Partial mobilization, launched by the political leadership of the Russian Federation, completed the first stage of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Obviously, Ukraine won it. Russia has not achieved any of its strategic goals. The aggressor country lost its combat-ready units and the best military equipment and left a significant part of the occupied territory.
We have now entered a new phase of the war, which Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haas aptly called a war of endurance. After all, in addition to a purely military confrontation, Ukraine has become a direct participant in the test drive of two models of stability - democratic (Western) and authoritarian (in its Russian version).
Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The democratic model is sometimes slow, bureaucratic and procedural. At the same time, it is flexible and able to adapt to circumstances, more inclusive and able to generate innovative solutions and actions.
The authoritarian model can rather concentrate the available resources, but due to its discriminatory nature and inhuman treatment of its citizens, it deprives people of motivation and initiative, and reacts noticeably worse to changes in the situation.
A democratic model of sustainability works in Ukraine. The whole world has witnessed how not only the military, but also volunteers, businesses, local authorities and millions of citizens have become in defense of the country.
During the first stage of the war, we proved that the democratic model of resilience works and is able to withstand unpredictable threats and armed aggression. In addition, the “miracle on the Dnieper” against the backdrop of unflattering forecasts on the eve of February 24 inspired and forced Western countries to “wake up” in resolving issues related to their security.
In fact, Ukraine's resistance to the "second army of the world" not only surprised the world, but also stimulated the revitalization of the democratic model of sustainability.
But there are new challenges ahead, no less serious than the previous ones. According to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, 90 days of winter will decide more than 30 years of independence.
What needs to be done to pass these days with dignity and win the war?
One of the key tasks is to get rid of the practice of “criminal inaction” and turning a blind eye to “cascading risks” and “complex threats” to the stability of the country in a war of endurance. Ukraine needs to introduce an anti-crisis management model , a special proactive regime for the functioning of government bodies and society.
In conditions of a total large-scale war, we are critically short of resources. The monthly budget deficit is $3 billion. We simply cannot live as before and hide behind outdated departmental instructions that do not correspond to the level of wartime threats.
In particular, continue to spend money on asphalting the local area at a time when volunteers are collecting cars or thermal imagers for the front. Or sit and wait until the thunder breaks out, as was the case with the import of fuel in the spring. Or let the issue of relocation of enterprises take its course, as well as the issue of establishing a state defense order and launching the production of at least part of the necessary weapons.
There are many examples. They testify that we have not yet completed the transition to a wartime track and continue to work on the adrenaline and energy of the Ukrainian people. This is a risk and a challenge to our resilience.
Secondly, both the government and society should benefit from the experience and learn from the national resistance during the Russian blitzkrieg in February and March 2022.
Ukraine needs to speed up the adoption of innovative solutions in response to the process of mobilization that has begun in the Russian Federation. In particular, the authorities must find an adequate format for arming their own citizens. It is necessary to return to the full implementation of the idea of “Ukrainian National Defense”, which provides for the division into Basic (territorial defense) and Operational (Armed Forces of Ukraine - professional army) Defense and attaches all citizens to the defense of the state in conditions of a critical threat.
Thirdly, today the safe reintegration of the de-occupied territories is again on the agenda .
As a result of the lightning-fast counter-offensive in the Kharkiv region, it became necessary to stabilize the situation in the liberated settlements and the subsequent reintegration of the de-occupied territories. Ensuring at least conditional security in these territories. Supply of electricity, water, heat, medical care, payment of pensions and social assistance. And where necessary - evacuation to the rear regions.
A separate issue is the prosecution of collaborators. The request of society is that the servants of the aggressor country must answer for their actions before the law. Everyone from mayors to teachers. Nobody has the right to turn a blind eye to the collapse of cases in the courts, as was the case in 2014-2015.
Another challenge is to keep the balance between centralization and decentralization. On the one hand, countering Russian aggression requires the centralization and mobilization of resources and capabilities of the state and the country. In addition, it is necessary to preserve the conditions for building up and using the potential of local communities and local initiatives.
So far, we have managed to maintain a delicate balance and solidarity between the actions of the center and the regions. At the same time, we are still far from synergy between central executive authorities and Associations representing regions, cities and UTCs. But now is definitely not the time to settle interpersonal scores. Both local selfishness and the appetites of individual representatives of a corrupt bureaucracy are equally harmful to a country seeking to survive and win a war of endurance.
The development of effective and realistic programs and plans for economic recovery requires the broad involvement of local communities in the process of assessing needs and developing plans for the implementation of the state strategy . Representatives of self-government are well aware of the real needs of people and are able to respond quickly to the situation. Local initiatives should not only be heard. Successful practices and innovative solutions emerging at the level of communities, cities and regions should be supported by the Government. The system of public administration must and can learn on the go - Ukraine needs to launch a mechanism for scaling them on a national scale.
We should also think about the restoration, possible with the help of our partners, financing of the State Regional Development Fund as a tool for financing local initiatives and projects aimed at strengthening resilience and cohesion in the regions. Our strength is precisely in the balance and synergy of the actions of the authorities at the national and regional levels.
The author is a co-founder of the National Platform for Resilience and Cohesion