Head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance Anton Drobovych: “Ukraine will win and prove that there are fundamental good things and values that are worth fighting”
Aspen Institute Kyiv launched a series of international panel discussions #UkrainianDialogues. Together with Aspen Institute Spain the first dialogue was held. Anton Drobovych, the speaker of the first discussion, shared his point of view on the reasons for the Russian-Ukrainian war and how this war has changed Ukrainian society.
This war has changed my life and the lives of millions of Ukrainians
Anton Drobovych is the Head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance. Before the war, he worked at the office in the center of Kyiv city and managed a large team of influential state institution. But after February 24th, he decided to defend his country with weapons in his hands and became a part of Kyiv Territorial Defense.
— This war has changed my life and the lives of millions of Ukrainians. For more than 40 days I have been digging trenches, firing machine guns, standing at checkpoints in night glasses, and training to destroy tanks with grenade launchers. Now I serve in the Kyiv Territorial Defense forces and I don’t see people I love.
One of the key conditions for russizm — unwillingness to defend peace and justice
As a person who has a master’s degree in law and a Ph.D. in philosophy of culture, Anton had been thinking about the reasons for the Russian invasion. He is convinced, that the one of the reasons why it is progressing was the willingness of the Western world to defend its values:
— The reason for this war was Russian nationalism of the imperial type — a new reincarnation of nacizm. Many people in Eastern Europe call it russizm. One of the key conditions for rushizm was the unwillingness of the western world and the United Nations to defend peace and justice.
As we know from the polls, a huge part of Russian society agrees with Putin’s aggressive politics. Not only because of many years of propaganda, but also because of the global agenda, which preferred to ignore that problem:
— Instead of honest and complex dialogue on the highest political level on key issues of life and death, the world has for decades exchanged slogans and declarations. But the world has already changed because we fought back. — says Anton.
We understand that we are a united nation, despite all differences
Before the war started Anton moderated the seminars of Aspen Institute Kyiv. Among them were the National Identity Project seminars, where its participants tried to find solutions for the divisive discourses that atomize society and lead to intergroup and interpersonal conflicts:
— One hundred years ago, in 1917, Ukrainians officially created the first Ukrainian Republic. But Russia destroyed it and erased all the memories about it. In 1991 we restored our independence and our political objectivity. Since that time, we are still trying to understand who we are. We have a lot of thoughts and discussions on Ukrainian Identity. For example, Aspen Institute Kyiv had a program about Ukrainian Identity. We asked our participants: what is Ukrainian identity? What is the idea of Ukraine? etc. We revealed that it is very difficult and a long way because we are different. But at the same time, we understand that we are a united nation, despite all differences. A few years ago, if you asked somebody in Lviv or Kyiv about Mariupol, he answered that he didn’t know so much about that city. But now any person from every corner of Ukraine feels that Mariupol is his heart, Chernihiv is his land, etc.
Ukraine will win and prove that there are fundamental good things and values that are worth fighting
Everyday Ukraine proves that values are not just about declarations, but also about readiness to stand for them:— We are supported by almost everyone: musicians, artists, merchants, politicians, truck drivers and astronauts, football players, dockers and hackers, athletes, models, bishops, and dozens of foreign governments . Ukraine will win and prove that there are fundamental good things and values that are worth fighting for. Even worth a life if necessary.