European integration policy of the current government team led by Viktor Yanukovych forces many to reconsider their views on the president. In this context historian Volodymyr Viatrovych raised an interesting topic on Facebook: “Is Europe worth Yanukovych? – that’s the question that Ukrainians will have to answer.” Den/The Day’s Editor-in-Chief Larysa Ivshyna made her statement to this: “We hear such questions more often now – we need to have an honest discussion on that. Let’s plan a round table discussion at The Day’s editorial office.” The reaction was positive. Thus, a very informative discussion on “Association Agreement with Europe – Challenge for Ukrainians” with experts Mykhailo Basarab, Volodymyr Viatrovych, Hennadii Druzenko, and Viktoria Podhorna took place at The Day’s office. You can read more about the roundtable discussion in the upcoming issues of Den/The Day. Here are some interesting thoughts from the meeting.
Volodymyr VIATROVYCH, historian: “Certainly, the Association Agreement will be a victory for Ukraine, but as a historian I can say that history shows that Ukrainians are not capable of using their victories to their benefit. You can read about the events of the distant 1648, of the more recent 1991 or even of 2004. This is one of the most important lessons for Ukraine to learn how to use their victory.”
Viktoria PODHORNA, political scientist: “Currently I don’t see any European choice of the opposition. I have been watching them and for many years I worked in this environment, thus, I must note that they don’t understand or rather don’t want to understand the simple things – the power of opposition is the ability to work with the society.”
Hennadii DRUZENKO, lawyer and publicist: “European integration is not a magic wand but we now have a chance to which we can cling like to a cobweb and build a more decent society. Our voters think in categories ‘I like these and I don’t like those.’ But we should set aside all emotional preferences because Yanukovych has, indeed, in a short period of time really done something that was only discussed by other presidents for 15 years.”
Mykhailo BASARAB, political scientist: “The choice in favor of the EU was made from rigidly pragmatic considerations. However, our politicians were not prepared for such turn in the events. They hoped that Yanukovych would be more predictable. Therefore, under the present circumstances the opposition demonstrates certain awkwardness in different areas. In general, the situation is quite ambiguous: we still must work hard and realize that victory is still not in our pocket…”