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You’ll Modernize Yourself and Meet the Requirements of the Time or You’ll Be Devoured. Part II (Okara)

We publish the termination of the verbatim transcripts of the international Skype-bridge on a subject “Modernization of Ukraine & modernization of the world: the driving forces of development” which passed on 28th of February 2015 within the Winter Studrespublika VII at Bukovyna. Philosophers Mykhaylo Minakov (Kyiv) and Andrii Okara (Moscow), and also innovative entrepreneur Evgeny Juryev communicated with the Republicans (Taupo, New Zealand).

Part II

In final part of the verbatim transcripts of the Skype-bridge the philosopher Andrii Okara analyzing negative experiences of the Russian modernizations proves the need of radical modernization in Ukraine right now, counter to war. Together with him and participants of the WiSR, Mykhaylo Minakov and Evgeny Juryev discuss the contents and style of the desirable modernization project, is emphasized that it has to be bright, beautiful, and literally must shake all. Who has to take the responsibility for this titanic work? Having read, you will understand why the Republicans undoubtedly are a modernization force.

Either you are modernized, or you will be devoured

Pavlо Viknyanskyy: Andrii, speak, please. We welcome you and with pleasure listen to you.

Andrii Okara: Well, the pleasure somehow isn’t enough today. Probably, you already know that not only Nemtsov had been shot, but also Chechetov dropped out of a window… Reminds the 1991st year — there was such Nikolay Kruchina, in the Central Committee of the CPSU was main on money, he knew all financial secrets of the CPSU, knew where was the gold of party, and he carried them away forever with him. The late Chechetov is even externally similar to him.

Misters, it seems to me that now in Ukraine there are two subjects who are extremely important for a survival, they share among themselves about 50/50 – it is a modernization and a war. All other hot topics can wait. I formulated it that way: Modernization or death — is the main present alternative!

Pavlo Viknyanskyy: We began game with it…

Andrii Okara: Nowadays with mankind is happening a very important, new thing: nowadays in order that there was a mankind in general, the minority can work. Earlier in order that the mankind existed, the majority was compelled to work.

In this situation, all become, such, I would tell, muffled and tolerant. Especially in Europe it is notable. Certainly, the speech about tolerance not as about tolerance to the different points of view, but as about certain lukewarm — neither fish nor fowl, as they say. And we see to what it leads: it seems like everything is good with us, all is in chocolate. But to what it brings in a critical situation? Here critical situation: war on Donbas, the life on Earth finally depends on it — without exaggerations. And Europe speaks: “Well, you know, we are for peace. But we were at war against Russia too much and we wouldn’t like something like that repeated again. We express concern, concern, and grave concern”. As a result obvious political infantilism turns out. It is a form of protection, flight, self-isolation against a maturity, from responsibility, from making decisions. And such type of consciousness, such discourse is dominating for present Europe, extending and taking.

And here it appeared that in modern conditions countries can exist long without being modernized, but imitating modernization. Earlier, in XVIII and XIX centuries the call was very accurate: either you are modernized and meet the requirements of the time or you will be devour — you die, your soul, soul of your country is dismembered by some more effective neighbors. So was with Poland at the end of the XVIII century, so was, in general, with Ukraine, so was with big imperial educations, which in the XX century didn’t sustain a new format of the existence, caused by an era.

The Russian Empire, Peter I actually, too faced such alternative, rather, Peter I plus above-mentioned Feofan Prokopovich as the ideologist of this great statehood of a new type, plus Mazepa as one of founders of the Russian Empire, plus a great number of less famous persons — carriers of new mentality and request for a new public way. Actually a main founder of this most imperial discourse (imperial not in that sense as it is understood nowadays in Russia, but that is imperial universalism, imperial rationalism which succeeded pre-rational, pre-modern types of a discourse) was not only Feofan Prokopovich, but also the Hetman Mazepa. And in a creation of the Russian Empire Mazepa’s merits, probably, are very much underestimated — for the obvious political reasons. And that’s it the Tsardom of Muscovy faces in the middle of the XVII century a choice: either to be modernized, or to die.

And the Tsar Aleksey Mikhailovich tries to make modernization of church (by the way, on the Ukrainian and Greek canons) — there are Old Believers, the protopope Avvakum, the persecutor of Old Believers Patriarch Nikon, etc. Then Peter I, which creates a superstate, modernizes the country by absolutely barbarous, cruel methods, and is valid, it is necessary to tell that in Russia terror is one of the main technologies of management.

And literally now, since today’s night, I think, we will shortly see introduction to Moscow of a legendary division of internal troops named after Dzerzhinsky which is deployed in region of Reutov and Balashikha. It, along with Tamanskaya and Kantemirovskaya, are created for counteraction to revolutions (or on the contrary — for their implementation). The power is afraid of a coup d’état. It seems that Nemtsov’s murder will be used for some global shocks. And, the power will exercise it, but not opposition. So, the murder of Kirov in 1934 became the forerunner of 1937 year.

So, the Tsardom of Muscovy became before the most severe choice: or it will be dismembered and destroyed, or from it something will turn out. And here, in these conditions of supermobilization, there is some modernization break.

Such type of modernization — is a modernization from above, an authoritative modernization — I wouldn’t wish to Ukraine. And such will also not be possible in Ukraine — for various reasons. Once again I repeat, in the modern world long time there was a situation when the countries had no need to be modernized when it was possible to exist in a format of some there banana colony or a raw appendage. Well or the country which is somehow entered in the world economy, but thus it exists not due to modernization of the population, economy and political system, but because it is built in the periphery of the world system. And now in Ukraine, in general, for more than 20 years have been the same situation. Ukraine wasn’t modernized, moreover in Ukraine there was not even a distinct discourse or a distinct culture of discussion of this perspective. People who speak about it, they are, as a rule, strange, unclear, marginal.

The window of opportunities is closed every day

Once again I emphasize that was optional to be the modernizer, in general. And only the countries which tried to make some jump, they were engaged in it, and it was the modernization format from above, authoritative modernization, classic of which was legendary Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore. You probably well know how he made modernization: it is necessary to shoot or in this case to put three close friends — and they know for what you put them, and you know. Of course, I am sure that at everything thus that, probably, it would be very quite good, there are huge doubts that in Ukraine such is possible. And, perhaps, the main reason of that — is particularly in political culture. But Ukraine, because of war, got to a very interesting situation nowadays. Approximately in the same situation in which there was the Russian Empire at Feofan Prokopovich, Mazepa and Peter I, namely that alternative is as follows: either radical modernization, or death. Such situation, you know, of tolerant lukewarm existence, such European discourse — isn’t present for Ukraine no more and won’t be.

And, of course, it is necessary to understand that revolution and a situation after revolution created a unique window of opportunities for modernization, but this window of opportunities is closed every day, week, and more and more closed. And when there is absolutely small slot, you try to slip there, and it can pinch slightly by these shutters.

The most important in modernization — is the subject, i.e. it is a certain group or some social group, or it can be a certain superheroic figure like Lee Kuan Yew or Stalin, which is the motor. Without motor any modernization is impossible. Why is it impossible? Because modernization — it is a creative destruction. Here, for example, look: those things which always, in appearance, were a problem of minority, creative destruction, new social subjects – have they modernization logic or not? Nowadays, for this year and present time, all of us can simply observe these humanitarian abstractions in the real time mode, i.e. here and now, even because in Ukraine show live, including the meetings of the Verkhovna Rada (that, of course, is very interesting and very correct). And we see that this subject of modernization meanwhile didn’t develop, but we see the cruelest resistance of modernization and this withdrawal pains, this creative destruction. That is demolition of the existing system of communications and existing practices, first of all corruption, which at creative destruction always change inside.

In Ukraine modernization can be successful only if the subject is a beneficiary, i.e. not simply an altruist who, in general, for world peace or for prosperity in every home, or a magnificent banquet on each New Year’s table. In this situation it is necessary to understand that the new subject of modernization — are new predators, these are people who in a new situation, after creative destruction, will be the dominating beneficiaries. If it isn’t, conversation on modernization will be simply a wonderful conversation on world peace. You see, one of the key questions is how to all such remarkable people, who would like to make a world peace or would like to build new Ukraine, to be set in this process and to become that innovative team which would make creative destruction.

Really, in Ukraine one of the most serious problems is an obstinacy, these are elementary certain stereotypes of thinking. And this is a disaster! This obstinacy is shown in everything, it is everywhere and everywhere, it is even shown when the entry into Ukraine will happen according to international passports for citizens of Russia, that will very seriously reduce number of tourists, but absolutely won’t reduce in any way number of terrorists who get to Ukraine to be at war at the same time for portraits of the American presidents and for ideology of Русский мир.

And many things which become now as in a format or in a trend of updating, modernization, new information, economic and any other policy, they become spontaneously, with village thinking and it is absolutely inefficient. Though in the Ukrainian power — though before revolution though at the USSR — there is always such specific type… If you remember the novel of Oles Honchar Sobor, one of the main characters — some party promoted worker who sends the father to nursing home. I don’t know, maybe, you will tell that I am a racist, but I can recognize these people even by faces. And such people, they are reproduced in any generation, on any historical period, in any Ukrainian power, and now too. And that is a smash-up!

And so, first of all the subject is necessary for effective modernization, i.e. these are the people connected between themselves by the certain type of solidarity, by determined type of mutual understanding and, including, a certain type of some personal love, empathy. Such people, of course, have to know each other and, actually, to be united by some general political practices. Here is an example — «Students’ republic», precisely because it is an attempt of political practice to make such people, who may be subjects of the modernization development of Ukraine, here they are united, meet each other, somehow get on well with each other. This is actually very good, very right! Previously, this function was performed by various Komsomol’s assets, the Schools of party leaders, and the School of perestroika’s construction foremen.

Modernization is assuredly possible during the war

In Ukraine, it seems to me, one of the major moments, which have to be — is the corresponding information policy, that is directed on modernization, i.e. modernization has to become the main subject of information space — counter to the war and along with technologies of a survival during a war era.

And now you see modernization and the war are main factors of existence in present Ukraine, and now a question, which is necessary to set: whether modernization is possible during war? And, of course, any sane person and furthermore people who go in for theoretical sociology or social philosophy will tell you: “No, any modernization is impossible because during war there has to be such mobilization type of management, during war there has to be a military dictatorship”.

And especially during war, if we remember Novgorod the Grate, so there in case of external aggression, the Veche and the seigniorial aristocracy called the prince, the individual military leader to whom they submit. In the conditions of war there were a rigid dictatorship, rigid management, and rigid mobilization. It would seem, it has to contradict idea of modernization. Especially the modernization in Ukrainian format, where modernization is possible not simply as modernization from above, but as modernization from above and, at the same time, from below. That is when modernization is simply a will of the power — not Alexander’s ІІ, Gorbachev’s or Yeltsin’s will, but when it is regularity, will from below, will of the people, will of all society.

In Ukraine, as we were convinced for the last 1.5 years, the will of society is not abstraction. You know, the main contradiction in mutual understanding of Russians and Ukrainians consists in this nowadays. In Russia, if you tell about the Maidan, that it were people who wanted a change of the power, you will be laughed down, you will be told about the American technologists who transferred for money the American technologies and some there orange revolutionaries. Productive dialogue of the free person and the serf, in principle, is impossible. Certainly, in Russia not everybody is like that, but those legendary 85% which support the present order in Russia, aren’t incline to believe that society was the main engine of revolutionary events. There is a unique situation, in general, in Ukraine – absolutely worthless state, its inefficiency is shown in a totally idiotic idea — from tomorrow entrance only according to international passports, but there is an absolutely unique society in Ukraine, which is capable to solidarity and to synergetic effect, to interesting interaction on the basis of mutual trust.

So, it turns out that in Ukraine nowadays there is a certain antinomy: on the one hand – the war, on the other hand — the modernization. And here, perhaps, it is that situation when modernization from an impossible condition under which war is an obstacle for modernization, turns or can turn into the catalyst, the modernization engine. But to make it — to turn war into the modernization accelerator — it is obviously possible and also necessary! Of course, certain conditions in present political life are necessary for this purpose. Present political elite not as worthless as previous, at least, because there is a quantity of critically conceiving politicians and political forces in it. Also there is a request for modernization from all socially active public layers, first of all, from intellectuals.

Firstly, modernization can and must be a generator of modernization discourse and its condition that will accelerate modernization. And secondly: the ideology of modernization and the topic on modernization should be dominant in the information space of Ukraine. And modernization shouldn’t be limited only to discuss some urgent reforms, as it is nowadays in Ukraine. Well you can see that modernization – is just reforms, just some new laws. But modernization — it’s much more, it is not only upgrading of the economic relations and corruption schemes, but a modernization of thinking, this is upgrading of policy and modernization of defense and national security. And for Ukraine, which wants to be a modern country, that wants to survive and has reason and opportunities for it, the theme of modernization should become the subject №1. Along with the topic of war. Thank you very much for your attention!

The Republicans – one of the modernization groups of Ukraine

Pavlo Viknyanskyy: Thank you very much, Andrii! Questions.

Oleksandr Kopyl: Good day! The issue is primarily to Mykhaylo, but also to other speakers as well. Mykhaylo Minakov gave very interesting short digression of transition from traditional society to modernization. The question is: whether is there a successful example in the world, not simply of transition from traditional societies, but in more difficult situation, as we are? That is when we had very high modernization achievements, and then Mykhaylo told about the demodernization process, it is possible to tell even more rigidly – dismantle, practically, of all achievements of modernization, so, in such conditions, whether is there an example of transition to modernization processes? I think, it is important, including, for our event, from the point of view of motivation. And so, whether are there examples of success of such projects? Thanks!

Mykhaylo Minakov: We live in society where there is dismantle of the Modern. And the Maidan only accelerated and deepened contradictions between modernization and demodernization forces. I would say so, that modernizers remained only in civil society. A noticeable example is the Nestor group, which acted with interesting modernization vision of the future of Ukraine.

Examples of successful modernization: for me it, first of all, Poland. Yes, it is the successful, modernizing social system, which passed through heartrending experiences in the 90th years, and for today is the country of success.

Pay attention, that modernization, in our culture is used as the technical term, first of all. This rudiment of the Soviet modern industrialism needs to be changed. For me the most terrible example of technical modernization is the sample of Singapore. This Stalin modernization is popular in part of our society. There is also a modernization example in Chinese: even Stalin didn’t go to it; all country is continuous GULAG. Besides, this GULAG is quite possible to cross to capitalism and that, actually, occurs today.

So, there are modernizations which pay attention only to equipment, to production and put obstacles for modernization of society. The western way — is a way, when society acts as the customer. We need to use experience of the West, and to put the modernization of society in paramount importance, that will lead all the rest.

Yes, both governors, and separatists are demodernization forces in our country. Society, in which there are modernization kernels, is clamped between them. One of these groups is you.

Also it is necessary to use the moment and to turn society into the customer of changes. It is necessary to bend, finally, the state and to make it the servant of society, to go in the Polish way.

The Crimea – the price of present Russia’s refusal of the modernization project

Andrii Okara: I would like to say a couple of words about Russia. There is a phenomenon of unsuccessful modernization in Russia. I mean the phenomenon not of some concrete modernization. The speech is that any modernization is always unsuccessful in Russia about. The famous sociologist Lev Gudkov offered the concept of abortive modernization.

As soon as the political elite sees that without modernization will be the end of the country, modernization begins. Then the political elite sees that they lose control levers, that as a result of modernization there will be other dominating subject, which as a result of creative destruction by beneficiaries there will be other people. And, the political elite are always arranged on a feudal sample in Russia, therefore it is afraid of emergence of the competing elite, which is arranged on a bourgeois sample. And that is why Peter I begins the modernization, but then he understands that all his elite, all of them will be squeezed out by bourgeois estate and therefore Peter І delivers plants to Russia, in the Urals plants are under construction, but serfs work at these plants. So the speech is not about the proletariat, but it is about serf workers.

Then, the Crimean war is the 1850th years: it is obvious that the state is already inefficient, that it doesn’t cope with those innovations which British have, French and all others: and Alexander’s ІІ modernization becomes the response to the Crimean war. And at Alexander’s time release of peasants begins too, but you know from history, that it is ambiguous. If someone from you is from Poltava region, you can know that the Karlivka region of Poltava was one of the grounds of peasants’ release reform in 1861, it is the region where was a manor of the Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna (she decided to make such experiment in the manor, it lasted two years). And so, this modernization begins, the new type of the economic relations begins, there are juries, generally, new judicial codes (we were forced to learn in detail judicial reforms of an era of Alexander ІІ on faculty of law in due time — it is validly, as the change of horse crew by the engine).

And here, everything is in a conflict with interests of liberty elite group and Alexander’s ІІІ counter reforms begin. And here the ideology of Русский мир, if it is possible to call it so, begins. So the aggressive nationalist and chauvinistic ideology becomes dominating. It is the same that occurs in Russia now, literally these days. Well, you know, of course, that so-called the Anti-Maidan appeared in Russia, and it is expected some grandiose meeting of the exulting serfs, whom this Anti-Maidan brings to the Maidan tomorrow in the center of Moscow. More precisely, on Red Square. Generally, everybody thinks with horror of tomorrow…

Once again I want to emphasize that Russia sets an example of the country which, in principle, isn’t capable to modernization, of the country in which each modernization is unsuccessful and comes to an end with mobilization. The Crimea was final farewell to modernization rhetoric in Russia now. That is, when Russia took the Crimea, how Russia paid for it? First of all, it is the rejection of modernization. And after that the word modernization, for some reason, not absolutely disappeared from a turn for the last year.

And here, by the way, Misha told an important thought: modernization is understood first of all as technical progress, i.e. technical innovations in Russia. Modernization is iPhones, computers, some tablets, the GLONASS satellites and something else. The Russian political elite understand it as modernization, but it doesn’t understand it as a new type of the relations, a freedom of speech, freedom of civil self-organization. It is feature of the Russian political culture, the Russian way of development. I tell it to you in order that you understand what you deal with and what regularities of that kind of development are dominating or are a problem as well in Ukraine. Ukraine is arranged differently, but all these problems prevail over Ukraine too. Generally, modernization — is, first of all, the social relations and the type of thinking. And only after that iPhones and engines.

The responsible class has no right to withdraw nowadays

Evgeny Juryev: I want to make one remark. You see how it turns out! Our theses and your appeals, they are, in general, the same. And that is why it is the most important now. Really, in Ukraine, unlike Russia, for example, there is a civil society, there is a responsible class which proved itself during a Maidan, but then was simply lost, flew by past a profit. On the one hand – it was clamped by an aggressor that was correctly told by Mykhaylo, and assumed a main blow, on the other hand – is clamped by the imperious elite. And if the entry point disappears now — end! It was possible in March. It was possible to make the accurate, tough, specific project then. Offer it to the new power and to force the power to implement it.

Everything is much more difficult now. Society decays, risks grow, huge fatigue of society, etc… But if not to start doing this project now, already in detail, and then we simply won’t be in time at all. Also I want to tell: 90% of you, who is in this hall now, will simply fly by on life. Someone will appear without possibility of personal break for some time. I don’t exclude such risks, that Ukraine and Russia, of course, will lose the statehood during all these cataclysms, etc. for some time. And Ukraine, because it didn’t undertake and didn’t constrain them in time. Someone will fly by the private, the business career, because it is very difficult to do business in Ukraine, it will be very difficult to find a job. And in a strange land, it is harder to do. Someone will fly by his political career, do you understand? Because it was necessary to undertake and create a new political class a year ago, because all parties were fictitious, and they are fictitious now as well.

And now, you see, you try to be organized — and it is healthy that, Pavlo, it is simply magnificent that you continue to do. But if you miss now this chance, you will remain both without the country, and without personal chances, I mean without personal career. But the responsible class simply has no right to continue withdrawing now. Such a thing!

Oleh Slyzko: Good afternoon! Misters speakers, answer, please, such question, very simple as it would seem: what has to occur in the world so that the world agreed with the scenario of modernization [in Ukraine] and if no, then I think can be it local projects?

Andrii Okara: It seems to me that Oleh remembered very correct subject. Namely: it is necessary to understand the general world context, and the logic of this context is that the golden billion – it not rubber. Of course, the modernized, modern Ukraine, is necessary to residents of Ukraine, Ukrainians (well, about Russia I am silent!), but to the rest of the world as far as it is necessary or it isn’t necessary is a very big question, which needs to be discussed separately and very long. But I think that in principle, Ukraine, which is a trend maker, isn’t necessary to the world in the existing conditions of the global competition. Also it is necessary to understand that it is one of their main modernization enemies…

Yes, Ukraine is very necessary as the territory, as a resource base, as a factory of hard-working people, as the center of black earth and a place of organic agricultural products production, as Sea Launch’s production place and other high-tech things. But the full-fledged modernized Ukraine, one more generator of progress and world development, isn’t necessary. It should be understood and for that is necessary to build a very difficult, very cunning diplomatic game. And to understand that with open arms and with bread and salt, well, no one in the world is waiting for Ukraine.

Poroshenko returned the powers, which are taken away by a huge work from Kuchma, for the last months

Mykhaylo Minakov: Well, I will shortly tell that everything depends on us; our future is only in our hands. The West considers us as a possible partner. The East already considers us as the enemy. Also it is necessary to understand that we, by our freedom-love, caused crisis in Eastern Europe. Our desire to defend freedom made this region dangerous. It is dangerous to all authoritarian regimes.

Nowadays there is a slow, gradual, but strong authoritarianism and in the Ukrainian political regime. The institute of presidency steadily conducts to monopolization of the power and to the conflict with the Parliament and CMU. The President received the powers, which are taken away by a huge work from Kuchma, for the last months. Here it is necessary to be on the alert.

We must make the bright, beautiful project, which will shake everybody

Evgeny Juryev: Firstly, I want to support the final thesis of Mykhaylo. Really, we observe, in general, disturbing tendencies in political life of Ukraine. The fighter against a dragon turns into a dragon. As for what has to occur in the world so that the world approved the modernization project of Ukraine? I will simply repeat there are only two possible factors. The first, Ukraine, all people who can help it, intellectuals, experts, etc. do the unprecedented project of modernization for the sleepy world, which, in principle, isn’t ready to such project, but which will to be borne away, inspired with the benefits of this project — both investment, and social, and new precedents of some social, political organization, etc. Such special prerequisites aren’t present so far. Year is already lost. We are doing something now, but there isn’t something brilliant.

And in investment business there is such concept investment show or road show. We have to make the bright, beautiful project, which will really strike political elites, world, and investment elites! It doesn’t occur so far.

And the second factor is a disaster. If a disaster at the level of the World War II happens, of course, then the world will be reformatted. And Israel was impossible before the war, but became possible after it. And Germany began to develop absolutely in a new way…

But on this case it is necessary to have the project. The West won’t invent this project. They don’t want. They live in a traditional framework and it suits them so far. And all risks aren’t realized. But though, crisis is obvious. We see, on an example even of Ukraine, they aren’t ready to change. Weak Russia presses them, and they concede.

Pavlo Viknyanskyy: Thanks, Evgeny! Thanks, Mykhaylo Anatoliyovych! Thanks, Andrii! Thanks, guys!

Mykhaylo Minakov, Andrii Okara, Evgeny Juryev: Thank you!

Pavlo Viknyanskyy: There were our friends in touch. Until we meet again, we will meet on constructing the new world [Applause].