ICPS within the project "Modeling the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the support of strategic advisers to MinTOT, supported by the International Fund "Renaissance" held a public discussion "The settlement of the conflict in Donbas: model and price" in Kramatorsk. The conflict in Donbas remains a primary challenge to Ukraine’s national security. The peaceful settlement of the conflict is hampered by the lack of a state strategy for reintegrating the particular districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions (uncontrolled Donbas) as a result of disparities among the political elite.
Analyst Yevgen Yaroshenko noted the international experience of conflict resolution. There are four possible models. The Bosnian model is based on preserving the state’s territorial integrity in exchange for its federalization. The Bosnian model may bring peace to Ukraine, though it will not contribute to resolving the causes of the conflict. Such a scenario is more favourable for Russia and the West as it will not divert additional resources from them in the confrontation over Ukraine. The Croatian model provides for an alternative solution to the Minsk process, relying on unilateral actions and the military advantage of government forces.The Pakistani model arose from prolonged and deadly conflicts when the state either realizes that it cannot defeat separatist forces by military means or concludes that resources invested in retaining disloyal territory enormously exceed potential benefits derived from reintegrating these areas. The German model provides for the returning of lost territories on pre-war terms by means of peaceful negotiations with external players involved.
Senior economist Vasyl Povoroznyk said about costs of Donbas conflict settelement. A basic economic assessment of the implementation of one or other model of conflict resolution in eastern Ukraine should take into account the role of the region and its contribution to the economy of Ukraine in the pre-conflict period, an assessment of actual losses of the region as a result of conducting ATO and also the costs of conducting full-scale military operations in the ATO zone.
Anatoliy Oktysiuk presented the positions of Ukrainian political parties regarding Donbas conflict settlement: "Ukraine’s current political forces have essential differences in attitudes towards resolving the conflict in Donbas. The ruling political parties demonstrate a vague vision of how uncontrolled Donbas should be reintegrated, avoiding decisive steps in this area for fear of political destabilization and early parliamentary elections. At the same time, oppositional and non-parliamentary forces enjoy larger room for maneuver and are more active in advancing their proposals for reintegrating uncontrolled Donbas".
Public dialogue is the foundation of constitutional process
The ICPS with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation continues its activities within the project ‘The use of world expert experience and public consultations in the process of amending the Constitution of Ukraine’. Its goal is to use the best international practices and expert experience to raise the public awareness that the Constitution shall be established by the citizens themselves without the influence of political forces. The majority of regional events have been already conducted: project coordinators and regional representatives have conducted over 100 events in Ukrainian cities and urban-type settlements in all of the 24 regions. In particular, ICPS legal expert Veronika Kharuk said on the radio that a public problem is that many people even are unaware of the rights which are entitled to. If they were aware of their rights, they would try to ensure that the constitutional rights should be exercised. This project is aimed at informing the public of their rights. We are working with students and senior pupils in all regions. Over 5,000 have already attended our lectures where we explain what are the Constitution and its purpose. ‘A major problem in Ukraine is that citizens do not perceive that they are involved in framing the Constitution which has rather declarative character. All constitutional amendments were being made behind closed doors. Following the revolution people started to realize its involvement. Now it is important that the constitutional process should put down roots and citizens should realize its attitude towards this process and how they may influence on the state’, said the project manager Serhiy Kishchenko. Initialing dialogue at local level is an important achievement since the regions hosted public discussions with regional representatives and local expert being involved. We hope that such a wide public discussion will make citizens feel responsible, unveil their willingness to participate in the constitutional process and assert the provisions of the Fundamental Law.
Interaction in communication: how media and government may jointly contribute to developing pluralistic society in Ukraine
The International Centre for Policy Studies continues its activities to bring Ukrainian society closer to European democratic institutions. A project ‘Interaction in communication: how media and government may jointly contribute to developing pluralistic society in Ukraine’ is a part of ICPS activities in the sphere of strategic communications, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and the US Department of State in partnership with Cultural Vistas (Germany). This year the ICPS focused on Ukrainian media by providing Ukrainian journalists with an opportunity to learn German experience in efficient system of communication. In late 2016, 15 nationwide and local journalists took a weeklong internship in Berlin where they learnt the communication process between media and society and the German Federal Government. A number of meetings contributed to sharing experience between Ukrainian media with German officials and journalists working for popular newspapers in the world, such as Der Spiegel, Der Tagesspiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Deutsche Welle, Reporters without Borders and public broadcasters ARD, ZDF and Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB). These communications are successful since all German state authorities perceive ‘communications as services’. An efficient communications system provides German population and media with an opportunity to receive first-hand information on policies of the German Federal Government, and explanation of its purposes and actions. How many funds does the German Federal Government allocates for communications? The 2017 budget provides for EUR 109.3 mln for the Federal government press office. This amount also covers learning public opinion as an important component of external interaction. German authorities are open to media and constantly accountable before journalists who initiated a tradition of weekly audiences with politicians in 1949. Representatives of all German ministries take part in the Federal press conference (Bundespressekonferenz) where they three times per week respond to hardball questions by media and present a state authorities strategy. Mutual respect and adherence to ‘rules of the game’ between government officials and media helped Germany to establish an efficient interaction in the system ‘media-government-public’.
"Gordian knot" of Donbas conflict: results of expert discussion
The International Centre for Policy Studies with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation held an expert discussion ‘Donbas Conflict Settlement: Models and Costs’. This issue continues to be a primary challenge to Ukraine’s national security. As practice shows, the Minsk agreements brought neither an efficient cease-fire nor a doable model of conflict resolution. As a result, Ukrainian public predominantly has a negative attitude to the political provisions of the Minsk agreements. In the current situation, it is necessary to analyze the possible consequences of both implementing the Minsk agreements and taking alternative models of conflict resolution in Eastern Ukraine, taking into account Ukraine’s national interests to the fullest. In this regard, the ICPS team presented a publication 'Models and Costs of Donbas Conflict Settlement: International Experience and Ukrainian Realities'.//'. ICPS expert Yevgeniy Yaroshenko said that looking for a way-out of Minsk deadlock shall be proceeded by analyzing an experience of foreign countries that were facing internal conflicts and territorial losses. In the current situation, it is necessary to analyze possible models of conflict resolution in Eastern Ukraine with regard to combat and material losses, public opinion, the position of external players and other factors. Ukraine should, inter alia, pay attention to four models of conflict resolution – Bosnian, Croatian, Pakistani and German. However, any comparison is conventional, as it does not completely represent Ukraine’s realities given that each conflict is unique. ICPS expert Anatoliy Oktysiuk noticed that the political establishment considers the Minsk agreements as a personal problem of Petro Poroshenko who carries significant reputation risks. If the president does not fully implement the Minsk agreements, he will lose political credibility and public face before Western partners. The wider opposition realizes that if the president increases pressure on the Verkhovna Rada, parliamentary factions will initiate early elections which are disadvantageous to the authorities. The representative of Ukraine in the Trilateral Contact Group Olha Ayvazovska stressed that amnesty and local elections in uncontrolled Donbas are the most sensitive issues in conflict resolution. She said that Ukraine has to prove to international community that the conflict is international since persons who committed war crimes or crimes against humanity shall not be subjected to amnesty, in accordance with international law. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine (2003-2005 and 2010-2012) Kostyantyn Gryshchenko emphasized that Ukraine should set a clear system of foreign policy priorities. During the discussion, the Co-director of Foreign relations and international security programs of the Razumkov Centre Mykhailo Pashkov pointed out that implementation of the reintegration strategy and interaction with the occupied territories should become top agenda items. ‘Public diplomacy is a key to resolving problems, as the Minsk agreements are currently associated with a backstage and covert process. It will test the government’s ability to take mature and weighted decisions’, said the Deputy Director of the Institute of World Policy Kateryna Zarembo. Summing up, socio-political dialogue in Ukraine should be the first step towards conflict resolution in Donbas with regard to the lack of national consensus. To this end, it is necessary that open and transparent discussions should be held between the political elite and the public on Ukraine’s place in the world, its civilizational choice, constitution, form of government, relations with the EU, NATO, Russia and the West as well as the Crimea and Donbas issues.
Diplomatic Briefing "Models and price settlement of the conflict in Donbas"
On November 17, 2016 the International Centre for Policy Studies with the support of the Swiss Embassy in Ukraine held diplomatic briefing which was dedicated to the 61st issue of “Inside Ukraine”. The experts presented an analytical report on “Models and costs of Donbas conflict settlement”. Analyst in foreign policy Yevgeniy Yaroshenko on basis of the international experience in conflict resolution presented a detailed SWOT-analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the four models, namely: Bosnian, Croatian, Pakistani and German. Any comparison is conventional and does not fully take into account the realities of Ukraine due to the uniqueness of each territorial problems. Senior economist Vasyl Povoroznyk said that basic economic evaluation of the implementation of one or another model of conflict settlement in eastern Ukraine should take into account the role of the region and its contribution to the economy of Ukraine in pre-conflict period, assessment of the actual losses as a result of ATO and costs of military operations in ATO area. The final part of the study was the evaluation by senior analyst Anatoliy Oktysiuk of the position of Ukrainian political parties and extra-parliamentary forces regarding Donbas conflict settlement.
Start of regional activities under the project “The use of world expert experience and public consultations in the process of amending the Constitution of Ukraine”
International Centre for Policy Studies supported by the International Renaissance Foundation has launched a series of regional activities under the project “The use of world expert experience and public consultations in the process of amending the Constitution of Ukraine”. The project is aimed at using best international practices and expertise to raise awareness of the society and introduce the understanding that Constitution shall be created by the citizens for themselves, without the influence of political forces. Experience of countries that have passed the road that Ukraine is now on in the process of creating a new Constitution show that their biggest investment was the consultation with their citizens on the provisions of the Fundamental Law, since such a process of participation has the potential to develop, strengthen a sense of belonging to the rule-making process in the country, national unity and identity, to increase the legitimacy of the process of developing Constitution, to create fundamentals for the development of democratic principles and processes within the country, build the civil society. For the informational support of events the ICPS experts prepared publication "The Role of a Citizen in the Constitutional Process" and infographics. One of the activities in the course of the project is carrying out 200 educational events in educational institutions of 24 regions during November-December 2016, in order to clarify the role of the Constitution in life of every citizen, namely: 50 lectures for students of higher educational institutions and 150 lessons for the schoolchildren on the topic "The Essence of the Constitution and its role in everyday life". Vinnitsa was the first region hosting the events in the cities of Bratslav and Pohrebysche. Students of Bratslav Agro Economic College of Vinnytsia National Agrarian University and Pogrebysche Medical College were the first students who had the opportunity to learn more about the Principal Law of the State. Then the baton went to Chernihiv, Rivne, Sumy, Lugansk region and the Dnipro city. In particular, students of Accounting and Economics Department of the CHNTU attended a public lecture on "The Essence of the Constitution and its role in everyday life" delivered by Regina Husak, Chairman of the NGO "Zhmenia" being the deputy of the Chernihiv City Council. Participants of the event got acquainted with the Basic Law, its basic functions, and through learnt how to build a constitutional process and create a Constitution from the informative video clips. Another peculiarity was the collective work aimed at activating the youth. Working in groups and presenting the results of the work students vividly debated on the topic of human rights and authorities to whom one should apply in case of violations, as well as on the duties of the citizen. The Sumy region youth got actively involved in the project attending the events held in Konotop city (Konotop Institute of Sumy State University) Shostka city (Shostka Institute of Sumy State University) and the city of Hluhiv (Hlukhiv school # 6). Regional Representative of the International Centre for Policy Studies Mykhailo Gorkusha taught students about the role of every citizen, his/her rights and obligations, the existing political system in the country. We will continue to work and arrange events in other regions and educational institutions to improve the level of political socialization of the young generation.
How to stay healthy in times of crisis and war: the results of the round table
Today Ukrainian doctors are sounding the alarm, noting the growing number of people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Impulsivity, insomnia, constant anxiety, desire for the formation of bad habits and, consequently, the dependence – this is not a complete list of symptoms that accompanies PTSD. All the society is suffering from this, but primarily jeopardized the younger generation: young people, children, adolescents. For this purpose the International Centre for Policy Studies held a round table on “Keeping health in times of crisis and war” on November 4 at the press center of Ukrinform. The event was attended by the leading experts in the field of medicine, physical health, psychologists, experts in education, demography and sociology and ATO participants. Moderator of the event Mykola Polishchuk – MD, professor, corresponding member of the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine stressed that solving this problem requires not only medical, but a more comprehensive approach by the government and society. Natalia Rynhach – chief research worker of demographic modeling and forecasting division, Institute of Demography and Social Studies named after Ptuha under the National academy of sciences of Ukraine in her report “Acute and chronic stress and its impact on public health” noted that a prolonged stay in the state of stress determines the exacerbation of existing and the emergence of new diseases, has a negative impact on the physical, mental and social health of the population in general and to more extent – vulnerable groups. The greatest risk of negative consequences are for individuals involved in a military conflict (both military and civilian population in ATO area), their relatives, IDPs and persons providing medical, social and psychological support. ATO participant Ihor Bezkaravaynyi told by example of his own experience, how participation in combat activities affects the development of bad habits of soldiers. According to him, people who in civilian life was not prone to such habits are usually very rare using them in the war. On the other hand, those who abused alcohol in civilian life these habits may worsen if they do not take a direct part in combat activities, and are in the so-called “second line”. According to Bezkaravaynyi, the important factor of development of addiction to the bad habits in this context is not even the state of stress, but the lack of motivation “If guys understand why they are staying and what tasks they perform they do not have a drinking problem”, - said ATO member. In turn, analyst at the International Centre for Policy Studies Bohdan Banchuk, who also served as an officer-psychologist in the ATO area said that the fight against stress symptoms among military personnel is complicated by several factors. Above all, he said that in Ukraine there is no normal system of military psychologists. In addition, the problem is neglected in the society, and particularly in the army, the institute of psychological support and the need to provide psychological help. And the problem is ignored at both ordinary and higher commander’s staff. “The soldiers simply refuse to recognize their own psychological problems and turn to a psychologist. On the other hand, commanders also address psychologists as something superfluous and unnecessary on the front. Although, when viewed objectively, the problems associated with mental state, which caused by stress are a lot”, - said the expert. Larissa Konoplyannyk – Assistant Professor of Cardiology under National Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education named after P. Shupyk – said that the potential manifestations of PTSD are social and personal problems (difficulties in communicating, alcohol and drug abuse, difficulties with employment, law and isolation), the destructive/dangerous behavior (suicide intentions, reckless behavior, hostility against oneself or the others). An important outcome of the discussion was the approval of experts that stress and its effect should be included into the reports and recommendations on diagnosis and treatment. This problem has to become a part of the scientific and pragmatical discussions and research that result will be specialized training for doctors of different specialities.