Dear Friends, with 2017 approaching, let me please wish you a peaceful, healthy and successful year, full of mutual love, happy events, exciting cultural discoveries and civic activism!

Here is a small musical souvenir: in case you did not know, one of the most famous Christmas songs, "Carol of the Bells", was adapted from Ukrainian folk song "Shchedryk" ("Bountiful Evening”).  Here are two beautiful versions:

(1) fleshmob at the Lviv airport

(2) Katie Melua, a UK singer of Georgian origin, with Gori Women Choir on BBC

There is not much we can predict for 2017, but there is a lot we can do, each of us individually, and all of us together.  Here are some of the ideas for us in Ukraine: first of all we must stand our ground and hold on to all the progress we have achieved so far and to our long-term goals, but we also should recognize the reality and focus new efforts on building a parallel civilized system of self-governance to by-pass the current post-colonial kleptocratic system.  

Long before such trends as anti-establishment, direct democracy and (according to Thomas Friedman) self-governance by “healthy communities” became mainstream and are now projected into our global future, Ukraine already was living these trends, with the first Maidan in 2004 and especially the second - Revolution of Dignity - Maidan, that has shown unprecedented level of self-organization and trust. 

More on these ideas in the Kyiv Post Op-Ed in English and in Novoe Vremia Op-Eds in Ukrainian and in Russian, as well as in Voice of America “Chas Time” interview in Ukrainian/Russian  (starting 0:05:40).

Finally, one more New Year’s wish addressed to Putin’s supporters in the US: get rid of your illusions, and read an excellent op-ed by Ralph Peters Vladimir Putin will always be America’s enemy

There is no future for the archaic brutal regimes built on oppression, the future belongs to direct democracy, and we already saw the glimpse of it on Miadan.  Let’s stand our ground and make a big step towards this future in 2017! Irina