(Opinion) The choice made by Ukraine: revival
Despite the brutal war, the nation and its entrepreneurs remain determined
July 2021: We, a group of MBA students, visited the nuclear reactor and met with Chernobyl management. I came into one of the apartments abandoned in 1986. One unknown family had left it in a hurry and never came back. I saw a cup on the table and an abandoned toy on the floor. That day, we discussed with the MBA group the difference between exclusion and revival. Is Chernobyl a zone of exclusion or a zone of revival? By changing our mindset, we can change the approach and result.
Feb. 26, 2022: After two days of bombing, I left my house in a hurry. At that moment I recalled that apartment in Chernobyl, the cup on the table and the abandoned toy.
July 2022: I did not go back home. Instead, my friend went to live in my house. She made a video call, and I saw a cup on my table. She opened the fridge, and I saw food from the first days of the war. At that moment, I felt like being in that apartment in Chernobyl.
February 2023: In my temporary apartment in Concord, New Hampshire, I recall my house, city and country. Many cities are destroyed.
What awaits us tomorrow: a zone of exclusion or revival? Now I see some examples of revival.
Example No. 1: “Life in a smartphone.” Many Ukrainians left their homes without documents — passports, driving licenses, Covid certificates, etc. The government app, Diia, created before the war, resolved this problem. Using the app, a Ukrainian has access to a passport, tax number, driving license, car documents, etc. It is possible to get documents about real estate and land, set up a company, obtain required business licenses and even apply for a grant. Estonia is interested in the implementation of an analog of Diia; USAID announced it will give $650,000 for future expansion of this app to other countries.
Example No. 2: “Protecting land, we conquer sky and space.” Thousands of miles of land mines is one of the war’s outcomes. The Ukrainian government predicts five to seven years for demining. Ukrainians created a drone complex for mine detection and mapping dangerous areas. This project, called “Dronarium,” will help to cut time and save human lives. Founder of Ukrainian game developer firm Anton Bolshakov decided to conquer the sky and announced the manufacturing of military drones. Ukrainian startup Promin Aerospace founded in 2021 did not stop working on space rockets during the war.
Example No. 3: “The path to globalization.” Some Ukrainian companies are unicorns (GitLab and Grammarly). The war is not an obstacle to the path to globalization. Thus, last month Ukrainians presented their innovations at CES 2023, the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas. Among them:
- The Medical device Knopka, an advanced call system for hospitals and care homes.
- OptySun filters, a mobile water purifier that kills bacteria using ultraviolet rays. “War experience” helped inventors develop the product.
OptySun is powered by solar panels, which allows it to operate in war or disaster zones.
The current path to revival is complicated by the full-scale war. From February 2022, more than 6,000 civilians and 9,000 military personnel were killed. About 4.6 million Ukrainians were forced to leave Ukraine. But as long as we are alive, we can make a choice — a choice for the revival of Ukraine.
Attorney Mariya Ortynska, founder of IPSTYLE, a patent law company in Kyiv, is currently studying for her master’s of law degree at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law.