Bursting the Bubble


10 January 2014 | by

50 days is a lot. For a firefly, for instance, it is its entire life span. For Euromaidan (a new little country in the centre of Kyiv – and de facto 29th member of the EU) yesterday marked its 50 day anniversary.

50 days is enough to make history. History that influences not only Ukraine, but the whole of Europe. History is full of stories: funny stories, tragic stories, weird stories, untold stories. We are overwhelmed and bombarded with these stories, every now and then popping up in the world news throughout the last 50 days, it is very difficult to keep track of all of them. This article will highlight a list of some of them for you. It is grouped in three categories (three main actors of the 50 days theatre play): President/authority, Opposition, and Civil Society.

So, let us kick off: things you can manage in 50 days.

Being President you:

  • arrive to a prestigious international summit, alongside with heads of state and government of all EU countries, complain to Angela Merkel about how hard life is living next to Russia, have a drink, and eventually say no to an Association agreement – the only reason you actually would attend this event. Basically you fool not only your European colleagues, but your own population. Next day you…
  • arrive home and meet protests. There are not many, though: several thousands. Hence, you…
  • could actually wait some days until people get tired and you could happily live ever after. But this is too boring. Ukrainian politics is about action and fire. Instead you…
  • order the riot police to attack a peaceful demonstration of students. This story hits the world news: in the middle of the night Special Forces descend on sleeping unarmed protesters – including young women. Dozens of injured, mostly students, run away and find shelter in a nearby cathedral – back to the Middle Ages. Next thing you know: hundreds of thousands (up to half a million) of protesters are on the streets. What do you do? Riiiiight, you…
  • flee your country. You visit China instead – the epitome of democracy. There is a lot to learn from their experience. Handling Tiananmen square protests, for example. Eventually you fly back and…
  • are asked about this incident with the riot police. Your reaction is a laughter right in the face of a 47 million nation. Thereafter you…
  • travel several times to your mentor Putin, sign numerous contracts and agreements. Part of them are held in secret. Logically, the population does not need to know how cheap you sell your country for.

Alright, let’s proceed with Ukraine’s so-called opposition.

Being the opposition you:

  • http://www.boston.com/search/?q=Ukraineare late in reacting to the developments in your country. While the people are already occupying the centre of the capital, you are still pondering on political statements. Moreover, your actions are highly constrained because you…
  • are divided. Although most of the EU news agencies seem to turn a blind eye on this fact, noticing only the more recognised Vitalii Klichko, there are nevertheless three heads of the opposition. Having one foe in common you are still incapable of nominating one presidential candidate for the elections next year. Because you …
  • care about your political career, using the since 2004 unseen uprising in Ukraine as a favourable platform to launch your election campaign. Henceforth, it is quite logical that you suddenly…
  • stop talking about your sacred cow, the imprisoned Yulia Tymoshenko – a symbol of Ukraine’s selective justice. Having put her release as a major prerequisite for signing the Association Agreement with the EU you trapped yourself. Therefore, you also partly bear the responsibility of the failure.
  • Noticing that the civil society activists enjoy much more popular support, you try to head the civil movement and take control over it. Being extremely democratic you obviously are not interested in competition.
  • Having a real chance to change those in power you suddenly decide to trust the communists in the parliament. During the voting they “surprisingly” let you down and you fail to dissolve the cabinet of ministers. Well done!

Having dealt with two sides of the same coin, let us have a look at the third player. As civil society activists you can manage a lot in 50 days. You:

  • Provide Euromaidan with almost all the attributes of a separate state: you have specific borders you literally fought for, you have people there, your own security forces, different branches of power (mini-institutions of legal assistance, executive coordination headquarters, a Euromaidan assembly every Sunday) and church services. Moreover, you…
  • picture by Olesia Ogryzko (C)organise medical treatment, food corners, free hostels (by occupying the Kyiv city hall and the trade union’s house where people are given shelter), a free open-air University, your own press with social media in its centre, transportation means (auto-Maidan). You also…
  • launch a new TV station broadcasted via the internet called Public TV (Hromadske TV), highlighting all events connected to Ukraine’s Euromaidan. An initiative of known Ukrainian journalists funded exclusively by donations of the society.The transparent funding system is indeed a novelty in Ukraine’s media environment. Furthermore, you…
  • launch a documentary on civil protest via Babylon13. As indicated on their website, it is a territory where events of a Ukrainian civil protests are being captured. An assembly line of creative, bright movies and video material giving a special perspective on the events in Ukraine.
  • serve as a territory of cultural development: the number of free concerts, mass celebrations, flash mobs, performances and other means for people to reveal their talent is endless. Eventually, you…
  • create a little state inside Ukraine’s capital. A unique mix of anarchy and direct democracy in its initial sense. A state where you breathe freedom and independence.

Whether Euromaidan will last another 50 days or disappear tomorrow is not really important anymore. It has served its primary function: it showed that Ukraine does have a civil society. People with dignity ready to stand up for their rights.

The main task now is to transform this powerful energy flow into a movement – alike the Polish Solidarność – and to proceed with profound reforms in the country. Gradually the understanding comes that nobody except for yourself will help you to live a better life. Neither the authorities, opposition, nor external players like the EU can, or will, do it for you. This understanding is part of the growing up process.

Welcome to adult life, Ukraine.


For more information please see here:

Euromaidan Wikipedia Page

Beyond the EU Article

One Comment

  1. My dear Ukraine, stand for the EU!

    We’re the heart of Europe and that’s true,

    Improve our system, get rid of all crooks,

    And kick them away to the furthest nooks!

    We don’t wanna wage war, we just wanna live

    Serene happy life that we need to weave,

    The modern upgrade is crucial for us,

    No mercy for corrupted official and fuzz!

    The European Union is developed and polite

    Bringing our country a glimpse of light

    Law and order, infrastructure upgrade

    Visa-free regime and active trade!

    What the hell are you talking about,

    Don’t promote your Soviet trash too loud,

    Your ravings of the madman don’t make sense,

    Don’t make the situation even more tense.

    I express myself clearly, I am a rapper,

    The European Union really does matter,

    Soviet trash – CU is not for Ukraine,

    Making our future hopes rust in vain!

    Customs Union is a dirty shit,

    Knowing only to scare and mistreat,

    Brutal abuses are intrinsic to them,

    It is more dreadful than a winter traffic jam!

    Soviet dinosaurs, you’re talking trash,

    Your customs union is plug-ugly stash,

    Brutal disorder, murder and mess,

    That’s true indeed, I must confess.

What do you think?