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Recorded on 23 May 2023 from the Haus der Berliner Festspiele

Available from 24 May 2023 until 31 December 2023

70 min

German and English


10 Treffen: Herstory Treffen

The event is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb.

  • Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb

Informational support by the Ukrainian Institute.

  • Ukrainian Institute

Video | Conversation | Theatertreffen 2023

Struggle for Existence and Solidarity

The phenomenon of revolutionary and post-revolutionary solidarity of conscious civil society and the sustainable development of the volunteer movement in Ukraine are inextricably linked to the tradition of the anti-imperialist liberation struggle, which is based on diversity, multinationality, liberal feminism, multireligion, multiculturalism and consolidation.


Kateryna Mishchenko Writer, publisher, translator
Nina Khyzhna Theatre director, performer and choreographer
Liuba Ilnytska Dramaturg, critic, theatre manager and curator

Moderation: Kateryna Stetsevych Head of the project group Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe at the Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb

The processes of forming the civil society of modern Ukraine, which began in the 1990s during the Student Revolution on Granite and the miners’ protests, subsequently transformed into the Orange Revolution, and ten years later into the Revolution of Dignity, keep evolving almost on a daily basis, with an unprecedented speed in the history of Europe. But living next door to an aggressive country takes away the privilege of pacifism. It is a constant balancing act between the demand for equal access to basic rights, decolonisation, sustainable development, a new vision of civil society, an inclusive economy and prosperity on the one hand, and living in physical and mental proximity to shelling, systemic violence and post-traumatic consequences on the other. In this ambivalence, civic, vertical solidarity is continuously crystallising, transforming over the centuries, and coinciding with the discourse of the struggle for independence both from empires, and external as well as internal emancipation. Taking into account the detrimental impact of militarisation and the glorification of some population groups over others, when violence is manifested with the aim of extermination on a national (in the political sense) basis, the necessary action is defence.
Nowadays, the critically thinking Ukrainian society is beginning to form the perspective of promoting the meaning of the pacifist horizontal governance for the recovery from post-war destruction in the material and non-material sense of the word, the development of rehabilitation institutions, human rights frameworks, etc. But the 9-year-long Russian-Ukrainian war has proven that the desire to enjoy the privilege of pacifism is tantamount to standing on the sidelines. And from recent history, we know that this position has led to most of the human suffering of the previous century.