"We never miss a chance to miss a chance", the saying goes. A saying which appeared in Ukraine in the years just before full-scale war broke out. It expressed frustration with the lack of fundamental reforms following the 2004 (Orange) and 2013 (Euromaidan) revolutions. Of course, each of them brought some changes, but every big fight raises high expectations and the disappointment when little happens is all the greater.

So, what do we need to do in order not to miss the chance for change this time? 

In my view, a credible answer to this question was provided by our Nobel Peace Prizewinner, Oleksandra Matviichuk. Oleksandra is a human rights lawyer and civil society leader, so naturally in her powerful acceptance speech she put the focus on human rights. 

This may sound far from people's basic needs as described by Russian comedian Evgenii Petrosyan in his New Year greetings: "If you had a meal, took a bath and it’s warm in your home, that means that you are lucky and were born in Russia". However, recent events have shown that turning a blind eye to human rights violations in Russia, as European leaders did to keep their homes warm and preserve their economies, can spell disaster.

"A state that kills journalists, imprisons activists or disperses peaceful demonstrations poses a threat not only to its citizens," says Matviichuk. "In political decision-making, human rights must be as important as economic benefits or security. This approach should be applied in foreign policy too."

It is time to build a new system in the world which has human rights at its core, insists Matviichuk. This should not be left to politicians alone – civil society should be active as much as possible in this process. "We need a new humanist movement that would work with meanings, educate people, build grassroots support and engage people in the protection of rights and freedoms," says Matviichuk.
It is time – and a good time – to carry out a number of reforms in the EU and Ukraine. To switch to more ecological energy resources, without expecting Russian gas and oil supply to be restored. To find ways to stop disinformation and Russian propaganda, and, with the help of the EU, to reform the anticorruption system in Ukraine at long last. 

As the war enters its second year we need to move towards all these changes. As we have seen, change will not come by itself after a war or revolution and Ukrainians know this very well by now. And this time there are huge expectations in the hearts not only of Ukrainians, but also Europeans. After the victory, the fight to build a new, sustainable and peaceful world is a responsibility we all share. Neither Ukrainians nor Europeans can afford to miss this chance again. 

Olena Abramovych, Ukrainian Television, Brussels correspondent Inter TV-channel