Welcome Andrew Fedynsky as ClevelandPeople.com Ambassador
Ambassadors to ClevelandPeople.Com are individuals who are outstanding representatives of their culture and heritage. They have demonstrated great dedication to the advancement of their own community and to the greater good of honoring and celebrating other ethnic groups and communities to make our city and region more vibrant.
We are proud to announce that Andrew Fedynsky has become our Ukrainian Ambassador.
Here is a brief bio. Andy was born to Ukrainian refugee parents in Innsbruck, Austria soon after World War II. His family came to America in 1948 when he was eight months old. They moved to Cleveland in 1954 where he attended public schools, graduating in 1965 from James Ford Rhodes H.S. He attended the University of Notre Dame as an undergraduate, including a year at the University of Innsbruck in the city of his birth.
Following graduation, he became an English teacher and track coach at West Junior H.S. in Cleveland (now Joseph Gallagher). He also became active in the defense of Soviet bloc political prisoners, translating Ukrainian dissident literature, lecturing at universities and civic events, working with Baltic, Jewish, Polish and other human rights groups and as Vice President of Smoloskyp Publishing, editing a human rights magazine.
During summer breaks from his teaching job, his activities included clandestine work with dissidents behind the Iron Curtain smuggling books, manuscripts and printing materials. While attending the first Helsinki Follow-up Conference in Belgrade in 1977, Yugoslav police arrested him for trying to stage a press conference about the arrests of Helsinki Monitors in Soviet Ukraine. That incident was widely covered in the press.
A year later, Senator Bob Dole invited him to join his staff as his Soviet specialist. He left his office in 1978 to attend John Carroll University where he earned a Masters Degree in History in 1980.
In 1981, he joined the staff of Cleveland Congresswoman Mary Rose Oakar eventually becoming her Chief of Staff.
He is now volunteer Director of the Ukrainian Museum-Archives in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood, runs a government consulting business and write a monthly column for the New Jersey-based Ukrainian Weekly. His wife Chris and he have been married for over thirty years and have a son and daughter.
2020 Ukrainian Museum-Archives Christmas Video Greeting
Dick Russ family Ukrainian Holiday Traditions and Message
Cleveland International Hall of Fame inductee Dick Russ is part Ukrainian and part Slovenian. Dick says, "On the Ukrainian side, my wife, Chris Sywyj-Hlabše, maintains in our home the centuries old tradition of Christmas Eve dinner with 12 meatless dishes. In the U.S., it was passed to her by her parents ("Baba" still presides as Matriarch of the family at age 90), and their parents before them, and on and on. As many family members as are able gather, and at the sight of the first star (your best estimate when it's cloudy!) the celebration of Sviat' Vechir (Holy Evening) begins.
Christmas hymns (Koliadky) are sung, God is thanked, and those gathered dine on borsch (mushroom stuffed dumplings optional), pyrohy (mushroom, cheese, and/or potato), holubtsi (stuffed with rice or buckwheat), fish, kapusta (cabbage), pickled herring with onions, generous helpings of garlic, and more. After dinner, gifts are exchanged, and then it's off to church.
My wife's mother (Baba) has lived with us for more than 3 years, and thanks be to God her health is pretty much OK, and she is still very sharp. She spent several years in a Nazi forced labor camp like many of the "Ukes" here in Cleveland did - and has been giving us many details of her life under Stalin and then Hitler, and then the DP camps, and finally to the U.S. (where she was first sent to Mississippi to pick cotton on a plantation!)
The Slovenians as you know lived in those camps as well, and tragically so many were murdered by the Communists even after the war. Mass graves such as Ko?evski Rog were revealed in the early 90's and I reported on many of these things back then when I was on TV. I did a fairly long piece with the only known 3 survivors of a slaughter that saw more than 10,000 Slovenians killed and dumped in a pit.
Sorry to bring a downer toward the end of the note - but the point is that the resiliency of the people like the Ukrainians and Slovenians is testament first to their Christian faith, which carried them through, along with the strength of their family life and their love of liberty. (God, family, homeland). Those are the characteristics which now allow us, who were born in the U.S., to carry on their traditions, and celebrate great feasts like Christmas, together with our families."
Ukrainian Community at International Cleveland Community Day
International Cleveland Community Day at the Cleveland Museum of Art is a celebration of the rich diversity of our region’s multiethnic communities, featuring traditional music and dance performances, cultural displays, and ingallery experiences. During this vibrant afternoon, visitors enjoyed presentations from more than 50 community groups expressing the continued vitality of the global cultures and arts that enliven our city.
The Ukrainian community was well represented with a banner, information table and musical performances.
Ukraine Banner at Cleveland Museum of Art
United Ukrainian Organizations of Ohio table
United Ukrainian Organizations of Ohio performer
Ukrainian Cultural Garden on One World Day 2018
The Cleveland Ukrainian community was out at the 73rd annual One World Day on the site of the Ukrainian Cultural Garden. Members of the community marched in the annual Parade of Flags and later there was more fun as members of the Ukrainian community shared their culture with thousands of visitors on One World Day.
US Senator Rob Portman Receives Order of Merit from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, received the Order of Merit from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during his visit to Ukraine. The Order of Merit is given to individuals for outstanding achievements in economics, science, culture, military or political spheres of activity. It was first established by Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in 1996. Those who are awarded the Order of Merit have the official title Chevalier of the Order of Merit.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Senator Rob Portman
“I’m deeply honored to receive the Order of Merit from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev. America stands with the Ukrainian people in their struggle to secure a democratic, prosperous, and independent future for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression,” said Portman. “As co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and author of several provisions authorizing expanded U.S. military assistance — including lethal aid — and establishing the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, I will continue to do everything I can to help the Ukrainians defend themselves against Russian aggression.”
NOTE: Portman, who received the Ukrainian-American community’s highest honor in 2016, the Shevchenko Freedom Award, has long led the effort to provide Ukraine the kind of assistance necessary to ward off Russian aggression and maintain its territorial integrity. The co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Portman has visited Ukraine several times, including leading a congressional election observation mission with Senator Ben Cardin during Ukraine's presidential election in 2014. For the past three years, Portman has successfully introduced amendments to the annual National Defense Authorization Act that expanded U.S. military aid to Ukraine. These provisions helped build the primary statutory framework for U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. In addition, he has repeatedly written letters, delivered multiple floor speeches, and pressed senior administration officials on the importance of providing meaningful assistance to help Ukraine stand up to Russia's military aggression.
Tracing Your Family's Path from a Displaced Persons Camp
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., has created a searchable database of information on the Displaced Persons Camps and the people who passed through them. Earlier this year, the Holocaust Museum partnered with the Ukrainian Museum-Archives in Cleveland to digitize the UMA's extensive collection of DP Camp periodicals produced by Ukrainian refugees from 1945-51. Working with Kyiv-based Archival Data Systems, researchers have scanned more than 75,000 documents archived at the Tremont museum, creating a resource that scholars and others will now be able to access.
Officials from the Holocaust Museum unveiled the new resource and its search tools at a special presentation in Cleveland, a city that resettled thousands of displaced persons. "Solving the Mystery: Tracing Your Family's Path from a Displaced Persons Camp," was presented at the Slovenian National Home.
Over 25,000 people attended the 72nd annual One World Day in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens on Sunday August 27, 2017. The Ukrainian Cultural Garden looked beautiful and members of the Ukrainian community marched in the Parade of Flags.
Ukrainian Cultural Garden members marching in the Parade of Flag on One World Day
In this short video Uliana explained the beautiful dresses and other items from Ukraine at the Ukrainian Festival at Pokrova Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Parma.
Senator Rob Portman meets with Eastern European ethnic leaders
United States Senator Rob Portman has become a leading expert on the situation in Ukraine, the Baltics, Eastern Europe and Russia. He met with a few dozen leaders of Cleveland's Eastern European ethnic communities at Café 55 on East 55th to discuss US policy and answer their questions about Crimea, Ukraine, Russia, NATO, the Baltics and so on.
Thanks to Andrew J. Futey, President, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, for setting this up.
Judge Ralph Perk Jr., Irene Morrow, Senator Rob Portman, Andrew Futey and Marta Liscynesky Kelleher
Ethnic leaders with Senator Rob Portman
Senator Portman Receives Ukrainian Community’s Highest Honor
On Wednesday October 19, 2016 U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) received the Shevchenko Freedom Award, the highest accolade awarded by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the nation’s largest representation of Ukrainians in America.
The award, named after Ukraine's poet-laureate and national hero Taras Shevchenko, is awarded to individuals who have displayed a remarkable understanding and given substantial assistance to the Ukrainian American community and the Ukrainian people. Portman, a co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, has long been a leading voice in the United States’ efforts to support Ukraine’s territorial integrity and has pursued steadfast relations with Ukraine in recognition of its vital importance to Trans-Atlantic peace and security while persistently advocating for the United States to play a more active role in helping Ukraine stave off Russian aggression.
He released the following statement:
“I am honored to receive the Ukrainian community’s highest honor from the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America for my work to support Ukraine, the Ukrainian people and friends of Ukraine across the globe. I am proud of my long-established record of support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian-American community, as well as for the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine. I have twice visited Ukraine, met with Ukraine President Poroshenko and other senior Ukrainian officials, and remain engaged with ongoing political, economic, and military developments. But more work remains. Twenty-five years after Ukraine gained their independence from the Soviet Union, a familiar foe is once again challenging Ukrainian sovereignty.
The United States must do more to give the Ukrainian people the tools they need to defend themselves, and I will continue to urge the Obama administration to provide these pivotal measures. I look forward to continuing to work with the Ukrainian-American community in support of Ukraine.”
Senator Rob Portman honored by Ukrainian Congress Committee of America
Ukrainian Cultural Garden at One World Day 2016
The Ukrainian Cultural Garden and Ukrainian community participated in the 71st One World Day on August 28, 2016. They began with the Parade of Flags.
Ukrainian Cultural Garden in Parade of Flags
Throughout the day members of the Ukrainian community of Cleveland hosted hundreds of visitors in the Ukrainian Cultural Garden and shared Ukrainian culture.
During the Parade of Flags at the 71st annual One World Day in the Centennial Year of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens on MLK Blvd. members of the Ukrainian Cultural Garden chanted "Putin, get out of Ukraine" as they marched.
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Group visits Ukrainian Museum
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington sent four of its researchers and scholars to Cleveland on May 19-20, 2016 to see the WW II and post-war Displaced Persons Camp collections at the Ukrainian Museum-Archives. The Holocaust Museum will be signing an agreement with Ukrainian archival institutions.
Henry Mayer from the US Holocaust Museum
presents a book to UMA's Andy Fedynsky
A highlight of the 6th annual Holiday Celebration of Cleveland's Diversity held in the atrium of the Global Center for Health Innovation in the Cleveland Convention Center by the International Community Council-Worldwide Intercultural Network (ICC-WIN) was the multicultural fashion show.
Senator Portman Meets with Cleveland Eastern European Communities
U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) traveled to Ukraine to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, as well as other government officials. Portman has repeatedly called for increased U.S. military assistance to Ukraine as they continue to face Russian aggression.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and US Senator Rob Portman
On Friday, April 17, 2015 Senator Portman, co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, met with members of Eastern European communities in Cleveland to discuss his recent visit to Ukraine and Latvia.
The week following PASCHA (Easter) is called "Bright Week" in the Eastern (Orthodox) Christian Church. During Bright Week there are many different ways to enjoy this "Feast of Feasts" - including the "Sprinkling Days"!
On Monday within some of the various nationalities who are Orthodox, the boys seek out the girls of their parishes to "sprinkle" them - usually with scented water - and on Tuesdays, the girls seek out the boys to do the same "sprinkling"
On this Tuesday Ukrainian Dozia Krislaty and Rusyn Laurel Tombazzi sprinkled Ken Kovach. Then Vietnamese Gia Hoa Ryan sprinkled him as well
Kashtan Ukrainian Dance Ensemble at Kurentovanje
The crowd was very glad to see the Kashtan Ukrainian Dance Ensemble at the Cleveland Kurentovanje Parade on March 1, 2014. Especially in these troubled times.
"We need to take sides. We need to be with the Ukrainian people." Senator Rob Portman
The 53rd annual Captive Nations Dinner of the American Nationalities Movement was held in Wal-Tam's Grand Ballroom in Garfield Heights on July 17, 2014. Over 250 people attended the event to see the Freedom Awards be presented and a keynote address by US Senator Rob Portman.
Senator Portman has emerged as one of Ukraine's most vocal champions in Washington and has sponsored a Senate resolution backing Ukraine in its fight against pro-Russian militants and supported the president's calls for stiffer sanctions.
"He's been wonderful for us. He's been making our argument in Washington," said Marta Liscynesky-Kelleher, president of the United Ukrainian Organizations of Ohio.
Portman said the U.S. should back up sanctions with military hardware, including anti-tank weapons. "We need to give them (Ukrainians) the opportunity to defend themselves," he said.
Irene Zawadiwsky from Ariel International played the Ukrainian bandura at the 4th annual Worldwide Intercultural Network (WIN) holiday celebration of global diversity at the Ariel International Center in Cleveland Ohio.
The Cleveland Ukrainian community was represented at the 2013 Culture Shock event which was put on by Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) West and the Parma City School District. Besides a table display, there was a dance performance.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Ohio State Representative Tim DeGeeter, Ihor Diaczyn and Roman Fedkiw assisted Parma Mayor Dean DePiero in cutting the ribbon to officially open the new Ukrainian Heritage Park in Parma
Hundreds enjoyed the beautifully refurbished Garden and the rededication of the statue of Lesya Ukrainka.
Click on the links below to see numerous photos and videos from the special day. Congratulations to Dozia Krislaty, Committee Chair and President of Branch 8 of the Ukrainian National Women's League of America and her team for a wonderful job.
Lesya Ukrainka statue in Ukrainian Cultural Garden
Ukraine was the center of the first eastern Slavic state, Kyivan Rus, which during the 10th and 11th centuries was the largest and most powerful state in Europe. Weakened by internecine quarrels and Mongol invasions, Kyivan Rus was incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and eventually into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
The cultural and religious legacy of Kyivan Rus laid the foundation for Ukrainian nationalism through subsequent centuries. A new Ukrainian state, the Cossack Hetmanate, was established during the mid-17th century after an uprising against the Poles.
Despite continuous Muscovite pressure, the Hetmanate managed to remain autonomous for well over 100 years. During the latter part of the 18th century, most Ukrainian ethnographic territory was absorbed by the Russian Empire. Following the collapse of czarist Russia in 1917, Ukraine was able to bring about a short-lived period of independence (1917-20), but was reconquered and forced to endure a brutal Soviet rule that engineered two artificial famines (1921-22 and 1932-33) in which over 8 million died.
In World War II, German and Soviet armies were responsible for some 7 to 8 million more deaths. Although final independence for Ukraine was achieved in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR, democracy remained elusive as the legacy of state control and endemic corruption stalled efforts at economic reform, privatization, and civil liberties.
A peaceful mass protest "Orange Revolution" in the closing months of 2004 forced the authorities to overturn a rigged presidential election and to allow a new internationally monitored vote that swept into power a reformist slate under Viktor Yushchenko. Subsequent internal squabbles in the Yushchenko camp allowed his rival Viktor Yanukovych to stage a comeback in parliamentary elections and become prime minister in August of 2006.
An early legislative election, brought on by a political crisis in the spring of 2007, saw Yuliya Tymoshenko, as head of an "Orange" coalition, installed as a new prime minister in December 2007.