Contributors to “Maidan”: OUR REVOLUTION

Nov 22nd, 2005 | By | Category: Civic Actions, Civil Society, In Depth, Ukraine

We have to stand up and get out there!

Almost a year ago you had the opportunity to read a collection of New Year greetings from contributors to “Maidan”, that is, from those who worked on our website during the Orange Revolution. It was a time when victory was already within reach, the mood and impressions never to be forgotten.

Now we offer the opportunity to read our impressions of the present situation: looking back to the past, acknowledging the present and looking forward to the future.

Read, compare, and give us your comments …

….
Mary

The highest manifestation of human freedom is when you act precisely because you really have no other choice, because there is no other road.

A paradox? Indeed it is so.

For myself I defined the Orange Revolution as a national realization of the fact that “we have to stand up and get out there!” And this “WE HAVE TO” is almost like a physiological need.

Obviously “physiological” is a bit on the strong side, however the need to go out onto “Maidan” [Independence Square, and all the other similar squares throughout Ukraine] was much deeper and broader than “outpourings of the heart”, abstract values, morality, and any other such creations of our limited intellect. It was a need that you felt with every pore, every cell of your body. Yes, of your actual body. They were in your mind, in your conscience – only as parts of the living body.

WE HAVE TO! Stand up and get out there – this is the instinct of survival and self-preservation (but not to be confused with Darwin’s instinct since) this is self-preservation AS A HUMAN BEING, and not some kind of cattle. This is no heroism which attains a sublime level, but a struggle for a minimum living standard of personal DIGNITY, after crossing the border of some kind of “you aren’t you, and you’re not a living person, but only a memory …”

And what now? And now we have ordinary weekdays, and work. We have already stood up for our minimum living standard of personal dignity, now we have to (HAVE TO!) fight every day in our ordinary existence for the maximum (squeeze the slave out of us, drop by drop [1] ). Maximalism is good, especially when one is talking about human dignity.

And why do we need these festive anniversaries? So that we don’t suddenly forget what it was that we stood and shivered for on Maidan – for our own personal dignity, for the right to call ourselves human beings, for the right to call ourselves a people.

For now, no one will be able to say that “Ukraine as a State has no past” – for we are its past, and we were seen by the whole world on their screens. Ergo, we have a future, it is in our hands.

——–
Franko

Are we together? Are there many of us?

Hello, dear citizens!

I would like to talk now on the painful subject of Ukrainian good and Ukrainian evil. The problem is very simple. Ukrainian evil has always been with fists, and Ukrainian good has never been noted for using fists. Ukrainian evil has always come together in gangs and attacked, while Ukrainian good has always whispered panic-stricken in corners and been frightened. Ukrainian evil has flashed fire and thunder, while Ukrainian good has trembled and mooched about. Dear friends, that is bad and is not fit for anything. That needs somehow to be changed.

My opinion on this issue, ladies and gentlemen, may be banal, or may not be so very. The loudest effect is when twenty thousand voices shout together. The best effect is achieved by three hundred signatures from the three hundred possible. The best doping is when your blood brother tells you that he will go with you to the end. Fingers, in order to become a fist, must be together, all five out of five. The Orange Revolution demonstrates that the effect is guaranteed.

While for Ukrainian evil it is quite enough that we simply don’t do anything.

——–
Natalka Zubar

What was the Orange Revolution for me?

It was the fulfillment of long-cherished hopes that Ukrainians had a huge potential for development and a natural attraction to direct democracy. It was the result of many years work, in particular, on the website of “Maidan”.

It was an interim result but extremely significant in terms of marking our future path.

What for you are the valuable achievements of this “Orange” year?

There have been three real achievements:

1. Freedom of speech

Of course there are still problems which are written about a great deal, but they do not relate to administrative pressure on the mass media which is virtually non-existent. A friend of mine who heads a big State media structure has been marveling for half a year and asking: “so when are the signals from above going to begin?” And they still don’t come. However he’s an old hand and will be waiting on guard for any whiff of danger until the final victory.

2. There has been an increase in people level of civil activeness.

The people who went out onto maidans (squares) a year ago, not for Yushchenko but for their own dignity, have not retreated back into a herd. Civil activity has moved to a large extent into the area of fighting for public opinion to be taken into account when making decisions at State and local level. And people are continuing to fight regardless of how hard the struggle can be.

3. The world has heard about Ukraine.

Instead of the constant association in the world being: “Ukraine – Chernobyl”, nowadays it is “Ukraine – the Orange Revolution”.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s not so very little.

What will happen next?

The further stage of the struggle is for awareness and for information. For an improvement in public communication in keeping with our age and the potential of our people.

——–
Mox

The person who says: “This has already happened before. Nothing will change!” and does nothing, is no different from the person who does a lot, gets tired, again does a great deal – but draws no conclusions.
The first is right that the cycles of the quantitative in history are similar, the other is right that he or she gathers that quantitative so as to achieve something of quality.

That is their choice. If they are good at heart, then it really is their correct choice.

To love, to rejoice and to live + all their combinations = the basis of all that is successful.

My impression is that that is what we saw on the orange Maidan! That should continue.

2. And there was also the incredible and calm sense of victory or of positive qualitative changes. So as to MOVE further.

And also education (awareness and creation).
The Orange events were our amazing experience, albeit with our own mistakes.
Universal education – that is what will give experience based on the mistakes of others. Or perhaps without them.

——–
Halya Coynash

TO THOSE WE OWE A BIG THANK YOU TO

That is, to all those who made the Orange Revolution the victory it remains

Almost exactly a year ago now, in my Moscow flat, I turned the radio on expecting (I admit it!) to quickly hear the bad news and turn it off again. There seemed, admittedly, a fragile glimmer of hope after the incredibly close election results in the first round of voting. However, the year had brought a few bruises to supporters of democracy like me in certain large and powerful countries, and the sheer weight of political pressure from certain quarters, not to mention apparently unashamed efforts to steer the events of another (Sovereign!) State made me less than optimistic.

Do I need to continue? The rest is history. Ukraine’s history and that of the World.

A strange anniversary in a sense, since a lot that cannot be considered positive has taken place. There is so much that one wants to say, so much that one would like to have been different. The problem with democracy however is people – their weaknesses, their foibles. After the moments of uplifting unity and shared goals, come the infighting, the squabbling, the back-stabbing. The great thing, on the other hand, about democracy is also people. In this case I am thinking of the vast number of citizens of Ukraine who stood up for their rights, for their dignity, for their future and the future of their children and grandchildren. And this was not only during the days that followed the second round of voting in Ukraine in November 2004.

Many had been active for months or longer, ensuring that democratic principles and the rule of law would not be trampled.

To all those, then, who had the courage and determination to stand their ground, and refuse to be cowered and cheated of their democratic rights, and to all who helped however they could, whether it be with warm clothes, food, or words of support, all I can offer is profoundest respect and a truly heartfelt thank you.

——–
MentBuster

I’m a primitive sort of a person, a bit on the slow side, and in a professional capacity have an understanding only of the law, and of judo. If I lived in a normal country, I would, like some clerical mouse or “blue stocking” be sitting put with my books, drawing up legal norms. However I live in a wild country where the legal awareness both of the people, and of lawyers with their degrees, is much lower than the average plank. And those who really do have some grasp of the law are so lacking in principles that if it suits their purposes they’re prepared to look clever and come out with legal heresy on the level of “two times two equals six”. For that reason I chucked in studying and my PhD, flung my very nearly completed thesis in the cupboard and got involved in giving legal aid to actual people since I saw no possibility of changing anything on a global level.

Later I met Svystovych, Devrand and Tetyanka Chornovol who literally with their stools kicked me all the way into “big politics”, brazenly making use of my legal knowledge to achieve some kind of goals which I did not fully understand, and in the reality of which I had absolutely no faith.

I admit it – I had never had a high opinion of our cattle-like people, the majority of whose representatives I considered to be “unworthy of honor and freedom” since they weren’t “ready to gain them by going into battle for them day after day”.

I must admit it – the Revolution put me to shame! And I’m really high on it! Of course cattle remained cattle, but it turned out that the percent of non-cattle was much higher than anyone had hoped! And the only question was how to unite all those who weren’t cattle!

Which was, at the end of the day, done, and not by all kinds of “orange w…s, but by precisely those civic activists whom I had so openly told that nothing would come of them. … Tolik came up with a slogan for them, Yarik – orange ribbons, I did the technological plan of work for lawyers, an uncountable number of activists got used in electoral commissions, as observers and so forth, and now it turns out that it was they, the creeps, and their weakling headquarter staff who won the elections!

I am glad! glad! glad! that I was so wildly wrong!

Of course, Yushchenko, Yulia, and both their gangs are in no way better than the previous gangs, and in some things even worse than the “blue” brigade (this is purely my personal opinion), however in the new historical conditions they will already not be able to do the country so much harm and will be forced to at least give the appearance that they’re better. And that is fine!

However it wouldn’t be a good idea to relax now! The revolution is continuing because movement is life and calm is death. At the coming elections I will vote “against all of them”. My personal aim is to force political creatures who are all without exception moral deviants and the real dregs (since normal people wouldn’t waste their life on political games for anything) to play by the rules and to win not through “buying the judges”, but through a better “game” on the electoral field.

This for me is my personal permanent revolution.

——–
Victor Garbar

What the Orange Revolution was for me

It was a certain kind of shock. Up until the beginning of the Orange Revolution I was almost certain that in my time the Ukrainian population would never become a people, never become a nation. Regardless of my, and not only my, hopes. Maidan made me very happy because it showed that my “prophecies” had not fulfilled themselves. The Orange Revolution, – spontaneously and practically – confirmed the basic principles and foundations for the creation of a modern Ukrainian political nation: mutual respect, mutual trust, mutual assistance. The people on maidans throughout Ukraine lived in accordance with these principles – and were victorious, and felt that despite the residue and atavistic debris of Soviet mentality, despite the ruins from Kuchmism, they were capable of noble, civilized and decent human behavior. That the survival instincts living in a barrel with vermin had been – against their will – learned, and were not their true nature. And that for them their true nature involved human empathy, solidarity and faith in their own power.

What has happened in the year following the Revolution?

What could be expected has happened: the counter-attack of post-totalitarianism in the area of practical implementation by the regime, and accordingly in the area of political preference, with disillusionment that the fairytale has come to an end and no miracles have happened. And the understanding of one simple idea: that one waits years for miracles, that the sorcerers have become normal citizens, while bringing to life the calls of Maidan is possible in only one way – the Maidan way!

What will happen next?

It’s very depressing to have to write this, but I can see that the former “Orange” guard will realistically be able to consolidate the achievements of the Revolution only if they become frightened to death of a “blue and white counter-attack”. After that they’ll stop squabbling and begin acting in the Maidan spirit. And together they will gain a majority in the Verkhovna Rada in the 2006 elections. That is as far as politicians are concerned, of course.

The people though who on Maidan felt that they were a nation, a people, are patiently waiting until the former leaders finally cotton on to the simple fact: there is no alternative to the Maidan spirit!

In my opinion there are two options. Either the former “Orange” heroes finally settle for the Maidan principles, or the people will create a political nation separate from the political elite and running against the whims of such politicians. At the moment I would be inclined to expect the second variant, but will be absolutely delighted if it turns out in the end that I was wrong.

——–
keymaster

The Orange Revolution was a many-faceted phenomenon. Maidan was a fully adequate reflection with the objectives of the people who came out to protest against the politics of Kuchma-Yanukovych-Medvedchuk-Putin being the true aims of the Orange Revolution. However, taking this opportunity to write down my thoughts in the team, I would like to touch on another aspect, that which made Maidan, speaking in chess terminology, a Zugzwang (where the opponent is forced to make a disadvantageous move.)

This thought would not go away during the Orange Revolution itself and has ever more crystallized during the course of the year. In the milieu of the post-Soviet nomenklatura (elite) which in the name of the people ruled the State, there were internal conflicts over property and power, and in the period between the elections of 2002 and those of 2004 a contingent emerged who had lost the battle within this nomenklatura. The losers were doomed by those who held the lever of power in their hands to destruction, while the property with living owners being destined for redistribution among the victors. Those doomed turned to the people as to the final instance which could stand against their all-powerful enemy, and the torrent of the masses – o miracle! – swept away the usurpers of power.

Then the victors who had declared that they were the Heroes of the Orange Revolution continued trying to do exactly the same as their enemies had promised to do to them. And they were bemused to discover that the people were proving similar to that genie let out of the bottle who demands not only a continuation of the charitable handouts initiated by Yanukovych, but also that they be treated like people, and not like cattle. So to speak, they wanted some morality, damn it. They didn’t want that one because he’s a criminal, while the next takes bribes, and this creature beat up students and planted grenades in their offices. However for these victors, the people were not the source of power, but the means of increasing their own power which they understood to be the power of money and power in order to get money. Yet here, suddenly, the “means of gaining power” began to demand some kind of rights, and picket their elected representatives. So they needed to show them the nomenklatura variant of “East and West together”. So as to depend less on that slogan of the people “Bandits to prison!”, they protected not only the elected, but all the nomenklatura through “immunity”.

Our people are simple, open-hearted, naive and long-suffering. They don’t immediately realize that they’re being duped. Then they understand and become disillusioned in the “heroes” who together with them bore the banner of the revolution. For where has the banner gone? Those who ordered Gongadze’s murder haven’t been found, nor those who poisoned Yushchenko, and only several “model example” bandits are behind bars, and the others have long since got away with it or are keeping their heads low in places so far from the eye of the people’s power that nobody will ever find them. Then in a rage they get caught by the idea carefully whispered in their ear, and say: “I’m not going to take part in the elections! I’m not going to vote for them because they betrayed the ideas of the Revolution”.

And we activists from maidan.org.ua will over the next four months be discussing how to explain to these sincere and simple people that only those who have ideas are in a position to betray them. That those whom they call traitors had as their ideal to remain afloat with their behind-the-scenes, and not public politics, as well as to go on using the real source of power in order to construct their own privatized regime. That it is only those who froze and got wet through on Maidan, who did not spare their own health, who sought to change the relations of the regime and the people who can really betray the ideals of the Revolution. They can do this if they believe those whispering such ideas and do not go to vote in the elections. And we will be thinking how to explain that it is exactly that which will be the betrayal of the Revolution. But how?

——–

S.D.

The recent tragic events in Kyrgyzia, and the present riots in France have made me look in a different way at last year’s elections. And again and again I understand that in what happened last year on Maidan there was Divine Revelation and Divine Inspiration. Therefore the strength of the people, the strength of the Ukrainian nation which we felt a year ago is good and might. And this strength is in unity.
Razom nas bahato [Together we are many]…

The Ukrainian people have quite possibly never before been the creators of policy in their own land. For centuries here Ukraine was ruled by those for whom Ukraine was purely “zone of interests”. However a year ago the policy tried and tested over centuries of “divide and rule” for the first time misfired. A leader appeared on Ukrainian soil who was strong, resolute and absolutely lawful, whom it would from now on be necessary to take seriously.
My ne bydlo, my ne kozly [We are not cattle, not sheep]…

It is to the credit of our people that, despite all efforts during this extremely complicated year, it has not been possible to set people against each other. On the other hand in September the regime totally collapsed in conflict. Most certainly, there is nothing pleasant in acrimonious scandals, with plates flying and rubbish and dirty washing being placed on open display. What is much more important is that all the parties to the scandal continue to appeal to the people, as to the main and single arbiter in all power struggles. Some consider the recent “government crisis” to be a tragedy, whereas I see it as the latest victory of the “Orange Revolution”.
Ponyatiyam – ni! Ni brekhni! [No to concepts! No to lies!]

When the new force of the Ukrainian nation became evident, the level of activity of those who would like at all costs to once again foster discord and divide our people, increased exponentially. Now any however feeble pretext gets used by them for acts of provocation: 15 October , 7 November, 20 November … With enviable regularity, once every three weeks, flags of foreign countries appear on our streets and anti-Ukrainian slogans are heard. Dozens of such foreign nationals involved in provocation are detained. Blood gets spilled which was unthinkable for those who went through the test of Maidan. Alas, this is the nature of life: those who fight with the people of Ukraine have never minded spilling Ukrainian blood.

Today a new festival has appeared for us – Freedom Day. However I would rather call it “Day of Coming Freedom”, the day of strength, wisdom and unity of the Ukrainian people. Only such a people have the right to be freedom. All is being resolved at present: either those who want power will divide us, or we will really divide power into its three classical branches: the legislative, executive and the judiciary. We will explain in an accessible way what the “rule of law” is, and we will learn the principles of full control of the nation over the State. Remembering the events of Maidan, I believe that all this will happen.

And there is a festive feeling.

Shche ne vmerla Ukrainy i slava, i volya,
Shche name, brattya molodiyi, usmikhetsya dolya.
Zhynut nashi vorizhenky, ya rosa na sontsi.
Zapanuyem i my, brattya, u svoyi storontsi.

Dushu i tilo my polozhym za nashu svobodu.
I pokazhem, scho my, brattya, kozatskoho rodu.
[Ukraine’s glory has not perished, nor her freedom
Upon us, fellow compatriots, fate shall smile once more.
Our enemies will vanish, like the dew in the morning sun,
And we too shall rule, brothers, in a free land of our own.

CHORUS
We will lay down our souls and bodies to attain our freedom,
And show that we, brothers, are of the Cossack nation.
[The Ukrainian National Anthem]

——–
Anatoly

What was it ?

For me it was the confirmation that my mother had been right when she told me: “Be a man and don’t be afraid of anything! There are things which are worse than death if we are all to die anyway. It is important what there is BEFORE death!”

It was the confirmation that I had lived my life reasonably well. I might even dare to say very well.

It was the confirmation that there are no SMALL PEOPLE. Each person constitutes an entire world. And if anyone spits at the same time into many such worlds, he or she will receive Maidan where each is in their way GREAT.

And also this was my third youth (I am a happy man). The first – well, that one’s clear. The second was 1986- 1992.

Then later there was and will be, I would dare to hope, life. Mistakes and the right actions. And there will also be work – on myself, on the children … I want them too to become HUMAN BEINGS.

There will be no final victory. However the struggle for this will be the meaning of our life.

——–

S@nya

For many of those who came out on 22 November 2004 onto the streets with orange symbols, this year has been a period of disillusionment. However in truth we have no cause for disillusionment since that which we stood on Maidan for, albeit not as quickly as we would like, is little by little being fulfilled in our life. We now have freedom of speech and we have politics enacted in public view. Just try to imagine in Kuchma’s days that the President would publicly quarrel with the Prime Minister, and in front of journalists try to establish their relations, accusing each other’s people of corruption? There was more corruption before, but there was less probability of hearing such accusations on one’s television screens than of seeing the snow man.

Now in the newspapers it is at long last possible to read the truth about what is happening in the country, whereas before you needed to either turn to the Internet or search around in the metro passes for opposition newspapers which weren’t on sale in the kiosks, and which were only half-conspiratorially passed on “from hand to hand”. So we can confidently say that certain achievements of the Orange Revolution have been made.

However, clearly, this is not enough. We need to find a golden medium: on the one hand to always bear in mind the prospects which awaited us all in the event of the other candidate’s victory, and certainly this should inspire us to further actions and imbue us with optimism. However on the other hand we should remember those promises made to us by the candidate whom we made President – Viktor Yushchenko. And each promise not honored should, once again, give us cause and inspiration for future struggle.

For those several weeks we became a true civil society which understood that it was specifically we who bore responsibility and had to stand firm for our ideals, then later we again began playing the old traditional Ukrainian game of “moya khata – skrayu” [“my house is the one on the end”, i.e. “I’m alright, Jack” ]. Can we once and for all understand that it is time to extend our narrow and blinkered perception of what “khata” [“house”] is from purely our own backyard to the limits of that State which bears the name Ukraine!

It’s time to stop expecting a miracle, that one person in the country – Yushchenko, Tymoshenko or Lutsenko – will change everything. How can we continue to give bribes, continue to take offerings of cognac when we have an appointment with some official, while waiting for when Lutsenko will finally eradicate corruption? We hope that Yushchenko “will bring” Ukraine into the European Union, yet we ourselves chuck rubbish on the pavement, and not in rubbish bins. We wait for Tymoshenko to bring about some kind of economic miracle, but continue to avoid taxes and receive our salaries in envelopes.

We have not matured to the level of a civilized civil society which is in control at every second of what happens in the country, we are still only at the formation stage of such a society, but how quickly this process will go, and consequently how quickly the process of integration into Europe will come about, how quickly corruption will be eradicated and economic development will progress – all of this depends entirely on us, and not on individual figures in power. Only all of us together are able to change anything. It is this that Maidan taught us, and it is this that is worth remembering everyday. Not to dissipate our Maidan as we have always done, sitting and talking in kitchens, but where there is the slightest need to again come out onto the street and stand up for our rights. Only in that way will we one day be able to see our country the way it was seen by millions of eyes of those Ukrainians who stood on hundreds of maidans last year.

——–
Skapirus

In the year that has passed, I have been set upon several times by people saying “see, your Yushchenko” is just the same as Kuchma was, and that nothing in the country under “the people’s power” has changed. There is a grain of truth in this, especially in the deep recesses of Ukraine. However I would like to remind those who hold this view that in 2004 the people wrote against the total policy of making human beings into cattle, that on a more advanced level compared with that under Kuchma’s regime, the “criminal Professor” was planning to implement. This was effectively a victorious struggle for the survival of Man as God’s creation, which was vividly demonstrated by the events in the center of Kyiv in November and December 2004. I was simply stunned at how on Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square] it was possible to go up to anybody you saw for the first time in your life and begin talking to them as if they were your closest friends. At that time nothing made any difference: not money or honors or fame, nor the language of communication, all of that was forgotten for the sake of the one single aim: to remain a Person in ones own country. I would give a lot to make it possible for just such relations between all people to become the norm of our everyday life. However it seems that this aim is not so close and we will travel the road to it all our lives.

In summer of this years at one of the seminars of “Yurydychna reanamatsiya” [“Judicial Revival”], Serhiy Holovaty (who was not then Minister of Justice) talked about the origin of Law and rights. In fact it is all very simple: the right of each is based on the fact that each person is God’s creation. If you truly believe in God, then you respect the rights of each person and value the world which you live in. If not, then you turn into cattle {“My ne bydlo, my ne kozly” [“We’re not cattle, we’re not sheep”] among those like you on a doomed land where all is bought and sold without any scruples. It would seem that this is elementary, yet for some reason few seem to understand it, hoping for some kind of paradise existence following Yushchenko’s election as President. You don’t like something in this world? You want a better government? Then there’s no sense in sitting with your friends in your kitchens blaming everyone and everything over your cigarettes and drinks – unite together and make things better!

“Do you know that you’re a person?” – these words from Vasyl Symonenko’s poem warm my heart every day, and could become an idea to take to other people in the future. What gets in the way are the money of the rich, and the poverty of those deceived, fame and betrayal, dependence on someone or something…. Are these few reasons for people to be swallowed up by mediocrity and money? Yet, those who continue Maidan 2004 and the Orange Revolution retain their objectives. Despite everything.
——–
Stopudiv

Good morning!

Greetings to everybody on the first anniversary of the First Orange Revolution.

The great vigil on Maidan gives no privileges to those who took part. And yet it gave me some in the deep inner satisfaction I feel. Economically nothing particular has changed, but the inner state of me and my friends – in comparison with previous years- is amazing.

We won. Now it’s important to not let up and to keep working. Both for myself and for Ukraine. As far as this aspect is concerned, it’s important to work not just with the heart, but with the mind. For this reason I’d like to cite a note written last year.

It is important to monitor the independence of the new regime from other regimes. It is vital to ensure transparency and an analysis of economic initiatives for membership of the EU, WTO etc.

In connection with the above-mentioned, it’s important in every way to be interested in economics and the law and to study them.

It is crucial to act more and not just write on forums.

It is vital to remain people.

——–
Stepan Zayets

What was the Orange Revolution for you?

The Orange Revolution was the culmination of the efforts of the Ukrainian people to restore Ukrainian democracy. In the first place, the regime of Kuchma and Yanukovych had so got to people that they were ready to do anything against the regime’s brazenness and criminal activities. At the same time, the younger non-communist leaders – the former most successful banker in the counter, Viktor Yushchenko and the most successful Deputy Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, together with the pro-European Socialists – had joined forces for the victory of honest people over the regime. And the honest people, under the leadership of courageous leaders Viktor and Yulia were triumphant.

However all began in December 2000. It was then that Ukraine was paralyzed by the evidence emerging of the participation of the highest elected and appointed leadership of the country in the abduction and murder of the Internet journalist, Georgy Gongadze, and of other journalists, as well as in the plundering of the money of Ukrainian tax-payers in particularly large proportions by President Kuchma and his people.

It was specifically the movement “Ukraine without Kuchma” which gave the first impetus to the process which was to lead to such a transcendental phenomenon as the Orange Revolution.

It was “Maidan” – this very website, founded on 20 December 2000, that was to plant the seeds of the Orange Maidan of 2005. It was specifically here that the slogan was first heard: “We are together! We are many! and we can’t be defeated”. It was here that the term “Pomarancheva Revolyutsiya” [“Orange Revolution”] was heard for the first time.

The main achievement of the Orange Revolution was the faith of citizens gained that they could do what they believed was necessary with their life; that they could effectively work together in communities and achieve results without waiting for the State. Citizens gained the confidence that now they would be able to build their own future.

What has happened in the year since the Orange Revolution?

The Orange Revolution ended with the inauguration of Viktor Yushchenko as President in January 2005. The government was headed by another leader of the movement without whom the Orange Revolution could not have happened – Yulia Tymoshenko.

Unfortunately, perhaps through a lack of experience, the President delegated powers of the highest executive bodies in such a fashion that the government received fairly restricted powers. Almost 60 appointments in the new government were made by the President without even coordinating them with the Prime Minister! Yet many of us are aware of how difficult it is to manage a team whose members we have not ourselves appointed … when if they’ve done something bad, you can’t even sack them. So we gained an unresolved misunderstanding with the educational background and business activities of the then Minister of Justice, Roman Zvarych , and the absence of reforms in key areas.

The biggest problem was the lack of resolution in getting to the bottom of the abduction and the murder of Georgy Gongadze, and of those other people who died at the hands of the regime of Kuchma-Yanukovych-Medvedchuk . Not only have those guilty not been brought to justice, but cooperation was offered to people like Volodymyr Lytvyn who, according to the cassette recordings made in Kuchma’s office, took part in the discussion of the journalist’s abduction.

The serious misunderstanding which arose between Oleksandr Zinchenko and Petro Poroshenko in September 2005 led to the dismissal of all three highest centers of power which the President had created only a few months previously. As a result, in order to form a government, the President was forced to cooperate with his political opponents, in particular, Viktor Yanukovych, and sign a “Memorandum of understanding”. In addition, certain experts consider it possible that the law on “immunity” of Deputies of all councils, and not only of the Verkhovna Rada and of judges, was signed by the President as the outcome of a deal with opponents in exchange for supporting Yury Yekhanurov’s candidacy for Prime Minister in the Verkhovna Rada. Of course, the spirit of unity of the “Orange” team was placed in jeopardy.

What will happen next?

Ukraine is soon to face elections to the Verkhovna Rada and local councils at the end of March 2006. This will be a true test!

Firstly, the unity of the “Orange” team has collapsed, with Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko, together with their people, are no longer united in spirit.

The Party of the Regions has a higher rating than any single “Orange” party. In some regions, for example, in the Kharkiv region, Yanukovych’s rating is higher than it was a year ago.

The procedure for elections to the lists of candidates within parties is unclear and gives the “owners of the parties” the opportunity to add anybody to the electoral lists that they see fit, that is, they can in their way “sell places in the lists”.

The Deputies of all councils, as well as judges, in Ukraine have so called “immunity”, i.e. they are hold a position in law higher than other citizens – they can legally break norms which are binding for citizens without privileges. This means that at the next elections, a large number of the candidates in the electoral lists will be seeking election not in order to serve their fellow citizens, but in order to protect themselves against criminal prosecution for violations they have committed of the law.

However, the “Orange” team, it would seem, are coming round after the confusion in autumn. It would seem that they are beginning to gain some kind of understanding, not only mental, but also emotional, that victory at the 2006 elections will be possible only if democratic forces are united. For example, one of Yulia Tymoshenko’s fiercest opponents when she was Prime Minister, Petro Poroshenko, is publicly speaking of the need for unity.

As well as the need for victory at the elections, the “Orange” team faces other challenges: they need to speed up economic growth, carry out pension reform, transform the health service into a system based on medical insurance, join NATO and WTO – all that was outlined in the Maidan Memorandum as “the next objectives of the Orange Revolution” (http://eng.maidan.org.ua/node/409 )

The problem remains of the return of property which was stolen by oligarchs during the regime of Kuchma and Yanukovych, for example, the NFZ (Nikopolsk Ferroalloy Plant) and other enterprises. Honest investors would not only fail to object, but would positively welcome it if the the Yushchenko government would take steps to restore legality on the capitals market.

We still have the problem of getting rid of “immunity”, and at long last obtaining the convictions of those who took part in planning the abduction and / or murder of Georgy Gongadze, as well as of the organizers of last year’s vote-rigging.

——–
Olexander Serevyn

What was the Orange Revolution for me? It was a phenomenal confirmation, long held but until then contra spem spero [hope against hope], almost a childish faith that the national idea of Ukraine (at that time, of course, it was not a question of such concepts), would once and for all be truthfully expressed in the image of the princely (regal) trident “Volya” [“Liberty”]. Or better – “The Will to liberty”. And therefore if we seek this, we are not defeated.

What did the Revolution give me? First and foremost a sense of personal responsibility. A sense of being a part of the Nation (let those who wish call it a civil society) – a community of ideas (freedom, liberty and justice) and feelings, of being capable of action, capable of self-defense. The final understanding that the only thing that one must fear is indeed fear itself.

Don’t believe those who say that there was no Revolution, or that the Revolution has been side-tracked. The Revolution is in us, we are the Revolution. While we exist and while that is needed by Ukraine, the Revolution will endure.

 

 


translator’s notes

1. It was Anton Chekhov who originally spoke of having had to do this everyday. The phrase gained poignancy and popularity with perestroika.

2. “kozly” are, in fact, male goats, but the literal meaning is less important than certain other aspects. Three days before the first round of elections, Presidential candidate, Viktor Yanukovych, addressing his supporters, used this word, which is originally prison slang and extremely derogatory, about his opponents, who “get in our way” (also more reminiscent of prison language than of a political address)

3. On 15 October there was conflict on the street between supporters of the Ukrainian Resistance Army (UPA) who were commemorating the anniversary of its founding, and opponents. The conflict is widely believed to have been orchestrated.

4. Yury Lutsenko was very active in the “Ukraine without Kuchma” campaign and in ensuring the success of the Orange Revolution. He has been Minister of Internal Affairs throughout 2005.

5. Viktor Yanukovych, Prime Minister under Kuchma and Presidential candidate in 2004, was convicted twice in 1968 and 1970 for robbery and causing bodily harm. His higher education was obtained in 2001 with a Masters in International Law from the Ukrainian Academy of Foreign Trade. He was later awarded the titles of Doctor of Sciences and “Professor”.

6. Roman Zvarych was the first Minister in 2005 to be involved in scandals, first involving allegations of conflict of interests, given his wife’s job in an oil company, and in the summer over controversy as to whether he in fact had the educational qualifications he had claimed.

7. Viktor Medvedchuk is presently the chairperson of the United Social Democrat Party, but was the Head of the Presidential Administration under Kuchma from 2002-2005.

8. Volodymyr Lytvyn is chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada. Once Kuchma’s speechmaker, he gave his support to Yushchenko in December 2004.

9. Oleksandr Zinchenko, the head of Yushchenko’s
Presidential Administration, resigned on 5 September, accusing Petro Poroshenko, Head of the National Council of Security and Defense, of corruption. This led to a large number of dismissals, including that of Yulia Tymoshenko.

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