In Leipzig, the mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko delivered a keynote speech on the topic of Democracy to mark the anniversary of East Germany’s peaceful revolution of 1989. He emphasized that Ukraine and the former German Democratic Republic have the same historic experience because they both have lived under Soviet totalitarian rule for many years. Both countries saw political upheaval and won their right to freedom and democratic values.
“We, Ukrainians have never abandon seeking for our own independent democratic and free country. Millions of my compatriots – victims of political repressions, the Holodomors and wars have sacrificed their lives for reaching this dream. Ukrainian patriots were shot to death, died in prisons and starved… My people paid a heavy price for their right to live in an independent country and build a democracy in it,” said Klitschko. “As you may know, I am a former boxer. Sports has been a considerable part of my life. I can say that boxing and democracy share one common thing. There is no victory without a battle, fight, wounds and dismay. To win, one should stay persistent, be willing to work hard, never give up and believe in oneself and one’s country! We all understand that figuratively speaking, the foundation of democracy has to be looked after and each its cornerstone has to be attended to daily,” he announced.
The mayor of Kyiv noted that due to the Revolution of Dignity, the war with authoritarian Russia and its occupation of the large portion of Ukraine’s territory Ukrainians learnt that their freedom and European choice must be uncompromisingly and consistently defended.
“I want to stress that it is not only about the military aggression and occupation of the large portion of Ukraine’s territory. The reasons for it also matter. Two opposing ideologies, democratic and authoritarian went against each other. Ukraine is being knocked down and conquered, pushed back into the empire Russia attempts to restore. But the Revolution of Dignity revealed the developmental choice of our nation which is the European model based upon democratic values. 100 Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred have sacrificed their lives for it as well as our patriots in the east,” revealed Klitschko.
He noted that on a path to democracy Ukraine’s entire nation and each citizen is confronted with many challenges. And it is important to remember that the stability of the whole of Europe depends on the stability in Ukraine. “The European community is interested in seeing Ukraine on track toward a mature democracy,” said Vitali Klitschko.
The mayor of Kyiv emphasised that everyone in Ukraine is aware that structural reforms are essential for building a strong European country. Accordingly, it places additional responsibility on each citizen because Ukraine’s future depends on the efforts of each and every Ukrainian. He also pointed out the importance of self-governance and local democracy. “I am certain that democracy is impossible to achieve without strengthening and broader empowerment of local governments. Political debates, free competition of ideas and views are essential components for democracy,” said Klitschko.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the sister city partnership between Kyiv and Leipzig. On October 9 Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko together with the mayor of Leipzig Burkhard Jung who also chairs the Association of German Cities kicked off the Days of Kyiv in Leipzig. While in Leipzig Klitschko also had meetings with the Minister President of Saxony Michael Kretschmer, the Special Envoy of the German Government for the Decentralization Reform, ex-Minister President of Saxony Georg Milbradt, businessmen and cultural agents as well as attended the annual Leipzig Festival of Lights that commemorates the 1989 Peaceful Revolution in East Germany.