Ukraine: A Split Along the Line “People-Authorities” & the Collapse of The “United Country”

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Ukrainian sociology, despite its doubtfulness of research results (people very often are afraid to tell the truth, or in general refuse to answer the posed questions), all the same shows the lines of split. And this is not only the difference between Ukrainian regions in their vision of the common future, but also a huge split along the line “people-authorities”. The leaders of the Ukrainian State don’t wish to hear about the demands of the people and to react to them.

So what do the residents of Malorossiya-Ukraine want, and what don’t the authorities want?

According to the data of the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS), 72% of residents of Ukraine are concerned about the war in Donbass (in the East – 81.5%). The war remains problem No. 1 for Ukrainian society. Thus, 73.6% of respondents (data of the sociological center “Sofiya”) consider that the current authorities profit from war and aren’t interested in the settlement of the armed conflict, and more than a half are sure that war can be stopped if concessions are made in negotiations and the Minsk Agreements are implemented. 73.6% (data of the Razumkov Center) consider that the events in Ukraine develop in the wrong direction.

How do the authorities react to public moods? Quite unambiguously:

  • it continues to violate the Minsk Agreements and interrupt the negotiations of the Trilateral contact group. A fresh example – refusal of negotiations for the exchange of prisoners in Minsk, although the renewal of exchanges would give hope for a solution of the armed conflict and the readiness of the Ukrainian side for negotiations on the political part of the agreements;

  • invents a law “on the de-occupation of Donbass” assuming the introduction of martial law and army operations, and tries to impose it on the West as an alternative to the Minsk Agreements;

  • increases military expenses, among which is the purchase of new “Oplot” tanks and the modernization of the T-72 (Poroshenko doesn’t hide that they are destined for the military units that are deployed in Donbass), and also the construction of a plant for the production of ammunition (also for Donbass);

  • fuels the militaristic frenzy. Thus, last week the Ukrainian President (he is the commander-in-chief) declared on Twitter a transition to an “active strategy for the de-occupation of the Crimean peninsula”.

The Kiev pandemonium around the topic of the membership of Ukraine in NATO became the cherry on the cake: Poroshenko, Parubiy, and a regiment of officials and Deputies began to claim that 70% of the residents of Ukraine are waiting with impatience for the entry of the country into the alliance, while in reality this idea is supported by less than half of the population – in the East and South this support is 20-30%, even according to the courtier of sociologists of the Razumkov Center. Only residents of several western regions show 70-76% of support for the aspirations of the Ukrainian State in NATO. By leaning on the opinion of exclusively western regions, the authorities face a huge problem of actual legitimacy in “Big Ukraine”, which, with all efforts, Kiev can’t manage to reduce to the common denominator with Galicia under the false slogan “United country”.

The question second in importance for residents of Ukraine is the standard of living (60% mentioned this to sociologists of KIIS). The response of the authorities to this question: price control cancellation, continuous increase of tariffs for utilities, and parliament expects to adopt pension reform (increase of working experience and retirement age) and the reform of medicine – providing a transition to paid services (the minister of healthcare directly speaks about this).

However you look at it, the “criminal power” of Yanukovych, with a “1 dollar = 8 hryvnia rate”, was much more socially oriented than those who occupied the positions vacated as a result of the coup on the wave of the “fight against oligarchs and corruption”. The sad joke that in twenty years the citizens of Ukraine will live like under Yanukovych is substantiated – the population slips into poverty, and leaves to search for a job and a better life.

The simplification of the procedure of obtaining Russian nationality will increase the exodus to Russia of inhabitants of the South and East of Ukraine, and the innovations of Poland allowing Ukrainians to get a job easily will provoke the mass departure of people generally from the western and central regions. Information that Poles are ready to receive 5 million able-to-work Ukrainian citizens, while in the Russian regions from 2 to 4 million Ukrainians are already employed, only assists in the washing away from Ukraine of both working hands and qualified specialists. And the intentions of the government to gain fast money from the privatization of such enterprises as “Artyomsol” in the Donetsk region (privatization is categorically opposed by the collective with 3000 staff) strengthen the migratory mood of the able-to-work population.

Well-paid work that the authorities offer to people is contractual service in army, which assumes participation in the military operations in Donbass. Some Ukrainians indeed go to fight to earn money. However, the high risk to lose life and health, and to get “trench syndrome” together with money earned on blood makes service in the UAF much less attractive than work abroad. Besides this, the mountain of reports in the media about the asocial behavior of participants of the anti-terrorist operation, suicides and crimes concerning co-servicemen, relatives, acquaintances, and neighbors strengthens the anti-war sentiment of society and compels the authorities to declare a problem in the rehabilitation of former fighters. The Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov declared 500 suicides of participants of the anti-terrorist operation and compared the war of Kiev in Donbass with the war of the US in Vietnam, involuntarily pointing to the injustice of the armed conflict unleashed by the authorities with the rebellious territory.

The military Prosecutor’s Office also doesn’t hide that non-combat losses exceed combat ones, and that the recent murder of a young woman who, for the sake of earning a wage, went to serve under contract in the UAF as a cook, became for Ukrainians one more illustration of the so-called anti-terrorist operation. The efforts of the Kiev regime to heroicize military service with pompous funerals of the dead on the Eastern front and the allocation of hundreds of thousands of dollars for memorials is unlikely to lead to the effect desired by the authorities: as beautiful as the coffin covered with the Ukrainian flag may look, it doesn’t make death in the war with Donbass attractive.

Also the rupture in relations between the authorities and ethnic minorities – Hungarian, Ruthenian, Moldavian, Romanian – deepens. The language policy that aims, first of all, to hit the Russian population of Ukraine turned out to be deadly for representatives of other people living mainly in the western part of the country. Instead of not allowing protest and the maturation of a large conflict, Kiev continues to legislatively limit national languages, to allow nationalist radicals to kindle ethnic hatred and to call for open clashes, for example, with the Hungarian community of Transcarpathia.

The regime of putshists didn’t manage to declare exclusively “moskals” as enemies, they also didn’t manage to extend Ukrainian nationalism only to the Russian population. Xenophobia hooked all, even the Crimean Tatars who left for Ukraine: according to nationalists, they have no right to lay claim neither to Crimea, nor to autonomy in the Kherson region. Leaders of the Mejlis are extremely dissatisfied with the fact that Poroshenko doesn’t keep his promise made earlier to hand over Kherson to them. Friendly armed battalions would help to push away the Russian and Ukrainian population from the territories adjoining Crimea, and Turkey would help to build autonomy – but here this is just a lack of a law allowing Dzhemilev with Chubarov to start the creation of their own fiefdoms. However, Poroshenko doesn’t risk making such a step, understanding that after the Crimean Tatars, autonomy will start to be immediately demanded by Ukrainian Hungarians, Romanians, Moldavians, and Rusyns.

For the same reason Kiev doesn’t want to consider the question of the autonomy of Donbass – it will initiate the autonomy of Novorossiya and all other regions. Moreover, the fight against “separatists” doesn’t lead to results: instead of a “United country”, the authorities receives a split State and a problem with their own legitimacy in the opinion of national communities, the demands of which are ignored.

The putshists deepen another already-large split by driving in wedges between Orthodox Christians, averting them from the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church by using extreme schismatic propaganda, using the hands of nationalist radicals, who take churches from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and legislatively limit its activity. It causes huge protest by the orthodox population, but Kiev doesn’t stop (without looking even at the attempts of the western “friends of Ukraine” to warn against it). The other day at the level of the parliamentary committee another anti-church bill, which obliges the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to change its name, was approved and offered for consideration! Moreover, Deputies act on the sly, without taking out the socially significant bill in the public plane, counting on pushing it through parliament “imperceptibly”. As a rule, the authors of such developments have another faith or they are schismatics. The incitement of religious hatred is evident.

And what is the result? The authorities of the Ukrainian State 3.5 years later, after the February coup of 2014, find themselves on the peninsula separated from “Big Ukraine” by a deep ditch. In the direction of the southeast this ditch is bottomless. It is impossible to hold the next elections in the format “United Ukraine” just like it is impossible to remain in power in a lawful way. And as putshists are not going to vacate their positions in the presidential administration, in the government, and in parliament, they are engaged in searching for ways to appear as legitimate in the opinion of the West. Such ways include the introduction of the regime of martial law, the “switching on” of war with Donbass, the repression of opponents and leaders of protests are all being considered. The prerequisites for this are being created already now.

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