13.12.2001 | Viktor Beloded, Yuzhnoukrainsk

Dependence and independence



If you ask a man in the Ukrainian street what happened on 24 August, he perhaps would not know. Everybody knows what happened on 23 February: ‘Aha, the Red Army fought the victorious battle at Pskov and Narva!’ It is a myth, but a well-known myth. And what about 24 August? The reminiscences about the events of 1991 are gray and fuzzy.

It happened so that on 19 August 1991 I brought to the local newspaper the proposition of the public ecological organization to rename the Communist avenue to the Communist descent (we hesitated, if not to name it the Communist dead-end, but, alas, there was a way out). I asked what had happened. The pressmen did not know. The authorities also knew nothing. The long-distance communication channels ‘for some reasons’ did not work. The town mayor went to his dacha to pick tomatoes (!) to get out of harm’s way, having left his deputy (that is the destiny of deputies). The latter also knew nothing except the fact that we had the president of our own. What did common people do that day accompanied by ‘Swan Lake’? Certainly, they were indignant watching TV. Where are the detective films?! It is disgraceful! A consecutive meeting of the town council was held at 4 p.m. Yet, there not a single word was pronounced about the change of the power. Without waiting for the end of the meeting, I hurried to the bus and went to the countryside.

On the fifth year of the perestroyka the life was scarce, I had to have a sheep herd. They did not understand politics, but bleated loudly demanding food. So I returned to my rams. And did well, because otherwise I would build barricades in the town and would get to the cooler for ‘petty hooliganism’.

Then I went to Kyiv. On 24 August I appeared to be the only representative of my town among the fighters for Ukrainian independence, who gathered near the building of the Supreme Rada. Our number was about 300-400, and we represented the 50-million Ukrainian people. There were many students and people arrived from other places. I remember a poster ‘Here is Odessa’. While the discussions boiled in the Supreme Rada, while the Rukh members reproached the communist majority for the high treason, the crowd at the entrance spread on their shoulders an immense yellow-and-blue banner. Some Orthodox priest murmured prayers and or, maybe, sanctified flags and banners.

But the well-memorized symbol of these events for me became Mr. Mykhalko from the Committee of salvation of the Goloseevskiy forest. He was standing alone in an empty street with some poster, and against him erected the monumental columns of the building of the Central Committee of the Communist party. The building did not show any features of being inhabited, but a dense militia cordon was guarding it. We talked peacefully, bravely disregarding the militia.

He remained at his action station, and I returned to the Supreme Rada. In the late afternoon the banners and their carriers were permitted to come to the session hall. By that time the banners turned from bourgeois-nationalistic to mere national. The sweaty and hoarse deputies were let to go out. They squeezed through narrow passage in the crowd in a file and were appraised intermittently by words ‘Cheer!’ or ‘Shame!’

The independence was ushered.


The brilliant dream, for which other people fight during decades spilling blood, fell down on us quite unexpectedly. The political significance of the event, I believe, was correctly evaluated by that handful of active Ukrainians, who gathered near the Supreme Rada building. Perhaps, they where those, who felt the freedom. But what about the remaining people? The rest remained in the czardom of the past: in ideology, in mind and in economic. Since independence is not a motto, not an anthem, not the own President and Parliament.

Independence is a state of mind. The Ukrainian people had been bred in communist schools and enterprises. That is why the current legal acts, legal relations and moral are impregnated with communist outlook. The people, who walk along Communist avenues and Lenin streets continues to think in the categories of the past. Mentally they go in the direction pointed by the hand of Lenin’s monuments. In this way we were bred from babyhood. ‘He will come on the blue chopper and will show a free film’, the Ukrainian children sing in their nursery schools. The dream to get something for nothing is imprinted in childish brains. The sweet dream about the happy future continues to poison our minds (that is why the sermons of Jehovah Witnesses are so successful in our country). In my opinion, the Biblical expression ‘lazy and sly slave’ is a good description of the state, to which the communist regime drove our nation. But when this regime demonstrated practically how inefficient it is, the people, instead of confessing its errors, introduced a constitutional refusal from any king of ideology. What is it? Is it a complete emptiness, a complete absence of any versions of development of the society? No! This is a camouflaged orientation to the past. It is very probable that the reminiscences of the communist ‘ideals’ and ‘achievements’ will seem brilliant on the background of laxity of morals, lack of ideas and the incessant advertising of consumerism. Thus, it especially dangerous today that sincere supporters of Marxism-Leninism may come back to power on all levels. That will mean new experiments in politics and economy and new sufferings of the people.

Independence is, first of all, the independent economy. This is a high level of technology, low prices of goods, goods capable of competition and participation in the international division of labor. Once the planned economy behind the ‘iron curtain’ began to lag behind the world, in spite of heroic efforts of the people, although ideologists tried to prove the opposite. (It is interesting that today’s ‘left’ never connect the crash of socialist superstrusture with the crash of socialist basis. Have they stopped to regard ‘The Capital’ by Marx?) Ukraine has been trying to become economically independence during the passed ten years. Yet, Ukraine was and is dependent. Having the disproportionately monopolized heavy industry and the repellent investment conditions, Ukraine is doomed to lag behind in her ability to produce modern and competitive goods. The orientation to the industry consuming a lot of energy and the deficit of her own energy carriers means the perpetual political dependence on Russia. Ukraine also depends upon international credits and has to pay enormous interest. Without pretending to the profound analysis of the economic state, I would like to remark that labor productivity at great industrial enterprises and in the still collective agricultural enterprises remains traditionally low. The attempts to become economically independence continue. Western experts, credits, state programs... Are there any successes? Yes. Each consecutive government reports about successes, but in 12-18 months it becomes clear that the government failed and must go. The next government offers the Parliament even a better program. Does the government believe in the success? I do not think so. There exist plenty buts that do not depend on the government. I was always interested in the question, how a member of the government may work knowing that he will loose his post in about a year? What can be done for the country during such short time? Is it worth to begin? It may seem that only patriots work in a government. Or fanatics? Or amateurs? I do not think so. Rather they are common Soviet people, who think of their future.

Summing up my meditations on the Ukrainian economy, I would remark that the real situation, in my opinion, is even worse. If I am mistaken and someone can show me the macroeconomic successes of our state, then I beg them to tell the Ukrainian people about this miracle. I myself consider that our efforts have no prospects. Ukraine is hopelessly dependent. Have we any chances to improve our lot?


Meditating about the destiny of Ukraine I habitually thought in the materialistic terms as most Ukrainians do. Indeed, in the framework of such approach when the real reasons of development of the society are material needs only that logically follows from the origin of man from the animal world, the prospects are gloomy. However, even now there many ‘sages’, who do not agree with this reasoning and believe that Ukraine (and maybe the entire mankind) could be made happy by means of some technological and administrative inventions. Sometimes these sages come to power, and then people in practice is convinced in ‘greatness’ of such ideas. This used to happen several times during the last decade. All such attempts are doomed because of one simple reason: authors of such ideas ignore the objective reality of the world, its Creator. Yes-yes, they ignore the actual God, acting force of the Universe, who, as the Bible teaches, ‘forms all their thoughts and knows everything they do’ (Ps 33. 15). It occurs when almost 90% of Ukrainian regard themselves as believers, and the top state authorities recently ensured the people that they revere the Christian religion. For the last decade we have not listened to open atheistic propaganda – the important ingredient of the communist doctrine. Instead, although with some strain, the God’s Word is spread, hundreds of thousands of Gospels are printed and distributed. This raises hope that the God’s Word will not return to Him, but will fulfil its mission. The hope that people will confess their errors and sins. The hope that the Christian ideals will become ideals of the nation. The hope of the spiritual renaissance, without which the economic miracle will never happen. Is it real? Yes. It is sufficient if everyone would try to go this way and to get convinced in God’s succor and grace.

The President, government and Parliament should confess: we are incapable to stop the decline of out Motherland with our own efforts. They should daily, starting to fulfil their difficult duties, to ask God to make them reasonable: help us, O Lord, to govern this people today! It rumors that in the US Senate there is a special chapel, where senators can turn to God ask his guidance in state affairs. That is pity that I did not happen to see this chapel with my own eyes. But even from here we see how efficient method it is for the country is blessed by God and prosperous. The United States was founded by presidents, who held the Bible in their hands. They practically used it and summoned their people to do the same, whereas our leaders summoned our people to catch up with and overtake America. As to the current leaders, they are shy to summon the people to anything. That is a pity. I have no opportunity to appeal to the entire Ukrainian people, but I would like to appeal to our people to imitate the American people and turn to God. Here lies our hope for a better future. The only and the last one.

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