Euromaidan protests in Kyiv, December 2013
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the Maidan in Ukraine, an event that challenged an axiom that almost all analysts of the post-Soviet space hold, Arkady Babchenko says. That axiom holds that the empire’s possessions can escape from its influence and control only when the empire is weakened but in no case when it is strong.
That helps to explain Vladimir Putin’s reaction to it, the Ukrainian commentator says, because if the Ukrainian alternative were to spread, that by itself would contribute to the weakening and ultimate dismemberment of the Russian imperial state and its pretensions to control the post-Soviet space.
With the Maidan, Babchenko continues, “Ukraine was able to achieve what no other country has. Not one! All the countries of Eastern Europe … which fell under the imperial boot could break out of it only when the empire began to fall apart. Poland, the GDR, the Baltic countries, and the Caucasus broke out only when the empire became weak.”
Ukraine alone was able to escape from Moscow’s domination “at the peak of its latest rise to power, the only one in Europe, the only one in the world,” the commentator continues. “No one. Could. Do. That. Which we Did,” he says. And that is because the participants in the Maidan stood up “not for sausage but for freedom and dignity.”
That is a powerful force, one capable of working miracles even against those like Putin who may have powerful resources of other kinds. It did in this case, and so calling the Maidan a revolution for dignity is the best way to ensure its ultimate victory and the victory of others currently repressed or dominated by the Kremlin.
Indeed, one could say, although Babchenko does not, that this was Ukraine’s application of a “hybrid” force against Putin’s Russia, a force that was all the more powerful because the other side at least initially did not understand what had been deployed against it.
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