A new mythology for Ukraine

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It is not so much armies and bullets that win battles and wars in the world as it is substance and ideas. Without our own original substance and ideas we will suffer defeat and a deserving place among dignified nations will elude us.

The rudiments for the emergence of a new mythology were laid in the course of the drastic changes that Ukraine and the whole world have gone through and are still going through. People have not yet properly processed these changes and without sorting them out and understanding them no benefit will be derived. Ukraine has bid farewell to its previous place in history and is entering new and unfamiliar territory. We are leaving behind the myths and heroes of the colonial era and are seeking to replace them with new myths and new heroes. In view of the absence of new myths and heroes Ukrainians lack solid strategies and the means to maintaining an identity. There is no consensus on values and very few stories to tell others.

Because Ukraine has no new ideas or stories to share the attitude the world is spontaneously developing toward Ukraine is biased, fragmented, and formed on the basis of old stereotypes coupled with the new Russian propaganda. There are no good reasons for the world to trust Ukraine – Ukraine has nothing to say about itself, and cannot give any good reasons why the world needs Ukraine.

We need new myths and new heroes. We need our version of events, we need compelling stories told by professionals and by ordinary people. We need our own world created by us in which our stories can emerge, and which we can fill with our myths. Through these myths we must enlighten the world about Ukraine and at the same time offer these myths to Ukrainians to strengthen their own sense of identity.
Naturally these new myths will flow out of the old myths. But Ukraine is not just an inheritor of ancient Kyiv-Rus and the Zaproizhian Sich – Ukraine is much more. Thus the old stories beg to be revisited, and the new emerging stories call for an elucidation and an explanation. Who are we? Where are we heading? What is our mission on earth? What is our role in the world? What does perpetuity have in store for us?
A new Ukrainian mythology will answer many questions about the new Ukrainian world. What values buttress this new world? What is its social space like? Who is feuding with whom or what? Who is formally in power and who is really in power? What internal and external conflicts are the ‘heroes’ and ‘ordinary people’ living through? What are they striving for, what challenges are they facing, and how are they changing in this new era?

Who needs a new Ukrainian myth? We do, first and foremost, for a better understanding of who we are. But our partners abroad, do, too: foreign governments, foreign investors, tourists, merchants and importers, potential immigrants to Ukraine, international organizations. The new mythology will answer the question: what kind of a place will Ukraine be in the future, what is it like, and for whom is it? What is Ukraine’s place in the world? How can Ukraine contribute solutions to global problems? What kinds of relations do we want with other countries? What can we offer the world?

All of this is not starting from nothing. Various groups and individual thinkers have come up with many images and hypotheses in the last few years. The aim of mythology is to integrate all the scattered fragments into a cohesive whole and to communicate it to others.

The old myths about the ‘golden era’ are gone. The new mythology is about the future. What is our future? The truth poses another challenge for us. We need a stable world and our only reliable support to build a stable world is the truth.

Tatiana Zhdanova, expert on branding, member of WikiCityNomica

 

EMPR, O. R. contributed to this publication

Original article in Ukrainian is available on lvbs.com.ua

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