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

Andrii Chernousov: “I thought it could change the way of decision making”

At a conference in Thessaloniki in October 2015, we asked participants from Eastern and South-eastern Europe about their “Transition Moment”. Could they tell us a little story of a moment, when they realised that something was changing fundamentally in the early 90s.

Andrii Chernousov: “I thought it could change the way of decision making”

“When I saw a ballet on TV in August of 1991 I thought that something went wrong. Because in that period of the day actually there were news or whatever else but not a ballet! And than these four guys came on stage and started speaking that there was a kind of rebellion or some sort of revolution and changing power. And I saw that we are on a refresh of a new era! So things will change. But how and what will happen, I had no idea. I think it was the first time that I started thinking that things might change. But about what would happen we were afraid. All the soviet society I’ve learnd in school and than in post soviet, early Ukrainian… I can tell you: It is still much soviet in formal education!  So we all knew we have another government, we have all the secretaries and all this stuff. And they are to decide on our problems. And at that moment I saw the ballet and these four guys I saw that maybe it could change the way of decision-making. And of course we were afraid, because we had no idea what will happen!”

Andrii Chernousov, NGO Kharkiv Institute for Socail Researches, Ukraine

At a conference in Thessaloniki in October 2015, we asked participants from Eastern and South-eastern Europe about their “Transition Moment”. Could they tell us a little story of a moment, when they realised that something was changing fundamentally in the early 90s.

Tatiana Zhurzhenko: “It was a moment of great uncertainty”

“One moment was of course the August putsch in Moscow. And it was a moment of great incertainty. We were very young, we were students and didn’t know how the situation will develop. I think because we were very young we were not very afraid. And the second moment was when Yeltsin shot the Russian parliament. I am from Eastern Ukraine and very close to Russia. We still lived like in the Russian information space at that time. For us it was a moment when it became clear that Perestroika is over. All this kind of utopia of peaceful democratization is over. I still remember watching this on TV, these shocking pictures of tanks shooting the parliament.”

Tatiana Zhurzhenko, Institute for Human Sciences (University of Vienna), Ukraine

At a conference in Thessaloniki in October 2015, we asked participants from Eastern and South-eastern Europe about their “Transition Moment”. Could they tell us a little story of a moment, when they realised that something was changing fundamentally in the early 90s.

 

 

 

2015 NECE Conference in Thessaloniki


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Olena Pravylo, Christine Wetzel & Mandy Schulze

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2nd meeting – October 2015 Berlin

Olena Pravylo

Olena Pravylo

Mandy Schultze

Mandy Schulze

Christine Wetzel

Christine Wetzel

Judith Enders, Polina Filippova

Judith Enders, Polina Filippova

exposition "Der dritte Blick"

exposition “Der dritte Blick”

guided city tour in Berlin-Mitte

guided city tour in Berlin-Mitte

guided city tour in Berlin-Mitte

guided city tour in Berlin-Mitte

2nd meeting – October 2015 Berlin

https://vimeo.com/145891867

Transition Dialogue on Perspektive3

Same but very different

My story of change in the 90s. Perspectives Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria and Germany.

When we think of transition in Germany, we think of reunification of East and West, of living in relation to that other half. In all the states of the former Eastern Block, the so called 3rd Generation – those born between 1975 and 1985 – has made transformation experiences in an age of adolescense. Inbetween breakdown and new beginnings, impoverishment and unknown abundance of goods, new role models and lasting confusion and insecurity. With the promise that all borders are now gone and the sticky feeling that they are still there, just elsewhere and reshaped.

Take the chance to listen to very personal stories from Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria and Germany. And if you like, tell us your own story.

In addition, you will have the opportunity to combine your visit to the panel discussion with visiting the exhibtion DER DRITTE BLICK by Perspective3– a multimedia exhibition on photographic positions of a transition generation.

date: thursday, 03.10.2015

time: 4-6pm

location: Willy-Brandt-Haus, Berlin

on the podium:

Olena Pravylo (Congress of Culture Activists, Ukraine)

Polina Filippova (Sakharov Center, Russia)

Louisa Slavkova (Sofia Platform, Bulgaria)

Christine Wetzel (German-Russian Exchange, Germany)