The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
Переклад цього матеріалу українською мовою з російської було автоматично здійснено сервісом Google Translate, без подальшого редагування тексту.
Bu məqalə Google Translate servisi vasitəsi ilə avtomatik olaraq rus dilindən azərbaycan dilinə tərcümə olunmuşdur. Bundan sonra mətn redaktə edilməmişdir.

Poroshenko's trap: why the current president of Ukraine lost

Elections in Ukraine, as predicted by the ratings of presidential candidates, ended victory of Vladimir Zelensky. Despite the fact that the rating of Petro Poroshenko began to grow somewhat closer to the vote, he did not manage to overtake the showman who had gained popularity. Many people call the voting results "protest", noting as the guilt of the outgoing president and the increase in utility tariffs, and the deterioration of living conditions, inability to end the war, and corruption scandals, writes Ksenia Kirillova for the site USA.One.

Photo: Facebook Petro Poroshenko

Some experts note the tendency of voters to “vote with their hearts”, and the American Financial Times just before the second round of elections warnedthat "Zelensky's populism can be costly for Ukraine." According to American journalists, the elected president took advantage of the same populist wave that brought disappointment to voters in various parts of the world, including Brexit and presidency supporters. Donald Trump.

However, in addition to the growth in popularity of the new leaders peculiar to the whole world, which use populist technologies in their campaigns, I would like to highlight Ukraine’s specific reasons for the high rating of a showman. First of all, we are talking about the fatigue of the majority of the population from the war and the permanent state of mobilization generated by it. Certainly, it was not Ukraine that started the war, and it was not at the mercy of the victim of the aggressor that it was stopped. However, this refers to the category of rational arguments, whereas, in my opinion, there are more irrational reasons behind the choice of the majority of Ukrainians.

It is on this, irrational level, that Petro Poroshenko is associated with the war for many Ukrainians. This does not mean that these people reject the fact of Russian aggression, or are pro-Russian. Nor does this mean that they justify Vladimir Putin or remove from him the blame for the occupation of parts of the country. However, with each new year of armed conflict, the number of people tired of war and hungry for a normal life — often at any cost — is steadily increasing.

Recall that Petro Poroshenko came to power in the war of patriotic upsurge, when the annexation of Crimea, the emergence of pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, and then a more obvious Russian presence in the Donbas rallied the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians in a single rush: to defend their country and resist the aggressor. By focusing on his role as president of a belligerent country, Poroshenko really did a lot to strengthen the army and Ukraine’s overall defense capability. But it is his image of the defender, who brought him popularity in his time, now begins to work against him, because over the past years the patriotic impulse, to which Poroshenko is still appealing, has steadily subsided, giving way to disappointment. Under the influence of these tendencies, a new split of society is being formed, arising not by views and beliefs, but by the degree of fatigue and readiness to continue the struggle.

This phenomenon can be called the "secondary division" of society. Unlike Euromaidan and the beginning of Russian aggression, the irreconcilably dividing Ukrainians into pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian parts, the “secondary division” marks not so much an ideological as a psychological split: the split between the “remaining” and the “fallen away”.

Vladimir Zelensky. Photo: YouTube / Radio Liberty Debate Video Screenshot

Unfortunately, life in the struggle equally imposes its imprint on the right and wrong parties to the conflict, leaving a stamp on both the victim and the aggressor. The very logic of war inevitably gives rise to a black and white vision of the world and a sharp division of it into “our own” and “alien”. People living in a fight are radicalized over time. Their tendency to self-criticism falls, and the desire to repulse the opinion of others often exceeds the initial impulse to deeply analyze the facts. “Enemies” and “propagandists” as a result begin to declare everyone who, for various reasons, does not agree with the group’s opinion or makes claims to its individual members - even if this disagreement concerns secondary issues.

Even justified confrontation with something always implies being in a state of conflict, which cannot but leave an imprint on the people participating in this conflict. Making high demands on themselves and often setting as a unique example of sacrifice, these people begin to make similar demands on others, demanding from them the same sacrifice and uncompromising. They can call for the complete rejection of the Russian language even in everyday life as the “language of the aggressor”, constantly remind about the need to sacrifice something for the sake of the front, they are sometimes ready to brand their yesterday’s comrades as “traitors” for their desire to step aside and return to normal life.

On the other hand, the number of people who want to forget about the war and feel the joy of a peaceful life and simple human happiness is growing steadily.

Moreover, many of them, seeing the shortcomings of the existing system, feel deceived, not understanding why they risked their lives. This may be the failure to receive the promised compensation for the killed fighters or money for treatment, facts of corruption, or some actions of the authorities, regarded by people as a betrayal of their interests. One way or another, people are running out of power or motivation to continue the struggle, and the very reason for inclusion in the struggle, which seemed once absolutely important and morally flawless, is becoming increasingly secondary to the background of current difficulties.

Unfortunately, this is exactly how the human psyche works: the most terrible enemy and the most good goal tend to fade away over time if they do not directly affect human life. And on the contrary, it is the one who violates your daily peace that begins to be perceived as the worst enemy - even if he does it for the most justified reasons.

High tariffs, a subpoena from the military registration and enlistment office, a neighbor who brands you for watching a comedy in Russian or in a fit of bitterness declares your fatigue a betrayal and cowardice - these are the main irritants for people who are tired of war. And it is with these irritants that many voters associate Petro Poroshenko.

Photo: Live Screenshot Screenshot

Poroshenko, who even came to the stadium debate surrounded by ATO veterans, is inextricably linked in people's minds with this: with a military uniform, with patriotism slogans. Most Ukrainians are certainly ready to admit that the president is unable to stop the war unleashed by the neighboring country - but unconsciously it was he who became its symbol, and therefore the symbol of the split of society, the symbol of what doesn’t feel peace, and that constantly demands new sacrifice from them and then, having received this sacrifice, may well betray them again.

And Vladimir Zelensky skillfully played on these associations. Recall the video where he used the word "cattle" as an example of how the outgoing administration calls the Russian-speaking Ukrainians. But neither Petro Poroshenko, nor his entourage have never used such words to their citizens. But in the midst of almost every person, at least one Ukrainian patriot probably met, who reasoned in such terms - and he, too, is unconsciously associated with Poroshenko as a symbol of the military division of society. At the same time, many Ukrainians hope that Zelensky, unlike his opponent, will be able to end the war - and they prefer not to ask themselves about under what conditions and at what price he will do it.

By the way, I have seen the “secondary division” of society in the United States, in fact, in miniature. We are talking, for example, about people opposing President Donald Trump and trying to prove his ties with Russia. If at first the split took place along the line of convictions between supporters and opponents of the current president, now it is taking place, rather, between those who reconciled with the Trump presidency and those who still cannot accept it. However, in the United States, where the overwhelming majority of the population prefers to live a peaceful life and avoid conflicts over political issues, no one decides to publicly call non-involvement in politics a betrayal. Therefore, this division is minimized here, and primarily concerns separate groups of activists engaged in protest activities in social networks. Leaving such groups may cause quiet disapproval of its members, but it does not lead to general public censure.

Photo: Facebook Zelensky team

In Ukraine, people who prefer not to think about war and yearn for the pre-war world, and even more so began to communicate with people of opposing views (often equally disappointed and seeking reconciliation), risk at least experiencing a conflict with someone from friends or family members. In the calls for patriotism, they are increasingly beginning to see attempts at manipulation, and the main threat in their perception is not the aggressor sitting in the distant Kremlin, but his own neighbor, threatening to enter them into the Peacemaker database for seditious statements.

Alas, torture by a long hybrid war turned out to be an effective weapon capable of breaking the internal resistance of many Ukrainians. I do not say that such a reaction is correct - but, alas, it is absolutely understandable and humanly justified. Man was created for happiness, not for struggle, and an attempt to find this happiness is his natural need, which fans of populist technologies used at all times.

Not every person will agree to suffer for years, seeing at the same time that the power that sends him to this suffering does not bear any hardships.

Here, of course, it can be argued that the function of power is to effectively manage the country and protect it, and not to indulge in suffering - but this is, again, an argument of reason, then the attitude of people is often determined by irrational motives. Petro Poroshenko, alas, became a hostage to the war, which was not in his power to end.

Miscellaneous Petro Poroshenko elections in Ukraine loudspeakers Vladimir Zelensky

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