This Thursday we want to talk about Ukraine 2030 and the importance of thinking about Ukraine after the war. But isn’t that a bit premature? Isn’t this tempting fate? Why is it important to start talking about the Ukrainian future after the war right now while the war is developing full scale? Is it not too early?
We talk about these questions with our guest Valeriy Pekar who recently published his last book “Українські основи” / Ukrainian fundamentals (2022) dedicated to being Ukrainian and the future of Ukraine. What is the idea behind this collection of essays? What are these ‘Ukrainian fundamentals’ that make the Ukrainian situation so peculiar?
In an earlier essay The End of the Russian Empire and Challenges for Ukraine (2016) Pekar claimed that Russia is inevitably doomed to civilizational failure and Ukrainains need to withdraw from it. The war seems to make this inevitable. That puts the war also in a different perspective. Could the war be the crisis in which a new nation is born? Or put it a bit more dramatic: don’t we owe it to those who sacrificed their lives in the war, who fell by bullets, missiles and brute violence for the future of Ukraine and the Ukrainians, that Ukraine of tomorrow will not be a continuation of Ukraine of yesterday?
If we think about the future of Ukraine will this future be a continuation of Ukrainian politics, culture and tradition? Or will it be a new beginning and is the war a treshold of what Ukraine has been, and what Ukraine can become? Valeriy Pekar seems pointing in the direction of what Hannah Arendt calls ‘natality’: the human possibility to make a new beginning: “the language and religion on the threshold of modernity do not determine anything, because values are the main thing”? If this is so, what are these values Ukrainians have to cherish as a nation?
Whatever happens: reflecting on Ukraine after the war is not building fancy air castles, but one of the most pressing questions of today.
Valeriy Pekar is a Ukrainian entrepreneur and public activist, professor of Kyiv Mohyla Business School, co-founder of the civil platform New Country, author of the book Colorful Management (2016). His most recent book (as publisher and co-author) is The Ukrainian Foundations (2022).