Dr. Sokolenko’s Introduction Speech

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It is a special honour to present my view to this respectful gathering and to bring best regards from my country – Ukraine, one of the youngest in Europe, just 5 years old, to Greece, the cradle of world civilisation which brought democracy, philosophy and all basic sciences to all mankind.

At the same time we know each other for thousands of years. Greek population established their towns at the territory of Ukraine more than two thousand years ago (Olivia, Hersones, Pont Evtsinsky, Tavrida). We not only lived together for centuries but also fought together for our culture, religion and future.

When the life for Greek population in the Crimea became too difficult and dangerous because of Russian-Turkish war, Ekaterine the Great signed 26th January 1792 a decree to give the land near present Herson and Odessa in the south of Ukraine, and even in the north in the Donetsk region, to Greeks. That is why, travelling in Ukraine, you can meet many towns and villages with Greek names, such as Marnynolb, Feogvene, Cimgeronolb, Alexandria, Andreapolis, Evratora, even Sevastropol etc. More than 300 thousand Greeks now live in Ukraine, and I think this is one of the largest Greek diaspora in the world. 80% of the Greek population of the former USSR is living in Ukraine. You all know that life in my country was often very complicated, that is why some of the Greeks even reached Middle-Asia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

I am happy to tell you that in spite of difficulties of our life in Ukraine, which is in process of restructuring and in transition period of the life – from previous regime of being province in a huge empire to doing it’s best for the construction of new independent state. Today, thanks to distinguished leadership of Dr. Agni Vlavianos-Arvanitis, I have been given the chance to channel to you my personal views which in my understanding reflects opinion of industrialists and business circles of Ukraine, who want prosperity to Ukraine.