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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

“So that the authorities don’t crush as one by one…”

The Day’s experts on prospects of the newly Maidan People’s Union
25 December, 2013 - 16:54
Photo by Ruslan KANIUKA, The Day

Maidan moves to stationary struggle. At least this is the way the signals of protest leaders made on Sunday can be understood. In spite of some pessimistic forecasts, say, because of approaching holidays people don’t have time for meetings, there were many people in the center of the capital again. And they are ready to continue going to the Maidan: Sunday noon has turned into a good tradition of going out to protest to the square for Kyiv residents (the Maidan is functioning on a regular basis mainly thanks to people from other regions). How long can a peaceful protest last? Are there any mechanisms to achieve the set goals?

The protests can continue (there is a potential), but the mechanisms have been practically exhausted. The main, parliamentary, mechanism has gone on vacation, after being unable to create even a commission on investigation of the beatings of students on November 30 and events near the Presidential Administration on December 1, let alone passing the vote of no-confidence to the Azarov government. The only thing they managed to achieve was voting for the law on freeing the people detained during the protests. The rest of goals, such as punishment of the persons guilty for the abovementioned events, resignation of the Cabinet, early parliamentary elections, moreover, unrealistic presidential elections, have not been achieved.

“A girl on a TV channel today has asked a Svoboda member about lustration,” editor-in-chief of The Day Larysa Ivshyna posted on Facebook, “They have learnt many words, but they need to know where to use them. Otherwise soon the ‘government of condemned people’ will be topical and we will have to intimidate, not to ask.”

At the moment the opposition wants to start a new stage. What public persons, journalists, politicians were calling for has finally become a reality – the creation of the Maidan People’s Union has been announced. Another thing is what will come out of it? As is known, everyone saw differently the movement and formation of people’s protest, but it has been organized into such a structure. How?

“In my opinion, this coordination body is necessary for these processes to get an ascending tendency, rather than to fade away,” member of the Council of Maidan People’s Union, head of the Center of Political-Legal Reforms Ihor Koliushko commented to The Day. “Of course, I am an active participant of the Maidan, and I was trying to convince others long ago of the need to create something of this kind. On Saturday several MPs invited me for a meeting which took place in the House of Trade Unions. It was attended by leaders of parliamentary factions and many civic activists. I sat there and set forth my proposals, like quota principle of forming the Council. On Monday I was announced the member of the Council of Maidan. As for the legal status of the union, I think, nobody has had time to do anything yet.”

Debate started after the Maidan Union was created, because it includes too many politicians – about a half of the 38 members of the Council. According to Turchynov, the list of the Council of Maidan is open and will grow. Serhii Kvit, Ruslana Lyzhychko (she has written on Facebook that she refuses), Vitalii Klitshchko, Yurii Lutsenko, Yulia Tymoshenko, Arsenii Yatseniuk, and Oleh Tiahnybok have been elected the co-chairs of the union. Won’t the union become a new decoration?

“Like many others, I have a few questions to the membership at the least,” political scientist Mykhailo Besarab told The Day. “We haven’t seen in the Council the people whose help would be of crucial important. At the same time, no matter how many questions we have to the Council, it should not affect our support of the union. There is no doubt that it includes too many politicians and probably the public should have a greater representation in the Council of Maidan. I would like to see there, for example, representatives of the initiative group “December 1.” While forming the Council, we need to define whether this is a body to which people are accepted for experience and close contacts, or it is a working structure, which needs to be a concentration of intellect and conscience of the revolution. Is this a political bureau or a creative center?”

“I don’t know how to distinguish between politicians and public activists,” Koliushko counters, “It seems to me both are approximately equal in number in the Council of Maidan. The task of this union is actually to unite everyone, the parliamentary opposition politicians, political forces beyond the parliament, civic activists, student organizations, and representatives of all regions with an aim to form a kind of representative coordination body which would organize the work on preparation the society for the change of power and changing of the country on the whole, which is Maidan’s aspiration.”

The main question now is whether the Maidan Union will be efficient. On the whole, the idea is not bad: as we can see, both members of Maidan and those who are not its members agree about this. But, paying attention especially to co-chairs of the Council, we can see that the opposition is trying to control the movement which has not been born yet. Judging by previous “successes” of the opposition, this is hardly a favorable thing. “In my opinion, the attempt of the opposition to head the social movement and Maidan energy looks like children’s powder. They won’t help, because the disease of the system is much more serious. The opposition fuels the expectation of people, knowing that it won’t be able to adequately satisfy them,” Ivshyna underlines.

So, what should we expect from the idea of Maidan Union?

“The main positive feature is that Maidan as a statistical protest is transforming into an efficient, attacking form,” Basarab says, “here we could have several versions of realization of this idea and creation of the Maidan Union is not the worst version. The union will consolidate the adversaries of the regime, no matter what their social status is. This is a timely decision which will structure the front of the opposition forces. The efficiency of the movement will depend completely on what plan of actions will be chosen. Clearly, if everything stops merely on proclamation of declarative goals, nothing good will come out of it. To achieve the goal we need to outline a whole system of tasks and bring them on a calendar plan.”

“All problems cannot be resolved by solely standing on Maidan,” Koliushko went on, “If we only stand and are not working in several directions at the time, for which we need formed and regularly functioning working bodies, we won’t achieve anything. So far I cannot say anything about the prospects of the union, because I am worried about the fact that no meeting has been announced, though two days have passed since the union was created. Maybe, some members of the Council are not going to work and see it as a decorative body. But I don’t exclude that, but only work will prove real intentions of its participants.”

By Ivan KAPSAMUN, Yulia LUCHYK, The Day
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