Ukrainian Charter of the Free Person

We, participants of the 1st of December Initiative, introduce this Charter in order to express our views on the directions of life for our society, and at the same time to give a push towards unification of all those who want to make life in Ukraine and its immediate neighborhood decent and comfortable.

 The humankind entered the twenty-first century at the time of uncertainty.

The people of today are still struggling with grave challenges and vain hopes of the past. Breaking out of this historical gravitation, the people of today face the future feeling uncertain and vulnerable.

We have witnessed many upheavals – the rise and fall of powerful totalitarian ideologies and of their empires, political blindness and recovery of sight, mass infatuations and disappointments.

We have become witnesses of the emergence of democratic ideas, convictions and dreams.

But the romantic aspirations crashed against the harsh realities and turned fast into illusions. The words uttered have become devalued.

In our country the fetters of the Soviet Union were broken physically, but the Soviet legacy remains with us morally and mentally.

It turns out that people continue to hope for benefits coming from somebody else rather than rely on their own strength.

The new economic conditions have changed Ukraine but at the same time have exacerbated the worst human instincts – lust for enrichment, avarice, and the spirit of consumerism.

The people of Ukraine have obtained an opportunity to freely turn to the spiritual sources without fear of repressions. But at the same time, impoverishment, injustice and uncertainty have produced disappointment in society which has come to the brink of blank absence of anything spiritual.

The fall of the Soviet empire made it imperative for us to think in terms of building the foundation of the basic principles of Law and Truth which will require involvement of all those who rely on their own forces and on the help of God, the supreme aid which the conscience knows to be there.

“Yesterday’s people” are trying to “develop a new state” with old methods which use force and deceit to gain their ends. Those who do it do not understand what the supreme goals may be.

The shadow of doubt has touched many hearts, but this shadow of doubt always accompanies people. We should not be afraid of shadows. We should look for the light of truth which will empower us against discouragement and lack of faith, and which gives the sense to our life.

We observe a movement all over the world towards the search for the sense of life which becomes a goal to pursue in the present-day world.

But the means which should renew and strengthen the faith in one’s own and in social strengths cannot be too categorical or fully sufficient. There are many roads that lead to the Temple but one has to have a desire to follow any of these roads.

The corner stones of this Charter are the three basic thoughts.

Firstly – being responsible for one’s own life, and thus achieving success, wellbeing and happiness cannot be delegated to anyone else. We are responsible for ourselves.

Secondly – morality and spiritual values cannot wait to be established tomorrow – they are needed today.

Thirdly – we are building what we think can be built and it is the scale, depth and creative power of our imagination that our future depends upon.

People want to be free because it is freedom that gives sense and dignity and value to human life. It is a road to happiness which we, believers and nonbelievers, but children of God all the same in a wide philosophical sense, are called upon to seek.

In order to become free people we do not leaders like blind men do.

Neither the most talented leaders not the sophisticated intelligentsia or any social grouping can lead propel to happiness and freedom.

The true leaders of people can be only their own concentrated conscious efforts.

No one can do it for you – you can only do it yourself.

1 To be free

All people are created free. Being free is the most important right of people which is granted at birth and it defines the very essence of our civilization.

To be free is not only a feature that gives us all equal rights but it is also a spiritual choice that we make.

Unfree people cannot be either happy or protected or be secure in their future.

To be free means, ahead of anything else, to take on responsibilities.

If you do not do your duty you cannot demand others do it.

One should not live with a constant feeling of having been wronged and or of pitying oneself. To be free means to believe in one’s own strengths.

To be free means to realize that you are unique but it does not mean to foster your superficialness.

To be free means to believe in and maintain the principle of equality of people and of obeying the law regardless of rank or social status.

And the most important thing – to be free means to do good.

It is in this principle that the most profound sense of being free lies.

2 To be Ukrainian

The national and cultural belonging depends to a great extent on one’s own spiritual efforts.

To be Ukrainian today means to see various equally important ways of working at oneself.

The first and most important thing is to maintain the national dignity.

We should not be looking for anybody to blame for failures in our own destiny.

We should feel we are a strong nation and we should remember both our victories and achievements, and our tragic moments too.

We should remember all those instances when we willingly or unwillingly wronged other nations.

We should bear no one ill will or hate those who have willingly or unwillingly wronged us.

To be Ukrainian means to do our best to overcome the impact of many traumas, fears and stereotypes.

We should not assess ourselves through the prism of other nations, we should not rejoice too much in being praised by others, or get upset by being offended.

We should not either feel supercilious or humbled in our attitudes to other cultures.

We should not be making fun of our own.

We should not justify our inertness by citing unfavorable circumstances, we should not be indulging in passivity, envy, “the pride of having been humbled” which are among our worst national traits.

The notion of being Ukrainian transcends the ethnic sense and is a political phenomenon and concerns and includes every Ukrainian citizen.

To be Ukrainian means to realize that every one of us is part of Ukraine; it means to be developing one’s intellectual, spiritual and political Ukrainian-centricity. Such attitude arises from the personal efforts of every one of us and spells the unity of Ukrainian people, of Ukrainian lands, of Ukrainian culture and history, and of Ukrainian future.

To be Ukrainian means to master the Ukrainian language or to strive for mastering it. It is not only the language that makes us Ukrainian but the great energy of personal efforts to master the language, to develop it, or to learn it and use it, that turns us from population into a unified nation.

To be Ukrainian means to prevent Ukraine from sliding into national factions.

In Ukraine, there are no such peoples as Galician, or of Donetsk, or of Odesa or of Kyiv. There is only one Ukrainian nation that lives in the territory of Ukraine. Local differences do not create any centripetal energies. These differences should not be either exaggerated or stressed – these regional differences do not turn the people who live there into different nations but enrich and strengthen our national unity.

The Ukrainian Diaspora should be a part of our Ukrainian existence.

We should think in the categories of global perception of Ukrainianness, and use them in the political, economic and cultural life of our neighborhood, Europe and of the world.

3 To be active citizens

In order to be a active citizen one should realize that statehood and democracy are not only political but also spiritual values.

Civil society is possible only within the framework of statehood.

To be an active citizen means to support others in the defense of their rights, since these are the rights that we all share.

To be an active citizen means to show initiative in doing good for your house, neighbors, local community or for the whole of Ukraine.

To be an active citizen means to be on guard and be ready to deal with attempts (first of all, of those who are in power) to curb or violate human rights. Those who violate the rights of your neighbor today may start violating your rights tomorrow.

To be an active citizen means to realize the dire necessity of democratic development of the Ukrainian state. Democracy, as any other political or social creation, can exist only there where there is a majority of people who can defend it and to adhere to its principles.

To be an active citizen means that you do not shy away from political life. Even if you choose between the political forces which are not ideal you have to make a political choice, acting in accordance with your conscience and contributing to the positive changes in the life of your country.

4 To love

We need to change our attitudes to each other.

To love means to wish others well.

We can discern national, social and cultural sense in the notion of love.

Under the conditions of Ukrainian society to love means, ahead of anything else, to be tolerant towards political, cultural views of other Ukrainian citizens, to be tolerant of their ethnic, religious and languages backgrounds whose personal stories may vary.

Tolerance is one of the most prominent features of free people who may have their own views and yet respect the right of others to hold different views.

Tolerance is not the same as lack of guiding principles – tolerance does not mean to justify those who purposely act to do harm to Ukraine, seeking its disintegration or decline, or those who act ignoring the principles of morality.

Our love signifies that we love and support the Ukrainian language which represents the image of Ukraine, and of the Ukrainian nation in the world.

Our love also means that we respect the rights of those Ukrainians who speak Russian and the rights of all the ethnic minorities who live in Ukraine.

To love means to prevent any manifestations of xenophobia, racism, chauvinism, Nazism, Stalinism which are the most brutal forms of human, national, political, cultural and social intolerance.

To love means to maintain the cultural continuity of successive generations in Ukraine – the older generations may not share the lifestyle or aspirations of the younger generations but they should support these younger generations in their search for new ways.

To love means to respect the realities of the preceding generations, it means not to keep score of wrongs and not to think in terms of revenge; to love means to develop what we have as our common achievement and wealth.

To love Ukraine is to seek reconciliation among the war veterans – those who fought in the ranks of the Ukrainian Insurrection Army and those who fought in the ranks of the Soviet Army.

To love means to embrace our own national views of our past.

The desire to love helps to establish “a moratorium” on “historical wars”, provoked from outside Ukraine.

To love is to make efforts to achieve social justice which will bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

To love is to maintain the spiritual links among the Ukrainian churches whose main function is to serve God and Ukrainian people.

5 To think

One of the main tasks of free people is to think independently and free.

For us it means to overcome indifference to Ukrainian statehood, narrow-mindedness and provincial backwater outlooks.

It is in this sphere that we need a revolution that will bring profound changes.

To think means to do away with stereotypes.

To think means to work hard, to read books and to be creative in response to the challenges of time.

To think is to overcome the tendency to provide simple answers to difficult questions.

To think means to want to learn more about world culture.

To think means to seek new forms of culture.

You should not be frozen into the past – you should move forward.

You should not fear unexpected and new developments – you should fear the emptiness and indifference.

To think is to learn to create and establish, through joint public efforts, new centers of modern culture, new libraries, and public funds for spreading information about Ukraine in the world, for promoting translations of Ukrainian literature, and for supporting of Ukrainian students abroad.

To think means to learn about advances and research in theoretical, practical and creative spheres, to implement these advances and new knowledge through, among other things, modern means of social networking.

To think is to support independent mass media which should become the mouthpiece of honest voices to be heard in the din of misinformation and deception.

6 To be the masters of our destiny

Our main social task is to develop the feeling of being masters of our destinies and of our land; the fundamental features of being masters is responsibility for your actions, responsibility for your relatives and for the space of your life.

In its scale and aim this task is of vital importance and is actually equal in importance to establishing Ukrainian statehood. There are no alternatives to undertaking to fulfill this task.

To be the masters of our destiny is to uproot the vestiges of Soviet thinking which makes people who have been humiliated and robbed by the state, expect this state to provide some social benefits; Soviet-style thinking prevents one from taking part in the life of the community.

In order to become masters of our won country, we should decentralize the centrally held state power and delegate authority and financial resources to the local levels.

Being the masters of our destiny begins from taking care of the simple things in life like maintaining our own homes and neighborhood in order, keeping clean the lobbies of the apartments where we live or the streets in front of them.

We realize the difficulty of dealing with many social ills that arise from consumerist attitudes and unmitigated desire for enrichment. Dealing with these problems should not obscure the positive attitudes to private businesses and entrepreneurship as the sources of economic development of Ukraine.

Such attitudes will become possible, only if national and social responsibility is developed among the big and middle businesses.

To be the masters of our destiny is to respect the work and personalities of other people.

To be the masters of our destiny means to assess in a just manner the work of others and justly and in time to pay for the work done.

We should reestablish the high standards of professionalism which has sunk catastrophically low almost in every sphere of life in Ukraine.

Being masters thus involves all those who are willing to work – owners of businesses, employees and workers, and farmers.

The revival of the entrepreneurial spirit cannot be done without raising salaries and wages, without providing new jobs and creating conditions and jobs in Ukraine to bring back those Ukrainians who have left Ukraine in search of jobs.

And the most important thing is – to be masters is to take care of the underprivileged and destitute.

7 To be a leader

We have to strive to achieve personal and collective success.

Success should come as a just remuneration for work done and this principle should become part of our life as an inalienable feature of healthy and just society.

Being a leader does not necessarily means to exercise political leadership – it means to be the leader in gaining knowledge.

To be a leader means to blaze new trails for others.

To be a leader means to develop such personal merits as the ability to understand others, to be able to work as part of a team, and to do what is demanded by one’s position in the chain of command in order to achieve the set goals.

Ukraine, as a large European state, should become a regional political, economic and cultural leader.

Ukrainian regional leadership will entail an active Ukrainian participation in the life of Europe and maintenance of interpersonal and interstate relations and cooperation with Ukraine’s immediate neighbors.

It is Ukrainian civil society that should undertake to carry out this mission instead of the current ineffectual bureaucratic machine.

8 To be an open society

To be an open society is to be a community which is convinced in the ultimate preciousness of human life and the validity of democratic society.

There are no people among Ukrainians who are second rate, who are just cogs or obstacles on the way to achieving our goals.

To be an open society means to curb aggression, to support the weak and socially and physically disadvantaged.

To be an open society means to have zero tolerance towards any anti-humane ideologies and despotism.

To be an open society is to borrow the best achievements and knowledge from around the globe.

To be an open society means to love people, to be free in thoughts and to bring up free people.

These things should become part of the Ukrainian collective consciousness.

9 To be a successful state

The road to success of Ukraine as a state should lie through doing away with social alienation among people.

We should do our best to establish the principles of democratic government which have been violated.

We have to bring back the principles of true parliamentarism which have ceased to exist in this country.

We, citizens of Ukraine, must ensure regular changes in the makeup of the government and ensure that those in power know well that they are subordinate to the people of Ukraine.

To do it is possible only if the freedom of speech and democratic rights are fully implemented and defended.

The basic principle of relations between the state and citizens must be introduced– the state does not interfere with the private life or its citizens but creates favorable conditions for those who work, and supports the socially disadvantaged.

The success of Ukraine as a state depends upon “the reforms of justice” – the judiciary and law enforcement must be radically reformed. The people of Ukraine must make sure that rule of law reigns supreme in Ukraine.

The success of Ukraine as a state also depends upon “the reforms of life”– fundamental and sweeping reforms must be introduced into the systems of education and health protection of Ukraine.

We need a unified and well protected humanitarian space.
We need drastic reforms in the local self-government and regional development.

The success of Ukraine as a state depends upon the free functioning of the internal market, upon protection of citizens in the economic and business spheres, upon the development of middle and small businesses, upon simplification of the business regulatory and permission-issuing systems.

The success of Ukraine as a state depends upon doing away with the economic conditions which engender corruption.

The success of Ukraine as a state depends upon the formation of political parties which will have clearly defined ideological foundations, and whose development and points of view will be determined by their grass-roots supporters rather than by projects launched by individuals from the top.

The success of Ukraine as a state depends upon developing such attitudes among those who are in power that will clearly recognize the importance of Ukrainian national values and unity of all the citizens of Ukraine.

10 To be participants of the democratic community of nations

It is all but natural for Ukraine to integrate into the European community – there is no other option.

Such integration is to be accepted as an internal rather than external political course.

We should serve as an example and support all the democratic forces of the former Soviet Union and our neighbors and partners from the Baltic to the Black Sea.

We should put forward the principles of mutual equality, respect and partnership to counterbalance the chimerical ideas about the so-called “Slavic brotherhood” and false “unions” which history has proven to be untenable.

We should strive to support and give strength to those who champion human rights and freedoms.


Today we, in Ukraine, face authoritarianism, corruption, poverty, humiliating social injustice and lack of internal cohesion.

We need changes.

We are capable of dealing successfully with dangers and menaces.

Consolidation of the Ukrainian people is our most important strategic resource which has not been applied yet. By consolidation we understand the rallying of people around the values of independence and democracy which were proclaimed on August 24 and on December 1 1991, and at the same time consolidation as we understand it is a unity of political decisions and actions which should guarantee the European and democratic development of Ukraine for decades to come.

The principles which are laid down in this Charter require a great many personal and collective efforts to be taken.

In order to implement theses principles we need to maintain a dialogue, to the participation in which we invite all those who wish the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian state well.

We call upon all of you, our dear fellow citizens of Ukraine, to get involved in the most complicated and difficult work there is – do not wait for the “golden age” to come all on its own, do not get discouraged when faced with untruth, do not hide away from the world around you and from life but keep making efforts directed at making Ukraine better and turning it into a free state of free people.

Our Charter chooses “to be” rather than “not to be.” It is the only personal and collective option.

To be free.

To be a successful nation and a successful state.

To be free among the free.

Kyiv, December 1 2012

Signed by

Vyacheslav Bryukhovetsky

Myroslav Marynovych

Bogdan Havrylyshyn

Myroslav Popovych

Yevhen Sverstyuk

Seman Hluzman

Volodymyr Horbulin

Vadym Skurativsky

Cardinal Lyubomyr Huzar

Ihor Yukhnovsky

Ivan Dzyuba

Без коментарів.