinion, to say: the 30th anniversary of the restoration of Ukraine's independence! Because on August 24, 1991, Ukraine restored its statehood. And on August 24, 2021, Ukraine finally realizes this, talks about it, and is proud of it. After all, our history and our state are unique. Our Constitution is 25 years old. But our Constitution is 311 years old. Written by Pylyp Orlyk, it is finally at home, and everyone can see it in St. Sophia Cathedral, built more than a thousand years ago.


Our hryvnia is a quarter of a century old, and it depicts, in particular, Prince Volodymyr. But our hryvnia is more than a millennium old, it existed under Prince Volodymyr. Our trident was approved in the Constitution of Ukraine 25 years ago. And our trident was embossed on the plinth bricks of the Tithe Church 1025 years ago. This year the Armed Forces of Ukraine celebrated the 30th anniversary of its establishment. And in 1616 the armed forces of Ukraine rejoiced at the capture of the fortress Kafa.

All this testifies to one thing: we are a young country with a thousand-year history. We build our house on the land where our ancestors lived and built. We are not guests or lodgers. We are a young family from the glorious dynasty of Kyivan Rus’ - Ukraine. From the ancestry of founders. Ancestry of baptists. From a brave ancestry. Wise ancestry. Cossack ancestry. We are not orphans and foundlings. We are descendants of a powerful country that was the center of Europe. But we should not only feel accordingly. We must behave accordingly. We are the heirs of the statehood that existed more than a thousand years ago. And we are beginning to celebrate the Day of Ukrainian Statehood.


We consider the year of Kyiv's foundation to be its starting point. The capital of Kyivan Rus’ - Ukraine, which is rightly called the city where it all begins. Orthodoxy originated here, the Old Slavonic language originated here, and its successor is the modern Ukrainian language. This is where our statehood began. We will celebrate the birth of our statehood on the day of the flowering of our statehood - on the Day of Christianization of Kyivan Rus’ - Ukraine. We are also beginning the process of returning prominent Ukrainians to their homeland. Who lived for Ukraine. Fought for Ukraine. Who are buried not in Ukraine. These are hetmans of the Zaporizhzhia Sich, figures of the times of the Ukrainian People's Republic, participants of liberation struggle, figures of culture and science and many others. We will return not only our people. We will return what belongs to us. These are historical and cultural values of Ukraine that are abroad. We will never give anyone a single stone of our history again, we will not allow "occupying" any page of our history, "annexing" our writers, our scientists, our athletes, our heroes who defeated Nazism.


I devote a lot of time to the glorious past so that we can all finally believe in ourselves in the future and build a powerful state together. What is a powerful country? A country that dreams ambitiously and acts decisively. A country that is not afraid of the words "first time". That is why, for the first time in 30 years, Antonov is building three planes for the state. New tanks and helicopters with Ukrainian blades are being built for the army this year. A powerful country is reviving its naval fleet, naval bases and building corvettes. A powerful country is a country that adopts a missile program for 10 years. Which builds thousands of kilometers of roads. Hundreds of schools, kindergartens, hospitals. Which is the first in the world to have a digital passport. Which fulfills its promises and lifts the immunity of deputies. Which for the first time gives people real ownership of land. And launches democracy for the first time.


Such a country becomes a NATO partner with enhanced opportunities. Such a country will be officially supported by others when it applies to join the EU. But if it is such a country, it won’t need to ask for an invitation, others will invite it. We are doing many things for the first time, so that the time when Ukraine was a great country was not the last. And so that the times when Crimea and Donbas were not occupied were not the last either. And a powerful country does not expect anyone to solve its problems. It holds the Crimea Platform, which brings together 46 foreign countries.


We are fighting for our people there. Because it is possible to temporarily occupy territories, but it is impossible to occupy people's love for Ukraine. It is possible to create despair and force to receive passports, but it is impossible to passportize Ukrainian hearts. The fact that people in Donbas and Crimea are afraid to say it does not mean that they are afraid to think about it. SD And they will come back. Because we are a family. And the only thing that can divide us is a generously set table. At which we will definitely drink a toast together to the fact that we have become a powerful country. But it is equally important for all of us to understand how to remain such a country. We argue so much about the past, which means we don't draw conclusions from our own great history. For no enemy has dealt us a greater blow than our own strife.


What is the strength of the Ukrainian people? It is the Ukrainian people. Citizens of Ukraine of all nationalities. Today, for the first time in history, I want to name those who live in Ukraine, so that we finally understand that the Ukrainian people are Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, Karaites, Krymchaks, Russians, Belarusians, Moldovans, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Romanians, Poles, Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Roma, Georgians, Gagauz, Azerbaijanis, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Turkmens and Tajiks, Lithuanians, Estonians and Latvians, Turks, Koreans, Bashkirs, Lezgins, Avars, Mari, Germans, Slovaks, Czechs and Finns, Komi, Albanians, Karelians, Chechens, Ossetians, Abkhazians, Kabardians, Tabasarans, Dargins, Arabs, Laks. And we are all citizens of Ukraine.


The national team of Ukraine. One team. It is strong because it has 25 regions - 25 irreplaceable players. And invincible when it realizes that we are invincible, that everyone is needed. Without the helicopters of Zaporizhzhia and Antonov planes, Ukraine would not have conquered the sky. Without the ships of Mykolaiv Ukraine wouldn't have conquered the sea. Without Dnipro's Pivdenmash, Korolev from Zhytomyr and Kadeniuk from Bukovyna, Ukraine would never have conquered space. And without the Kharkiv T-34 it would not have won on the fields of World War II. Without Oleshky sands in the Kherson region, Buky canyon in the Cherkasy region, basalt pillars of the Rivne region, without the Carpathian mountains and gob piles, the Dnieper, Desna and the Southern Bug, Ukraine is not so charming. Without a cup of Lviv coffee, the morning is not so cheerful. Without a glass of Odesa wine, the evening is not so pleasant. And without a glass of homemade liqueur from any corner of Ukraine, Independence Day is not so festive.


The Rivne region gave us the first President of Ukraine. The Chernihiv region - the second. The Sumy region - the third. The Donetsk region gave us Leonid Bykov and Serhiy Bubka. The Luhansk region - Volodymyr Dahl. The Kirovohrad region presented Karpenko-Kary and Kropyvnytskyi, and with them - a theater. The Zhytomyr region - Lesya Ukrainka and poetry. The Poltava region - Mykola Lysenko and opera. The Ternopil region - Solomiya Krushelnytska and a divine voice. The Vinnytsia region - Vasyl Stus and indomitable spirit. Ukraine is not so strong without the Kamianets-Podilskyi Fortress, Volyn Lubart’s Castle and Akkerman in the Odesa region. Without the Lavra and St. Sophia, the Church of St. Nicholas and the Cathedral of St. George, the Khan's Mosque in Bakhchysarai and the Synagogue in Dnipro, Ukraine is not so multifaceted.

** Speech given in the events marking the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's Independence on 24 August 2021.

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