6th Anniversary of Maidan: expert analysis of the events, consequences and lessons for the future

Opinion polls
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22 November 2019

On November 17-19, 2019 the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation conducted expert survey dedicated to anniversary of EuroMaidan, its consequences and lessons for the future. 80 experts responded during survey.

For comparison, we also present results of the expert surveys: “5th Anniversary of Maidan” conducted by DIF in November, 2018; “4th Anniversary of the Maidan” conducted in November 201; “3rd Anniversary of the Maidan” conducted in November 2016; “2nd Anniversary of the Maidan” conducted in November 2015; “Anniversary of the Maidan” conducted in November 2014.

  • Most experts describe EuroMaidan as the Revolution of Dignity: the popular uprising for democracy and the European choice. Simultaneously, EuroMaidan is called genuine protest movement against the authoritarian authorities and a revolt against the corrupted government. Some experts expressed opinion that Maidan was struggle for independence and establishment of a political nation in Ukraine.
  • In general, EuroMaidan was a victorious – such opinion has been shared by majority of experts for the last 6 years. However, respondents think that it was rather relative than absolute victory.
  • The main goals of Maidan were achieved. Among them experts mention change of power (removal of Viktor Yanukovych from power and a reshuffle of the political elites), as well as a change in the foreign policy vector (European and Euro-Atlantic integration), including with signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union. At the same time experts remind other demands of Maidan, which were not fully or partially met. These are beginning of necessary reforms and strengthening of the civil society.
  • Although the ruling class was changed, two key demands of Maidan were not fulfilled. First of all, anti-corruption system is not working well. Secondly, system of ruling establishment has not been reloaded which blocked emergence of new elites. Also, experts thank that the process of de-oligarchization of political and economic life has been suspended. Survey revealed complains about indecisive legal prosecution of crimes committed against the participants of Maidan and crimes of the key figures of the former ruling elites.
  • The positive consequences of EuroMaidan, mentioned by experts, repeat the achieved objectives of the protests: affirmation of the European vector of country’s development, activation of cooperation with the West, particularly, association with the EU and visa-free regime with EU; a change of power and removal Yanukovych regime, beginning of the reforms, and rise of the national movement and the strengthening of Ukrainian identity.
  • Most experts indicate that the negative consequences of Maidan were caused not by the protests themselves. They were results of the complex political and economic situation in the country after the Revolution of Dignity. Among negative consequences expert mention start of Russian aggression, loss of the territory and human lives during the war in Donbas, the absence of the real reforms in different spheres (justice, economy and the fight against corruption), popular disappointment in success of the reforms, polarization of the Ukrainian society regarding the most sensitive issues of the development of the country.
  • When asked about what should be done to achieve goals of Maidan, majority of experts point out several critical tasks, such as, completing started reforms, especially judicial and law enforcement reforms and continuing fight against corruption, making it more efficient and visible for people.
  • Experts do not consider the victory of Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the presidential elections and his party “Sluha Narodu” (Servant of People) success in the parliamentary elections as a kind of “electoral Maidan”. Although respondents agree these elections brought radical changes, they cannot be viewed as an electoral analogy to Maidan. At the same time some experts express opinion that victory of Zelenskiy team is a backlash against the Revolution of Dignity.
  • Is 2019 survey compared with results of 2018 expert poll, we can see that more respondents suppose probability of a new “Maidan-3”. Many experts believe that it can be caused by obscure policy of the current president toward Russia and unacceptable terms of peace resolution in Donbas. Specifically experts think that third Maidan can be triggered by betrayal of the national interests and inadmissible compromises with Russia. Experts think that, the new Ukrainian authorities must take into account these formidable risks that can develop into explosive situation.