By Anton Shekhovtsov
Edited by Voices of Ukraine
Those commentators in the West who did not support either the Euromaidan protests or, later, the revolution in Ukraine, often deprived Ukrainians of any agency. They would resort to imposturous Western “self-hatred” and talk about “Western imperialism” and how bad it was to expand Western-style democracy.
Against this background, Ukrainians were objectified into non-subjectivity: it was not them who rose up against the brutal regime in defense of their own dignity – rather, it was the West that manipulated the Ukrainian mobs against Russia.
The Ukrainian revolution won, because, contrary to all the Orientalist and patronizing rhetoric of Western cynics, the Ukrainian revolutionary movement was a subject, rather than an object, of the historical process. The revolution won because Ukrainians did have agency.
They largely lost it, however, after the annexation of Crimea and the Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine. The introduction of the more-or-less significant Western sanctions against Russia implied the introduction of Western patronage over the weak (and, at times, non-existent) Ukrainian state. In the short run, it was useful for Ukraine: when the strong West stood up for the country that was much weaker in military and economic terms than the aggressor, the Russian invasion stumbled.
Yet in the long run, the loss of Ukrainian agency is destructive for Ukraine, because continuous patronage emasculates the civil society and reverts the gains of the revolution. Without regaining agency, Ukrainians cannot win. During the revolution, being a subject of the historical process implied being stubborn and determined. Today, to regain Ukrainian agency implies implementing uncompromising reforms. The choice is very clear: REFORM or SURRENDER to the aggressor. The West will not be “babysitting” Ukraine for long. The window of opportunity is closing.
Source: Anton Shekhovtsov FB