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- How all this can work in Ukraine, and in particular in Donbas?
When we decided to place on the territory of my father's factory the platform "Isolation", he could not believe that culture is capable to become a driver for something new.
But then we went to Germany, and my father saw the former Zollverein coal mine, and in general, the ex-mining Ruhr region. He saw how mines had been turned in museums, art spaces, and so on. A million people visit this place in summer each year. In 2010, the last mining town of Essen has become the European Capital of Culture. The ex-industrial city which allegedly had not any chances for the title. But it has managed to make up its new image in an arts and cultural sector, open doors itself to a new post-industrial life. This took our breath away. And when in 2010 we have placed the site of the Fund "Isolation" at the territory of the factory, our first event was a conference on cultural conversion. That is, firstly we put together the people and told them how to change industrial cities through an arts and cultural sector. I remember it was so symbolic: we have made this event on the Day of the Miner, in the building of a former Ministry of Coal Industry, thus showing that it is possible to give new life to all of this. People from Essen, and from other mining towns in Europe came to us, but there was none of the local Ukrainian authorities.
About 500 people came at the first exhibition of "Isolation".
Our last event was held in Donetsk in the spring of 2014, when they already shot in Slavyansk: 4-5 thousand citizens have attended us per day.
For four years of work, the Foundation has developed rapidly in many directions. People visited us to discuss, to look for like-minded people, to argue about something, to conceive new projects. There was a lot of private economic initiatives: we have the 3D-printer to print medical prostheses, someone opened a company producing belts, and someone has made something else. You looked at this all and realized that the actual culture is the strongest tool to stimulate social and economic changes.
- How this experience on transformation of German Ruhr is suitable for Donbas?
The experience of Ruhr is suitable for our region. But the question is where to take the money and who will give them. Germany has paid a lot of money to transform Ruhr. There is a theory, the poverty trap, which is caused by three factors. Firstly, the public debt. Second, the lack of savings in the population. And third, the lack of an investment field. We now have all of these factors. The only one way to get out is to start creation of a product in which the whole nation would believe.
- What new product may be launched in Donbas?
I would say in this sense just about all of Ukraine. For many countries, the creative industries became this new product. Once again, the states have been created all the conditions for that. Look at the example of Estonia, one of Europian leaders in creative industries. 12% of its GDP is now accounted for by this sphere, and even ten years ago, it seems, the creative industry did not appear at all in its GDP. This points to the fact that the Estonian economy has the ability to develop independently of availability of natural resources in the country. And also to the fact that the active economic base of the country is made of people who think about their sustainable development.
- What could be a new social idea for Donbas that would be able to unite the region, just as once it was united by the idea of "the country's main coal region"?
Develop your business, keep it honest, develop creativity, preserve and enhance that nature gives. It is important to motivate the private business development: it promotes a sense of responsibility, leads to conscious and verified solutions and helps to realize ourselves as part of society and of the country.
In general, to construct a new identity you need to determine what kind of a new for us? Who is this - the new Ukrainian? And what lies ahead? Where are we going; what we are building? Set our hearts firstly on this. I think the most simple symbols based on which a new identity could be built is clearing our society. All, for example, fear that through destroying corruption we again cast down all into the chaos. But there is a great concept about which, by the way, a project is created by our artists - a group "Zhuzhalka" which were forced to leave Donbas. It's called BlueSkyCatastrophe - this is one of the latest achievements of physics.
The essence of the concept is that new well-formed systems are always upbuilt out of chaos. That is, the chaos actually leads to a new development step.
This concept is more than close to me as a person who really believes in that Ukraine has all chances to upgrade and clear itself somehow.
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