Triumph of the housewives and independent generation

Author : Pavlo Kazarin

Source : 112 Ukraine

What’s the difference between anti-government rallies in Ukraine and Russia?
13:59, 24 April 2017

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Three weeks ago, a "generation of Putin" came out to Russian streets to protest. The one for which the current president of the Russian Federation has always been the president. The one that was born in the "troubled nineties", which their parents like to scare with.

Their Ukrainian peers did not have to live in an era of monumental stability. They were born under Kravchuk, went to school under Kuchma, began to fall in love under Yushchenko. Yanukovych cancelled mobilization to the army, who refused from recruitment. And then the Maidan and the war erupted.

Russian youth has grown up in the nest of Leviathan, the Ukrainian one has grown accustomed to the fact that the state is conditional. Because the first twenty-three years of this imitative existence led to the fact that we began to perceive deviation as the norm. And vice versa.

Negative selection

In many respects, this happened because of those people whom we call "political elites".

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For many of them, the very idea of independence was needed only because it allowed Ukraine to be consolidated as a closed joint-stock company. Actually, in 1991 the idea of independence was supported by the Ukrainian Communist Party not under the pressure of the national liberation movement (which, unlike the countries of Eastern Europe, was weak in Ukraine and certainly not ubiquitous), but under the influence of the conjuncture: many wanted to change the status of the director to The status of the owner and take decisions without regard to Moscow.

Ukrainian politics with a few exceptions was just an imitation.

The "leftists" were called supporters of Moscow. "Right" were strong supporters of the ethnic project. The behavior of these forces get accustomed that corruption is normal. The standard of success is determined by the brand of the car. That the law does not have to have anything to do with justice.

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And this situation has traumatized the society far deeper than all the economic negativities. Simply because the economy is just "soft", and "hard" is a system of social relationships. Namely, this system was broken and distorted, along with the notion of "norm".

White and black

At the same time, twenty-three post-Soviet years there were just a process of Ukrainization of Ukraine. Ideological diffusion went from west to east. Any talk about "electoral split of the country" is ridiculous precisely because in 1991 there was no split at all: in the first presidential elections "Ukrainian Vaclav Havel" - Vyacheslav Chornovil - was able to win only in three Western Ukrainian regions. After thirteen years - during the first Maidan - the country was already divided in half. And with the beginning of the war, the process of gaining a country by itself has gone far to the east.

But the fact that after the annexation of Crimea and Donbas conflict, society began to comprehend that agreeing on its own past does not mean solving all the other global challanges. Because now it is necessary to solve a much larger task: to agree on understanding of good and evil.

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What is corruption? Who should be called guilty: the one who gives the bribe or the one who takes it? And what about the amount of the bribe? Can the system be changed? "Are all the same" or not? In addition, the Soviet ethic has taught that a person that has "complaints" about violation of the law is a whistler. And the formula "everything I do is for the sake of my family" was considered a universal justification for compromises with conscience.

Ukrainian elites legitimized corruption and the idea of turning a collective good into a personal one. And at a time when the very existence of the state (because of the war) was in question, it turned out that the country has a total staffing hunger. And those who decided to stop personnel shots at the expense of their own careers were trapped.

Triumph of the housewives

It turned out that Ukrainian citizens are carriers of the most rigid anti-elite sentiments. On the one hand, this is historically conditioned: Ukrainian lands in different epochs were part of foreign empires, and therefore the category of "law" was perceived as something alien, serving the interests of the metropolis.

Any bearer of office and authority has always acted as a representative of the interests of the conditional "enslaver".

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On the one hand, it is this historical experience that has caused the Ukrainians to always have a protonation: they can only stand up to a stranger's verticality by uniting them on a horizontal level. On the other hand, the lack of experience of state building was felt at a time when the Ukrainian state was born.  As a result, the Maidan situation is the norm, when everyone is equal to each other. But as soon as time comes to re-arrange the horizontal ties to the vertical, the problems begin.

Anyone who decides to move from the category of "one of us" to the status of the manager of a collective resource ("elite"), he very quickly finds himself in the role of an exile. The very idea of "engaging in politics" is perceived as something shameful. And certainly not perceived as something associated with trying to "arrange life."

Dislike and distrust of the vertical creates conditions in which negative selection will only continue. Because Ukrainian citizen does not want to pay high salaries to officials, canceling the very possibility of coming to power of those who will not steal. He prefers to ridicule politicians, but not to get into their programs. Time after time, he votes for the housewives, and later he is surprised that they are bad at governing the state.

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The wicked irony is that change is possible. The war forms a completely different scale of tasks, for the solution of which new people with new approaches are needed.

But if young people in Russia take to the streets because social elevators are boarded up by elites, in Ukraine the youth sits at home, because public policy is blamed by the "lower classes". As a result, only those whose appetites are directly proportional to their thick-skinnedness go back to politics.

The country became a hostage of its own traditions: mistrust and skepticism, cynicism and short-sightedness. The recipes and reactions have not changed for the past three decades.

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