By Borys Filatov,
journalist, lawyer, businessman,
Deputy Chairman of Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration on domestic policy.
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
This is the text version of my speech at the rally [Ed: in Dnipropetrovsk after the resignation of former Governor Ihor Kolomoyskyi]. Video to come tomorrow.
Today of all days, I am not sure how I should address you. Yesterday I would have said with certainty: “Dear citizens of Dnipropetrovsk.” But today, I know that also with me are the hardworking Kryvyi Rih, the free Odesa, the glorious Zaporizhzhya, and the intelligent Kharkiv. Thousands of people have come to the Maidan Heroes Square in Dnipropetrovsk – not under orders, but following the call of their hearts. Through the icy rain and blustering wind.
So today I will simply call you: “Dear countrymen, compatriots, comrades in arms, and just good people.”
Standing here, on this stage, anyone else would be worried sick. But not me.
Because today, we are not ashamed to look every one of you in the eyes, knowing that not one of you can shout “Hanba!” [“Shame!”] back at us.
Let us remember, together, how it all began. Hundreds of people standing on this square are witnesses to the History that took place before our eyes. So no one can say that my words today are a lie or a PR stunt.
Let us recall how, in this very square, Euromaidan tents were being burned, Russian flags were being waved, and our flags trampled. The club and knife fights in the nearby streets. The attempts to storm the regional administration hall.
Let us remember how the very worst and basest things, stirred up by Russian propaganda, tried to let war into our home. We did not allow this.
I remember dozens of meetings with hotheads, with people who forgot that this is our country. Our land. Our Motherland, where our forefathers are buried and where our children should live. At every one of those meetings, I tried to get these basic truths across.
Why did we run for government posts, while we could have come to an agreement with the aggressor and quietly lived out our lives, spending our earned millions in the calm of Switzerland or safety of Israel? Why did we choose to become Putin’s personal enemies?
Because men, in their struggles, must follow the sacred principle that was set down back in the times of Ancient Rome: Pro aris et focis [For home and hearth]. Yes, this is our land. The place of our homes and sacred places. The place of our churches, synagogues and mosques.
I have no need to make long speeches about what we accomplished. Because we all know what it was.
We did not let the enemy into our home, like in the case of Luhansk and Donetsk.
We have not let them detonate bombs in our streets, like in the case of Odesa and Kharkiv.
We rooted out the underground gangs, and bought one-way tickets for every traitor and fifth-columnist. They can go live someplace they like. Or nowhere at all.
We armed battalions, saved the wounded, and freed prisoners. We sabotaged the separatist referendum across half of Donetsk oblast. We did not care about our own wealth, and spent millions of our own money on the struggle. While others laid low and waited to see who would win.
We shook up the foundations and broke through the stereotypes. We are mean, rough, and in-your-face. That earns us respect from our enemies and hatred from our friends.
Very often, we broke the law. Let God and Ukraine judge us for that. For we have already atoned for some of our sins before our country.
We are nothing but dust strewn by History on our people’s path towards justice and freedom.
We are nothing. Without you. Without each and every one of you. Without your daily service to the Motherland and your unlimited patience.
This is why today, for the first time in the 388 days of nightmare, I have tears in my eyes.
I want to thank you all. Volunteers. Soldiers and officers. Doctors and teachers. Our poor old people and our youth. Everyone, with no exception.
And I want to kneel before you, to honor all those injured, all those taken prisoner, and the memory of our fallen.
Where have we failed?
We have not overcome corruption. But God knows, we took no bribes, we did not steal, and we did not give lucrative jobs to our relatives.
We could not improve the welfare of our people. My heart is breaking when I meet people in the streets and cannot answer their question – how they are supposed to survive on a pension of one thousand hryvnia [USD 40].
We did not finish off the Regional–Communist abomination that had plunged our country into revolution and war, and is now dreaming of a rematch.
But we tried. We were simply not allowed to.
As God is my witness, I am not lying.
Today the time has come for us to leave.
But the great Churchill, who had first-hand knowledge of captivity, disgrace, and ostracism, once said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
And courage is the one thing we do not lack.
So, today, I would like to finish my speech by quoting Yuri Visbor, a Jewish poet with a Russian soul.
The day that we come back,
Without the pain of separation in our heart,
We’ll smile at you and say –
It’s over now.
Borys Filatov’s speech at the Dnipropetrovsk For Ukraine rally (03.28.15) [Russian audio]:
Source: Borys Filatov FB