The All-Ukrainian Memorial was unveiled in the capital on December 3, 1994.
In USVA there were no scandalous conflicts both in the intra-union and in economic or political life. This was largely due to the fact that in the early 1990s the Union officially renounced state benefits in economic and commercial activities. USVA has its own basic enterprises in each region. They mainly build housing and produce building materials. This allows you to create jobs for veterans, to solve their housing problems. For example, in 2000 alone in Cherkasy, the Afghan firm Interbud built and handed over 58 apartments to veterans. Agree that, as of now, that’s a lot. All payments to the state budget of the Union are made in full, they have never used other people’s money. USVA did not allow criminal structures to “attach” to our movement, kept the purity of its activities, authority in society.
However, the solution of veterans’ problems is still far from the 100% state level. Therefore, the search for additional sources of funding remains an urgent issue. In this area, we actively cooperate with local authorities. For example, a session of the Kharkiv City Council completely exempted the families of those who died in Afghanistan, as well as the families of veterans who died after the war, from paying utility bills.
Similar decisions were made in Chernihiv, Sumy, Luhansk, Lviv and other regions. In Crimea, the Council of Ministers of the Autonomy regularly provides material assistance to the families of the dead, the disabled, and veterans of the Afghan war. In Cherkasy, 22 families of the dead receive 120 hryvnias a quarter from the Vulkan charity fund of the youth education center. Since 2003, the USVA Charitable Social Protection Fund has been operating in the Sumy region, providing financial support to the families of the dead, the disabled, veterans, and hospitals where Afghan war veterans and other international veterans are treated.
One of the main tasks of our movement is to promote the creation of a state system of rehabilitation and medical institutions. Currently, 6,481 Afghan war invalids live in the country. And their number, unfortunately, is growing. There are signs of injuries, contusions, diseases received in Afghanistan.
Basic in medical and sanatorium, psychological rehabilitation and treatment for us are the hospital “Forest Glade” in Kiev and the sanatorium. M. Semashka in the Crimea. I will note that in the international competition among 187 medical institutions of the CIS of a similar profile our hospital in 2003 took the third place. In addition to practical medical activities, the specialists of the hospital, headed by the Honored Doctor of Ukraine V. Neroda, conduct significant research work. According to their findings, the “Afghan syndrome” still exists – no matter how much some of the authorities want to ignore this tragic fact.
However, the activities of our medical institutions could be more effective, if not for the problems that USVA is not able to solve on its own. Although the hospital is funded from the state budget, there are not enough funds. To help him, the Union divided the chambers into territorial organizations. They support them in good condition by their own efforts.
USVA is ready to assist in the supply of vegetables and fruits in order to, on the one hand, improve nutrition and, on the other hand, reduce food costs and increase treatment costs. But the hospital cannot accept such help. Paradox: this is prohibited by current legislation and may lead to punitive sanctions by the KRU. A difficult situation has developed with the sanatorium. Its building is in its second century, so it needs major repairs. We did not have the funds for this, nor did we have state funding. Now the authorities want to take away the sanatorium completely
In general, the network of medical institutions for the disabled and war veterans is constantly expanding. Currently, there are 30 hospitals for the disabled in the regions. The network of hospital departments and wards in regional, city and district hospitals is expanding. Veterans of the Afghan war also use their 123helpme.me services. USVA seeks to ensure that these services can be used by family members of the deceased, and that all veterans have a mandatory annual medical examination.
Among the social problems that our Union takes care of, one of the most acute is housing. In 2000, USVA got the Prosecutor General’s Office to check how the regions meet the requirements of the Law, according to which housing is built for war veterans and families of victims at the expense of 1.5% income tax. Many shortcomings were identified in the accumulation and use of these tools; managed to fix something “on the go”. However, the stagnation of housing construction in the countryside forced us to go further. The union initiated amendments to the Law “On Taxation of Enterprises”, according to which since 2002 it is allowed not only to build but also to buy housing on the secondary market at the expense of 1.5%. And the situation has improved somewhat. Over the past five years, more than 2,500 combatants and members of the families of the victims have been sheltered.
Analyzing the situation, we came to the conclusion that the problems of financing benefits, health care, veterans’ legislation, housing and other components of social protection would not be as acute if it were not for such a disaster as unemployment among young veterans of the Afghan war. This is especially true in the western regions, where almost half of our colleagues are forced to look for any income, often outside the country. It is not easy for members of our organization to live in the countryside, where not everyone has the opportunity to prove themselves in the agricultural sector, especially in farming.
We understand that the problem has a national sound and is a consequence of the all-Ukrainian economic disorder. Nevertheless, the Union is making efforts to address it. Having established 618 commercial structures at various levels, USVA seeks to provide work for members of the organization through them. Security firms work effectively. We already have precedents when “Afghan” organizations through their structures provide security at all enterprises, shops, cafes, bars in entire areas. This experience is worth spreading, especially in rural areas.
I don’t think there is a sane person who would disagree with this view: perpetuating the memory of those killed in the war is a sacred thing. 231 monuments have been erected in Ukraine, including in all regional centers (except Sumy), in many large cities and district centers. The Church of the Resurrection of Christ, the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, has been operating in Kyiv since 1994. The only Central State Museum of Soldiers-Internationalists in the CIS “Yours, Fatherland, Sons. Duty. Feat. Tragedy” has been created. The All-Ukrainian Memorial was unveiled in the capital on December 3, 1994. Now the names of all our compatriots who died in Afghanistan are engraved on its granite slabs.
It is dangerous for today’s Ukraine, especially in today’s troubled world, to forget the lessons of history, including the lessons of the Afghan war. The deployment of a Ukrainian peacekeeping contingent to Iraq in 2004 showed that these lessons had not been properly studied. Therefore, we continue to fight for the historical objectivity of the not so distant events. A group of historians and political scientists is working on this. We seek to include objective historical information in school and university textbooks, and we encourage the publication of books and articles on Afghan issues.
Our newspaper “Third Toast” plays an important role in this case – it has been published since 1992. Active cooperation has been established with other mass media, both print and electronic. Between the 10th and 15th anniversaries of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan alone, more than 600 important publications appeared. Today, the national bibliography on the Afghan war (though mostly poetic and memoir) has more than 60 titles .
The poet- “Afghan” V. Slapchuk in 2004 for his work was awarded the State Prize of Ukraine. T. Shevchenko. Works by V. Ablazov, V. Koshelev, K. Oborin and other authors on Afghan issues are widely known in Ukraine and abroad. The “Field Mail of Memory” TV programs “The Case of Honor” and the “Memory” radio program, which are created with the support of USVA, have been rated for several years.
From the first days of its existence, the “Afghan” movement has defined military-patriotic work with youth and adolescents as its statutory task. In March 1998, the All-Ukrainian Patriotic Association “Future of Ukraine” was formed. Today it consists of more than 100 centers and clubs of patriotic education, where almost 11 thousand children, teenagers, boys and girls study. The association has branches in 17 oblasts. Recently, new, larger forms of patriotic education have emerged. With the active participation of USVA, the All-Ukrainian Heroic and Patriotic Festival “Veterans – Youth – Future” dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War was launched in 2004.
We consider the cooperation of USVA with other authoritative public movements to be no less important – up to the creation of internationalstructures or participation in current ones. Initiated by the “Afghans”, such integration processes began with the registration in 1997 of the All-Ukrainian Association “Social Justice”, which was co-founded by the Organization of Veterans of Ukraine and the Union of Organizations of Disabled Persons of Ukraine. They have consolidated almost 17 million people in need of active social protection. At the same time, the opportunities for constant dialogue with the legislature and the executive have significantly increased. The response of the combined forces to the attempts of state structures to socially infringe on the rights of members of these social movements has become more effective and efficient.
From the beginning of 1992, the second vector of our activity, the state, began to take shape. The then President of Ukraine L. Kravchuk signed a Decree on the establishment of the Committee of Veterans of the War in Afghanistan and Military Conflicts in Other Countries (hereinafter – the Committee) under the President of Ukraine. I was appointed its head. On March 12, 1992, the President approved the Regulations on the Committee. According to this document, the Committee was tasked with jointly with state bodies and public organizations to implement in Ukraine a unified state policy on legal, social and political protection of veterans of the war in Afghanistan, military conflicts in other countries, family members of the dead, prisoners and missing missing, as well as civilian professionals who have worked abroad in regions of military conflict.