About Group

Nestor Group is an informal alliance of intellectuals and civic activists, established with the aim of developing a strategic vision for Ukraine.  The Group was established in 2012.

The Group is a non-partisan and non-profit organization, which is self-sustained and exists on volunteer basis.  Its agenda and goals are defined by the member experts themselves

The group was symbolically named after the son of one of its experts, who was born at the same time as the Group was established.  In such a way the Group is stressing that it is working for those who have not yet grew up to gain voice in Ukraine.

Members

Oleksandra Baklanova

Expert on developing strategies for business, management and managing changes


Viktoria Bryndza

Sociologist, expert on values studies, head of pro.mova company analytical department


Volodymyr Vorobey

Expert on economic development, PPV Knowledge Networks Director


Yevhen Hlibovytskyi

Managing partner pro.mova expert company


Yaroslav Hrytsak

PhD, History, Professor, Ukrainian Catholic University


Ihor Hut

MA in economy, marketing expert, managing partner of the Swedish project Develop Your Business


Orest Drul

Analyst, head of the Western Ukraine analytical group


Volodymyr Dubrovskyi

Senior economist, CASE Ukraine


Yevhen Ihelson

Expert on religion studies, oriental studies.


Ihor Кoliushko

Public law expert, Head of the Board, Center of political and legal reforms


Myroslav Marynovych

Human rights activist, publicist, religion studies expert, founding member of the Ukrainian Helsinki group, Vice Dean of the Ukrainian Catholic University


Svyatoslav Pavlyuk

Expert in energy saving, key expert of the “Treaty of the mayors” program


Bohdan Pankevych

Honorary consul of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Lviv, Member of the Lviv city council


Oleh Rybachuk

Expert on European integration, initiator of the civic campaigns “New citizen” and “Chesno”


Oleksandr Sushko

Scientific Director, Institute for Euro-Atlantic cooperation, Head of the Board, International Renaissance Foundation


Oksana Forostynа

Media expert, Editor of the “Krytyka” magazine and “Critical decisions” project



At the moment when the Group was founded in 2012 is was obvious that Yanukovych regime was bound to fail.  Nobody thought was able to tell how exactly this regime will be dismantled.  The situation of “stagnation” urged us to work – this exactly was a good time for reflections, thinking and discussions.  This is why we decided that we would at least attempt to answer the pressing questions.


The first year passed in long discussions about methodology.  We were looking for explanation – why some societies succeeded in moving to stability and prosperity and some – did not, and which path will Ukraine choose. Having discussed both the European and Eurasian contexts, we moved to studying the World Values Survey (WVS), which not only placed Ukraine in the world context, but also helped to understand the logic of changes.  WVS  has demonstrated – based on its reach empirical material – that stability or fragility of institutions depends on the culture that is dominant in the society.


It took us another year to develop at least a partial understanding of how the link between culture (values) and institutions (rules) works. And this understanding made us profoundly change the understanding we had about Ukraine’s place on the continent.  This inevitably meant the necessity to reсonsider large number of assumptions which before seemed unshakable.  We spent third year of our work on formulating the vision – the vision of what we not only want to achieve, but of what we can achieve with, taking into the account the given circumstances.


In other words, vision for Ukraine by the Nestor group is not somebody’s fantasy or indulgence but a realistic possibility, the road to which is difficult but realistic.


History


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.