Ukraine's Revolution Beyond the Chaos

It is fueled by a demographic-defying desire for democracy.

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Violence between the protesters and law enforcement must not be conflated with the internal affairs of Euromaidan. The movement is far from a state of chaos. Rather, its multitude of factions are coordinated and cooperative with one another.

As Elena Zaharchenko reports in Ukrainska Pravda, behind the barriers exists “a special atmosphere” of “peace and order."

“This is the remarkable display of the rise of a new Ukrainian nation, a civic nation,” says Goble, who notes that for a revolution, the death toll is remarkably low. “What we're seeing is more important than the Orange Revolution. This is a much broader and deeper one.”

In American media, perhaps the most underreported aspect of this affair is what's really happening within the encampment: Thousands of people from across both the country and political spectrum are circulating together spontaneously and working together harmoniously, yet in decentralized fashion.

“Maidan is totally crowdfunded,” notes Dvornikov. “There are no police but there is no crime, either.” The encampment is littered with donation bins for medicine, food, security and other needs. Its' fortifications continue to grow quickly and to an impressive scale. Web-based crowdfunding and other internet initiatives aimed at transparency – almost inconceivable during Ukraine's last major protests a decade ago – also play a role in this gritty push for a representative democracy.

And, lacking a singularly powerful opposition leader may actually be “the strongest part of the Ukrainian revolution,” as Komaroff suggests. Yanukovych tried to bribe two of Euromaidan's spokesmen with the opportunity to become prime minister and deputy prime minister, but they turned down the offer. Likewise, they have vowed to work together to win national elections instead of fighting amongst themselves. Komaroff explains that despite three major factions existing with conflicting ideologies, “the opposition leaders are all very loyal to each other. It's a good situation.”

But that's not the only check on their power. Disillusioned by years of unkept presidential promises, they have changed their tactics and are taking a more active approach to leadership. “People support the opposition leaders,” says Komaroff, but “no one among the leaders can control Maidan, because there are a lot of different views. The people control their leaders.”

Ukraine is on the edge of a new era. Yanukovych is rapidly losing support while Euromaidan makes gains. Caution is always a good approach to revolutions, but many in Ukraine are actively demonstrating a new political mindset aimed beyond old ethnic divides, and instead toward smaller, less corrupt, more representative government.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's quite simple. Ukrainians hate it when people call their country "The Ukraine." That's it, that's the whole problem. Also, the doc. He's stirring up shit.

  • Robert||

    Doesn't bother us in the Bronx.

    Radio Free Europe still exists??! What's up with that?

  • Free Society||

    Keep your austerity away from my radio! /derp

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Pretty good writeup. I knew some of the broader general aspects, but you've fleshed it out. Thanks.

  • hermoda||

    RIP in peace, Nintendo NES

  • RishJoMo||

    I like the sound of that man, Wow.

  • RishJoMo||

    I like the sound of that man, Wow.

  • OneOut||

    We in the US have greater problems.

    You're on you own for now Ukraine. At least until we can get the employer mandates sorted out. Then we will be back in your business.

    Of course then you will say that you don't want us in your business.

  • montana mike||

    We shouldn't be in their business, they seem to be deciding that they don't care to be under the thumb of oligarchs, I'm good with that and wish them well.

  • VicRattlehead||

    This is why the rest of the world thinks Americans are pussies,
    "The barricades spring up from nowhere,Cops in helmets line the lines
    Shotguns prod into your bellies, The trigger fingers want an excuse now
    The raging mob has lost its nerve, There's more of us but who goes first
    No one dares to cross the line, The cops know that they've won
    It's all over but not quite, The pigs have just begun to fight
    They club your heads, kick your teeth, Police can riot all they please"
    but thats us.... fucking pussies hiding behind screen names, anonymous only to eachother, incapable of organization, too much to lose to do what needs to be done, and the police state constricts ever tighter around our necks until one day were all finally meeting up at a government re-education camp.

  • Free Society||

    participation on a message board does not preclude participation in protests etc...

    I don't care what "the rest of the world" thinks about some fictitious group of people united only by the leviathan that feeds off of them.

  • crufus||

    I think Ukrainians are far more worried about Russia than ethnic Russians living in Ukraine.

    A Ukrainian told me that they view Russia as bunch of backward peasants. Kind of like Americans view Mexico, except Mexico doesn't have nukes.


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