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Our Ukraine protests against closing bookshops in Kyiv - statement

Number of bookshops in Kyiv reduced from 140 to 36 during the last years

The OU People’s Union is anxious about closing bookshops in Kyiv. This is said in the OU statement, posted at the Bloc’s web site. The statement reads as follows:

The OU People’s Union expresses its protest against actions of Kyiv city authorities aimed at closing bookshops and publishing houses in the city.

Real threat of closing is hanging over “Znannia” bookshop – one of the oldest bookshops on Khreshchatyk street. The shop which was at this place for 75 years is obliged to leave the building by Nov 10 for the city authorities refused to prolong the rent.

In general, lately the following items were closed or threatened: publishing houses “Mystetstvo”, “Muzychna Ukraina”, “Alaton”, “Dnipro”, “Oberehy”, “Urozhai”, “Ukrainska Entsyklopedia”; periodicals “Kyivska Rus”, “Raiduha”; children’s journal “Sonechko”; bookshops “Siayvo”, “Znania”, “Abzats”. Recently bookshop “Planeta” was with all cynicism kicked out of its building on Khreshchatyk.

A paradoxical situation has emerged in the capital. The city authorities on one hand announce war against arcade machines; and on the other increase number of gaming institutions. Saying about support of culture they destroy the last bookshops. Number of bookshops in Kyiv has decreased in four times within last years: from 140 to 36.

The OU People’s Union reminds Kyiv’s mayor Leonid Chernovetskyi and the city administration that the 2007 was announced by the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko to be the Year of Ukrainian book. Moreover, the president’s decree “On some actions in development of publishing in Ukraine” obliges local authorities together with the government to provide “creating of proper conditions for publishing and spreading Ukrainian books”.

But the capital’s authorities not only ignore the president’s decrees but destroy bookshops, publishing houses, usurp art institutions at Andriivskyi Uzviz (Andrew’s slope) and other places in Kyiv.

Persistent and cynical destroying cultural face of Ukrainian capital by Leonid Chernovetskyi and his entourage affirms once more necessity of holding early elections of Kyiv’s mayor.

The OU calls upon the city’s authorities to stop attacking cultural institutions. It also calls upon the law-enforcement bodies to defend rights of the ones who work in the institutions and who visit them.”

The statement is dated November the 7th, 2007, and is signed by leader of the People’s Union “Our Ukraine” Vyacheslav Kyrylenko.

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