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29 August, 2011  ▪  The Ukrainian Week

The Eve of Independence

Independence by instinct



For centuries, people have fought for the independence of Ukraine, but obtained it within the course of several years, when it became apparent that the Moscow center was incapable of maintaining the empire and the Soviet Union naturally became obsolete. Centuries of lack of statehood made themselves felt: neither the political establishment, nor the opposition had a clear vision of the steps, necessary for the consolidation of an independent, democratic and successful Ukrainian State. For this reason, in contrast to its western neighbours, in Ukraine, most of the actions of the government and its opponents were instinctive: they were based on the fact that independence was a distant goal, instead, it was necessary to take advantage of the favourable circumstance of the confusion within the leadership for the resolution of urgent issues:

  • Striving to take over control of economic resources on its territory, the leadership of the Ukrainian SSR laid a foundation for the establishment of the new state’s economic system; the curve towards “Group A” (heavy industry) in the structure of the economy created additional difficulties for conducting reforms.
  • Taught by the experience of “hot spots”, power structures were not in a hurry to suppress the actions of the people, which opened the possibility of putting pressure on the government.
  • The speeches and strikes of miners and employees in other professions, as well as students’ hunger strikes demonstrated the following: the nation was seeking changes and supported the idea of independence.
  • The government was at a loss and was afraid of using force, so for the most part, simply went with the flow.
  • The opposition did not have a clear plan of action, random people often forced their way into the leadership, thus it was unable to present the country with its own agenda.

In this section:

A Crisis of Incapability  

The Right to Be Yourself 

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