On this day in 2004 the country was swept though with protests, strikes, meetings and other mass actions of civil disobedience. As the result, the presidential election with Viktor Yanukovych as the winner was recognized illegitimate and another candidate Viktor Yushchenko was swept to power.
The following years became the years of disappointment, forgotten promises, lost ratings and trust. However, the Day of Freedom remained in the calendar of holidays.
Even the current President Yanukovych congratulated the people on this day. "Freedom, Independence, Unity are the permanent values that have always been, are, and will be respected in Ukraine.
We do everything for them to strengthen, as they make the foundation of our country," President Viktor Yanukovych said in his congratulations.
Some politicians declare from time to time that the society is ready for another social protest, even the second 'Maydan', while others state that Ukrainians have no more intentions to come out in the streets.
Volodymyr Paniotto, director general of the Kyiv international institute of sociology:
- As for politicians - they always try to use any chance to gain some points. Opposition always uses people's complaints to plant distrust of the authorities and to improve its ratings.
As for the possibility of mass protests, we haven't held specific investigation of the level of dissatisfaction. But even without it we can say that this level is pretty high. If before Yanukovych's coming into power there were 60% of people believing the country was doing fine, now this number has reduced down to 10%.
However, the possibility of having mass protests is lower than in 2004. The following problems resulted in such disappointments that it would be very difficult to push people to any protests.
Even Tymoshenko's arrest and further conviction have not changed much, some 1-2% of her rating growth.
That's why I believe no mass protests can be expected soon.
Kost' Bondarenko, manager of the Institute of Ukrainian politics:
- Maydan-2004 was a kind of vaccination for the Ukrainian society, so I think the attempts to hold mass protest actions won't result in anything.
Of course there are protest moods, as no reform can be held without protests. But none of the opposition members can play the role of the mass leader.
The mass protest cannot detonate due to two reasons: absence of leaders and distrust of politicians.
Myroslav Popovych, Ph.D., director of the Institute of philosophy of the National Academy of Science:
- I think Ukraine is ready for mass organized protests. Spontaneous "hot spots" appearing here or there proves people's readiness to express their indignation. But most probably the people will not follow the existent political forces.
In other words, there are no organizations or structures which may gather people for mass actions, especially taking in to account the fact that every action must have a goal. In 2004 the people had a specific goal - to cancel the results of the falsified elections.
Now any protest means people are "against" something. But what they will fight "for" is still unknown, and consequently people are confused.
Oleksandr Kendiukhov, professor and chairman of the All-Ukrainian union of scientists-economists, member of the expert council of the parliament:
- I would characterize the current state of public conscious as increasing nihilism. People don't understand the goals the country is trying to reach; they don't understand why everything is happening and what to do. The absence of goals leads to conflicts within the country. Pessimism leads to nihilism, to total denial of the current order as it is.
For the last 20 years social apathy has gown. Come in metro and look into people's eyes. Passengers have gloomy faces. Why? Because they are in a social dead-end.
Some people organize some protest actions, but they are of occasional, not mass character. Politicians understand that they have not just low ratings, but that the people are disappointed in politicians, political elite, political system. Whatever our politicians say it won't find support among the population. I believe till parliamentary elections of 2012 nothing will change.
Genandy Balashov, political psychologist, entrepreneur-millionaire, former MP:
- The majority of the population simply hates the power in all of its aspects - from the head of a housing office till the President. But the people don't want to come out and protest. We are observing new kind of social protest - cold war with the authorities. People are looking for ways to live without the authorities, to avoid them and to solve their problems independently. The people come to understanding that the state is their personal enemy.
Ukrainians try to avoid taxes, are no longer interested in political life. There are no leaders, who can unite people under single political demand. There are only leaders who stand for self-interest of certain groups of the population. Chernobyl liquidators want their benefits, pensioners want pension increase, miners want donations, etc.
But the point is that the people must come out to fight for their future and future of their children, to remove ineffective management, to get rid of everything old and unnecessary.
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