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Ihor Liski: "There will be no effective mobilisation without a proper veteran policy"

In this war, we have to drop Soviet approaches and build the right veterans' policy, as it is a matter of survival for our country, says Ihor Liski, supervisory board chairman of EFI Group. On 29 February, Liski took part in the discussion panel "Country of Veterans: Opportunities and Challenges" held as part of the New Country joint project by and EFI Group, where he outlined his vision of veterans' policy from the perspective of the economy and business.

Ihor Liski: "There will be no effective mobilisation without a proper veteran policy"
Ihor Liski, supervisory board chairman of EFI Group investment company
Photo: Max Trebukhov

According to Liski, all spheres of state life, including the economy, are tied to the veteran policy.

"Without a proper veteran policy, there will be no effective mobilisation. But in addition, without solving the veteran issue, without the right veteran policy, the country's economy is in big question. First, these are millions of people. If we fail to include them in society, in economic relations, consequences will be bad," he warns.

At the same time, the state policy on veterans should be based on several principles:

Support for mental health

"Is there any state policy on this issue? I have heard many initiatives from NGOs and foreigners, but where is the state policy? Where is the systemic state policy on mental health of veterans?

We heard here that these are people who killed, who feel different. For many of them, the war does not end. And they start fighting with Ukrainians, with their families, with themselves, with the whole society, and can simply tear this country apart," says Liski. He once again emphasises that the state should be ready to provide assistance and support with all due respect.

The answer to the question "What does a veteran need?"

When a person understands that the state recognises and shares his or her values, he or she feels important, special and respected at the level of society, feels that this is his or her country, that he or she has not given up his or her health and sometimes even life for nothing, the businessman believes.

"This is about respect. And it's not about benefits. It's not about money. It's not about the numbers of bills. This is a complex story. For some, it may be the children they went to war for, so that they could have access to a good education or something else. Or housing. Or saving a job. For a businessman who has been at war for two or three years, he has lost everything: employees, contacts, clients. How can the state help him? Where is the programme of cheap loans? Where is the retraining programme?

Yes, the cemetery (the creation of the National Military Memorial Cemetery in Hatne - Ed.) But, pardon me, this is poor motivation (for future soldiers). It definitely cannot be the only one. You have to start with the truly important things. What motivates, what drives, what gives a person the dignity of being a soldier of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," he said.



The task of the Ministry of Veterans Affairs is to reintegrae returning veterans into Ukrainian society so that it becomes even more resilient to the growing problems, says Liski. And business can help here, in his opinion.

Ihor Liski, supervisory board chairman of EFI Group investment company
Photo: Max Trebukhov
Ihor Liski, supervisory board chairman of EFI Group investment company

"According to 2014-2021 statistics, more than 45% of people who returned from the front subsequently changed their field and area of activity, and the main reason was that they were not satisfied with what they had done before. They do not feel that they are in demand in this profession. Obviously, there should be support from big business in the state in this aspect. Is there such support and what should it be?" the businessman said.

In his opinion, everyone should be involved in creating a state policy on veterans: the state, business, charities, local authorities, etc.

"A fair veterans' policy is such an important issue that the future of the country, our victory in the war and how effective we will be afterwards depend on its resolution," the businessman concluded.

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