Interview with Svyatoslav Vakarchuk,
Leader of the political party “Golos”
New political forces in the Ukrainian parliament: Are there more risks or opportunities for the development of Ukraine?
I am a member of the Golos (Voice) party in the new parliament. We are the new faces, and we want to change our country. We got the opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past and hope that we will not allow new ones to be made in the future.There are two enemies of Ukraine today. The first enemy is an external one, in the Kremlin. It is the Russian Federation that began the war against Ukraine, annexed Crimea, and created the whole situation that is happening in Donbas and that controls it.And the second enemy is the vulnerability of Ukrainian institutions and the economy, and the enormous corruption that has flooded the country.The previous authorities clearly articulated their desire to fight the external enemy but were soft on the internal one. And it was because of this that they did not resist the second enemy as they should have.Our task is to change the status. We need to set an example – we must fight both enemies. Simultaneously.
Why do celebrities go into politics? If they want to change something, is it not easier for them to do so through civil society mechanisms?
People of different backgrounds founded America. Journalists, scientists, lawyers, and many others were among them. At that time, no one asked about your profession, because that was the moment when the whole nation was united in one call. We have a similar situation now. Maybe in 50 or 100 years, when state building will be only politicians’ job, then your question will be appropriate.As for me, I declared it a mission to bring as many new, professional people into politics as possible. In current political circumstances, we have a small group in the Rada. But, frankly, it is influential already; every MP of our party is a professional and has a point of view.Every member of our party is a serious player in their committee meetings because they perfectly know their cases and can point out mistakes. It is for the sake of such a result that one should go into politics; it is a genuinely effective mechanism.
What are the risks and challenges of foreign meddling in elections around the world?
Countries have always been meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. We have had this for ages. That is why countries need to have reliable security agencies, strict rules, and institutions that can work as obstacles to foreign meddling. Any interference from abroad undermines the sovereignty of a country. Today in the post-truth era, with all these hybrid methods of warfare, it is difficult to detect foreign meddling in the early stages. We need to be twice as focused and committed to fighting such interference. The most significant risk now is that intrusions have become more subtle, better masked, and less easy to detect. I believe that strong, developed, and politically independent state institutions could be the answer. Empowering and developing state institutions is more important than the names of the heads of the institutions.
Svyatoslav Vakarchuk is a Member of the Parliament of Ukraine, a rock star and a public activist. He is the lead vocalist of Okean Elzy, the most popular rock band in Ukraine. In 2019, he established a new political party, called “Golos” (“Voice”, founded in 2019). As an activist, he supported the Orange Revolution 2004 and is a founder of the non-profit “Lyudi Maybutnyogo” (People of the Future). He was a member of the Ukrainian parliament 2007-2008. As a musician, he has released nine studio albums with his band. He has PhD in theoretical physics. Yale World Fellow 2015