We gathered in Kyiv at the beginning of 2012. We were almost 20 experts from different fields, who had very different expertise and concepts. The group’s core was formed in Univska group that was developing a vision for the city of Lviv between 2007 and 2011 and had launched a new discourse on the city’s future. Our methodology and approaches come from Univska group. The Nestor group was further strengthened by few experts from Kyiv and Eastern Ukraine who joined it.
Nobody was getting paid for this work. Everyone was contributing his or her own time and sometimes money for travel expenses, coffee- tea-cookies, flip charts and for purchasing books. Intellectual independence was our core value. We were not seeking neither grant support, no sponsorship in order not to feel dependent on somebody’s preferences. Mostly we were workings in Kyiv. And we still regret that despite having people from Crimea and Donbass in our group we did not held the pre-planned meetings in Yalta and Donetsk. Few times we commenced in Lviv and, thanks to the invitation from the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Prague, where physical distance and expensive roaming tariffs helped to not get distracted.
When one of our participants had a son named Nestor, the name for agroup was chosen naturally. We had this very specific sense of responsibility before a very specific beneficiary of our entire work that gave us strength even when we were disappointed. First it happened when we felt we were stuck and stopped moving ahead. Second time it happened when internal conflict occurred within the group. The feeling of responsibility, however, was pushing us ahead and in 2014 Nestor group at last reached the final stage.
Ukraine in 2012, when we started our work, was facing the same challenges as Ukraine in 2016. The key difference is mainly in the fact that the main risks became even more acute and became more pressing and some of the potential threats turned real. Even despite the fact that after Maidan we received partially the answers to the questions re who we are, the lack of sense of the security became more obvious. And this is the key factor constraining development and fostering degradation of the institutions. This is not happening by accident. The fundamental difference between the Western world and the post-Soviet world is in the fact that the former has solved the security issues and could take care of its development, while in the latter the controll at the moment could be ensured by constant creation of new dangers to prevent sustainable development. This is why answering the broad range of security questions would be a necessary prerequisite for future progress.