Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
In one week Ukraine will celebrate the third anniversary of tragic events on Maidan and the change of the power that followed them. For these dates mass protest actions in Kiev were announced. As a reminder, last year on February 20th there was already an attempt to arrange a “third Maidan”, but it ended with nothing. How it can end this time, “Strana” attempted to find out.
Radicals are not with other radicals
On Monday, February 20th, NAZHDAK and RPS (Radical right forces, which took part in the events on February 20th, 2016) are going to organise mass actions and call all those who are discordant with the politics of the authorities to join it.
“On February 20th, in Ukraine, NAZHDAK, orthodox organizations, trade unions, the anti-bank movement (investors borrowers), RPS (Radical right forces), UNSO, a number of oppositional politicians, federations of small business and other associations will come out with the aim to demand re-elections in parliament,” it is said in the official statement of NAZHDAK.
On the livejournal Maidan_ua it is said that “thousands of veterans of the anti-terrorist operation will join the protest of RPS and NAZHDAK, but not just to talk and disperse”. Organizers of this action already determined the route – meet near the monument to the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred, then they will carry out Veche on Maidan, and in the afternoon will go to the Presidential Administration.
At this time, organizers of this action note that their main goal is to achieve early elections in parliament because they believe that the present coalition works against the country.
“This coalition is illegal. This is the most disgusting government in all the history of Ukraine. Now Poroshenko’s regime tries to inflame the anti-terrorist operation in order to send our guys to die, while in the meantime he continues to loot our people further. We demand re-elections in parliament – they are lawful, logical, and are supported by all, except 2 parties – Popular Front and Bloc of Petro Poroshenko,” explains Nikolay Dulsky from NAZHDAK to “Strana”. “We were supported by almost all who could come out. And they will come”.
On the official page of NAZHDAK on social networks, in many statements, controversial from the point of view of the Criminal Code, for example, organizers of protests openly call people who have a registered weapon to come to Maidan on February 20th. Also they warn that other supporters of the far-right ideology will oppose their actions.
“Azov”, “Svoboda” and “Right Sector” promise a separate march
It is interesting that other far-right forces planned an action – a joint nationalist march – for February 22nd, noting that it will be dated for the third anniversary of the fleeing of the former president Viktor Yanukovych. The march is organized by the “National Azov Corps”, “Svodoba”, and “Right Sector”.
The vice-president of the Svoboda party Andrey Mokhnik, announcing the march, declared that his goal, demands, and the concrete place and time will be announced later. “I will report only that the action is dated for the third anniversary of the fleeing of Yanukovych,” he declared.
The blogger Alexander Aronets explains this discrepancy of dates of these actions by the fact that supposedly February 22nd is a sessional day in the Verkhovna Rada and a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers.
While the People’s Deputy, member of “Azov” Oleg Petrenko on his page on Facebook already declared that “the Ukrainian nationalists forget about conflicts and unite for the sake of victory”. But at the request of “Strana” to describe what the aims of this march are, he answered that the details will come later.
The separation of dates of protests confused many Internet users. “Explain, please, the difference or ‘similarity’. Because blockaders call for 22, and you for 20. The most important – how it will be, the demands, and to whom. In order to understand who and what to support. Thank you,” wrote the user of Facebook Galina Gagarina to the organizers of the actions.
“Those who were on ‘Maidan’ in 2014 known why it is on 20th February, because it is precisely on 20th February that ”Maidan” began to govern the country, after the shooting of the ‘Heavenly Hundred’. Is this date more important than the date of the fleeing of the murderer?” wrote on Facebook Nikolay Vovkanich.
Others call on the organizers to not postpone the action until February 22nd, but to go out in a united front two days earlier.
The political expert Ruslan Bortnik in conversation with “Strana” reminds – the last sociological polls show that more than 70% of Ukrainians consider that the country is going in the wrong direction.
“They don’t support the power, but at the same time it is difficult to lift these people on any form of protest, because this protest today has no powerful leaders, no support of media, no defence against attacks of different groups of radicals. In addition, we remember that in November-December some protests took place that were authorized by the authorities, and which had to discredit the idea of protests. Thus, in the protest movement there was contention and mistrust between all protest groups. What will happen as a result of all these protests – we will see,” considers Bortnik.
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