My fellow citizens,

A festive season has come. The fifteenth year of Ukraine’s independence is coming to an end. I want each of us to realizenowthat we are a part of Ukraine and that we are responsible for our country.

What memories shall we have?

I remember events to which society, individuals and personalities have made a contribution.

In 2006, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine declared the 1932-1933 Holodomor an act of genocide. This historic vote is the most significant event this year. We paid tribute to the past to go forward.

We are learning to appreciate our future. 400,000 babies wereborn this year. This is a wonderful number: there is God in it and there is life in it. We are no longer as indifferent as we used to be. A fundraising campaign to build a Children’s Hospital of the Future has been the biggest event over the years of independence and has united the country.

Public opinion surveys reveal that patriotism grew by 20% among Ukrainians in 2006, particularly among the young living in the country’s south and east.

We are proud to see our football team among the eight best teams of the world. We admire our peacekeepers, who have saved hundreds of thousands of lives. We felt united when we marked the 230-year anniversary of Dnipropetrovsk and the 750th anniversary of the founding of Lviv, and when we inauguratedmemorialsto honor the heroes of Kruty and the massacred Ukrainians in the Polish village of Pavlokoma.

There are signs of international interest in Ukraine, manifested in our accession into the UN Human Rights Council and in the liberalization of EU visa rules for Ukrainian citizens.

There is freedom and economic growth, one of the fastest in Europe. The people’s incomesgrew by 20% this year.

Achievements of the state begin from who we are and what we do.

We must eventually realize that Ukraine is a country with one language, culture, history and national character. In addition, Ukraine is a country where tolerance should be cherished. I appreciate the wisdom of our religious leaders who urge reconciliation.

Ukraine boasts a powerful resource of unity. This is the most important conclusion of the year.

We managed to adhere to our democratic course and held the first democratic election. We formulated a political plan of the country’s development for the first time, the National Unity Pact. However, our society saw politicians neglect their obligations.

I would like to draw your attention to three simple priorities:

1. Ukrainian politicians must keep their promises and fulfill their obligations;

2. There must be no infighting in government;

3. Ukraine needs a breath of fresh air. We need new impulses in the economy and should formulate a national humanitarian strategy.

We welcome the new year. I sincerely wish the people of Ukraine peace, unity and good in 2007. I ask God to protect our country. I would like to send my best wishes to each citizen and each generation. I wish prosperity, warmth and comfort to the old. I wish success, luck and inspiration to those who are in chargeof the country today. I wish persistence and endurance to the young. I wish all of us health, happiness and love. I wish us good holidays, a Merry Christmas and tasty dishes on our tables.

I wish you, my dear Ukrainians, Happy New Year! "President's press office" informed. 


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