Thirteen minutes to twelve on the 31st of December 2019 Volodymyr Zelenskyy pronounced a speech. It was not an ordinary speech. It was a speech that tried to give birth to the “national idea of Ukraine”.
Let’s analyse some of theses of the New Year’s speech of the President Zelenskyy to Ukrainians to see whether he succeeded to give birth to the “national idea of Ukraine” or dismissed it instead (see the text of the full speech here https://www.unian.info/society/10816211-zelensky-s-new-year-address-everyone-should-answer-the-question-who-am-i.html):
The President identifies a Ukrainian to be the one that has full right not obey the law and not to learn Ukrainian language. He says that it is absolutely OK not to be willing to speak the state language. Ukrainians should accept it. There is no call to action and no solution to the antagonism regarding this issue in the society.
It needs to be reminded that just two days before this Speech the President dismissed the rule of law for the sake of the “unequal exchange”, and the “Citizen of Ukraine” had only “LIFE”.
Of course, we do respect them. But the fame puts responsibility on those who is famous as these people have followers. They are role models for them. The Kremlin uses the fame of the actors and singers to propagate its state policy. It is dangerous to ignore the power of the fame.
Indeed, the “crosses on the graves of soldiers do not compete in patriotism,” but for the sake of the patriotism they fell under those crosses. They were driven by the patriotism and they gave their life for it.
The value of respect noble. But outside the context of a “national idea”.
Correct but war as well as peace are two-way road. If Russia stops fighting, there will be no war, if Ukraine stops fighting – there will be no Ukraine (Edmont Huet).
In other words, the self-identification of Ukrainians does not matter for the President.
The President failed to envision this future.
To sum up, the Speech of the President is not about the national idea, it is about being human and meeting the needs of a human (if you read the text of the full speech you will see that the aspects that Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentions fit into the lower levels of the Maslow pyramid). How can Ukrainians be driven to meet the needs? And why should they do it in Ukraine and not in another country? With what they should identify themselves? With respect? Or unity?
Therefore, the concepts of “national idea” and “human values / needs” cannot be replaced; they must be complementary. A national idea as a spirit of the people should be a motivator for meeting the needs within their own country.
PhD, author of thesis “Sovereignty to secure interests of states. Aspects of International and European Law”, Founder of Promote Ukraine, Brussels