It beggars belief that in this age, on the continent of Europe, an acknowledged beacon of civilisation and equality, 45 million people must bear the injustices imposed on them by a corrupt and self-absorbed kleptocracy.
That is what millions of Ukrainians have been living with for years – a system that is decayed and crooked at its core. A system where only the privileged few reap rewards, and whose values seem to be based solely on greed and oppression.
The people of Ukraine have said, ‘Enough! The time has come for change.’ In the words of Victor Hugo: ‘All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.’ The idea is that Ukrainian society, at its most organic and fundamental level, has demonstrated its refusal to accept kleptocracy as a form of government.
What has happened in Ukraine over the past month has been truly historic with tangible achievements, to show for it.
Millions of people across the globe are once again proud to declare that they are Ukrainian, that they are associated with a wonderful nation. The events of the past month have clearly shown one of the best examples of civil society that the world has seen in recent history. Hundreds of thousands of individuals have freely chosen to devote their own time and money, braving it out in the adverse subzero temperatures of the harsh Ukrainian winter, to be a part of this colossal movement. This is an indisputable example of civic society in action. It is fascinating to see the way that people have managed to organise themselves and magnetize thousands of volunteers on board.
The sense of belonging to this magnificent movement has spread across the world and Ukrainians and friends of Ukraine are supporting and helping the protestors in any way they can. Ukrainian society has shown itself to be in vibrant health, with righteous values and most of all – human dignity. All are now clearly calling for a rejection of the current corrupt and putrid system.
Nelson Mandela, who was buried a few days ago, said: ‘Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great’.
What has and is happening in Ukraine now is truly amazing. I believe I am seeing a new generation of Ukrainians, with the passion and determination to change the status quo. We are all witnessing history in the making!
Andy Hunder is Director of the Ukrainian Institute in London