Escape from the future and from the freedom

Author : Pavlo Kazarin

Source : 112 Ukraine

Europe suffers the counter-revolution of Euroscepticism
14:39, 4 May 2017

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SPD Chairman Martin Schulz, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and President of the European Council Donald Tusk

Europe suffers the counter-revolution. The common motive of this process is Euroscepticism.

More recently, the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras seemed to be the main outlaw of European calm. But now, against the background of his colleagues, he seems to be very nice.

And this phenomenon is not locked within the continent. This trend is inherited by the US and Donald Trump, Great Britain and Brexit. Moreover, Russia has implemented this ideology ten years ago, and therefore today, it joyfully applauds a new wave of European fatigue from the changes.

And on this general background, only one country, Ukraine, differs prominently. The country that would be glad to escape to its own invented "golden age," but the thing is that there is nowhere no run.

Related: Eurosceptic mood in Europe

"There is no end to the revolution"

The Russian historian Pavel Puchkov writes that initially the agenda of any revolutions has focused on two points: a transformational potential and an appeal to the future. But in the second half of the twentieth century the definition became obsolete: new revolutions became counterrevolutions. Their image of the future referred to the past. They did not suggest to move forward, but rather to return back to some ideal "golden age."

Puchkov himself associates this with the fact that at the end of the 20th century the future became too unpredictable to model it. The conditional "tomorrow" has ceased to be understandable and people began to replace the future with the past.

The concept "today is imperfect tomorrow" is replaced by the idea that "today is a spoiled yesterday." And there is nothing surprising that on the banners were full of anti-democracy, anti-system, and conservatism.

Related: Refugees issue in the EU: What options do Eurosceptics offer?

To pause the world

Perhaps the trend of counter-revolutions is born out of the fear before the changes. The future is unpredictable, the changes are rapid, and the new reality is created by a person that "runs at full pelt just to stay at the same place." All who try to ride this wave of sentiment, offer simple answers to complex questions.

All this can be multiplied by the anti-establishment moods, the criticism of which unites the triumphs of the new electoral wave. In this sense, Donald Trump is not much different from Marin Le Pen, and Victor Orban – from Robert Fico.

In each specific case, it is proposed to return the country to its citizens, to protect the national producer from the world market, to abandon the global in favor of the local. 

The world is changing faster than people. The entire twentieth century was the era of the struggle of the left-wing liberals with the old elites. The former wanted a future, the latter dreamed of conservation. Tradition was squeezed on the periphery of the agenda with slogans about a world of equal opportunities and positive discrimination. 1968 year has won.

Related: Referendum in the Netherlands: Ukraine as a hostage of Eurosceptics

And then it turned out that all this "grown-up Woodstock" itself became the establishment. This generation itself became the new norm, and those who several decades ago were trendmakers took a role of "outlaws" and "rebels".

Players changed their roles. And now the conservatives declare themselves a new minority, opposed to the dominance of the refined majority. Political incorrectness turns out to be in the trend for exactly the same reason that several decades ago its opposition turned in the trend. Because it is a battle between the norm and something new. And if in the role of the "new" is coming back to "old" - is it unexpected?

Involuntary optimists

And in this new reality, Russia turns out to be a trendmaker. Vladimir Putin has made a conservative turnaround with his programmatic thesis a decade ago, when Europe did not even guess about its own political future. Since that time, the Kremlin has declared its ally any European politician who is ready to speak with anti-Brussel slogans.

But in this search for allies, the Kremlin misses an important detail: for many Eurosceptics, friendship with Moscow is only a derivative of their public agenda. It is situational and is designed to serve as a public marker: if our political opponents are condemned by Russia, then we will do the opposite.

Related: Poroshenko: Ukraine to continue European integration no matter what

But after the victory of the next European "conservative" in the election, Crimea and Donbas might disappear from his political outlook. Simply because they do not belong to his agenda and interests.

But Ukraine itself in this issue completely falls out of the new trend. Unlike its neighbors from the west and east, it simply does not have an image of the past, to which it might “return.”

Unlike Warsaw, Budapest, Bratislava, Paris or Moscow, it simply does not have behind it a "golden age", about which it could be nostalgic.

All of its historical past is the existence of other empires. Short periods of independence in the early twentieth century are too short-lived and tragic to appeal to them.

And the liberation wars of the times of Bogdan Khmelnytsky took place in an overly remote historical past. His otherness is obvious: you can rely on him only at the level of a rhetorical myth, but certainly not at the level of recipes for state building.

Related: Moscow insists on Donbas integration in Ukraine

The only period in history to which Ukraine could appeal is the Soviet one. But Moscow's invasion discredited this agenda. The Kremlin established pro-Soviet ethics and aesthetics on its banners, and therefore they became impossible for Ukraine.

In these conditions, Ukraine is doomed to believe in a single Europe - at times even more than Europe believes in itself. It is doomed to go forward even when its neighbors in the EU are ready to take a few steps back.

Someone will say that this is Euro-optimism. But from this he does not cease to be euro-optimism.

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