16:19 Nov. 2, 2016
Nolan Peterson of Daily Signal tells stories of Ukrainian students who are protecting their country
More and more students of Kyiv's Taras Shevchenko National University join the group called Students Guard. Over 200 of them already received military training as part of an auxiliary guerrilla force dedicated to Kyiv's defense.
"Our goal is to train students to take up arms in the event of an emergency," Serhiy Yanchuk, the coordinator, said.
"We don't have faith," said Viacheslav Masniy, a 24-year-old Ph.D. student and a veteran of the war in the Donbas. "Faith is to pray and wait. We are willing to struggle. We are tired of hiding our identity, like our parents did in the Soviet Union."
These students and faculty members considered the conflict in the Donbas to be a fight for their country's independence from Russia and freedom to foster closer ties with Western Europe.
"Our enemies are not fighting for their freedom," Masniy said. "They are fighting to destroy our country. They don't believe we are a nation, or that we are a state."
But Ukraine's better future will not happen automatically. The students and faculty, mostly in their early and mid-20s, repeated a commonly held opinion among Ukraine's millennials—that the "Homo Sovieticus" mindset of the older generations is beyond fixing, and real change in Ukraine will only be possible when the younger generations, for whom the Soviet Union is not a living memory, take power.