Pyotr M. Talanchuk, 52, a longtime Ukrainian educator recently named rector of Kiev’s Polytechnical Institute; member of the Congress of People’s Deputies.
“First of all, we are worried about the future of our country. It seems to me that democratic changes will get the upper hand here. The (Soviet) union will still exist, but in a different form. The most important thing is that it’s a democratic union. We’ve never lived in a democratic union; what we had before was an empire--not a union.
“The youth, especially students, are a very dynamic part of society, especially in the Ukraine. It’s a very revolutionary part of society. The youth change much more easily. They can free themselves from old dogmas much more quickly than the older generation. They look at the world with great hope.
“The young people of today are much different than my generation. When we were young, we honestly believed that we were building a just society and that our difficulties were only temporary. They won’t make the same mistake because they can make well-informed choices. They know many of our old dogmas were mistaken. . . .
“The influence of students on the political situation is very strong. But it’s very important for us, their elders, to make sure their movement is constructive.
“I don’t think this year will be easier for us. Our lives will be easier only when we decide fundamental questions, of land ownership and private property, the transfer of powers (from the Communist Party) to legislatures and the dismantling of the adminstrative-command system.
“History can’t be changed, and it’s moving toward a democracy. There will come a time when all borders and national differences will be destroyed and people will remember first of all that they are people.”