We were stupid and naive hot-tempered puppies, even the ones engaged in Fartsovka of foreign consumer goods or mastered currency exchange operations.
…For a long time now, an obsessive thought has been haunting me: could something have been done differently at the dawn of Ukrainian independence to avoid the current grievous development of events. And what was wrong with my generation – the generation of children of the 70s that entered adulthood at the junction of the 80s/90s…
We were stupid and naive hot-tempered puppies, even the ones engaged in Fartsovka of foreign consumer goods or mastered currency exchange operations. In my circle, at least, we all had the general illusion that the market economy would lead us to a bright future quickly and painlessly. Nothing was worse than the levelling off of socialism that had already rotted.
We were happy to obtain our separate country as a gift, and we thought that the grown-up uncles would somehow dispose of the unexpected gift of fortune – independence. As long as we make money. Because the world develops according to social progress laws, nothing wrong can happen after the restructuring, the iron curtain fell, and the so-called fiasco of the State Committee on the State of Emergency. However, many decided the curtain could be lifted and cheerfully rushed with or without their parents to the promised lands.
And the main thing is that not all of us (and by no means the most bright and talented, and by no means because of a good life) were going to work for the state and society because we felt the strength and ability to succeed in this or that business field.
As a result, a demographic hole was formed in the prominent social institutions. My most promising peers either immediately plunged headfirst into entrepreneurship from the school, at most, student-postgraduate level, or quickly gained strength in universities, state medical institutions, ministries and departments and went into free market swimming.
And social institutions remained. Instead of natural heirs from the jewellery-formed personnel reserve, old-school post-Soviet civil servants received pioneers from the number of institute graduates or children and mistresses of C-suits. In the higher education institutions, mainly retired people remained – either single Masters (who are now being forced to leave the educational system by a barbaric legal innovation about the impossibility of receiving both a pension and a salary at the same time) or numerous artisans who have been telling the same things about technical sciences for 30-40 years or creatively combine Marxism-Leninism with new trends in the social sciences. Still a young crop of unrepentant graduate students. In medicine, power structures, and the army – the same picture with clarifications regarding the industry.
Plus, our generation conducted business and lived, as a rule, according to the principle that “choice of the end covers choice of the means.” They saved time, went straight, and stimulated officials, teachers, and doctors to make the necessary decisions. Because in the transitional period, there are no rules – there are opportunities.
And I will not say we were so wrong because we became successful. However, we were infinitely selfish concerning our country, not in the sense of complicity in stretching and devouring the Soviet heritage. The gold of the party and factory buildings of the Soviet era were stretched mainly by bold boys older than us (except for nomenklatura children brought to the feeding trough and taught to eat from it).
But because of such a life strategy, we got a territory that can hardly be called a full-fledged state. Institutional cornerstones have been completely knocked out. The state spits on its functions, officials swim autonomously from taxpayers and common sense, Themis has taken off its bandage, education and medicine have degraded to such an extent that people with money risk treatment and study in their homeland only as a last resort and only from proven specialists.
We paid the full price for our naivety, freedom, irresponsibility, and anarchic tendencies. Obviously, this is why so many “children of the 70s” volunteer/dilettante, advise/express themselves in various social and pseudo-social structures close to the authorities. So many businesspeople declare their willingness to work for the state. However, by a strange coincidence, most of them do not have a business that works now. And those who have come for a short time and/or leave with extremely full pockets.
Because it is difficult to enter the river and sincerely enjoyed it if you had passed it 20-25 years ago. A hyper-pragmatic way of thinking is too common; there is too much desire to adapt state bodies to business standards. And I don’t really want to be a “servant of the state,” having lived for so long according to the principle of being one’s own master. And yet, in one form or another, the time has come to repay the debt to our native land – even if those who are older than us and took more are not going to do it. Or walk away without turning around. Everyone can choose.