The Antagonistic Discourses of the Euromaidan: Koloradi, Sovki, and Vatniki vs. Jumpers, Maidowns, and Panheads, Olga Baysha
Drawing on the discourse theory of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe (1985), this chapter discusses how the popular memes ‘jumper’, ‘kolorad,’ ‘maidown,’ ‘panhead’, ‘sovok’, ‘and vatnik’, which had been created or activated during the Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine, contributed to the intensification of its internal social conflict. To analyze how these and similar significations deepened old societal divisions and created new ones, the chapter refers to Nico Carpentier’s theory (2017) of the Discursive-Material Knot (DMK) and its conceptualization of the antagonistic discourse characterized by three nodal points: (1) the radical difference of the enemy, (2) homogenization of the self as opposed to the enemy, and (3) the need for destruction of the enemy. Analyzing discussions of the Maidan and its developments by Ukrainian users of Facebook, the chapter argues that all three points of Carpentier’s antagonistic discourse were evident in the ‘anti-other’ discourses of both pro-Maidan and anti-Maidan Facebook users.
The paper is focused on intertwinement of moral issues and massive protests in Ukraine labeled as Euromaidan. It questions whether it is correct to regard Euromaidan as a “moral revolution”, grounding on a popular in Ukraine name of the protests “Revolution of Dignity”. Emphasis is made upon the protests of Euromaidan influencing and being influenced by moral issues which are interpreted both as external triggers and internal characteristics of the protests. Six basic moral domains characterize “basic” and “advanced” moral issues in different periods of Euromaidan. It is proved that the moral triggers of the protest were connected to the domains of harm, community and freedom, while community, purity and hierarchy shaped the internal structure of Euromaidan. Appeal to reciprocity appeared along with the transformation of Euromaidan from a peaceful to more forceful protest.
Language policy and usage in the post-communist region have continually attracted wide political, media, and expert attention since the disintegration of the USSR in 1991. How are these issues politicized in contemporary Estonia, Latvia, and Ukraine? This study presents a cross-cultural qualitative and quantitative analysis of publications in leading Russian-language blogs and news websites of these three post-Soviet states during the period of 2004–2017. The most notable difference observed between Ukraine and the two Baltic countries is that many Russian-writing users in Ukraine’s internet tend to support the position that the state language, i.e. Ukrainian, is discriminated against and needs special protection by the state, whereas the majority of the Russian-speaking commentators on selected Estonian and Latvian news websites advocate for introducing Russian as a second state language. Despite attempts of Ukraine’s government to Ukrainize public space, the position of Ukrainian is still perceived, even by many Russian-writing commentators and bloggers, as being ‘precarious’ and ‘vulnerable’. This became especially visible in debates after the Revolution of Dignity, when the number of supporters of the introduction of Russian as second state language significantly decreased. In the Russian-language sector of Estonian and Latvian news websites and blogs, in contrast, the majority of online users continually reproduce the image of ‘victims’ of nation-building. They often claim that their political, as well as economic rights, are significantly limited in comparison to ethnic Estonians and Latvians. The results of Maksimovtsova’s research illustrate that, notwithstanding differences between the Estonian as well as Latvian cases, on the one hand, and Ukraine, on the other, there is an ongoing process of convergence of debates in Ukraine to those held in the other two countries analyzed in terms of an increased degree of ‘discursive decommunization’ and ‘derussification’.
Employing Ernesto Laclau’s theory of populism, this paper analyses the populist discourse of the Euromaidan, a Ukrainian movement for European integration. Articulating their democratic demands equivalentially, Euromaidan leaders and activists brought to the field of Ukraine’s discursivity the impossible totality of “the Ukrainian people” fighting against the “anti-popular regime”. The purpose of this study is to trace the formation of this populist discourse by answering the following research question: how did the Euromaidan come to articulate itself as a totality representing the whole of the Ukrainian people? This paper discusses thirteen speeches delivered by Euromaidan leaders onsite in Kyiv’s main square from December 1, 2013, to February 22, 2014.
This article is focused on “Political Orthodoxy”, an ideological trend and sociocultural phenomenon with regard to its impact to militarization and justification of war from religious point of view. The author pays his attention to elaboration the idea of “Orthodox civilization” by the part of Orthodox nationalist teoreticians striving to transform Orthodoxy into “political religion”, he scrutinizes development of eschatological ideologems and war apologia that appeared alongside this process. He examines the models of mythological outlook connected with Political Orthodoxy as manifested throughout the last decade, in particular with reference to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Through the lens of the latter the author gives examples of practical embodiment of religiously influenced militaristic discourse, shows some epiphenomena (side effects), in particular, hate, aggravation of the conflicts, separation into ‘friends’ and so on.
This analysis begins by identifying lessons for the understanding of the conflict in Ukraine and contemporary economic sanctions from the histories of the dynamics of economic and military power balances in Europe leading up to 2013 and of Western economic warfare directed against the USSR. It evaluates a number of empirical issues, such as the impacts of sanctions on the economy of Russia, and then provides brief answers to three key questions related to EU policymaking in 2015: (1) How generously should the EU support the reform and recovery of the Ukraine economy?; (2) Should the EU de-couple its policies concerning anti-Russia economic sanctions from those of the US?; and (3) Should the EU countries discourage NATO from providing military assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine?
This chapter analyzes an anti-Russian conspiratorial discourse within the Ukrainian public sphere in the aftermath of the Euromaidan revolution of 2014. Because it ended with a change of government in Ukraine, the Maidan transformation has provided fertile ground for conspiracy theories of various sorts. However, in contrast to Russian propagandistic constructions, which presented the Maidan as a coup d’etat staged by the West and committed by local neo-Fascists, Ukrainian conspiratorial discourses have not become a popular subject of analysis in academic research. With the aim of contributing to this research area, this chapter discusses how Ukrainian politicians exploit conspiracy theories to incite public fears and shift attention from the internal dimensions of Ukrainian problems to external ones. The case study discussed is the Odessa tragedy that happened on May 2, 2014, when 48 people died as a result of street clashes between two groups of Ukrainians, the opponents and proponents of the Maidan revolution. Using framing analysis, the chapter investigates the coverage of the tragedy by the news programs of three national television networks and Ukraine’s five most popular news websites on May 3 and 4, the two days immediately after the tragedy.
Miscommunicating Social Change analyzes the discourses of three social movements and the alternative media associated with them, revealing that the Enlightenment narrative, though widely critiqued in academia, remains the dominant way of conceptualizing social change in the name of democratization in the post-Soviet terrain. The main argument of this book is that the “progressive” imaginary, which envisages progress in the unidirectional terms of catching up with the “more advanced” Western condition, is inherently anti-democratic and deeply antagonistic. Instead of fostering an inclusive democratic process in which all strata of populations holding different views are involved, it draws solid dividing frontiers between “progressive” and “retrograde” forces, deepening existing antagonisms and provoking new ones; it also naturalizes the hierarchies of the global neocolonial/neoliberal power of the West. Using case studies of the “White Ribbons” social movement for fair elections in Russia (2012), the Ukrainian Euromaidan (2013–2014), and anti-corruption protests in Russia organized by Alexei Navalny (2017) and drawing on the theories of Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, and Nico Carpetntier, this book shows how “progressive” articulations by the social movements under consideration ended up undermining the basis of the democratic public sphere through the closure of democratic space.