What was good for Ukraine in 2021 – expert perspective
Much like the previous year, 2021 has not been easy as Ukraine has experienced an ongoing pandemic, difficult economic situation, as well as a constant threat of a full-scale Russian invasion … the past 12 months ?
Ukrinform asked a few political experts what they think are the main positive developments for Ukraine in 2021, and why.
Sports, vaccination campaign, large-scale construction program
“If we talk about the positive events of this year, we will have to look for them outside of politics. This is because everything about politics always divides Ukrainians. What some see as positive, others perceive it negatively. . I will refer to sociological data, “said Volodymyr Fessenko, head of the Penta Center for Political Analysis.
According to a survey of Ukrainians, respondents are mainly proud of the achievements of national athletes – Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk became world heavyweight champion, Paralympians successfully competed in the last Games, while the national team Ukrainian footballer reached the quarter-finals of EURO.
“I fully agree with these assessments,” added Fesenko.
“Indeed, the sporting events of 2021 left a pleasant aftertaste and gave Ukrainians a lot of positive emotions. The success of our national football team in the European tournament is an important moment because football has always played a role unifying in our country Paralympic performance in Tokyo… Ukraine took sixth place, winning 98 medals, including 24 gold, 47 silver and 27 bronze ”, declared Ihor Reiterovich, Head of Political and Legal Programs at the Ukrainian Center for Social Development.
Additionally, experts mentioned the COVID-19 vaccination campaign as an example of how Ukrainians are able to move forward when the right efforts are made.
“The start of mass vaccination has given us cautious, albeit deferred, hope that sooner or later we will defeat COVID, that by 2022 our nation will overcome the adverse effects of the pandemic. It is impossible to do this without vaccination, and the more we procrastinated with it, the deeper we got into the club of nations that are far beyond civilizational horizons, ”Reiterovych said.
Political analyst Valentin Hladkykh also called attention to this fact: “I think everyone remembers what happened at the beginning of this year. Now that we have vaccines available and the pace of vaccination has increased, the process is underway.
In the same vein, he mentioned a government decision to pay citizens 1,000 UAH for the full cycle of immunization.
“This is a positive thing. The areas in which these funds can be spent were chosen correctly, in my opinion, as these are the segments that have suffered the most from the quarantine restrictions. Some argue that it would be better for an older one. lady from the village to use this money to cover her utility bill than to buy books or go to the theater… well I will say that we are not Russia, we do not have a taiga here, so we don’t have a concept like “remote areas”, actually. Today there is a Nova Poshta branch (national postal service – editor’s note) in almost every locality. So anyone wanting to buying a book can have it delivered. In addition, let’s not forget that people of certain age groups are also allowed to buy drugs for that money, “the political scientist said.
Some 32% of respondents rated the “Big Construction” campaign positively.
Some 32% of those questioned positively evaluated the “Big Construction” campaign, the extension of e-services in the Diia application, as well as the mass vaccination. I also share these ratings. Of course, there are many issues and grounds for serious criticism surrounding these events. But all of this is of course part of the positive trends and advances that meet the public interest, “added Volodymyr Fesenko.
For example, underlines the expert, Ukraine launched mass vaccination with a significant delay, but more than 40% of the country’s adult population has already been vaccinated.
“Regarding the conditions in our country, I think it is a real achievement. In terms of the vaccination scale, we have caught up with Russia, which has its own vaccines and which has started mass vaccination much more sooner than us, “says Fesenko. “I must add to this year’s achievements our record harvest – over 100 million tonnes (over 84 million tonnes of grains and pulses and over 22 million tonnes of oilseeds).”
Language law, book publishing, sanctions against pro-Russian media
“I would like to note the real start of legislative changes related to the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language,” said Ihor Reiterovych.
In the service arena, there have been a lot of related stories – both fun and not so much – about how this transition went. But it works, says the political scientist, because the situation is gradually improving.
“This includes the book publishing market. In fact, not everything is unambiguous because, on the one hand, the number of published books has fallen, many printing houses have closed, but, on the other hand, after the introduction of these changes, after this law has been applied, strong support was given to the Ukrainian edition, which has led to positive changes: people have a better choice of books, the best news in the world is now available, etc. », Notes Reiterovych.
Either way, these changes will have long-term consequences, said the political scientist: “It’s important in terms of building our nation, who we are, and how we understand who we are and where we are going.”
“I would like to remind you of the sanctions, both Ukrainian and American, which led to the withdrawal of a group of pro-Russian information platforms from the Ukrainian information space,” said Dmytro Sinchenko, a political expert and activist of the Capitulation Resistance Movement.
First of all, this is a group of TV channels affiliated with Viktor Medvedchuk, as well as Oleksandr Dubinsky and his YouTube channel.
“The suspension of these channels has considerably improved the Ukrainian media space and halted the rise of pro-Russian political forces in the polls,” said the expert.
Domestic and foreign policy
The first positive thing was the inaugural summit of the Crimean platform initiative, according to Vadym Triukhan, political scientist and diplomat.
Despite fierce opposition from the Russians, it took place in the presence of eight foreign presidents, four prime ministers and two presidents of parliament. In total, delegates from 47 states and international organizations took part in the event.
“Ukraine has never organized such high level events before. Meanwhile, the launch of the platform as such will have long term consequences,” he added.
“This event helped to strengthen the international coalition in favor of Ukraine and allowed us to extend support to our state in the war with Russia,” said Dmytro Sinchenko.
According to experts, the bright spots also include the specification and deepening of strategic partnership relations with the UK and Turkey.
“Programs have been launched to rearm the Ukrainian army, including the navy, with modern equipment, which will change the balance of power in the region in the years to come. It is encouraging,” said Vadym Triukhan.
There was also the launch of the Trio Association, a new format that involves Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The format, initiated by Ukraine, is the first step towards the completion of participation in the Eastern Partnership policy, which the Europeans wanted to apply to replace the EU’s enlargement policy. The fact that European leaders have followed such a move from Ukraine, supported by Chisinau and Tbilisi, gives cause for optimism. Thanks to the appropriate diplomatic efforts on the part of the EU partners and the full implementation of the Association Agreement, the application for membership and the continuation of the relevant membership negotiations will no longer appear as something unrealistic, ”said the diplomat.
Political scientist Valentyn Hladkykh in turn referred to the American visit of the Ukrainian delegation led by President Zelensky, the signing of an agreement between the defense agencies of the two countries, the renewal of the Strategic Partnership Charter, the visit to Ukraine. of Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and the trip to the United States of top Ukrainian diplomat Dmytro Kuleba.
“It is all part of a single chain, all of this provides grounds for talking about the revival and deepening of relations between Kiev and Washington,” he said.
The Ukraine-EU summit was mentioned in the same context.
“At this summit, among other things, an important open skies agreement was signed, which I think is a real step towards the European integration of our country. Due to the quarantine restrictions, the deal is unlikely to yield a quick result, but I ‘I am sure that in the near future every Ukrainian will be able to feel its positive effects.’
“This has considerably simplified contacts between Ukraine and EU member states, contributed to the economic, political and cultural integration of our countries,” agrees Dmytro Sinchenko.
In general, experts noted a change in the tone of Ukrainian diplomacy.
“Ukraine has started to formulate its inquiries and questions more clearly and sharply, and to demand concrete answers, no longer being satisfied with general promises of a future illusory and ‘possible’ membership under certain conditions. that the “door to the EU remains open” It is worth mentioning the initiative of President Zelensky to sign bilateral declarations with EU member states on the European future of Ukraine, ”Hladkykh said.
To date, seven such declarations have been signed. It is clear that once they are in sufficient numbers, it will be more difficult for the European Union to ignore Ukraine’s desire to be part of a united Europe.
“Finally, regardless of efficiency and quality, but despite all the challenges, the majority in Parliament is maintained, the government has survived and the budget was voted on on time. That is to say, the country has managed to maintain its domestic policy. stability – as well as economic. To say everything is fine wouldn’t be quite correct, of course, but I don’t think anything apocalyptic happened. If we look at the hryvnia exchange rate and the rate of inflation, everything is actually within acceptable limits, ”Valentyn Hladkykh concluded.
Myroslav Liskovych, Kiev