The story won in the Contest of short video stories “People and War” - the first place among the professional journalists’ videos. Author Olena Sorokalitnia (TBA television channel, Chernivtsi).
As a result of war in the east, almost 2 million Ukrainians were left without voting rights. They fled from the shelling and Russian propaganda and, three years later, passed the point of no return. The displaced who have chosen Chernivtsi as their new home, complain that they can not vote on an equal basis with others, and local governments look at their problems through fingers. Olena Sorokalitnia will tell more about the artistic event as a sign of protest and the painting, which if lost detail, will no longer be perfect.
Olena Sorokalitnia, journalist: Mona Lisa without the smile, French Revolution without the freedom, and almost 2 million Ukrainians without voting rights. Those who were forced to be displaced and who feel as local Chernivtsi people have spoken up about their constitutional rights.
Karen Gambarian, internally displaced person: So I had a right for a machine gun in the Anti-Terroristic Operation Zone, but not a voting right? This is not good.
Oleh Kozlovskyi, Advisor on the issues of the internally displaced persons of the Ministry of Social Policy in Chernivtsi region: The displaced persons, which is almost 2 million people, are discriminated in Ukraine. We are deprived of a few civil rights. In this case, of a right to participate in elections.
Anna Kytova, Head of NGO “Law. Protection. Justice”: The legislation of Ukraine does not provide for participation of the displaced people and migrant workers in local elections. Migrant workers are also unable to participate in the elections under the majority system.
Thousands of the displaced people came to Bukovyna 3 years ago while fleeing from shelling and the propaganda of the “Russian world”.
Viktor Hizhevskyi, Deputy Head of charitable fund «Flower of Hope»: The point of no return is already behind us. Those who had decided to stay - stayed. Those who had decided to leave - left. Nearly 3,000 of those that remained now consider Bukovyna to be their homeland. They say they got tired of still being called the displaced since most of them say out loud - they are the Chernivtsi people. A capital of Bukovina, which sheltered them, they consider to be almost the best city on earth.
Oleh Kozlovskyi, Advisor on the issues of the internally displaced persons of the Ministry of Social Policy in Chernivtsi region: Great city. Especially the historical center. WE overall think that this is the pearl of the country, saturated with historical monuments, insane vibrations for the creative people. And those who decided to not just wait out on a war, but to actually live here, still face many problems.
Oleh Kozlovskyi, Advisor on the issues of the internally displaced persons of the Ministry of Social Policy in Chernivtsi region: They are very mundane among the displaced, and they concern very mundane questions: where to live, what to eat, where to work etc. But almost one of the most acute ones is the lack of voting rights. Because the internally displaced persons can neither vote for a candidate, nor get elected to the local government.
Viktor Hizhevskyi, Deputy Head of charitable fund “Flower of Hope”: Our electoral right is linked to our address, the please of permanent residence, hence many problems.
On the local level, there is nobody to lobby for them and to defend their rights. And although there is already 4 draft laws in Verkhovna Rada that could return the voting rights to the internally displaced, the problem is still there. Therefore, in order to draw the government’s attention to the issue, the displaced persons and activists decided to organize an art event. On the stairs of Chernivtsi town hall, they displayed reproductions of famous paintings with the most important elements missing, the details that made the canvas so perfect.
Anna Kytova, Head of NGO “Law. Protection. Justice”: There is an Henri Matisse painting “Dance”, with the people dancing in a circle. once one person is taken out of the circle, the unity is lost. Meaning that the sense is lost, and the dance does not happen.
Thus, “Mona Lisa" was left without a smile as a sign that she, just like the displaced, was deprived of a voice.
Anna Kytova, Head of NGO “Law. Protection. Justice”: A painting is incomplete, it loses its meaning when a detail is not there. Every voice matters. Every person in the society matters and has a huge meaning for the society in general.
By this event, the internally displaced wanted to show that they are also an important element of our country, and without their voices the painting is also incomplete. So they demand…
Karen Gambarian, internally displaced person: To get together and to have some political will among the people in this beautiful building and to recognize that we are also their electorate. Otherwise, we will remember the names of those who was against and will remind you when the election time comes.
The people hope that they will be heard and one of the most important rights of theirs will be returned.
Viktor Hizhevskyi, Deputy Head of charitable fund “Flower of Hope”: A road will be overcome by he who walks, and we still believe, and for more than one day we walk the same path to ensure that justice prevails.
Olena Sorokalitnia, Maksym Bilotkach, “Themes of the day”, “TBA”.