Possible But Not Inevitable: Emergence of Violent Contentious Repertoire in Ukraine

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Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Tuesday, March 7, 20174:00PM - 6:00PM108N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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The events of winter 2013-2014 in Ukraine were special in many respects. Not only Euromaidan took many by surprise – neither the government nor the experts saw it coming. These also were the largest protests by far in the Independent Ukraine, bringing together a broad coalition of collective actors and spreading to all Ukrainian regions. But the eventual victory of the Revolution of Dignity came at a price. In two months of protest the camp in capital Kyiv abandoned its non-violent philosophy for Molotov cocktails. In few more weeks it ended with special police forces opening fire on protesters leaving more than a hundred dead. Unprecedented violence led to high level defections and dissolution of Viktor Yanukovych’s regime. Why did Ukrainian contentious repertoire, proudly non-violent starting from 1960-ies dissidents adopted the violent tactics? The presentation explores the gradual emergence of radical repertoire among Ukrainian protesters and the dynamics of violence taking up the central stage in Kyiv in January 2014. I use available data to illustrate these processes in the invert order – starting with the ‘Moment of Madness’ on Maidan on February 20th 2014 and going back in time, tracing some conditions which made it possible, but not inevitable.


Olga Kesarchuk


Olga Zelinska
PhD student in Sociology at the Graduate School for Social Research, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences; Petro Jacyk Visiting Graduate Student

Lucan Way
Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto; co-director of the Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine

Main Sponsor

Petro Jacyk Program for the Study of Ukraine


Center for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies


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