Ukraine: the right to a brighter future
For the past six months Ukraine has suffered the pain of war - the fratricidal conflict is gaining momentum. People die and suffer, hundreds of thousands internally displaced persons roam the world against their own will. The hard time of unprecedented tribulation of our nation is marked with a catastrophic political and economic crisis. Our fellow citizens sink deeper into poverty due to the abrupt fall of the hryvnia, a deep economic crisis, destruction of infrastructure of entire cities and territories.
The state has forgotten about people’s basic needs. Even the defense-readiness of the country is mostly funded by ordinary citizens and local communities. We continue to lose the opportunity to manage our own lives. The policy of war is unacceptable! We are against the policy of deception, we are against corruption, against authoritarianism, political repression, and aggressive nationalism.
People long for peace; they want to restore hope of peaceful and stable life. We are able to go beyond the horizon of war and to arrange a peaceful living in our own land. Ukrainians look for a real plan of peaceful development of the state and responsible political forces willing to implement such a plan.
Ukraine has always been a peaceful state, and the Ukrainian nation was proud of its peacefulness. But someone at some point decided that the dialogue about the future can be conducted only through the sight of a machine gun. War has become commonplace, we have gotten used to thousands of dead and wounded. Our domestic disputes turned Ukraine into a geopolitical chessboard used by cynical players, who don’t care about our future and our national interests. But this is something we care about.
Our priority requirements and suggestions:
- Achieve a bilateral ceasefire.
- Create real humanitarian corridors to deliver food, water and medical supplies to settlements in the ATO area.
- Activate negotiations with Russia and metiation of the EU, the USA and other states with the sole purpose of providing solid conditions to stop the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine. All other problematic issues in relations with Moscow should be taken beyond the scope of these negotiations.
- Approve the National Donbas Recovery Plan and assign the Minister of peaceful settlement and restoration of Donbass to coordinate its implementation. Residents of East Ukraine should see their prospects in the framework of a unified country.
- State authorities should ensure the realization of the constitutional rights of citizens to participate in elections to the Verkhovna Rada among refugees, internally displaced persons and citizens of Ukraine residing in Crimea.
- Reject radical decisions that could undermine peace and security on the continent. Declare Ukraine’s desire to preserve peace and its non-aligned status.
- Disarm all illegal paramilitary units, regardless of what political camp they belong to.
- Ensure comprehensive social protection of military and law enforcement officers involved in the ATO and family members of those killed and wounded.
- Conduct massive demobilization after cessation of hostilities.
We are different, but all of us are united by our love for Ukraine. “Unity in diversity” is a basic principle of our policy in the economic, humanitarian and socio-cultural spheres. Freedom of religion and a uniting prayer for Ukraine, the dialogue of cultures and civilizations, pluralism in relation to other fellow-citizens, ensuring linguistic rights and needs as components of the unity policy.
The political and economic unity is a prerequisite for sustainable growth of the country, the welfare of our fellow citizens. There is no alternative to historical industrial cooperation between enterprises of Donetsk and Lviv, Sumy, Crimea and other regions of the country, and we will not find any other option in the near future.
The platform for political unity is the idea of the republic, based on understanding of the state as a “common cause” of the people. We support the adoption of the Republican Constitution, which protects the guaranteed rights and freedoms of every citizen and is based on the principles of self-government and parliamentary system.
Our priority requirements and suggestions:
- Develop and implement a national reconciliation plan that will include the investigation of mass murder of civilians during the protests on the Maidan in Kyiv and in East Ukraine, provide amnesty for people who have not committed serious crimes, organize the Forum of National Unity and create a platform for an ongoing dialogue with representatives of local councils from different oblasts of Ukraine.
- Immediately start the process of decentralization of power, and the first step in this should be the introduction of the practice of appointment of heads of OSAs and RSAs only in consultation with local councils.
- Introduce amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine climinalizing incitement of interregional hatred. Residents of all regions of Ukraine should feel comfortable in our country, regardless of their political, religious views and cultural preferences.
- Ban any political forces and civil society organizations that promote inter-ethnic and inter-regional strife, call for violence as an instrument of political struggle, initiate the creation of illegal armed groups.
- Ensure all-round development of the Ukrainian language. Grant communities the right to determine the status of the Russian language and other languages of national minorities as regional languages at places of their residence. Uphold state guarantees at the legislative level of free usage and development of regional languages in courts, culture, education and administrative services.
- Stop the flywheel of repression and persecution for political reasons under the banner of lustration. Cleansing the government of corruption should be done on the basis of existing legislation. The state should ensure strict observance of full constitutional rights and freedoms of man and citizen in Ukraine.
- Create a State Agency to ensure the civil and property rights of refugees, internally displaced persons and citizens of Ukraine residing in Crimea.
Economic growth, social stability and security of every citizen should become the components of sustainable development of our country. Poverty, conscious rejection of social obligations by the state should be stopped.
The government is yet to declare a war against corruption and the shadow economy. Instead, all the hardships of the crisis and war the government shifts power on the shoulders of business and those, who work.
Our priority requirements and suggestions:
- Start real reforms in the economic, tax and licensing areas.
- Replace the 1.5% “war tax” with “luxury tax” and introduce a moratorium on increasing the tax burden on businesses till March 1, 2015, ban the practice of extorting payment of taxes “in advance”.
- Index wages and pensions in line with the inflation, as required by applicable laws.
- Stabilize the foreign exchange market by eliminating the floating exchange rate causing the daily poverty, breakdown of contracts and defaults on loans.
- Develop the state program filled with real money to support domestic producers prior to the ratification of the Association Agreement with the EU. Conduct trilateral negotiations between Ukraine, the EU and Russia to minimize the negative consequences for Ukrainian producers. Ratify the Association Agreement with the EU only under conditions guaranteeing the preservation of jobs in domestic enterprises.
- Stop the “automatic” reduction of public sector employees, particularly, in health care, science and education.
- Develop and implement a national anti-crisis program to create jobs.
- Introduce a moratorium on the sale of state enterprises at the time of economic crisis, which can be privatized for a song by business groups affiliated with the government.
- Introduce credit and tax breaks for businesses in the ATO area.
- Ensure the normal conduct of the heating season by breaking corruption schemes in the energy sector and recover gas negotiations with gas suplying countries.
- Provide social protection of young families by restoring state benefits at birth in full.
- Implement a system of interest-free loans to Ukrainian families, condominiums and utilities for introducing energy-saving technologies in the housing and utility sector.
All of us together will have to find a path towards peace for the sake of our country, for the sake of our children, and we must do it now. We have to re-learn to listen to each other, discuss and compromise. We must reject violence, coercion and humiliation of those who have different opinions. Human life, peace, unity and development are the highest values.