Uliana Zakharenko: Living By Hope 11:06, 07/05/2002, “Dyen”
Human beings are always trying to find explanation to mysterious things. One’s birth and death is no exception at all. They are quite natural and explainable phenomena. But how can one interpret a person’s disappearance? As death? But it would be wrong to speak of a vanished person in past tense. As temporary absence? But, as we know, there’s nothing more permanent than the temporary. After some time passes the disappeared person is referred to with a verb “was”.
Uliana Grigorievna Zakharenko, mother of the disappeared ex-Interior Minister Yuri Zakharenko, speaking about her son, says:“Oh, my Yura was so good, kind and decent person.” Then, casting a glance at her son’s smiling photo on the wall, she asks him: “Yura, son, where are you?”
Since the moment of Yuri Zakharenko’s disappearance there passed three years: “I almost never sleep. I’m paying attention to the sounds, waiting when my son will tap on the window and say: hello, mum, that’s me!”
How can one justify vain hopes and mother’s tears? Who will tell her where her son can be found? Is he alive or dead? Can those who are in power answer why Yuri Zakharenko’s family is suffering?
Since last year, when we met with Uliana Grigorievna, the old woman’s condition deteriorated. The grief eats away her last strength. The village house is saturated with the smell of medications. The ambulance is a frequent guest in Zakharenko’s house. Recently in one of the non-state newspapers the old lady read that the famous human rights advocate Oleg Volchek demands that the court recognize her son as dead. And her mother’s heart couldn’t endure the pain… Later, after meeting Volchek in person, she had to admit that it was but a necessary step on his part. But back then her eyes snatched away one word from the article “late” and life suddenly came to a halt for her. “Yura, my son, where are you?” – she cried.
Hope is her only companion. “I’m living by hope. And if I learn that he’s dead, my heart won’t be able to bear it.”