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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

What does Lviv mean to Ukraine, Europe, and to you personally?..

3 October, 2006 - 00:00
MOSES / Photo by Borys KORPUSENKO, The Day FOR UKRAINE, LVIV IS THE BRIDGE TO EUROPE, AND FOR EUROPE IT IS THE BRIDGE TO UKRAINE Photo by Borys KORPUSENKO, The Day

“Lviv has an inimitable atmosphere and friendly people. It is a city that keeps evolving; it does not sleep; it is a city to which you can invite guests from all over the world and know they will be impressed. Lviv has a modern dynamic urban lifestyle, while preserving its traditions and history. Lviv deserves more than it has. If you could enter Europe through one single city, that city would be Lviv.

“Consider the recent book forum. Its organizers did much to demonstrate that Ukrainian books are interesting, contemporary, meet the latest publishing requirements, and satisfy all tastes.

“My family’s life is connected with Lviv; it has become a part of it. My brother Andrii Kucherepa, the head of the famous rock group Vatra, lives in Lviv. He is continuing his and Ihor Bilozir’s project whose goal is to popularize Ukrainian songs. A number of buildings were built in Lviv under the personal supervision of my uncle Mykhailo Kucherepa, who at one time headed the municipal construction department. He is no longer alive, unfortunately. His wife is still a staff nurse at Lviv Airport. She was on duty during the Sknyliv tragedy and was the first to call for ambulances.

“Lviv has a special meaning for me. I was born in Lviv oblast and my mother still lives there. The unforgettable years of my studies at Lviv University, where I majored in journalism, determined my future. My romantic relationship during the university period not only changed my maiden name Kucherepa to Lazaruk (my husband Myroslav Lazaruk is a noted writer and journalist), but also paved the way for my family life and creativity. It was very difficult to get into the faculty of journalism, but those who made it did not shame their profession, and the faculty produced a number of spectacular creative personalities, among them professional journalists now based in Chernivtsi. You have to work hard to learn this profession; talent alone is not enough, as some young people mistakenly believe. Our teachers were top professionals. I remember get-togethers at a creative youth club, where I encountered interesting, extraordinary personalities, viewpoints, and ideas. By and large, Lviv is an intellectual city where you always want to accomplish more.”

Hanna ORLYK, professional model (Vinnytsia):

“Lviv is a bridge to Europe for Ukraine, and a bridge to Ukraine for Europe. Everything European being exported and propagated here originates in Lviv. This city boasts the largest cultural and social European scope, lifestyle, and mentality. This is the style and coloration of Europe adapted to Ukraine in Ukrainian Lviv. The heart of Ukraine, rejuvenated after the Soviet Union as an independent country, is not even in the capital but in Lviv. For me, Lviv spells memories and unforgettable impressions of strolling up and down its narrow, winding streets- and, of course, the coffee. Without it Lviv would not be Lviv.”

Dementii BILY, Chairman, Kherson oblast organization Ukrainian Electors Committee:

“For Europe, it is one of the oldest cities, an inalienable component of European culture, and a link between Ukraine and Europe. For Ukraine, it is primarily a bulwark of the Ukrainian spirit, a center of the Ukrainian mentality and philosophy. Lviv residents are ready and willing to do a great deal for the sake of Ukraine. I am inclined to describe this city as the Hope of Ukraine. For me personally this is the city of my army service. I had visited the city several times when I was a teenager, but then I was in the army and spent two years in Lviv. I like the streets of Lviv, avenues, churches, theaters, and, of course, the people. Lviv is a book-publishing center. As an ordinary intellectual, I don’t have great financial possibilities to travel to various cities and villages, much as I would love to, but I’m planning and looking forward to visiting Lviv to attend the next book fair.”

Rostyslav BALEMA, member of the National Writers Union of Ukraine (Khmelnytsky):

“You cannot the modern world without a civilized Europe, just as this kind of Europe is inconceivable without Ukraine, just as Ukraine is inconceivable without Lviv, and not only because we have all those declarations about the best integration. This is simply a historical reality. Lviv evolved by being constantly exposed to powerful influences from Western Europe. Consider the city’s amazing architecture. Isn’t this a European achievement? Think of how many giants of intellect were born in Lviv. Isn’t Ivan Franko a renowned, world-class genius? “But despite centuries of outside influences, Lviv has always been the most Ukrainian city. Ukraine has always been present here, despite the kings, tsars, and Communist Party general secretaries. Despite all the bans and persecutions, Lviv has remained an island of freedom. In today’s independent Ukraine we could refer to it as the capital city of the Ukrainian spirit. People who have visited Lviv at least once will confirm what a pleasant, almost triumphant, feeling you get when you walk down its ancient cobble- stoned streets, amid the architectural masterpieces, looking at passers by, all of them so very polite and friendly, and realizing that you are not in Prague, Vienna, or Cracow but in a genuine Ukrainian city. Years have passed since I finished my studies at Lviv’s Ivan Franko University’s faculty of journalism, but I will always feel proud of Lviv and having had the marvelous opportunity of getting acquainted with this great city.”

By Oryna LAZARUK, member of the Journalists Union
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