Ukraine’s first president, Leonid Kravchuk, died on May 10 at 17:00 Kyiv time, at the age of 89, after a long illness.
The Ukrainian News broadcast reported that on June 29, 2021, the politician missed the ceremonial meeting of the Verkhovna Rada on the occasion of Constitution Day due to heart surgery. The operation was difficult, he was in a coma for a long time, he was on a ventilator.
Later, Kravchuk underwent rehabilitation at a clinic in Munich.
socialbites.ca collected seven vivid statements of the politician:
On the collapse of the USSR:
“Ukraine can be proud to be the country that destroyed the Soviet Union in 1991, the last empire, the most terrible,” said the politician.
About the fate of Crimea:
“Why should we deceive ourselves and the Ukrainian people when I hear our leaders say, “Yes, we will return, Crimea is ours”? We will not return with a better life in Ukraine, Crimea will never be: “We will return to Ukraine,” Kravchuk said in 2016.
On the future of Ukraine:
“You know what I want to see the most? How things will change for the better. Now when Europe gives us a visa-free regime, when the president participates in big business, when he rests abroad, I feel very good on days like this and I think: “I will live! To see the time when everything will be different.” I will live for it.” I would very much like this to happen as soon as possible … ”the ex-Ukrainian president reasoned in 2017.
About family and country:
“Sometimes I ask myself what is more important: family or Ukraine? But without Ukraine, there would be no family of mine. So Ukraine is on top. And in 1991 I took it into my own hands in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, signed all the constituent documents. And for this I bear an incredible responsibility, ”Kravchuk said in an interview with Segodnya in 2015.
About favorite food:
“I like two flavors best: cottage cheese and cherry. Because these are classic meatballs. In the Mariinsky Palace, when I invited [Джорджа] Bush and his wife served meatballs (that is, with cottage cheese and cherries), and Bush’s wife asked, “What is this?” I say “meatballs”. He ran to the translator. Do you know how it is translated? Boiled pies! said the former president.
“As secretary of the Central Committee, I had an apartment of 54 square meters. Although I have money, I could not buy a car. I bought 675 rubles … I wanted to buy a car for my son, I had to wait in line for three years. When I became president, my wife drove a Lada, and the family had no security, ”recalled Kravchuk.
About the attitude to death:
“You know, I’m a life philosopher. To say I’m not afraid of death… Why should I talk now? I’m not going to the polls (laughs),” the first president said five years before his death.
in a separate report
What is Leonid Kravchuk famous for?
Kravchuk was born in 1934 in the village of Veliky Zhitin, near the city of Rivne. His father was a peasant and died at the front in 1944. Kravchuk later recalled that his childhood was poor: “a piece of bread looked like a real gift”.
After leaving school he entered the Rivne cooperative technical school and graduated with honors in 1953. In 1958, he graduated from the Faculty of Economics of Kyiv State University with the Department of Political Economy and started teaching.
Kravchuk’s party career began in the 1970s. In 1990 he became a member of the Central Committee of the CPSU, and on July 23 of the same year headed the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1991, after the events of the August coup of the State Emergency Committee, he left the Communist Party and was elected non-partisan president.
Leonid Kravchuk became and held the first president of independent Ukraine. from 1991 to 1994. In December 1991, he signed with President of the RSFSR Boris Yeltsin and President of Belarus Stanislav Shushkevich. Belovezhskaya agreements About the end of the existence of the USSR. Later, he expressed the opinion that it was the people of Ukraine that became the main destroyer of the USSR, who voted in the referendum for the independence of Ukraine in 1991.
After the presidential term, Kravchuk was people’s deputy of the Verkhovna Rada for 12 years.
The politician initially advocated rapprochement with Russia and supported the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych. However, he later became a staunch supporter of the country’s rapprochement with Europe and NATO, and in 2015 headed the Ukraine Movement at the NATO public agency.
Since July 28, 2020, Kravchuk heads the Ukrainian delegation in the contact group to resolve the situation in eastern Ukraine.
On February 27, 2022, together with former presidents Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko, he issued an appeal to the Ukrainians about the Russian military operation in Ukraine. “Together we will win. We will endure,” they wrote.
In April 2022, the Crimean Parliament deprived Kravchuk of state awards.
The ruling Servant of the People party expressed its condolences to the relatives of the politician after the news of the death of the politician and noted that they contributed greatly to the formation of Ukraine as a state.
In the statement made by the party, it was stated that “Ukrainian emblem, flag and anthem were created during the presidency, the Armed Forces of Ukraine was established and the independence of Ukraine was recognized by the whole world.”
Kravchuk noted that it is necessary to maneuver between different political forces, seek compromise and avoid radical solutions in both domestic and foreign policy. In one of his interviews, he explained his principles with a Ukrainian anecdote:
“It started to rain. Kravchuk is presented with an umbrella. He replies, “No need, I’m already in the droplets somehow.”