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Home » What the World Can Learn From Ukraine’s Fight for Democracy: Olesya Khromeychuk (Transcript)

What the World Can Learn From Ukraine’s Fight for Democracy: Olesya Khromeychuk (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Olesya Khromeychuk’s talk titled “What the World Can Learn From Ukraine’s Fight for Democracy” at TED conference.

In this TED talk, Ukrainian historian Olesya Khromeychuk delves into the profound lessons of resilience, unity, and vision derived from Ukraine’s enduring struggle for democracy. She begins by highlighting the symbolic equivalence of the word for “vote” and “voice” in Ukrainian, emphasizing the act of voting as a form of personal expression and a cornerstone of democracy.

Khromeychuk, drawing from her background as a historian and her personal experiences, argues that Ukraine’s turbulent history, marked by oppression and the quest for independence, offers unique insights into the value of freedom and the importance of democratic governance. She reflects on the Revolution of Dignity and the significant role of collective action and perseverance in challenging corruption and authoritarianism.

The talk also explores the significance of unity in diversity, showcasing how Ukraine’s multiethnic composition strengthens rather than weakens its democratic resolve. Khromeychuk concludes by underscoring the ongoing challenges Ukraine faces, particularly against external aggression, and the critical role of international solidarity and understanding in supporting Ukraine’s democratic journey. Her talk is a compelling reminder of the power of collective will in shaping a democratic future and the lessons the world can learn from Ukraine’s resilience.

Listen to the audio version here:


In Ukrainian, the word for a vote is the same as that for a voice: “holos.” So, to cast your vote for someone is to literally give them your voice. And it makes sense. By choosing our political representatives, we lend them our voice. If they misuse it, it can render us voiceless. But if they use it well, it can amplify our voice, making sure that it is heard. Amplifying the voices of the silenced is at the heart of democracy.

Democracy Through Ukrainian Eyes

Now, you might wonder why on Earth this Ukrainian thinks that she can talk about democracy. As a historian, surely I should know that my country has been locked in an empire of one sort or another until recently, and has been struggling with corruption and other challenges since it regained independence. And you’ll be right to wonder that. But, I would like to suggest that those are the reasons that qualify me to talk about democracy.

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