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Ukraine celebrates the 22nd anniversary of its independence. On this day, people usually sum up what has been done and reached, what can be praised and what should be forgotten. It is safe to say that these 22 years had everything, including victories and defeats, joys and failures.
Ukraine is a country of Shevchenko, Franko and Khmelnytsky. It is the country, where there is a centre of Europe, where poets, not presidents are represented on currency, where there is the longest avenue in Europe and where there is the deepest metro station. It is the country, where people honour their traditions and cherish the names of unforgotten ancestors. This is Ukraine. It is possible to love it and impossible to hate.
Following the tradition, the Independence Day is celebrated all over the country. The celebrations will be accompanied by bright parades, spectacular exhibitions, colourful fairs, rich concert program and fireworks.
On the occasion of the Independence Day, ForUm decided not to go into the philosophical reflections on past and future of Ukraine and just to post congratulations of famous people.
Ivan Drach, poet, writer:
- I wish Ukraine to find itself, to overcome difficulties, to turn problems into fortune.
On this day, together with Borys Oliynyk and the director of one of the TV channels, we plan to open a memorial tablet in the church, where Lesya Ukrainka and Klyment Kvytka got married. Only a few know that there is such church in Kyiv. It is also planned to install later the busts of Lesya Ukrainka and Klyment Kvytka. This is how I will celebrate the holiday.
Ivan Havryliuk, honored artist of Ukraine:
- Independence Day must be in hearts, not in official acknowledgement. The man must be free and independent. Someone said once, and I repeat "I hate slaves more than slaveholders." Thus, I wish Ukrainians never to become slaves and to get rid of slave mentality. It is the worst thing that can ever happen in life.
I have a land near Lviv, where I was born. This is my republic, my state and my land. Here I will celebrate my freedom and the Independence Day.
Sony Kapoor, European economist:
- Ukraine is a country with a huge potential. It used to be an important part of USSR, and now is an important part of Europe. Even if regular Europeans do not know Ukraine well, here in Brussels we understand its great importance for Europe in general and the European Union in particular. Do not doubt that the European Union needs the Association and free trade as much as Ukraine. Though it is just the beginning of the way, we can follow it together. Joint efforts solve all problems.
I wish Ukrainians to believe in themselves. Any crisis ends one day, but country stays and becomes stronger. You have everything necessary to come off victorious, from natural reserve to bright intellects.
I will be working these day, but as son as an opportunity comes we will raise the glass to Ukraine and its future.
Ruslan Pavlenko, independent analyst:
- First of all, I wish Ukrainians understanding. For example understanding of the fact that goods things do not come easily, they must be fought for. It is a shame that since 1991 we have stopped fighting and started simply waiting.
I will spend the holidays in the country. It is a good occasions to plunge in Ukraine, to feel its vastitude and essence - the Carpathians, Crimea, Kyiv, Kamenetsk-Podolski. This is all our big varied country.
Vitali Kulik, director of the Center for problems of civil society studies:
- I wish Ukrainian people patience and consolidation. We need patience to overcome the difficulties we are facing now, and consolidation to support each other in these hard times.
Unfortunately, with these political distractions we forget that we have only one country and must build it together, putting aside the personal gain. We want to be in Europe, we want to be Europe, but Europe means civic culture, including taking care of own country and not waiting for pennies from heaven.
I will spend the holidays with my family. I do not always plan in advance, and every time we have fun. I wish everyone good health, peach and harmony.
Bohdan Beniuk, MP ("Freedom" faction), honored artist of Ukraine:
- I want to congratulate all patriots of Ukrainians state and citizens of Ukraine with the Independence Day and to wish the 22nd anniversary to become the end of all trials and the beginning of common sense. I want our authorities to stop thinking only about themselves and their families, but also about all citizens of Ukraine, who need attention, finances and jobs. When everything is done, our country will be free of all troubles.
As usual, I am working on Independence Day. I will participate in the festival, to meet people to make them feel the importance of this day.
Voloymyr Oliynyk, MP of Ukraine (Party of Regions):
- I would cite the words of Shevchenko: "fight and you shall win". Every one of us should do something for the state and the state will do the same for us. Moreover, we must fight for the independence. Shevchenk also wrote "In own house there are own truth, strength and will. "All of us must be active participants of the development of country's independence and support Ukraine when someone tries to press on it.
I wish everyone happiness, health and, of course, blessing of God, our invisible father. On this say I always wear an embroidered shirt an go around congratulating people. As a rule, we prepare a festive dinner at home, but being a state official, I also participate in official ceremonies.
Pavlo Movchan, Ukrainian social activist, journalist, poet, honored artist of Ukraine, MP, leader of the Prosvita language society:
- On this day, I would like to tell everyone that the independence needs to be constantly fought for. I would like everyone to realize that formal independence and actual independence differ. Therefore, we must do everything to fill this date with real content. This means that all the historical aspirations and programs, which existed before us, should be implemented.
As for the celebration of Independence Day, I traditionally spend this day with my family, because all its members are involved in this celebration.
Volodymyr Fesenko, CEO of the Center for applied political research "Penta":
- I would like to wish our country more meaningful, consistent and effective development and our citizens to make decisions using mind but not heart or instincts. Do not exchange your vote for 50 or 100 hryvnia, because then you will have to pay more.
For those who want to leave the country, I want to say that maybe, you will have to come back. Sometimes it is necessary to go through a difficult situation. Moving makes sense when you understand where and why you go and how you will realize yourself. It is better to do it at home. I hope that over time there will normal opportunities for this in Ukraine.
I will not celebrate the Independence Day, because I do not celebrate political holidays.
Oleksandr Bryhynets, MP, "Motherland" faction:
- On the Day of Independence, we all think about Ukraine, its fate, its past and future more than usual. On this day, we concentrate on different wishes. And I hope very much that they will turn into a positive energy impact, which will force Ukraine out of the state in which it is located. Today, our country needs a union of thoughts and actions. We have a big country that can be a great nation, having united emotionally, energetically and efficiently. And I wish this to Ukraine.
Every year, I choose for myself a new and interesting place to celebrate this day. This year I'll be in Cherkasy region. I used to participate in the vyshyvanka parade in Rivne and in the large-scale action in Donetsk in 2006. For me, the Independence Day is associated with the whole country but not with a specific place.
Volodymyr Ohryzko, former foreign minister of Ukraine:
- On this day, I wish Ukraine to become a real European state and each new generation to make it more beautiful and more successful. I also wish everyone love, prosperity and success. It's a great holiday for me and my family. We always take a direct part in various events dedicated to this day. But I think the mood is more important thing than the place of celebration. So we have always good mood on the Independence Day.