In his nightly video address, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the state to show restraint on budgetary spending, especially on projects that are not relevant to the state’s security.
“In a time of war like this, the maximum state attention, and therefore state resources, should be spent on defence,” Zelensky announced in his message, calling it an “obvious thing.” Referring to his conversation with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, he considered this issue of Budget Expenditure through the prism of Justice, connoting the diversion of funds as a fair decision during the perilous times in Ukraine.
With an emphasis on finding alternative funds for projects that can be implemented at the expense of extra-budgetary resources, President Zelensky calls for this to apply to various areas, including Culture, Museums, Culture centres, Symbols, and television series. Considering them an essential requirement, he still weighs in on the other priorities, advising them to find extra-budgetary resources and not to rely on state funds for this. This is a pivotal decision on the part of the government, as President Zelenskyy himself was a former comedian and actor.
Appealing to all local authorities in the country, Zelensky urged them to show caution on the use of budget resources: “People should feel that budget resources are used fairly and properly… Paving stones, city decorations, and fountains can wait till after victory.” This is another crucial remark since it upholds the state’s security as foremost and delineates the accountability and justified use of public money.
Resignation of Culture Minister
President Zelensky also suggested the Prime Minister consider replacing the Minister of Culture and Information Policy, Oleksandr Tkachenko, who in a few hours submitted his resignation. He remained unapologetic for his initiatives and projects.
“Culture is important in times of war as this war is not only for territories but also for people, and people are our memory, history, language, and creativity despite the war, heritage, and the past is for the sake of the future.” Adding to that, Olexander Tkachenko said, “Private and state funding for culture in wartime is no less important than for drones. Culture is the shield for our identity and our borders.”
Olexander Tkachenko is a prominent public figure whose decision to resign can cast doubtful questions on the functioning of the government structure and leadership of Zelensky. Earlier, the minister proposed allocating $13.5 million in funds to complete the construction of the National Memorial Museum of Holodomor, dedicated to Ukraine’s man-made 1930s famine linked to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s collectivization drive. Not only that, but he has also promoted projects like replacing the Soviet-era coat of arms on the shield of the “Motherland” statue with the arms of Ukraine, calling it a privately funded initiative.
“Brought a resignation statement to the Premier tonight, due to a wave of misunderstanding about the importance of culture during war. Only then was I surprised by the President’s statement on the same issue.” Tkachenko posted. There has been no word yet on the acceptance of the resignation. However, the question of supporting art and culture during the precarious times of war persistently continued.