In some cases, the discussions, held in a cacophony of languages, raised more questions than provided answers. Yet one common walk-away was that Ukraine has entered a new phase in its evolution. The road forward may be paved with uncertainty, but there is no turning back. Ukrainians’ destiny is now in their own hands.
The dialogue that began in Kyiv should now move to Ukraine’s south and east. This discourse, however, does not need the participation of celebrated Westerners (although it could not hurt), but should occur between Ukrainians themselves. The same questions that were posed at Kyiv’s conference, “Ukraine: Thinking Together”, should be forwarded in Odessa, Donetsk and Luhansk. We suspect the tonality might be different in the south and east, but the walk-away from debates would mirror those in Kyiv.
The people of Ukraine have, for too long, lived with divisions, real and imagined: between Right Bank and Left Bank, between Ukrainian and Russian, between Europe and the east. The political functionaries who ran this country for the last 23 years played on those divides, with tragic consequences now known to everyone.