Mission of Ukraine in the 21st century is the revival of Europe. It is happening right here and right now

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The success of Ukraine is an important thing for the continental stability of Europe. During the four years that have passed after the Maidan, we have proved that Ukraine is the subject of international policy and not the grey zone. Now it is crucially important not to give our position up confronting the Russian Federation that provides the hybrid war with the civilized world. And at the same time we are to do the key reforms, to secure the economic development of the state on the basis of the values. Hanna Hopko, the Member of Parliament of Ukraine, the Head of the Parliament Committee for foreign affairs says about this in the exclusive interview for the “FD”.

“Everything should be fought for. Any changes mean the transformation of the old backward things, that could be comfortable and understandable for someone “

– Now I am anxious about the fate of the country – how the country must be secured and strengthened, because there are many attempts to destroy it. The years 2018–2019 are very significant ones. If we are wise enough, we will get good chances to play an important role not only for the Eastern Europe, but for the whole continent – says Hanna Hopko.

You are an example of the person from Maidan that became a Parliament Member. How do you manage to realize the ideas of the Revolution of Dignity through the Parliament?

– The key task after Maidan was to build up Ukraine with the powerful state institutions, to guarantee the dominance of the law and to guarantee the justice. In the time of Maidan, we as the citizens defended the state from the attempts of the ex-president under the Russian pressure to change the political direction of the country and to make it the part of the Customs Union, of Eurasian space. Every citizen that came to Maidan at that time faced certain menace, defending the state.

Mission of Ukraine in the 21st century is the revival of Europe. It is happening right here and right nowNow, being at the Parliament, it is important for us to create the intuitions designed to defend the citizens. These institutions must provide them with the conditions for the development, with security, with the justice at the court and not just in the courts. I and my colleagues coped to organize the proving of the important laws – the law about the disclosure of the registers of real estate is among them. Every citizen has to know where politician, parliament member or minister lives and which property possess. The same I can say about the law on the personal voting at the local law-making bodies. Now, every citizen is in the know how votes the member of such body for the distribution of the land, for example. The laws in the sphere of the public health are crucially important ones, as well. In particular, they simplified the registration of the medication that had been tested already in the EU countries, in the USA, in Canada. Before this procedure took 210 days, now it takes only two weeks and makes the corruption impossible.

Among other important initiatives the issues of the Ukrainian identity should be mentioned. The Russian aggression is not an occupation of our territories. It is also an attempt of Russia to steal our history and to implement here its “Russian ream”. Unless Ukrainians had understood its origin we would be the part of the foreign projects. Because of it such activity as decommunization is carried out not in vain. And this activity comes not only about the renaming of the streets. This process is more serious one.

Also, I supported the increasing of quotas for Ukrainian music at the radio stations and the renaissance of the Ukrainian fi lm-making. Now, everyone is taken by the surprise because our movies attract spectators and money. These initiatives assist for the better understanding of our goals and of our identity.

Committee for the foreign affairs also works and provides all the agenda – from the liberation of the Ukrainian citizens and resistance to the Russian aggression till the economic trends in the foreign policy and promoting of the cultural diplomacy.

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What can be got easily and what should be fought for?

– Everything should be fought for. Any changes mean the transformation of the old backward things that could be comfortable and understandable ones for someone.

Is the situation at the international arena also so difficult?

– “The northern stream – 2” was difficult to be blocked. As for us that is one of the critical projects. We fight not only for the transit profits, but also for the peace. If Ukraine ceases to be the transporter of the Russian gas we will lose the tools of influence in the restoration of our territorial integrity through the political and diplomatic means. Thus, many European countries that hesitate to prolong sanctions against Russia will lose their additional motivation.

You are the Head of the Committee of Verkhovna Rada for foreign affairs. You could choose. Why had you chosen exactly that committee?

– In the time of Maidan I communicated a lot with foreign visitors that came to support us. When we started the civil initiative named as “Reanimation Package of Reforms” we collaborated with foreign partners very much so. Also, even before the Revolution of Dignity I took part in the numerous international projects and initiatives.

When I changed the expert community for the Parliament, I had been rather sophisticated in the collaboration with the international partners. I have never worked as a diplomat but since the very first day I have worked with the people that spent a lot of time doing the foreign policy. I understood my responsibility and I was armed with advice of the professionals.

The Committee has become a good experience for me. It is a possibility to prolong the Revolution of Dignity, to defend Ukraine, using the methods of the parliament diplomacy, to establish the correct communication between Ukrainian political institution and the world.

Mission of Ukraine in the 21st century is the revival of Europe. It is happening right here and right nowWhat can you define as your main achievement for today?

– If to talk about the work at the Committee, we have coped to exert economical pressure upon Russia through the sanctions of the world community. I would like to see the strengthening of the sanctions but we can keep them up as well as to resist to the Russian propaganda and disinformation. The world support of Ukraine during these years was rather powerful one. The great significance in the confrontation with Russia is played by the unified position of the West, in particular the position of the G-7 countries.

Rather tough resolutions concerning the Kremlin activity were adopted in the PACE as well as in the OSCE. We elaborated these resolutions at our Committee. This work may be invisible sometimes. But in the common trend of the support for Ukraine we should understand that these years proved – Ukraine is a subject without participation of which the important solutions cannot be taken. Anyway, we did not agree with the “painful compromises”. We were regarded as the territory, as the grey zone in which another players completed their geopolitical tasks and that is why it was so important for us – not to give up and to cross the red line we had pointed down. In the issues of Crimea, Russia has used the special efforts that Crimea would be treated as one of the disputable territories. But we resisted to that and in all the international documents Crimea is mentioned as a part of Ukraine and Russia as a state that occupied a part of Ukraine.

We have cheered up the interparliamentary relations and we emphasized the importance of Ukrainian collaboration with Africa. We started to discover Africa as the market for Ukrainian enterprises and we have got the first results of this discovery.

Also, we actively develop the cooperation with Japan that does not only implement sanctions against the RF but provides technical and financial assistance for our reforms, for the support of the Eastern Ukraine and for innovations as well.

The Resolution about the preparation of the consolidated claim of Ukraine to the RF concerning the responsibility (in the aspect of international law) for the military aggression against Ukraine with the determination of the damage and amount of the harm caused for Ukraine.

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And you have one more achievement. You are one of the ten of the most active lawmakers if to take into account the number of the bills that had been adopted. 19 of your bills have been adopted by Ukrainian Parliament during three years. How did you manage to get such results?

– Indeed there are more than 60 laws and more than one hundred bills. I always try to follow the patriotic trend, to work for the national interest and to support different fractions and groups. It permits to be the co-author of the important initiatives. Nobody proposed me money for the voting. Ever. I could be convinced by the patriotic words – ”our country needs that“. My friends are joking about that sometimes. Your job is determined by the achievements for the people and by the results. The trust and the respect are based upon that.

Once you said that you promoted the mission of Ukraine in ХХІ century. Tell us about it.

– This year we have represented our country at the forum in Davos with dignity. The global leaders discussed the global problems at the Ukrainian House. It had been happening at our platform. Our leadership and our ambitiousness must be like this – it is high time to act. We are not a victim, we are the strong partner – it must be understood. Ukrainian nation enriches the world with the innovations in the epoch of the fourth industrial revolution; it donates the European security and contributes into the resistance to the cyber-attacks. Mission of Ukraine in the 21st century is the recreation of Europe. It has been happening right here and right now.

Why the success of Ukraine is so important for the continental stability of Europe? We observe the certain crisis of trust towards many institutions in the West, low attendance at the elections, the growth of the populism and euro-skepticism. The European excessive bureaucracy gives birth to the right- wing nationalistic movements. And Ukraine was and is an example of the tolerance, of selfscarification of the citizens in the name of the social benefit. Remind Maidan – Jews, Moslems, Protestants, Catholic and Orthodox Christians stood together. They were united. Everything depended on the self-organization of the people that believed in the same idea.

Successful Ukraine is a chance for the transformation of Russia. If we are successful and if the Russians can see that Ukraine is a state, in which the people are protected, if they have a job, if they travel through the world freely being respected, they will doubt in putinism. If the era of putinism ends, new Putin will come. Only people at their level would change gradually anything inspite of fierce propaganda in mass-media.

What main task has our society been facing with?

– Inspite of the poorly developed institutions, corruption and poverty, too many people have changed their world vision. Ukrainians, as the nation, are not just the eastern flank of NATO. The Revolution of Dignity implemented the new approaches in the relations between people. The western society usually takes a human as the consumer – what is your usefulness, so to say. We have the chance to implement the new philosophy – philosophy of love among humans. Because the war in the East is a great challenge we must defend our statehood and to build up the institutions. And we must stay the human beings at the same time. We should become another nation with the educated middle class. Because, only middle class can guarantee the stabilized society.

How Crimea and Donbass could be returned to Ukraine?

– Without international assistance we will fail to do that. Russia must pay out the highest price through the sanctions and through the energetical embargo of the West, becoming more obedient. The situation should not be ended up with the frozen conflict and with the unacceptable “compromises” we are forced to follow. When Ukrainians started to lose the faith saying “that is next to impossible, let us forget all this” – they should be reminded of the Moses. He had been guiding people for 40 years through the desert. And not all of these people could overcome.

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Russia thinks that Crimea will be forgotten by us. And due to it one of our main tasks is to stay in faith and to keep the duty to restore our territorial integrity, sovereignty and peace. If we hesitate, if we agree with the compromise plans the West will understand that the sanctions can be abolished through the hybrid diplomacy or through their attitude.

I believe that we will bring our territories back. We do everything for that. One day in the August in 1991 the tank under Ukrainian flag turned up in Moscow and the Soviet Union broke down. The same can happen nowadays. We do not know what can trigger Russia to fall apart and system will collapse.

So, must we follow the path of the political and diplomatic pressure to wait for the disintegration of the RF?

– No, we have not been waiting. We have been acting. In the case named as “Ukraine vs the Russian Federation” at the international court of the UNO we have overcome the measures of caution – the RF has been forced to renovate the activity of the Crimean Tatars representation bodies in Crimea, to return Ukrainian language into the kindergartens and schools. In the framework of the creation of the platform of the deoccupation of Crimea we attract more and more partners. We use the Magnitsky Act that is in use not only in the USA and in Canada but in the EU countries as well.

That is why everyone who wants to serve for the occupational authorities has been isolated already. The UN resolutions say that Crimea is a temporally occupied territory and the RF occupied it. We have to go to court with Russia. Court procedure is the one more effective tool.

Is the world ready to continue the sanctions?

– The USA are ready. Sanctions will be prolonged until the total deoccupation of the Crimea and Donbass. The EU politicians say the same. Merkel being reelected proved the prolongation, though the sanctions bring economical harm not only for Russia. I often ask the partners – what is your strategy? Russia should be treated by the West as the real threat. We should not wait for the new tragedies such as the shooting down of the “Boeing” jet by Russians, as the usage of the chemical weapons in Aleppo or usage of the chemical weapons and radioactive poison in the territory of Great Britain. The West has to elaborate finally its strategy to pass the threats ahead and to react late. If we do not return to the international law that bases upon the values, upon the respect, upon the fundamental rights, the new world war will break up.

Mission of Ukraine in the 21st century is the revival of Europe. It is happening right here and right nowWhat is your vision of Ukraine in 10 years?

– I am an optimist. In 10 years Ukraine will be able to pass through the process of the purification of the after-Soviet negative trends and of the dishonest political class’s dominance. People that adored their property and their commercial benefits more than the interest of the state will be swept out. The breakthrough in the reforms will be done. We will get out the club of the countries that are the raw materials appendages as we were treated before and we will be a part of the creative states with the innovative economy. We have to become the leader of the Eastern Europe. Our membership in the EU and in NATO depends on us. We donate the European security and our innovators impress the world with the new startups in sphere of the artificial intellect.