'What we doing now is not reforms, but attempt to create independent state'

Author : Dmytro Gordon

Respondent : Yuriy Butusov

Source :

Journalist and editor of Internet portal Yuri Butusov in interview with Gordon shared his view on Donbas conflict and Ukrainian corruption, explains why Maidan is still a victory for us and why Russian propaganda is so effective
11:41, 16 August 2017

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112 Agency

Gordon: Gordon show is on air, and today my guest is a journalist, editor of the informational portal Yuri Butusov.

- Good evening. You are a native of Kyiv. What this city means to you? What is your perception of your hometown?

- For me, Kyiv is the place where I feel energy. For me, these are people who live here. I grew up not in the center of Kyiv, but in a district with many newcomers. I do not think that our capital is a city for Kyivans. It is such a big pot, a large reactor, which in fact it is created to melt, attract, create some new energy.

- Today, many people, even pro-Ukrainian, say that in fact Maidan was just a technology. People were paid money to participate in it. What’s your opinion?

- I think that anyone who was on Maidan remembers perfectly that this was absolutely the action of civil society. Just someone who was far from the Maidan or has opposing political views can talk about money.

- Do you exclude the fact that at the beginning of Maidan it was prepared by people who had some political goals?

- I do not see that someone was preparing Maidan. I spoke at the end of November, at the end of the first protests, with the leaders of the opposition parties. And I know for sure that each of them was absolutely convinced that on Sunday they would thank the people, everyone would disperse and the protest actions would stop. They thought that the power of protests went down, there were few people and there was no sense in keeping several tents in the center of the city. That's why this crackdown (beating students) caused such surprise. It was absolutely incomprehensible, not provoked, and was not planned by anybody - except for the authorities.

- What do you remember most during the Revolution of Dignity, of which you were an active participant?

- The everyday escalation of heroism and consciousness, which I was a witness of. It was such an energy that made people act. Every day, one of the ordinary people did something on his own initiative to prove that he also struggles in some way for his rights, for the rights of other citizens. This constantly incited and others to do the same steps. Every day something happened, and every day it was such a story ... and it did not cease to surprise in fact.

- Did Maidan have a leader?

- There was no formalized leader. But Maidan had hundreds of instrumental leaders who took responsibility for some particular area of their work. If we are talking about the political situation, then, of course, the people's deputies took leadership here, and their role, especially at the first stage, was exceptional and irreplaceable. But the same leaders were in every place. Everywhere it was possible to see some miracles of self-organization, and all arose because of the fact that some person took responsibility on the spot, and people began to line up around very quickly. It was an absolute new information reality. That is, the new information communication tools that people had, social networks and the Internet created another reality.

- 3.5 years passed after the victory of Maidan. Who won after it?

- I think, this is a victory for everyone. In fact, it was a revolution against the violation of human rights. It was a revolution for the dignity of a citizen, honor, and those who violated it, they all disappeared from the country (most of them). This victory is a very serious lesson for Ukrainian politics and society. Real independence began there, on Independence Square, independence of the state began from the independence of the citizen.

- The fact that 3.5 years has passed, and little has been done on the reforms, is this the victory of Maidan? If you were politician, how much time would you need to implement the reforms necessary for Ukraine?

- We are building a democratic society. It will never have one person or one political group taking all the power. Ukrainian society has a different nature. Therefore, there cannot be a model when one should decide something. It is necessary to decide how it will suit the majority. And the reforms are slow, because Ukraine has never really been an independent state. For the last 25 years, Ukraine has been an economic, resource appendage of the Russian Federation. For 25 years of independence, Ukraine's economic dependence on Russia has only intensified. This led to the fact that, because of the influence on oligarchic groups, the oligarchs, Russia began to politically influence the power, to form power in Ukraine - took it under control. Therefore, our independence was conditional. Speaking of our foreign policy, we have been trying for three years to prove to the West that we are not some kind of quasi-autonomous structure from Russia, but we have left the Russian sphere of influence, we are an independent player in world politics. Of course, without having the traditions of an independent state, without even the attributes of an independent state ... our army, what remained of it, in 2013 performed the same tasks as in the 90s, under the Soviet Union. All our defense forces were directed to the west of the NATO bloc, Russia was not considered an enemy. All this happened because the country did not have an independent economy, independent power, the army, its security. It was conditional independence - the independence of certain people and certain segments of society. But there was no state. And what we are doing now is not reforms. This is an attempt to create an independent state capable of independent solutions. I think that the next political cycle, the next cadence, the next rotation of political cadres after the elections of 2019 will really set the task of reforms. After all, President Poroshenko was elected not as a reformer. President Poroshenko was chosen in just one round in order to legitimize power in Ukraine in general. Because then we did not choose the reforms - we needed a legitimate, according to the Constitution, elected president, because in Rostov there was another president of Ukraine who was trying to introduce "peacekeeping" Russian troops in Ukraine. Therefore, in 2014, the society solved other political tasks. People just forgot about it. Now, indeed, the agenda for the new elections will be different: only reforms. I am sure that just as Ukrainians have united for a revolution, a war, there will also be unity for reforms, and there will already be a new agenda, after a reboot in the new government.

- Why is the Russian propaganda ten times higher than the Ukrainian one?

- Moscow, St. Petersburg - these were intellectual centers, integrators of all intellectual forces. There were laid very serious traditions and institutions of statehood. It was an authoritarian statehood, but it existed for centuries. These traditions have survived there. The intellectual level of managers there is quite high. Unfortunately, an authoritarian power was created there, and it mobilized the best forces for warfare. A huge propaganda has been created there, for which hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually; a powerful army and special services have been created. They began to do all this under Putin, 17 years ago. There is a consistent process for many years, and they have managed to make more systematic decisions than we do. They survived due to the fact that they exploited the former outskirts of the Soviet Union, the markets and such raw materials appendages as Ukraine, in their own interests. It was very convenient for them to be surrounded by such a ring of quasi-independent states that were ruled by the pro-Russian authorities and thus enriched Moscow, the Russian center. So do not be surprised at their propaganda, they have worked it out much better - they have a practice of 17 years. And we are trying to do it just now.

Related: Ukrainian Minister of Defense invites Ben Hodges to Ukraine

- What episodes of the Russian-Ukrainian war struck you the most?

- First of all, it was March 2, 2014, when the mobilization was announced. I went to the military enlistment office and saw that our military enlistment office was still closed, but there already was a huge queue. And I had several such surprises every day.

- What irritates you the most in Donbas conflict?

- Lack of purpose. This irritated me from the very beginning. In fact, this is the problem of our state - a matter of goals. This is a problem of the lack of independent state traditions in society and the state apparatus. The main problem among our public managers is the lack of project thinking. They work, sitting in the office, not understanding why this office was created, what purpose and tasks it should perform. The state, history, century have changed, and they must understand that when you enters this office, many things are not needed. And in Donbas conflict it is seen best of all, because war is the defense of one's state, a high concentration of all intellectual and material resources of the state to ensure its own existence.

- Is there a lot of corruption in the army now?

- Unfortunately yes. But the perception of corruption in the army and in the country is being adjusted. In fact, corruption in Ukraine - in many spheres is the only possible way to manage things. Many issues of interaction between state institutions couldn’t be solved quickly without corruption, since the regulatory framework contradicts itself. War is a factor that forces the government to introduce methods and solutions that have reduced this corruption. Not destroyed - it exists, but it has diminished.

- What should Ukraine do in order to finally achieve the long-awaited peace?

- Only to win the war. First of all, it is necessary to build a goal, tasks, strategy and organization in order to achieve victory.

- But how to defeat Putin, who does not want to go from here?

- World military history has hundreds of examples, when small countries have successfully won a victory over the big ones.

- Do we need a visa regime with Russia?

- It is necessary.

- Will Ukrainian migrant workers suffer from this?

- Millions of people will suffer from this. But because of this, that we do not have a visa regime, many more than millions of Ukrainian people have already suffered and, unfortunately, thousands of them have died.

- Do you think the current political elite of Ukraine is annoying?

- It's not annoying, because I understand that it's part of our society. If we want to build democracy, we must build it with all those Ukrainians who live there. We couldn’t order new Ukrainians from America or another civilized country.

- Do you consider yourself elite of Ukrainian society?

- I do not think that the word "elite" is acceptable for Ukrainian society now. To understand the elitism, we still have a lot to learn. I do not consider myself elite in any way, and it's even a bit strange for a public figure to use such a term.

- Is there any fight against corruption in Ukraine?

- Of course. In fact, there is a struggle against the disorder, of which we spoke. There is a change in moral rules, criteria, and there is a huge number of people who no longer comply with the old feudal rules. There are huge shifts. A very large number of people began to work legally - because it is profitable and possible.

- What do you think about NABU (National Anti-Corruption Bureau)?

- This is the first successful project in Ukraine to build a professional state institution. Here for the first time there are personnel contests, decent working conditions, and a new regulatory framework - three main facts that really make it possible to form a professional state body.

- Are you an optimist?

- I'm a realist. I try to see the solutions, the goals that society is facing now (and this is my job as a journalist), then, of course, I cannot be a pessimist.

- Will Ukraine break through?

- Yes.

- Thank you.


Related: Memorial site for Donbas veterans opened in Kyiv

Related: Russia to cut defense expenditures in 2018, - Putin

Related: Volker, Surkov to meet this week


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