By Alexandr Karevin – We’ve heard all the nasty things that people say about the the people of Kiev in recent years. They say, “they supported the Maidan”, and “the morons elected their mayor”, and “they laid a foundation for the Nazis”.
But is that fair? Let’s try to figure this out.
Let me say that the vast majority of the population of Kiev did not support EuroMaidan. I can judge this by personal observations, and according to sociological research.
According to polls conducted during the Euro-Maidan action among the participants in the “revolution of dignity”, only 12% of them called themselves Kyivans. And it’s not at all a fact that all those who called themselves were Kiev people in fact. In fact, many of these “Kiev” people had recently moved to Kiev and were people from villages.
After finding a job, they do not have permanent housing (they rent a room or an apartment), they are not completely attached to the urban culture, but they willingly appear to be “urban” residents, or were presented that way in media.
It should also be pointed list of “Heavenly hundred”. For Kiev there is one, which confirms the survey data. Yes, and the appearance, speech, behavior “of the revolutionaries of dignity” were apparent for the most part, telling us they were residents of Western Ukraine. [Mostly ‘Galicians’ – ed]
Yes, the messengers of the Euromaidan spread themselves out at night, to the sleeping areas of Kiev, so as to, in the mornning, wake the local inhabitants screaming “Kiev, get up!”, calling for ‘independence’. However, few people actually responded to these calls. That the majority supported Kiev’s Euromaidan is a myth and nothing more.
Similarly a myth is the assertion that Kievans helped the maidan “revolutionaries”, bringing them sandwiches and borscht in a saucepan. Sandwiches and borscht, brought by concerned and supportive old ladies, is from the details of the Maidan in 2004. In the events of winter 2013-2014, they played no role.
In terms of ‘compassionate grannies’ with goodies on the Euromaidan, all we really have is Victoria Nuland (and to include her as a Kievan is still problematic).
The supply of a “revolution of dignity” with food was well established. The delivery was carried out by freight transport and in considerable quantities. But for Kievans themselves, there is no guilt.
It is also not necessary to blame city residents for the election of such a horrible mayor and city council. Without going into arguments about whether free elections are even possible in post-Maidan conditions (as for me, there’s nothing to discuss here), I will point out some of the nuances of that vote.
As of 16 hours into election day, voter turnout in Kiev was merely 20-22%. But by evening it, according to official figures, has increased to 42%. That is, according to the Kiev election committee, in the last four hours, approximately the same number of people voted in Kiev over the previous eight. Meanwhile it is known from past precedent that usually those who decided to take part in the elections try to vote in the morning.
Don’t these raise big questions? Thoughts about mass ballot stuffing with a pre-marked “where necessary” mark does not come to mind? About this, by the way, when totaling up the results of the vote, this problem was raised even on Kiev radio. But the opinions of the doubters were ignored, and they quickly became silent.
Now the main thing is whether the people of Kiev support the rise of the Nazis? This question is not so simple as to answer it immediately. Although many outside observers do exactly this, they give an unequivocally positive answer.
And they point to the absence in Kiev of any mass manifestations of protest against the ruling regime.
The mere fact of the absence of mass protests is undeniable. But are there any opportunities for such protests today?
The question is rhetorical. Opportunities for protests, as a rule, do not exist, because there is no freedom of expression. True, criticize Poroshenko or someone else in power, this is allowed. But there can be no doubt about the “holiness” of the Maidan, through which such power was established. One can not doubt that “Russia attacked us”. Nor can one attack the course for “European integration of Ukraine.” [In short, only liberal, Nazi, and far-right nationalist critiques of the government are allowed – the other forces supporting the Maidan – ed]
Doubters immediately fall into the category of “traitors”, “enemies of Ukraine”, “agents of Putin.” And these can now be completely beaten with impunity, mutilated, and even killed. [ We saw this in Odessa, for one. -ed ]
The “law enforcement” system, as a rule, does not protect people who are the victims of such ultra nationalist murders and mutilations. Criminals are declared “patriots” and “heroes”. Try to protest (yes even publicly!) In such conditions!
However, sometimes the opportunity to demonstrate their disagreement with the policy of the authorities still happens. And then a lot of people use this opportunity in Kiev (evidence of this – marches to the Monument of Glory on May 9, Cross processions on the anniversary of the Baptism of Rus). Although the critics of Kyivans do not notice all this.
In addition to these rare opportunities, people can speak freely only in small circles. It is there that the true mood of the people of Kiev is manifested today.
For illustration, I will give a few examples of such manifestations, which I personally witnessed.
A random woman in Kiev, from whom I did not expect any interest in politics, said that she had read my article ‘on the internet’, and asked bitterly: “When will it end?” – referring to the rule of the present regime.
The young taxi driver, cautiously starting a conversation about politics and making sure that he met in me like-minded people, is already openly puzzled:
“Why was it necessary to send troops to the Donbass? Because there are people like us! Our fellow citizens! “.
Two young guys with whom I came across, looking for work, after learning that I was a historian, began to ask me questions and, once again making sure that we could speak openly, they said;
“Now there is no history in Ukraine, when heroism comes from Bandera!”
The girl with whom I spoke for the first time, but who already knew about my views, admits:
“For me, Russia and Ukraine are one thing. They are both ‘we’! “
All these people under the current situation are unlikely to speak out publicly, or to be frank in social circles. But they have their own opinion. This opinion is very unfavorable for the current authorities and is conditioned, first of all, not by economic troubles (though, probably, by them too), but by the rejection of Nazism.
I can give examples from the opposite camp. An elderly taxi driver, an ardent supporter of European integration, at first taking me for his own, laments:
“Of all the passengers I drive, only thirty percent adhere to pro-European views. And the remaining 70% are “scoops” who regret the collapse of the USSR “.
A certain subject of drinking talk are complaints that can be heard from one friend to another (I stood nearby and heard the whole conversation):
“I was in ATO for two years! I return home, but my mother-in-law says: “You’re not a hero! You went to the Donbass to kill peaceful people, children!” And I was in ATO for two years!”
The subject was obviously insulted by this, he was looking for sympathy, but, incidentally, the interlocutor did not express any sympathy for him, kept silent, perhaps also having a special opinion about the “heroes of the ATO”.
The seller in the book market, a formerly ardent supporter of EuroMaidan (I later read his posts and comments in 2015-2016 in support of the “revolution of dignity” and even with the approval of the site “Peacemaker”), is now puzzled by the ban on the import of Russian books and the activity of informers who are scampering the market in search of ‘illicit’ literature: “Mdaa! This power sees a threat in the book! “.
From these small pictures there is a general picture of sentiment in Kiev, very far from the statement “The Kievites support the Nazis.”
Residents of Kiev with strongly pronounced anti-Nazi beliefs do not constitute the majority. But they are much larger (perhaps many times more!) than the Nazis themselves.
As for the majority, this is an ordinary “swamp”, seeking to adapt to any circumstances, to adapt to any authority. But this has always been the case throughout history.
Is it necessary to hand responsibility to Kyivans in this case, to brand them with shame? Moreover, it is not the “swamp” that personifies the city, but people with convictions. They, again, most of them did not support the Nazis.
It’s another matter that the fate of Kyiv (and of Ukraine as a whole) is decided at a different level. But in this, it is hardly necessary to blame the people of Kiev.
translated by J. Flores for FRN