And lest by chance you may receive the pattern you are to give it from actuality, do not dare to enter its doubtful society until you are assured an ideal following in your heart. Live with your century, but do not be its creature; render to you contemporaries what they need, not what they praise. Without sharing their guilt, share with noble resignation their penalties and bow with freedom beneath the yoke which they can ill dispense with as they can bear it. — Friedrich Schiller, On the Aesthetic Education of Man, Ninth Letter
He was sitting in the first row of a packed auditorium near Victory Square in Kyiv. The occasion was the January 29, 2019 forum, dubbed “From Kruty to Brussels. We will go our own way.”
That was the last time I saw Maksym Martyniuk, who did just that. The driving force behind Ukraine’s growing land reform movement voluntarily left a job the country’s well-wishers hope he will return to — if not this year than next, if not under this government then during the next one.
Maksymiuk was appointed acting Minister of Agriculture on November 28, 2018, two months before incumbent Petro Poroshenko formally kicked off his reelection campaign. News of his resignation was announced one day after the president signed into law the umpteenth extension of the moratorium on farmland sales in Ukraine.
The creation of a properly functioning land market is one of the conditions for the continuation of cooperation between Ukraine and its international benefactors. The reason why the 41-year old Odesa native resigned has not been made public, and it’s a shame he is no longer even an acting minister in a government with too few reformers.
The European Court of Human Rights on May 22, 2018 recognized Ukraine’s farmland sales moratorium as a violation of human rights and obliged Ukraine to pass a more balanced law.