“NATIONAL FIRMNESS OF UKRAINE: strategy for responding to challenges and anticipating hybrid threats “

This is the name of the National Report, which was prepared by experts from the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; Institute of Sociology of NASU; I.F. Kuras Institute for Political and Ethnonational Studies; V.M. Koretsky Institute of State and Law of the NAS of Ukraine; G.S. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy of the NASU; Institute of World History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

Academician Serhiy Pyrozhkov, Vice President of the NAS of Ukraine, made a report at the meeting of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. According to him, the report is dedicated to the defenders of Ukraine, both on the front and in the rear – to all the indomitable people of our state.

The topic of the study turned out to be extremely relevant, as the national resilience shown by the citizens of Ukraine in this barbaric brutal war started by putin’s russia is a crucial factor in our future victory and reconstruction of the country. At the same time, research and writing of the report took place in 2020-2021, hence, it was needed to make the necessary additions and clarifications in the introductory part and appendices in view of current events.  

The large-scale aggression of the russian federation against Ukraine, initially in latent forms, began to manifest itself from the first day after the proclamation of Ukraine’s independence, – said Serhiy Pyrozhkov, – and since the occupation of Crimea and some territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in 2014, it entered a military phase, which eight years later turned into a large-scale offensive of the russian federation against the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of our state. In this war, the Ukrainian people demonstrate amazing unity and resilience. It results in the necessity of a scientific search for new answers to the challenges and anticipation of threats in the face of external aggression and internal instability, in particular, through the understanding of the concept of national firmness.

According to the speaker, the term resilience is used abroad for this concept, which means vitality, the ability to recover. This term refers to the ability of the state in cooperation with society to maintain resistance to external and internal aggressive influences, to respond quickly to asymmetric threats, as well as to recover from the devastating effects of aggressive actions of any nature.

In Ukraine, a more common concept is national security. But “national firmness” is a broader concept, – said Academician Pyrozhkov, – it covers opposition in all areas: political, economic, military-political, social, environmental, etc., so the main thing is not only to be able to resist, but also to work proactively. Any country will retain its independence only under the condition of national firmness, which is demonstrated by both the state and civil society. It is important to talk about firmness as a strategy. Ideally, it is a strategy to prevent threats. But in the real world, crises can occur in any country, so national resilience is about responding effectively and recovering from a crisis.

If we consider the national narratives of Russia and Ukraine, they are radically opposite. Russia is producing the ideology of a single imperial space; it seeks to bring the former Soviet republics and especially Ukraine to bay. Moreover, if you listen to the russian leader, there are not three “brotherly peoples”, as once claimed in the USSR, but the unique russian nation that has regional differences.

Therefore, the implementation of the Ukrainian national-state project is closely connected with overcoming the imperial totalitarian legacy, on the basis of which putin russia’s neo-imperial expansion and, above all, large-scale war against Ukraine is unfolding.

Ukraine has proven throughout its history that its people have a strong will to be subject, the speaker said. Ukrainians are the bearers of the Kyivan-Rus identity, which is fundamentally different from the moscow-russian one. The main values ​​for them are freedom, dignity, personal self-realization, and not imperial greatness, as in the neighbors. It is the archetypal core of Ukrainian identity, inherent in both the east and the west of the country, it unites the entire Ukrainian nation, deeply resonating with the values ​​of the Western world.

Today, this core is really demonstrated by the residents of Mariupol, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Bucha, Irpin and other famous cities, who are defending Ukraine’s independence even in the conditions of a humanitarian catastrophe.

According to research by the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the socio-political stratum of Ukrainian society has changed rather fundamentally than significantly over the past 25 years. The adaptive resources have considerably grown over the last five years, creating much greater opportunities to create a sustainable society capable of responding to today’s challenges and threats.

As a positive factor of firmness, sociology notes the existence of territorial cohesion of citizens and at the same time their unification around the state. Despite the severity of the war, Ukrainians seek to turn the occupied territories on the terms of Ukraine’s unitarity and support the necessary decentralization. The available research shows generally favorable conclusions on European integration processes and prospects.

At the same time, the strategy of national stability requires understanding of external and internal challenges and threats, said the speaker. In its domestic foreign and security policies, russia has openly declared its readiness to continue to use hybrid pressure and to impose its narratives by force, in violation of fundamental principles and norms of international law. In the absence of effective international legal regulation to counter such threats, Ukraine must independently develop means of counteraction at the national legal level. That is why professional lawyers formulated in the report and appendices legal assessments and recommendations for the authorities of Ukraine and international judicial bodies.

They say that national firmness in modern conditions involves preserving the sovereignty and restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, ensuring the effectiveness of foreign policy to counter threats in wartime and postwar, restoring normal conditions for the functioning of state and society, rebuilding infrastructure, economy, rights and human freedoms, restoration of the environment from the consequences of hostilities, preservation of cultural heritage, scientific potential of Ukraine. And prevention of anti-government activities on the territory of Ukraine, punishment of the aggressor state and war criminals, legal support of Ukraine’s course to European structures, etc., as well.

Analysis of the main security and legal documents gives an understanding that national firmness is becoming in our country one of the main prerequisites for ensuring the territorial integrity of the state and its independence.

“Special attention in the National Report is paid to science, which today is one of the most competitive areas of activity and a significant economic resource that determines the innovative development of the state,” Serhiy Pyrozhkov said. The figures are eloquent: in the European Union, expenses for science are about 2% of GDP, while in Ukraine this figure is only 0.23%. The cost per scientist in Ukraine is 19 times lower than in France.

The number of scientists in the world is increasing. It has grown by 20% in the last five years to 8 million. In the European Union, the number of researchers per 1 million population reaches 3359 people, while in Ukraine during the years of independence, their number has decreased fivefold. The reduction of scientific human resources continues. The migration of young scientists abroad is intensifying, especially during the war.

National science is becoming a donor to increase the scientific potential of other countries. Therefore, special attention should be paid to science in shaping the strategy of national firmness.

The report provoked an active discussion. President of the National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences Vasyl Kremen, representative of the Institute for Strategic Studies Oleksandr Vlasyuk, Vice President of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Oleh Rafalsky, First Vice President of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Volodymyr Horbulin, Director of the Main Astronomical Observatory Yaroslav Yatskiv and Academician-Secretary of the Department of literature, language and arts Hanna Skrypnyk highly evaluated the document as the scientific basis for the development of proposals for increasing the level of national firmness; at the same time they noted that the document was prepared before the war, and this leaves its traces. On the other hand, scientists have “calculated” the relevance of this topic in time, whose weight will grow. It was noted among the remarks that the concept of “national firmness” was first introduced at such a level, but the term itself is vague, a certain “mix” exists in the interpretation, for example, how national resilience differs from national security (Oleksandr Vlasyuk, Volodymyr Gorbulin , Yaroslav Yatskiv). Vasyl Kremen made critical remarks about the proposals for old and new attempts to reform education (high school – 10 years, universities – 4, graduate school – 2 years). He said that nowhere in the world there are such “fast methods” of training. Nowadays, we are clearly in sync with the whole world. The issue of external firmness was also called a weak position in the National Report. The field of international relations requires a scientific structure in the NAS system that would study these processes.

Resolution of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, assessing the National Report “National Sustainability of Ukraine: Strategy for Responding to Challenges and Anticipation of Hybrid Threats” as a thorough scientific work, gave two months to the author’s team to finalize, take into account comments and suggestions.

After that, the National Report will be published and sent to the authorities, and its electronic version will be published on the website of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the V.I. Vernadsky National Library.