[Marxism] [Pen-l] Prediction: Ukraine's love affair with the West will be short-lived

Marv Gandall marvgand2 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 28 11:29:35 MST 2014

> On Feb 28, 2014, at 11:12 AM, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:
> If Ukraine is about to undergo a Greek-style austerity program, that will direct anger at the government, not at the Kremlin...Call me old-fashioned but I think that imposing austerity will force Ukrainians to seek a permanent solution to their woes. That's something nationalism has no answer for.

It's a possibility which concerns The Economist, and therefore, one can safely assume, the US and EU elites whose views it reflects.

The overthrow of the Yanukovych regime, the magazine observes, has "made two things clear. One is that the government is going to be controlled by Yulia Tymoshenko, Mr Yanukovych’s archrival, who was in prison until February 22nd...More importantly, it demonstrated the level of Maidan’s mistrust of established politicians and its refusal to delegate the power it has won.

"The appointment of the interior minister, Arsen Avakov, was actually vetoed by Maidan. Vladimir Parasyuk, one of the Maidan leaders, said: 'As a citizen of Ukraine I won’t allow this. My conscience won’t let me.' He said the interim government had one night to decide, but it must present a new candidate. 'Maidan will not disperse,' he went on. 'We will be a controlling organ and they should know that if they betray us, we will come to each one of them and demand answers on behalf of our dead comrades—the heroes of Ukraine.' The crowd cheered.

"None of the politicians, including the three opposition leaders Arseny Yatsenyuk, Vitaly Klitschko, a former boxer, and Oleh Tyagnibok, are trusted by Maidan. Witness the reaction to Ms Tymoshenko’s appearance on Maidan after her release from prison. In the Orange revolution she was treated like a messiah. This time, while people were glad to see that she had been freed, they knew better than to put their fate in her hands—or those of any other politician for that matter."

The "mistrust of established politicians" and evident refusal of the mass movement "to delegate the power it has won" is what in The Economist's view distinguishes the current uprising from the Orange Revolution to which it has often been compared:

"This revolution is more important than the Orange revolution of 2004, which was a response to Mr Yanukovych’s election to the presidency through a fraudulent run-off eventually overturned by the supreme court. While the other post-Soviet revolution at around the same time—Georgia’s 2003 Rose revolution—succeeded in resetting its country’s direction, the Orange revolution foundered. 

"Ukraine’s revolution-yet-to-be-named was largely brought about by the failure of that previous, more peaceful but frustratingly unsuccessful uprising to change the country’s dysfunctional political culture or build bridges between its regions, which have little by way of history to unite them. And what then degenerated into bitter farce may yet end up, this time round, in tragedy...There is little by way of an elite devoted to forging a new, modern nation state; the possibility of failure, a descent into chaos, insurrection—notably in the Crimea—or even secession remains stark.

The magazine supports the contention that austerity may well bring the class and ideological contradictions in the movement to the fore:

"Ukraine is in dire need of some sort of rescue package from the IMF and the EU if it is not soon to run out of cash. Any such support will be conditional on the country finally committing itself to structural reforms, including cuts in its vast energy subsidies, and to curbing corruption. The first will bring prompt pain to almost all citizens, the second will be resisted by many functionaries.

"For such commitments to merit credence, Ukraine needs a legitimate government that will sweep away the old political set-up—which is also what Maidan is demanding. The problem is that Maidan was not the only player in the revolution. A less visible battle has been going on between various Ukrainian oligarchs and the members of Mr Yanukovych’s extended family who took their place at the trough. These oligarchs used their money, influence and political fronts to pile on pressure.

"But although Mr Yanukovych provided oligarchs and Maidan with a common enemy in the run up to the revolution, the allies could well turn into adversaries in the aftermath. The oligarchs and their political place-men are creatures of the dysfunctional state that Maidan rejects; some will surely seek to use the revolution to regain their lost interests and restore the pre-Yanukovych status quo."


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