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Euromaidan anniversary: nothing to celebrate

November 21, 2014, 17:45 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila
© ITAR-TASS/Alexey Ivanov

MOSCOW, November 21. /TASS/. Ukraine is marking the first anniversary of what for the past year has been commonly referred to as Euromaidan, for brevity - open-ended demonstrations in the center of the capital Kiev, including Independence Square, in support of concluding an association agreement with the European Union. The current Ukrainian authorities have declared the date as a public holiday, called Dignity and Freedom Day. In the meantime, there is hardly anything worth celebrating, Russian experts are saying.

Maidan was not an expression of the will of most Ukrainians. Far from that. On the eve of the official celebrations the online periodical asked its audience: “Would you go to demonstrate, if you had prior knowledge of the events that would follow?” “Yes, it was necessary,” replied 25.31% of the respondents. “No, the effects have proved too grave,” argue 17.27%. And more than half - 51.27% said that they have never supported Maidan.

The Euromaidan phenomenon started as a protest movement, which by no means had the overthrow of the authorities as its chief aim, research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences under the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economic and Public Administration, Sergei Bespalov, has told TASS in an interview. The event that worked as the trigger was President Viktor Yanukovych’s U-turn away from the expected signing of the EU association agreement after the people had for a whole year been brainwashed about the dire need for such an association. However, toward the end of December and early January another Maidan had begun to take shape inside the original one. In January most demonstrators in the crowds were no longer Kiev residents, but visitors from Ukraine’s western regions, determined to use force. Apparently, they had been trained for future elections due in 2015, but then apparently a decision was made to employ this force much earlier.

“With US support a course was set towards ousting the existing authorities with the use of force,” he said.

“That the firm supporters of Euromaidan still number 25% is quite impressive,” Bespalov said. “This merely indicates that the current Ukrainian leaders cannot afford to feel calm. If these people begin to dislike the official policies, more demonstrations may ensue.”

Over the past year the entire vector of Ukrainian politics has changed. Throughout the history of post-Soviet Ukraine there lingered a confrontation between the forces that had expressed the interests of western regions and the capital, on the one hand, and the forces reflecting the sentiment of Ukraine’s East, on the other. Now it has turned out that the East is absent from the country’s politics altogether. “In that sense the Ukrainian elite and society have proved more consolidated - all elites are pro-Western. But the basis for that consolidation is not a very healthy one. The voice of Ukraine’s East has been muzzled. But the interests of that region’s people are still here. For them the disruption of economic ties with Russia will spell disaster.

The new authorities are very far from having a firm foothold, Bespalov believes. The feeling of disillusionment will be growing with the awareness of territorial losses and the catastrophic decline in the living standards. More Maidan protests should not be ruled out. The members of volunteer units involved in the military crackdown on the Southeast may play a major role in this sense. “They are dissatisfied with the outcome of the military operation and the way the authorities have been treating them. It should be borne in mind though, that the West would not support revolt against the authorities, and this is a major factor.”

During the Euromaidan demonstrations there were several levels of protest, the director of the Political Studies Institute, Sergey Markov, has told TASS.

“Level one - society’s protest against the oligarchic system that has existed in the country for the past 25 years. Level two reflected the protest of 40% of pro-Western oriented population against the authorities, representing the interests of 60% of the population equally oriented towards Russia and Europe. Level three - the opposition’s determination to topple Yanukovych. And level four - an attempt by the West to shape an anti-Russian Ukraine.

The first group’s expectations have vanished, Markov believes. The regime has grown increasingly oligarchic. The West-leaning protesters have been deceived, too, but they are unaware of that for the time being amid the monstrous propaganda campaign. Level three and level four have emerged the winners. “It was a wide popular protest stolen by the oligarchs, foreign agents and organized crime. These have formed their own bodies of power,” Markov said.

“For the country this is a real disaster: territorial losses, losses of thousands of citizens, an economic disaster and the destruction of moral basics of society,” Markov said. “For the United States it is a tremendous geopolitical victory, bound to turn out a Pyrrhic victory, the way it happened in Iraq. For the EU it is a defeat. Many there are already aware of that, although everybody does not dare to stay that in public. And for Russia it is a defeat as well.


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