Enemies of the People of Mezhyhir’ia
Dmytro Sinchenko, for Ukrains’ka Pravda, 26 December 2013, 18:30 (www.pravda.com.ua)
Translated from Ukrainian by William Risch
One of the latest top themes has become establishing a new organization, “The Maidan National Council,” and conversations about people who unexpectedly wound up among its leaders. And it all would have been good if it hadn’t been established after the Maidan Civic Council, which was independent of political parties in parliament, had emerged. But to deal with this theme, I’ll start with another.
Not long ago, Oleh Tsar’ov, an odious figure from the Party of Regions, made public a list of his greatest “enemies,” who, according to him, are also foreign states’ agents of influence. Yours truly wound up on the list, too.
On the one hand, I should be proud of such a fact, because I wound up among the most active civic leaders in Ukraine, who, with their positions of civic courage, have frightened the party in power. It means I’ve made a personal contribution to the development of civil society, what is far from being beneficial for the current regime.
On the other hand, it’s clear to me that this personal list of Tsar’ov’s could become the Party of Region’s “party line” and official position. Then all people on that list could be later subject to repressions, which at best could be very unpleasant interrogations and searches of premises, and at worst prison sentences or something worse…
Thus, for us, there’s no way back.
Either we win and build a different Ukraine, or we lose and thus lose everything. If we lose, we also will have a choice: seek asylum abroad, serve the regime, or fight from the underground.
The choice I’d rather have is victory at the Maidan.
But let’s turn again to this Party of Regions “analysis.”
You’re referred to as an “agent of foreign influence.” However, it’s not clear what foreign influence means. Advocating and defending democratic values? Human rights? Freedom of speech? Freedom of assembly?…
Maybe the Party of Regions member of parliament meant that these organizations are financed exclusively from abroad? Again, it doesn’t work. For example, the civic movement “Don’t Be Indifferent” is financed exclusively from donations by Ukrainian businesses. Foreign donors are not interested in financing this movement’s cultural projects; moreover, they haven’t given a kopeck to these things… You could say pretty much the same about a lot of people on the list.
Still, in one respect, this Regional is right. We live in an Independent Ukraine, while they still live in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. And the root of the conflict is here.
On the other hand, we must admit that this list has been not the only attempt to attack non-party civic activists. Both people from opposition parties and the party in power attack them. And if the behavior of state figures can be understood, the people in the opposition raise, to say the least, astonishment.
Why? There are several reasons.
First, it was not them, not the opposition politicians, who gathered together this Maidan. Despite all their striving and efforts, the “three princes” did not become authority figures for the people who rose up. But these people tend to blame the civic activists themselves for their own inadequacy and impotence. They’re jealous, and they fear that the Maidan will give birth to new leaders. They fear the competition… Second, the international community – diplomats, leaders of western countries, representatives of international organizations – have made clear in their statements about the Maidan that they see three subjects who need to deal with the political crisis in a roundtable. These are the state, the opposition, and the public. Having the public as a separate subject in negotiations benefits none of them, so the public’s attempts at uniting, interacting, and coordinating activities are constantly blocked.
Parliamentary parties are trying gradually to remove independent activists from the Maidan. They are not allowed onstage. They are not invited to “Headquarters” meetings. No one seeks advice from them. However, they constantly try to use them.
Thus, representatives of the “Common Cause” civic movement recently were forced out of the KMDA (Kyiv City State Administration) building by Freedom (Svoboda) Party activists, though earlier they lived together in and defended this building. Party provocateurs turned attempts to create a Maidan Civic Council into a bunch of mindless chatter, and I saw before my very eyes members of parliament start a fight.
I think the same, too, of attempts by the opposition “trio” to establish a new public organization under their control, one that exploits the “Maidan” name. However, their methods of creating it, unfortunately, don’t differ at all from those methods the state uses.
These and a lot of other such hints indicate that society has become polarized. And if logic dictated that there had to be two ends of this pole, the state and the opposition, in reality, both are the same. They are one people. The people of Mezhyhir’ia. While some of them live in their impenetrable fortress, the others desperately try to enter it, but they’re stuck living in the “suburbs” for the time…
Meanwhile, the completely opposite pole consists of the people and the public, which is a qualified spokesperson of the interests of this people.
And they, no matter what, are beginning to join their efforts together and coordinate their actions together.
It is precisely civic activists, ones who joined the Euromaidan organization individually and on their own, who are talking today about changes to the System. That is, they don’t want a banal change of officials’ names and faces.
The whole system needs to be changed. Only they understand this. And only they can be expected to do this.
Dmytro Sinchenko, All-Ukrainian Initiative Group, “State-Makers’ Movement,” special for Ukrains’ka Pravda