After Viktor Yanukovych fled and Ukraine found itself on the brink of a war, it seemed Ukrainians could be celebrating the victory, but somehow there was no euphoria. Only a mist.
The only thing that could be clearly seen through it were the bodies of the deceased protesters. Nothing else. No-one knew what would happen next. No-one knows now how long the mist will hang over everyone and what hides behind it. The only thing that is clear now is that the Ukrainian people cannot stop, not even for a second. Because the revolution is continuing.
There is still a lot of work to be done – in fact, so much that it is dangerous to trust politicians with doing it. Because they will fail, as they did last time. They will drown it in words, sell it or hush it up. But people cannot afford to let that happen again. The victory came at much too dear a price; too much blood has been shed. The souls of the deceased heroes will not forgive; the living will not excuse; the future generations will curse.
Ukrainians again have a chance, perhaps, the biggest one in many centuries – they can finally become a people, change, cleanse themselves of servility and rule in their own land. They only need to avoid the mistakes they made after the Orange Revolution, stay alert and not give in to indifference.
Yanukovych has fled, but he can come back at any moment. With a different surname, face and team of “professionals”. Politicians continue to play the same old games. They have quickly bounced back, taken stock of the situation and changed their rhetoric. Not even two weeks after the shocking killing of protesters, they are back to their old ways, lying, scheming, buying loyalty and weaving their poisonous webs.
True, in the three months of protests Ukrainians have changed like never before. They have learned and grasped a lot and discovered many things in themselves. They can now be truly proud of themselves for they have accomplished something that takes other nations decades to do. And the overthrown president should be given a lot of credit for this. By alienating his own people beyond measure, this unfortunate fool has done the impossible and helped resurrectthe spirit of freedom, which was dormant for so long, in Ukrainians. But should the people thank the despot? Probably not. Ukrainians need to thank themselves for mustering the strength to rise from their knees and lift up their heads.
We have won a battle. But this was just the first victory, before Ukraine was thrust into a new war. There will be many more battles and frustrations, but the people must win the war. They have no other choice, no room for either a defeat or capitulation, because behind them is an abyss.
First and foremost, Ukrainians must kill the slave in themselves. They must kill the slave in their relatives and friends, neighbours and close ones. They must excise this evil abscess in politicians, those delegated to govern the country.And if they refuse to change, they should be simply thrown out as rubbish.
Ukrainians must transform the country, from bottom up, here and now. The system of power must be changed keeping in mind that officials are hired servants of the people rather than arbiters of their destinies. The law enforcement system must also be revamped with an understanding that it has to serve and fear people rather than bandits whose place is in prison. It needs to be hammered home to the police that they cannot raise their hands against the people. Ukrainians must change the education system so that it will produce wise and honest graduates who do not even think about bribing teachers to get good grades. The health care system needs to be transformed to prevent people from dying due to carelessness and greed. The media space has to be cleansed so that people will no longer be zombified and fed filth. The country needs a strong army that will make serving in the military an honour. In fact, everything needs to be upgraded: roads, buildings, bus stops, parks, rivers and even kennels — all to be painted in bright colours. Life in the country must be made comfortable. Ukrainians must feel happy about having been born in this wonderful land and never ever even think about going to far-off lands in search of a better life.
Right, too much pomp here perhaps, but that is what the Zeitgeist is now. If Ukrainians were not a bit romantic and crazy, they would never have ousted this fake monster. He would still be looming on the horizon as a curse. So pardon the big words. Not everything is as nice or simple as Ukrainians would want. There are countless issues that must be addressed immediately. There are tons of fears that disturb one’s sleep, but somehow there is faith that it will all be good in the end. Russia will swallow the defeat, because it is too weak to do anything about it; Ukraine’s internal traitors will quiet down given the right approach. Rest assured that Yanukovych will be caught and put in a place where he is most fitting.
Difficulties? There is no running away from them, but Ukrainians know how to overcome them. They have been hardened by the struggle and inoculated in case something untoward happens.
The Ukrainian Week has discussed preservation of historical memory, Germany's historical responsibility, and the political aspects of Nord Stream 2 construction with the former Bundestag Member and the co-founder of think-tank Center for Liberal Modernity (Zentrum Liberale Moderne).