Kyiv Security Forum

The sense of power of democracy is brought back to the West by Ukraine – Volodymyr Yermolenko

23 January, 20:24

Over the past several decades the Western world started losing its faith in itself, and in power of democracy, and it is Ukraine that brings back this faith to the West.  

These were the thoughts expressed by Volodymyr Yermolenko, President of PEN Ukraine and editor-in-chief of UkraineWorld at the Honorary Lecture of the Kyiv Security Forum organized by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s Foundation “Open Ukraine”.

Volodymyr Yermolenko believes that in recent decades, the Western world, having suffered, inter alia, a series of defeats from authoritarian regimes, in particular, in Iraq and Afghanistan, to some extent has begun to lose faith in democracy.

 “Ukraine is now gives the Western world a sense of strength. The sense that democracies are strong, that democracies, when counteracting authoritarianism, can stand strong just because they are democracies. “Ukraine demonstrates that democracies are stronger than authoritarian societies, as each and every citizen and all together in democracies feel their strength and power,” he said.

Volodymyr Yermolenko also stated that the war forced Ukrainians to concentrate and become active participants in the struggle: “Ordinary people do extraordinary things. In Western societies, people often rely too much on institutions and the law. However, one can wait for decades for a legal decision to be taken, whereas human decisions ought to be made right now.”

According to the Ukrainian PEN President, today Ukraine is an interesting phenomenon for societies that for centuries have been underestimated by neighboring peoples. “Ukrainians demonstrate that despite centuries of oblivion, despite centuries of silence, one can be vocal. This is a clear message to other societies feeling somewhat marginalized, forgotten, and unheard.”

Volodymyr Yermolenko also emphasized that the Ukrainian resistance proved the whole world that evil still exists. “For many decades the free world existed with illusionary vision that evil was punished long ago. That the evil was punished at the Nuremberg trial.”

According to Mr. Yermolenko, Ukrainians should convey to the whole world that the evil of Nazism is an absolute evil, still this does not exclude the fact of another absolute evil existence.

“What is the difference between the ruscism and Nazism? Nazism states that there is a category of people enjoying the right to exist (Aryans), and there is another category of people having no right to exist (Jews, Roma, Slavs). The russian regime has been telling us for centuries on and on: no one has the right to exist, no one has the right to live a life. And only the party, and putin will decide who dies and when. This powerful necrophilous nature of this regime is what we discover today. The evil is not completely defeated, novelty types of evil keep emerging,” he noted.

The Kyiv Security Forum, founded by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s “Open Ukraine” Foundation, is the major platform in this country to discuss issues of war and peace, national and global security.