TIME: 13:00–14:00, 3rd April 2017
VENUE: Henry Jackson Society, 26th Floor, Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP
SPEAKERS: Orysia Lutsevych, Roland Oliphant, Dr Rory Finnin
Chair: Dr Andrew Foxall, Director, Russia Studies Centre, The Henry Jackson Society
Andrew Foxall: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Henry Jackson Society for today’s event, my name is Doctor Andrew Foxall, I oversee the work the society does regarding Russia and the former Soviet Union. Today’s event is on the Maidan revolution and our experts are expertly placed to speak on this topic. On my immediate left is Orysia Lutsevych, manager of the Russia forum at Chatham House, and to her left is Roland Oliphant, Moscow Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph. Roland reported on the events of Maidan and its immediate aftermath first hand, he was in Kiev and saw the events there as they unfolded. He witnessed Crimea and was one of the first reporters at the scene of MH17. To my far left is Dr Rory Finnin, on Roland’s immediate left. Roland is Head of Department of Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge where he also oversees the Ukrainian studies programme. The order of speakers will be the order in which I have introduced them, so it will be Orysia, then Roland and finally Rory.. they will each speak for 6-7 minutes, after which there will be plenty of times to ask questions. So without any further ado, Orysia.
Orysia Lutsevych: Thank you Andrew. Ladies and gentlemen Euro-Maidan is something of a black swan in Ukrainian history and perhaps even European history. On my way here I was thinking, we have analysis, opinion polls but we couldn’t predict that this event would take place. Many of us were asking themselves after this event if it could have been avoided. We saw human suffering as the cost of popular protest. The victims were in the 100s of 1000s. When I ask this question to myself, I think it could not have been avoided. The past 25 years in Ukrainian history, after the Soviet Union, Russian controlled Ukraine by way of de facto, this control was exerted through many ways, through energy and security, through business.. was used as a leverage over Ukrainian development. Also through a sustained polarisation of Ukrainian society and this myth that divided Russian speaking and Ukrainian speaking people.. the consensus that political forces inside Russian and Ukraine er, er exploited this narrative. But also, when Putin saw Ukraine is pushing from the bottom, he understood this is more than a trade deal. In terms of the trade deal between it and the EU, he saw this was an effort to get closer to the Western system. That was the moment when he decided to act, he saw Ukraine is consolidating this pro-Western, I wouldn’t say anti-Russian, but a new view as the new generation was coming into the forefront of political life. So in a way Maidan changed the course of Ukraine and took back control from Yanukovych . as we look back and see how Ukraine is changing, it is important to bear two things in mind regarding this process of change – Ukraine is building a nation and a state. Identity politics, the way in which Ukraine define themselves, what it means to be Ukrainian.. we’ve seen throughout years of Russian aggression, more people respecting Ukrainian language and symbols. They champion human rights. Ukrainians feel it should you know be enshrined and protected in terms of how we build our nation.. but also very important in nation building is breaking away from the communist past. The number of monuments toppled. This is the moment Ukraine is breaking away from the communist past. But also, History comes with a new narrative: all these victims I’m talking about have names, people who remember them.. the 1000s of victims of Maidan.. these are the heroes. Something that is painful but will never be taken away. On state building, Ukraine has a dysfunctional, quasi-Russian system. To funnel resources around groups of people with power. That’s why we are such a poor rich country. Because Ukraine is resource rich and human rich country. On the state building track, Ukraine has two tracks, one is to build a truly representative pluralistic democracy, the plurality of voices which is reflected in government and local government. The task of building an open economic system which guaranteed fairness and equality to Ukrainians to make the best use of their resources.. investment and using them for the best interests of the Ukrainian people. Restoring justice is important as it was overlooked I think in the 90s.. privatisation and opening of the system occurred but without any ruling of the law. I don’t want to take too much of the time but I would just say this situation isn’t easy. There are three things which make me believe that two of these tasks I have talked about are possible. The first is that these people have demonstrated an extraordinary resilience to, a real desire to protect its sovereignty. It is an existential struggle of Ukraine, they either make it again or don’t. I think erm hope is still high, if you ask Ukrainian parents if they think their children will be better off they say, they might not think they will but they do think their children will be. They believe their children will be better off, this is my second point. And the third is that in Ukraine there Is this alternative elite that is emerging. The leadership is from the past. They did try to change Ukraine as much as they could but fundamentally the new political wave will take place in the next generation,. People from political societies, from civil societies and local government need to make sure they are modernised. To finish, […….] was calling Ukraine half-Russia, and Ukraine moved into being called half-Europe. Thank you.
Andrew Foxall: What a good note to end on, thank you. Roland, please.
Roland Oliphant: Erm [laughs] I, I have made a few notes and might not be able to read my own handwriting, so bear with. I spent most of 2014 in Ukraine, erm when I was running around Ukraine and Russia I was […..] I felt myself as John Reid. Actually if you read his stuff it will really strike you. I have many pictures and memories and things of Maidan and Crimea and so on and so forth. So stringing these kind of beads on a string to misquote a poet or something like that. I don’t have the theories or you know the historical political training like the people next to me but actually I am quite suspicious of these theories because journalists go for them quite quickly and then they [the theories] turn out to be wrong. I will tell you a little bit about this memory, it was the morning of the 20th February 2014, which is when the famous sniper massacre took place and again in my head it is a series of imaged and lines. The dramatic thing to say would be I was woken up with gunshots but it was impossible to distinguish the firecrackers from the gunshots having gone to bed at 4am in the morning I was tired and cold. And then kind of through my slumber the bangs were more regular and intense and went to have a look in the square. It was daylight there was a huge fog of smoke from leftover flaming barricades across Maidan. I wasn’t sure what was going on a group of people rushed pashed me carrying a stretcher. Another group of people passed me bringing a stream of stretchers and blood pouring out of the guys. Everyone seemed to be going forward so I moved forward whilst taking pictures on my phone. I can’t remember thinking much apart from knowing immediately that the sounds I was hearing now were different to from the night before – I’ve never ever been in combat have no military experience so I didn’t really know what to do. Shots just echoed around ad I had no idea where they were coming from you felt utterly exposed and completely surrounded yet people were moving on and as I walked on there was a bloke I met dressed up in costume. His helmet got caught and he said mate help me out dude. And he said something quickly and I said whatever keep going. You’ve all seen the videos erm yeah I’m sure with blood everywhere and bits of tissue matter, I’ve never seen a gun in my life but yeah you still don’t know what’s going on. So I went back to my hotel and there’s this pancake shop outside and protesters turned it into a makeshift medical centre and morgue. When I got there were ten bodies there. I moved back the sheet and saw one red hole right here and another red hole right there.. it sounds cliché but they had the nicotine-y look on their skin. And the reason I mention all this is because that look became very familiar to me over the next several months, and I ended up finding myself at a lot of funerals, a lot of battlefields, a lot of morgues in the following year. So there are several reasons…when I wrote this I said there would be three reasons I mention the 20th, there are several reasons. One of course is that no one is being brought to justice for what happened on the 20th. And there has not been a trial…there have been trials for some people who have been arrested…but it’s not clear. Second of all, that was the moment everything changed. For a long time before that people had been saying to me on the square, you know this is going to end with bloodshed and people are going to die. They’d been very frank about that, you know, they were ready to die. However speaking to a photographer friend of mine who was there as well, he’s pretty convinced that wasn’t real bravery that was because you don’t associate death with yourself. You know if you haven’t seen if before it is kind of easy to do that. but nonetheless they did and they died, then it happened and that created the “Орден Героїв Небесної Сотні”, the “heavenly hundred” which became the kind of a birth of a nation movement. And yet it’s so incredibly overshadowed by everything that happened so it seems almost ordinary. That day, a few dozen people died. I mean, we’re about on 10 000 dead in the war in the east now, so it seems almost ordinary if we look at what happened in Dontesk, the fire in Odessa [18.23-18.25] on May 17th, the whole lot. I thought I was going to go back and look at what happened that day and I wasn’t able to because I was sent ot Crimea, then I was sent to Donetsk, then to Odessa, then back to Donetsk. I never had the time really to look into it. I suppose that’s the main point. We thought when we were covering this that we were really getting to the truth and witnessing it so …I realize now that we saw an awful lot but didn’t really understand what was going on, and it’s been a real struggle to go back and work out what happened that day. But also things like, you know, what were the causes of the Maidan? Why did it happen? Why did Yanukovych flea? You know, what’s at work here. All of this is the work of the historians and I think they’re going to be mining it for a very long time. So I think I’ll stop there.
Andrew Foxall: Thank you Roland, last but not least, Rory.
Dr Rory Finnin: Thank you Andrew, it’s nice to be here with Orysia and Roland. I’m actually quite glad that the circumstances around scheduled this event pushed us, let’s say, beyond the so-called anniversary of Maidan itself because I do think there is a danger that we do face in marking and remembering [20.01-20.02] like this on a ritualistic basis rather than on a rigorous one.
Back to what Roland mentioned about not understanding what happened, I do think it’s important for us to keep a regular basis revisiting what happened to Maidan to debate various theories, to mine archives etc, to get at some of those facts that Roland just mentioned earlier. Unfortunately for us I think the title of today’s session “Maidan, three years on”, does carry an implication that it’s kind of still continuing, that it’s still unfolding, and I think that in a sense it is. Let me just say generally, in our discourse, analytical, scholastic, journalistic… we do tend to look back at events like this through a rear-view mirror which naturally constrains and restricts our field of vision, rather than to be turning around, alienating ourselves from a deeper and perhaps more long-term perspective, and I’d like to do a bit of that today. What I’m really getting at is that a view through a rear-view mirror effectively restrains our view to state politics and Ukraine’s political classes when it comes to Maidan. So our retrospectives on Maidan, one year on, two years on, three years on, tends to focus on legilstaiton that comes out of various mechanisms, Bankova, the presidential administration, or the parliament, this battle between reformists and long standing politicians and reformists [21.33], and that is of course completely understandable because these places and these people are the center of policy decision-making. But I think in terms of understanding Maidan and its residents today, this frame really sells itself short, it’s inadequate. Maidan was not and is not contiguous with let’s say state politics per say. It’s in competition with state politics. One way of kind of thinking about Maidan is a kind of parallelism that I hope to unpack with you for a few minutes. For those of you who may have been on Maidan, perhaps you watched so-called oppositional figures like Arseniy Arsenyuk, Oleg Tyagnibok, Vitali Klitschko, give speeches from the stage in Maidan, they were often referred to as representatives of Maidan. That of course is not the case, as many expect, they were go-betweens; go-betweens between the community of protesters on Maidan which was very diverse, we can’t make it into a monolith. I do think we can speak of it in fairly general terms around certain values, of transparency and the rule of law that Orysia mentioned earlier. But really Maidan instantiated a separate order from the Ukranian state as we know it. It was a very remarkable, material and living microcosm of Ukraine’s very diverse civil society. And I want to talk about our need to focus more on Ukraine’s civil society instead of staying attracted by the dramas that have unfolded in Ukrainian politics on a daily basis, to focus on this often subterranean, often hidden from view work of often local often informal, unofficial groups around Ukraine is absolutely critical. It pushes against this idea of Ukraine fatigue for instance, which I think is a very dubious concept to begin with. Having fatigue with a country is something we should be interrogating. I do think it goes back to this question of our recognition of Ukraine’s sovereignty. If we take it seriously, we don’t get tired of a people or a place that’s in crisis. What I want us to think about is in fact before Maidan, the relationship between Ukraine’s civil society and let’s say its political class was of a horizontal nature. So we may think about it as the kind of parallels one obtains between a basement and a ground floor in a home. So prior to Maidan, civil society was let’s say ensconced below, the state actors visible above. Occasionally a door would open, you’d see representaitves and ideas from Ukraine’s civil society make their way up, so the Granite revolution of 1990, the Kuschma protets in 2001, the orange revolution in 2004 etc, they would penetrate this divide. But I think after Maidan and particularly during Maidan this particular parallel was shattered irrevocably, it became much more of a vertical parallel, so civil society has ascended, we might think of it again in terms of analogies, as occupying the same floor as Ukraine’s political class and we see this door opening much more frequently. So the kind of reforms that are coming through Ukrainian legislation are perhaps insufficient in the aggregate – we’d like to see more – but nonetheless the history of the modern Ukrainian state, fairly stunning in their number. We need to be critical about how they get through parliament, we need to be holding Ukrainian political activists and politicians to account for the execution but nonetheless the achievement is substantial. What I am trying to say is essentially that we have ignored to a certain degree Ukrainian civil society, at the expense of often dramatic high flying high profile politicians that I think in terms of analysis and scholarship has meant that we have failed to foresee all the various events that we mentioned earlier. The Granite revolution, the [25.37] protests, the orange revolution again and of course Maidan itself, we failed to foresee because we are looking perhaps in the wrong place that we fail to see the forest for the trees when we’re so distracted via these so distracting machinations in Ukraine’s capital. So what I’d like to do today to keep to our time, so we have time for Q & A…I also have notes like Roland’s that I’m barely able to read. I just want to point out that since Maidan we’ve seen a number of things with respect to Ukraine’s civil society. Remarkably it has grown, so this grim picture that Roland in which scores of people were shot on Maidan for taking part in civic protests…we don’t know the agenda of each individual, but what we do know is that they participated in a project of national political renewal in defence of these ideas of transparency, the rule of law, and they sacrifice their life for them. And even still, according to recent UNDP…the 2016 UNDP survey, 52% of Ukrainians are willing to take part in civic protest movements, that is not a typical 52%. But when one for instance, judges – as USAID does – manifestations of civil society across central and eastern Europe and Eurasia, the criterion of list, risk for one’s life, are never included in the picture. So we look at things like financial sustainability of civil society or organisations, we look at things like advocacy etc. but actually risk human life is not taken into the picture and given what Roland said in particular about the 20th of February, that memory of [27.13] is the most resonant one that we have about Maidan as the makeshift monument or the evolving monuments on Instituska and elsewhere are the places for dignitaries and politicians for instance. That is a resonant memory and that risk still is surmountable so Ukrainians in a majority are willing to step out on the streets and take part in civic protests. So effectively if we go back to this analogy of kind of civil society in Ukraine and political class occupying the same floor of the Ukrainian house, it is very clear that Ukrainian politicians are aware that they can be pushed out that house by civil society. So these are the things I would like us in Britain always to have in mind, that we should be looking at civil society, pressuring politicians and diplomats to do so as well, to support those elements of civil society, for instance, the so-called reanimation package of reform movement which is coalescing a variety of different NGOs and expert groups to push forward a number of objectives on the issue of reform. Those are the places we should be spending some time, investing our attention and our resource, and I suppose that would be a tribute to Maidan 3 years later.
Andrew Foxall: Thank you, we now have 20-25 minutes or so for questions. So, if you have a question please indicate by raising your hand and should we just say who you are and who you represent, particularly organisations as well.
Question 1 (Jeanette): At the moment my main question is between [29.06], before that just a brief comment on what Rory said about Maidan [inaudible 29.13-29.17] the people on the Maidan didn’t expect to be there a few months before…was it a sponteneaous movement full of ordinary people [29.27] and I think a lot of people outside Ukraine didn’t understand what had happened with Yanukovych’s refusal to sign the comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union, was a major change from policy that all Ukrainian leaders since independence [inaudible 29.47-29.54] and that this was a real break. That said, what most people took out of the Maidan was that it was about corruption. And when all people around Moscow and around Russia came onto the streets a week ago, was exactly the same. And many people have pointed out how much younger people who were protesting in Russia this time have been than previous protests. And I just wanted to ask if any of you think that there is any connect between Ukrainian civil society pushing for anti-corruption measures and better governance and what started to happen in Russia?
Andrew Foxall: By all means, feel free to offer thought on that.
Dr Rory Finnin: I am not going to suggest that we should have predicted events like Maidan, what I am pointing to is the general failure, particularly among scholars in my own field, to look at civil society and volunteers in Ukraine as weak, so we’re not paying attention to the fact that [31.17] there, so it’s exactly right, protestors were most likely very surprised by their own participation but I do think that this energy that Ukrainian civil society, this willingness and this general philosophy that’s actually been fairly consistent in Ukrainian national growth for w centuries, has been discounted by those of us who study the country and that has a lot to do with the way we’re entranced and sometimes distracted by machination of political elites and not looking at these little communities. We focus on major urban centres rather than the country surrounding etc. but the point about Ukrainian civil society and the Russian protests now, I have been desperate to see more connections myself. Those of you who have seen videos in fact of students confronting their teachers and headteacher at various Russian schools will know that they in fact are taken a certain view on Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea that is very critical of the Kremlin regime and if somehow we’re able to…I think the ground has been so tainted frankly by disinformation, by anti-Ukrainian rhetoric and on the other side anti-Russian rhetoric that the sense of collaboration is perhaps not as strong as it could have been and could be a number of years later, but I hope to think that there is a possibility of more connection going forward, if the Ukrainian civic groups offer a hand and speak more openly in favour of what’s going on with the younger generation in Russia.
Orysia Lutsevych: If I may just finally…not as a self-advertisement, but Jeanette, you may remember the paper I’ve written…my first paper was how to finish revolution, civil society, and post-colour revolution in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova…I was preparing in 2012 already after Yanukovych came to power and I had a feeling that the gains of democracy that Yushchenko was indeed putting forward, was very easy to reverse and my question was, if civil society was so strong as it was according to the USAID sustainability index, what’s wrong? And my answer to that was that by civil society in most of these cases we mean organised NGOs, which is a minority in the country and disconnected by the majority of citizens. The elite metocracy need to return to society rather than lobbying the government. They did not believe it weakens their case but Ukraine and the rest of civic society is not that organised. But, we have seen the people expressed their disagreement at Yanukovych. The Euromaidan is an expansion of their concept of a civic society, as a civic duty and a certain sector in terminology. In the U.K. we also have the third sector in society, like volunteering. Many reforms have been done this way.. by contributing to public recoupment I don’t know if Ukrainian past is inspiring for Russians, I spoke to a Russian speaker we had at Chatham house from St Petersburg, he said my son is young but is not brainwashed by the media, he reads books but even the young do not like what is happening. The fact that so many Russians are settling in is good, the recent Duma murder was a showcase murder. It is better to live in Kiev and support Putin because this is dangerous. It is risky for life.
Andrew Foxall: Roland, I realise you want to add something?
Roland Oliphant: I think there’s definitely.. my observation is that [inaudible 34:26-36:36] skewed towards western Ukraine. If you went out to Maidan you realise large parts are mobilised, which I just don’t see in Moscow. What changed in Russia is that we did start seeing protests, so that eventually might change. At the moment.. there’s an ineffable sense.. I kind of feel like Russia is different to Ukraine..
Orysia Lutsevych: It also comes back to this freedom of public scope which exists in Ukraine and not Russia,. You need confidence to grow this civic society. It may happen but.
Roland Oliphant: The other point is that Maidan enjoyed the support of the establishment and the oligarchy.. They were on their side.. whereas in Russia you’re talking about a society without any support.. from elements of the political establishments. I don’t see it happening soon.
Orysia Lutsevych: I just wanted to add, in case I forget, if you are interested in their construction of these events.. the [inaudible 37:15-38:45] impressive digital project.
Andrew: Gentlemen on the left, please:
Question 2: (David): Thanks, David Lewis, University of Exeter: this question on civic society.. in a way, lots.. liberal young people.. am I being too pessimistic? [inaudible 38:55-39:40]
Orysia Lutsevych: I think you are being too pessimistic I don’t know what my colleagues will say.
David: Why is this resistance so resilient?
Orysia Lutsevych: Yes. I did a survey at Chatham House recently and asked them the same questions – most of them were unhappy about the speed of reforms. There are millions of people benefitting from the illegal current economy, basically. If you look at the cash, 7 billion hryvnia in Ukraine is circulated around. You can double the salary of every Ukrainian for a year with this same amount.. you can see the wealth concentration in just one area of legislation. There’s a lot of stake and to lose for millions of people. Until the new rules become viable, in terms of public procurement, an impressive change needs to occur to allow supplies to be made available to the middle classes. This new change of the rules in the game allows this to happen. I think it’s important.. there is an impressive social innovation that is needed not just to substitute but to ensure we replace with a new one to make sure there is a constituency for this new Russian place. That is my answer.
Dr Rory Finnin: Two areas, in my opinion, are obstinate from each other – judiciary reform and electorate reform.
Orysia Lutsevych: Yes.
Andrew: Er, Euan.
Question 3: (Euan): Thank you. Euan Grant, former law enforcement and intelligence analyst covering the Soviet state. My question is on the positive developments – political, legal organisations and personally, how is that being reflected in western response. Is Ukraine being supported? In an effective way? That takes account of the changes? I would just say in reference to the shoot out last Thursday in Kiev. There has been very good coverage in quality but perhaps the quality needs to be expanded to get the message across. Thank you.
Orysia Lutsevych: If I could just erm, on assistance and how it’s done personally.. Ukraine has been, you know, flooded with western systems, it has doubled, around a billion last year. These grants and subsidies come from loans from the world bank, not other IMF sources or assistance. The way I see this project is that EU is learning from its mistakes. A lot of work is directed towards reform; a lot of offices are set up at ministries. These include the Home Office, European and Trans-Atlantic offices, the Ministry of Defence, public procurement and housing policy. External consultants based here are Ukrainian and European combined, a good mix of government officials. Its better. We also have the whole team in Brussels supporting Ukrainian interests. They travel to Kiev almost weekly – I mean, if it was up to me, I would allow them to stay in Kiev permanently to save taxpayers money. Er now you can see the difference, you really need to utilise human resources. A lot of support for reform is down to civic society. Everyone understands that IMF plans, western conditionality, visa-free travel etc all make a difference to push things. But domestic pressure puts pressure on this also.
Roland Oliphant: Can I just, yeah – in terms of my support, the nature of my job in terms of the kinetic stuff – so, I don’t really, I haven’t followed the nitty gritty and so on.. I was with the Ukrainian army two months ago on the frontline. They certainly don’t feel like they’re getting support, which I think is, you know, understanding.. shooting all the Russians and so on.. their sense has gone from like resignation to just, there used to be a lot of pleas for help but now it’s just like, oh – you’re from Britain. Where the hells; our help? I had a gun pulled on me at some point.. last time I was there they just erm shrugged their shoulders, a sense of resignation. You’ve just got to pick up your shoulders. What I have heard, interestingly, is that Britain have done more than others. In terms of kind of foreign office help, military training we know about. Things like that. How much does that translate to, ‘I don’t know’? I have to take off at this point, I’m afraid, a news story has occurred. Thank you very much for having me.
Question 4: (Richard): Can I just mention something about conditionality, erm, it’s really important if you do offer support is that you deliver and meet this conditions. It’s dangerous to support colleagues in this formal civic society initiatives. We are failing on this sometimes, we need to understand the stresses of political realities, it’s a really pressing issues that can’t just be left.
Andrew Foxall: I should just say by way of context that reports of a terrorist attack in St Petersburg which is why Roland left. Details are still emerging of course. Around ten people have died, tragically. Gentlemen in the pink shirt in the middle row, please.
Question 5: (Bruce): I was quite enthusiastic when I came this morning, I feel quite depressed now. Have we been doing, has the west been doing enough, the right things? Is the elite taking any endeavour of proving and joining a democratic society. It is quite depressing, so.. what..
Orysia Lutsevych: You’re talking about British elite or western elite?
Bruce: I would say British.. are we doing it? If not, why? Is it working? We’re wasting money on these b*st*rds.
Andrew Foxall: Quite a lot of questions there, package question! Has the west done enough and what more can be done.
Dr Rory Finnin: Has it done enough? Well, I think we need to be constructively critical here. Of course it hasn’t done enough, what happened after Maidan is that Crimea was annexed. Political leaders haven’t spoken forthrightly about what is going on, in terms of invasion. That’s simply inefficient – the best thing we can do is to speak plainly. In that’s sense, rhetorically and politically we haven’t done enough. If for instance Russia was excluded from the swift system, they would it as an act of war. In light of that, and I used to think differently, have a different mind-set before, some steps need to be taken to amend and highly moderate policies.
Orysia Lutsevych: Just to comment you know, if we remember politics, three years ago or four, if somebody told you the west G7 would impose sanctions on Russia, you wouldn’t believe it. I think it’s important to keep this in mind. I agree with Rory, the west could have done more. But already I don’t think Ukraine could have been able to protect itself and reform at the same time – these two things run parallel to one another. Everyday soldiers are killed. So, I think that Ukraine was disadvantaged in the way that before Maida, it had such a bad, elite, corrupt reputation. Now there is more understanding that this is an existential European security issue. But Ukraine has to, it’s not a charity. I am all for more support but Ukraine has to have an asymmetric response. You have to show, that you are organised going home and playing by the new rules. If you have cash declarations like I mentioned then that is not the right system. There is increasing understanding – the biggest blow to Ukraine wasn’t money. It was Trump and Brexit. Because, many Ukrainians, when they look at this, for many, the west was like a model and to aspire to. But no, the ground is shaking, it gives the people who want a different future, a different argument to this process.
Bruce: What’s the best book? I forgot to ask.
Dr Rory Finnin: I would recommend Andrew Wilson’s ‘What this Means for the West’ – it is a very good book.
Orysia Lutsevych: I like ‘The Last Empire’; it’s about the last 6 months of the Soviet Union. It reads like a history novel, I really recommend it.
Andrew Foxall: One question on the back row, the lady, please.
Question 6: Thank you very much. I went to interview people on Maidan and on civic society. I heard about a growing, enormous Maidan community. There were places to pray, to eat.. it was amazing it was allowed to blossom. I was there on the 16th and 17th, I spent a whole day photographing tons and people and the little things they were doing. I felt frightened I think is a good word at taking pictures. You could tell they were gearing up for something. I just think civic society is ready for this change. It was a massive blow.
Andrew Foxall: Thank you erm, I realise that we are now past 2pm but we will take the remaining two questions. If any of you need to leave please do, we won’t be offended – even the speaker has left. Gentlemen on the back row,.
Question 7: I was quite encouraged by your optimism.. taking the title, three years on, I am somewhat alarmed to sweep the currencies as they are at present. Against the ruble, which has been phenomenally only improved. Yet we read about, all the general managers and numbers of people leaving. Is this simply because of the belief that oil will go back to however much it used to be before. Do things reflect a further pessimism? The relationship between Russia and Ukraine? Ukraine is recovering but albeit slowly.
Orysia Lutsevych: I am not an economist but from what I understand, Euromaidan inherited the 10,000 dollars – it was empty and 80 billion was funnelled out to help restore. Interestingly his last state visit was to China. National reserves and you know good oil are depleted reserves. Rouble dropped too but not as much as Ukraine. Ukraine took a big hit from its steel and mining industry. Al ot has been destroyed and GDP dropped dramatically. A lot of assets were weakened and the Ukrainian economy was also weakened. It kills Ukrainian competition too so a double loss for Ukraine. Ukrainians, if you ask in public opinion polls, they understand things clearly. The struggle is existential. The difference between optimism and hope- I am hopeful this action takes to place, no matter what. I am hopeful because I don’t see any other pathway.
Andrew Foxall: Rory, do you?
Dr Rory Finnin: I would simply say, after your terrific review, when you dwell on that question you can’t help but to be hopeful we can good GDP projections but I think the fact that national resources, it’s a good perspective.
Andrew Foxall: Ok thank you, if some of you do still have thoughts, comments, queries or questions the I’m sure Rory or Orysia will be happy to answer these. But I will have to draw your attention to a close as it is now a little over 5 past 2. Thank you to both of our speakers. The message should be keep the faith with Ukraine and not interpolated into much broader geopolitical matters and discourses. Thank you both for coming along, thank you.