Ukraine should create an attractive alternative to Putin’s Russia, Prague Mayor says
The Ukrainian people who revolted against the dictatorship, striving to live better, should demonstrate that it is possible to create in the region a country which will be an attractive alternative to President Vladimir Putin’s Russia. That is, a country where a multilateral dialog between authorities and civil society is possible. Therewith, Kyiv should be at the cutting edge of this process.
This was emphasized by Prague Mayor Tomáš Hudeček during the 7th Kyiv Security Forum on Friday, in the course of the session “Changing history: civil society power”.
‘You have the chance to show Russia as the region’s largest country that it is possible to create a country attractive and alternative to Putin’s Russia in this part of Europe as well. And to have a possibility for a multilateral dialog between authorities and civil society. Movement in this direction should be secured’, he believes.
The Mayor of the Czech capital drew parallels between the current events in Russia and the people’s actions in the Czech Republic in 1989 that had led to breakup of the Communist regime to the republic’s accession to the Euro-Atlantic structures – ‘a long-term and strategic goal for Ukraine’. At the same time, he pointed out that the Czech people had not managed at once to use the opportunities available for building an efficient and successful nation. In his advice on how to avoid the ‘Czech experience’ mistakes, he noted that ‘due to the tone existing during the revolution – “we are not like them” – all our Socialist opponents have re-acquired certain strength with time’.
In Tomáš Hudeček’s opinion, the situation in Ukraine is ‘considerably worse’ than the Czech situation was because ‘Communists were in your country not for 40 but for 70 years’. Besides, the Ukrainian society is radicalized, the economic situation is very difficult, there is no single leader in society, and ‘power pressure is being exerted trying to return Ukraine back to the past’.
‘The only benefit I can see consists of a favorable international climate. However, the point is how long it will continue’, he stated.
The Mayor of Prague believes that, first of all, a dialog must be implemented in the split Ukrainian society because ‘there can be no democracy without dialog in society’. ‘It is also quite important to secure the rule of law for everyone and the protection of property rights, something we did not observe in the post-Soviet society in an efficient way’, Hudeček stressed.
At the same time, the Czech capital head is sure that the Ukrainian people’s aspiration to create an alternative to Putin’s Russia requires ‘great civil courage and contacts with the West’. The work must begin from the capital, Kyiv, with its civil society well developed.
‘If you have enough courage to make this step, then, first of all, such a step must begin exactly from Kyiv where civil society, universities and studentship are most developed, and where there is the best ground for pluralism and social discourse. If this happens Kyiv can become the “mother of Russian cities” once again, and it would be best that could happen to Ukraine, to Europe and, finally, to Russia as well’, the Mayor of Prague stated. ‘Glory to Ukraine!’, he added to еnd up his speech.
The Kyiv Security Forum agenda is designed for 2 days and offers six panels open to the media representatives. The agenda can be amended, with amendments posted on the Forum’s website.
A separate area (Press Center) will be organized for the press, with equipped workplaces and Wi-Fi Internet access as well as live broadcast of all the Forum panels. In addition, a specially equipped area in the session hall will be reserved for journalists.
The organizers are ready to help arrange individual interviews with and comments from the Forum speakers on advance notice.
The Kyiv Security Forum annual international event, initiated by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Open Ukraine Foundation in 2007, is a platform for debates on the most pressing security issues in Europe and the Black Sea region. The Forum’s mission is to increase security cooperation between the European Union and the Black Sea region, raise awareness about security development among key players, and promote the role of independent and non-governmental actors in setting the security agenda in Europe.
The event is supported by the Viktor Pinchuk Foundation, the NATO Information and Documentation Centre in Ukraine, and the Chatham House Royal Institute of International Relations (UK).
For information on the project visit http://ksf.openukraine.org/
The Open Ukraine Foundation is an international charitable foundation established at the initiative of Arseniy Yatsenyuk for strengthening public diplomacy and developing Ukraine’s reputation in the world. The Foundation achieves its goal by implementing the key programs: International Dialogue, Cultural Horizons, and Young Leaders. The Foundation is an organization of a broad circle of charity providers and unites around itself any people who care for Ukraine’s reputation and future.
For more details about the Foundation visit http://openukraine.org.