Freudian protests

19.12.2014 | By Anna Vasylyk

Vinnytsya Maidan, so to speak, got lucky. Because the region is perceived as a political homeland of the president, the attention to the protests in the oblast centers was guaranteed. Vinnytsya, however, is not the only hot spot


In connection with this one should recollect the situation in Poltava (at the peak of the local conflict peoples deputy Serhiy Kaplin tried to break the door of the Mayors office Oleksandr Mamai with an axe). In Kriviy Rih an attempt at storming the city council was made in the end of November the reason of the protest was discontent of the city residents with corruption in the housing and education spheres. In Zaporizhzhya a protest against Mayor Oleksandr Syn (who in turn speaks about the threat of mayor office being seized by Donetsk insurgents) has been announced. In Kirovohrad the supporters of garbage lustration demand dismissal of the leadership of the oblast and city prosecutors office (there was at least one clash already). It is not all calm and peaceful in Zakarpattya a demonstration of peoples discontent with the city authorities, while the situation is being heated up by the rumors about possible dismissal of the oblast governor.

At first glance, the activists of the local maidans have no common motifs.Moreover, the thoughts that the public activity is becoming hostage to local ambitions are fair to a certain degree. Indeed, organization of maidans has been considered an effective method of fighting for power even on a level of a village for a decade now. On the other hand, a very nervous reaction of the central power to the events gives some food for thought.

For instance, Vinnytsya activist Yuriy Pavlenko, who tore the portrait of the president, has been detained for the term up to 60 days.The rumors on creation of Vinnytsya Peoples Republic and allegedly conducted elections of peoples governor, which is a clear hint at the threat of separatism, were urgently thrown into the media. The main working version of the authorities as to the reasons of protests in Vinnytsya were the accusations that they were inspired from abroad.


There is actually nothing particularly surprising that the politicians who came to power on the wave of the protest are now concerned about the attempts to reduce protest activities by all methods available to them.All methods are good for this: practically synchronously registered bills on toughening the norms of the Criminal Code (introduced by Iryna Friz and Dmytro Tymchuk) and ideas about the fifth column as the basis of protest movement discussed by the progovernment politicians.

The reality, however, is that the street protest has already become an integral part of political culture of the active part of the society.It is practically impossible to change this trend, particularly since in the beginning of autumn the representatives of the government (for example, then VR Speaker) factually approved garbage lustration as a method of pressure on the political opponents. One should recollect how Oleksandr Turchynov promised deputies, who did not vote for the bill on lustration to publish the list of their names in the stateowned mass media.

A year ago the Ukrainians became convinced that the protests (with elements of violence) are the most effective method of influencing the power. Moreover, Maidan was heroized and factually became a part of the national mythology.The only way to convince the society of the opposite is to show the effectiveness of the elections, a traditional democratic procedure. However, for now their results are not very optimistic. Petro Poroshenko won the presidential race with the message I will bring peace to the country, but these expectations were not justified, to say the least. The new composite of the Verkhovna Rada started its work from the scandals and staff conflicts. The promises to conclude coalition agreement, form the government and approve the plan of its actions over several days were not fulfilled. Blocking of the rostrum by the Radical Party faction, which is a member of the coalition is a vivid proof of the ineffective work of the lawmakers.


Classical author of psychoanalysis described in detail psychological defense mechanisms, including displacement and replacement. We can assume that the motifs of the protesters in the regions largely fit this definition. Demands to change the governor, reappoint the prosecutor, call early mayor elections are ambiguous by their nature. Protesters come from both the point of view that the local staffing problems are allegedly special cases and a result of negligence of the central government.

An impression is formed that the protesters avoid making generalizations that would allow to assume that the new government is not meeting their expectations. The classic justification that the tsar is good, but the boyars are bad is still in demand. On the one hand, the current government received a mandate of trust twice in the last six months at the presidential and parliamentary elections. As practice shows the disappointment with the new government happens in Ukraine approximately a year after the elections (serious decline of popularity ratings of the elected presidents and parliaments was registered by sociologists at this time frame).

In this sense the current protests resemble an attempt to transfer the general uncertainty of the choice that was made to the local level. At that, the central government, it seems, is doing everything possible to speed up the process of realization of the source of the problems. Instead of the dialog with the protesters, a process of attaching labels is transpiring (Kremlins agents, fifth column) and attempts at toughening the law (the laws of January 16 fade in comparison with them). In the future, this can only postpone the social explosion, the probability of which directly depends not on purely political, but on socioeconomic situation in the regions.

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