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Ukraine's new politicians in reform pressure cooker

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Ukraine's new politicians in reform pressure cooker


As the first anniversary of Ukraine’s Maidan pro-democracy uprising approaches, and ten years since the Orange Revolution, impatience over much-wanted reforms endures. As every day passes, and with it opportunities are missed, the question ‘could there be another uprising?’ remains relevant.

Media expert Taras Shevchenko, who advocates reforms within a broad civil initiative known as the reanimation reform package, said that society has a strong desire for change and its patience won’t last indefinitely.

Shevchenko told us: “A third Maidan is possible, and I think the people and the government realise this. I hope that politicians will remember that people are not satisfied, that discontent might grow and the next Maidan might not begin peacefully, because there are a lot of weapons out there. I hope this will become a sort of guarantee for them to finally start reforms in this country.”

Ukraine is currently forming a new government and a new parliament. Some activists who were in the forefront of the uprising have a strong credibility and civil society’s trust to participate in these.

Former journalist Mustafa Nayyem is one of them. He believes Maidan is a revolution-in-progress, which will continue in the governing institutions.

Nayyem said: “I wouldn’t say that Maidan has accomplished something and is over. Everything happening now in Ukraine is a result of the war, not Maidan. People should keep up pressure on the government and stay aware of what’s happening. But let’s also bear in mind that we have Maidan representatives in the new parliament, and that this is the way to lobby any kind of initiatives that have been in development for years.”

2004 Orange Revolution allies have returned to parliament, with robust results. The Opposition Bloc party has more than two dozen seats. Gone are the former Party of Regions of the ousted president whose anti-protest laws inflamed violence.

Former Prime Minister and Orange Revolution leader Yulia Tymoshenko told us: “The first revolution – the one we call ‘Orange’ – was directed by politicians. The second revolution came from the people themselves. They didn’t want to live in a grey zone any more; they rebelled to support joining the European mainstream. I’m sure we could have done more after the Orange Revolution, but I have no doubt that it paved the way for the final fight for freedom.”

So, Tymoshenko, herself part of post- Soviet-style politics, admits that politicians who came to power after the Orange Revolution didn’t deliver what people wanted, and so Maidan Two came about. She says only swift reform work now can prevent a third Maidan.

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