THE EVENTS IN UKRAINE: A COMMENT
"An estimated 350,000 people from all over Ukraine had come to Kiev for what was supposed to be a peaceful opposition rally calling on President Yanukovych’s government to stand down and for new elections to be held. Dozens were injured when riot police used tear gas and truncheons to repel several hundred protesters who tried to storm the presidential administration building with a bulldozer. Tensions had been building in the capital all week following his refusal to sign a free trade and political integration agreement with the EU. The Association Agreement would have seen Ukraine take a historic step closer to the West and away from Russia. It was due to be signed at a crucial summit in Vilnius on Friday, but the Ukraine backed out at the last minute after what EU leaders described as “Russian pressure”.... Authorities had already cleared peaceful pro-European protesters from Kiev’s central Independence Square, also known as Maidan, in the early hours of Saturday morning. Riot police sealed off Maidan with metal barricades, but hastily abandoned them on Sunday in the face of overwhelming odds. As protesters reclaimed the square, others stormed the mayor’s office. Chants of “revolution” resounded across a sea of yellow and blue Ukrainian and EU flags on the square. The crowd was by far the largest since the protests began more than a week ago. Many of the demonstrators had travelled to Kiev from western Ukraine, where pro-EU sentiment is particularly strong. Speaking at the demonstration from the roof of a bus, opposition leaders called for a nationwide strike to begin today in a bid to advance a “peaceful revolution”. “Our plan is clear: It’s not a demonstration, it’s not a reaction. It’s a revolution,” said Yuri Lutsenko, one of the leaders of Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution, former Minister of Internal Affairs and political prisoner".Maxim Tucker, "Ukraine pro-EU protests: ‘It’s not a rally, it’s a revolution'". The Independent. 1st December 2013, in http://www.independent.co.uk
"The official name for this people [Ukrainians] both in Hungary and in Galicia was 'Ruthene', but Ruthene is only dog Latin for 'Rusin'. A later attempt to differentiate them from Russia led to the invention of a 'Ukrainian' nationality: but the Ukraine is merely Russian for the frontier---equivalent to the Welsh and Border Marches---and Ukrainian means the people of the frontier. The Russians use the term Great Russians for the inhabitants of central Russia, and Little Russians for the men of the frontier; both are Russians."Alan John Percivale Taylor. The Habsburg Monarchy, 1815-1918. (1942), p. 158.
"If the ruling class has lost its consensus, i.e., is no longer 'leading' but only 'dominant', exercising coercive force alone, this means that the great masses have become detached from their traditional ideologies, and no longer believe what they used to believe previously, etc. The crisis consists of precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear."Antonio Gramsci. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Edited & translated by Quintin Hoare & Geoffrey Nowell Smith. (1971), pp. 275-276. The demonstrations and related activity, first in Lviv and then in Kiev, are manifestations of the fact that Ukrainian President Yanukovych’s regime is crumbling. And his own personal political project: to create a Ukrainian version of Putinism has singularly failed. The fact that over three-hundred thousand people were able to show-up for demonstrations in Kiev from all over the country shows this quite clearly. Since the ne plus ultra character of Putinism is the fact that the population is supposed to be almost completely apolitical and politically inactive. Mass demonstrations apropos of government decisions only recently made are the very negation of Putinism. Which is not the gainsay the fact that Yanukovych may luck out temporarily and not be toppled to-morrow. Regardless the fact is that his time in power is numbered. Indeed, it could very well be the case that if he does indeed proceed on his trip to Peking, he might not be able to return to Kiev. The other result of the recent events in Ukraine is that they threatened to become the ultimate cauchemar of Grazhdanin Putin. Even worse from Putin's perspective than the fact that Ukraine might finally become a fully sovereign and independent state by joining the European Union's Partnership programme, is the example supplied to all and sundry in Matushka Russia, by the events in Kiev. As the Financial Times diplomatic correspondent cogently notes:
"The demonstrations in Ukraine are both a humiliation and a threat to Mr. Putin. While the Russian president may laud the deep cultural and historical ties between Ukraine and Russia, he is discovering that tens of thousands of Ukrainians would prefer to brave freezing temperatures and flying truncheons rather than be drawn closer into the Russian sphere of influence. What is more, if a popular uprising can once again threaten to topple a corrupt and intermittently despotic government in Ukraine, then the potential lesson for Russia is clear. After all, it is less than two years ago that demonstrators filled the streets of Moscow to protest against the Putin restoration and to label his United Russia party as the 'party of crooks and thieves' " 1.In retrospect, it does indeed appear as Yevgeny Kiselyov notes in to-day's Moscow Times, that Putin's initial victory in forcing Yanukovych to forgo the European Union tie-up, is becoming: "more Pyrrhic with each passing day" 2. And we all know what ultimately became of Pyrrhus... 1. Gideon Rachman, "How Putin miscalculated in the struggle for Ukraine." The Financial Times. 2 December 2013, in www.ft.com. 2. Yevgeny Kiselyov, "Putin's Pyrrhic Victory in Ukraine." The Moscow Times. 2 December 2013, in www.moscowtimes.com.