“Contradictions of the Euromaidan”

7 03 2014

While this interview is two weeks old, it adds depth and content to some of the claims made in Volodymyr Ishchenko’s analysis. Both come from a radical left perspective.

Some interesting quotes:

“[T]here’s only one demand that is shared by virtually every person active in Maidan: get rid of Yanukovych. That is indeed the gathering point which can unify all social strata and political camps present there. Of course, most people would say that they don’t want to stop at that, that they want total purge of all government structures so that some “new people” could come and so on. If we look closer, we’ll see a vast spectre of different viewpoints, often mutually contradictory.”

“[I]ntegration into the [Russian-led Eurasian] Customs Union will mean only bad things for workers: the screws will be tightened both in the sphere of political freedoms and in the sphere of living standards of workers. Actually, the statutes of the Customs Union demand unification of the labour laws – that’s just one example. The government will get cart blanche to establish more authoritarian regime and lower living standards.”

“Objectively, the optimal scenario for Ukrainian economy would be to continue the old policies of geopolitical “neutrality”, without decisive integration into Western or Eastern structures. Any “choice” will be a severe blow to Ukrainian exports and to the well-being of people. The only question is, how much time is still left for such neutrality? It looks like both Russia and the EU want Ukraine to stop wriggling and make her mind finally.”

“[E]very major parliamentary political force has a right liberal wing, which always argues for austerity and liberal reforms, and a left populist wing, which demands more government handouts to the impoverished population. The first ones usually get the upper hand when their party is in power and no elections are in sight; the second ones are prominent when their party is in the opposition or during electoral campaigns. The resulting vector of these parties of large bourgeoisie is a ridiculous manoeuvring: for example, during one meeting at Maidan Arseniy Yatseniuk from Batkivschyna party said that Ukraine should urgently accept all the demands of the IMF. A week later he says that now that Russia gave a natural gas discount Yanukovych must cut the equal percentage off the (already heavily subsidized) natural gas tariffs for the population.”

“One good parallel is Egypt: we saw how the progressive revolutionary impulse brought about the fall of Mubarak, but then Islamists took over the protests, monopolized the revolution and split the masses. Eventually, they scared the population back into the hands of the old regime. Ukrainian Svoboda and other fascists are similar to the Egyptian Muslim Brothers and other Islamists in many ways. They are “the” opposition to the hated regime; but they cannot (hopefully) unite all protesters under their banner. The protesting people, on the other hand, are very angry but they lack their own language to express themselves, and they borrow the language of the most prominent group. They are not ready to organize themselves along the class lines, they present themselves as a “nation” (or “Umma”, as in Egypt). Except that Egypt is more homogeneous, it didn’t have “the other half of the country” loyal to Mubarak.”

“The “Civic Council of Maidan” was formed by several prominent human rights activists, lawyers, celebrities and NGOs who don’t particularly like parliamentary opposition and are not very fond of nationalists. As far as I know, the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine also joined them. They’ve tried to create a liberal (partly even left liberal) alternative in the movement, stipulating the importance of human rights, civic freedoms, horizontal decision-making, grassroots initiatives etc. But somehow they failed to develop into any serious force.”

The entire interview can be read here.




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