Ukraine: We are not important / by Levko Ivanchuk

After shocking the world with bravery in being united together for a cause of Eurointegration, photos of free and delicious sandwiches being handed away on Maidan, and, eventually, people being shot on the streets of Kyiv, we remained what we were before: unimportant, irrelevant and peripheral. 

Globally, we are just another country which is at the opposite ends of a scale, far away from a longed-for and respectable rating of 'very good’. Ukraine, despite revolution, remains in shambles. To me, this is no surprise. On contrary, such state of affairs was anticipated and should be expected in the future. In fact, things are only going to get worse. 

Let us recap what we have achieved as a nation in a pragmatical sense. Initial goal of the uprising was to protest against Ukraine joining a trade union with Russia and instead signing an association with European Union. At that time, in November 2013, both EU and Russia were in recession, although Russia was doing slightly better in terms on economical growth. If one is to apply logic to this situation, there are three paths to take: 1) Join with Russia, 2) Join with European Union, 3) Do not join anything. What has happened since? We are half-way through option 2. 

Let us look at the costs of such decision. Economy is as close to the default as it has ever been. We lost Crimea and are losing the East. We lost many lives in Kyiv, Odessa, Donetsk and Kharkiv region, the latter two also come with destroyed infrastructure and many refugees. We have quite a sizeable population of wounded military personnel that requires social, medical and psychological support for years to come. The number of dead and wounded soldiers is only going to increase. Small and medium sized businesses are paralyzed because of dollar & euro exchange rates. Some businesses have closed due to their ties with Russia or Crimea which, for whatever reason, became impossible. Some were bombed to bits. This list goes on and on.

These are well known facts. This is an enormous price, which includes loss of many lives, never mind anything else. All that we got in return is a half-signed association with European Union, big exposure in world wide media and some psycho-sociological changes in our society. However, we are still not sure how to treat our past, which language to speak, which side to join, etc. Although things seems to be moving in the direction of partnership with EU, people are still not sure where to go. Meanwhile, those who die in the battle field don’t care all that much about which direction their country chooses — their job is to defend its people while we decide what to do. 

While we sort out our internal differences, like, for instance, which language to speak or which side should be join - West or East, others are exploiting that time developing solutions to future problems, inventing and developing in collaboration with each other. Future is not behind the politicians — they are a thing of the part. Our future is only in our own hands and in our own innovation. Read any globally acclaimed newspaper or magazine — you will struggle to find a mentioning about Ukraine playing a significant role in the future. While reading these articles, you see the following trend — every part of the world is mentioned, in some way or another, yet Ukraine is no where to be seen anymore. News about Ukraine simply vanished.

We are irrelevant. Ukraine is the country for Russia and the rest of Europe to sort out their differences. That is so because we allow them to. We, the people of Ukraine, every single person, allow our soldiers to die in the East. We allow Western powers to dictate their terms and Russia to do whatever it pleases proper. We allowed our country to descent into chaos by refusing to resolve our own differences by means of thinking, collaborating and talking, instead resorting to shouting, burning and shooting. We, again, fell into a trap of a lucrative ‘quick fix’ option of ‘revolution’ and Big Change, or change of mentality, as it is often described today. We choose a short — term ‘solution’ to global issues, which take years to resolve. We choose war over peaceful and thoughtful discussion — and we have received exactly that. 

We will remain irrelevant until we sort out our differences. We will stay peripheral until we decide what it is that we want to do with our country and our land. We cannot do it by flighting and protesting — the only way is a conversation, a peaceful dialog among ourselves. We need to apply our brains, people, not our fists.  

I believe, as a citizen of Ukraine, it is my duty to take whatever experience I can from anyone in this world and apply whatever will work best for my country. I do not have any discrimination, I am open to virtually any idea. I am roaming this world collecting experience, not escaping the ruins of my country. Despite the surprise of virtually anyone around me, I intend to go back and do whatever I can to apply the experience of people I’ve seen around the world in my community, in my city, in my country.