Yet another post-soviet revolution


What we have seen in the past few days in Ukraine – and what we still have to see – is not just a mass demonstration like the 2004 Orange revolution (which did not have actually a real revolutionary spirit). The Euromaidan protests that put Kiev literally on fire last week show that Ukraine is only now closing the chapter of the Twentieth century. This is yet another post-soviet revolution in Europe.

What we have seen in the past few days in Ukraine – and what we still have to see – is not just a mass demonstration like the 2004 Orange revolution (which did not have actually a real revolutionary spirit). The Euromaidan protests that put Kiev literally on fire last week show that Ukraine is only now closing the chapter of the Twentieth century. This is yet another post-soviet revolution in Europe.

 

The last time I visited Dnepropetrovsk, there still were flowers under the big statue of Vladimir Ilich standing on Karl Marx Avenue. The bronze Lenin in one of the most pro-Russian cities of eastern Ukraine has been torn down and decapitated, along with other dozens of statues of the Father of the Revolution, all over the country. The iconoclastic fury hitting one of the most solid symbols of the soviet past of Ukraine shouldn’t surprise for itself. What is surprising is that it is happening in 2014. I would never imagined to see with my own eyes furious crowds jumping on Lenin’s decapitated head, 23 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That is probably the most evident sign showing that Ukraine is finally coming to terms with the legacy of its soviet past.

People of Ukraine seemed to have lived the last quarter of century in a limbo where USSR no longer existed and post-soviet era had still to begin. Despite the democratic framework around its institutions (shouldn’t be forgotten that Yanukovich himself went to power thanks to elections judged by Osce observers compliant with the international standards), the concentration of power – together with an old soviet-style economy and a pervasive corruption – left Ukraine half-way on the road of de-sovietization and still highly conditioned by Moscow.

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