From the times of the ancient empires to nowadays the common trait of the most successful nations was a clear vision for their development. Vision defined how the economy, infrastructure, education, and international relations develop and establish the country’s position in the world’s political arena.
The next significant milestone for the world is the year 2050. China confidently moves to the world’s economic leadership position measuring GDP by purchasing power parity. Their vision is to become the world’s major economic power. The United States has set up an infrastructure & defense 2050 vision. By that, they want to remain their international political advisory influence. The EU has presented not only the carbon-neutral ecological plan but is also onto whole financing restructuring to ensure the economic stability of its members for the next decades. It seems like the world is not leaving its development to a coincidence, rather to the plan and straightforward guidelines.
Consequently, the question to ask is what is Ukraine's vision for itself? For the past 29 years of Independence, we’ve had more than enough time to find out what path to choose and to define what Ukraine we want to see in 2050. We had time to learn our strengths and weaknesses and find ways to overcome the latest. Nevertheless, it seems like those 29 years weren't enough to answer two simple questions: “who are we?” and “whom we want to become?”
The nation’s hardly got to know the vision of Ukraine’s educational, medical, legal systems, economic plan, and defense development plan. Decades spent on discussions about what Ukraine should be like, but have we decided yet? Some signals show that Ukraine’s vision is not quite clear.
First of all, the tendency of comparing Ukraine to other countries. The comparison with other countries like Poland, Estonia, or Georgia is widely used by politicians of all ranks. Especially when it comes to discussion about any significant question, law, or initiative, such as privatization, land market opening, new sets of IT laws, etc. This technique is widely used at the debates of all levels. In my view, this is the first big mistake. Can we compare ourselves with a country that has such a different historical, political, and economic context? There is no chance to hear in the US Senate and House of Representatives that the decision-making process is based on the comparison of the US any to any other country. This is not a coincidence. As for me, such comparisons are the loud signal of a lack of understanding of Ukraine’s own historical, economic, and social contexts.
Secondly, informational distortion. Any important question such as medical cannabis or free economic zones in Donbas right away divide the whole country into at least two confronting camps. It seems like any further step divides the country more than unites. Would there be a place for the all-national questionnaire initiated by President Zelenskiy in case we knew exactly what country we envision to be? Isn’t it the sign that today's’ country leaders found out that they don’t know where to move Ukraine forward? Those questions remain open. Nevertheless, my personal view is that the leaders of Ukraine do not know which strategic decisions are in line with Ukraine's vision and which are not.
Thirdly, new context. For the past 29 years, some significant changes have happened. The traditional notions of what is Ukraine and what it means to be Ukrainian have shifted. For example, Ukraine has always been an agricultural state, but in the latest years became one of the world’s IT leaders. Besides, the Government still thrives to turn Ukraine into one of the most significant finance spots in Europe. Taken all this, how do we explain Ukraine to the international community? Do we present ourselves as always - a “breadbasket” of Europe, or do we focus on the fact that in 2019 Ukraine exported IT services on more than $4 billion? Vision is needed not only as the lighthouse of сountry’s navigation but as a starting point to building a sustainable brand and positioning of Ukraine in the world of 195 sovereign states.
Last but not least, wrong communication. The majority of the population is not getting the proper signals from the Government and its institutions regarding the multiple changes at all levels of country operations. It is more important than ever to inform our citizens about changes that await around the corner and educate them about the decisions the country is about to make.
Roosevelt’s “New Deal” is a great example of how the visions and plan to achieve it should be presented. In the 1930s every American knew which direction the country was moving and why it is important to support the country and make sacrifices for the sake of the future. If in 2020 we have to learn from the US experience from 90 years ago, then this is the way for us to follow.
In 30 years it is expected that the majority of the countries will reach significant results in becoming more prosperous, efficient, and green. If there is a time for Ukraine to define its vision and development path, then it is definitely now. The time for discussion has passed a long time ago. Now, it is time for our leaders to take responsibility and make bold decisions for the sake of Ukraine’s future.