Becoming a Public Figure in a Revolutionary Situation

Maidan and the Ordinary Citizen in Ukraine (Winter 2013–2014)
By Alexandra Goujon, Ioulia Shukan

The protest movement of winter 2013–2014 in Ukraine known as “Maidan,” after the occupied square in the center of Kiev, saw two types of protagonists emerge from among the ranks of ordinary participants. On one hand, an ordinary protagonism emerged amid the routine of everyday revolutionary life through the many activities being organized on the ground (cooking, medical assistance, security patrols). Here, peaceful forms of activity led to the emergence of celebrated personalities because of their prolonged commitment to the cause and its publicization by the media and social networks. On the other hand, an insurrectionary protagonism appeared during the phase of the radicalization of the protest, itself a result of repression by the authorities. Opportunities for recognition proliferated when images of police violence toward protestors were widely shared. This protagonism developed from a growing defiance toward the political elites, above all following the deadly clashes of February 18–20, 2014. At this point, it became not so much a synonym for access to power as a political resource.

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