By Arseniy Yatsenyuk
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
This is a transcript of Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s resignation speech.
Former partners in the coalition “European Choice.” This is the choice for which millions of Ukrainians stood, this is the choice that people on Maidan made, and this is the same choice that Ukraine ought to make because that’s what history decided.
And the parliamentarians from the opposition.
This is a difficult address. And a difficult moment, not personally. But a difficult moment for the country altogether.
I will try to avoid [using] any [type of] diplomatic vocabulary, or moreover, a politico-technological one.
And to tell the truth, just as I did throughout the past five months, together with this government.
This is not the best government in the country’s history. God grant it, it probably will be, in the future, an exemplary government if Ukraine is preserved. And if we now successfully get through this period of terrible trials.
But at least this government did that which it could. That, which we knew how. That, for which our parents taught us, for how one feels about it, and what Ukrainians wanted.
Am I personally satisfied with the work? Obviously not. I would have liked accomplish more, would have liked to accomplish better, would have liked to accomplish faster. But if, answering the question, “Did we do everything we could, that was in our power [to do]?,” I will give an affirmative response. Yes, we did.
What happened today in the Parliamentary Hall [Ed. Note: the announcement of the coalition’s collapse], will have very difficult if not dramatic consequences for the country. [Ed. Note: applause to acknowledge his efforts]
May God grant that I be mistaken. And we will applaud those who will say, “We made the right decision, we were right, the course which we chose was the only right course [to take].”
Yes, most of the people want early parliamentary elections. And we want early parliamentary elections. It’s the truth. But there is one very important issue. What is the difference between a national leader and a politician? The difference is that a national leader takes responsibility on himself. Even if he doesn’t like it. [Ed. Note: applause, people stood up from their seats]
You ought, dear colleagues, to understand me correctly. Our government currently has no answer to the question, “With what should we pay salaries?” With what should I fuel the APCs tomorrow morning? How can I pay the people who died, and their families? From where? With what money? How should we finance the Army and the Armed Forces? How do we not demoralize the spirit…of those tens of thousands of people who are not sitting in this hall, but who sit in trenches under bullets?! Maybe we could think about them?!
The destroyed coalition has its result today. The laws that would have supplemented the revenue in the budget were failed. And it’s understandable. For who wants to go to elections and at the same time vote for unpopular laws? [Ed. Note: applause]
The law on the budget, which is not needed for the IMF dear friends, this is needed for all of us. There’s nine billion for the army and seven billion for the renewal of infrastructure, in Donetsk, Luhansk. I was in Sloviansk, I saw those people. It is understandable that they don’t really like the central government in Kyiv. But I can definitely tell you that they hate the DNR, LNR [Donetsk– and Luhansk People’s Republics] and other vermin. [Ed. Note: applause] But these people need to be helped. We need to help them. These are our Ukrainians. People make mistakes, it happens. There are no saints, not one, in this hall. And on earth there are none.
And therefore if we will be more genuine, frank and sincere, one to another, it will be a different country. But, to exchange a narrow political interest for the fate of the state is unacceptable. This is a moral and political crime. [Ed. Note: Applause]
The scariest [thing] for me personally, not as a Prime Minister, our country has seen tens of Prime Ministers, before me and after me, God grant that there will be many of them. But for me as a human being. This is that today, after the fact, when the collation has in fact disintegrated, when [we] voted down the law on the Gas Transportation System [GTS]. Everyone understands this, dear friends. Firstly, we wanted to accept a decision, to allow exclusively genuine European and American companies and only on exclusive authorization of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, to the management of the gas transportation system of the state and that only at 49 percent. The pipe will remain state property. The state owns the controlling interest. And even this decision was voted down.
What for me is the most painful? The round of applause that the Russian State Duma is having now. That’s who just won. That’s who is celebrating today. And that’s who is going to the bank today.
You can agree, you can disagree. Dear friends, and I don’t pretend to know the absolute truth, far from it. I don’t have that right. But history will not forgive us this.
God grant that we get through this period. Despite everything, I believe in it. Like every human being, I sincerely believe that our country will survive these trials.
First of all, the people. This revolution was not made by us. The revolution was made by the millions [of people]. It was not us who stood [on Maidan] for the European Choice. The European Choice was stood up for by the Heaven’s Hundred [Sotnya] and hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who came out [on Maidan]. [Ed. Note: applause]
And nobody is allowed to surrender this achievement.
History teaches us that we have almost-almost come to something, and there is this little piece missing. That’s what happened to the Ukrainian People’s Republic. That’s not the way it should not be. We should, in the end, demonstrate to the whole world that we don’t only last for five or six months, but that we last for decades. That we have conscience, responsibility, that our goals are righteous and just. And that we are honest towards each other.
I’d like to tell you once again that the [parliamentary] elections are nothing. How many of these elections have we survived? But the country, but the Ukrainians, who will now lose their faith… And any changes and reforms in the country are possible only when people believe. And now, after what will happen, it’s hard for me to say how we would be able to instill faith and confidence in [our] people, confidence that we are doing the right thing.
Thus, the fact that today the coalition fell apart, the fact that today, the laws were not voted for and we don’t have the funds to pay to the soldiers, policemen, doctors and teachers, we cannot pay for rifles, cannot buy fuel for our APCs. The fact that today, the decision was not accepted that could allow us to fill our gas storage facilities, to give us the possibility to live through the winter, to finally free ourselves from Russian gas dependence. This I did not allow through.
In this situation, what options does a Government have? Under a parliamentary-presidential republic, there is a first option. One coalition has collapsed–the Prime Minister begins the procedure to form a new coalition. What does this mean? It means that the Prime Minister ought to form this coalition with the Communists and the Party of Regions. I will not do this under any circumstances! [Ed. Note: loud applause].
There is a second option. In a case where there is no new coalition, and the current coalition in a parliamentary-presidential republic has fallen apart, the Government and the Prime Minister are obligated to resign. I announce my resignation due to the collapse of the coalition and due to the blocking of the Government’s legislative initiatives!
Slava Ukraini. [Glory to Ukraine].
Source: Arseniy Yatsenyuk FB