Yevhen Sverstiuk

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image (11)Distinguished Ukrainian literary critic and publicist with a doctorate in philosophy, political prisoner, active NDM member, and participant in the First of December initiative group. He has been the founder and permanent editor of the Nasha Vira Orthodox newspaper since 1989. He is the winner of the Taras Shevchenko National Prize and honorary president of the Ukrainian PEN Club. He won the Light of Justice Award in 2010.

Yevhen Sverstiuk on receiving the Light of Justice Award:

“For the first time in Ukraine, we meet with a reward of a rather subjective nature, that is, not for work that has a material aspect but for moral impact on society. The main purpose of this award is to draw public attention to issues that we delicately avoid or do not delicately profane.

The main enemies of morality were the temptations of the consumer market. In general, we are all naturally equal. We all carry in our chests, according to Shevchenko’s word, “those invisible tablets written with an invisible pen.”

We like to recall Kant’s famous saying about two things that never cease to amaze: the starry sky above me and the inner law in me. However, Kant sees this as the only law of unity—in the sky and in a man’s soul. Thus, there is a correlation between the inner and heavenly systems. Moral maxims and imperatives structure, strengthen, and create the law and the human being. Relativism reduces the entire structure and destroys a person. And then it cries out for moral authorities instead of creating that authority itself. People have a longing for moral strength. People respect the moral principle embodied in the individual.

Yesterday’s slaves of power violated their commandment of “sacred state property” and God’s commandment “Thou shalt not steal” and became slaves of capital. Their minds are muddy. They do not see the starry sky above them and do not feel the law in themselves. Their power is heavy and grey. They don’t like their native land. They don’t believe each other. They have no joy or freedom. And the people feel that the heaviest oppression is moral one.”