The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin by the force of Senate Resolution bestows its most honourable distinction, the Honorary Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa in the field of Social Sciences, upon the President of Ukraine, Victor Yushchenko, PhD – a politician, learned European, eminent statesman and social activist who has rendered considerable services to the development of his country and the sphere of international cooperation; active supporter of the process of Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation.


After several dozen years of communist regime and its anti-human degeneration,  constructing politics founded on human dignity, the natural law and moral values included in the Christian canon appears as a significant turning point in the history of Ukraine. President Viktor Yushchenko faced the challenge with admirable bravery. He is Ukraine’s modern leader who refers to the order of Nature to erect on its cornerstones state institutions that ensure peace and enable a human being to reach perfection. The ethos of values encloses the obligation of existence, therefore demeanour, improvement and daily fulfilment constitute a statesman’s ethics. Hence, he becomes the foundation of human world, denotes order, consolidates harmony in areas of life constituted by these values.


President Viktor Yushchenko through his political activity attests that the real sense of politics does not lay in obtaining and retaining the power but in moral standards. His refusal to respond to violence and grime in alike manner, his attitude of clean conscience and clean hands serve as a model in the realm of politics and are widely appreciated even by  his political opponents. He entirely complies with the basic rule of the Natural Law “to do good and resist evil”. Christian system of values, Christian ethics and Christian idea of man play vital role in Viktor Yushchenko’s political activities.


In the following part of the Laudation I would like to draw attention to the most crucial stages of President Yushchenko’s life. Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko was born on February 23, 1954 in Khoruzhivka, Sumy Oblast, into a family of teachers. He graduated from the Ternopil Finance and Economics Institute. In 1998, he wrote a thesis entitled "The Development of Supply and Demand of Money in Ukraine" and defended it in the Ukrainian Academy of Banking. He is a member of the National Academy of Economic Sciences and the Academy of Economic Cybernetics.


After graduation he began his career in banking. Appointed the Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine in 1993, he held the office till 1999. During his tenure, he supervised the monetary reform and the creation of Ukraine’s national currency, the hryvnia, in 1996. Assigned the Prime Minister in December 1999, he occupied the position until 2001. The following year he becames a deputy of Verkhovna Rada as a leader of parliamentary faction “Our Ukraine”. In Autumn 2004 Yushchenko run for presidency. After a fierce election campaign, the victory of the Orange Revolution and repetition of the second round of voting, he was inaugurated as the President of Ukraine on January 23, 2005. He spent his life serving his nation and, after the fall of communism, independent Ukraine.

Among many other achievements in the eventful life of President Yushchenko the phase, when he unites his scientific interests with financier’s activity, should be brought to general attention.


His academic interests are reflected in the publication of over 250 articles on banking, financial and monetary politics such as The History of the Ukrainian Hryvnia, Systems of Payments, The Management of Currency Exchange Market, The Development of Money Demand and Supply in Ukraine, The Monetary Control, 28 Weeks of Ukraine’s History, The Money: Development of Demand and Supply in Ukraine, to name but a few. President Yushchenko’s scholarly activity contributed significantly to the progress of economical knowledge and particularly to the subject matter of money circulation in the economy of independent Ukraine. It proved exceptionally useful in the process of shaping the systemic transformation strategy by providing the foundations for the market economy as well as in outlining institutional order of the young country. Inventive nature of President Yushchenko’s academic achievements influenced the shape of Ukraine’s banking system which was under construction during the 1990’s.


President Yushchenko was one of few academics who were able to confront their theoretical analyses and the practice of economy. Assuming the position of the Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine he combined his scholarly interests and actual practice at country level. As the governor of the central bank, he substantially influenced the establishment and maintenance of secure monetary system. Yushchenko campaigned for political independence of the National Bank of Ukraine, which is one of the manifestations of market economy in democratic countries.


One of his major achievements was the establishment of national currency, the hryvnia, in 1996, which constituted one of the pillars of Ukraine’s recently proclaimed independence. His engagement in organising monetary circulation and money demand resulted in the stabilization of national currency whereas the supervision over the banks and the banking system led to economical stability. Wise and far-sighted strategy of the then chairman of the central bank established steady foundations for economical and political development of Ukraine. Simultaneously, he acted as the representative of the Ukrainian government in The World Bank and The International Monetary Fund.


President Yushchenko’s accomplishments ware highly appreciated by professional bankers’ circle. In 1997 he received an award from The Global Finance as one of the six best-performing central bankers in the world.—

The next stage in Viktor Yushchenko’s public service for the welfare of the Ukrainian nation was the acceptance of Prime Minister’s office. The decision necessitated a change of direction in Ukraine’s domestic and international policy. So called Western Vector was activated in Ukraine’s external policy defining European aspirations of the independent country which lead to Viktor Yushchenko being labelled a “pro-western” politician. The new Prime Minister’s foreign policy gained regularity accompanied by framing the perspective of Ukraine joining the European Community. In practice, it resulted in defining essential legislative changes that, in future, would adapt the standards of European Community.


The transformations of the internal policy, enclosed in The Reforms for Prosperity Action Plan, were equally crucial. They generated economic growth and social stability. As a consequence, it involved active resistance against oligarch and bureaucratic system, and its corrupting mechanisms eroding the substance of the young state. Despite of general appraisal of Prime Minister’s performance, his cabinet was dismissed as a consequence of presidential authority crisis. At that time, Viktor Yushchenko ranks as the most popular politician in the country, occupying the first position in the social trust polls. While in office of Prime Minister, he enjoyed widespread support confirmed by over one million letters of gratitude and appreciation he received.


The turning point in his political career was the presidential election of 2004. The entire democratic world supported Viktor Yushchenko, dressed in a symbolic orange scarf, in his struggle for a new Ukraine, built on the foundation of truth and values. The dramatic tension of these days, steadfastness of thousands of, mainly young, people in the struggle for human rights, political leaders’ wisdom will be forever engraved in the history of mankind. It became the foundation of a new socio-political agenda for the independent Ukraine and inspiration for other nations immersed in hopelessness and apathy. The Orange Revolution, the undisputed leader of which was Viktor Yushchenko, being a sign of protest against the lies and the lack of values in political life, at the same time reflected the maturity of Ukrainian society. For the first time, since winning the independence, the Ukrainians felt and manifested their patriotic feelings, commitment to democratic values and independence of their own country on such a large scale.


The Orange Revolution, conducted peacefully, without bloodshed, revealed personality traits of its leader – Viktor Yushchenko, wisdom of his deeds, insight and purposefulness in the pursuit of truth. Eventually the revolution led to the victory of the democratic bloc, which became a source of great satisfaction in the entire civilized world. The victory confirmed the validity of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and strengthened the fundamentals of the statehood. It was symbolically sealed by the victory in the general election and the inauguration of Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko as president of Ukraine.


The political activity of the new President, as far as the key issue of Ukraine’s future international position is concerned, has become and will remain a subject matter of debates and scientific research. Nonetheless, I would like to pay attention to certain values and attitudes that provide a certificate of fidelity and truth characteristic of eminent statesmen.  President Victor Yushchenko enjoys considerable standing in Ukraine and abroad; his authority is testified by various distinguished politicians and intellectuals who emphasize most fundamental principles of his political life – retaining his own, independent viewpoint, faithfulness to his principles, wide and long- term perspective, resistance to narrow political games, autonomy from opinion polls’ results, evading cheap populism. President Yushchenko’s individuality exerted significant influence upon various social and political planes. It is practically impossible to present, in such a short speech, even a fraction of initiatives, accomplishments and successes of President’s social and political activity. Hence, I would like to focus on his engagement in the field of politics: the construction of multilevel connections between Ukraine and Europe as well as his involvement in the campaign for Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation.


Since 2005, after many years of stagnation and half-hearted actions, a new quality in the relations between Ukraine and the European Community has emerged. The European integration has become one of the strategic priorities of President Yushchenko’s policy. In of his interviews he emphasized that “we do not need to confirm that we belong in Europe - it is a historical fact. It is important for our country to know whether there is a chance for Ukraine to join the European Union.” During a conference in Davos he said that “Ukraine’s success depends on adopting the European values”. On many different occasions he accentuated the fact that Ukraine is an European country which shares common history and values with other members of the European community.


The conceptualization of President Yushchenko’s integration policy imposes qualitative changes in Ukraine’s system, particularly in the realm of social life, civil society development, respect for human rights and free market economy expansion. The above-mentioned transformations as well as other integration projects are stretched in time while any attempt to reduce them to short-term political manoeuvres is not tolerated. It needs to be pointed out that strategic partnership between Ukraine and the European Union is founded upon universal values and in the interests of both sides.


President Viktor Yushchenko makes a considerable contribution to the development of the concept of Great Europe, inherent part of which is the active cooperation with countries yet inspiring to become members of the European Union. Ukraine’s European self-identification has been reflected by introduction of such instruments as European Neighbourhood and European Partnership. The president deserves credit for the development and implementation of the policies aiming at long-term, strategic goals of the European integration. The subsequent phase of cooperation between Ukraine and the European Union will be framed by Association Agreement, which is yet another major progress towards European Membership. Undoubtedly, such history-making events rank among President Yushchenko’s greatest political achievements. Moreover, EU validated Ukraine territorial integrity and inviolability of borders, a historically remarkable fact, particularly in the perspective of the whole previous century during which Ukraine declared independence as many as six times, five of which came to nothing but failure.


Moreover, he deserves credit for the progress of Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation, a phenomenon considered to verge on miraculous by those who survived the ordeal of totalitarianisms, atrocities of manslaughters, pogroms and resettlements in the Polish eastern borderlands. For decades burdened with appalling massacres, mutual relations are presently undergoing the process of gradual invigoration, the opening of hearts and minds to the painful truth, which becomes a solid foundation of present and future neighbourliness. It provides the opportunity to initiate dialogue and relinquish retaliation which does not belong to the system of Christian values so universally cherished by the Ukrainians and Poles. The process of dialogue and reconciliation essentially involves fairness and testimony of truth: what, how and where the human being, the greatest of God’s creations was abused.


President Viktor Yushchenko defined his appearance in Huta Pieniacka - depopulated Polish village- as an obligation. In his impassioned speech he recognized the massacre of this place, symbolic of many others in the Volhynia region that were exterminated, as one of the most appalling and atrocious episodes in the history of human kind. The prayer at the graves of quiet inhabitants of Polish towns and villages, men and women, children and the elders, expressed sympathy for their anguish and injustice they suffered. The condemnation of this inexcusable crime stands as a living monument to truth.


 Dialogue and reconciliation still await further steps revealing the whole truth about the victims of the “depolonisation policy” that entailed military actions of OUN-UPA in Polish eastern borderlands in 1940s. Their blood and martyrdom cry out to be placed among the priorities of the Ukrainian identity construction process.

President’s Yushchenko devotion to the issue of Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation was expressed by his engagement in the reopening of The Young Eagles Cemetery in Lviv. In the inaugurating speech he emphasized that “people who loved and served their home land are buried here in the Lviv cemetery. Soldiers were killed in action and their graves sanctify this piece of land for the Poles.” “The ashes of the fallen became a part of the Lviv land and only here the Poles can commemorate them.” he added “It is only fair to provide future generations with such an opportunity. This is their right and, in my opinion, our Christian duty.” These words reflect genuine sympathy and goodwill to the Polish nation. The feelings are characteristic of the Christian system of values that determines social relations based on forgiveness and reconciliation.


It has been reflected in the contemporary call for Unity and Peace, the motto repeatedly stressed by Viktor Yushchenko in the context of Polish-Ukrainian relations. It provides the framework for the progress of partnership based on respect for each nation’s dignity as well as mutual esteem and trust. It echoes the words reiterated by various politicians of both countries "there is no free Poland without free Ukraine, and there is no free Ukraine without free Poland." The strategic alliance ranks among the most essential concerns for both countries.


President Viktor Yushchenko is one of the architects of the new phase of multilevel development of mutual relations. They are constructed upon the assumption that what we have in common is greater than what separates us. Joint staging of European Football Championship in 2012 is a manifestation of this new stage.  President displayed exceptional skill in bridging the gaps and reaching agreement which is of great benefit to both cooperating nations.


Let me express my deepest contentment with the fact that such an eminent statesman as President Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko is awarded with the Honorary Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa for his lifetime achievements and enters the community of John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin.



Prof. dr hab. inż. Sławomir Partycki



Autor: Alina Betlej
Ostatnia aktualizacja: 14.12.2009, godz. 13:11 - Alina Betlej