On October 25, 2019, a new 1,000 hryvnia banknote appeared in Ukraine. The front side of what is the country’s largest banknote depicts the famous Soviet scientist and Stalin Prize laureate Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky (1863-1945), who popularized the concept of the biosphere evolving into the noosphere (the realm of the mind). The reverse side of the new banknote shows the building of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, founded in 1921, the first president of which was Vernadsky.
Oleksiy Arestovych (born in 1975), non-staff presidential adviser and one of the most influential politicians and ideologists of modern Ukraine, sees the appearance of Vernadsky on a banknote as an indication of a noosphere project taking shape – one of the centers of which will be the New Ukraine.The “Fifth Project"
In this article, I consider the issue of the Soviet legacy in modern Ukrainian political thought, namely the concept of Vernadsky’s noosphere and the appeal to Soviet science fiction – primarily the work of Ivan Yefremov – in Arestovych’s “Fifth Project.”
The "Fifth Project" hasn’t been released in print yet, but the essence of the doctrine is set out in a number of videos that can be found on Arestovych’s YouTube channel (for example, here
). This civilizational project for the future Ukraine was first put forward in 2014. Even today, amid the war, Arestovych continues to develop and popularize it through numerous online lectures and interviews.
He identifies the four main ideological projects that, in his view, are selectively related to the history of the country, and thus are false and dead ends – they are the Euro-optimistic, nationalist, Soviet and Russian projects. Supporters of European integration are ready to give up Ukraine’s sovereignty to the West and build public institutions on the Western model without accounting for national specifics. The nationalist project of "Anti-Russia" and "Ukraine for Ukrainians,” which has become the most popular during the war with Russia, diminishes Ukrainian culture and history, according to Arestovych. The Soviet project entails the revival of the fraternal trinity of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia under the leadership of Russia. The Russian project, which lost its relevance after the start of the war, means the hegemony of Russian over Ukrainian culture and adherence to the Russian ontological project of the Katechon (the Withholder).
Due to their locality and one-dimensionality, all these constructions, in Arestovych’s view, are unsuitable as the ideological basis of a state striving to be a global center of the future. Arestovych proposes an inclusive "Fifth Project," which combines the most constructive aspects of the four mentioned national identity projects: