Local Governments and Maidan Protests
by Olga Zelinska Graduate School of Social Research, Warsaw, Poland
Draft: Not to be Cited Without Permission
Ukrainian Maidan began in November 2013 with the sudden termination of country’s foreign policy course directed towards European Union, and lasted until February 2014, ending with a change in the executive government, occupation of Crimea and the start of an armed conflict with Russia in the East of Ukraine. During this time, the center of claims making was the Maidan, which is both the name of a square in downtown Kyiv and a catchword of the protest movement as a whole. Whereas most attention has been on Kyiv Maidan, I examine the local Maidan in the cities and towns across Ukraine.
I used a contentious politics perspective (Tilly and Tarrow, 2007) to analyze the claims made by local Maidan protesters toward local, national and international governments. In the process of claim making, demands addressed to local governments occupied substantial share, and their importance was increasing over time. In this context analyzing and understanding the reaction of various local governments in the localities where Maidans occurred is crucial.
The empirical basis of claimants demands examination is a the qualitative analysis of 94 resolutions issued by the local Maidan rallies in 57 localities across 20 regions (oblasts) of Ukraine that contain the demands addressed to national and local governments. These documents are expressions of political protest: they are the people’s demands and their plans for future action. To grasp the reaction of local authorities I also analyze 193 addresses adopted by 68 local authorities of various levels (I focused on legislative bodies, starting from village and city council, through rayon to oblast council) during Maidan events in 20 oblasts where local Maidan protests occurred and where resolutions were voted.
Contentious politics are defined as interactions involving claim-making, collective coordinated action and government targeting (Tilly and Tarrow, 2007, p. 4). From this viewpoint, the Maidan can be identified as contentious politics, with local non-governmental actors targeting a set of national, regional and local governments. Maidan participants create a political identity of people who see the Ukrainian government at all levels as something that can, and should change. They staged political performances such as mass assemblies and the occupation of administrative buildings. They drew on previous repertoire of contention - 2000 ‘Ukraine without Kutchma’, 2004 ‘Orange Revolution’, 2011 ‘Tax Maidan’ - and constantly innovated. In this regard the Euromaidan protest, which took place on November 21-30, 2014 on Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) in Kyiv can be considered a ‘transformative event’ (Tilly and Tarrow, 2007, p. 183) – the staged transgressive performance which triggered further contention.
As the further analysis suggest, the same theoretical framework is applicable to the reaction of local governments in Ukraine and their positioning towards Maidan claims. They too, issued claims toward national government and coordinated the actions of other self-governments as collective claim-making bodies. Opposition of governments within state structure is rare yet emergent phenomenon (Tomescu-Dubrow et al., 2013). Put this way, this article should be seen as a case study and contribution to the literature claiming the protest to state structures is no longer an individual(s) thing, but relates to broader scope of collective action.
Maidan classification, timing and stages
Today, most scholars refer to the Ukrainian 2013-2014 protest events as Euromaidan (Pishchikova and Ogryzko, 2014; Way, 2014). For my analysis, there are problems with using this term. First, the prefix ‘euro’ suggests that all Maidan protests were about Ukraine’s relationship with Europe as a whole. Yet, there was great differentiation in the target of Maidan protests that often dealt with local, rather than Europe-wide claims. Second, the ’euro‘ prefix disguises the anti-Maidan protests which, in the larger scheme, are part of the broader protest picture. For these reasons, I will use Maidan as the general name of the protest. Moreover, as the following research details, the majority of the protests happened outside Kyiv in the cities and towns across Ukraine. Thus, the remaining article will focus on the local Maidans.
This article focuses on Ukrainian contention that started on November 24, 2013, the day of the first mass protest in the capital Kyiv, to February 27, 2014, a week after Ukraine’s President fled to Russia. A short history of the Ukrainian protests and government response contextualizes this article. On November 24, the Ukrainian government suspended the signing of the Association agreement with the European Union, with the effect of blocking the process of Ukraine’s European integration. This triggered major contentious events: violence against protesters, mainly students, in attempt to dismantle the pro-European tent camp in the central Kyiv on November 30; creation of ‘All-Ukrainian Union ‘Maidan’ in Kyiv on December 22; adoption of anti-protest laws in Ukrainian parliament on January 16, 2014; the subsequent escalation of violence by radically-oriented demonstrators in Kyiv on January 19; police opening fire on demonstrators on February 20; President Yanukovych’s escape from Ukraine on February 22, and appointment of the new executive government on Maidan. Russia’s incursion into Ukraine officially began on March 1, 2014, when the Russian Federal Assembly granted President Vladimir Putin with the right to deploy the army to Crimea (“Путін оголосив Україні війну [Putin Declared War on Ukraine],” 2014). This caused a qualitatively new phase in Ukrainian contention.
Much of the literature is dedicated to the stages of activity within the Kyiv Maidan movement (Carroll, 2014; Khmelko and Pereguda, 2014; Konończuk and Olszański, 2014; Onuch and Sasse, 2014). The authors base their categorization on the different nature of Kyiv Maidan demands (based on the Kyiv events overview, see Burlakova, 2014), varying sets of socio-demographical characteristics of Kyiv protest participants (based on survey by Democracy Initiatives Foundation, Kyiv, see “Від Майдану-Табору До Майдану-Січі: Що Змінилося?,” 2014), or taking a more comprehensive approach and dividing Maidan into phases of mobilization (based on surveys and interviews, see Onuch and Sasse, 2014).
For the purposes of this article, based on the key events overview and existing categorization approaches I suggest the following six stages of all-national Maidan movement: Euromaidan caused by termination of the EU deal (November 21-30), Human rights-related protest, caused by beating of the protesters (November 30 – December 22), Institutionalization of Maidan with an attempt to launch All-Ukrainian Union Maidan and its offices across Ukraine (December 22 - January 16), Anti-dictatorship protest, boosted with draconic January 16th anti-protest laws (January 16-February 22), Call for restoration of people’s powers, when all attention was put towards claims of more powers belonging to the people of Ukraine (February 22 – March 1). As the further article details, each of these stages was characterized by different set of claims issued towards the governments.
I examine the claims made by local Maidan protestors by analyzing the protest data produced by the Maidans, including manifestos and statements. The empirical data for this investigation consist of 94 resolutions texts voted by local Maidan protests in 57 towns and cities across 20 regions of Ukraine, from Nov 24, 2013 to Feb 27, 2014. These are the resolutions, declarations, addresses and decisions of Maidan protests that for convenience will be further referred to as resolutions. A typical Maidan resolution is a one-page document, containing protesters claims, including identity statements, the reasons for protest and the demands to the authorities of national and local level, and the declarations of support or condemnation. Thus they provide the rich grounds for analysing protesters grievencies and programs, and contribute to better understanding of Maidan contention.
To understand the position of local authorities in this process I also analyzed 193 topical addresses and statements, adopted by 68 local authorities of various levels (I focused on legislative bodies, starting from village and city council, through rayon to oblast council) from Nov 24, 2013 to Feb 27, 2014 in 20 oblasts where local Maidan protests occurred and where resolutions were voted. These are the addresses of local-level councils to higher-level (national) authorities and other actors with regards to the socio-political situation in Ukraine and in the region. This makes them different from daily decisions of local councils, targeting routine problems, such as land issues or budgets. Instead, local authorities felt a need to clarify their position with such statements, take specific outstanding actions and issue claims they considered necessary in times of Maidan.
Collected documents of both local Maidans and authorities were further coded using qualitative analysis computer assisted online software Dedoose. I used a mix of open and pre-defined coding tactic, using pre-defined coding structure (borrowed from Tilly and Tarrow (2007) distinction of identity, standing and program claims), and mid-course adding individual child codes, specifying the exact claim that belonged to one of the categories. For local authorities I also coded specific outstanding actions they considered necessary to take during Maidan. The following analysis will, however, focus predominantly on program claims of both local Maidans and authorities, with some attention paid at local councils outstanding actions.
Following this scheme I applied the codes to the collected documents (n=94 for Maidans resolution and n=193 for authorities statements) with a total universe of 927 excerpts for Maidans and 1654 excerpts for local authorities. An excerpt is a word, a phrase, a sentence or a group of sentences that contains a logically complete claim. Each excerpt has its own code. In this way the unit of my analysis is the claim, and not the individual document.
Local Maidan Demands
In order to understand the position of the local governments during Maidan events it is necessary to first overview the demands issued by local Maidans. The qualitative analysis of local Maidan resolutions suggests the protestors issued claims to local, national and even international governments. The total share of these was uneven, with the definite stress on claims issued towards the national governments: 9 text excerpts mentioned claims of Maidans participants targeted international governments (2%), 368 (62%) national and 218 (37%) - local governments. At the same time, the share of local demands was steadily increasing over time at each consecutive stage of Maidan contention, as Figure 1 below demonstrates.
Figure 1. Share of international, national and local claims in local Maidans resolutions, %.
Source: own calculation
International-level claims occupied a minor share of the entire body of demands issued by local Maidan participants, and included requests of the sanctions against Ukrainian leadership (e.g. ‘block the accounts in the EU and the US, of president Yanukovych, his family and supporters, and those of Communist party and the Party of Regions members’, ‘we urge the EU governments to impose personal sanctions on president Yanukovych’) and even boycott the Olympic Games in Sochi.
Most of the Maidan protesters claims were focused at the national level. These covered the following spheres:
National politics. Here the demands of resignation of top national officials, including President Yanukovych, Prime Minister Azarov and minister of interior Zakharchenko prevailed (e.g. ‘the person holding the post of the President today is no longer legitimate and has no moral authority to be called the head of the state’, ‘we demand the resignation of Azarov’s cabinet for the treason of national interests and reversing the course on EU integration’, ‘we demand resignation and criminal liability of the minister Zakharchenko for cooperation with bandit groups ‘titushki’). These were followed by the demands of snap elections of the President and Parliament. One of the important claimant’s demands was the return of 2004 Constitution, providing parliamentary-presidential form of governance, e.g. ‘restore parliamentarism and democracy through return to 2004 Constitution’.
Justice. The key demands in this sphere concerned rehabilitation of political prisoners (e.g. ‘release Yuliya Tymoshenko’; ‘release and rehabilitate all political prisoners, Maidan activists, public figures and journalists’) and proper investigation and punishment of those guilty in wrongdoings (e.g. ‘impose criminal liability for all those guilty for beating peaceful protesters on Maidan Nezalezhnosti’, ‘punish the real implementers of outrageous beating of peaceful protesters’).
Foreign policy. The key demand here was the restoration of the pro-European foreign policy course and signing the Association Agreement with the European Union (e.g. ‘immediately sign the Association Agreement with the European Union on the bases beneficial for Ukraine’, ‘make European integration irreversible’).
The other spheres included civil society (e.g. ‘demanding Party of Regions members to leave the party’), economy and social guarantees (e.g. create equal opportunities for personal development’), security (e.g. ‘stop deploying ‘titushki’ to Kyiv’).
Substantial body of demands was focused at the local level policy and addressed to local authorities. These were focused on the multiple spheres:
Local politics. Most of claimants demanded resignation of local officials, including the mayor, local councils, and heads of local state administration. Maidan protestors called for snap elections. Additionally, they demanded local authorities to hold extraordinary meetings or hearings to decide on the issues of local importance. Another group of claims covered reforming of local politics, including transparent actions of local authorities, introduction of city referenda, appointment of the officials directly by ‘viche’ (popular assembly) and other mechanisms of direct people’s governance (e.g. ‘Local Maidan coordination headquarters have to approve the candidates for the managerial positions at regional level’).
Local law enforcement. The claimants demanded local law enforcers to ensure law and order at the territory of the local community, to disobey illegal orders, and stop political prosecution (e.g. ‘we address the rayon police department asking not to cause problems, but support local people traveling to Kyiv Maidan’).
Civil society. The protesters demands here concerned political parties (the dissolution of the local Party of Regions branches), the media (broadcast time for local Maidan protesters), as well as other civil society groups and organizations (requests to hold viche on weekly basis).
Social guarantees. Socio-economic block included demands of revision of local tariffs, improvement of transportation system, opening of the local factory and creation of job places (e.g. ‘ensure jobs, salary, proper tariffs, timely pensions, and social securities’).
Culture. Some participants focused on the issues of cultural heritage, demanding to build a church, a museum, a new monument, rename the streets and squares after the protestors who died on Kyiv Maidan (e.g. ‘rename Gorkii street into the street of The Heavenly Hundred’).
Local Councils in Maidan Contention
Local councils – contentious actors
The qualitative analysis of local council’s declarations suggests they took a hybrid role during Maidan. On the one hand, they were the subject of increasing claims of local Maidans, and had to respond to the demands in protesters declarations or take other actions which they considered legitimate and necessary in those circumstances. On the other hand, they did not hesitate to issue international, national and local level claims, demanding the responsible authorities to act in specific way in order to resolve the conflict behind the Maidan protest, or address their own, local councils’ interests.
Both pro-Maidan and pro-governmental councils claimed to be the only truly legitimate, freely elected (vs appointed), ‘closest to the local needs’ authorities, and thus bearing the full responsibility for the functioning of local community (e.g. ‘local councils stand the closest to the requests and strives of Ukrainian citizens to live in safe and democratic country’; ‘city head and city council are freely elected, not appointed from above, bodies of city self-government’; ‘local authorities, supported by local communities, are the only legitimate source of power in Ukraine’).
Reference to the responsibility in front of their voters was the main motivation behind the active involvement in the contention process. At the same time, in their addresses local councils rarely referred to the actual claims of local Maidans and demands expressed during assemblies or mentioned in the resolutions (total of 7 excerpts, e.g. ‘support the decisions adopted by Lutsk people’s viche’). More often they would declare nominal support of Kyiv (30 excerpts) or local Maidan (19 excerpts), and proceed with own list of claims. 23 excerpts suggest local governments were fully supportive of governmental policy (fair to say, this did not limit their claims).
They bared the consequences of protest as an institution (local councils who were criticizing the pro-governmental policies reported increased scrutiny on behalf of state prosecution and opening of ‘politically-motivated’ criminal proceedings on the employees; pro-governmental councils at the later stages of Maidan, too, claimed political prosecution) and personally (local council members reported killed in clashes with special police on Kyiv Maidan). This made them political actors, and they assumed political identity as protestor.
In early stages of Maidan the formation of local councils’ collectively perceived identity was especially evident. For some ‘we’ is referred to the protesters and the local councils, whereas ‘they’ concerns the national authorities (e.g. ‘we do not support the government which does not hear its own people. Such government cannot be legitimate’; ‘we declare support to the demands of All-Ukrainian Euromaidan in Kyiv. Consider Ivano-Frankivsk oblast council indispensable part of all-Ukrainian Euromaidan’). For the others, ‘we’ is definitely the side of ‘legitimately elected state authorities’, while ‘they’ refers to ‘radical groups aiming at constitutional coup’.
Local councils maneuvered successfully in the political opportunity structures, sensing the shifts in moods and employing inventive approaches to reach out for potential allies, including MPs elected by their constituency, media, law enforcers, judges, pro-presidential Party of Regions members and councils in other oblasts (e.g. ‘we draw the attention of MPs elected in Volyn on inadmissibility to make any agreements with the [national] authorities […] Stop hesitating and stand aside of local people in fight against the criminal regime. Volynyans will never forgive you one more treason!’; ‘The members of the Party of Regions bear the full amount of responsibility […] You entered this party to protect your business. Today we call you to make your choice in favor of Ukrainian people as the only source of power’; ‘resist the unlawful pressure of the government, which tries to make you [the law-enforcers] look like the animal pack and acting against own people’). On the other hand, local councils also impacted the political opportunity structures for protest at the local level by supporting/condemning Maidan events (e.g. ‘we call those indifferent to Ukraine’s future to join the Kyiv protest […] If you can, be there for New Year and Christmas’ vs ‘Come back home [from Maidan]! Come back to your families and children!’).
Local council’s claims
Both pro-Maidan and pro-governmental councils focused in their statements at the national level. At the same time, they were more eager (felt more legitimate) to address international governments, comparing to local Maidans. 17 text excerpts (3%) addressed international-level claims, majority, 434 excerpts (79%) targeted national-level issues, and 95 excerpts (17%) were focused at the local level.
International-level claims occupied the minor share in the entire body of local councils’ claims. Yet, their percentage is higher comparing to the claims of the protesters. This suggests local councils felt more certain about addressing the international governments. During Euromaidan protest in Kyiv, local councils asked international community ‘not to close the door for Ukraine’ and maintain the course for European integration. During the human rights protest local governments called for international sanctions imposed on President Yanukovych and members of Azarov government. During anti-dictatorship protests they cried for ‘any external help to Ukrainian people in fighting the usurper’. Some local governments, however, were asking international community to ‘stay away from Ukraine’s internal affairs, do not show support to wither parties, and do not destabilize the situation further’.
National-level claims occupied the greatest share of local councils’ attention. These were concerning several key spheres:
Vision of national politics occupied the central role in statements of local councils. Among these impeachment of the President, resignation of the government and dissolution of Parliament, followed by the next snap elections and formation of the ‘people’s government’ were most often mentioned (‘hold snap parliamentary elections on proportional basis and open lists’, ‘refuse the quota principle and appointment of political candidacies. Form the government of true professionals with perfect reputation’). Local councils were demanding to ban pro-presidential Party of Regions and Communist party, which voted for January 16th anti-democratic laws (‘we consider the activities of PR and CP destabilizing, as such leading to cleavages in Ukrainian society and deepening disagreements between the government and the people’). Return to 2004 constitution was an important claim, as well as the renewal of Constitutional Assembly and development of brand new Constitution. These followed by the demands of political system reforms – changes in electoral legislation, reformatting central electoral commission to avoid fraud.
Security and justice. The key demand here was investigation and proper punishment for all guilty in wrongdoings. Interestingly enough, this claim united both pro-Maidan and pro-governmental local councils, with the only difference in potential subject of such investigation (Berkut police and officials for the first ones, and nationalists guided by radical opposition for the latter group). Local councils were demanding to stop police outrage, political prosecutions, and rehabilitate all political prisoners. Law enforcers were asked by pro-governmental councils to ensure public safety, security and constitutional order by suppressing illegal radical protests. At the same time pro-Maidan local councils addressed law-enforcers with the claim to ensure the right for peaceful protests and other rights guaranteed in Constitution. Demands to reform law-enforcement, dissolve Berkut, make judges elected followed at the later stages of Maidan.
Foreign policy. The key demand here was maintaining the course on European integration, ‘as the only direction which represents the interest of the local communities’, and signing the Association Agreement. At the end of Maidan protests Uzhgorod city council was asking Ukrainian Parliament to ‘do anything necessary to implement visa-free regime. The doors to EU have to be opened for all Ukrainians and not for those chosen’.
Solve the crisis. Great share of claims was focused on necessary actions to resolve Maidan conflict. The key demand here was to stop the violent scenario and old roundtable negotiations among national government, opposition leaders, civil society representatives, and even local governments as legitimate actors (‘before it’s too late, and there is still a chance for peaceful solution, we call for constructive talks by the President, the opposition, other political partied and public organizations’, ‘demand the President to stop immediately any attempts for violent suppression of protest actions in Kyiv and the regions’; ‘stop the violence and terror against Ukrainian people immediately’). This demand was issued by both pro-Maidan and pro-governmental councils. At the same time, Ivano-Frankivsk local council at the time of the greatest tension demanded to stop any talks, as they considered national authorities illegitimate. On the other hand, several text fragments mention the claim of pro-governmental councils addressed to the President to take strong decisive measures to stop this crisis (‘the residents of Zaporizhzhzya demand decisive actions for constitutional order in Ukraine. Demonstrate firm position and use all political and legal mechanisms to stop this chaos and irresponsibility’).
Ensure economic stability. Pro-governmental local councils were often concerned with the impact of ‘Maidan crisis’ on national economy and implementation by the state of social guarantees. In this regard they addressed the President demining timely payments of salaries and pensions and ensuring normal functioning of the enterprises (‘Dnipropetrovsk is the leading industrial center of Ukraine. Our position is the following: economy has to function, workers – receive salary, pensioners – pensions, all Ukrainians have to be socially protected’; ‘we ask the government to ensure proper functioning of the economy, infrastructure, communal services providers and social sphere’).
Local-level claims were directed predominantly to local branches of law-enforcement authorities, whom local councils tried to ifluence, and later – even subordinate. Local councils were asking local law-enforcers to ‘disobey illegal orders’ received from the national legal, ensure the right for peaceful protest locally, and return the personnel to their dislocation points (‘we call law-enforcement authorities in Vynohradiv rayon to act exclusively in the interests of local community, abstain from interventions to the activity of organizations and enterprises, prosecution of Maidan activists and local council members’; ‘Judges of Rivne oblast! Remember your position, calling and role in the society! Today everyone chooses the own way to fight. You have a choice too: wear bloody gowns or be proud of being a judge.’; ‘recommend the head of Horodenka rayon police not to send personnel to Kyiv to participate in illegal actions of the regime limiting rights and freedoms of the citizens’).
Claiming more powers at the local level
As the analysis suggests, the position of the local councils was closely intertwined with their interests, namely by attempts of acquiring more powers at the local level. These claims were characteristic both for pro-Maidan and pro-governmental local councils with the only difference in algorithm of claims. While pro-Maidan councils have started to act for more powers by issuing specific decisions at the early stages of Maidan contention, pro-governmental councils preferred to claim more powers from the central authorities at the later stages of protests.
The attempts of local pro-Maidan councils (being local legislative bodies, members elected) to re-gain the control over powers delegated to the oblast state administrations (local executive authorities, head appointed by the President) started as early as December 2013, when some councils were revoking their decisions on power transfer to state administrations and terminating lease agreements to deprive the latter of the premises. Instead, executive committees of the local councils were to be established to take up the new functions. It is important to mention, that such decisions were recognized illegal by the (administrative) courts the day after and thus never truly came into force, but the local councils kept trying.
Local state administrations were systematically discredited and associated with ‘illegitimate’ and ‘non-constitutional’ Yanukovych’s regime (e.g. ‘express non-confidence to Ivano-Frankivsk oblast state administration and consider the existence of such institution inexpedient. The system of powers which includes local administrations should be subject to liquidation’). Often times, among other claims to central authorities, local councils demanded Ukrainian Parliament and President to abolish state administrations (e.g. ‘demand the President to abolish the institution of state administrations and speed up the administrative reform’).
On February 19, 2014, creation of Narodna Rada (People’s Council) was voted on Kyiv Maidan (“Опозиційні депутати створили Народну Раду України [Oposition MPs created Narodna rada of Ukraine],” 2014) as supreme legislative body alternative to the existing regime-dependent power structures. The next day it issued a decision to establish People’s Councils in Ukraine’s oblasts(“Опозиція вирішила створити альтернативну владу (повний текст рішення Віче) [Oposition decided to create alternative authority (The full text of Viche resolution)],” 2014) as alternative oblast councils. People’s Councils were established in 19 Ukrainian oblasts.
Apart from name they rarely had much in common. If opposition parties held majority on the oblast council, new bodies de-facto doubled the existing oblast councils. In other cases all sorts of intra-factional groups of council members, advisory and public councils and even non-governmental organizations were called People’s Councils (Дворецька [Dvoretska], 2014). In case the alternative Council received enough support, members of councils again re-claimed the executive powers from administrations, claimed control over local law-enforcement and even tried to obtain written statements of the officials to follow the orders of Narodna Rada (e.g. ‘the heads of departments of executive authorities, as well as their deputies, confirm their readiness to implement all decisions and orders of the executive committee of oblast Narodna Rada by providing written confirmations to the head of the executive committee’). As in case with earlier attempts, such decisions were found illegal by the court.
After Yanukovych escaped, the new government was voted on Maidan and the Chair of the Parliament temporally took over presidential duties, local councils continued addressing Ukrainian Parliament demanding decentralization, which would grant them with powers on the local level in a legal systematic way (e.g. ‘we address Verkhovna Rada again to legally regulate the process of decentralization in Ukraine and transfer the powers to the local level’; ‘reforming the system of local self-government has to include the increased rights of local communities’). These claims were detailed with demands for decentralized budgets and approval of local administration head by the council, and were characteristic for both pro-Maidan and pro-governmental local councils.
As the analysis above suggests, local councils were actively engaged in Maidan, but they played a hybrid role in this contention. They exercised their own authority at the local level, and at the same time issued claims to national, and even international governments, as well as to other local actors. As such, local councils were both the target of protestor claims, and the protestors themselves. Local councils, thus, acted as a ‘loudspeaker’ to protestors demands, addressed to the national government. At the same time, the local authorities selectively supported protesters’ demands; they were guided by their own interests. The position of the local councils was closely intertwined with their attempts of acquiring more powers at the local level.
In 2012 Ukrainian researcher Paliy (Палій, 2012) suggested that in the majority of protest movements real social changes are possible only if the establishment joins the protesters. Local governments’ material and organizational resources can make legitimize and convert social grievances into specific political claims. In the case of Ukrainian 2013 Maidan contention, local governments, although being quite reluctant about addressing specific claims issued towards them by local Maidans, picked up on the main claims and merged them with own interests. This makes local governments an important piece in complex Maidan puzzle.
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Опозиційні депутати створили Народну Раду України [Oposition MPs created Narodna rada of Ukraine], 2014.
Опозиція вирішила створити альтернативну владу (повний текст рішення Віче) [Oposition decided to create alternative authority (The full text of Viche resolution)], 2014.
Палій, О., 2012. Основні тенденції та ризики протестних настроїв в українському суспільстві. Національний інститут стратегічних досліджень при Президентові України.
План дій, затверджений Народним Віче [Action Plan approved by the People’s Viche], 2014.
Путін оголосив Україні війну [Putin Declared War on Ukraine], 2014.
Резолюція Євромайдану [EuroMaidan Resolution], 2013.
Резолюція Євромайдану “Про заборону Януковичу підписувати угоду щодо приєднання України до Митного союзу” [EuroMaidan Resolution “On prohibition of Yanukovych signing an agreement on Ukraine’s accession to the Customs Union”], 2013.
Резолюція Євромайдану “Свободу політв’язням! Ні - політичним репресіям!” [EuroMaidan Resolution “Freedom of Political Prisoners! No to Political Repressions!”], 2013.
Резолюція Народного Віча “За європейську Україну!” [Resolution of People’s Viche “For European Ukraine!”], 2013.
Резолюція Народного Віча «Про заснування Народного об’єднання «Майдан» [Resolution of the People’s Viche “On the establishment of the People’s Union â Maidan’”], 2013.
 The following media sources and documents were used to prepare the overview (“Agreement on the Settlement of Crisis in Ukraine - Full Text,” 2014, “Euromaidan Rallies in Ukraine - Dec. 8,” 2013, “Formation of a Police State Cloaked Under the Budget? Focus on Ukraine. January 13-19, 2014,” 2014, “Fugitive Viktor Yanukovych Out of Sight but Running Out of Options,” 2014, “Maidan-2013: The Battle Rages on. Focus on Ukraine. December 2-8, 2013,” 2013, “Profile: Ukraine’s ‘Right Sector’ Movement,” 2014, “Refusal from Euro-Integration: What Next? Focus on Ukraine. November 18-24, 2013,” 2013, “Three Months of a Ukrainian Revolution: Is This the Last Straw for Yanukovych? Focus on Ukraine. February 17-23, 2014,” 2014, “Ukraine Parliament Pushes Through Sweeping Anti-Protest Law,” 2014, “Люди Поставили Ультиматум: Відставка Януковича До Ранку [Maidan Issued an Ultimatum: Yanukovych’s Resignation Before Morning],” 2014, “План дій, затверджений Народним Віче [Action Plan approved by the People’s Viche],” 2014, “Резолюція Євромайдану [EuroMaidan Resolution],” 2013, “Резолюція Євромайдану ‘Про заборону Януковичу підписувати угоду щодо приєднання України до Митного союзу’ [EuroMaidan Resolution ‘On prohibition of Yanukovych signing an agreement on Ukraine’s accession to the Customs Union’],” 2013, “Резолюція Євромайдану ‘Свободу політв’язням! Ні - політичним репресіям!’ [EuroMaidan Resolution ‘Freedom of Political Prisoners! No to Political Repressions!’],” 2013, “Резолюція Народного Віча ‘За європейську Україну!’ [Resolution of People’s Viche ‘For European Ukraine!’],” 2013, “Резолюція Народного Віча «Про заснування Народного об’єднання «Майдан» [Resolution of the People’s Viche ‘On the establishment of the People’s Union â Maidan’’],” 2013; Chernichkin and Podufalov, 2014; Gorchinskaya, 2013; Gorchinskaya and Shamota, 2013; Колодій [Kolodiy], 2014)
 Taken the locality of Maidan resolution as a basis, I performed the further search for the decisions of local-level legislative institutions, the area of jurisdiction of which included the locality. For example, for the city of Chernivtsy, the oblast center, I would check both Chernivtsy city council and Chernivtsy oblast council; for the city Bohorodchany, which is the center of rayon in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast, I would check Bohorodchany city council, Bohorodchany rayon council and Ivano-Frankivsk oblast council; for Ladyzhyn, which is a town in Vinnitsya oblast, nor the oblast center, neither rayon center, I would check Ladyzhyn city council, Trostyanets rayon council and Vinnitsya oblast council.
 Local councils were not always supportive towards the claims of Maidans, aside the fact these often took place in front of their windows. Sometimes political composition of the council results in support of the actions of Ukrainian government, rather than the protestors.