Ukraine: democratic and transparent government, democratic and transparent management

Posted: 25/02/2014 in News & Analysis, resistance
Tags: , , , , , ,

Ukrainian cultural workers have petitioned parliament for expert and democratic, clean and transparent management of the cultural sector.

Culture Minister Leonid Novokhatko has been removed from power for ‘improper performance of his official responsibilities/duties [неналежним виконанням своїх посадових обов’язків]’ (though it may have been a bad idea in the run-up to the 200th anniversary of the birth of Ukraine’s national poet, Taras Shevchenko, especially as Novokhatko himself was ‘dissatisfied‘ with the preparations). And it is a key post; the Culture Ministry is the central civil service for ‘interethnic relations, religion and protection of rights of ethnic minorities’.

‘Representatives of the cultural community [Представники культурної спільноти]’ – including the Chairman of the Ukrainian Center for Museum Development (UCMD), Vladislav Pioro, the General Director of the National Art Museum of Ukraine (NAMU), Maria Zadorozhna, the Deputy Director of Exhibitions and International Relations at NAMU, Yuliya Vaganova, a Researcher at NAMU, Anna Nebeska, the Curator of Cultural and Educational Programmes and Manager of the Educational Programme at the (UCMD’s) ProMuseum Project, Sofia Riabchuk, and the Deputy Director of Scientific and Educational Work at NAMU, Marina Yuriivna Skyrda – have also started a public petition.

Criteria for Nominations for the Position of Minister of Culture (Критерії для кандидатури на посаду Міністра культури)

The cultural community want their government minister:

  • to ‘[have] extensive experience of innovation and good governance [literally, effective management] in the field of culture: creation and/or management of cultural institutions, programs, [and/or] long-term projects, [which are] significant for the cultural community and/or cultural audiences [Тривалий досвід впровадження інновацій та ефективного управління в царині культури: створення і/або управління культурними інституціями, програмами, довгостроковими проектами, вагомими для культурної спільноти і/або аудиторій культури]’;
  • to ‘[have] an awareness of the European experience[?] of culture and cultural policy, which must be certified with relevant publications, or education, practical activities, participation in analytical projects, etc. [Обізнаність із європейським досвідом розвитку культури та культурної політики, що має бути засвідчене відповідними публікаціями або освітою, практичною діяльністю, участю в аналітичних проектах тощо]’;
  • to ‘[have] a reputation [as] a fair manager and the trust of the professional community [Реноме чесного управлінця та довіра професійної спільноти]’;
  • to ‘[have] no prior experience in the civil service [Відсутність попереднього досвіду держслужби]’; and
  • to ‘publicly declare his will to reform the field of culture, [and] the implementation of the principles of democracy, transparency and public control in the activities entrusted to him by the ministry [публічно задекларувати власну волю до реформування галузі культури, впровадження принципів демократії, прозорості та громадського контролю діяльності ввіреного йому міністерства]’.

The exclusion of civil servants from the old regime

The old system was corrupt and, while many of its workers may have been clean, some of its officials had been corrupted. For example, against professional advice, construction has been allowed near Saint Sophia Cathedral and Kyiv Pechersk Lavra (cave monastery), which has damaged and continues to threaten the UNESCO World Heritage site/complex. Ukraine has repeatedly been condemned in World Heritage Committee meetings.

In 2012, when people appealed against the construction of luxury homes within the protected zone of the World Heritage site, and when ‘[t]he Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeals sided with the public [Суд першої інстанції та апеляційний суд стали на сторону громадськості]’, the Ministry of Culture appealed against the decision. Obviously, there are ethical civil servants, and some people object to this clause, but the cultural community want someone with demonstrably clean hands to secure reform.

… We can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability…

The Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Center for Museum Development, Aleksey Kopytko, has considered ways to reform the aims and methods of the cultural sector.

First and foremost, he wants cultural work

  1. to ‘develop in society the qualities required [выработать у общества свойства, необходимые]’, to ‘[t]urn people into citizens, the potential of whom… will enable the country to survive and compete in today’s changing world [Превратить население в граждан, потенциал которых… даст возможность стране выжить и успешно конкурировать в современном меняющемся мире.]’, to ‘promote the values that will help to build a comfortable, democratic state [продвигать ценности, которые будут способствовать построению комфортного демократического государства]’.

But he has also considered how to secure cultural funding, clean spending, and professional and sustainable work:

  1. use tax incentives and a heritage lottery to increase spending in and private funding of the cultural economy;
  2. ‘carry out an audit of expenses and make a transparent CulMin budget [осуществить ревизию расходов и сделать бюджет Минкульта ПРОЗРАЧНЫМ]’, which encompasses efficient spending and social access, such as the publication of illustrated children’s books on paper but the release of other works online (and open-access);
  3. institutionalise ‘the role of cultural communities in the management of the cultural sector and in the ensuring of transparency in personnel appointments [Повышение роли культурных сообществ в управлении сферой культуры и обеспечение прозрачности кадровых назначений]’, including through the selection of national institutions’ leaders ‘for 3-5 years in a process of open competition on the basis of the program of activities[, w]ith the obligatory participation of communities through the right to an advisory vote or the right to a veto vote [на 3-5 лет в процессе открытого конкурса на основе представленных программ деятельности[, п]ри обязательном участии профессиональных сообществ с правом совещательного голоса или правом вето]’; and
  4. ‘train [and retrain] personnel who will manage [or otherwise work in] cultural institutions and cultural industries in the new conditions [готовить кадры, которые смогут управлять учреждениями культуры и культурными индустриями в новых условиях]’.
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  1. […] Ukraine: democratic and transparent government, democratic and transparent management […]

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