Maidan was not about quotas

1888819_586478071444159_1711313672_o-1024x768By Hryhoriy Ivanchenko

On March 25, about fifty residents Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky, Kyiv oblast, including local council members, farmers, students and other caring citizens, picketed public authorities in Kyiv.

Why? Because, sadly, they had no other legal way to be heard.

The reason for piqueting were the unclear appointments three weeks after the local councilmen decided that people want to see Yaroslav Potapenko as the new head of Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky county state administration.

Almost at once, it became clear that deputy chairman of RSA Valentyna Hubar (Batkivshchyna) is also seen as a candidate to the same post. A bit later, the site of Kyiv Oblast State Administration posted the name of Iryna Mykolayenko as the candidate.

What about Potapenko? Why? Despite the promises of the head of the regional administration Volodymyr Shandra to consider all candidates, everything boiled down to Batkivshchyna members? What kind of quota of political parties are those, according to which local heads are chosen not by their occupational, organizational and human qualities but their membership in particular political parties?

To find the answers we go to the capital of the nation. It is eight in the morning, the Administration of President. A grey magnificent edifice, against which everyone feels small and depressed. We install ourselves opposite the entrance, next to the House of Chimeras. Soon as we unwrap our posters, we're approached by a guard, who says we need a permit to protest issued by the Kyiv authorities. In a short while, a man in a suit comes and introduces himself as a newly-appointed commandant of the building and seems to be sympathetic to the problems raised by us. Passers-by read our posters with interest: "Pereyaslav against quotas," "Maidan is not about quotas", "Quota principle betrays the Maidan", "Pereyaslav for Yaroslav Potapenko". Some people take photographs. Several times, people came and ask "Who is Potapenko?" Some believed he was just another presidential runner. The first MP who comes to us is Udar's Serhiy Averchenko promised support, advised to turn to.

An hour later, we march to the Parliament. As we move, journalists approach Yaroslav Potapenko, he explains the goal of our manifestation, they ask about the activist of the Right Sector Sashko Bily, murdered the night before, bowing to the idea that it was an inside job. Yaroslav disagrees much to the disappointment of the journalists, as it turned out from the Russian TV channel Mir. The reporters ask Vasyl Hrechka the same, and get even more disappointed. We part ways as they go searching for a person that will tell on camera what they need.

The square outside the Parliament is crowded, a lot of guys from Self-Defense, senior citizens, people in wheelchairs. Everyone is in wait for famous faces. Everyone wants to ask something or for something. Here goes the former head of the SBU Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, says hello. Hryhoriy Nemyrya says he is too pressed for time to spare a few minutes for Pereyaslav residents. Vitaliy Shevchenko turns seemingly sympathetic ear, but refuses to support our appeal saying he does not know us. Our own MP Serhiy Mishchenko pays a little bit more attention and encourages us not  to give up.

Lawmakers rush to make it to the beginning of the plenary session leaving us surrounded journalists. I can not say for sure but impressions is there is a special get-together of protesters here outside the Rada. That day, the lawmakers were to replace the defense chief so I saw a quite few ladies holding posters about the army. No wonder then that fifty people with caring faces attract interest among the media crowd. We are interviewed by TV crews from ICTV, 1+1, TRK Kyiv, First National.

Around the lunchtime we march to the oblast administration, where we are received by the Deputy Governor for personnel affairs Dmytro Khrystyuk. He told us about the quota principle, according to which Batkivshchyna nominates 12 heads of raion administrations in Kyiv Oblast, Svoboda nominates eight, and Udar gets five. On that day in the oblast administration we have met people from Ivankiv, Makariv, Baryshivka, Skvyra who were also dissatisfied with unexpected appointments according to the same quota principle.

The next destination for our picket was the Cabinet of Ministers building. It was a special pleasure to meet there the Minister of Youth and Sport Dmytro Bulatov. We met in January when AvtoMaidan activists visited our local popular assembly, viche.

His car was illegally detained by traffic police that so Pereyaslav residents came to help them out. Dmytro not only recognized us but also said he had heard about our pickets. He and MPs Oleh Rybachuk, Artur Palatny, Oleh Lyashko and even the governor of the National Bank Stepan Kubiv have stated in support of our protests against the appointment quotas.

We have indeed visited the Maidan that day, and prayed for the souls of the heroes of the Heavenly Hundred, of course we laid flowers at the monument to Chornovil, who died 15 years ago.
I am not sure if we have managed to rock the system of backroom deals that bring to power party functionaries rather than leaders. At least we have done what we could. The next day, about two hundred people from other Kyiv counties came to protest outside the oblast administration against the quota appointments in their counties.

(Information and photo courtesy Svetlana Shevchenko)

Translated by Y. Tsyganok

The Ukrainian version see here