Prize of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience 2018 awarded in Ljubljana

Press Release

Ljubljana / Prague, 14 November 2018

The Prize of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience was awarded on 14 November in Ljubljana at the National Assembly during the international conference The Dark Side of the Moon: Dealing with the Totalitarian Past – Confrontations and Reflections.

The Prize is awarded annually to a person/persons who are fighting today against totalitarianism, for the ideals of democracy, fundamental human rights and freedoms and the rule of law. The Prize of the Platform should support its winner(s) in their struggle, help to protect them against persecution and help to support international publicity of their cause.

The Members of the Platform voted this summer for Mr Oleg Sentsov, in recognition of his personal courage, struggle and sacrifice for upholding fundamental democratic values and freedoms after his show trial in the Russian Federation. By awarding the Prize, the Platform wishes to express its respect and support for Ukrainian citizen Mr Sentsov whom the Platform considers, since his detention in May 2014, a political prisoner in the Russian Federation. The Platform calls for his immediate release.

At the ceremony which took place on 14 November 2018 at the National Assembly, Ljubljana, Slovenia, the Ukrainian Ambassador to the Republic of Slovenia H.E. Mr. Mykhailo F. Brodovych expressed gratitude for the awarding of the Platform Prize to the filmmaker, writer and prisoner of conscience Mr Oleg Sentsov. He highlighted that Ukraine considers this as an award for one man but also for 80 other political prisoners who were sentenced in the Russian Federation for such simple acts as hanging the Ukrainian flag in a window, etc. They are people of good conscience, with a drive for independence and they were sentenced just for expressing their thoughts and their elementary freedoms; their human rights were suppressed.

At the ceremony Mr Janez Janśa, leader of the Slovenian Democratic Party, former PM and Member of the Board of Trustees, said that the Prize should help raise awareness in the times we are living through today. Ukraine is Russia’s first victim of the post-Cold War period. These events should wake us up. He stressed that in 2014, after Mr Sentsov’s arrest, there was no mention of it in the Slovenian media, probably because Slovenia is still dealing with the dark side of its history and we all share the destiny of the post-soviet countries. We took a few steps forward but there are a number of issues which we left far behind. Only with common effort can we move forward.