Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Presidential Absenteeism. Following Dmitry Medvedev, foreign Presidents keep refusing to attend Ukrainian Holodomor anniversary

The International Forum “My Nation Will Live Forever” dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the 1932 - 1933 Great Famine (Holodomor) in Ukraine will take place in Kyiv on 22 November. It will be a huge event, with thousands of estimated guests from all over the world. As was previously announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, the Presidents of seven countries, namely Macedonia, Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, confirmed their participation in the Forum. The participation of another 5 foreign delegations headed by Presidents was being discussed. The President’s press secretary Iryna Vannykova also said “the representatives of around 40 countries who were personally invited by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, will come to Ukraine”.

But the situation has been changing. More and more of high guests are refusing to visit Kyiv this week. Some Presidents, who previously accepted the invitation, have recently decided not to go.

The first President who publicly announced that he would not be present at the anniversary, was the President of Russian Federation Dmitriy Medvedev. He even wrote to President Yushchenko a rather critical letter to explain his point of view on a subject. (Some quotations and link to the English translation of the letter you may find here). The Presidents of Azerbaijan, Macedonia and Montenegro had cancelled their visits also.

Director of the Foreign Ministry's department for cultural cooperation Mykhailo Skurativskyi informed journalists today that the Presidents of three countries – Poland, Georgia, and Latvia – will surely attend International Forum. The confirmation from the President of Lithuania is expected soon. “A total of 25 official delegations had confirmed their participation in the forum”, Mr. Skurativskyi told. “The delegations will be mostly led by parliament speakers, vice speakers, and ministers”.

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