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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

How to act with dignity?

Myroslav POPOVYCH: “Maidan ought to have long ended because it is losing its spirit”
3 June, 2014 - 11:47
JUNE 1, 2014. MAIDAN. KYIV / Photo by Mykola TYMCHENKO, The Day

Another viche popular assembly took place on the Independence Square in Kyiv, June 1, with NGO representatives urging the administration to deliver a 100-day progress report. The main point on the agenda, however, was how to end the Maidan campaign.

Vitali Klitschko, the newly elected mayor of Kyiv, declared that the Maidan had carried out its main function by toppling the Yanukovych regime. This statement met with jeers and catcalls from the audience. Klitschko went on to say that he is prepared to secure Maidan representation at the Kyiv City Council and honor the memory of the heroes of the Heavenly Sotnia; that he is against the dispersal of the tent city and for early parliamentary elections. This statement met with approval.

Heavenly Sotnia men also took the floor. They said the Maidan is a fist in which those in power should be held and kept under control.

Today, however, Maidan is just an echo of revolutionary events. It can no longer solve any social issues. Yet people are loath to vacate the place, arguing that the lustration of the system hasn’t been completed. As a result, the new administration has become hostage to the situation. On the one hand, it cannot force the Maidan to end, because this would cause a huge public outcry. On the other hand, the Maidan is now largely made up of people who have nothing to do with a noble revolutionary cause, who cause unsanitary conditions instead.

How can this problem be solved? How should the Maidan transform? The Day asked Dr. Myroslav POPOVYCH, member of the Action Group “December 1,” for comment.

“Maidan is not just a place name, a square on Khreshchatyk St. It is a structure that includes Donetsk, Odesa, Kyiv, Lviv, and other cities. The question is: What is its function? If it is a government one, then the whole thing runs counter to democracy and common sense. Maidan cannot be anything like the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that was the country’s ‘leading and guiding force.’ The government cannot be accountable to the Maidan because the government is authorized by parliament and the latter is elected by all citizens of Ukraine. I was on the Maidan, on June 1, and I couldn’t figure out the division of labor between Maidan and administration. Maidan cannot be a government organization.

“Maidan is a force representing nationwide readiness for national independence, democracy, and well-being. It should be used to keep those in power under control. Yet this is not the kind of control one force of power exercises over another. This control is exercised by the masses and whatever decisions the Maidan makes won’t have legal strength. Instead, it can instantly respond to a signal that something has gone wrong in Ukraine, that freedom and democracy are at stake (the way it did last winter). That’s where its power lies, power that can’t be ignored or formalized. Klitschko was right when he proposed one Maidan representative at the Kyiv City Council, but not as a commissioner authorized to supervise a normal democratic process. In fact, Vitali Klitschko is in an uncomfortable situation, considering that people may well start throwing monkey wrenches in the works of the mayor’s office and claim to be acting on Maidan’s behalf. This would inevitably lead to a conflict, because the cast of this show leaves much to be desired. Therefore, the whole thing must be arranged so one doesn’t interfere with the other, but rather helps him.

“I can sense the Maidan’s dissatisfaction with the course domestic political events have taken. Yet it is impossible to quickly punish all those responsible for the recent tragedies. Everything must be done in accordance with the law. Nor does punishment solve all problems.

“Maidan ought to have long been brought to an end, physically speaking, considering that it is losing its visage and spirit. Keeping the tent city means remaining in a state of war, but Vitali Klitschko is not supposed to resolve this issue as mayor of Kyiv. A detailed legal plan should be worked out lest the Maidan become another Ministry of Truth [as in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four] or one of ideology. Maidan must become memory and conscience. Conscience cannot be laid down in a statutory clause. It is in your heart. A monument or a museum should be built and the street named after the heroes, instead of letting Khreshchatyk St. become a shelter and marginal city outskirts.