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Phenomenon of "Orange Revolution": psychological reflections
"Break their nexus and hurl down the
gyves" Book of Psalms 2:3
Phenomenon of "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine has apparently become a key event in modern history of the country: a unique and more importantly peaceful shift of the purse-proud and contumelious authorities has enabled the country to make a breakthrough from "independent to free society" as President Yuschenko has recently said. Kaleidoscope of revolutionary events has been widely discussed in the media and has not yet escaped from the memory of the participants and spectators. However, as the immediate emotions have passed by and without an attempt to reconstruct the chronology of the events we will try to reevaluate the issue of the Revolution through adding more psychological colors to the socio-political canvas that has been already painted.
"Divided and United" - this popular title for the studies originally dedicated to the Civil War in the US perfectly well describes the state of affairs in pre and post-election Ukraine. "Divided nation" was the first both domestic and foreign experts were starting from while speaking about the Revolution (those who were glued to mass media during these "17 instances of winter" apparently don't need any other arguments of issue's vitality). The visitors of multiple web-sites, readers of newspapers and magazines, yet, TV viewership must remember the "orange-and-blue" map of Ukraine perfectly well. Millions of foreigners who had been unaware of a geographical location of Ukraine prior to the Revolution appeared now competent not only in the geography of the country; moreover, they have learned where Kyiv, L'viv and Donet'sk are located, made a deep insight into the history and culture of the nation and the reasons of revolution! However, as the country is seemingly "piecing up the quarrel" we will not dear to salt the wound and discuss the problem of divided society (furthermore, these ideas have been paid much attention in media before). And, so excuse me the former partisans of the "blue camp" and "orangemen", the emphasis will be further made rather on the nation united than divided!
Though the issue of "Orange Revolution" remains and obviously will remain highly debated amidst domestic and foreign scholars, politicians and common people for further decades, delighted attitudes and opinions quite often dull "boring" scholar explanations of both the Revolution and the reasons behind it. As a result, the implicit psychological reasons often appear literally "behind the scene". In fact, psychological aspects of "Orange Revolution" may be well exemplified with the classic Shakespearian character of "the ghost of Hamlet's father": also no one was questioning its importance the issue was paid much less attention than it deserved.
Traditional problem of psychology (and the Revolution didn't make an exception here) is that it is more implicit and hidden from apprehension comparing with more explicit and easy to cognize by common people factors (e.g.: social, economic, political, etc.). For those who remember former Soviet textbooks it may be furthermore memorable that official propaganda used to put very socio-political and economic reasons in the center of all public clamors. As a result, most conventionally, "Orange Revolution" has been analyzed from social, political, economic and other perspectives apparently lacking psychological reflections and reevaluations.
However, psychological components resulted in the outburst of people's emotions, rejections of falsified elections, reprobation of disgusting attempts to assume the reins of government were hardly less important than social, economic or other more explicit factors of the revolt. One of the fewest attempts targeted to reconsider the phenomenon "psychologically" was a round table in the Institute of social and political psychology of the Ukrainian Academy of Pedagogic Sciences held in January. Let's, hence, attempt to summarize the findings and trace most important psychological reasons behind "Orange revolution" separating, simultaneously, the "husk from the grain".
The first and probably the most important psychological aspect of the revolution was that it appeared to be the first chorus of protests in Ukraine that wasn't not based on purely economic ground (i.e.: aggravation of living standards, delinquency of payment, abolition of exempts, etc.). Moreover, the economic situation in the country was obviously as good as never before. This dramatically important sign well shows the changes in public consciousness of the people, particularly that it has already achieved a brand new state rapidly approaching the standards of civil society when money start meaning less than civil rights and freedoms. Artificially cornered in the measures of lumpen or suburban mentality by previous authorities (multiple researches ordered by former Ukrainian Government and Presidential administration were targeted to prove the "cavemen" state of Ukrainian public consciousness, incapacity of Ukrainian people, their inability to revolt and oppose the powers, etc.) the nation obviously for the first time since the deep democratic transformations in 1989-1991 has recognized its entity and psychological unity. Regardless the visible hostility between westerners and easterners millions of people remember "Donetsk, Donbas - join us". Apparently, the revolution has indeed prompted development of new Ukrainian society and helped making strong feeling of national identity amidst Ukrainian people.
As mentioned before, unique concordance of common people with general democratic values, struggle for inalienable civil rights for the first time started meaning more than purely economic welfare. The slogans "my house is on the fringe" or Chekhov's example of "a man in cover" became outdated with the present Ukrainian realities; the old saying "bread and circuses" was as well working no more in a new Ukraine! Previous passiveness, apathy and indifference of the people in politics were shifted with a surge of emotions, anger, desire to act though allied with traditional Ukrainian peacefulness and tolerance. This unique combination has amazed the whole global community!
As heard from a number of participants on Maidan (the word that already doesn't need translation to other languages) as well as common people in different cities, they were ready to reject from their wages