"Independence is...": Five Ukrainians Speak Out About Independence And Freedom
24 August, 2016

On 24 August, Ukraine celebrates its declaration of independence in 1991. Hromadske talked to different people in order to know what independence means personally to them.

Andrii Kurkov, Ukrainian writer

You know, as a writer I’ve been independent for 25 years. I couldn’t be independent before. I depended on the state, on censorship. It’s all in the past now. The feeling of freedom is probably the most important thing for me. It gives a sense of life. 

It allows you say what you think, write what you want, talk with whomever you want, have your own opinion, even if it’s wrong. It’s when everyone listens to your opinion instead of getting rid of you and sending you far away if they disagree.

I’m really glad that there is no Siberia in Ukraine.

Dmytro Shchebetyuk, Ukrainian paralympic athlete

For me independence means freedom of movement. Also, it’s freedom of choice, an opportunity to do what you want and when you want. The main thing is to remember that despite obstacles you can get everything, only your desire is needed. 

Independence in sports is when besides training on jogging tracks, at swimming pools, on football fields, archery trainings, you have to think how to earn money to buy all the necessary things, equipment needed for training. 

Above all, for me, it’s when the state and state institutions which have to do it keep supporting you, so you can do your best and not think about unnecessary things.

Nadiya Parfan, Ukrainian film director

For me, independence is when I can make films, create, do curatorial work without needing to make compromises in art. It’s an opportunity to fulfill my ideas, to be an author of them, to be an artist, not to depend on money and other aggravating circumstances.

If I understand that I need to go and look at the Dnipro for inspiration then I’ll do it. If I need a B-flat minor tonality, I can get it. It’s artistic freedom.

But just the fact that we exist, that we continue to do it, that there are even more of us encourages me greatly. And such independent culture becomes the culture in general.

Mykyta Kadan, Ukrainian artist

Independence is when you are your own invention, when you are your own piece of art. You have to create yourself; to develop your own identity by yourself. If you delegate this authority to professionals who determine what kind of person you should be, you lose this independence.

Self-invention and self-creation cause a discomfort of choice.

It seems to me that the feeling of anxiety I have when making choices is exactly the feeling of independence. Independence is a rather uncomfortable feeling.

Kasha Saltsova, Ukrainian musician

It’s when you are responsible for your successes and failures. Especially for your failures. Because you know they say that success to some extent goes to your parents’ credit, when failures are “orphans”. 

You are free to work, marry for love, not just get married off as it used to be before, create, change your creative partners, today I have one partner, tomorrow – others, all these people create an effect of synergy and it’s their own will.

I’m thankful to the time I was born at, to the time I live at. It seems to me that the world is full of opportunities – age doesn’t matter. I understand well that independence means responsibility for what I’m doing.

/Translated by Olga Kuchmagra