500,000 UKRAINIANS DEMAND: FREE SLOBODAN MILOSHEVICH! (what about you?)

Borba100 at aol.com Borba100 at aol.com
Fri May 18 17:22:43 MDT 2001


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500,000 UKRAINIANS DEMAND: FREE SLOBODAN MILOSHEVICH!
AND THEY'RE STILL SIGNING....
by Jared Israel [19 May 2001]

In Ukraine, the powerful Peasant Party has collected 500,000 signatures on a
very strong statement demanding that former Yugoslav President Miloshevich be
freed from jail immediately. They have sent the petition and a cover letter
to Yugoslav President Kostunica and others.

Meanwhile, ninety-two out of the one hundred and thirty members of the
Russian Parliament's Upper House have signed an equally strong statement
demanding the Russian government take action in the case.

RUSSIANS DEMAND ACTION

The Russian statement was circulated among members of the Federal Council,
upper house of the Russian Parliament. While the Council isn't the main
legislative body it does include all provincial Governors as well as Mayors
of the biggest cities. Individually these people have immense political and
economic strength. Included are (for instance) the Mayors of St. Petersburg
and Moscow.

The signers, including members of Pres. Putin's UNITY Party, called on Putin
and the Russian Government to take immediate action to secure the release of
Mr. Miloshevich.

Here is a translation of their statement, gotten by phone hookup:

"We cannot understand how it is possible that those who used armed force to
bomb the cities and villages of Yugoslavia, trampling all human values
without any justification in International Law, are now trying to destroy one
of the greatest Yugoslav and world politicians, the former President of the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a true patriot of his country.

"The attack on Miloshevich is an attempt to avoid the punishment for the
crimes they committed directly and for encouraging genocide against the
Serbian population in Kosovo.

"We protest the policy of the United States and NATO countries in the Balkans
and demand that the prosecution of Slobodan Miloshevich cease. We declare out
support and solidarity for Slobodan Miloshevich in this most difficult
struggle.

"We appeal to the President and government of the Russian Federation: Take
action to defend the former President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
a country which has always been Russia's most reliable friend!"

The Council members have also signed the petition being circulated by the
newly formed Russian Committee to Defend Slobodan Miloshevich. We will have
the Russian Committee's petition translated into English and other languages
as soon as possible.

HALF MILLION SIGN UKRAINE PETITION

On May 5th the powerful Peasant Party, the 3rd or 4th biggest in Parliament,
launched a major campaign called, "FREEDOM FOR SLOBODAN Miloshevich!". They
set up 449 action committees to collect signatures demanding Miloshevich be
released from jail. As of 16 May they have collected about one half MILLION
signatures.

Here's what people signed [capital letters as per Ukrainian original]:

"To President Kostunica:

"Stating the will of hundreds of thousands of citizens of Ukraine, we address
to you the demand that you release from the walls of his jail THE GREAT
CITIZEN OF YUGOSLAVIA, THAT IS, OF THAT COUNTRY WHICH BY AN ACCIDENT OF
HISTORY YOU LEAD. In demanding you take this action we count on your
honorable relationship with the heroic past of your very much suffering but
never broken people and with its best sons such as the steadfast leader of
the Socialist Party, Slobodan Miloshevich."

The leader of the Peasant Party sent this statement along with a letter to
Yugoslav President Kostunica. We don't yet have the exact wording of the
letter but in general it attacks the conditions under which President
Miloshevich was arrested and explains in detail what the Peasant Party has
done in Ukraine to organize for Slobodan Miloshevich's release.

According to Ukrainian activists, the petition was signed by a number of
leaders of leftist parties, by deputies who are Heroes of the Soviet Union,
by directors of social organizations, leaders of NGOs, as well as prominent
artists, writers, musicians, scientists, by students, by directors of various
companies and so on.

The Ukrainian activists are sending a similar letter to the United Nations,
to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, to the OSCE, and to
the leaderships of Russia, Belarus and Greece and the Parliamentary
opposition in all the NATO countries.

***

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