July 8, 2002
The American and Canadian Shevchenko Scientific Societies concur with the position articulated by the Council of the Shevchenko Scientific Society in Ukraine (June 2002) with respect to the decree issued by the President of Ukraine on “The Marking of the 350th Anniversary of the Pereiaslav Kozak Council of 1654”: that this infamous act, as well as other ill-fated events in Ukrainian history which led to the enslavement of Ukranians, should be continuously analyzed and studied, rather than celebrated.
The Pereiaslav Agreement transformed Ukraine into a colony and brought enslavement to the Ukrainian people for several centuries. “Khmelnytskyi has delivered all of us into the bondage of the Muscovite tsar…” wrote the Chornobyl archpriest in a letter to the vice-governor of Chornobyl as early as January 27, 1654. The pain and tragedy, which by then had manifested itself for almost two centuries, was echoed in 1843 by Taras Shevchenko in his poem “The Plundered Grave” (“Rozryta mohyla”).
It is the obligation of our contemporaries as well as future generations to investigate more thoroughly this dark date in Ukrainian history by examining what the consequences of the event of 1654 were for Ukraine over a period of nearly 338 years of subjugation; how the Pereiaslav Agreement resulted in a constant plundering of Ukraine’s culture, scholarship, language and its most creative individuals; how it led to the liquidation of its Churches as well as the devastation of the Ukrainian population and the destruction of Ukraine’s statehood.
In view of the above, the Shevchenko Scientific Society in America announced in April of 2002 a competition for the writing of scholarly monographs on the consequences of the Pereiaslav Agreement, offering research grants to the top five authors. This demonstrates our readiness to make a contribution to the elucidation of the long-lasting effects of the 1654 event in the history of Ukraine.
July 8, 2002
Shevchenko Scientific Society of Canada
Larissa Zaleska Onyshkevych,
Shevchenko Scientific Society in the U.S.A.