Tax Code Protesters’ Maidan dispelled the hypnotic fear of the regime
Former dissident and one of the co-founders of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group, Myroslav Marynovych, in summing up the year that has passed said that 2010 had brought fear into the hearts of Ukrainians. He believes that in prosecuting Ukrainian politicians the regime is attempting to fill people with fear.
How do you see the past year?
For me this year brought two unexpected extremes. The first was the fear that has filled, one could almost say, transfixed people, after the regime attempted, through such potent and symbolic means to revive in people’s hearts the fear of 1937. Perhaps the fear of 1933 as well. It would be hard in Ukraine to name only one year which was the symbol of fear and of the people’s tragedy. I didn’t realize that that fear could so swiftly creep into people’s hearts. That totally stunned me.
The Tax Code Protesters’ Maidan [the protest over weeks of tens of thousands of small business owners on Maidan Nezalezhnosti or Independence Square in Kyiv – translator] was, on the other hand, another extreme.
Yet at present the small business owners are being prosecuted and not that many people have supported them.
For me this Maidan was very successful. Not because it achieved changes in the Tax Code. It seems as though this Maidan overcame the fear present at the beginning of the year. After Maidan, people may cave in to the authorities, but I have the impression that they have stopped being so desperately frightened of them, so hypnotised by fear. That hypnotic fear has disappeared. Obviously the criminals sent to deal with either journalists or others who come out in protest will continue their ways. However something very important has happened, something I see as definitive. These two landmarks mark out for me the poles of this year. On the one hand – fear, on the other – liberation from that fear.
The interviewer was Halyna Tereshchuk