DE PRIN ALTE PĂRŢI RECENTE

Ucraina în flăcări

[label shape=”” type=””] Tetyana Dzyadevych [/label]

For the English version of this article, click here.

 

„Ucraina în flăcări” a devenit cea mai faimoasă imagine a Ucrainei de astăzi. Vedem imagini de parcă luate de pe un cîmp de luptă și ne întreabăm ce se întîmplă totuşi în Ucraina, și de ce? Ce înseamnă de fapt ceea ce vedem? Cum se face că urmărim imagini din centrul geografic al Europei, care ne amintesc de scene din unele opere clasice ale cinematografiei sovietice ucrainene, cum ar fi „Ucraina în flăcări” (1943-1962)? Scenariul acestui film a fost scris de Olexandr Dovjenko, iar soția sa, Iulia Solnţeva, a regizat filmul. În acest film este vorba de al Doilea Război Mondial. Dar ce vedem acum? Este oare aceasta o revoluție? E poate o revoltă? Sau un război civil?

În acest text am de gînd să scot în relief cronologia evenimentelor din Ucraina și să pun în discuţie unele probleme, care, sperăm, ne vor ajuta să înțelegem mai bine situația din Ucraina de astăzi.

Protestele au început în urmă cu mai mult de două luni. Aceste proteste pot fi separate în cîteva faze.

Prima fază, care poate fi numită „mișcarea pro-europeană”, a început la 23 noiembrie și a durat pînă la 29 noiembrie (înainte și în timpul summit-ului UE de la Vilnius, în cadrul căruia Ucraina ar fi putut semna tratatul de asociere cu Uniunea Europeană). În timpul acestei etape au avut loc mai multe mitinguri cu sloganuri pro-europene în diferite orașe ucrainene. Aceste manifestaţii au fost numite „euro-maidane” (de la Europa și „Maidan”, adică „piaţă” în ucraineană). Principalul „maidan” a fost organizat în Piața Independenţei („Maidan”), în centrul oaşului Kiev, unde în 2004 avea loc revoluția „oranj”. Semnul distinctiv al acestor mitinguri a fost simbolica UE: culorile steagului UE, combinate cu culorile drapelului ucrainean, panglici albastre și galbene purtate de protestatari. Sloganul principal al acestor manifestaţii a fost „Україна – це Європа!” („Ucraina este Europa!”) Scopul principal al acestor demonstrații a fost de a convinge președintele Victor Ianukovici să semneze acordul cu UE. Participanţii au vrut de asemenea să demonstreze comunității europene voința și dorința lor de a aparține familiei europene.

În situaţia în care președintele Victor Ianukovici nu a semnat acordul, oamenii (mai ales studenţii) au decis să rămînă în stradă. Mitingurile organizate de aceştia au devenit întrucîtva asemănătoare cu cele ale mişcării „Occupy!”. Participanţii la aceste manifestaţii nu au avut un scop clar. Sloganurile lor au fost în general pro-europene și anti-ruseşti, căci direcția geopolitică alternativă pentru Ucraina a devenit Uniunea vamală formată de Rusia și alte foste state sovietice.

În același timp, în Piața europeană (locul este situat nu departe de Piaţa Independenţei), la Kiev opoziția politică (liderii a trei partide de opoziție reprezentate în Parlament: Vitaliy Klichko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk și Oleg Tiagnybok) a organizat propriile acțiuni, cu propriile simboluri. Este important de notat că cele două mitinguri au fost organizate în același timp, au avut aceeași ordine de zi – integrarea europeană, dar au fost organizate separat. Activiștii din Piața Independenţei au manifestat o poziție apolitică, cei mai mulţi dintre participanţi fiind studenţi. Atunci însă cînd președintele Ianukovici a decis să nu semneze acordul cu UE, aceste mitinguri au fuzionat. Drept urmare, protestul organizat de politicienii din opozişie s-a mutat din Piața europeană în Piața Independenţei.

Dintr-o dată, pe 30 noiembrie, în primele ore ale dimineții polițiștii au dispersat protestatarii pașnici, folosind gaze lacrimogene și forța brută. Manifestanţii au fost bătuți și arestați. Aceasta a fost prima vărsare de sînge din motive politice din Ucraina de la proclamarea independenței în 1991. A doua zi, peste 1 milion şi 600.000 de persoane s-au alăturat protestatarilor. Acesta a fost începutul unui nou val de proteste.

Scopul principal al protestului s-a schimbat. Participanţii au declarat că nu mai vor să susţină un guvern criminal. Dintr-un spaţiu politic, Europa s-a transformat într-un loc simbolic al valorilor umane. Oamenii s-au mobilizat imediat.

Aşa începe o etapă mai creativă a Euro-revoluţiei. Utilizarea activă a rețelelor de socializare a devenit specificul său major. Răspîndirea informației, auto-mobilizarea, împărtăşirea acţiunilor de rutină şi a produselor creative prin Facebook, Twitter, Youtube a devenit o parte esențială a vieții de zi cu zi a protestatarilor. Producţia de clipuri video sociale a devenit una dintre formele de educație a societății civile. Această fază a rămas în general una paşnică, cu excepţia intervenţilor provocatoare atribuite așa-numitor titushky. Aceştia sînt nişte tineri, porecliţi aşa după numele lui Vadym Titushko, cel care pe 18 mai 2013 a bătut jurnalista de la al 5-lea canal TV al opoziției. Numele lui este acum folosit cu referire la tinerii angajați de autoritățile ucrainene pentru a intimida și bate protestatarii pașnici din Ucraina. Aceste provocări au fost de regulă blocate de activiști.

Chiar dacă spațiul virtual este foarte important pentru a înțelege evenimentele din Ucraina, protestele au totuşi o locație fizică precisă, Maidanul în sine. Protestatarii din toată Ucraina au creat la Kiev un oraș în interiorul orașului, cu o structură internă, cu ritualuri specifice şi cu o dinamică proprie puternică. La fiecare oră participanţii cîntă imnul național ucrainean și aprind lumînări. Mai multe activități de masă au fost efectuate în scopul de a atrage atenția publicului larg cu privire la cazul ucrainean. A doua fază a protestului a fost remarcabilă prin extinderea spaţiului controlat de protestatari. Pe lîngă piețele tradiționale şi străzile din vecinătate, participanţii şi-au apropriat unele clădiri administrative importante, cum ar fi Palatul Sindicatelor, Primăria, Palatul de Artă si Cultură, Casa Ucraineană. Activistul Dmytro Bulatov a început mișcarea pentru drepturile civice „Auto-Maidan”. Activiștii de la „Auto-Maidan”, majoritatea membri ai nou-născute clase de mijloc din Ucraina, au blocat drumurile principale, au ajutat oamenii să ajungă în centrul Kievului, au ajutat la coordonarea acțiunilor, au transportat bunuri de consum spre Maidan, au blocat reședințele politicienilor și ale funcționarilor responsabili de dispersarea sîngeroasă a protestelor pașnice. Unii oameni de afaceri anonimi au ajutat la acoperirea teritoriului Maidanului cu internet Wi-Fi gratuit. Întreaga infrastructură primește ajutor financiar din donații private și voluntari (în presa rusă s-a încetăţenit ideea, devenită oficială, privind o presupusă „sponsorizare occidentală” a acestor evenimente) .

10 decembrie a marcat a treia fază a protestului. În timpul nopţii, polițiști anti-protest au început să atace manifestaţia pașnică. Aceste evenimente au fost transmise în direct. Se poate observa o dinamică interesantă de gen. Bărbaţii au fost chemați să protejeze tabăra, pentru a păstra perimetrul zidului de apărare simbolic. Femeile au fost îndemnate, în schimb, să se ascundă în interiorul fortificației pentru a sprijini bărbaţii cu cîntece. De fapt, orașul simbolic medieval din Maidan a reinstaurat rolurile de gen tradiționale. Bărbaţii au fost nevoiţi să-şi asume rolul de protectori și războinici, pe cînd femeile au rămas să lucreze „în spatele frontului”, gătind, asigurînd asistență medicală, oferind anumite programe de divertisment. Uneori, fetele dăruiau soldaţilor din trupele speciale flori și săruturi, așa cum s-a întîmplat în SUA în timpul protestelor împotriva războiului din Vietnam, în 1960: „Faceţi dragoste, nu război!”.

Demolarea monumentului lui Lenin a devenit un gest simbolic de adio faţă de URSS. Acest act simbolic de eliberare de trecutul sovietic a provocat o discuție enormă nu doar în interiorul țării, dar și în străinătate, în special în Rusia. Prin definiţie, pentru protestatarii de pe Euro-Maidan și ai Euro-revoluției contactul cu lumea exterioară este considerat extrem de important. Oamenii lansează diferite apeluri în engleză și în alte limbi europene. Aceste apeluri sînt adresate diferitor oficiali, dar și oamenilor obișnuiți. Pe scena principală a maidanului, reprezentanții străini sînt întotdeauna salutaţi călduros. Presa străină este de asemenea văzută ca fiind extrem de importantă. Presa din lume a fost intens monitorizată, publicațiile referitoare la Ucraina au fost răspîndite în timp real prin intermediul rețelelor de socializare.

În timpul acestor proteste, Guvernul nu a reacționat în niciun fel și s-a prefăcut că nu observă sutele de mii de oameni din stradă. Protestatarii cîntau cîntece şi chemau la proteste pașnice. Dar nimic nu s-a schimbat. Mai tîrziu protestatarii au organizat acţiuni de protest lîngă casele particulare ale celor de la putere. Atunci cînd cei de la „Auto-Maidan” au venit la casa lui Victor Medvedciuk, fostul șef al Administrației președintelui, un politician care se poziţionează ferm pentru legături mai strînse cu Rusia, și au dărîmat gardul reședinței, acesta a promis că va începe războiul împotriva Euro-maidanului și a tuturor protestatarilor.

Pe 16-19 ianuarie, Parlamentul a adoptat și publicat 20 de legi antidemocratice și anti-constituționale. După publicarea acestor legi orice fel de protest a devenit ilegală. Aceasta a fost sfîrșitul perioadei pașnice a euro-revoluției ucrainene.

Aşa începe o fază sîngeroasă a mişcării din Euro-Maidan, cu protestatari radicali de dreapta, îmbrăcaţi în uniforme, echipaţi cu bastoane și bombe de petrol (cocktailuri Molotov), care s-au angajat în lupte cu polițiștii (așa-numitul Berkut) pe strada Grushevsky, încercînd să mărșăluiască către Parlamentul ucrainean pentru a protesta împotriva legilor a căror punere în aplicare ar putea conduce Ucraina la stabilirea unei dictaturi și a unui stat polițienesc. De cealaltă parte, Berkut a utilizat gloanțe de cauciuc, gaze lacrimogene, tunuri de apă și grenade paralizante.

Cinci protestatari au murit pe strada Grushevsky de arme de foc. Aproximativ 20 de protestatari au primit traume la ochi, 5 persoane şi-au pierdut ochii pentru totdeauna, un protestatar şi-a pierdut mâna. Aceasta pe lîngă faptul că, potrivit presei de opoziție, o fată a fost ucisă la Kharkov (cel mai mare oraş din estul Ucrainei), unii oameni au fost răpiți și găsiţi în pădurile din apropiere, cu semne de tortură. Sute de persoane au fost arestate.

În chiar acest moment protestatarii îşi menţin poziţiile pe Maidan și pe strada Grushevsky, ocupă clădirea Ministerului Justiției și alte clădiri importante. În regiuni, oamenii au început să blocheze administrațiile locale. Acum protestatarii controlează administrațiile din regiunile de vest și centrul Ucrainei.

Pe teritoriile ocupate protestatarii au organizat o bibliotecă, o universitate liberă, un spital, un teren de sport. Ei încă mai cîntă imnul ucrainenan și se roagă (rolul Bisericii în acțiunile de protest este mare, dar aceasta este o chestiune în sine, cele mai multe Biserici din Ucraina şi-au declarat sprijinul pentru protestatarii pașnici).

Statistica Maidanului spune că protestatarii sînt în proporţie de 50% din Kiev și 50% din regiuni (nu numai din Ucraina de Vest, Ucraina de Est este şi ea prezentă, chiar și în punctele cele mai fierbinți, cum ar fi strada Grushevsky), 92% dintre participanţi nu fac parte din niciun partid politic, vîrsta medie este de 36 de ani, 64% dintre persoane au studii superioare, 54% vorbesc doar limbă ucraineană, 27% vorbesc doar rusa, 18% vorbesc în ambele limbi. 40% sînt specialiști cu diplomă de studii, 12% sînt studenți, 9% sînt proprietari de afaceri, 8% sînt funcţionari şi manageri de rang înalt, 9% sînt pensionari, 7% sînt muncitori.

La 28 ianuarie, premierul Mykola Azarov a demisionat, iar Ianukovici a acceptat. Ianukovici a propus o serie de posturi în Guvern celor trei lideri ai opoziției, dar ei au respins oferta. Parlamentul a anulat legile sîngeroase de la 16 ianuarie, dar Ianukovici nu a semnat încă decizia. Mai mult chiar, la 29 ianuarie deputații din Partidul Regiunilor, sub presiunea din partea președintelui, care a venit în Parlament și a vorbit cu oamenii în spatele ușilor închise în seara zilei cînd au fost adoptate legile, au votat pentru propria versiune a legii cu privire la amnistie, transformîndu-i pe oamenii aflaţi în arest în ostatici şi încercînd să spele abuzurile de putere comise de polițiști.

Rezumînd cele spuse, protestele actuale din Ucraina demonstrează o nouă etapă în mobilizarea societății civile. Această etapă se caracterizează prin multiple poliloguri în interiorul țării și în afara. Oamenii arată că societatea este mult mai matură decît liderii oficiali ai țării. Aceştia au ieşit în străzi pentru valorile umane și pentru viitorul civilizat al propriei țări, fără corupție și violență. Ei nu se aliază nici Europei, nici Rusiei, ci sînt acolo pentru propria lor țară și gata de a răspunde pentru aceasta. Acesta este motivul pentru care orice fel de negociere cu actuala putere nu este acceptată. Ei nu doresc să fie guvernaţi de către un președinte care colaborează cu criminalii și rămîne la putere prin angajarea unor titushky, dînd ordine ilegale trupelor militare și polițiștilor. În acest moment, președintele este, potrvit relatărilor, în spital cu febră. El a declarat că este în concediu medical și, prin urmare, nu va semna niciuna dintre legile adoptate de Parlament recent. Acest lucru nu permite o ieşire legală sau politică din situație.

 

Traducere de Petru Negură

 

Notă: Articolul a fost primit la redacţia PZF pe 1 februarie.

 

 

Despre autor

Tetyana Dzyadevych

Ph.D. in East Slavic literatures from the Marie Curie-Skłodowska University of Lublin (Poland). Now she continues her education in Slavic Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research topic is “World War II through Women’s Experience.” Her fields of interest include postcolonial studies, gender studies, memory studies.

28 Comentarii

  • E o perspectiva intersanta si utila. Insa ofera doar un punct de vedere – cel al protestatarilor anti-guvernamentali. Indeferent de preferintele politice care le purtam, o analiza obiectiva nu e posibila daca privim unilateral un asa fenomen complex cum e confruntarea intre guvern si o patura a populatiei in Kiev. E o imagine romantica, eroica chiar a miscarii de protest. Datele despre politistii care au suferit in proteste, si care sunt foarte multi nu sunt. Nu se face conectiunea logica ca liderii protestatarilor pasnici au folosit ‘protestatarii radicali” pentru a provoca raspunsul guvernului. Nu se indica ca multi dintre protestatarii pasnici la fel au folosit violenta si arme in ciocnirile cu politia. Protestatarii au folosit gaze si substante chimice contra politistilor, in afara de bombele de petrol, si ‘sulite’. Se poate intelege spiritie incinse intre protestatari, si dorinta lor de a da cu busna in cladirile guvernamentale. Insa fortele de ordine au sarcina sa protejeze aceste cladiri guvernamentale. Incercati si intrati o gloata de zece oameni cu bete si petre in o cladire guvernmantala in Europa Occidentala. In special cind sute si mii de oameni merg spre centre administrative, oricare forta de ordine din lume are proceduri de operare standarde sa preintimpine acest lucru.

    Plus, sunt careva inexactitati. Da, legile primite in timpul protestelor de guvernul ucrainean nu erau cele mai democratice. Dar nu e adevarat ca ele interziceau oricare protest – ele doar le regulau prea strict. Tehnic, ce se petrece in Ukraina e o rasturnare de stat, si incalca legile ucrainesti, dar si a oricarui stat democratic. Da, multi nu le place de Ianukovici, dar el a fost ales democratic. In SUA sunt alegeri unde se voteaza pentru presedinte 49%-51%, si cei 49% accepta alegerea celor 51%, ca altfel se face razboi civil. Mi se poate raspunde ca sistemul politic nu permitea alte masuri sa opreasca faradelegile unui regim autoritar. Posibil, dar imaginile din Kiev nu par nici pe departe a proteste pasnice. Gandi a confruntat un oponent mult mai violent si cu mai putin restrictii de a aplica violenta, dar nu a raspuns cu violenta. Imi va parea bine daca Ukraina in urma protestelor va avea un guvern mai democratic, dar nu cred ca violenta trebuie eroizata.

  • Dumitru, am o sugestie: ce ar fi să reiei sau să rezumi acest comentariu în engleză (pe pagina articolului în engleză), pentru ca autoarea să poată eventual răspunde la întrebările şi obiecţiile tale?

  • Petru, I have got the general meaning of the comment.
    1) Right Sector does not consist only from people from the Western Ukraine. There are people from Donetsk and the Crimea Peninsula.
    2) Ghandi was a great example of the peaceful straggle but he fight with the UK with strict understanding what the Law does mean. Contemporary Ukrainian power does not understand the symbol of the peaceful protest.
    3) Yanukovych received the power not via honest competition, but via administrative resource and manipulation, so it is not comparable with the USA elections.
    4) I do not romanticize the violence per se, but the level of self-organization and mobilization deserves a huge respect, as well.
    5) Now Maidan connected people from the whole regions and we are observing the civic society creating and unification of Ukrainians, Jews, Tatars, Christian, Muslims etc

  • Tetyana, Dumitru also was implying that your take on the protests is somewhat unilateral: you offer only the perspective of the protesters while ignoring the point of view of the government. Methodologically I would agree with him but as an activist myself I was very glad you offered a short history of the protests and an overview of their constituencies and their tactics. Also from the activist perspective, I would be glad to know more of the repertoires of action-reaction, symbolic battles and all the thins that are part of the so-called protest imagination.
    I agree with you that these protests represent a new stage of civil society mobilization in Ukraine, although I am a little uncomfortable that this new stage is associated primarily with political protests. I know to a certain extent the activist scene of Kyiv and Lviv (we have a nice collaboration with some contemporary artists and activists there) and I know that there have been a series of civic protests for the public space, for the rights of cyclists, for the green spaces, for the rights of the LGBT, for the preservation of the historical center of Kyiv. These protests were frequently ignored by the media, but they have done a great job in organizing people, giving them the experience of mobilization and so on.
    And here comes, in my opinion, the limits of these protests: they are organized and fueled by political parties. Which means that they will not create new inter-party platforms, but rather will fall along the lines of previous political divisions. They will (as they already had) energize the political scene, but I am skeptical about their potential to generate new civic movements or new civic themes such as the meaning of citizenship, social justice, the right to the city and so on.

  • Thank you, Vitalie!
    Frankly speaking, I cannot talk from the perspective of the Government and Ukrainian Power. They do not want to lose the power because it means material goods, comfort, stability etc. They hire the marginals for their Anti-Maidan meetings, or send people who work on the state or their companies by force to participate in it paying money for their “activism”.
    I do agree with you about the role of art-performances and other political agenda activism (green movement, bike rights, LGBTQ movements all of the have own political agenda) in the mass-mobilization trainings and education of the political consensus. I did not include it in the texts because i did not want to extend it. Internet texts should be limited because nobody would read them (i-pod generation readers cannot swallow a long text). I did research about the evolution of the protests in Ukraine from 1999 I could share, but it is too long for Internet blog.

  • Tetyana, I would gladly read your research on the evolution of the protests in Ukraine from 1999 onward. I just finished a book on social movements in Russia:
    Городские движения России в 2009–2012 годах: на пути к политическому. Под редакцией: Карин Клеман, 2013.
    http://www.nlobooks.ru/node/3771

  • Fine, let me try to clarify my initial input, to which Tetyana responded so promptly. My key point is that the quickest way to undermine a great liberal idea is to promote it through the discrediting means of the illiberal opponent. That tends to blur the borders between the two. Let’s imagine that an observer, which is neutral between the two political agendas, is looking at the two sides. The observer – an Ukrainian citizen, just wants to live better. S(he) sympathizes first with the protesters, which seem to be following a just and noble cause. Then, after seeing the Kiev in rubbles and fire, which mostly were caused by the protesters, s(he) may start to think that perhaps the protesters may actually be no better then their opponent. Ukraine has already gone through the great disappointment of the Orange revolution, when the ‘democrats’ came to power but then faced with political realities and the lure of quick enrichment, had failed their voters.

    Now, if this does not triggers any doubt in your view about the current protests, let us imagine one more thing. Let’s just presume that the protests manage to bring to power what I call the TYK trio (the three leaders of the protests so extensively advertised by the media). A logical step for them will be to get back on the EU institutional integration track, that was abandoned by Yanukovich team. Now, how would you feel about the emergence of an absolutely similar crowd in Kiev and across the country, and I mean identical in behavior, that instead would protest against the European integration of Ukraine, asking for integration with the Russia-led Customs Union, and demanding that the government steps down? From a liberal-democratic, and even moral human perspective, they have the very same right to protests against a policy choice that they feel does not represent their preference. However, would you be so positive about this new crowd of protesters, and heroize them as benignly? That is, in my view, the greatest danger of the Ukrainian protests, the way they are conducted. By employing violence and force to basically attempt in overthrowing a government, they send the message to their opponents that this is an acceptable rule of the game. So that they can employ it when they disagree with something pro-European group of citizens initiate, when in power.

    To make this discussion constructive, it will be worth setting a common ground for discussion. We first shall see if we agree with the factual part of the story. First, from the extensive reading I have done, including pro-opposition sources, and various videos I have watched of the protest dynamics, I can say that “Pravyi Sektor” was not the only force that provided participants for the violent actions. “Svoboda” and just people from the crowd took active part in the violent confrontations with the police and other governmental representatives. One interesting reading is this http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Правый_сектор which is a current article. Even though it presents some questionable claims, quite a few moments are at least very plausible, and with a little more research can be supported. Then, the TYK never de facto distanced themselves from these violent groups – in fact these groups were instrumental for the protests, as they provided defense of the perimeter for instance. Then, the peaceful crowd has never tried to detain the violent individuals and handle them to authorities, which a peaceful protest would supposedly do – one that would like to avoid being associated with the violence. In fact, the violent groups were provided harbor, were supplied with throwing projectiles (like stones), and was often joined by elements of the ‘peaceful crowd”. In the emotional rage of the protest, the violence is alluring and seductive. As a rule, it is sufficient to have a few provocateurs in a crowd to throw stones, and if the police responds with force, soon the whole crowd is going to throw stones, and kick at the police shields.

    One more thing, though not final, since I don’t want to make this too long. You said you can’t say anything about the perspective of those who face the opposition protesters. Well, for the sake of objectivity you should give it a try. Think about who those policemen are? Many of them may be relatives of people from the crowd they face. They are somebody’s fathers, brothers, friends and boyfriends. They did nothing wrong – as their job is to protect the public order, and for some of them specifically the governmental buildings. They have the duty to stay there behind the shields and block the passage of the crowd into governmental buildings. If they stand still, the approaching crowd starts throwing petrol bombs, stones against them, or even use home-made spears. By law, this is a criminal offense to attack a law enforcement officer – in any country. If you do that in US, you are probably going to be shot. I have watched how German police dispersed crowds during WTO or other meetings – they were really rough. Having a noble ideal behind does not give you the right to break the law, and become basically a criminal. Or, if you do this and believe defending your ideal justifies this, then your opponents will do the same tomorrow. However, democracy is about finding consensus between dissimilar ideas, without using violence.

    I also want to make one clarification – please look into the history of Gandhi-incited peaceful protests in India. The British did understand law, but at the time law did not encourage demonstrations by Indians. In fact, to update your view on the issue, read about the so-called Amritsar Massacre in April 1919. Another inconsistency in your response is the claim that Yanukovych did not gain power democratically, but through the use of administrative resources. If I understand it correctly, Yanukovych won the presidential race against Yushenko and Tymoshenko in 2010. He was not in office, so the administrative power technically belonged to Yushenko. Talking about manipulation – that’s a complex topic. I’ve seen research claiming the elections in democratic states is not fair any longer, since the candidate with more money can buy more advertisement and influence public opinion (case of US for instance). Along the same line, there is also research saying money can’t make the difference since it is the preferences of the voters that matter. I think both a right, and money cannot influence strong preferences, but would be useful to attract indecisive voters. So, I am afraid your point 2 and 3 are not entirely accurate from a factual point of view. Vitalie earlier questioned your nr.5 on definitional ground.

    Even though I share the political preferences of the many protesters in Kiev, I disagree with the means used to achieve their goals. Not least because these can be borrowed by protesters in other countries, to claim legitimacy for violent resistance.

  • I would like to intervene in this discussion, since I feel a bit responsible less about the content per se than about the form of this text. I should say that not only I translated it into Romanian, but I asked Tetyana to write for platzforma a testimony, rather than an analysis; a testimony about how one Ukrainian might feel to be in US, Chicago, while her/his country and city are literally „in flames”. Tetyana kindly accepted our invitation and challenge of sharing her feelings and remarks about the events in Kiev, while being emotionally involved in and at the same staying outside these events. Even so, this testimony contains a number of I would say very interesting elements of analysis.

    Dumitru, in my view, your point is right in principle, but not completely in line with the register of this text.
    I agree with you in principle when you say that whether one makes an analysis of a certain social or political phenomenon, s/he should take into account all the involved actors and their particular perspectives and logic of action. Thus, if one studies the dissident movement in the USSR, s/he risks to painting a partial picture if s/he limits her/his analysis to the point of view of the regime’s opponents only.

    However, I only partially agree with you when you say that “By employing violence and force to basically attempt in overthrowing a government, they [Ukrainian protesters] send the message to their opponents that this is an acceptable rule of the game. So that they can employ it when they disagree with something pro-European group of citizens initiate, when in power.” It is certainly right if you look now at TV and see all the violence there, coming from both sides. Yet, I would keep in mind that from November 2013, Yanukovich’s administration broke twice the fragile status quo within the Ukrainian society, 1) when he decided not to sign the association EU Agreement, which was ready for and which did not raise at that moment any serious and visible discontent from any part of the Ukrainian society; 2) when the Ukrainian parliament voted the very harsh regulation (harsher than in Russia at that time), infringing on the freedom to assembly. In other words, from November 2013, Yanukovich changed twice the rule of the game (and that, during the game!).

    Another point is that it is probably a bit unfair to put on the same scales the protesters’ physical force and the State’s capacity to counter it, even though Ukrainian protesters seem to resist quite tenaciously so far. By the way, I don’t know any victim (dead people) after the Occupy protests have been muffled by the police. In Ukraine there are already at least five dead people (all protesters), tens of missing people, and many other tortured.

    Following the above exposed reasoning, in order to restore the initial status quo (before November 2013), Yanukovich should reconsider his decision about signing or not the EU association agreement and to repeal the anti-protest legislation. Otherwise, the repeated elections might be a fair solution, too.

  • Petru, I definitely did not mean to challenge Tetyana, and her input is very much welcome. However, this is a social interaction, and when you present an opinion, you shall expect to be presented with an alternative. It is the underlying logic of a discussion. It would be difficult to learn if everyone will agree with you all the time. I pointed out that there is another side in this interaction, not necessarily Yanukovych. It is my understanding that I did respond to Tetyana in a form that was not personally offensive, and did not (I hope) hurt any feelings. The perspective I am trying to present is mostly ignored, especially among activists. Do you recall the 2009 protests in Chisinau and the 18-19 year-old boys in uniforms that were placed by the authorities in front of a much bigger crowd of protesters. Protesters of roughly the same age that were releasing their rage at authorities by throwing stones at these kids? Kids that were under the oath to follow orders, preserve public order, defend public property – exactly what the state is supposed to do for the citizens. When someone decides to use violence, it is useful to think who is on the receiving end, regardless of the supposedly benign explanations, that we are tempted to explore as self-excuse. There is rarely a potent excuse for violence, by the way.

    Would you come up with excuses when the Russian-speaking citizens in Moldova start exerting the same behavior that the Ukrainian opposition shows today in Ukraine, but demanding instead that Moldovan government stop integration with EU? By your logic, they have the same right to use violence against a government that is not sensible to their political preferences. Quite legitimate political preferences I must say. There is not much conceptual difference between the {preference for EU-preference for CU} dyad and the {heterosexual – homosexual} dyad of preferences. You may like Moldovan wines, and I may instead like Californian wines – it is our right to have these preferences.

    I would like to continue the hypothetical scenario that I started to build. Let’s say the government in Chisinau will just sit and wait for the anti-EU protests to cool down. And then the protesters will send their radical wing to beat up a police patrol in Chisnau or Balti, or location X, in order to film how the police responds back. Attacking a police officer is a crime, so the law allows him/her to use force in response. The attackers know that. After filming the police response, which can be just roughing up a bit the attackers, the latter may post the film on the internet, and insist that the police is beating up the poor young protesters. That may not be what happened in Ukraine, but it is an application of the same dynamic. Then, would you express your approval of crowds in Moldova taking over administrative buildings in Gagauzia, Taraclia, Basarabeasca, Balti, etc? Hey, if we like this in Ukraine and justify it on some moral grounds, why wouldn’t it turn us on when it occurs in Moldova? It’s all dandy!

    My argument is not against Tatiana, or her view and perception of the Ukrainian protests. As I said, I totally sympathize with the protesters aspiration to integrate Ukraine into EU. Instead, mine is a proposal to look differently at a very complex social dynamic, like mass protests, and try to review how we attach the ‘good’ and ‘evil’ labels to things.

  • Dumitru, I don’t want to excuse any violence, whether it is used by the state or by protesters. But in order to avoid it, I think the state should have enough institutional, logistical, informational and not last physical capabilities to prevent it. In the cases you invoked (Chisinau April 2009 and Euro-Maidan protests in Kiev), both the state leaders and police failed to appropriately use the legitimate means they disposed in order to prevent the excessive use of violence. As about the alleged anti-EU protest in Gagauzia, Balti and even Transnistria, I would say that (as well as in the case of Kiev 2013), the state did not – and still does not – effectively communicate with people from those regions, in order to inform them about the risks and benefits of the concerned agreements. So, again, that does not excuse any use of (illegitimate) violence, by anyone, but the observers shall take into account the larger picture of (in this case violent) dynamic of interaction between two or more involved actors.

  • I would agree with most moments of the critique if it would be only about two choices/directions to Ukraine and if the Government would play honestly without using the provocateurs, titushka troops, prepaid meetings, played anti-semitic card and so on. The story of the Ukrainian rebel did not started in November 2013. As well as the story of the wave of brutal violence did not started on Hrushevsky street.
    It started early when the Family privatized Ukraine, when the raiders’ attacks of the members of the clan became a part of the normal routine, when the militia became uncontrolled especially the road militia, and so on When there was a line of brutal rape cases covered by local authorities and so on. This line of the criminal attitudes could be continue. Right now it is not the question of Euro-integration, as well it is not West vs East, Ukrainians vs Russians.It does not fit to any frame used before. It does not follow the scenario of the color revolutions, but I am afraid we are in one or two steps to the Civil war: peoples (yes, peoples not people) vs regime.
    Unfortunately this power understands only the language of the brutal force and violence. We can discuss why, maybe because of the criminal past (and present), maybe because they understand that they have money only when they have power and do not know how to develop economy. This regime does not understand the language of the legacy and law.
    If somebody wants to see only ethnic or regional case it would be difficult to loot at the whole complex of the current events, movements, diversity of the actions and participants. Even the fact that Igor Kolomoisky- the President of the European Jewish Union – gives the financial support to Svoboda and Maidan says about heterogeneous nature of the current events.
    People organizes the free university and library there, the school of the foreign languages and workshops not only of self-defense, but of painting and hand-craft. They are not brutal illiterate criminals semi drunk semi drug addicted as somebody used to see them or as the Russian TV used to show.
    Anyway I do not think I have to participate in this discussion anymore. I wrote the text and that’s it. It is a free space and everybody has own right on the personal point of view.

  • Petru, when you say “the state did not communicate effectively with people from this region” you assume that communication is always able to change perceptions about the world, and preferences over choices/outcomes. But if you were correct, then we would see instances of convergence in perceptions and preferences in mass. We, however, do not see that. What does it tell us? It could mean your ‘communication” assumption is mostly likely inaccurate, and inconsistent with the reality. If you consider EU integration is a good thing, because it would bring more individual freedom, institutional accountability, potential prosperity (though this is increasingly questionable given the empiric evidence of latest EU members, at least in short few decade period), etc. – this does not mean everyone believes this is the case. Some people may not have individual freedom in the top of their preference ranking (as World Survey has shown convincingly), instead preferring more socially-oriented programs run by the government (as an example). Yet some other people may have the ethnic and cultural values in the top of their preferences ranking, meaning that maintaining closer relations with Russia is just that for them.

    I did stress all these above, but you apparently either did not catch it, or preferred to ignore it. If you like strawberry ice-cream, then regardless of how much I communicate with you in the effort to convince you that chocolate ice-cream is better, you are mostly likely going to stick to your original preference. Yet one more example – religion is considered to be one of the most resistant to change preferences. And as I already used this example in my discussion with Lilian, religious preferences are a lot like cultural preferences. I would like to suggest that the EU-CU divide is of a cultural origin. It does not mean you can’t convince people, but only that it takes very long time to change these preferences. So, even though it is the easiest thing to do, I would not always blame the government.

    The last one – what in your view was the “appropriate use of legitimate means” that police failed to use to prevent violence in 2009 protests? When we refer to a policy or an action, we are supposed to know exactly what we mean by that – I don’t really understand what you mean. Tell me what the police was supposed to do exactly?

    Tetyana, thank you for your continuing communication and the clarifications you brought. Now I understand your point of view much better. Please, do not get me wrong – at no point have I even alluded that you don’t have the right to a personal point of view. And of course, nobody is forcing you to participate in the discussion – it is just a common sense in some places to answer the questions of curious people or respond to their remarks if they are constructive. But by no means it is an obligation – I am very grateful for the time that you spent presenting your perspective, and then responding to our inputs.

  • Dumitru, your comment raises an array of fascinating topics to discuss, which would be difficult to exhaust in a few comments. The relation (positive correlation) between communication and social change is altogether debatable. But when I said that “the state did not – and still does not – effectively communicate with people from those regions”, I did not necessarily imply that „communication is ALWAYS [I emphasize] able to change perceptions about the world, and preferences over choices/outcomes”. I rather had in mind that people from the region had the right to be informed about what do these EU agreements (association…, free trade…, visa free…, etc.), initialed and to be signed with EU, actually mean. By saying that, I did not mean the necessity for the state to apply persuasive strategies in the region in order to change people’s values or preferences. I simply wanted to say that both the state and citizens would benefit of being informed about different very important governing projects. The association agreement was only very recently translated into Romanian and Russian. According to some surveys, 58% of the population of the Rep. of Moldova is favorable to the EU integration, but how many know more or less accurately what does the EU association agreement mean? So, for me the point is not to persuade people (in order to change them), but to respect their right to be informed in a matter that would likely change their life. It is fully legitimate in my view to make a (political) choice, based on different types of rationalities, be these values, traditional loyalties, pragmatic reasons, sympathies, etc. In my opinion, the Moldovan state (and the Ukrainian one earlier) just missed a great opportunity to inform and organize useful debates about these agreements and others, including in the regions inhabited by traditionally pro-Russian oriented people. The Moldovan government should learn now (within 2014) the lesson from their Ukrainian colleagues’ fail to communicate with their citizens. Neither these political choices (EU/CU), nor the rationalities that one is basing upon his/her choices, are slightly comparable with taste preferences; these are governing projects, to be carried out by the state – and occasionally to be voted by the population –, that are supposed to highly involve people’s lives in the future.

    As about April 2009, many observers noticed the government’s lack of strategic capability (if it was not a mere malevolence) to not properly defend the governmental buildings from the protesters. The government disposed an array of technical possibilities and better fitted human resources to impede it. Instead, it found nothing better to do than to put these ‘kids’ (from ‘carabienieri’ troops) in front of the governmental buildings…

    Look, I don’t want at all to justify the violence used by protesters or by the state. My point was that the state has first of all the responsibility (and resources of all kinds) to keep the public order and to protect the public goods (without arbitrary violence). I guess that your point is to claim a certain part of responsibility to protesters, too. Am I right? In this case, I agree.

  • Ok, Petru, I guess I can see what you focus on. If you just refer to the duty of a democratic government to keep the people informed – that I do not dispute. It was a bit confusing though, because you mentioned this communication with people in the context of potential anti-EU protests. If we believe that we live in a state of the world where a subset of the population is just misinformed and more information would just reduce uncertainty and therefore allow for a more effective decision by this subset of the population – that is one thing. However, the reality is just much more complex and it depends on how this people rank their preferences.

    As even Formuzal mentioned it, people do understand that the standards of living are higher in the West. However the subset of EU-skeptic people believe that provided various linguistic, cultural, institutional, and economic efficiency disadvantages, a rapprochement with EU would likely decrease their current welfare level instead of increasing it. They even may buy it that in long term perspective the integration would be beneficial. However, they may disagree on what “long-term perspective” could signify. If this is 10 years for instance they may be willing to put up with hardship. But if they believe this would take 30+ years, they just may not want to do that. If what I am saying is a more or less accurate description of the EU-sceptic people preferences, than we have a problem.

    Just informing people would do actually very little to change their choice – one would need to intervene more seriously to adjust the location of their so-called reference point. But this is difficult, because in fact nobody knows how quickly the welfare will improve significantly in Moldova, after EU integration. Besides, it is not news for us that some groups of people in Moldova in fact prefer to exchange individual liberties for increased welfare (again see World Survey data). So, I do believe that the government would need to actually work hard to persuade these people and attempt to adjust their perceptions about the world in order to modify their preferences.

    On 2009 protests – I know what the experts say. My point is that many experts in Moldova like to criticize what the government does, but they rarely have concrete policies to propose in return, with solid argumentation as to why these policies are going to improve the status quo, and a mechanism explaining how they are going to do it. The fact is that any problem allows for a finite choice of policies – due to scarcity of resources, political limitations, etc. To prevent violence police would have to identify the instigators in the crowd, grab them, and move to a secure location so that they are isolated from the rest. This is in case they did not do that even before the crowd started to gather. However, both of these things are not always possible, and then police would have to be reactive – either try to deter the crowd through its presence, or actually stop those who act as initiators. How do they do that? Employing physical force – we have not invented yet the teleport like in Start Trek. But here is when one small problem emerges. Do you believe the protesters get high when police grabs them? No, they actually fight back, and their buddies try to prevent the police form isolating members of their group. Have you watched how police in Germany is dispersing the crowds? Or in US? There is a very thin border between a peaceful crowd that just stands and chants slogans, and a crowd that starts to throw stones, burn cars, and break into the shops. It is easy to miss that margin and when things go wrong, there is nothing yet invented better than tear gas, water cannons, and perhaps various sound-based devices. It is easy to say – you should have used ‘better’ means. In these case I like to suggest – tell the police exactly how were they supposed to do it. This is when many experts prefer to stay silent.

  • Dumitru, what you say sounds quite reasonable to me and I guess following it easily. Yet my feeling is that our perspectives diverge somehow, so that we sometimes may misunderstand each other. If my perception is correct, you refer to people (voters, protesters) as a resource within larger strategic plans to be carried out by political actors, or as a problem, when their behavior does not fit well into these plans. You look at communication as an element of more profound and ambitious ‘social engineering’ program aiming at transforming this ‘target-audience’ in order to mobilize it and make it participate in certain political projects (“Just informing people would do actually very little to change their choice – one would need to intervene more seriously to adjust the location of their so-called reference point. But this is difficult…”). In the case of the already invoked example of the pro-EU project promoted by the current Moldovan elites and the reluctant population from some regions (Balti, Gagauzia, etc.), you see that as a problem (at least, for the mentioned elites). Talking about the need of communication with these people, my aim was less ambitious than yours. My point was not to persuade and/or to transform it (through communication or other strategies, which would be difficult, I agree), but to give them enough elements of information to make a sound decision (for them, not for the elites) in a given ‘universe of possibilities’.

    I believe that some people (probably the majority), not only in Moldova, would prefer acceptable living conditions and welfare to some individual liberties. Well, even so, I am not sure whether Russia would be a preferable welfare state (from that specific perspective) in comparison to let say Sweden or even France. In my view, the participants to the recent referendum in Gagauzia just expressed their ‘vote of censure’ to the Moldovan government, because they live badly and they blame Chisinau for their low standard of living, which is explainable. The best strategy that the Moldovan government could apply to attract the cooperation of this people in the region is to contributing to enhance their well-being. The Gagauzes feel abandoned and, worse, plundered by the state (Chisinau). But they are not the only ones who think so. Average Moldovans feel quite the same… But here I will smoothly move to your article. So, see you there.

  • Petru, this discussion takes place in a concrete political context, and therefore my arguments were jut reflecting that. I defined a few relevant issues, and I am pointing out what could help address them, and what would not, in my view. Also, I am not discussing the issue as trying to solve a problem in the perception of the elites. I don’t care much about elites – my perspective is one of generating public goods.

    I see your points as very abstract, and ignoring the underlying conditions of the political context we discuss. I already responded to your suggestion about just informing people for the sake of helping hem make “a sound decision” for themselves. What exactly would you suggest that people need to be informed about, that has not been already done, and that would not be ‘invasive’ from a decision-changing viewpoint, but would clarify the picture for the citizens? With the risk of repeating some parts of my last comment, I would suggest that your statements imply an assumption that people made ‘unsound’ decision (of course I always meant for themselves, and not for ‘elites’ as you try to suggest) because they did not know sufficiently about the issue (EU integration). What I am trying instead to propose, is that people generally know the key things necessary to rank their preferences accurately. Again, I am repeating myself – people, I believe, realize the standards of living in the West are better than in RM or Russia. However, they also believe (and have quite sound reasons for that) that due to some discriminatory mechanisms which are not under their, or their government’s control (economy is not competitive, they don’t know the local languages for EU markets, they feel culturally alien in the West, etc.) they have better chances in the East than in the West.

    Then, it does not matter whether Russia from a welfare perspective is lagging behind France or Sweden. Your compare apples and oranges. What matters is that Russia is more attractive from a welfare perspective than Moldova, which is the reference point in that choice exercise. As I said, and I am trying to stress again – the fact that Sweden is better than Russia does not mean much for the choice of many Russian-speaking citizens – if they don’t speak Swedish. To clarify this, consider how many immigrants from former USSR have not liked it in US, for instance, because they felt estranged, uncomfortable in the new environment, etc. There are many of those.

    Now, saying that Gagauzia penalized the Moldovan government with their choice, because their economic conditions are poor, is just not convincing. If this was true, than the whole Moldova would have had to do the same, because economic hardship is a cold reality all across Moldova. Here again, I would like to call for realistic ideas – how feasible, and even politically useful/practical is saying that ‘Moldovan government needs to enhance the well-being of its citizens”? Everyone knows that, the question is how to do that? If this was easy, there would not have been a science of Economics, and people would all be rich. Besides, being rich, the voters in Gagauzia could have voted against EU integration as well.

    By the way, I regret to say your perception is not always correct, since I never referred to people as strategic resources. I refer to them as actors, that have their own agenda, interests, and choices. However, I discuss them from a public policy perspective. I recognize that the problem behind why a part of Moldovan citizens prefer CU is not necessarily the lack of information, or misunderstanding – but it is a pragmatic preference for themselves. In this case, if our goal is to increase the welfare of the people generally across the country, then we would have to basically buy out the opponents of EU integration. It can either be done directly – you start to invest more into these regions as a condition for them to support the EU vector; which has its problems. Or, it can be done through persuasion – you begin to appeal to things that they may value more than short term interests, like getting better paid in Russia. I think Moldovan government should appeal to their conservative values – specifically children – basically using intrusive messages to convince them that “We are not able to build a prosperous Moldova for ourselves – let’s do it for our children”, and insist that this is equal to EU integration. If am a correct that they basically know the relevant facts about EU and informing them (as you suggest) would not change anything, then this is one of the few remaining options.

    I guess the little deviation in our arguments is due to the perspectives we take, which you sort of alluded to. I am considering solutions with the potential goal in mind – before doing A, I demand that we ask ourselves what for this is done, or what are we going to achieve as a result and whether we need this result at all. I also call for concrete solutions that are clear, detailed, and supported by logic and evidence in the sense that they are going to achieve what they claim to. When you say “let’s inform the people” I am questioning what this would bring us and if we need this; and also if there are better ways to do this. If informing people in addition to what has already been done, would not change their choice then I must question the necessity of this move. When you say ‘the best strategy is to enhance their well-being”, I, knowing that this is not feasible in a 5-10 year perspective, based on the experience of other transition countries, shall question whether this is just relevant to solving the problem of division in political preferences. And one which in fact needs to be addressed over 1-2 year period. Similarly, when analysts in Moldova claim that we must solve the Transnistrian conflict through making us more attractive than Russia, I am questioning whether they understand economics, sociology, political science, etc.,. I am questioning their proposal because it is completely unhelpful and unfeasible as a public policy solution. So what, we shall wait for another 20 years before trying to solve the conflict? Well, I do agree with you that we have addressed many things, and perhaps it is time to move to another question. Cheers.

  • I am wondering why discussion is developing in the frame of geography but not of moral values. In Ukraine people rebel against Yanukovych and the Family not because they are from Donetsk, Kharkov or Lugansk. People rebel against the corruption, nepotism, discrimination, total immorality which covered the country. People stand not for own region, or Ukrainian language per se, but for justice, dignity, equal rights and equal duties.
    Any government should know it it would behave like Yanukovych and K, it would receive Maidan. It does not matter who is ruling, does matter how. If people cannot trust the Prosecutor, the court of justice they go to the street. If police does use criminals for provocations and destabilization people have the moral right to defend themselves. It does not matter which country it is, it suppose to be everywhere. Authorities should know if they would not follow the moral law they will receive Maidan.

  • The way I see it, Tetyana, the discussion is not developing around geography, but around the practical dimension, which is the one that is based on observable (empirical) evidence. As a side note, in my responses I also touched some moral value issues, like how employing violence against Yanukovyvh is going to backfire, and that the violence is rarely a good solution (except in an ongoing war). But back to practicality.

    After I got engaged in this discussion I actually went to do more research on Ukrainian protests. What I found out is somewhat different from what you insist is going on in Ukraine. Now, you may want to dispute the data, but I would ask you then to point me out a different source, that in your opinion is more accurate. Have a look at this post and pay particular attention to the maps (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/01/24/this-is-the-one-map-you-need-to-understand-ukraines-crisis/). You see, the difference between people doing humanities and those doing social sciences is that the latter tend on average to base their analysis on data to a larger extent comparing to the former. The data shows that geography in Ukraine actually matters a lot. There have been similar analyses posted online lately, with more data, which actually refer the % of protesters per region/geographic location. The trend is similar to the one shown in the blog posts I referred you to above.

    This is not to say that I ignore moral values – and I am on the same page with you in agreeing that any authoritarian and corrupt government should be removed. But we do not discuss here what should be done from a normative point. We discuss what is the significance of the events that we observe in Ukraine today, and what are their underlying mechanisms. By the way, speaking of evidence, have you had a chance to listen to the phone conversation between the US Ambassador in Ukraine and a high level US State Department official, that was recently posted online? It was well, intercepted by a third party, supposedly Russian or Ukrainian intelligence services. But this is irrelevant – what matters is how the two top US diplomats refer to the leaders of the Ukrainian protests. And the Americans’ phone chat also suggested they actually have a lot of influence on the Ukrainian trio of protesters’ leaders, to the extent that they discuss who is going to lead Ukrainian government when the opposition wins. This puts another dent into your ‘normative’ story, because it shows that popular preferences in Ukraine are not actually being respected by the protesters’ leaders. I can go into that more, if you want me to.

    Again, nothing in this discussion questioned the moral value of the ideal behind the protests. I did however question and continue to question the morality of the means that are used by some protesters and some of their leaders. You only tend to see the legal violations done by the authorities, and you seem to believe that because of this protesters are excused to ignore any law. I disagree with that, because I believe there are still legal tools available for puting pressure on the Yanukovych regime. Tools that do not require for instance killing the Ukrainian judge that ruled out a court case against some protesters (it was in the news). However, as you mentioned yourself earlier, we all have the right to have our opinions. I don’t mind you disagreeing with me. In fact I would encourage to do that, as long as you switch from a normative and ideologically-bound rhetoric to one based on common logical ground and relevant evidence. Just keep in mind, that I view these events not as an activist, but as a researcher.

    One more thing. You say “any government should know if it would behave like Yanukovych and K, it would receive Maidan”. In fact, this very phrase emphasizes the analytically weak spot in your whole argument. If we make an imaginary trip both in time (historically) and space (geographically, present time) then we see a lot of instances when even more corrupt and authoritarian regimes, compared to that of Yanukovych, have avoided “Maidans”. As a political scientist I have some ideas why this is the case, and it reveals a theoretical divide between the two of us, in addition to the methodological normative-positivist one, that we’ve been bumping into all along.

    • Tetyana, I agree that art can be very illustrative. However I cannot stop myself from observing that it is also possible for a supporter of Yanukovych to come up with an artistic message of identical emotional power, at least for the people that share the supporter’s political preferences. So, I would add that art can also be very confusing, comparing to scientific analysis.

  • Dumitru,
    You ask: “What exactly would you suggest that people need to be informed about, that has not been already done, and that would not be ‘invasive’ from a decision-changing viewpoint, but would clarify the picture for the citizens?” (2nd paragraph): I guess your data about it is not updated. Please look at the results of this survey: http://www.timpul.md/articol/71-dintre-moldoveni-doresc-sa-fie-mai-bine-informati-despre-efectele-aderarii-la-ue-50741.html, showing that people need to be more informed about EU integration and its effects.

    Yet, I share your principle (if I deduced correctly from your statements) that people (think they) make the best choice, based on the information they dispose (in a specific conjuncture).
    I also agree with you when you say that sometimes a certain decision is taken not only based upon accountable information, but also on people’s value adhesion, ethnic solidarity, and emotional ‘rationalities’. Therefore, if you estimate that the above quoted survey results are enough reliable, then you should probably agree that these people need to be considered as rational beings and to be properly informed about practical information from these EU agreements. Based on a number of studies on the topic (cf. Yitzhak Berman, David Phillips, “Information and social quality”, in Aslib Proceedings, Vol 53, No. 5, May 2001; get also a look on the biography), the access to information determines people’s capability to control over one’s environment and enhance their social capital (both in Putnam’s and Bourdieu’s definitions, among others’). Certainly, to some extent that point could be culturally biased (as other western theories are, including those you quoted). Yet I found some resources that indicate a positive correlation between access to information and participation to decision-making in Moldova: http://transparency.md/Docs/2005/Participarea_ro.pdf

    In my understanding, again, people do have right to correct information about EU integration, whatever their decision would be. So, in that point, our perspectives definitely diverge, especially when you say that “I am questioning what this [providing people with information about EU] would bring us and if we need this; and also if there are better ways to do this. If informing people in addition to what has already been done, would not change their choice then I must question the necessity of this move.” For you, what it seems relevant is to more effectively governing people. Instead, for me, it is also important to stimulate their participation in the decision-making.

    I – and certainly other observers – do not expect that our political leaders enhance people’s well-being immediately. However, we expect at least that they don’t loot us (recall the Banca de Economii case, the Airport’s privatization, not to say about more obscure cases of high-level corruption and raider attacks). Thanks to a broader access to information (through more or less free media), people know about some of these cases. By the way, indicators of economic development enhanced the last years. So, that is possible. It would be also suitable that this economic development correlates with more social equality, but this is another (important) topic to discuss.

    Then you say that „saying that Gagauzia penalized the Moldovan government with their choice, because their economic conditions are poor, is just not convincing. If this was true, than the whole Moldova would have had to do the same, because economic hardship is a cold reality all across Moldova”. I would rather consult surveys about people’s trust and optimism about the governement’s successes, which are visibly decreasing. Now Dodon and other pro-Russia proponents claim for referendums in the Moldovan regions proper (like Balti or Basarabeasca), exploiting this lack of trust and optismism. So I would not so easily throw out this hypothesis, unless you have too strong convictions about that.

  • Petru, I very much appreciate your detailed intervention with references to support your argument. Being a bit surprised about the claims that you made invoking the referred research as evidence, I actually went and looked through it. Let me address that. For some reason I was not able to find any evidence in the transparency.md sponsored study about “a positive correlation between access to information and participation to decision-making in Moldova”. In fact, a survey alone would not be able to show any correlation – you’d need to do some statistical testing of the survey results in order to verify that claim. Besides, even the recommendations at the end of this study are arbitrary – they are derived from survey results based on an inductive logic. That means that the authors could have well come up with plenty of other conclusions with similar explanatory power. That study said among others: “People say they are not informed enough – then the authorities must inform the people; they say they believe there is corruption – authorities shall organize more corruption prevention trainings,” etc. It would be logically identical to say that authorities shall subsidize agriculture, because of the survey results. What’s the problem with that publication? It is methodologically incomplete. It collected the data (which quality is questionable, but let’s say it is ok), but it did not analyze it properly. So, it does not support the correlation claim you referred to – I am sorry to have to say that.

    A similar analytic blind spot is affecting your reference to the Timpul article. First of all, I asked what exactly (narrow topic) would citizens need to be informed about; and I asked this in a specific logical context. The context was as follows: what policy problem are you aiming to solve through providing to people more information about EU, in addition to what is already being done? Then my next question is about the feasibility of this policy action (informing people): would it actually solve the problem you just identified, and is there any policy that can do the same for a smaller cost? Let me clarify what I mean by that, because I have already mentioned that a few times since this discussion has started. Provided that you raised the question again, it means I was not able to communicate effectively my idea.

    Since we are discussing this through a public policy perspective, I would not consider the goal of informing people to be purely for the sake of information. People may be interested in physics, winemaking, small business, polar bears etc – the sole interest in a subject does not necessarily mean the government should spend resources to satisfy this interest. There are plenty of opportunities in the society for people to self-educate or join various social groups to learn. So, I hope this one is clear. Therefore, I will consider the policy goal one that attempts to advance some public value. Then this can be the need to offer objective information to people, so that they cannot be manipulated by third actors. However, there is a caveat here. A government would only spend money on a public information campaign if it would like to increase the probability that citizens are going to support a policy/action that the government favors. I am not making normative claims about it, whether this is good or bad. This is just the way it is. To make it less abstract, and link it to Moldovan case, I will explore some of the data from the Timpul article.

    The article says (and I don’t know whether this is true or not, since I was not able to find the original report) that the source suggested 58% of those interviewed believe EU integration would improve their wellbeing, while 23% believe it will actually make it worse. At the same time, it also claims 71% consider they needs more information about EU. Given that 100%-58%-23%=19%, this would suggest that the obtained survey results could have been misinterpreted by the authors of the survey analysis. In fact, just have a look at these:

    “Cetăţenii cred că autorităţile şi partidele politice au obligaţia să discute cu ei despre avantajele şi dezavantajele integrării europene, în loc să speculeze politic pe această temă, transmite IPN.

    Preşedintele Asociaţia Sociologilor şi Demografilor, Victor Mocanu, spune că aceste date demonstrează că societatea este puţin informată despre UE.”

    These are two statements that ring the bell immediately. First, if the question that was asked in the survey had the “în loc să speculeze politic pe această temă” clause, then this is direct evidence that the survey was conducted with severe methodological mistakes. However, even if this clause was just invented by IPN or others, and was not in the original survey, we still have a problem of results interpretation. Mr. Mocanu claims that because 71% of respondents said they would like more information about EU, that signifies that the society is insufficiently informed. But this is another inductive conclusion, which may be valid, but which is also very likely wrong. There may be a number of plausible explanations why 71% said they would like to get more information. Definitely, only 19% out of these 71% would need it in order to understand whether EU is good or bad for them. This is because, as I suggested earlier, 58% already believe they know EU is good, and 23% believe they know EU is bad for them. Here is a clarification. I consider myself quite familiar with various political science literature on national and international security. I am definitely more familiar than the average person, and in fact I’ve been providing expert opinion on these topics. However, when I am asked if I would like to learn more about security studies, I would answer affirmatively. Does this mean I am insufficiently informed? Well, it depends what is my goal for willing to be informed.

    Here I am going to reach back to the idea that policy actions are only done by governments for achieving specific goals. If the goal of the government is to get 50%+1 vote in support of the European integration, than given 53% already supports that, according to that specific survey, it will do nothing. The goal is achieved, and spending money on public information campaign brings exactly 0 (zero) added value. If the government’s goal is to prevent integration with the EU, then it might try to actually run public information campaigns. But all these are based on the assumption that in the former case the information campaign is going to be positive, and in the latter – negative. However, what Mr. Mocanu suggests is that the government should tell the population both the benefits and the gains of EU integration. Then, if you are a government that would like to promote EU integration but believe your population is impatient and has short term optimization preferences, then you would not actually do that. Because this action may just bring to the opposite result comparing to the one you would like to achieve. Again, I am not engaging into normative arguments, whether this is good or bad – I am just telling how policy-making works. We can write an article about the moral side of politics, and discuss it based on a moral perspective. But then I will point out to you how many times the morally good ideas led to morally horrible consequences, because the moralists did not consider the limitations of the physical world. I hope I managed at very last to clarify my idea.

    Very shortly on why I believe Gagauzian anti-EU vote was not a punishment for incumbent government in response to poor economic conditions. Your mentioned as evidence that surveys should decrease in trust for the current government generally. However, this distrust for the government does not project into distrust for EU integration through a constant correlation. And if you were right, it would had to. What my “Gagauzian vote” claim said is that the preference for CU exists regardless of the trust for the government. If you recall it since early 2001 many pro-European citizens supported EU agenda, even though PCRM (which they did not trust) also claimed to support it and did considerable things to advance EU agenda. Finally, anticipating some criticism in regard to the very recent level of EU support surveys, I would like to launch the following idea. The responses from the latest survey pointing to a decrease in EU support do not necessarily mean a decrease in support for EU per se. People are strategic voters. That means that when they believe their preferred option is not realistic, they may actually vote for the next best option, which they believe is more likely to happen. Interpreting social phenomena is very, very difficult, and requires tremendous interdisciplinary and methodological knowledge and hard work testing various hypotheses. This is why I would not always jump to accept the interpretations that we see in Moldovan media. And this is why I would suggest to actually go through the whole research process behind the claims, and replicate the research results, before accepting them.

    PS: Petru, I don’t think the studies I referred to are culturally biased. They are basically logically rigorous exercises, which are mathematically proved. However, I accept that my own presentation of these studies may be culturally biased. But then this shall be obvious if it happens, because I try to state clearly the logical assumptions that I make when interpreting the studies. This is the advantage of the research which based on formal logic – you can clearly see where exactly in the logical chain there is a bias (an assumption you disagree with).

    I guess we shall try to address one issue at a time – so that the responses are not that long 🙂

  • Dumitru,
    I will switch to Romanian, as long as for a while we are discussing local Moldovan issues, not related to Ukraine. I hope Tetyana will not mind.

    Discuţia noastră îmi pare fascinantă, numai că, aşa cum am mai spus-o, noi vorbim în general din perspective diferite. Tu vorbeşti din perspectiva „politici publice” şi orice acţiune pe care guvernul o întreprinde trebuie să aibă după tine relevanţă din acest punct de vedere (politici publice). Din punctul meu de vedere, nu orice acţiune întreprinsă de stat trebuie să fie justificată doar prin grila eficienţei şi în funcţie de criterii costuri-beneficii. Dacă ar fi aşa, nu am mai avea stat social, libertăţi, drepturile omului, justiţie socială şi egalitate de gen. În aceeaşi logică ai putea spune că anumite drepturi şi libertăţi – de ex. libertatea de exprimare – nu se justifică din punct de vedere „politici publice”. Spui, în legătură cu nevoia pe care o văd eu de informare (faţă de procesul de apropiere faţă de UE), că aceasta ar fi mai degrabă o idee normativă, de ordin moral şi că ai putea să-mi aduci aminte „how many times the morally good ideas led to morally horrible consequences”. Nu ştiu cîte lucruri oribile s-au făcut din cauza unui acces prea mare din partea populaţiei civile la informaţie. Dar cunosc multe cazuri de abuzuri comise în istoria recentă de către diverse state, inclusiv „civilizate”, prin ignorarea acestui drept al cetăţenilor la informare în privinţa felului în care anumite chestiuni de importanţă strategică le va afecta (sau nu) viaţa. Mai mult, crime de masă au fost săvîrşite în sec. 20 de anumite state în perfectă concordanţă cu o perspectivă logică, de o raţionalitate instrumentală şi în baza unor principii de eficienţă a guvernării (cf. Z. Bauman, Holocaust and Modernity, între alţii).

    Nevoia de informare a populaţiei în legătură cu procesul de apropiere faţă de UE se referă la un proces care, foarte probabil, le va afecta oamenilor viaţa în următorii ani. Această necesitate de informare nu poate fi deci comparată cu nevoia unora de a se informa în materie de fizică şi matematică (dar ar fi şi în interesul statului de a contribui la o mai bună informare a cetăţenilor în subiecte mai practice precum micul business şi tehnologia vinului).

    Mă întrebi ce ar putea face guvernul din ce încă nu a făcut, pentru a informa populaţia despre acordurile cu UE şi procesul de apropiere. Îţi voi întoarce cu o întrebare: Dar ce a făcut guvernul moldovean pînă acum pentru a informa sau a uşura accesul la informaţie privind apropierea faţă de UE şi efectele practice pe care această apropiere le-ar putea avea asupra populaţiei? Există multe lucruri simple pe care guvernul le poate organiza sau susţine: discuţii, dezbateri televizate, programe de popularizare, la televiziunea publică şi la radio Naţional, pe care oricum le finanţează.

    Spui că guvernul nu va cheltui bani pentru o campanie de informare, dacă va presupune că această campanie nu îl va ajuta să-şi atingă scopurile, în cazul în care – şi pe care îl prevezi tu – această campanie nu va schimba atitudinea populaţiei faţă de UE/UV. Înţeleg, dar presupun că o guvernare ar putea fi şi mai eficientă, în condiţii democratice, dacă ar lucra cu cetăţeni informaţi. Din contra, cetăţenii neinformaţi ar umfla rîndurile indecişilor şi ar deveni pradă uşoară în diferite jocuri strategice coordonate din afară sau dinăuntru. În plus, informarea publică ar putea fi un element cheie dintr-un fel de contract între guvernanţii care vor să desfăşoare anumite proiecte de anvergură (de ex. apropierea faţă de UE) şi cetăţeni. Un „contract” între guvernanţi şi cetăţeni care ar creşte responsabilitatea de ambele părţi.

    Spui că nu crezi datele la care am făcut trimitere, dar în acest caz, mă tem că nu vei găsi prea multe date valide din punct de vedere statistic despre ceea ce vorbim şi atunci riscăm să discutăm doar în baza unor judecăţi de bun simţ sau consideraţii pur teoretice. Din păcate, cercetătorul este pus deseori în situaţia de a lucra şi cu date imperfecte. Important e să o facă cu metodă, discernămînt şi cu spirit critic. Dimpotrivă, unii cercetători ar putea respinge anumite date pe motiv că ar fi statistic ne-valide, atunci cînd acestea le strică eşafodajul teoretic. Totuşi, în legătură cu relaţia dintre accesul la informaţie, angajament civic şi participare politică există o sumedenie de studii. E suficient să faci o căutare simplă în baze de date academice. Probabil că ţi-e cunoscută ideea, doar că ai avea anumite rezerve faţă de diferitele forme de angajament civic şi participare politică.

    Poate că ai dreptate cînd spui că informarea populaţiei s-ar putea să nu aibă justificare în plan de politici publice şi eficienţa guvernării. Pentru mine, totuşi, logica „politicii publice” nu este singura valabilă în momentul în care judecăm necesitatea acestei informări. Mi se pare la fel de important să se încurajeze implicarea cetăţenilor în chestiuni de importanţă publică.

    Percepţia mea este că ne repetăm în esenţa lucrurilor pe care le spunem. Poate că e un semn că a venit timpul să trecem la alt subiect?

  • Nu am spus ca nu cred in datele la care te referi – am spus ca datele la care te referi nu sugereaza ce tu pretinzi ca ele indica. Ele pur si simplu indica altceva. SI am explicat lacunele metodologice ale studiilor referite, care justifica aceasta afirmatie a mea. Daca doresti as putea intra in detalii.

    La fel, in baza logicii de care ma conduc (si teoriilor) lucrurile ca “stat social, libertăţi, drepturile omului, justiţie socială şi egalitate de gen” si libertatea de exprimare anume apar doar atunci cind guvernarea le vede in calitate de politici care le-ar favoriza scopurile (a ramine la putere, sau a cistiga puterea). In stiintele politice in ultimii 20 ani au aparut sute si sute de studii care au examinat aceste lucruri . As mai putea sa adaug ca varierea intre cazuri unde aceste lucruri exista, si tari unde ele sunt restrinse, se explica anume prin ce numesti tu “grila de eficienta” a elitelor la conducere si analiza cost-beneficiu a acestor elite. Un punct de pornire care ar explica asta ar fi teoria selectoratului.

    Ai mai remarcat despre mine ca “Tu vorbeşti din perspectiva „politici publice” şi orice acţiune pe care guvernul o întreprinde TREBUIE să aibă după tine relevanţă din acest punct de vedere (politici publice).” Nu ai inteles corect – nu am afirmat nicaieri ca trebuie – doar am indicat ca asta este realitatea in cele mai multe cazuri. Motivul de ce se intimpla asa – resursele restrinse chiar si la statele bogate. Avind resurse restrinse si o multime de lucruri pe care doreste guvernarea sa le faca, ea este nevoita sa finanteze preferintele sale principale, care sunt acelea ce le aduc capital (economic, politic, etc.). Daca revii la textul englez vei observa ca am descris perspectiva mea ca una ‘pozitivista’, care examineaza realiteatea cum este. De fapt, tu spui ca guvernul TREBUIE sa faca unele lucruri – eu in momentul discutiei la care ne referim nu am oferit prescriptii, si doar observatii despre ce se intimpla.

    Cred ca nu m-ai inteles si unde ti-am discutat propunerea de informare. Daca e vina mea si nu am fost clar – imi cer scuze. Voi incerca sa clarific inca o data. Integrarea in UE, chiar treptata si lenta, nu va aduce doar beneficii. De fapt, din punct de vedere material/economic in prima perioada multi in Moldova vor avea pierderi. E o realitate. Ajutoarele din partea EU vor amortiza partial aceste pierderi – dar doar pentru businessul mai mare. Businessul mic, in mare masura, va avea de suferit, si nu va primi compensatii. Informarea pe care tu o propui, va trebui sa prezinte detalii privind aceste externalitati negative. In urma acestei informari, presupun ca cu o mare probabilitate suportul pentru EU va scadea si mai mult. UE nu deschide piata de munca pentru moldoveni si nu o va deschide inca multi ani. Marfurile mai eftine importate din UE va ruina multi producatori locali – adevarat ca intrun proces de selectare “naturala” vor aparea producatori eficienti, dar asta va dura. Si pina atunci multi vor avea de pierdut, fara compensari. Cind, in urma informarii cetatenii vizati vor intelege asta, ei vor umple rindurile euro-scepticilor. In perspectiva lunga RM va avea de cistigat de la integrarea institutionala in UE, dar in perspectiva scurta vor fi pierderi. Rog sa nu fie primita aceasta afirmatie ca ceva in favoarea UV – din nou, doar imi exprim opinia despre procesul de integrare UE.

    Un exemplu cum intentiile bune (democratice) au dus la consecinte dezastruoase este Egiptul, cu venirea la putere a Fratilor Musulmani. In urma alegerilor democratice au venit radicali religiosi la putere si au inceput sa constringa si mai mult libertatile cetatenilor. Cu sustinerea multora din acesti cetateni – aici imi aduc aminte de un interviu luat de un jurnalist american, imediat dupa “revolutia” care l-a dat jos pe Hosni, de la niste proaspeti revolutionari care ziua in ameaza mare trindaveau in cafenele si afirmau ca femeile tre sa stea acasa, etc. etc. Imi mai aduc aminte cum multe femei au fost violate de gloata de ‘revolutionari’ in timpul protesterlor in piata, presupun ca din cauza ca nu purtau hainele conform canoanelor conservative religioasea. Egiptul nu este unicul exemplu.

    Ideea pe care o ofer e ca democratia si libertatile nu sunt automat lucruri bune – ele de fapt sunt mecanizme care permite unui grup mai activ sa isi impuna preferintele politice asupra unor grupuri politic mai pasive. Adica daca societatea se ghideaza de valori democratice, apoi democratizarea aduce la efecte normativ pozitive (conform descriptilor tale). Daca insa masele de cetateni nu prea accepta unele din valorile democratice, apoi rezultatul democratiei in asa societate duce la un declin democratic. Vezi raspunsurile pe valorile politice in World Value Surivey, si examineaza o corelatie statistica intre valorile preferate de respondenti, rezultatele alegerilor si tipurile de regim pe tara. Cred ca va fi ilustrativ. Si, apar concluzii destul e interesante. Bine, am inteles ca sugerezi sa incheiem discutia. Nu am nimic impotriva.

  • Ukraina nu cred ca a uitat de Holodomor – Голодомор. Iar mai mult ca sigur nu l-a uitat pe Stalin.
    Eu am preconizat evenimentele prezente acum 3 ani. Nimeni nu ma credea atunci. Nici acum nu intelege nimeni ce se intampla.
    Adevarul este ca lumea s-a saturat de comunisti. De coruptie de spaga si tot ce inseamna comunismul.
    Ucraina trebuie sa aiba grija sa nu le fure si lor revolutia un comunist din esalonul doi. Cum a facut in Romania dl. Ion Iliescu,
    Imi pun nadejdea in Ucraina sa reuseasca sa scape de rusia. Astfel granita comunismului se va muta mult mai la est.
    Ulterior chiar rusia va dori sa intre in UE. Nu va face fata de una singura presiunilor Chinezesti. Fara contracte cu UE si tehnologie europeana, in 5 ani rusia va deveni cea mai mare piata de desfacere a Chinei. Iar ulterior va fi colonizata de China. Practic sansa Rusiei este UE.
    Asa ca rusia trebuie sa accepte in mod civilizat separarea Ucrainei. Sa nu atraga asupra sa cine mai stie ce sanctiunui, care ar transforma-o in piata de desfacere Chinezeasca.

    In plus, chiar ar fi bine sa se ingradeasca livrarile de hidrocarburi din rusia. S-ar pune mai mare pret pe tehnologiile ecologice. Trebuie sa se termine si cu poluarea pana la urma.

    Cred ca 2014 va fi un an bun.

Lasa un comentariu