On July 28, 2023, a round table “Actual issues of the protection of the national statehood in modern conditions” was held on the basis of the National Academy of the Security Service of Ukraine. The event was co-organized by the Security Service of Ukraine and the Center for the Protection of National Statehood. The main thematic areas of the round table were defined as: the Security Service of Ukraine as the main subject of the protection of national statehood; the legal grounds for the interaction of the Department and regional divisions of the National Statehood Protection Service of the Security Service of Ukraine with other subjects of the security sector, authorities and management on matters of national statehood protection; peculiarities of the investigation of crimes related to encroachments on state sovereignty, constitutional order, territorial integrity, and information security of Ukraine under the conditions of the introduction of the legal regime of martial law; foreign and national experience of countering special information operations based on the analysis of open sources of information, etc. The work of the round table was attended by acting head of the Department of Political Culture and Ideology of the Institute, Doctor of Historical Sciences Yuriy Nikolaiets and leading researcher of the Department of Political Institutions and Processes, Candidate of Political Sciences Rostyslav Balaban.
In his report, Yuriy Nikolaiets noted that the emergence and development of the informational society made possible a sharp increase in the influence of mass communication on the development and course of interstate conflicts. In modern conditions, mass communications have become an important element of conducting hybrid warfare. Analysis of the information space of Ukraine allows us to state that the information war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine began immediately after the collapse of the USSR and was aimed against the establishment and development of Ukrainian statehood. Informational and psychological special operations were aimed at restoring a union state centered in Moscow, discrediting the processes of Ukrainian state-building and the ability of Ukrainian politicians to participate in effective state management, provoking inter-ethnic and inter-regional enmity, forming regional identity, discrediting law enforcement and judicial bodies, spreading in Ukrainian society negative attitude to service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Means of mass communications were used to form separatist attitudes, irredentism in a number of Ukrainian regions. For this purpose, messages were spread about the so-called “Galician separatism”, the development of political Ruthenism, “the original belonging of Crimea and Donbas to Russia.” For a long time in Crimea and Donbas, local mass media, which acted quite legally, participated in the dissemination of anti-Ukrainian messages. Anti-Ukrainian statements were present even in the pre-election programs of a relatively large number of candidates for people’s deputies, program documents of individual public associations. The long-term absence of a balanced state information policy made possible the formation of anti-state sentiments in Ukrainian society. This was especially noticeable among the population of the South and East of Ukraine. The anti-Ukrainian informational campaign of the Russian Federation intensified at the beginning of the 21st century in the conditions of the pre-election struggle in Ukraine and the Orange Revolution and acquired clearly defined anti-state features already during the time when V. Yushchenko was the President of Ukraine. It was then that theses about “the existence of two Ukraines”, “the spread of fascism and neo-Nazism” in Ukraine and “the development of Ukraine as a Western project of ”anti-Russia”” were formed. Over time, the informational war became one of the most important components of the Russian-Ukrainian war, at the beginning of which the enemy managed to temporarily occupy Crimea and part of Donbas. The current position of the leading players on the world political arena will contribute to the preservation of the Russian Federation on the political map of the world in a certain “updated” form. In the near future, there are no prerequisites for the disintegration of the Russian Federation as a result of the sharp deterioration of the economic situation in this country. Therefore, it should be taken into account that the agreement concluded with the Russian Federation on the end of the war/special military operation will not mean the refusal of the Russian side to continue the hybrid war against Ukraine in the format of information warfare, economic and trade wars, political pressure and war in cyberspace, etc. And even Ukraine’s prospective accession to NATO cannot be a guarantee of the Russian Federation’s refusal to continue the hybrid war against Ukraine.
In his speech, Rostyslav Balaban emphasized that the successes of the Armed Forces, Security Service of Ukraine, intelligence, volunteers, optimistic public mood and consolidation, all that today fills the essence of statehood, ensures its legitimacy and stability – can be leveled by corruption. Russia’s war against Ukraine revealed that the state management apparatus, law enforcement and judicial bodies are saturated with agents of the Russian Federation, whose task was the destruction of Ukraine’s statehood. As of August 2022, the Chesno movement declared that 348 politicians had become traitors. The large-scale spread of corruption has become a problem for Ukraine. Corruption schemes did not cease to exist even during the war, when new means appeared for the enrichment of corrupt officials. In Ukraine, there are still opportunities for obtaining illegal benefits due to imperfect competition and theft of property on a particularly large scale. Unfortunately, there are also rare cases of embezzlement of humanitarian aid that comes to our country from foreign partners. The growth of trust in the state, which took place in the conditions of a full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation, is threatened by the spread of information about corruption in power structures of various levels. Countering the spread of corruption does not lead to its elimination as a phenomenon. On the contrary, certain acts of corruption are becoming increasingly attractive to citizens. At the same time, the organization of repelling the aggressor gave rise to new creative initiatives, literature, humor, the emergence of new performers, some of whom are in the war zone, which can testify to the cultural phenomenon of revival and is an important component of state formation. Corruption has turned out to be a permanent institution that threatens the economic competitiveness of the state and the existence of statehood in general. Despite the presence of eight anti-corruption bodies and individual cases of detaining corrupt officials, the fight against corruption has not become systematic. It is fundamentally important that the fight against corruption does not become the destruction of opponents, the political opposition, a mechanism of raiding, which has a high probability. In order to ensure a more successful fight against corruption, the Security Service of Ukraine must undergo reform itself, since it has not escaped the problems inherent in the state system. Overcoming corruption is an important systemic step in the protection of the national state of Ukraine. The consequences will be an increase in the level of defense capability, an acceleration of economic development, an increase in trust in government institutions, and the formation of a comfortable environment for society.