‘Ukraine split year after coup: reality clicks in after euphoria’

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Pro-European integration protesters take cover from water sprayed from a fire engine at the site of clashes with riot police in Kiev in January 23, 2014 (Reuters / Vasily Fedosenko)
Half of the population in Ukraine believes the country is going in the right direction towards a better life and democracy, while the other is sure things are going backwards, and life will became more difficult, Russia analyst Martin McCauley told RT.

READ MORE: #EuroMaidan revolution: 2014 Ukrainian coup timeline

RT:What do you think are the main results of the so-called ‘EuroMaidan’ that took place last year? Have Ukrainian people achieved their goals, or have they perhaps lost faith in a brighter future?

Martin McCauley: I think the main result is that perhaps half of the country is satisfied with the results of the Maidan demonstrations in the sense that they think Ukraine is going in the right direction towards democracy, towards the rule of law, towards a better economic life, but only in hope. They believe they are going there but they haven’t got there. So about the half of population is positively thinking the future will be better.

But the other half, if you take Eastern Ukraine and many parts of Ukraine, they believe the things are going backwards and life has become more difficult, and economically Ukraine is not making progress.

So the country is split between the minority, or perhaps half of the population, who thinks that future will be brighter, and the other half [who] think that there is really no hope for the future.

READ MORE: My Maidan memories: Living through Ukraine's nightmare year (Part 2)

RT:Recalling some other revolutions in the world history can you say that some of them were successful and brought peace and prosperity to any country?

MM: Can you ever say a revolution or an uprising is worth it. After a revolution there is always a period of bloodletting, there is great euphoria by those who succeed in overthrowing the existing power. Then short-term afterwards, perhaps 6 months or a year afterwards, the reality clicks in. And reality is in fact a very cold master. Therefore, many of the hopes of the demonstrators at Maidan are not being realized. Some of them hope that they will be realized in the future. But the results so far are not very promising.

RT:What do you see as the main problem of the current destabilization in Ukraine and why the present government fails to get the country back on its feet?

MM: The main problem is the military conflict in the East. If that is not solved, that is not stabilized, and then there will be very little political and economic progress. Civil society has not got a chance, it can’t really develop. Parliament can’t develop, democracy can’t develop, and the businesses can’t develop until the conflict in the East has been solved and Ukraine is at peace. Therefore the priority for the Ukrainian government is peace in the East. They must solve that problem because if they don’t, then Ukraine is facing a very bleak future. Even when they do resolve the problems in the East it will take at least five years before Ukraine can say economically it is really getting on its feet again.

RT:There’s been a new wave of discontent throughout Ukraine. People are again not satisfied with the new government. Is there a possibility of a new coup d’état in the country if nothing changes in the near future?

MM: That is always possible because after a coup, a revolution, there is always a period of uncertainty. And people who take over are insecure. They have to build up legitimacy, they have to build up their authority, they have to build up institutions and that takes time. Normally that requires a period of peace.

But in Ukraine you don’t have that. Therefore, the dangers are that the conflict in the East will in fact continue. The Ukrainian army, if it suffers one or two heavy defeats, might disintegrate and then the country will be thrown into chaos. So the situation in Ukraine at present is very volatile, is very delicate, it’s very fragile, and it is possible that if the present government does not solve the problems in the East, they don’t resolve the conflict in the East, then it’s possible that the majority of Ukrainians will say: “Right, we need a new government and we need a new beginning.”

ARCHIVE PHOTO: Barricades set on fire by protesters burn at Independence Square in Kiev August 9, 2014 (Reuters / Konstantin Grishin)

RT:The West claims that it supported uprisings in Kiev and other parts of Ukraine hoping to see further economic, democratic developments, etc… So why it failed to happen, do you think?

MM: Yes, from the Western European point of view the only way forward for Ukraine is in fact a liberal market economy, the rule of law, secure property rights, democracy, and so on. But you can’t achieve those objectives if there is a conflict going on, if there is a war going on. And therefore you need peace to begin those objectives. It’s a long process because Ukraine has never been a developed state, never been a developed democracy, and so on. They have to learn how to do that, and so on. That will take time. From the European point of view, Ukraine has been a disappointment. But the hope is that after peace in the East there will begin the process [which] will take 10- 20 years before Ukraine can be classified as a normal European state in the sense of the West European state.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.