The movement in Ukraine that brought down the former president, Viktor Yanukovich, at the weekend has not fitted into some stereotypes used by people in western Europe, including socialists and left wingers. Having spent the last few days in Kyiv, I offer the following answers to questions that friends in western Europe frequently ask.
Question: Has there been a right-wing coup?
Gabriel: No, there has not. The new government will include some nasty right-wing people. How nasty they can get, only time will tell. But it’s difficult to imagine that they could take repressive measures more
monstrous than those Yanukovich and co. used in the last few months (sniper fire into crowds, other types of murder, torture of activists, unbridled use of paid thugs, and so on).
In any case, the government’s potentially dangerous right-wing colouring is one thing; the character of the movement that paved the way for it is another. Two important points, to my mind, are (1) this was a mass movement embracing wide swathes of the population; and (2) the strength of right- Read the rest of this entry »