Antonina Kolodii: If the Authorities are Deaf, Maidan has the Right for Radicalization

December 6, 2013. Address at Euromaidan in Lviv by Antonina Kolodii, Professor of Lviv Regional Institute of Public Administration, Office of the President of Ukraine, Former Kennan Institute Scholar.

If authorities remain deaf to the demands of protesters, Maidan has the right for radicalization of the means of pressure – as far as the acts of civic rebelliousness and creation of parallel structures of power.

“Thanks to your active participation, the choice has been made. Euromaidan is a peaceful long-term action of mass protest with the aim of keeping the course of Ukraine’s European integration, safeguarding and strengthening its independence, a sharp swiveling towards a lawful democratic state.

Dictatorship and repressions will not work in Ukraine. The people of Ukraine have taken up the creation of such a country, in which anyone will love to live. And they will achieve this. We will withstand, and our weapon is unity, discipline and fortitude, the source of which is love to our Motherland and its people, a part of which we all are. Each of us is a drop, but together we are an ocean that will wash away the riffraff from our land.

We know that Ukrainians rebelled because they were cynically deceived as to seemingly European choice of the current leaders of the state. The same way, they cheated European politicians that spent much time and effort on negotiations for the association agreement. Tricking is their major profession that they are very proud of. But we, ordinary Ukrainians, are not proud. We are ashamed; they have abased our human and national dignity. However, at first we only wanted to “correct” the authorities’ behavior, remind them their commitment to the people, the necessity to take into consideration their will. And then, wait for the elections to dismiss them from the reins of government. We know, what has come out of this. After the brutal beating of young people on the dawn of November 30, after the sadist “operation” of “Berkut” near the Presidential Administration on December 1, the priorities of Maidan have changed.

Ukrainians asked themselves a question: with whom we wanted to go to Europe? And they saw a black hole – at present with nobody. If President Yanukovych has given the order of savage reprisal over the participants of Maidan – irrespective of their age, gender, and behavior – his is not our President. If he had no idea about the actions of his subordinates, he also demonstrated a criminal negligence and he should resign.

The human rights, self-defense of Maidan, and strengthening of its positions came out to top of the agenda, as well as the tasks that the activists in Kyiv are currently busy with – to pull out the victims of “Berkut” beatings that also became the victims of repressions from the claws of our crooked justice.

If the authorities remain deaf and keep ignoring the demands of protesters, Maidan has the right for radicalization of the means of pressure – as far as the acts of civic rebelliousness and creation of parallel structures of power. This should be made clear for the useless top of power so that they know that they await not only popular indignation, but also a considered system of measures aimed at transferring power to other people, creating a different political system.

To my mind, it is necessary to create a Committee of Civic Action. It should consist of moral authorities committed to the interests of Ukraine, public and civic activists, other authoritative people, and act openly informing Maidan about its decisions and receiving proposals through its press-center and direct contacts.

The headquarters of Euromaidan manage security, self-defense, and life support of Maidan. It is responsible for organization of permanent manifestations, processions, pickets, as well as changing the groups of protesters that should ensure uninterrupted functioning of Maidan. It should also include a group of lawyers and self-defense units.

For the future work (when the current authorities will be forced to resign) it is already necessary to create a Council of Experts that will prepare the program of actions for the period of revolution, as well as the program of reforms for the future parliament, government, and president. One of the major issues to be handled by this Council should be the preparation of Constitutional reform through convocation of Constituent Assembly. A special place should be given to an economic group.

The leader and the council of Euromaidan should initiate the organization of different forms of pressure over the President as the main center of decision-making, as well as conduct negotiations with representatives of the authorities. It is necessary to enter the way of negotiations; otherwise Maidan will have no means to embody their demands. But this should not be done in a form of capitulation, but under certain conditions, including:

  • Bringing to responsibility those guilty in bloody reprisals and holding courts “with closed ears” that convict victims rather than real instigators and other law-breakers; releasing those who were unlawfully imprisoned.
  • Changing the rhetoric of the “power”, recognizing Maidan as the body that expresses popular will and that arose as a result of low legitimacy of governmental structures and President.
  • Explicitly refusing from the use of force in the future even with the aim of clearing premises or territories.

This will be a forced consent for keeping the structures of Euromaidan as the body expressing popular will till the beginning of elections, the timing and conditions of which should be a subject of a round-table discussion.

We should remember that Euromaidan leadership is not a governmental body, but it may get its function if the authorities will keep rigidly ignoring the people. Now their calls for action have an inciting character and are based on a good will of citizens. However, if during the first two weeks of interaction with authorities there is no evident success, it should be necessary to pass on to another stage of activity – revolutionary actions that envision the creation of the revolutionary governing bodies – the Temporary Revolutionary Government and the National Constituent Assembly.

There are also several warnings as to the moods and behaviors of Euromaidan participants:

  • Do not overestimate your strength and fall into euphoria after the first successes.
  • Do not fall into discouragement after the first failures.
  • Do not overestimate the weakness of power.
  • Do not be credulous and fainthearted, believe in your strength.
  • Know that it is natural to have swings in the moods, surges and outflows of enthusiasm, and this should not be a basis for disappointment or discouragement.
  • Understand that in the behavior of the authorities there will be inevitable alternation of mildness and strictness – under the influence of external and internal circumstances, with the aim of “maneuvering” and hiding their intentions. So, do not be frightened or relaxed.

Together we are strong! And we will win for sure.”