The Maidan Past and Present: Orange Revolution (2004) and the EuroMaidan (2013-2014)
David Marples ed., Frederick V. Mills [Eds.] (2015). Euromaidan. Columbia University Press: New York.
Posted: 29 Mar 2015
Date Written: March 1, 2015
At first the EuroMaidan, seemed like something we have seen before: the ‘Orange Revolution’. We were brought back to 23 November 2004, when observers of Ukrainian politics were shocked when they witnessed a sea of ‘ordinary’ Ukrainians, joined activists and opposition party members in a moment of mass mobilization. While Ukraine had previously experienced several smaller protest events, such as the 1986 Chornobyl disaster protests, the 1991 Revolution on the Granite, and the 2001 Ukraine Without Kuchma protests, the sheer size of the 2004 protests and the fact that participation quickly shifted to a majority made of ‘ordinary’ Ukrainians was unprecedented (Onuch 2014a). First heralded as a democratic awakening and the first step to Europeanization, but after the election of Viktor Yanukovych (the villain of the ‘Orange Revolution’) as president in 2010, academics agreed that for a variety of reasons, including protest fatigue, Ukraine would not see another mass -- mobilization any time soon (Meirowitz and Tucker 2013). Thus, when the November 2013 protests grew to 800,000, political scientists had to go back to the drawing board. It was happening again, and again they did not see it coming. While it seemed like déjà vu, it was very different and not least because it was happening with the events of 2004 as the precedent. This chapter’s aim is to analyse and contextualizes the EuroMaidan as a critical case of mass protest, by placing it in comparative reference to the ‘Orange Revolution’. First, the chapter will briefly outline the data used. Second, the chapter will highlight some key writing on mobilization and activism in Ukraine and identify potential contributions of this analysis to the literature. The majority of the text will assess the EuroMaidan mobilization. Employing interview and focus groups data collected by the author, we will be able to contrast and compare the parameters and trajectories of two protest waves (duration, location, and geographical diffusion); the central actors involved in the mobilization process and their main claims. At each step highlighting the convergence and divergence between the 2004 and 2013/14 mass mobilizations. Finally, once the main boundaries of the mobilization have been mapped out, the chapter will address the recent focus among the media and social scientists alike on: the rise of the right, the rise of violence, and the ‘new’ role of social media in the EuroMaidan mobilizations. This initial analysis seeks to provide a blue print for larger studies of the EuroMaidan mobilizations and in the conclusion will highlight key hypotheses for future testing.
Keywords: EuroMaidan, Orange Revolution, Protest, Ukraine, Comparative Politics, Political Behaviour, Post-Communist Politics, Post-Soviet Politics, Social Mobilzation, Activism
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