Friday, October 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

In Ukrainian sister city, wary hope for peace

Ukraine

People pass Russian soldiers guarding Ukraine's infantry base in Perevalne, Ukraine, on Tuesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow reserves the right to use all means to protect Russians in Ukraine. AP photo

By
From page A1 | March 05, 2014 |

Daily life in Uman, Ukraine, appears to go on almost normally, but the people of Davis’ first sister city are tense and distracted by the news of the Russian takeover of Crimea.

“Can you imagine unfriendly actions from a proclaimed ‘brother?’ ” wrote Myroslava Geyko, 54, a senior teacher at Uman National University of Horticulture, who visited Davis in 1999 as part of a teacher exchange between the cities.

Geyko said she and her neighbors are shocked and concerned by the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin. They come on the heals of the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, who recently fled to Russia when more than 80 people were killed in protests.

“There is so much pain and tears in our hearts these days,” Geyko wrote in an email Tuesday. “We do not want war. But we understand that common Russian people are not responsible for this; many of them are misinformed by Putin propaganda.”

A largely Ukrainian-speaking city of about 87,000 people, Uman sits in the center of the country, about 300 miles from Crimea, to which Uman is largely linked through family ties, Black Sea vacations and farm sales.

Uman became Davis’ sister city in 1988 — an apt fit for two cities home to universities known as centers of agricultural education.

Tatiana Sukhomeilo acted as translator for many of those first sister-city trips by delegations from the two cities. Now 63, she is retired after 38 years of teaching at Uman National University of Horticulture.

“Life goes on: schools for children, universities for students, industry and agriculture for business people, science for scholars, art for musicians and artists,” Sukhomeilo wrote in an email.

“But we remember about shootings and deaths on Maidan (Independence) Square, and we worry about our country-fellows in the Crimean.”

Sukhomeilo said Russia’s “outrageous steps” are “beyond understanding.” They have united Ukraine, she said, though pro-Russian demonstrations have been held in the eastern, Russian-speaking portion of the country.

“People worry and are concerned, but they are not scared,” she said.

She, too, draws a distinction between “two Russias: Russia of intelligent, smart, good-natured people and Russia of politicians and poorly informed ones. We are with the first group.”

Sukhomeilo now lives in Brovary, a suburb of the country’s capital, Kiev, but remains in close contact with family and friends in Uman. She also has exchanged emails with friends in Davis concerned for her safety.

Among those here who have been following the news closely are Davis’ former Mayor Maynard Skinner and former City Councilman and Board of Education member Stan Forbes. Between them, they’ve taken more than a dozen trips to Uman.

“Starting with the riots, we were particularly concerned that (Sukhomeilo) and her family were safe and sound,” Skinner said. “Our friends there are concerned about the economic situation because many are retired and living on meager pensions.”

Putin has questioned the legitimacy of Ukraine’s new government, calling it an “unconstitutional takeover” and justified military action by saying it was protecting Ukraine, “our closest neighbor and brother.”

President Barack Obama has said Putin “isn’t fooling anybody.”

Said Forbes, “I didn’t think (the Russians) would have the gall to do what they’ve done. Hitler said exactly the same thing: We have the right to invade Poland because there are ethnic Germans there. Just replace Hitler’s name with Putin’s.

“Ukraine is the size of France. If Germany today took over France, where there are a lot of ethnic Germans, how would that play? So I watch with great alarm and hope that the West will come up with an appropriate response.”

Forbes, who first traveled to Ukraine as a summer tour guide in the Soviet Union in 1968, remained closely involved with Davis’ sister city, helping to purchase an ultrasound machine for a hospital, pay for dental clinics in elementary schools and funding scholarships for 10 students yearly at the university, which awarded him an honorary doctorate.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed it,” he said. “They’re very courteous and very friendly. It’s been difficult for them to modernize, but they’ve made some improvements. A statue of Lenin in the town square was torn down only last month.”

Uman is home to Sofiyivsky Park — a world-renowned botanical garden that boasts a research center and 2,000 species of plants —but the city also has had a long and sometimes bloody history.

The site of mass killings of thousands of Jewish people during a rebel uprising in the 18th century and again during the Nazi occupation, Uman attracts Hasidic pilgrims from around the world, who visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, a major religious thinker who died there in 1810.

Geyko said that while some residents of Uman “are mentally still in the Soviet Union,” the city hopes for a peaceful resolution to the conflict with Russia.

Added Sukhomeilo, “I hope Ukraine will be wise and strong enough not to get provoked (to be) involved in military actions. I hope the world community will use its leverage to pour some cold water on the sick head of the Kremlin resident.”

From her friends in Davis, she asked for “prayers, thoughts, hopes, belief in the Ukrainian people.”

Geyko said that she, too, was grateful for the support from abroad during difficult time.

Asked if she had a message for Uman’s sister city, she replied, “We should never stop working for peace. We should appreciate and value human life and the world we live in. We wish you and your country happiness, prosperity, success and, first of all, peace.

“Thank you,” she added, “for being our friends.”

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
.

News

 
Courageous Thompson tapped for cycling shrine

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

UC researchers: How low-water can our landscapes go?

By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Testimony begins in Winters murder trial

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

A-Z: Downtown Davis is the place to celebrate

By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: C1

 
Hong Kong protesters to vote on staying in streets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Cloud business lifts Microsoft’s quarterly results

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Host families needed for students and teachers from Mexico

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Halloween Dance set Friday for teens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Yoga and chanting workshop planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Downtown menu: coffee, boba tea, dessert

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: C3

 
Day of the Dead folk art class set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Flea Market planned Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Enjoy A Taste of Capay at historic ranch

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Red-hot tunes set at Blues Harvest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Learn how to fill a cornucopia with flowers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Video highlights Props. 1 and 2

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
‘Homeopathy at Home’ program planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Celebrate origami at Davis library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Garden sale and open house features water-wise demos

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C4

Meet Poppenga at dog park Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Bay Bridge art project needs $4 million to keep shining

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Weir honored, a year early

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Explorit: Poison-proof your home with free lecture

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6

For a good cause

By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A6

 
Americans, internationals make connections

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
School board hopefuls discuss homework policy

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

The magic is long gone

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
What’s next with Ebola?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

More theories on the abstention

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Rights beget responsibilities

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Water returns to its source

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
A solution to the drought

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Experience nature’s treasures

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Subs have other concerns

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

.

Sports

Bump, set, playoffs: Blue Devil girls clinch spot in postseason

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggies expect a bonny meeting in Sacramento

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

DHS footballers take on Pleasant Grove

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Bye No. 2 comes at perfect time for nicked-up UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Shhh. Are Aggie women BWC’s best-kept secret?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Preseason awards roll in for Aggie hoopster Hawkins

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks suffer from road woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Features

.

Arts

‘St. Vincent:’ Quite a character

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Rumpledethumps to play at Village Homes Performers’ Circle

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to perform

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Calling all artists for upcoming show

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

 
Car Care: Five things to ask yourself when shopping for a new vehicle

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

.

Obituaries

Lewis Melvin Dudman

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Ann Foley Scheuring

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, October 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B3