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Taras Butchenko


In November - December 2004 hundred thousands of Ukrainian citizens went out into streets and squares to protect their freedom. They defended their rights. Democracy won that time. These events were called «Orange revolution». They had a wide international resonance. They were compared with «velvet revolution» in Czechoslovakia in 1989 and «revolution of roses» in Georgia in 2003. There were other versions at the same time. Someone qualified events of 2004 as a conflict between Ukrainian oligarchy groups. Someone qualified them as realisation of the scenario, which was prepared by West countries.

This context makes the question "How to differ revolutionary transformations from other forms of social practice?" very important.

In the scientific theoretical meaning "revolution" is the form of deep qualitative changes in the condition of the system, which interrupts its evolution and transfer it on qualitative other stage of development. In this sense revolutions take place in all spheres of social life: economic, political and spiritual.

As a rule spiritual revolutions precede all other revolutions. Discourse as totality of the ways of the communications, thinking, the system of values and beliefs directly connects revolutionary changes in the spiritual sphere to the revolutionary changes in other spheres. I.e. political and social revolution begins with the cardinal change of social-political discourse.

Political revolution is the radical qualitative regime and system changes of state power. Political revolution is the first step of social revolution. Revolutionary transformations in political sphere change social-political discourse. This creates conditions for a social revolution – cardinal changes in the structure of person and society.

Thus to answer the raised question about the character of political events which took place in Ukraine in November - December 2004, it is necessary to analyze discourse and practice of social-political changes in the life of the Ukrainian community.

The reforms in Ukraine began in 1991?. in the conditions of social, economic and spiritual crisis. In policy there were transition from autocracy to democracy and the construction of the independent state. In economy there was transition from administrative - command economy to market.

The transformation of the Ukrainian society had slowed down, essential problems had been preserved by the end of the 90s. Ruling groups (in the most part the representatives of Soviet party-state bureaucracy) carried out privatization and took the significant part of the countries economic resources. They aspired to keep status-qvo and consequently acted against further democratic development. The oligarhy regime was formed in Ukraine.

The conformistic paternalistic sets, values, beliefs and stereotypes of authoritarian political culture continued to dominate in Ukraine comparatively for a long time. It was caused by a number of factors.

At first it was deforming influence of social-political system of the USSR on a civil society. There was political instability, economic crisis, mass violation of social-psychological identification of Ukrainian citizens, spreading people’s in their forces and the sense of liberty in further years.

However years of reforms have cardinally changed values and outlook of a part of the society (especially of youth). The new generation of Ukrainian people appeared which were ready to assert ideals of democracy. At the beginning of 2004 mistrust to the state power, disappointment in its opportunities to ensure the rights and freedoms of the citizens and, at the same time, conviction in the necessity of the command right and law, readiness to define their destiny independently, aspiration to political tolerance became typical for the consciousness of Ukrainians.

On the eve of civil disturbances of November - December 2004 a special version of social-political discourse had been formed. Its participants protected their rights, when the ruling regime forged the results of the President election in Ukraine. Autocracy suffered a defeat, the democratic principle gained the victory. In this sense the civil disturbances of 2004 were political revolution, as they considerably changed the character of the state regime for a period of only 17 days.

The political revolution opened new perspectives of development. At the same time there is an opportunity of counter-revolution. Democratic forces won with insignificant advantage. As there was caused no consent about fundamental democratic values in the society.

It is necessary to change the structure of social-political discourse for ensuring stability and irreversibility of democratic changes in Ukraine. Critical reflection of the conceptual bases of democracy is an obligatory condition of this process. The discussion between John Rawls and Jurgen Habermas about the modern contents of the social contract idea can help to solve this problem.

John Rawls aspires to define the conditions of democratic agreement as a mutually advantageous cooperation between free and rational persons. Such "mutually advantageous" statement of the question does not allow to find out the formation ways of the free person as the main democracy precondition. Jurgen Habermas supplements John Rawls’s position. He tries to find out the transformation conditions of man into the person – a full and equal participant of democratic consensus. The practice realization of this idea, as it seems, will form discourse "of civil participation", which includes the principles of justice, stability, integrity of social system, knowledge and recognition of social norms and laws by the citizens, their readiness to observe and to protect their rights.

Besides it is necessary to define and to take into account special national-cultural conditions of consent achievement concerning democratic values. The significant part of Ukrainians has a low level of national self-consciousness. So this is the reason which promotes division of Ukraine into "western" and "eastern" parts and enables to manipulate public opinion in private interests.

All stated above outlines the perspective and problems of discourse and practice of revolutionary actions in modern Ukraine. The "orange" revolution appears to be the first stage of the person and society qualitative changes. The Ukrainian society has a long way of painful transformations, which should confirm its democratic status.