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You’ll Modernize Yourself and Meet the Requirements of the Time or You’ll Be Devoured. Part I (Minakov, Juryev)

Under the conditions of war and economic collapse in Ukraine, in the framework of the Winter Studrespublika VII on the last day of winter 2015 unprecedented international Skype-bridge on «Modernization of Ukraine & modernization of the world: the driving forces of development» took place. There was a program discussion containing both theoretical and practical answers on the modernization among participants of the WiSR at Bukovyna, such like philosophers Mykhaylo Minakov from Kyiv and Andrii Okara from Moscow, and innovative entrepreneur Evgeny Juryev from Taupo, New Zealand.

Part I

In the first part of the published verbatim transcripts of the Skype-bridge businessman Evgeny Juryev and philosopher Mykhaylo Minakov talk about the urgent need in a daring modernization project which could be the only survival condition for Ukraine, cite examples of modernization in our lands and in other parts of the world, discuss to the content of the proposed project and the modernization of Ukraine and its funding sources with the Republicans.

Pavlo Viknyanskyy: The Winter Studrespublika welcomes our colleagues and friends from different countries. This is how we get the innovative experience as we are talking about innovation and about the conditions in which modernization of Ukraine and the world is possible. So right now we are in touch with Evgeny Juryev, an innovative businessman, who is in New Zealand at the moment, and who is a citizen of the Russian Federation. Also we are in touch with a philosopher, professor and docent of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, our friend, an expert of the Students’ Republic, who unfortunately, due to the logistical issues, could not come to us but is supposed to be here, Mykhaylo Minakov. And we’re in touch with our friend, an expert, a regular participant of the Republic’ projects Andrii Okara (the Russian Federation, Moscow) as well.

Dear friends, we’re going to talk about the modernization of Ukraine and the modernization of the world, and about the driving forces of [such] development. This is going to be our format of conference: primarily we’ll give the floor to our colleagues in other parts of the world, after that you, people from the audience and the Republicans, may ask questions or make remarks, and comment. It’s all we’ll do in order to maximize the revealing of the topic we require. Let me remind you, that the following topic for discussion in the game is the modernization zones of development in Ukraine. I’d like to ask the participants of the Winter Studrespublika to keep in mind the topic hence you could progress in resolving the problem with this optional course. I’m glad to introduce you our talker Evgeny Juryev.

Those who will offer an extraordinary, complex, large-scale modernization project are going to win

Evgeny Juryev: Good afternoon to everybody, and good evening, because here [in New Zealand] it’s evening. That’s great that here today we are doing such things. I hasten to say that the assassination of Nemtsov finally identified the situation: compromises are not possible, they are impossible in Russia, they are impossible in Ukraine. In general we are in the situation facing the global threat of fascism. And that’s why everything that we are doing now is the only correct option. We need to develop a modernization project in a very fast and high-effective way.

I have deliberately not been studied materials of the game extensively, but I’m sure you are now discussing what I will try to formulate. Behold, I have prepared a few points concerning the need for such a modernization project, and its forms available for Ukraine.

So the first point is: I believe that now is the only form of political self-organization or organization is connected with the modernization project. All other methods of political work and struggle inside and outside Ukraine aren’t really applicable. Political parties which now exist in Ukraine, they are, in fact, half-hearted, they do not implement the real task. I mean that someone is engaged in the implementing of one part of the reforms, another person — in the implementing of another part of them, someone just manipulates, someone mimics, someone imitates etc. Meanwhile the further modernization project is required. It will exactly gather round itself the main parts of the class, which I name the responsible class. It will crystallize responsible political class that actually understands what it wants, which understands that takes a risk in everything and in life in particular. And which understands that it cannot wait for these reforms being implemented inertial on their own.

Thus my first point is that the political organization is possible only being connected with the modernization project.

And those who will be engaged in the development of the real modernization project are going to become the leading political force. Moreover, it may start from scratch, literally. That’s what you’re doing now. Any background or political past shouldn’t be required. After some time it’ll become clear that all inertial models of reforms just won’t work. It is obvious. And those new political forces, groups of people which will offer a real modernization project will stay on and win.

The second point is that gradual, halfhearted circuits, solutions, etc. are already impossible. Generally it could be possible, for example, when a country is entering the modernization process, when it’s entering the great world, and the situation altogether is stable, it has a margin of safety, hence, for sure, by making errors, kickbacks, testing different schemes, the gradually creeping into the first world and even the acquisition of leadership positions become possible. But my point is that such situation in Ukraine, and generally in the world, is not just there.

Look at what is happening in Ukraine. Now we see that formal, halfhearted measures have not worked: after a while the deadlock is inevitable. We have faced the fact that traditional methods of healing some of them which imitate lustration etc. they do not work. Only a holistic, very ambitious, very complex project, which will consist of several parts, and which will be extreme is demanded.

Now the question arises: in what way can this new political force achieve the requirement of that project by the society? There are two premises.

The first one: I want to emphasize that in what politicians are engaged now, what does the executive branch in Ukraine now — all these things will inevitably lead to a certain stagnation impasse. Those formal measures which are taken, they cannot work by definition, as I said. They could work in a more peaceful situation, but now definitely not. At the moment when the power is in a situation where it does not know what to do, plus it has stuck in some new circuits, etc., so at this point, if there a political force that can offer a real ready, crafted at all levels project, appears, then it becomes a leading one. This is the entry point, the window of opportunity.

The world won’t support the modernization of Ukraine till the time…

There is the second premise that this project will be in demand. I think that the disaster that is brewing now (well, its direct source is Russia) is inevitable. We won’t be able to stop it, as today Nemtsov was assassinated and a lot of people are presuming: perhaps it will encourage Russians struggle, to make a revolution, to protest… No, it shouldn’t be contemplated. The trend is evolving only in one direction, the direction of fascist, increasingly aggressive society. And this threat is vast.

And the problem is that neither Ukraine to the full, despite the fact that it has been already fighting for a year, nor the international community does not understand, does not realize, is not ready to recognize that the threat will persist.

Moreover there is a kind of illusion. The fact is that there is Ukraine and external world. And the external world formally cooperates with Ukraine and it is interested in its modernization. Saying the external world I mean the first world: America, Europe, and other countries partly. But they are the part of risk! They are not the world that will help Ukraine, they are the inertia. They do not perceive Russia as a truly global threat and tend to preserve everything. Therefore, Ukraine should not expect from the external world any support of its modernization project. Moreover, we see that now no international organization, which could initiate the modernization project for Ukraine in general or for any crisis area, and could support it, does not do it and is not able to do it. It turns out that there is no country, except Ukraine, which can initiate this complex modernization plan for the world!

The second premise of the project implementation, the condition of entry, is that it will be in demand when the global catastrophe will happen though. Till that time we will be able to shake and make neither the first world nor the completely degenerated UN, nor any other organization, nor the EU, etc., support Ukraine substantively. Whether it is good or bad but the project will be in demand when a collapse happens.

Well, you may agree or disagree with me on my prediction, but when it happens as after the World War the Second, then there will appear new international organizations that will be able to support the modernization project.

The modernization project has to impress with its ambitiousness and feasibility

The third thesis is this: what should be the modernization project, and in what form it should be developed?

I believe that those declarative programs which (I specifically studied these programs of Ukrainian parties, programs of various political forces, the presidential candidates, etc.) they proposed, they were partly consciously imitative, and partly, as it turned out, they were starry-declarations instead of programs.

In such case I’m explaining the difference between program and declaration. Declaration is a restaurant menu, a list of dishes. And the program is the way in which these dishes are prepared specifically. So, we need to develop a project that will be structured in detail, which will contain both the concept and levels, work plans which should be executed, and most importantly — how to implement them.

It should be a ready for the introduction machine. And to implement this project in the frame of current political situation is impossible. Only at the time when there appears an innovative team from the masses, a kind of complex team and only after the ultimate conflict, collapse, etc., only then it will receive the power, legislative power and then it will be able to implement this project.

This very project should look like a machine, a robot, as a franchise, which then the world will be able to implement in crisis areas. I assume that if Ukraine is be able to develop such a project, with all the specifics, then after the global collapse and recovery, this franchise may be applied to crisis areas, including the former Russian areas (I have no doubt that Russia is going to degrade, collapse). And if the project is piloted in Ukraine, it will continue being implemented in other crisis areas.

Till present time the «first world» hasn’t succeeded in doing anything. They could support what was called the national liberation struggle, they could manipulate somehow the process and so on, but then the implementation of new forms, new project was limited to some forms of monetary recovery, usually subsidized. I guess the time for the development of a powerful project that can be replicated then has come. Here are my main points.

Now let’s go into the form of work. We will be able to develop this project only in the intensive form. Here’s what we’re doing now, this is my vision, this is the first stage of a series of games here, intensive projects, etc. And the project that will be created as a result – it’s not like that but like this [he’s showing with his hands that it is capacious, big, but not small]. It consists of general concepts, it consists of the legal framework, and it consists of specific innovative technologies that will be implemented in specific areas. It consists of proposals for global investment swap, and specifically to a consortium of investment memorandum, on the giant investment needed for some specific areas, regions, etc. This is the great project.

Our problem and your problem (I’ve just examined the programs that we’ve got very carefully), they are that we do not realize of what level should be the project. It should be a project that will simply amaze, firstly, with its ambitiousness, and secondly, with its systematicity and realizability. Thanks!

Pavlo Viknyanskyy: Thank you, Evgeny. And let me give the floor to Mykhaylo.

Theory of Modernization

Mykhaylo Minakov: Good afternoon. I’m going to do a report in order to clarify what is modernization and modernity and in what situation we are right now.

Primarily, modernization is a long part of the history of mankind, which is different from all previous epochs that break with tradition. Modern, modernity starts with a break with the traditional culture.

Traditional society perceives the world as something specified and identical. There the culture exists as crystal, i.e., if changes occur they occur with approximately the same rate as in crystalline structures, i.e. over the centuries. Living in the tradition is faced to the established forms, to the past, to precedents and antiquity.

The view of modernity is aimed at the future. The thing that you are doing now at the Studrespublika, it is actually the thinking in terms of our time: you send thinking for the future. Modern thinks not with precedents, but in terms of goals. From all this the theories of progress, development, evolution, i.e. vision of where we are now and where we are going, are born.

Secondly, the modernization is a rationalization of the life-world.

In modern times we rely on our estimation, risk of our thinking to plan our lives, the lives of our societies.

Modern has begun with the establishment of a rational army. Remember, what makes the modern army different from the feudal army? This is a breakthrough when the army of the new sample we transform each other in a certain kind of robots, disciplined machines. Cyborgs are knowingly so called so, yeah, modern society uses young people, young men with the target to turn them in somebodys who would die for us. In the logic of military robots-soldiers rejection of human dignity was founded in the beginning, when at the cornerstone are not the rules of honor of the warrior of feudal army, not the rules of survival of the species, and the rules of the future, rules of rational use of human resources in order to win, and not even in a separate battle, but in the entire planned war.

Another topic of modernity is a bureaucracy. Instead of the fact that country should be ruled by the most important genus, like king, prince, there appears the person who is needed in a rational legitimacy: why am/is I/he-she in power? I was elected by the procedure or I sprouted a domineering position career path, but one way or another, the bureaucracy assumes that the entire country has the same rules, and, ideally, these same rules are based on the rights and freedoms of a responsible individual. At the time the great modernist Napoleon created a code of laws, in which there was a rationalization and harmonization of the contemporary political society. His Code became a model, which was followed by all modern nations.

And finally, another feature remains, which is the individualization. Instead of being a part of the family and to prolong its existence through its members like people live in a traditional society, people begin to live as individuals, like members of a large society, for the first time there appear individuals. In the XVIII century in Western Europe the individual and society were thought out. And does this invention spread further like wildfire with the modernization at the same time? And from here derive socialism, capitalism, human rights, and more, what keeps our modernity.

Now let’s talk briefly about the era of modernization. It all starts with a few personal projects: personal project of Columbus, personal projects of Luther, Zwingli and Calvin. Suddenly the individual’s choice becomes the most important. We learn that the world is finite, we make the first map of the world, and we measure it with squares, parallels and meridians. We learn that it is not a tradition and its church that will provide us with the salvation of souls: I’ll have to say — in any possible way — with God, to know whether I will be saved…

At the same time, however, as there are these cultural changes in European countries, and then in the neighboring countries systems of absolutism take their place. These are hybrid regimes, where traditions and modernity become mixed and allow one leader – the emperor, the king, and the head of state – to establish the absolute power mode. The new army and the invented bureaucracy have become the prop of absolutism. The first-absolutist modernizer in our territories was Peter. Ivan Mazepa, about which you’ve probably heard, was one of the leaders who supported this particular idea. The implementer of this idea was our great countryman Feofan Prokopovich, who was one of the inventors of the Russian Empire, the Empire of Orthodox among empires of Muslims and Catholics.

Then at the end of the XVIII century for Western Europe and for the Russian Empire at the XIX century the era of industrial capitalism and modernity comes. This industrial modern radically changed the capabilities of the empire, and our ancestors captured vast territories. What is called now South-East of Ukraine, the historical Novorossiya was a colony grown on the destroyed lands of life worlds of Tartar hordes: the Nogais, the Ochakovs, and the Budjaks. There the Empire established a strong industry, a strong army and defeated the other slowly modernizing societies, like the Sublime Porte. In the uphill struggle there were conquered Tatar territories and new population, new people were settled. There arose huge cities and one of the centers of industrial modernity.

Industrial modern is concentrated in large cities, and the process of building large cities begins. In the twentieth century industrialism becomes the essence of management, especially in the USSR. We start talking about people using metaphors «cogs», because the very thought of managers is happening in terms of understanding the society as a mechanism for management of the plant.

The twentieth century is also the century of the death of industrialism. By the end of the century an era of post-industrial societies comes. The crisis of modernity leads to the fact that the great modernizing projects, such as socialism (this is the perfect industrialism, where a person generally does not have space to exist), capitalism, which were arranged precisely according to the industrial principle, leave the stage and begins the era of second Modernity or the information society.

Ukraine has rushed into the flow of demodernization in order to return the country. The modernization is in need

Now let’s go to the time in which we find ourselves, to the post-Soviet period. With the death of the socialist project the capitalist modernization in our countries is only promised, but has never come. We have smashed into the flow of demodernization, when the modest gains of the modern late-Soviet society, for which we paid with the deaths of millions and the lack of freedom, were violated.

Postindustrial Ukraine was divided into post-industrial dying urbanism of the East (note that the population of the southeast lives in urban areas), and into the post-industrial agrarian West and the Center. In both there occurs the demodernization, but it leads to different results: the townspeople of the East and the South were so lost and so dropped out of the social and political realities that were the objects of overexploitation of the oligarchs and radical utopian forms of this resistance as a separatist uprising. The agricultural West and the Center are also objects of exploitation, but a symbolic Ukrainian cultured component keeps them in check, effectively suppressing the discontent till a certain point.

In order to return the country, to restore the unity of the country, the conditions, under which both the West and the East will have the future, are necessary. Modernization is the only our future, because demodernization nations are inclined to the decay. Ukrainian state in its present form of the demodernization regime is not able to control the territories of more than a few areas. You can see already how the areas are in the concession of oligarchic groups. In each area there are creating a micro-political regime, its administrative, legal and financial sub-cultures. Precedent and tribalism are taking the leading position.

If the modernization is our choice, hence into the political and the socio-economic project of future Ukraine it is necessary to introduce such features: first of all, the rule of law, the accessible fair trial. For the nation-building it is necessary to see Ukraine as a multicultural society, and here we are talking not just about the Russian- and Ukrainian-speakers, but also to accept that there is a Soviet population, the population of the Soviet identity.

It is important to recognize that the social-democratic policy in response to the new poverty is required. We live in a poor country, and it’s not just about income but also about the access to the natural education, medicine and social protection.

We must renounce the presidency as our brief history has shown: all the presidents on the nature of this institution are prone to the authoritarianism.

Ukraine and Ukrainian society need to stop living only according to country strategies. It’s time to take responsibility for the fate of the entire region in Eastern Europe, not only for Ukraine, but also for Russia, Belarus and Moldova. This extraterritorial thinking will help us to rebuild ourselves, and to create in our part of the world a long-term peace and prosperity.

I invite the audience to talk.

Pavlo Viknyanskyy: Excellent! The guys, who are willing to ask or comment, please, introduce yourselves.

Who will finance the modernization of Ukraine?

Andrew Gedrovich: I have a question to Evgeny, and to Mykhaylo: in a format of preparation for the modernization project of Ukraine and, accordingly, for the development of the country, region and the world in general, I would like to clarify the question on resources. Who could fund it within the country? Who would be able to fund it outside the country, and will not a modernization project there become a hostage of customers’ circumstances, i.e., those who will finance it? Saying customer I mean ones who are in the country, and those, who are in the world. Thank you.

Evgeny Juryev: Well, look, I think that this question is generally central, the one about resources, because traditionally reforms involve some sequestration, shock options, anguishes, losses, income cutoff for the population, etc. At that time, when we do the sanitation, revitalization of an exact object, i.e. revival, then it is not necessary that it should be accompanied by some kind of deprivation, decline, some looking for non-performing resources, etc.

After all, any object is primarily an investment object. Do you see? And here we have, for example, a plant that is in crisis and it requires the revival, the renewal. At the same time this plant, this company is a great resource. This is equipment, fixed assets; this is staff, a territory, area, any established connections, etc. Therefore, for a competent investor is, above all, a profitable and interesting area for investment.

And what do we have in the case of Ukraine now? We have a strange situation. Look, in the center of Europe there is a huge area, which, in principle, is a huge target for huge investments. It is clear that there is a war. It is clear that the situation is very uncertain. It is clear that social and the political prospects are unclear, but understandable from the point of view of formal rating are low: default, etc. But if we could make a real ambitious project of modernization, which suggested the list of brand new, innovative technologies on the territory of implementing, and the usage of those resources and technologies which are already implemented, but only if we looked at them in a new way, we would create a real international investment consortium, and that’s real!

You see, I was in Singapore few months ago, just as a tourist, and at the same time there I was reading a lot about the project Singapore; 2 months ago I was in Australia — all these are territory projects. So initially they were not as attractive as they seem now. Singapore was an extremely crisis territory. But when people came to a decision, created a team, came up with an attractive investment project, they got money. And it does not mean that it is the money that you need to beg, money that you borrow and will need to pay back, or vice versa somehow overlap and cheat in order not to give them back. Conversely, it can be a quite profitable investment.

Now let’s consider the question you asked. Is not the object of investment, in this case, exposed in to the dependence on investors? No matter who it is.

We know that Russia the person of Putin tried and tried to lend some money in order to pull them back then, to blackmail somehow, etc. I mean gas or some other resources. There are fears that any other international organization could become here such a blackmailer. But if international investment was organized competently, if a consortium of investors was created, which would compete with each other for the profitable investment and would not have a controlling interest, it could be done so that none of them would dominate. So here we’ve got the analogy with the company: who has got a blocking position, he can dictate; the one who has got a controlling stake, he can manage. But if the investments are shared equally, and each investor has a certain share, then they can make decisions only together. And wherein: as in the case of enterprises with crisis objects, etc., the territory of the state, which is the subject of investment, may have a so-called Golden share.

Offering a favorable investment by providing a guarantee of these investments, the state where the money goes, may have the right of veto for certain decisions. All these mechanisms are very real. And all of these mechanisms exist; we just do not use them.

Parties need to refuse the cooperation with big capital

Mykhaylo Minakov: This is the right question. At the beginning of any political movement it should be understood that the oligarchy is inevitable. There is an excellent book by Robert Michels, who studied the history of the development of political parties. He showed that no matter how democratic impulse may be, any human community group pushes those, who control the access to resources. The only opposition to this feature of human nature and society is that we need to organize a political movement in such a way, hence the oligarchs would work only for the benefit of the whole group, and the group would control their effectiveness. I mean, the internal conditions are creating, such a party statute, if you want, the one that would constantly monitor and change inefficient managers. This is the first paragraph of the winning strategy.

Now let’s consider the second point. It is needed analyze the experience of the past year, the volunteer movements. We see that there is a gradual capture of volunteer projects by oligarchs, especially if it is a successful volunteer project. This lesson means that it is necessary to build the party, which would have the resources, financial resources, first of all, the ones which would be controlled. We need to create a mass movement and try to find a way to small businesses and not to cooperate with big business.