Aspen Institute Initiative for Colombia: the eleventh #UkrainianDialogue on values

Aspen Institute Kyiv held the eleventh #UkrainianDialogue international discussion with its partner Aspen Institute Initiative for Colombia. Juan Carlos Esguerra, Partner at Asesores Juridicos moderated the session. Pablo Navas, Executive Director of Aspen Institute Initiative for Colombia, made an introductory speech at the beginning of the event.

Natalie Jaresko: There is no way other than to defend your homeland and your existence to the very last moment

Natalie Jaresko is the Head of the Aspen Institute Kyiv Supervisory Board and the Minister of Finance of Ukraine (2014-2016). She underlined that, first of all, the Russian war in Ukraine is not about the war over the territory or some particular issue. It is a war of existence. 

— Russians announced they do not believe Ukraine, its culture, history, people, and language exist. There is no other way than to defend your homeland and your existence to the very last moment.

Ms. Natalie stressed that there are at least three main ways to help Ukraine:

— The first one — is to urge your government to join sanctions, stop purchasing products, and stop doing business to isolate the Russian economy. As a democracy, you have an opportunity to change policies to be more specific about sanctions against Russia and Belarus. The second – is to provide financial support for those Ukrainians who remain in Ukraine. There is an enormous amount of compassion for the 6 million Ukrainian refugees in the EU, but there are very few organizations that help Ukrainians who remain in Ukraine. The third – is to learn more about Ukraine so you can avoid the propaganda.

Yulia Tychkivska: even though we have common historical events, Ukrainians and Russians are different

Yulia Tychkivska, Executive Director of Aspen Institute Kyiv, highlighted that the difference between Ukrainian and Russian societies is in values.

— When we talk about values, we do not mean declarations somebody would like to show or express. We talk about actions. We understand values as a mechanism for how you take these or those decisions. Even though Ukrainians and Russians have common historical events, the values and the way we live are different. I believe that not just Putin but a big part of Russian society can not accept that we do not want to return to the Soviet communistic times and would like to live human values-oriented life.

Also, Ms. Yuliya stressed that the key factor of our resilience is the mobilization of the whole society.

Andriy Kulakov: The Soviet Union was the federation led by the Russian nation, and all other nations were considered as the minor ones

Andriy Kulakov is the Program Director at Interviews Ukraine. As well as Natalie, he underlined the Russian-Ukrainian war is the war for the right to exist. Mr. Andriy said Russia continues the Soviet Union’s imperialistic paradigm with its superiority of Russians and minority of other nations. The world needs to fight it.

— In the previous historical background, we were part of the Soviet Union. Formally the Soviet Union was a federation of different so-called independent states. That independence was mostly fictional but officially communicated due to some official and diplomatic reasons. But mentally, we had the federation led by the Russian nation, Russian superiority, and all other nations considered minor ones, with minor cultures and mentalities. That is a pure imperialistic paradigm, maybe the last one in the modern world. But we need to fight and overcome this paradigm to diminish it forever. We should put the values of individuals, independence, and the equality of all nations as the key values for further development.

Mr. Kulakov was born in Mykolaiv – previously a Russian-speaking and very Russia-oriented city. Now he lives in Bucha. He said that after the beginning of the full-scale invasion, daily bombing, and the crimes in Bucha, Irpin, and Mariupol, all the people understood that Ukraine must win this war.

Oleksii Makeiev: We need more artillery, anti-aircraft, and anti-missile defense systems

Oleksii Makeiev is Ukraine’s special envoy on sanctions. He said the world level of supporting Ukraine is huge, but we still need weapons.

— On February 24, nobody could have imagined that in June, Ukraine will be using the weapon that is provided right now. Everybody is keen to give us the assistance we need today. But from 1 to 15 cruise missiles are being fired on Ukraine by Russia every day and what we need most are more artillery and anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense systems. 

The main objective of the #UkrainianDialogue project is to create a dialogue platform between Ukrainian leaders and international representatives for sharing truthful information about the Russian-Ukrainian war and discussing the ways how to support Ukraine for the victory. 

Aspen Institute Kyiv is grateful to Aspen Institute Initiative for Colombia for their support and the opportunity to have a dialogue with their Community.

In the Ukrainian Dialogue podcast Ukrainian leaders talk about reasons for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, its consequences to other countries, ways how the Western community can help to protect values and peace in the world. It is not only analytics and insights but their personal stories of fighting for freedom and dignity.  

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