accounted for one quarter (24.7 percent) of the European Union's GDP in 2021. We should
note that Germany was virtually destroyed after World War II. The same can be said to
In part 2, we look at education, economy, technology and ecology, as well as concluding thoughts on the conditions for success

Read part 1 here.

Education 

Ukraine has a rich tapestry of high-quality education. Ever since Yaroslav the Wise, through the Ostroh and Kyiv Mohyla Academy, and Kharkiv and Kyiv Universities, Ukraine has been a source of knowledge, culture, and discovery for the whole European continent. Despite numerous setbacks, brought to us by our Soviet past, we must admit that it has also provided an excellent mathematical and solid scientific base. Discarding any of this heritage would be unwise.

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Having inherited the Soviet model, we will have to further Westernize our educational system, bringing more creativity, role play, negotiation, pitching, cultural exchanges, and international competitions in all possible fields. Ukraine will have to compete with top international institutions to prevent and reverse the ongoing brain drain.

The quality of education will have to begin in schools, with a serious emphasis on languages, hard sciences & IT literacy. 

I was lucky to study in one of the best schools in my home city, and while I found the level of education incredibly high, I still must admit that few people could speak the chosen foreign language fluently by the time of graduation, indicating both the low incentivization of teachers as well as an overall lack of students’ understanding of the need in the first place.

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If we want to continue building strong connections between Ukraine and other states, we will have to make sure our people are not only equipped to be competitive in the world job market but have clear routes to international cooperation through the agreements and joint business ventures which our policymakers and businesspeople will have to develop.

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While the Russian language and literature are currently a strongly disputed topic, I see no reason to remove them from the curricula altogether. Both these subjects should stay as an elective on par with Spanish, French, German, Chinese, or Arabic, while having Ukrainian and English languages as mandatory. Banning any language or culture will get us nowhere. This will only prevent our integration into the tolerant and democratic European community of states and antagonize millions of Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the south and east.

Moreover, knowledge of the Russian language and culture will prove priceless for the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the country’s intelligence agencies.

Economy

Restoration of the economy is, probably, the most important factor to ensure a prosperous and safe future for the Ukrainian people. While adhering to the Capitalist model, the capacities and infrastructure that Ukraine possessed will have to be renewed, including numerous industrial facilities, ports, space, and aviation industries. Anything that isn’t objectively viable anymore, should be repurposed to ensure the maximum utility of various sectors.

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Ukraine has always been a mineral-rich country, as well as the breadbasket for the world. This does not have to change. Unlike Russia and most resource heavy states, Ukraine is a capitalist democratic country, which makes doing business so much easier and more preferable for foreign partners. However, if Ukraine is to climb to the next stage, it will have to develop a much more value-added economy, not simply supplying low margin raw materials, but creating the products that can be shipped worldwide, making the country a top manufacturer of key global economy components.

For example – Ukraine was producing 90 percent of the semiconductor-grade neon used by the U.S., as well as 35 percent of its palladium. Instead of producing raw materials, Ukraine should work to use its resources to create finished products. 

Technology will have to play a huge part in the rebuilding of Ukraine’s economy. If Ukraine is to compete in agriculture in the 21st century and be irreplaceable for numerous hunger-struck countries, it will have to implement or invent technologies which would allow it to significantly increase the amount of produced food. We are talking about having Ukraine’s unique soil as a base and adding breakthrough technologies, like genetic engineering, nanotechnology, vertical farming, solar power, AI, blockchain and others.

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Just like agriculture, resource extraction must be done in a smart way, if we do not want to stay an ever-developing materials’ supplier. The U.S. is one of the world’s largest suppliers of shell gas. Still, we do not think of the U.S. as the world’s petrol station. That is because extraction constitutes just a part of national security and economic independence. This is how Ukraine should look at it.

The state should not build its economy around coal and oil, like Russia – it should develop the energy sector to an extent when there can be no external dependency on unfriendly players.

Ukraine will have to work on a wholesome strategy to ensure its complete energy independence, as well as, ideally, a source for money generating export. It will have to invest and renovate oil and gas extraction industries – probably through Russian reparations.

We will have to employ modern technologies, like AI and drones, to ensure the quickest possible discovery and extraction, redesign and protect our nuclear facilities to an extent when they could supply the whole of Europe with energy, thus significantly reducing our key allies’ dependence on Russia.

Technology

Ukraine will have to become a technology hub for the world. By tech hub I mean not just an outsourcing market, but a full-fledged player in the technology domain. This will have to be achieved by the combination of local expertise and correct collaboration with our more technologically advanced Western partners. All Democratic camps would be interested in seeing Ukraine succeed on par with Poland as a top economic hub of Eastern Europe. This will prevent mass migration to the West and create a strong front against economic turbulence to the east of our borders, which will undoubtedly follow and will be hard to contain. 

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Already today, a huge chunk of the world’s top CEOs, founders and developers are emanating from Ukraine. Oftentimes, they are unwilling to associate themselves with the country and register companies as well as locate their HQs elsewhere. This must be reversed. If Ukraine is to survive and compete on the world stage, it will have to make itself so attractive to entrepreneurs, that no one would have a reason to leave. Ukraine will have to revamp registration, government support, tax incentives and R&D funding to an extent where Ukrainian entrepreneurs start relocating their offices back to Ukraine, while foreign investors and founders start moving to Ukraine to take advantage of the local market.

Ecology 

The damage caused to our ecology by Russian aggression is now being evaluated in billions of dollars. It must be noted, however, that the ecocide of Ukraine did not start with Russia – not directly in any case. Corrupt Ukrainian politicians and local authorities have been undermining the forestry and national reserves funds for decades, enriching themselves at the expense of our collective future.

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The importance of good ecology and fresh air cannot be overestimated when evaluating the country’s attractiveness for life. Krakow is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, however, I had to leave it as I developed asthma within two winters due to a toxic air (smog), produced because of indiscriminate usage of cheap coal and even trash to heat the city in winter. 

Kyiv’s air quality is consistently being ranked as one of the worst in the world. The same can be said about Donbas or Kryvyi Rih, where heavy industry has been developing without checks or safety precautions. The Carpathian forests have been methodically cut to provide cheap timber for the international conglomerates, like IKEA.

The USSR-enabled Chornobyl disaster caused irreparable damage to Ukraine’s northern ecosystem. While Russia will have to be held accountable for stealing our grain, setting our forests and cities on fire, and killing our sea and river ecosystems with their mines and bombs, we will have to critically re-evaluate our own approach to the environment. No economic progress makes any sense if there are no people willing to live where this progress is taking place.

There are numerous other components that would have to be investigated as soon as possible before the start of the Restoration Project. However, I believe, the basis and direction has been outlined to an adequate degree.

Conclusion

Perhaps counterintuitively, in order to see the potential of Ukraine, I suggest that the reader looks at Russia. The biggest country in the world with some of the most precious resources – a nation that could produce Tolstoy, Mendeleev, and Tchaikovsky – Russia has all the potential to become a power equal to the U.S. or China. Nothing was holding it back apart from the mentality of its people.

Instead of investing in their human capital and developing the vastness of their lands, Russians have consistently chosen to conquer ever more land, destroy ever more nations and worship any new egotistical paranoid maniac that has appeared on the horizon, be it Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, or Vladimir Putin. While owning 11 percent of the world’s lands, the economy of Russia today constitutes 1 percent of the world’s GDP. The economic and demographic stagnation of this nation cannot be overstated.

Similar to Russia, Ukraine is a huge country with immense human potential and unlimited natural resources. Being 28 times smaller than Russia, our economy at the time of the Russian 2022 invasion was 10 times smaller than the Russian one. This constitutes 3X economic efficiency over our bloodthirsty neighbor. And still, this is a horrible and unworthy result for the potential Ukraine possesses. Such low economic development owes itself purely to the never-ending influence of the putrid Russian mentality over the Ukrainian soul.

Any brilliance, hard work and ingenuity of our nation has always been stifled by the Russian claws of post-Soviet influence. If Russia had not unleashed this war on us, there is no guarantee we would have been able to distance ourselves from the “Russian world” to the degree which would finally allow our economy to start developing at the European speed.

Unknowingly, through its miscalculation of our mentality and character, Russia has given us a chance we might have otherwise never had. Every child killed, every woman raped and tortured, every ruined school and shopping mall, every launched rocket, has been making the abyss between our fates wider and deeper.

Once we are done with any residue of Russian influence in Ukraine, we can move to using our resources properly. The German economy is the fourth largest in the world and accounted for one quarter (24.7 percent) of the European Union's GDP in 2021. We should note that Germany was virtually destroyed after World War II. The same can be said to a lesser degree about Japan.

There is not a single reason why Ukraine should not be able to match the German or Japanese miracles. Ukraine has all necessary resources, mentality (unlike Russia), and determination to swiftly become one of the top ten economies in the world.

The creation of an economically prosperous, safe, and rapidly developing society – globally sought after as a place to live and bring up our children – now this is what we will call a real victory.

Kate Levchuk was born and raised in Odesa. A Futurist with a background in International Relations, Geopolitics and Venture Capital, she is a frequent guest lecturer advocating for science and progress. Kate lives in London.

The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.

lesser degree about Japan.
There is not a single reason why Ukraine should not be able to match the German or
Japanese miracles. Ukraine has all necessary resources, mentality (unlike Russia), and
determination to swiftly become one of the top ten economies in the world.
The creation of an economically prosperous, safe, and rapidly developing society – globally
sought after as a place to live and bring up our children – now this is what we will call a real
victory.
Kate Levchuk was born and raised in Odesa. A Futurist with a background in
International Relations, Geopolitics and Venture Capital, she is a frequent guest
lecturer advocating for science and progress. Kate lives in London.
The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.

 

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