De afgelopen week hebben de protesten in Oekraïne steeds prominenter in Nederlandse nieuws gaan figureren. De protesten die begonnen met tien duizenden zijn uiteindelijk geëscaleerd tot honderden duizenden mensen die nu non-stop protesteren in de straten van Kiev en andere Oekraïnse steden. Wat begon als een pro-Europa protest – en tegen de beslissing van de regering om een associatieverdrag met de EU op het laatste moment toch niet te tekenen - lijkt uitgegroeid tot iets veel groters. We vroegen onze partner in Oekraïne, de Institute for Democracy and Social Progress (IDSP) om commentaar. Directrice van IDSP, Olena Lukaniuk, geeft antwoord.
1. What is your link with the FMS?
IDSP and FMS have been cooperating for almost a decade conducting educational trainings for young social democrats on campaigning skills and on modern European social democratic trends. The cooperation with the FMS brought a lot of positive experience for hundreds of young Ukrainian leaders.
2. Who are the protesters and what are the Ukrainian protests really about?
Protesters who came to the squares before November 30, in several cities of Ukraine, supported the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. Mainly these are students and NGO representatives who wished to demonstrate their disagreement with the Ukrainian government which suspended negotiations with the EU. After the police had beaten a few hundreds of protesters in the night on Nov. 30 at Maidan [Independence Square] in Kiev, hundreds of thousands Ukrainian citizens went to the streets to protest the violence sanctioned by the government and by the president. The process turned onto an uncontrolled path, both the government and the opposition still avoid any strategic statements. The protests are really about "staying Ukrainian as a democratic nation" and at the moment they are of a peaceful character.
3. What strikes you the most about these protests?
Two main points are really outstanding. First is the level of self-organisation of citizens who protest on the streets and the tolerance of other citizens who live/work in the nearby area and support the protesters: they bring hot tea and sandwiches, winter clothes, let the protesters sleepover at their houses etc. Second is the reluctance of the official [political] opposition to lead the protesters and the subsequent reluctance of the protesters to bear and voice political slogans. It is this principal non-political realm in which this protest differs from the Orange revolution of 2004.