Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Glocalism Can Be Ukraine’s Salvation, Druzenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 22 – Glocalism, which operates on the basis of the slogan, “’think globally but act locally,’” can be “an effective medicine” from the assimilationist approach of Ukraine’s neighbors and from the curse of an obsessive focus on local concerns alone, according to Ukrainian publicist Gennady Druzenko.

            Ukraine’s location on the border between “settled Europe and nomadic Asia” makes it beyond doubt “more mentally diverse than any other European country,” he continues. That can be a strength but it also carries with it real risks (

            “Local identities in Ukraine are very strong,” and they are very different from one another. If there is an effort made to impose one of them on all the rest, as has sometimes occurred, that will lead to fissiparousness. But if these local identities are respected, a new Ukrainian identity in common can emerge very quickly.

            “Someone can be or become a Ukrainian very quickly while remaining what he was before and not changing the identity he or she inherited,” Druzenko says.

            “This radically distinguishes Ukraine from the countries around it,” he continues. “Only in Ukraine can the president become Russian-speaking Zelensky who grew up in ‘a typical Soviet Jewish family,’ the prime minister the ethnic Buryat Yekhanurov, and the ‘eternal’ interior minister Avakov a man who was born in Baku to Russian-speaking Armenians.”

            According to the Ukrainian commentator, “such inclusiveness and variety a priori presupposes an effective central government which is sharply limited in its spheres of competence and a radical diversification of the powers between various branches and levels of power.”

            As the case of Yanukovich, who tried to transform Ukraine into one big Donbass shows, an assimilationist approach won’t work. But the proper response is not a weak center but a center whose powers are restricted to certain areas. Provincialism can be a threat but only if it is not limited by a clear definition of the powers of each level of government.

            “Ukrainian glocalism is the ideology of national pragmatism which rejects the division between East and West, between left and right, between conservatives and liberals, and between cosmopolitans and nationalists” and instead calls for a strong center and strong regions based on respect for Ukraine’s diverse nature.

            Glocalists believe, Druzenko says, that “the state acts as an instrument for the defense, development and realization of these identities and also their mutual enrichment, not for forcible assimilation and unification. In order to remain ourselves, we must be together; and in this is the precondition of our success and victory.”

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