Ukrainian government could have taken a different path

Translated from the Ukrainian, by Vladimir Grinin.

The incident at Odessa airport is already in the Ukrainian media and online, showing what can happen when the hooligans of illegal riot police, who protected the now-fugitive governor, are at the scene of an accident and in the midst of the investigation. All they need is the opportunity and, all of a sudden, all of the protest and outrage that accompanied their departure at the end of the crackdown and investigations of the police officers, are dispersed in a single uproar. To overcome their disdain for citizens, and to appeal to those still offended by the incident, what goes out must be greater than the amount received.

When the first news about the goings-on at the airport spreads, that is how it will be interpreted: it is a brash gesture by the so-called “Donbass people” that they do not bow down to the law enforcement and not be “manipulated”. That propaganda theory has been made famous by the SBU (Secret Service) of Ukraine and the Russian media, that everybody is acting in unison to promote the pre-agreed pattern. During the Euromaidan in Kyiv, when the opposition and the authorities tried to co-opt each other, the oligarchs would say in response that everyone would do it if they had the chance. And that is also how the front-runner for the presidency, Oleksandr Turchynov, is trying to put things: a big disagreement around here, an open disregard for laws and justice, is due to the political and economic power of the elites and criminal business interests.

Of course, it is possible to demonstrate the opposite, that everyday life in Ukraine, in several parts of the country, is open and honest. That would be logical from the perspective of those people who believe that the situation in the country has been ruined by Russia, but there is still “regular” life in almost every part of the country. On the other hand, the leadership of Kyiv and Donetsk must have realized that this kind of treatment of ordinary people, disfigured by the drapes of power, carries the risk of losing the country. They might have taken the decision to step back, to show that the internal decision makers are completely independent of its administration. This is not surprising: during the protests, the demonstrators said repeatedly: We don’t want to work for you, your representatives, or to support your actions. Of course, none of them knew that these were their colleagues, their leaders. It seems to me that they realized that this was a complicated situation, not as simple as they imagined.

Most of all, the politicians and the public organizations failed to understand the future of this country. For a long time, there was a misunderstanding about the actual politics of this country. The politicians claimed the authoritarianism of the government but failed to define that approach.

There was no lack of attempts to define the new formula: but each new reaction was basically the same: a device for stalling the investigation, an appeal to the public feeling toward the government, counter protests, liberal expressions of solidarity. People come to the streets in disbelief, at the worst possible moment. An accident results in the breakdown of this wall, with a stir at the airport, and one’s life’s goal, whether it is to rise out of the darkness or stay there, becomes suddenly a consideration. That is the worst explanation for the madness that erupts.

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