We have one advice for you. If you can afford to not create a political party — don’t.
Create it only when you will see absolutely clear that:
- you have a particular beliefs, which lead to a particular policies,
- it is not possible to bring to life this policies in the term of your life via existing political parties, political powers and institutions.
We have beliefs like these. We value the free market, the freedom of human choice, we advocate for limited intrusion of state into the economics, mode of life, moral and culture, and in those areas where such intrusion would be rational to preserve, for bringing state intrusion to a reasonable minimum. We look for minimization of state pressure on business and for rights for effective self-defense — both on the street and in the courtroom.
We strongly believe that Ukrainians are none worse than other nations. That why every time we hear that Ukrainian society “is not quite ready” for something which already exists in all the civilized world, including our nearest neighbors (for example, land market) — every time we know we’re being deceived.
Nevertheless, we also understand that Ukraine is in the state of hybrid war — and not by its own fault, but because it happened to have an aggressive Empire-wannabe as its neighbor. Thus we understand the need of limiting the human rights in particular areas — you cannot build a free society in the occupied country. But every single of such limitations must be justified clearly and unequivocally.
Having a background in media and political consulting, the authors of this program figured the situation enough to understand that we cannot bring our agenda to life without our own political power. And if we won’t bring it to life, we consider this to be a threat to our country and an insult to our descendants.
That’s why we will bring it to life.
This program is a strategic vision, not a roadmap. The specific ways for realization of program goals will be detailed in the relevant sub-programs (sorry, for now they are included in UA version only).
Through the course of few generations Ukrainians simply were not taught economics. Ukrainians were taught anti-economics, which is plain scary. As a result of such “education” Ukrainians, from children to seniors, have a particularly distorted understanding of basic economic principles, sometimes distorted so much, it’s simply perverted. They think that the government is a kind of miracle worker who possess an enormous resources and funds, but simply doesn’t want to share it with a “simple people”, because of his greed — even though it is his first and foremost duty. That’s why simple people doesn’t need to share with the government as well.
We declare the revision of this beautiful but removed from the reality scheme:
- There is no government money, only taxpayer money.
- The state should not be concerned with a well-being of each single citizen. Instead, it should not interfere with his own efforts to improve his well-being. The task of the government is to make the taxes and duties to be transparent and easily managed. The task of citizens is to pay these taxes and duties.
- Politicians must contribute to development of financial literacy of citizens, not to use the lack of such literacy to improve politicians’ electoral stance.
Sadly, the latter is a common practice. Thanks to it, the government holds control over the array of state owned companies, which are formally loss-making but in truth simply corrupted, all while Ukraine is still one of very few countries in the world without the agricultural land market. And our task is to fix this.
We are the country which was attacked by a more powerful (military and economically) neighbor. This attack was not provoked. We became victim of it only because our neighbor was hungry, and we failed to convince him that the very attempt of attack will cost him too dearly.
More even, this neighbor doesn’t have any plans to somehow vanish from our borders, and takeover of our country (one way or another) is and will be one of his strategic goals. This is not a scary tale, not a myth — this is our reality, and to deny this would be simply irresponsible.
That means, we must be ready to respond his attacks at any given moment of our lives. For this, it is not necessary to be more powerful than enemy, more angry, more violent or crazy — it would suffice to be just powerful enough, smart enough and crafty enough for aggression against us would be too expensive. Nevertheless, the situation is even more complicated, as part of our country is already occupied by aggressor - Russian Federation.
Since our enemy has greater military and generally greater strategic resources, our only option is to use the resources we have much more efficient. This is not too complicated, taking into account how phenomenally ineffective our enemy is. In such circumstances, we just need to finish second in this ineffectiveness contest.
The strategic goal of our party is, de-occupation of all territories and return of effective control over all the borders of Ukraine. We don’t think that we can trade off a part of Ukrainian sovereignty — not only because we have no right to renounce our people and lands, but also because you cannot lose a part of your sovereignty, just as you can’t lose a part of your virginity. It would be naïve to suggest that you can trade off your finger to a shark and it would appease its hunger, shark will agree to compromise and sail away to take a bit on someone who we don’t quite care for.
We are a liberal party. But we are convinced that you cannot build a free society on the occupied territory. Thus a necessity of survival of our country as a subject of international politics, and preserving its sovereignty is a priority for us. And for this, we can agree to some limitations to human rights — but only at the proper scale, and only with a clear and unequivocal justification of every single of such limitations.
The biggest problem of all structures and institutions responsible for Ukraine’s national security in general, and of Armed Forces in particular is an extremely low effectiveness of using of human potential. To put it simply, there’s too much of USSR-inherited bureaucracy and irresponsibility in our heads, in our modalities, in our institutions. As opposed to a deficit of hear or ammo, this cannot be fixed simply with an injection of funds — we talk about a necessity to create a qualitative superiority over our enemy, not a quantitative.
To eradicate this, we would need:
- An implementation of electronic documents and workflow.
- Reform of military education. The war brought Ukraine with a gift of lots of well-trained personnel, but only few of those — thanks to military education. Instead, military education is often left at the mercy of Soviet-design armchair generals, few of those have enough motivation, and even fewer have a necessary proficiency. Involvement of seasoned veterans to training of recruits and officers, and updating of methodology and training materials must become a priority in reforming of Armed Forces of Ukraine and other security forces.
- Involvement of foreign experts to military education and retraining of personnel.
«Democratic Axe» party believes that, taking into account a large numerical advantage of enemy, preservation of military conscription and a possibility of military mobilization is a necessary evil for the country to survive. A small army filled exclusively with contractual professional soldiers is something that only a state member of already powerful military bloc can afford, or a state which doesn’t have a powerful enemies. A large army filled only with professional soldiers is something that only a state with a powerful economy can afford.
But we are convinced that both conscription and reserve duty must be optimized as much as possible. Those called to duty must receive a proper military training and qualification, and also their civil skills and competences must be taken into account, and developed.
We are living in the post-totalitarian regime state. That means, citizens already suspect that state should not look between the citizen’s bed sheets, but not yet quite clear whether they themselves should or should not look between the sheets of their neighbors — in the name of morality, traditions and public good.
We state one simple and scary thing: morality and traditions should not be an object of state regulations. That doesn’t mean we reject those. That means that the line between decent and lewd must be drawn not by bureaucrats, but the people themselves, in their everyday lives. The state should only be involved where one’s liberty to swing a fist comes too close to another one’s nose.
What does that means in practice?
That means, we advocate for adult capable people to conduct any kinds of actions on his own body (including the right to administer any actions with his body after his death), to use any substances, to wear any clothes they like, to express any thoughts, to buy and sell any services on voluntary consent (including sexual services), to practice any religious or secular ideology, to enter any relations with other adult and capable people, and to form any kind of family unions. Or not to. As a separate not, we advocate for ensuring of human right for self-defense, and for the right to keep and bear arms, both cold steel and firearms (except for assault weapons).
We do understand that sometimes a common sense dictates a limitation to such rights mentioned — but only in particular situations, which may be connected to professional capabilities of a person, securing the safety of life of others, national security and international obligations of Ukraine.
As a right liberal party, we support the equality before the law and the equality of opportunity. But we do not support any attempts to bring people efforts to an equal result. Your successes and achievements in any sphere of public life must only depend from your efforts and personal qualities, and should not be linked in any way to your gender, age, ethnic origin, health status or sexual preferences. We are against discrimination and glass ceilings, whether you are a woman in politics, gay in the army, or a disabled person who wants to start his own business. But we do not support the positive discrimination and creation of advantages by state for a particular parts of society.
As a separate notion there are public and state responsibilities to animals and environment, which should be met by a state if it claims to be civilized.
We consider that some politicians’ speculations of Ukrainians “not being ready” to empowerment and extension of rights are at best stupidity, and at worse a contempt for their own people. Those who claim that Ukrainians are not ready to bear arms, claim that Ukrainians are not as civilized as Moldovans, Bulgarians, Estonians, and Slovaks. Those who claim that Ukrainians are not ready for recreational use of cannabis, claim that they change as a species if travelling to Amsterdam or Vancouver, where it’s legal? Those who claim that Ukrainians are extraordinary moral nation whose ancestral traditions are threatened by European liberal freedoms, apparently never compared the demographic statistics from Ukraine and European countries. Some of these simply repeat the propaganda narrative of aggressor country.
Our legislation initiative will include:
- Decriminalization of medical and recreational use of cannabioids.
- Adopting the law on arms and ammunition, which will regulate the market of civil arms in Ukraine.
- Decriminalization of sexual services.
- Changes to Family Code which will introduce a separate type of civil unions which will not depend of sex or gender of persons entering into such union.
- Abolition of discriminatory provisions in laws which limit the self-realization of a person based on sex, gender identity, sexual preferences or marital status.
- Support for inclusiveness on the state level services and urban infrastructure.
- A separate comprehensive law on animal rights based on European practice. In particular, it must incorporate the registration of pets, sanctions for mistreating of animals and insensitivity to their needs, sanctions for damages caused by animals to people and other animals, prohibition of usage of animals in entertainment if that causes discomfort to animals, and such.
Our goal is to move all the record keeping and all provisions of services into electronic and long distance form, wherever this is physically possible. Our model is Estonia, where it was made possible. We are convinced that this will improve the effectiveness of public administration by speeding up and simplifying of all the procedures, will noticeably lower the risks of corruption and will allow for reduction of bureaucratic staffs as well as its expenditures.
We advocate for development of nation-wide strategy of electronic governance implementation, taking the experience of Baltic countries as a basis.
For its part “Democratic Axe” party promises to show an example, by moving all coordination of major party activities into electronic form.
We assume that education is not a social spending, but an investment into human capital.
Ukraine inherited from USSR a perception of education as of some kind of obligation the state has to a citizen. This is wrong in principle, because the citizen shift the responsibility for his personal development outside, while state uses its resources ineffectively. The task of liberal party is to revise the educational spending and to direct it wherever it is possible to make the most of it. And also to create possibilities for all those who takes effort to receive quality education or to pay for quality education.
There is a popular premise that education should prepare for a life, and we’re getting there, our ideal Ministry of Dreams will succeed any day, and our children, when leaving school, will be instantly ready to live a life of responsible citizen. But the reality is, a person spends approx. 1/6th of his life in school, and half of it in college or university. Mostly in the role of subordinate in the feudal-like relations, without any stimuli for initiative.
The task of a sane Ministry of Education is to slowly implement a practice of communicating as equals, of working for results, of subsidiarity (solving of problems on the lowest, local level) and of responsibility. So the senior classes pupils could make conscious choice, whether they need more schooling or they already found their place in life.
The task of the general education system is to provide a student with the necessary life skills and the opportunity to prove himself and give access to quality education. The state is not obliged to drag 70% of students which after that work not in their profession, neither it is obliged to feed the rectors lobby. But instead, the state must provide a maximum number of children with an opportunity to receive a quality primary education and to make a choice about further development.
The main quality that needs to be brought up in children is the responsibility for their own life. And the only way to achieve this is to create a proper environment in the schools, where every adequate initiative will be rewarded, not punished.
The Ministry as a service — this is a general rule for all the government institutions. The work of government should be discreet, and the interaction with it should be as simple as possible. The state should be strongly committed to the principle of subsidiarity, and should not meddle with a processes of lower levels. A maximum of information and interactions online, smooth processes will make a contact with educational sphere most effective.
The general steps suggested:
- “Money follow the child” on all levels, from kindergarten to college: funds are directed following the particular child (including the financing of private schools), and not where Ministry wants it to be directed.
- Availability of all public information regarding the education system in the open data format.
- Getting rid of sexism and gender stereotypes from school education.
- Simplifying the procedures of licensing, maximally removing the state from procedures.
- Changing of normative documentation to make it possible for kindergartens to be managed by parents associations. Encouraging local officials to adopt this model.
- Ensuring of the final transfer of education managing functions to local officials. Dismissing of regional and district offices of education.
- Finalizing the process of a creation of the network of schools in rural areas and small localities.
- Strive for an adequate state standards of education.
- Simplifying of private schools licensing procedure.
- Strive for a significant reduction of the state quotas in higher education.
- Creating a basis for future audit and privatization of universities and colleges.
- Substituting rector elections for competitions which will be as open as possible for a participants.
Education for life:
- Creation of social program which would promote constant self-development.
We have a very simple position in language aspect.
1. The State language — that means, the language which is mandatory to use in all government institutions and structures — must be Ukrainian. All establishments providing services in Ukraine must provide services in Ukrainian on demand of the client.
2. Nevertheless, there is a language of international communication, and Ukrainian government should promote the knowledge of this language simply because this would significantly improve the openness to the world and the overall competitiveness of people. And this language is, English.
3. Ukraine also has mother tongues of small groups of indigenous people which will need a separate protection under the principles of European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
4. All other languages in Ukraine can be freely used and flourish in private (that means, non-state) area. Languages of national minorities can be taught in state schools in the areas densely populated of minorities — as second languages.
We are convinced that the best way to support and advance the language is to create a content in this language. And the best thing the state can do in this field is to simplify the creation of such content by the means of de-regulation, and (in some cases) via tax relief and dedicated funding.
We believe that anti-corruption initiatives are not a fetish, not a form a highbrow art, and not a “second battleline”. Anti-corruption initiatives is but a simple hygiene for taxpayer money.
In turn, an effective fight with corruption is not when specialized anti-corruption detectives drag a bureaucrat into a specialized anti-corruption prisoner transport for specialized anti-corruption prosecutor and specialized anti-corruption court to sentence him with a life term in the specialized anti-corruption jail. This might be a well-played performance and a nice excuse for specialized anti-corruption activists to keep the grant money flowing — but only from the point of view of someone who is interested in the fight with corruption per se, not in its result.
The real fight with corruption is somewhat akin to fight with cockroaches. Of course, you can kill a dozen of cockroaches viciously and demonstratively every night, but as long as your kitchen is dirty with food leftovers, cockroaches will breed faster than you can kill them. That’s because they have found their ecological niche. The way out would be to destroy this niche: start washing your dishes, clean up, and finally get the trash out.
Corrupted bureaucrats appear whenever the officials have an opportunity to misuse their wide powers of control. Thus, the key actions to fight corruption should be steps of disposing officials of such powers in all spheres where this is possible. As long as a government official is able to turn businessmen life into hell as he wishes, corruption cannot be beaten with no repressive means. In the end this very same corrupted official will simply pay his way out with bribes to whoever should control him, which will inly lead to a raise in corruption as a whole.
Formally, Ukraine is a social state — but the one which cannot afford to be such.
Since the times of Soviet Union, Ukrainians consciousness bear the impression of paternalist attitude to the state as to the “father”, which should care not only about the rights and legal interests, but also about financial well-being of every citizen. There’s few who perceive “government money” for what they really are — money of taxpayers. Thus few are able to paint proper casual connections between taxes unpaid and the lack of government financing of infrastructure or social sphere.
We believe that the reason to this is politicians who flirt with people depending from budgetary payments, whom they perceive to be a “disciplined electors”. Instead of teaching people how the state really functions, politicians supported the paternalist myth. Instead of teaching people to rely on themselves where people of all civilized world do so, politicians threw them their bones. We understand that most of our political competitors will do the same in future, and thus will have some electoral upper hand over us. But we won’t do such thing.
Our strategy is an honest explanation of economic realities. Thus we state that solidarity-based pension system doesn’t work not because bureaucrats don’t put much efforts or steal (though it definitely happens), but because when the system was introduced, there was four working adults per pensioner, and now there’s more pensioners than working adults. Thus raising of pension age, however painful it would be, is a real necessity for any responsible government, which is not dependent of government’s ideological preferences.
Still, we understand that a number of social programs is crucial for the very survival of people. We do not advocate for state to completely withdraw from social sphere. But country must live according to its budget, as opposed to make social payments from freshly printed money.
We believe that the main problem of Ukraine’s social policy is an extremely non-transparent distribution of already insufficient funds.
These are the priority tasks we see here:
- To create the unified electronic roster of social payments and benefits recipients.
- After finalizing of this roster, the maximum number of benefits must be monetized, and those which do not play a significant social role should be cancelled according to the existing laws.
- Finally, we need to revise the whole list of categories to receive social benefits. It is unacceptable when there’s more of “veterans of WWII by documents” than there’s actual living people of corresponding age, simply because there are lots of people with “equivalent” statuses.
In the sphere of inclusivity and adjustment of space to the special needs of disabled people, our party suggest to look for mechanisms which would secure the rights of people, but in the same time will not lay additional burden on the business and will not create new markets for corruption. For example, we consider that lowering the single social security contribution payments which employer pays for every worker with a disability, could be an effective measure.
No ideology should obscure the obvious: the contemporary world is divided onto effective and ineffective countries and unions. Effective countries prosper and achieve their goals. Ineffective countries are waving their rusty guns and claim that at least they possess greater sense of morality, have greater ancestors, and dress appropriately.
It is our duty before us and before our descendants, to include Ukraine into a club of effective states, which often — even though not 100% correctly — is called “Western world”. Despite the lots of local ideological disagreements, these countries are united both in the factual alliances (such as EU and NATO) and by general principles of free people and free market. We do realize that these countries have a number of their own problems, but these are problems of effective ones, of rich ones, these are problems of those who already solved the problems which we face, solved them many generations earlier, and advanced to next levels.
We believe that “path to West” is not only useful for Ukraine in utilitarian sense, but also in ideological sense. We are surprisingly ineffective in our habits — from ritual painting of road curbs to tolerant attitude towards nepotism and small crimes. And this cannot be changed without exposure to other, more effective cultures.
Therefore, our goal would be maximal euro-integration of Ukraine, both in legal and factual sense. Maximal lifting of restrictions for Ukrainians to travel into countries of Europe and Northern America, formation of sustainable infrastructure connections — from “open skies” to abolition of mobile roaming with the countries of EU. Maximum co-operation in military technology and security both with NATO and its members, and also with neutral European countries (such as Sweden).
In the same time Ukraine is interested in maximum weakening of aggressor country international standing, as long as Ukraine’s control over its legal borders will not be returned. For this, Ukraine must use all the available international platforms, political, economic and defense leverages, both in Europe and abroad.
In the same time we are convinced that Ukraine should ignore all the integration processes with blocks and unions where the aggressor state plays the lead role. This should be codified in the laws. The state should also encourage exiting from joined economic projects and reduction of trade with aggressor state wherever there is a space for diversification. After conducting of detailed economic and secure analysis, the question of introducing a visa regime with aggressor country should be examined.
Since 2014 Ukraine is going through a cultural renaissance: Ukrainian art, literature, films, music generally overcame their Soviet legacy and post-Soviet ambiguity. The task of the state here is: to a lesser extent, to support, and to a greater extent, to not meddle with.
This part of the program is currently being analyzed by experts.
This part of the program is currently being analyzed by experts.