“Ukraine in the war – to stay or to leave?” An open discussion with Oksana Syroiid in Kyiv-Mohyla Academy


Oksana Syroiid is one of the first alumni of the Kyiv-Mohyla Political Studies Department (received her BA diploma in 1997), now she serves our country as a Vice Head of Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada). The students of her “native” Political Studies Department have organized an open discussion with her on a topic very hot nowadays – the emigration of Ukrainian youth.


In Mrs. Syroiid’s point of view going abroad temporarily for studies or volunteering is not counted as a problem. Quite the contrary – she marks such practices as positive for our youth and for the county as a whole, for it stimulates cultural exchange and brings useful western experience to Ukraine. What she considers a big problem though is a permanent full emigration. The main aim of the discussion was to find out the reasons why Ukrainian youth tends to leave their native country forever.

Mrs. Syroiid names shame as one of the main factors here. Our people are ashamed of their way of life, of the circumstances they have to live in (mostly social and economic). The best cure from this shame is love, she says, and suggests that our youth should find the right way of integration into their current community – they should learn to be Ukrainians, to identify themselves with their country – that is what she means by love to Ukraine.

Such a mental and spiritual community is closely connected to the problem of state-building. Ukraine is a new state and Ukrainians didn’t have any governmental experience during the life several previous generations. Unlike many neighboring countries, who are now suffering with the problem of youth emigration far less, Ukraine didn’t fully recover after a long period of occupation yet, we are still ill with the post-colonial syndrome.

This is the main reason under the problem, Mrs. Syroiid claims, and so suggests that each of us asks him/herself a question: “Am I ready to realize my own full responsibility for myself as an individual part of the society?”

The students were very satisfied by this meeting and took an active part in the discussion. To read some examples of the students’ impressions (in Ukrainian) you may go here.


A report by Olesia Dalebiha, 2nd year Master student, Department of Philology; Strategic Development Center

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