Every autumn, when the crop is harvested, hard-working Ukrainian nation feels bored and decides to protest just to apply its great energy to something… Is it the true story? For an outside viewer it may look like this. However, the issue is not so straightforward.
Ukrainians had to fight for their freedom for centuries. Ukraine is a land of fertile soil, rich natural resources and hard-working people, together with geopolitical position on the crossroads of Eastern and Western, Northern and Southern civilisations, the country was always a desired piece for foreign invaders. From the other side, Ukrainians are one of the most peaceful people on Earth, which want to dwell peacefully on their lands. For many times, the new rulers were misusing Ukrainians’ trust and loyalty. Unfortunately, the situation has not changed after Ukraine became independent 26 years ago.
During the collapse of the Soviet rule in Ukraine, the country was mired in chaos and the most nimble ones used the chance to take over the huge enterprises, rich lands and everything that was not stolen before them by the Soviet power. These people made great fortunes and became oligarchs of modern Ukraine. Of course, to be able to rob something after its collapse, you need to have a hand in it during its existence. So, it happened that many persons of the former Soviet nomenclature, became businessmen in independent Ukraine, in such a way transforming their Soviet mentality together with their capital to the new Ukrainian state. Therefore, the vast majority of new leaders of independent Ukraine appeared to be not new at all. The consortium of Ukrainian oligarchs, that controls country’s resources, can never let to power someone from outside. Every new politician coming to power was just a nominee of the strong business family, which decides the destiny of the country and supports the development of corruption.
Ukrainians are sometimes very naïve and can tolerate a lot, until they feel that it is enough and they are ready to fight for their freedom. Two revolutions and numerous smaller protests in 26 years makes the country unstable in the eyes of its neighbours. Every autumn is the right moment to protest due to many reasons. When winter appears on horizon, population faces the challenge of food shortage, the issue of imported gas (mostly coming from Russia before the war) and understands that the promised changes for better have not come; contemporary politicians appeared to be the same as the previous ones.
This autumn, the situation is similar. With the forth year of war with Russia, European perspectives lying too far, economy collapsing, President and his surrounding getting richer while population is getting poorer, people are getting angrier. As some see the return of former Georgian President – Mikhail Saakashvili – being the main feeder of the rebellion, it is not so simple. Many present and former politicians, scientists and students, veterans of war in Donbass are involved in protests, as they are unsatisfied by actions of present government. The main requirements of protesters sound very logical: abolition of parliamentary immunity, electoral reforms and creation of independent anti-corruption court. People are demanding a big political reform.
Lack of security in the country cannot always be explained by Russian interference. Uninvestigated cases of journalists’ murder (the most famous one – Pavel Sheremet), the latest murder of famous fighter in war against Russia and social activist coming from Chechenia – Amina Akuieva, made it clear that the main problem is not in Russian aggression but in lack of ability and/or desire of Ukrainian government to secure the lives of its citizens.
The war and uninvestigated murders take lives of the best Ukrainians, the ones who were ready to die for the country and were not afraid to express their points of view. Therefore, the war is beneficial for present government as most people are afraid to protest against lack of bigger reforms as Russia could use the opportunity of instability for a bigger military attack.
The case, that many veterans of the war in Donbass are coming to the new rebellions, scares President Poroshenko. He does not want to hear the arguments coming from elites, who also joined the new protests. Although, sharing different points of view is a sign of democracy, Ukrainian President named protesters betrayers. Naming peaceful gathering of unsatisfied people, a group financed by foreign entities with the aim to organise a forceful coup, sounds a rather inadequate reaction from Prosecutor General of Ukraine.
While corruption, never-ending war and huge poverty of the population deteriorate chaos in Ukraine, many lose hope in any change for better on Ukrainian lands. Many young qualified individuals are leaving the country in search of a better fate abroad. The ones, who stay, feel great despair of continuous fight with no success in the end.
Until Ukrainians notice real willingness of the government to develop the country, there will be always the bravest and the fearless ones who will openly go out to the street and express their dissatisfaction. If we think of any democratic country, protests of different social layers are noticeable features of democracy. The history has taught Ukrainians that to obtain the freedom you need to fight for it!