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Profession? Oppositioner! Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Olexi, Ukraine Apr 1, 2005
Human Rights   Interviews


During the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, that had burst after rigged Presidential elections and led to Fairer and Open elections, our guest Volodymyr Lesyk was a senior officer of PORA, a nation wide youth organization (civic campaign) that is still unambiguously associated both inside and outside Ukraine, with the huge role that Ukrainian youths have played in the mass manifestations. Specially for TakingITGlobal and UN Millennium Campaign, Volodymyr unveils what just a few months ago would be top secret information – how a revolutionary organization is made.

"During the events that swept through Ukraine in the end of year 2004 –winter of 2005, Civic Campaign Pora was said to number between 30 and 35 thousands activists. This in my regards an exaggeration but It won’t be one to acknowledge that young people gladly came under our banner. In the months of opposition with the Government in power, the idea of a non-hierarchic youth organization (civic campaign) was exactly the right stuff for young men and women and teenagers that were willing to participate but detested any sort of politicized routine. That is what led nearly 5000 persons to join civic campaign Pora and wear a characteristic bandage of the movement. In Ukrainian language “Pora” means “it is time”. Definitely at that period it was obvious that “it’s time to take action and make a difference”.

- Volodymyr, how would you describe the phenomenon of this organization?

"I am a realist and can stand the fact that our influence was not decisive for the revolution, unlike that of, for instance, KHMARA Georgian youth movement that actually launched protests in Georgia and took over the streets. Pora hasn’t played any comparable role and never could for certain reasons, but even what was done was great".

In Volodymyr’s opinion, Pora is a phenomenon of an organization happening to be at the right time and place when it is needed.

Volodymyr continues - "A great clue for any youth movement is to learn to exploit the power of media. Pora’s leaders were very proficient in dealing with TV and radio – boasting in front of the cameras about how numerous and powerful we were, whereas we were actually fulfilling a tiny portion of what we claimed".

Making a revolutionary organization…

"Pora was initiated in 2003. Its core unit, so called “black pora” was formed by young people from Kyiv, capital of Ukraine and Lviv other major Ukrainian city, famous for patriotism of its citizens. I was among those few who actually conceived Pora. We sought and found allies using Internet as well. It was apparent that it would take a strong civic movement to oppose corrupt government. Direct civic action that’s what it was all about for us. Organizational committee comprised students and civic leaders, and adult as well. Our first successful project was publication and spreading of many thousands of posters questioning “what is kuchmism?” PORA began with this – we covered all Ukraine with our stickers".

- What would you advice to revolutionary romantics in Ukraine, who think it hasn’t achieved its goals?

"Yes, many including myself tend to think that the opposition that has come into power in Ukraine is a disappointment in view of the goals that youth set in the revolution. I would ask everyone who feels the same to fight disheartening emotions and continue their work on behalf of civil society: if one wants to live in a democratic state governed by the law, one has to fight all the time. We have obtained a lot via street struggle in Kyiv, but to build a democracy in Ukraine will take , at least, 10 years of active campaigning.
Youths should think of civic organizations, NGOs, public movements and networking as proper means for achievement of goals that they set – democratization, welfare state and etc. I have spent more than 6 years now in struggle for the human rights and not every day was as glorious as Orange Revolution and still there was always a feeling that my work is for the good of my nation and mankind".

"I have decided to leave PORA, and disseminated an open letter about this, democracy is a great cause and not a pretext for money making, now I’ll continue on my own and I thank people who made a difference in Ukraine, why not now switch to the whole world?"

“Pora was a civic campaign and our democratic nature attracted thousands, unfortunately after the goals of the revolution were accomplished, not a few of campaign leaders could stand the temptation to “privatize” the organization and impose rules of their own, that have nothing to do with democracy, - says Volodymyr, - that was the reason why I left PORA.I claim that an organization that is undemocratic itself must not claim having any democratic credentials. This opinion, not an original one is the one that I stick to".



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Ukrainian student, journalist and a planetary citizen. I invite you to take a look at Central's Europe largest state- Ukraine through Olexi-tinted spectacles. Somewhat approaching unbiased subjectivity :)
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