Dmytro Potekhin & Eugenia Kuznetsova
We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men. – George Orwell
Ukraine is trying to do what probably no other nation has done before – protect its territory from Russian occupation and simultaneously implement reforms. To succeed in transformation, Ukraine needs much more efforts and resources compared to its Central European neighbours. To properly tailor the reform efforts a deep understanding of the quality of the country’s current political leadership is needed.
After the violent events that culminated the initially peaceful demonstrations in Ukraine in late 2013 and first months of 2014, the annexation of Crimea and outbreak of armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine in spring 2014, experts are still trying to find the answer whether violent events can be prevented in the country. Taking into account the experience of the peaceful revolution in 2004 that accomplished its aim of nonviolent and fair elections without any bloodshed, we attempt to understand the preconditions of the violent developments in 2013-2014. This research project looks into the role of the media in the coverage of the usurpation of power by the regime of Viktor Yanukovych.
The issue of usurpation is important for several reasons. The ability to recognize usurpation and oppose it non-violently helps not only to save lives, but improve governance. Disobedience among police and special forces increases the probability not only of successful removal of oppressive regimes (Chenoweth & Stephan, 2008), but also helps to consolidate freedom and successfully reform states (Karatnycky & Ackerman, 2005). Knowledge about the illegitimacy of the Ukrainian administration after the constitutional change would have helped to withdraw popular support and institutional cooperation, weaken and finally dissolve power (Sharp, 1993) of the Yanukovych regime non-violently.