During a working trip to Kyiv region, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part in the Skovoroda 300 cultural and artistic forum, dedicated to the anniversary of the birth of the famous Ukrainian philosopher, poet and teacher, which will be celebrated in Ukraine on December 3.
Speaking with students and teachers of Hryhorii Skovoroda University in Pereiaslav, who were joined by students and teachers of Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University and National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in a video call, the Head of State said that it is always a pleasure to meet with educated and intelligent people.
"I have great respect for teachers. I know that this is a difficult job, because I myself was born into a teacher's family. But I understand how difficult it is for students, because I was a student myself," he said.
Zelenskyy thanked the students and teachers for the same resilience in this hard time that Hryhorii Skovoroda had in his teaching activities.
The head of state expressed his belief that all those present are united by both the upcoming important date – the 300th anniversary of the birth of Hryhorii Skovoroda, as well as love for Ukraine and great respect for the history of our state.
The President said that Hryhorii Skovoroda University is a real center of life in Pereiaslav. The institution worked even during the difficult situation in Kyiv region after the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia and provided assistance to internally displaced persons from the first days of the aggression.
Answering the students' questions, Zelenskyy said that it is important for Ukraine to protect and not give away everything that belongs to it, and for this, in particular, the war with Russia is going on.
"What is this Russian-Ukrainian war for? For the state, for the land, for the family, for life. And for the right to life, for freedom, for the right to choose. To live without disturbing others, but also protecting one's own life," he said.
According to the Head of State, Ukraine should not respond to propaganda from Russia, because in this way we subjectify it. And after the Russian Federation invaded the territory of Ukraine, tortured and killed people, it is no longer a subject.
According to the President, it is difficult to fight against propaganda in Russia, but it is necessary to fight against Russian disinformation on the territory of Ukraine.
"There are various measures that our state should have taken from the very beginning. It was difficult: there was a great influence of Russia on us – media, political, industrial, and historical... There are fundamental things. The media space in Ukraine cannot be controlled by Russia," Zelenskyy said.
Therefore, at his persuasion, in order to combat the media influence of the Russian Federation on Ukrainian society, the NSDC decided to terminate the activities of certain TV channels that were financed from Russia.
In addition, according to the President, it is necessary to develop Ukrainian universities and science, because this is also an informational warfare. This also applies to the spiritual sphere in our country.
"And if someone supports the war in Ukraine, he is definitely not pro-Ukrainian and has chosen another state," he said.
"All these are very correct, just democratic steps that the state should take and society should support. I think society also understands this," the Head of State added.
Also, according to the President, it is necessary to convey true information to societies in various countries and break through the veil of propaganda created by Russia. This will help unite the world around Ukraine.
"A separate approach should be taken in the fight against propaganda in the territories that we de-occupy," he said.
Asked whether new symbols should appear in Ukraine instead of the Soviet ones, which are now being replaced, the President expressed the opinion that this is already happening naturally.
"It is necessary to help it and make it possible, but I would not like there to be pressure. It seems to me that Ukraine is strong because it is very free in its expression of will and attitude to life. And that's why the discussion has to come from below... We have to talk about it, think about it with the public, scientists, what legislative changes should be. But the most important thing is that all this should not be done through pressure, destruction, humiliation, etc.," Zelenskyy said.
According to the Head of State, the main thing in this process is dialogue and logic.
"Today, the whole society is united and very much wants to restore all that was forgotten: both names, and monuments, and important historical knowledge, and the memory of people who were forgotten for a long time thanks to the Soviet power," he said.
As the President said, today Ukraine is able to find its true heritage thanks to the work of scientists and specialists who have deep knowledge of history.
"Today, we want the most forgotten, but ours, Ukrainian. Our identity must be maintained," Zelenskyy said.