Nova Kraina is a think tank and a civil platform that was also founded during the Maidan revolution. After 2014, there were many groups who proposed reforms to the government. A lot of Ukrainians committed themselves to volunteer in these civil society action groups – otherwise it would be impossible to move on.
Nova Kraina aims to push forward and work on the reform process. They felt, in order to make real progress, impulses and control of the reform process from civil society are necessary. In contrast to other NGOs, Nova Kraina is not trying draw a clear line between them and the political institutions: It gathers professionals who work for commissions of the parliament. “We have experts who are actually involved in writing reforms”, says Oksana Belinska from Nova Kraina.
„Decentralisation is happening now, which is something really new.“ Therefore, as other NGOs, Nova Kraina tries to help building capacities of civil society activists in the regions and strenghten democratic competences that help them to engage in and influence politics.
Oksana Belinska says, the starting point for their platform was the understanding, that there is no vision for the country. In 2014 they gathered 600 people in strategic sessions in which they could articulate their vision on economics, administration, politics, health, education, and culture.
The visions presented in these sessions served as a draft for the strategic presidential document “Ukraine 2020”. According to Oksana Belinska, it was the first time that a governmental document was created based on the ideas of civil society engagement. Now, the challenge is to realize these strategies and monitor necessary reforms.
Therefore, Nova Kraina formed a working group that creates a kind of „alternative government“, which means they train and prepare members to high positions in the government. Some of the platform members are now minister advisers.
Nova Kraina also elaborates an alternative reform program, which they present to the European Parliament and other organizations and foundations who are interested in facilitating the reform process. Reciprocally, the platform’s members become more influential in Ukraine, gain more power, and become more visible. Unfortunately, says Oksana Belinska, to go to the European parliament often is the only way to push reforms in Ukraine.
The collaboration with the government is not linked to the particular cabinet. If the government changes, Nova Kraina would adjust it’s programme and prepare experts to work with the new government. The main goal is to keep the reform agenda on track and involve the civil society.