I was always conscious of Ukrainian diversity. This feature is very common for such countries of Western Europe as for ours. This multiplicity exists due to the fact that different regions have been under the influence of Russian empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire and Poland. So we should understand that the official motto of European Union «in varietate concordia» meaning «united in diversity» refers to Ukraine as well.
We have had a chance to see Ukrainian unity in diversity by ourselves while doing our party’s motor rally through western and eastern regions. We know that distant watching country’s development through media causes partial comprehension when the only way to understand the real situation lies in direct observation of changes happening in the country and communication with usual Ukrainians.
So we chose very symbolic place to start our rally. We departed from Kiev-Pechersk Lavra that is meant to be sanctity of the world Orthodoxy and the third inheritance of the Mother of God. The names of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, Nestor-chronicler, thousands of Orthodox ascetics are associated with Lavra.
Besides, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra stood out years of persecution throughout its history, and so we gathered here to ask for the God’s blessing our plans and affairs for the sake of Ukraine.
We arrived at Kanev then (city of Cherkasy region) where the greatest Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko was buried. Ukrainians believe this city to be something more than a just architectural sight. His poetry is a source of inspiration where everyone can find something special for him or her. So I just said thank you to the greatest sculptor Matvei Henrykhovich Manizer from Petersburg who inscribed monument to Taras Shevchenko on Chernecha Mountain in Kharkov in the powerful and very Ukrainian ensemble of the Dnieper bend.
And doesn’t matter how many years have passed. A lot of Ukrainian generations would always remember these marvelous sights of Kanev along with this genius who has made his own contribution to a monument installation to a greatest Ukrainian poet.
Then we visited Bila Tserkva of Kiev region. Party work was started and it was something, but not routine at all. That was a really huge work. Meeting and communication with party members along with commenting on the current issues of Rozumna sila development were held. We had a really focused audience, and obviously all those people were quite determined even despite of their young age. So we assumed the political party of Bila Tserkva had already started its growth.
Also we noticed a huge contrast between Kanev and Bila Tserkva citizens. They are more observant in Kanev when Bila Tserkva habitants are more energetic because of the city industry
Moreover, we visited its Alexandria Park that is famous for truly being one of the largest in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. By the way, this park represents the very example that Ukraine has always been the part of Europe. Not many of you knew that the French architect Muffo was invited to design its master plan, did you?
Then we arrived at Vinnitsa where my friend and one of the leader of a party at the same time Panadii Sergey Alekseevich met us. An appointment with local party members and shooting the story for TV Doba channel were organized.
Khmelnitsky was the next city we went to. It turned out to be very depressing, as the whole region in general. Khmelnitsky used to be one of the Ukrainian military-industrial complex centers and so there is a huge need now to elaborate its new development strategy.
After we got to Ternopol, we tried to focus on the contrast between Central and Western Ukraine cities. Comparing to others cities of our motor rally, Ternopol was much cleaner and better-conditioned. On the other hand, the propaganda level was so huge there that a feeling of its artificiality emerged.
Surveillance of not only Ternopol but the whole Western Ukraine prompted a deep regret that monuments to fallen soldiers of the Great Patriotic War were not maintained appropriately. We saw one of them with our own eyes. I think we should demonstrate much more respect to our fallen soldiers. But outside the city we noticed completely different attitude towards the monuments as they were painted, whitewashed, surrounded by flowers. It is very precious that locals understand the importance of paying such attention.
We visited Greek Catholic cathedral temple of Ternopol-Zboriv diocese built in Baroque style in the middle of XVIII century that was called as Church of the Immaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary.
Then we went to the largest Orthodox temple complex and the monastery in Western Ukraine such as Holy Dormition Pochayiv Lavra that was the second spot on the route after the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra. Please, take my piece of advice. Go there and forget about time for a while. It was cloudy summer day but that did not affect on my impression of the monumental Orthodoxy statue.
By the way, I would like to share my personal observation I made during the motor rally. All temples were well or even perfectly-maintained but, of course, we noticed regional differences. We moved away from Pochayiv and then entered Lviv.
Frankly speaking, I had a certain inner worry while entering the main city of Western Ukraine. But it disappeared immediately as I felt friendliness of locals, particularly of Lviv channel NTA journalists who understood my desire to speak Russian during the interview.
There were a lot of questions about Rozumna sila and our proposals to Ukraine and to its people so Lvivans showed a genuine interest in our party. We visited Saints Peter and Paul Garrison Church built at the beginning of the XVII century that is also known as Jesuit Church. Then we went to Volyn region. We met with party members of Lutsk and Rivne and discussed cooperation with the central apparatus of the party in Kiev. Also we gave an interview to Volyn and to Rivne 1 Channel. We visited one of the local mines because we understand Volynsky coal basin is very important for Ukraine. But Novo-Volyn mine number 10 has already been building for thirty years. The thing is the workers gladly agreed to share our party ideas and gave us a miner’s helmet as a gift.
Volyn is a depressing region so that requires a constant and special State’s attention which it doesn’t get. Instead, volynians are not depressive at all. They are quite sociable and active although hold some distance and take carefully all those who came from far away. But if they are about to keep up with a conversation you will find them to be great interlocutors.
We visited a very beautiful and tidy and also calm and quiet Svyatogorsky Assumption Zimnenski Stauropegial monastery. This is a nunnery of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. You can really feel a true pacification here. Probably, there was one of the strongest prayers for Ukraine and its fate here.
Let’s generalize our impressions of the Western Ukraine. People have poor level of life. Ladies and gentlemen, we are talking about poverty. Roads are mainly in a poor condition. If the highways still can be used, then regional roads require major repairs and they need to be totally rebuilt.
Pot-hole patching is useless here so it will become a spending money for nothing. So once again, I became certain in the economic concept of the Rozumna Sila party which lies in infrastructure and transport system development. Only such way will help to extend the whole chain of Ukraine’s economy. And all people we met during the rally agree with it.
We drove to the East of Ukraine then. Through Kiev we got to Poltava and met with our young and energetic party members there. The meeting was on the first place of the agenda. I think holding modular education on the basis of the Poltava organization and training for representatives of regional party structures would be a great idea. And also working on the promotion of the party itself was held that meant giving interviews to TV Ltava Company journalists who accompanied the rally in the area.
Let’s pass to our general points. Although center of Poltava is well maintained and comfortable, the city still needs a huge funding to repair roads. We held a press conference in the office of its regional party organization and visited local attractions afterwards.
Sooner, we arrived at Kharkov. The city used to be the first capital of Ukraine. It turned to be very clean and well maintained. Monuments to fallen soldiers of the Great Patriotic War were also perfect. We had a plan there too. Meeting with party members and life show on the Kharkiv ATN channel were organized.
Then we arrived at Donetsk region. Firstly, we went to Holly Assumption Svyatogorsk Lavra that is third after Kyiv Pechersk Lavra and Holy Assumption Pochaev Orthodox Monastery of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
These well groomed and grace monastery atmospheric places locating on the right high bank of the Seversky Donets river have been the favourite ones since the very childhood. Our visit symbolically fell on July 7th when the temple celebrated the Nativity of John the Forerunner, who subsequently became John the Baptist.
Then we moved to Severodonetsk. Although there is no level of anxiety here, but still there is a proximity to the conflict zone in the East of Ukraine such as only 30 kilometers to the line of delineation and the fact of forming city budget due to the military units that by the way are the largest taxpayers nowadays. Our Severodonetsk party members are very young, lovel, and future oriented, and the organization have existed for only four months.
We arranged the meetings with the party members again and again. Alexander Olshansky who is the head of the Lugansk regional party organization showed us the city and its memorable places. We worked on the main points of the appointment with party members and laid flowers to the monument after Ukrainian General and hero posthumously Alexander Radievsky. Then we visited Pokrovsky city that used to be called Krasnoarmiisk. And, of course, meeting with Rozumna sila members alng with the respected leaders Alexander Schweiko and Alexander Mironenko was organized. Besides, we showed up on the local television channel «Capri».
There was a perfect time for handing over a gift from the workers of Novovolynsky mine. And so a miner’s helmet with the inscription «To miners of the East from the miners of Volyn» reached the destination here. I handed it to Valery Arzhavitin who is a Deputy Chairman of Pokrovsk city
We visited Pokrovsky repair and mechanical plant working with mining equipment, and had a loud, live and informal talk with its workers. There was a something new about Pokrovsky city life that related to a large number of citizens who ran from Lugansk and Donetsk and moved precisely here and surely made the city more dynamic.
And now let’s pass to the general conclusions of two rally stages. At the beginning of this article I said that the official motto of the European Union «in varietate concordia», «unity in diversity» would refer to our country also. And maybe, its referring to Ukraine is on the first place. After all, unity in Europe is understood so that if different people hear each other and realize what they have said, then they find something in common. This builds on the unity of any European political nation, including the Ukrainian one.
We heard questions about multiculturalism of the Ukrainian nation even in the Severodonetsk. In response, I said that I urge both opponents and supporters of Rozumna Sila to unite for the sake of preserving the state of Ukraine itself. After all, we already have half of Transcarpathia talking in Hungarian, and our country is now often perceived as a «football ball», which can be tossed here and there by almost everyone.
People of our country are united by problems. We all have concerns about the protracted ATO, the «chaos» in the Verkhovna Rada, when will burglars stop getting power, and what will be the first steps of the Rozumna Sila party after it passes in parliament. Everybody is concerned about the topics of education of youth, bribery in elections, high taxes and the real state of domestic medicine. And people are worried about the same question in Pokrovsk, either Donetsk region or in the West of Ukraine that is the total lack of stability in Ukraine and so, uncertainty about future and inability to raise children safely. On the other hand, people in Ukraine are increasingly worried about real family values such as future lives of their children and its stability or balance.
And the overall assessment: people have learned to survive contrary to state policy. Obviously, people live their lives, and officials live their own. Meanwhile, the authorities feed the Ukrainian people with endless promises of future economic prosperity. But what prosperity can be when we all see what is happening to enterprises that are still somehow afloat only by the efforts and support of the leaders? These enterprises often work only because they are trying to save jobs for professionals. There would be no other options of work for specialists.
All the suggestions of Rozumna Sila» caused both attention and approval, and sometimes a dispute, which is absolutely normal. I think it is necessary to systematically deal with the improvement of the Ukrainian economy — in energy, transport, metallurgy, chemistry, agriculture, to determine priorities, to formulate a strategy. And there will be nothing without it all.
There is the only one way of revival of Ukraine. This is the «triad»: the establishment of peace in the country, the development of the economy and the arrival of investments; the rule of law, the «dictatorship of the law»; the safety of our citizens and their well-being. There will be no security in Ukraine without establishing peace, and there won’t be a strong economy without security.
Rozumna Sila has to come to power in order to implement its strategy. At the moment, we are building a classical political party from the bottom to the top so that we can participate in initiatives of any level — from the local community to the parliament. And so it is necessary to represent the party in all regions of Ukraine, and to construct the party organizations in the regions and in the oblasts.
Do you know that nation is the main Ukrainian treasure? And motor rally helped to understand that. It doesn’t cause any negative emotions so we know the way we choose is right.
In addition, there are always new people thanks to the new emerging contacts, and so as those who eventually will become the leading party members. Ukraine is still a multicultural, multinational country that has always been famous for a tolerance and good relations with its neighboring countries.So,instead of political manipulation and revision of a history, now we need to concentrate on the unification of our country and the reconciliation of society, not its division. The slogan of the European Union, «unity in diversity», is really about Ukraine, because the diversity of our country is the strength of Ukraine, and not its weakness. While the current Ukrainian government is trying to divide the people into linguistic, territorial, religious and other features, Rozumna Sila demonstrates a fundamentally different approach that lies in visiting temples of different churches of Ukraine, meeting and communicating with different people. Our West-East-South route was planned according to its strategy.
Rozumna Sila’s motor rally unites the whole Ukraine.
Translation — Alina Horach