Yushchenko's Inaugural Address
Inaugural address of the President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko to the Ukrainian
people on Independence Square
My Dear Ukrainian people!
I am standing before you, after having taken the solemn oath of office provided by the Constitution in the Verkhovna Rada. My oath is unchanged. But Ukraine is changed, and so are we.
We have lifted the burden of the past from our shoulders. Nobody can tell us anymore how to live and whom to elect.
I have become the President of Ukraine by the free will of the Ukrainian people. Today I want to speak to you face to face. Today I have the honor of speaking to free people who hold in their hands the destiny of their nation.
In your presence I would like to extend my oath of allegiance. I swear we will change our life.
My victory is the victory of all Ukrainians, and each citizen individually.
For this I thank God who gave us Faith, Hope and Love. We won a victory with these gifts. I am praying that we will always treasure them in our hearts.
I thank the Ukrainian people for the great trust they have placed in me.
I thank everybody who responded to my words: "I believe in Ukraine. I know my duty. We will win together." You have paved the way to the future for your country.
I thank all citizens of Ukraine regardless of whom they voted for. My victory is the victory of all of us. Everybody has the right to seek the proper path for his country. Everybody has the right to choose the political colors appealing to him or her. Still our common choice, the colors of the National Flag of Ukraine, unites us all.
I thank my team who worked for victory. You, my dearest brothers, were unyielding in the journey that we undertook together. I believe you will be tireless in the work that awaits us.
I thank my family, wife, children and grandchildren. You have been with me through my most difficult days. And you are celebrating with me today. I believe you will always be my hope and support.
I bow humbly in gratitude before my father for the lessons he taught me -- Andriy Andriyovych Yushchenko, teacher from a small village in Sumy oblast and prisoner of Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Dacchau. My father's truth has guided me throughout my life and has brought me to the high honor of becoming the head of my country. I thank my mother, Varvara Tymofiyivna, for her love and prayers that safeguard me. I beg her forgiveness for the pain her mother's heart has had to endure, and especially these last four months.
Dear friends! I am proud to stand beside you here!
Two months ago millions of people came to this Maidan, to the squares and streets all over Ukraine. Our brothers and sisters, parents and children, friends and neighbors, were standing day and night in the snow and freezing cold. Ukraine was devouring every word sounded here. The heart of Ukraine was beating here. Free peoples of the world, and our compatriots dispersed in distant lands, were standing shoulder to shoulder with us. On Independence Square Ukrainians have risen as a modern Ukrainian nation.
Stubborn resistance has stirred up our souls. All of us feel we are citizens of Ukraine. Our decency, generosity and kindness have been awakened. Armed with faith and will the people won a glorious victory. This is a victory of freedom over tyranny, law over lawlessness, and the future over the past.
Each Ukrainian citizen has become a winner. We succeeded in holding a fair election on 26 December. We have freely chosen the path by which we are prepared to go forward.
Our choice is determined by our entire history.
We have chosen prosperity, since poverty must not plague our land which was the first soil ploughed up in the history of mankind.
We have chosen justice, since lawlessness must not become the norm in the state where a thousand years ago the "Ruska Pravda" code of laws was established.
We have chosen freedom, since tyranny must not rule over the successors of the Cossack Republic, where as long as three hundred years ago the First Constitution in Europe was written.
We have chosen independence, since we are the descendants of those generations who dreamed of a Ukrainian state for centuries, and courageously fought for their freedom.
A Ukrainian state has been established. Our choice has proved it once again. Our victory is a great day of celebration for our nation. On this day let us commemorate the heroes who died for victory, the martyrs of Nazi and Soviet camps, the victims of the Holodomor (genocide famine of 1932-33), deportation and Holocaust.
They look down on us today from heaven, and they are proud of us!
We have made our choice as we remember who we are, whose children and grandchildren we are. We should not look for the future's answers in the past. However, we will always honor our origins. Only in this way can we remain true to ourselves. Only in this way will we always be victorious!
Our choice has raised great hopes. They are justified. They are absolutely realistic.
We have everything we need for success. We have an abundant land. The talents of our compatriots amaze the whole world. We will achieve everything with our will and labour!
I am the President of all Ukraine. I am responsible for making the Donbas mines and Trans-Dnepr factories work, the ports of the Black Sea and Galicia trade routes function. I will do my best to ensure that farmers of all regions will have abundant harvests. Ukraine's wealth is the wealth of its regions. I swear to preserve and increase it!
We, the Ukrainian citizens, have become a single Ukrainian nation. No one can divide us, not by the languages we speak, the religions which we choose to practice, or our political views. We have a single Ukrainian fate. We have a single national pride. We are proud of being Ukrainians!
We have already taken an irrevocable step towards democracy. Only democracy guards the most valuable things for every person -- family and children, peace and order, work and well-being. Only in a democratic state are the highest values those of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity. Only in a democratic Ukraine can the bright palette of languages, cultures and views become the country's wealth.
I pledge that every child will be able to learn the language of his parents. Everyone will be able to pray in his own church.
Everyone will be guaranteed the right of freedom of expression. We will listen to one another because there will be freedom of speech and an independent press. Everyone will be equal before the law. Independent courts will defend the rights of each person. I regard Ukraine as a state ruled by law.
We will establish a democratic government -- honest, professional and patriotic.
The wall which separates the authorities from the people will be destroyed. A renewed government will know its duty and will work for the sake of its people and country. It will be equally honorable to be in power and in the opposition, if you serve your country. We will have a moral government able to unite society.
Only through unity and democracy will we perform our national tasks. You have told me of your desires in thousands of meetings. I will fulfill your will.
You want to have a job and decent wages, you feel bitter about leaving your homes in search of jobs abroad.
We will create jobs. Everyone willing to work will get a job and a decent salary. Nothing can limit your initiative and your desire to make your families prosperous. We will support everyone who provides others with work. Honest work will be respected.
We will become a prosperous nation.
You strive for justice.
I will do everything possible so that nobody is deprived. Everyone will enjoy the fruits of economic growth. We will move forward, yet we won't leave behind the sick and the old. The government will be accountable to the people for each kopeck from the budget. Pensions and benefits will steadily increase. Health and care for mother and child will be our top priorities. We will be a consolidated nation.
You want the election to be over. You want to live and work honestly and earn your money legally.
We will eliminate corruption and bring the economy out of the shadows. Taxes will be reduced, but everybody will pay them. Business is to be separated from power. Only those people who declare their incomes will assume state offices.
We will be an honest nation.
You want to be the masters in your own regions. You do not want central authorities deciding your fate. We will restore rights to local communities. The communities will maintain order in the streets, villages or cities on their own. You will elect your own leaders. You will raise money yourselves and spend it as you wish. We will be a nation of self-governed citizens.
You demand the protection of your children against corruption, and want to restore morality. We will defend our cultural wealth. Together with you I will nurture the garden of our Ukrainian culture, and care for its trees, both ancient and young. Our roots will keep us from being blown away like tumbleweeds on the winds of history. Our culture will make the world recognize our uniqueness. We will be a nation of high culture!
We will be a modern nation in a dynamic world, we will stand as equal among equals. Ukraine's future will be -- the best in education, science and high technologies. I will do everything possible to make our nation use its full intellectual potential. We will be the first and the best!
Ukrainians will take a decent place in the international community. Ukraine will be neither a buffer nor a contest area. We are ready to respect the interests of other states. Nevertheless, for me as well as for you, national interests come above all others!
We welcome our eastern and western neighbors. I will do my best to promote stable cooperation with all countries.
Ukraine will be a reliable partner in the fight against old and new threats: tyranny, war, poverty, natural disasters and terrorism. The common search for ways to security and prosperity is Ukraine's responsibility. We are ready for it.
Our path to the future is the path followed by a United Europe. We are people of the same civilization sharing the same values. History, economic prospects and the interests of people give a clear answer to where we should look for our fate. Our place is in the European Union. My goal is Ukraine in a United Europe.
Ukraine has a historical chance to discover its potential in Europe. Our national strategy is to move towards our goal boldly, directly and persistently. European standards are to become the norm of our social life, economy and politics. Every step toward Europe means new opportunities for millions of Ukrainians.
Not long ago many people thought joining the European Union a long-term prospect. Yet free European nations took accelerated steps to freedom on many occasions. The symbols of speedy changes are the ruins of the Berlin wall, the Warsaw round table and our Maidan in Kyiv. Ukraine opens a European history of the third millennium. We are not Europe's suburbs anymore. We are the center of Europe.
Dear friends! We set before us ambitious tasks. I am fully convinced, in the very fiber of my being, that soon they will be turned into glorious deeds. I will spare no effort to make all Ukrainians, without exception, believe in themselves and their country. We have already proved we can both dream and work. We are ready to sacrifice in order to achieve success!
We begin a new page in Ukrainian history. It will be wonderful chapter. It will tell about our unity, courage and our determination to support each other.
Here we will multiply our strength and share our joy. This Square is the symbol of a free nation that believes in its power and creates its future on its own. And the national blue and yellow flag will always fly over us. The National Anthem will sound with millions of voices. Everything that we have envisioned will become reality.
Believe in Ukraine, love Ukraine, serve Ukraine!
Glory to God! Glory to Ukraine! Glory to you!
Live in peace!