STOP THE WAR Petr Pavlensky: Maidan Betrayed

The escalation of violence in the Crimea and the invasion by Russian troops results from the fact that society has not truly grasped Maidan as a worthy mode of existence, one that needs to embraced, developed.  Maidan presented an anarcho-communist model of coexistence, and that was its strength.


On Maidan every language was present, every nationality, and all joined against a common foe -  imperial chauvinism.  Its victory was the victory of a community of free people.  But the objective of empires, states, and power structures is to destroy this type of community while still in the womb.


But any attack requires its justification – for them a return to centralized power on a vertical axis, and the establishment of a single language.  Language provided them with an imprimatur. And from that conflict was born, a useful thing from an imperial point of view.  They fell on Ukraine with a mind to rip it to pieces to their geopolitical benefit.


The song of the revolution was replaced by the howling sirens that mark the securing of strategically vital military installations. That place where Maidan stops is where the antagonism of State and Imperial hegemony begins.  The engines of propaganda were operating double-time, tragically co-opting concepts and meanings, recasting an authentic national liberation movement as unreconstructed fascism.


The political structure singled out citizens for elimination based on their sexual preference, and set its aim on establishing absolute control over every sphere of life. Quickly, this, in its turn, was also recast as an “anti-fascist, peacekeeping force”: its objectives were seizure and destruction. The price of the peace it brought was the forced submission to a single dictate, and the loss of self-identity.


This manifest imperial chauvinism forms a greater threat for the Russian population than that represented by Putin alone. The public readily replaced the unease arising from its inadequacies with patriotic schadenfreude at the difficulties faced by those who took decisive action, ripe with purpose.


The collective critical apparatus was paralyzed by self-admiration spawned by demonstrations of military prowess. The price of this kind of patriotism? The betrayal of Maidan. And the further betrayal of our own potential to become a society capable of overcoming the whims of its authorities.


Maidan was a response to every inquiry of the global community, every person unwilling to be a puppet of government interests.


Petr Pavlensky, artist