A Letter on Transition from Ukraine

Transition is never ending in Ukraine. Some people think that their parents’ generation was much more happier. Maybe we mentally are on a new level, but standards of our livings are still very far away from our expectation. We had some chances that we could pass as an elevator into the Future, but these features are not implemented, society is not ready yet.
The Soviet system was a completely different paradigm in which the world is structured in a way that isolates people from the power and of each other. If you tried to live outside the box, then you were always returned to your place in society that has been intended for you. The usual proverb for that time: “Do not step out! Be like everyone else! Do you really need more than others? Do not follow the order because the order will soon be set aside.” Authorities have existed in a parallel and better universe, people did not know better living. Everybody was influenced by propaganda and each age group had their narratives, that adressed just them. They all had to be the same and all were supposed to be happy with it.

We are not synchronized with each other as Ukrainian citizens – but we are synchronized with the world

The system collapsed and along with all the changes came restructuring. But people do not understand how these new circumstances work. The resulting information vacuum was soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall filled with new narratives and news patterns of sense making from the Western world. But even the wreckage of the Soviet empire proved to be very persistent in it’s power of sense making to people, leaving a strong feeling of nostalgia and romanticizing of Soviet social life.
Now it seems to us that, while we are not synchronized with each other as Ukrainian citizens, we are in any case synchronized with the world. Because the world is also staggered and came into instability – the crisis of values, great movements of migrants, and challenges to cooperate with ever new partners. That are unusual conditions for Ukrainians. So we try to perform certain models of how to overcome the instability and balance in difficult conditions.
We grew up in harsh conditions and they supposedly gave us a better chance of survival, but the Western model of education gives a more open view of the world for others. We were born in a closed, a locked up society, we are used to keep on experimenting and adjusting to the situation as it is.
But now the world is open for Ukraine and we have a kaleidoscopic world-views and approaches through which we look at the challenges in our communities. We write this post from Krivoy Rog, where right now stand Veche, a sort of Maidan on local level, in their defence of fair elections pf the mayor. We have real new communities here, they are active, working with minorities, public space, support of internally displaced people and support army with humanitarian issues. And mostly those activities are volunteers work. We are doing hackatons, applications, self-motivation trainings and many other stuff to develop ourselves.

We are creating out future right now

We are creating out future right now, preparing for a constantly changing environment, and by our choice, it is literally the future of the country, region, the World. We would also like to have the experience that we are so needed, but we understand that the challenges are very new and we have to invent something new, but based on the conditions, opportunities and practices that have worked out for other communities.
For us, two things are most urgent now: an exchange of knowledge, experience, case studies and ongoing actions experiments. Exercises in modelling future – strategizing.
For the new generation it is natural to be Ukrainian, but we have to transform our own identity. We belong to the generation that started their lives in certain circumstances and later had to pass a different reality – to get to yet another.
There are still people in small and large cities who are the same age like us, but for them the world didn’t change. But this world will knock on their doors, and they will have to change themselves. But it will be painful as it was for many from the generation of our parents.

from Alexandra Khalepa, Yaroslav Belinskiy and Olena Pravylo