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Oleksiy Danilov: "We need a plan for Ukraine, not a strategy for Russia"

Ukraine does not need a strategy for Russia, but a plan for building its own state. This is how Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC), commented on the question of whether we have a strategy for dealing with our aggressor neighbour in the future during the discussion panel "What should be the strategy of Ukraine and the world towards Russia after our Victory?" (held on 25 October as part of a joint project by and EFI Group). 

Oleksiy Danilov: "We need a plan for Ukraine, not a strategy for Russia"
Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC)
Photo: Max Trebukhov

"What do we want from them? The only thing is that we need to "ask" them to leave us alone. The rest is up to us. Until our society switches to English as a second language, we will be in an environment where we need to talk with them about something," Danilov said.

In his opinion, Ukraine needs to fit itself into the global context, to engage in its education, culture and state-building.

"Do we, as a state, have a plan, a strategy on how we will act if they fall apart tomorrow or if they continue to maintain their power? We need to do our own thing. We don't need them, period.

We either become a country with a capital letter, a member of the global community, or we are constantly at odds with our crazy neighbour. It's like living in a communal apartment: you always have to quarrel with someone, so why should we waste time on this?

We need to build our country, we have questions and challenges. If we do this, complete the tasks, we will move forward very quickly. We don't need to spend all our time figuring out what happened and who is a doctor to whom. We need to talk to the rest of the world," said the NSDC Secretary. 

After the escalation of events in Israel, Danilov believes that the world has reached a certain plateau, and Ukraine must live according to the laws of democracy in order to fit into the global coordinate system.

"Stop dreaming that we are a globe that solves everything, that we will have enough time to tame and re-educate Russia, and do other things. Let's take care of our country. We have to answer a very simple question: who are we?

...We are not a separate state, not a separate institution. Either we live by the laws of democracy and adopt these laws, have a responsible society, responsible political parties, and are in a single coordinate system, or we are each on our own, and then nothing good will come of it," the NSDC head said.

At the moment, Oleksiy Danilov emphasises, we do not have a single political party.

"Since 1991, we have had two political parties. One was called the Communist Party of Ukraine, the other was called the People's Movement of Ukraine. The rest were all political projects. And today there is no political party in Ukraine. Either we become adults, responsible, and understand how the civilised world is built and where we want to move. And if we are talking about democracy, let's be responsible on these issues. Or let's continue the papier-mâché that we started in '94," the NSDC Secretary said. 

In his opinion, there are also big problems with education.

"When we gained new independence in 1991, we, like ordinary Ukrainians, all ran for higher education. Higher education institutions began to appear on every corner. The issuance of diplomas was put on a stream and continues to be. You don't have to study, you don't have to see a single teacher, you can pay the money and get your diploma. And this is a huge, huge problem. If we're talking about what we need to do, I can tell you for sure that we need to engage in education," Danilov says. 

"...We have a huge problem with history. Trying to present a new history, to rewrite it, is a problem for us. We need to know exactly who we are. We need to know our own history. As for the Russians, we have no common path with them. We shouldn't be involved with them, they will fall apart without our help. We need to take care of our own country. We need to become strong, powerful, and preserve our subjectivity.

Our country, and I'm going to say something very strange to some people, should become a maritime power. Until we become a maritime power, we will be 'steppe', which is an extremely dangerous phenomenon for the civilised world," the NSDC Secretary said.

So, Danilov summed up, we need to have a plan for Ukraine, not to deal with Russia.

"We need to understand Ukraine's plan. Does anyone have it? What is the state we are in? Do you mean NATO, the European Union? This is, first of all, compliance. Compliance with the criteria, friends. Let's read what the criteria are for us to become a member of NATO.

Today we have no society. There are no political parties.

There is no political culture. There is no culture of paying taxes. We start, but we don't finish. We never finish anything we start. Take decentralisation, for example, how many years have passed? There is no end in sight.

And finally, I want to say one important thing. Citizens of our country should participate in the development of the state, this is a joint effort, not just people who are on the Kyiv hills. This is the number one issue," said Oleksiy Danilov. 

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