Article by: Valery Pekar
It seems it happened only yesterday. It seems it happened five years ago.
The anniversary forces us to conclude the results.
A year ago we were living in a peaceful country which was going through a long but non-lethal economic crisis, lamented injustice and tyranny, but was ready to wait until a good Tsar came, and discussed the pros and cons of joining Europe or the ‘Russian World’ in a lively manner.
A year later, today, we live in a warring country which has almost hit the economical rock bottom but which made its civilizational choice and is ready to pay dearly for it. And it does. In a country which is unable to wait anymore, taking into account at least the moods of the people or the objective state of the economy.
Therefore, let us evaluate the balance using the dry language of sociopolitical accounting by looking at our assets and liabilities.
- The establishment of civil society and extraordinary civil activity of a significant part of the population: Maidan brought about charity, volunteer, reforming movements which play a key role in defending and rebuilding the country.
- The emergence and grouping of the Ukrainian political nation, whose highest value is the Ukrainian sovereignty and the success of national projects, however which understands national identity in a broader and more modern way than just the Ukrainian language and vyshyvankas.
- A full government reboot: a new President, a new Parliament, a new government. One of Maidan’s key demands was met, even though its goal wasn’t.
- A significant decrease of the role regionals play in politics, the removal of communists. The emergence of a significant number of new faces from civil society on the political arena.
- The emergence of a new army which has national support and help and which is able to beat a stronger enemy. This is not final military victory, but a stop to aggression – let us hope, it has reached the final point of its advance.
- An undoubted number of diplomatic victories, support of the entire world in fighting the aggressor, who broke the world order and is trying to entrap the world in a new Cold, if not hot, War.
- Growth of respect for the Church and its role in social processes as a necessary condition to create a contemporary nation.
- The loss of Crimea and part of Donbas, war with unclear prospects against a stronger enemy under conditions of weak commandment, devastated army and military industry. A de facto defeat in informational war.
- The influence of the geopolitical enemy on the politics and economy through their agents in the parliament and local government, in government and military structures. A full economic dependence on the enemy in terms of energy, significant influence in media and the bank sphere.
- The lack of economic reform and complex economic crisis caused by this as well as war. Impoverishment of a significant part of the population, devaluation of the national currency. De facto halt of economic processes.
- The fact that most people are stuck in the old paradigm of thought: waiting for good and happiness from the state, voting for old regional barons and Russian agents at the elections, civil passivity.
- Unbeaten corruption, the perseverance of old corruption schemes, frequently with new ‘observers.’ Old bureaucrats on the key positions of an old, unreformed state machine.
- The fact that the chance given by the victory of Maidan and Russian aggression was not used in the interest of Ukraine and all things Ukrainian in the world.
- Elections following old laws, which resulted in the retardation of the political system from social demand.
The balance of assets and liabilities is unlikely to lead to one conclusion. We should look deeper in the reasons and essence of Maidan, then we will be able to evaluate the results in a more objective fashion.
Let us turn to the article The Essence of Revolution and the Task of the New Country published half a year ago, which gave a response to the key question of what is Maidan? Back then we made a detailed analysis of the deep-rooted reasons of Maidan, its connection to Ukrainian and global history.
For those who are too lazy to read over it, the main point is that according to our analysis Maidan is a trilateral revolution:
- socioeconomic: for a free market and an open social system against the closed semi-feudal oligarchical system;
- geopolitical: Ukrainian national-liberation, anti-colonial, anti-imperialistic;
- mental: new values against the old ones: revolution of dignity.
All three revolutions not only happened at the same time, but were connected, and had the same goal: to take the country from the ‘Middle Ages’ to ‘Contemporaneity.’ The trilateral revolution accordingly has three main forces: small and average businesses; nationally conscious communities; the youth and students.
Which one of these revolutions is over now?
A revolution comes to an end by one of the two means only: either a victory of the revolution or the victory of the counter-revolution. The victory of the revolution is reaching the goals it posed for itself. The victory of the counter-revolution is disabling the forces of the revolution by its enemies.
Neither of these two things took place. We have no open economy, a new Ukrainian geopolitical subjectivity, victory of new values. However, counter-revolution has not won either: oligarchs, anti-Maidan and pro-Russian forces have become much weaker.
The anti-colonial, anti-imperial revolution is now embodied in the War for Independence, as empires have never just let anyone go. Socioeconomic revolution is embodies in fighting for reforms, in fighting the Hydra (the arbitrary term for all the forces who want reform to fail and renew oligarchical balance of opportunity to exploit the people and treasures of the country). The revolution of values will manifest in the nearest future in the advent of a new Ukrainian culture.
All this means that all three revolutions are not over but have only just begun.
How long will this all last? The main reforms have to be done within half a year, and within 1,5-2 years we will see their positive consequences. For a full-fledged manifestation of international subjectivity, we need at least 3-5 years. Value changes in society emerge within 5-7 years.
This is a long game, and we should set up for an old one. Fast victories will not come.
Why are we disappointed?
Because there are strategic victories which necessitate years, and there are tactical victories we want to happen now.
Let us copy and past the texts written in December 2013 which brought together the demands of Maidan, and take a look at the result. Here they are, without editing:
- A full halt to repressions, rehabilitation of political prisoners, closing of cases, retreat of law enforcement, punishment of the culprits.
- A full government reboot: transparent fair elections with a new CEC.
- Change of system and not only faces in the government: a new social contract, mechanisms to limit power and influence of the people.
To be fair, let us emphasize that the first two points have been mostly executed. However…
There are painful things we definitely lack today to fell at least a middle-term victory.
Determining and punishing those culpable for violence and murders in Maidan.
A clear declaration of our position in the war for independence.
Honoring the heroes of our time: servicemen, volunteers, charity-doers. Harsh punishment of military traitors.
Cleansing the Parliament from obvious Russian agents.
First court process against corrupt officials.
More truth about the situation on the front.
Finally establishing state provision of the fighters with all the essential, to reorient the best human capital of Ukraine and their funds towards the goals of development and not replacement of the state.
Formation of an effective singular military defense leadership.
Declaration of a clear balanced strategy regarding Donbas.
A clear state position on the banking sphere.
The change of state appointment system: criteria for lustration, competition, public discussion, project competition.
These are rather tactical questions, but they do have strategic weight. The lack of a solution forms popular discontent, which may result in new forms of resistance, and this will be lamentable, as it will mean the disruption of long-term positive processes because of elementary lack of adherence to “revolution safety rules.”
However, there are more positive things. Remember that according to the failed February 21 agreements, Yanukovych should have been President until December of this year. Remember that the regionals had the majority in the Parliament. That civil activists were facing jail, in the best case. That today we are demanding some things of the government which we were even unable to imagine a year ago, and consider the fact that these demands are not being met abnormal. That a year ago the entire world considered us part of the Russia’s ‘sphere of special interest,’ and practically part of the neocolonial ‘Russian World.’
However, in the time of rapid change, social demand is formed faster than the political system is able to respond. And we think that the political system is slowing down. And we are not ready to make peace with its drawbacks. And this is right: the more demands we pose, the more we are ready to do ourselves. This includes growth of civil responsibility. The government will have no other choice but to start moving and catch up with the demands of civil society.
However, let us not forget one important thing. 15% of the population at most participates in all Maidans put together, in all charity, volunteer and reformist movements. The rest remain where they used to be – nothing changed for them.
They were the ones who voted for former regionals: don’t look at the lists but the majority vote, it’s more obvious.
They read Vesti newspaper and shake their heads: Maidan is to blame for everything, nothing would have happened if it had not. They are the majority, and they play a significant part in defining our future.
Others fight on the front, collect money and warm clothing, write laws for the new Parliament and donate blood. Their lives changed forever.
We could say that we have two peoples in one country, but this is not the case, as there is movement. There is migration, and only in one direction. Very slowly but inevitably.
15% is a lot and very little. It is much more than necessary to launch change in the country. Much less than necessary to make them inevitable.
Strangely enough, the Parliament has about 15% of new people, despite the two-layered electoral system and the mix of honey and dirt in every single party list.
An active minority sets the direction for movement, but the passive majority determines its velocity. We have to change the balance in our favor. Make most subjects of the state into citizens.
It was said many times on Maidan that we would not be satisfied with a change of faces in the government, we want to change the country. The New State is a dream of the citizens and a demand of Maidan, and in this new country Maidan would be unnecessary, as the influence of the public on government will be constant, and the rules of life will be transparent.
We live in strange times, hen the New State is stemming through the old one, like grass grows through cracked asphalt: the young, alive, green, and flexible growths through the black, old, dead and twisted.
Without revolutionary romance of burning tires and bottles of lighter fluid, without orange helmets and wooden shields, without yellow Self-Defense scarves and hourly prayers, the revolution named Maidan continues.
Just don’t stock up on popcorn, but gloves, because nothing will happen without you.