Moving letter from Russia’s Oldest Ukrainian Hostage

Yury Danilovych begins with a quote by the Ukrainian poet Pavlo Tychyna:

“To live – I’ll tear apart all shackles, I reassert and validate myself , Because I’m alive.“

Dear Yana,

Today is the happiest day of the entire year and a half of my imprisonment, if it’s possible at all to feel happiness. I have not wept once while here, yet when I read your letters, tears came to my eyes. Thank you so much for your words of support! It feels very nice to realize that there are so many people who are not indifferent. I have received letters from people I don’t know, from Ukraine, from Moscow, Russia, Canada. I answered them all. As far as I’m able in this situation, I follow the fate of my compatriots and admire their courage. I totally agree with you, in captivity I have met many decent people. I am horrified by the Russian justice system that is so free with sentences of 10 years and more. And that’s with such life expectancy!

Throughout the entire investigation, I never believed it would end this way. I was never an enemy of Russia and what they are accusing me of I knew 10 years ago, when the equipment was still being designed, since that was my work which I loved and which I’m proud of.

Here I have felt more intensely how much I love Ukraine, my family and my beloved grandchildren. Though how can one love more or less? It’s possible only to love tenderly, loyally, faithfully and absolutely! There are simply no words for how I miss my homeland. I love every leaf on a bush in the meadow, every blade of grass, every insect crawling along Ukrainian soil. Even if it stings me, at least not too painfully.

Thank you, Yana for such a noble, important and much-needed mission.

If you receive this letter, I will write more.

With sincere respect, Yury Soloshenko

(Your human rights colleagues are visiting me, Yours, … Feb 2016 )