Thus figuratively described the six-year period from the beginning of the Euromaidan to the present day Oleg Rybachuk, co-founder of NGO “Center.ua”, during the presentation of the expert survey and discussion of the Maidan lessons at the press conference “Anniversary of the Maidan: what failed the previous authorities and warnings for the new authorities” , which took place on November 21 at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center.
Lack of systematic effective fight against corruption was one of the reasons for the defeat of the former government
Euromaidan was a protest for democratic values, a pro-European vector of development and against a corrupt system. The Maidan has generally won, but some of its goals have not been achieved. Compared to last year, the likelihood of a new mass protest is higher if the government agrees to unacceptable compromises with Russia. These are the main findings of an expert poll conducted by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation , presented by Irina Bekeshkina , Director of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation . The survey was conducted on November 7-19, 2019, with 80 experts.
According to most experts, the protests of 2013-2014 were a Revolution of Dignity – a campaign by society for democratic values and a European vector of development, and at the same time a protest against the establishment of an authoritarian regime, corrupt incumbent government. There were also opinions that the events of Euromaidan were a struggle for independence and marked the formation of the Ukrainian political nation.
For six years in a row, experts have suggested that the Maidan won, but most say that this is a relative victory. Changes in power have been achieved, political elites have been partially renewed, and civil society has become more influential; Ukraine renewed its pro-Western development vector – signed the Association Agreement with the EU, deepened cooperation with NATO.
At the same time, the key demands of the Maidan were fulfilled only partially – about systematic fight against corruption, restarting of the power system, updating of political elites, deoligarchization of political and economic life.
“We did a survey of the participants of the Maidan, and I looked again what goals Maidan had set for itself. Almost all but one was achieved in the fight against corruption. In my opinion, the lack of a systematic effective fight against corruption was one of the reasons for the defeat of the former government, ”said Irina Bekeshkina , Director of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation.
Only those guilty of crimes against Euromaidan participants and representatives of the Yanukovych regime who committed the crimes were only partially punished.
Among the positive effects of the Maidan are the renewal of the Western vector of development, intensification of cooperation with Western partners, signing of the Association Agreement with the EU, obtaining a visa-free regime; change of power and partial renewal of political elites; start of reforms – decentralization, anti-corruption, energy sector, other economic reforms; strengthening of Ukrainian identity, positive changes in cultural policy; activating civil society, strengthening its influence on the government; the emergence of the volunteer movement.
Most experts say that the negative effects of the Maidan were caused not by the protests themselves, but by the general situation in the country. Among them are Russian aggression and war in the East, lack of real reforms and disappointment of society, polarization of society on fundamental issues of state development.
“The beginning of the Russian aggression was really a reaction of the Russian Federation to the Maidan – when it became clear that Ukraine could leave the orbit of influence at all. And the Russian Empire is impossible without Ukraine, it is obvious. The next one is a consequence of the unfulfilled realization of the Maidan goals, ” Irina Bekeshkina said.
The experts were also asked what should be done first in order to achieve the goals of the Maidan. “The answers of the absolute majority are focused on two purposes. The first is to complete reforms: justice, law enforcement, medical, educational, banking, energy, national memory; to harmonize the legislation with the European one. Secondly, to step up the fight against corruption and show real results, ”Irina Bekeshkina said .
They also mention the need to strengthen the country’s defense capability; investigate the Maidan case and punish those responsible, deepen cooperation with the EU and NATO.
Experts recognize the victory in the election of Volodymyr Zelensky and the Servant of People Party as a demand for radical changes, but do not consider it as an “electoral Maidan”. Some experts interviewed suggested that this choice of society was a definite defeat of the Revolution of Dignity.
Compared to the 2018 figures, more experts polled suggest the likelihood of a new Maidan – due to the incumbent president’s ambiguous policy toward Russia and the resolution of the Donbas war.
“At the same time, only 9 out of 80 experts believe that this is“ likely to happen ”, 44 – that it is“ generally possible ”if the authorities do not hear criticism. 43 experts believe that people can bring out unacceptable compromises with Russia and aggravate the situation in the Donbass. But whether it can become a sufficient factor of influence on the power is not certain, because so far the level of support of the president is quite high, ” – said Oleksiy Haran, scientific director of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation.
Invited to the presentation, the poll participants shared their thoughts on the 6th anniversary of the start of the Revolution of Dignity.
As a result of the Maidan civil society has become a huge factor in influencing events in the country
Mustafa Nayem , Member of Parliament of the 8th convocation:
– It is good that today the President and the Prime Minister came to the Heavenly Hundred Heroes Alley – it proves that these pages of history are recognized at the state level and are not associated with specific authorities. It is very important.
– As a result of the Maidan, civil society has become a huge factor in influencing events in the country and has become part of state-level decision-making. Public councils appeared with all government bodies. Experts from the public are involved in competitions for important government positions. Many people who are now in parliament and government are the people who stood on the Maidan.
– The Maidan defined the geopolitical vector of Ukraine. There were fears that after the change of government, we would turn to the other side again. Even if there are any such sentiments, the influence of civil society will not allow it to do so.
– “Maidan-3” will now scare away any power. And that’s good, because it’s not a threat. It only means that citizens understand their role, their weight, and understand what they can do.
The youth overthrew Lenin – we have to destroy Putin and build an effective state
Only successful implementation of Ukraine project can destroy Putin
Oleg Rybachuk, Co-Founder of NGO “Center.ua”:
– For me, Euromaidan is a struggle of the past with the future … Then there was a change of generations. During the Euromaidan, Lenin, who we could not have emerged after the Orange Revolution, disappeared. Then this young generation of Ukrainian independence was able to destroy this insane symbol of totalitarianism, turn the page and ignite the nation.
– Now that we have an extremely active civil society, it is very important to build an effective state. When we have such a people and such enemies, we cannot afford not to have one. In fact, the promise of such a new and effective state is what made Zelensky president and his new team. He said that we will remove that old “ junk ” , come for one term and make a very modern and efficient Ukrainian state.
– Only successful implementation of the Ukraine project can destroy Putin , we must make this an effective state. Civil society itself, despite its steepness, cannot come to power, and therefore we will not have a future without full parties. An unstructured parliament will never have a responsibility.
– I would like the promise to be fulfilled and we have already received the election law in January, and have entered this new election cycle already with this law. Our task is to stop Putin, to make Ukraine effective, and it can only be done through electoral reform by responsible parties, through the formation of strong institutions.
The new government will also have to follow Maidan’s regulatory ideals and democratic values
Yevhen Bystritsky, Chairman of the Public Association “UA Election Council”:
– The first thing the Maidan aimed at was that the government should be a democratic, open and accountable civil society so that society could influence the decisions of the authorities. And his main merit is that he radically insisted on the democratic values of equality, dignity and justice. This is something that has not happened in the past, because it has failed to become a truly democratic and accountable civil society. She left corruption, could not do anything about fundamental reforms, namely the judiciary sector, could not achieve de-oligarchization . Although the reforms started, the fact that the old government was inconsistent and slowed them down was just a contribution to the “piggy bank”, which is why the society protested and elected a new government.
– The power that has come now is in the zone of risk, because it also needs to follow the regulatory ideals of the Maidan, as a democratic setting of civil society. The main risks associated with this are the extent to which the new government responds to a sense of human dignity. There are doubts about this dignity when undermining Ukraine ‘s subjectivity and authority when negotiating with international partners. Refusing to cooperate with civil society is also a big problem.
– I also see the risks to Ukrainian identity in the context of humanitarian policy. This does not mean forcing everyone to speak Ukrainian, but it is a policy that should strengthen national unity. This is also important for the future reintegration of the occupied territories.
“Turbo-regime” in Parliament would inevitably undermine the authority of the legislative process and the laws
Igor Koliushko , Executive Director of the Center for Policy and Legal Reforms:
– The main thing that the Maidan did not achieve – the country’s development strategy for the future was not defined. Everyone united in criticizing what was in Yanukovych’s times, but as to how it should be – opinions diverged. This led to the new authorities failing to purposely organize the reforms.
– The results of the last elections are really the result of protest, first of all against the lack of honesty of the authorities with their people. They were moving in the right direction, but there were no right actions, there were half-measures , some concealment of information, which caused distrust and dissatisfaction.
– The further, the more I doubt that the new government has made the correct conclusions from the mistakes of the previous one. What is most troubling is the disregard for the rule of law, which is manifested in a wide variety of manifestations. This is a ” turbo mode / crazy printer” in the Verkhovna Rada, which inevitably undermines the authority of the legislative process and laws; it is a slogan for a referendum on issues that, under the Constitution, cannot be referendum, and we do not have a referendum law. It is also important what the referendum law will be like so that it does not become a manipulative instrument of power. This is a rapid change in personnel, when people come to power unprepared, without a proven plan, and therefore borrow the practice of behavior of their predecessors. Unfortunately, the threats we face are not diminishing, only increasing.
Maidan-3 will not benefit Ukraine, but it is possible if the new government does not hear criticism and react to it
Oleksiy Haran, Scientific Director of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation:
– We do not need to abuse the word Maidan and call the re-election of power “electoral Maidan”. Because the Maidan is both the first and the second , a phenomenon that emerged in the context of a society slipping into authoritarianism, when the opposition and the public lost a real opportunity to influence the government and began to break democratic rules of the game. This led to Maidan first, it also led to Maidan second. And in the 2019 elections , we saw how with the help of the democratic institutions created by Maidan-2, the old government was changed. That is why I would not call it “electronic Maidan”.
– But now we can really face a situation where the opposition has no real levers of influence, and whether the new government to listen to civil society and the expert environment is a big question mark. New Maidan is possible, according to experts who took part in the poll, in case the new government does not hear the criticism and in no way respond to it.
– 43 experts believe that people can bring out unacceptable compromises with Russia and aggravate the situation in the Donbass. But whether it can become a sufficient factor of influence on the power – is not certain, because so far the level of support of the president is high enough … A real threat to the government can arise if protests of different interest groups – small businessmen, agrarians, veterans unite.
– But Maidan-3 will not benefit Ukraine. The paradox is that Putin wins even if Zelensky makes compromises for Russia, and if Zelensky, under pressure from the citizens, does not make these compromises, but the Maidan emerges and the president’s positions are weakened – because Putin needs a weak Ukrainian president. This is a great danger and we need to be very careful with slogans for protest. The slogans have to be fundamental, but now the situation has to go between Scylla and Charybdis, rocking the situation can be dangerous.”