Starting in November 2013 mass protests began in Ukraine leading to what became known as the EuroMaidan or the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. It has been argued that Ukraine experienced a revolution in that period, the nature of that revolution has been a matter of some controversy. Or indeed whether there was revolution at all.   An entirely new government and Parliament has been elected no win Ukraine.  Roman Tisza is a Ukrainian Marxist writer and editor of the blog vpered.  The following essay appears on the anniversary of the revolution and is published here for the first time in English.

Mass protests in Kyiv during EuroMaidan

Notes on the 4th anniversary of one “revolution”

Published 22 February 2018 in Vpered

By Roman Tisza

Someone might comment that four years is not an anniversary, that maybe it is too early to reach conclusions. To which I reply: the “revolution” is reflected in its anniversary, and its “achievements” in the conclusions.

Statistical demonstration

“For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

Matthew, 25:29.

Conversations are taking places about the return of the 1990s. These conversations are not taking place without foundation: obviously not just a return of attacks on the arsenal of means/assets – alongside negotiations and judgments – the resolution of economic disagreements and the division of material assets, but also the economic downturn and that of the general standard of living of the population.

Let us see how some of the indicators have changed in the last four years.

The US dollar exchange rate. USA for the National Bank of Ukraine

1 September 1996: 1,761[1]

1 February 1997: 1,876

1 February 2014: 7,993

1 February 2018: 27,843

Thus in 17 years – from 1997 to 2014 – there was a decrease in the exchange rate by 4.26 times (or 326%).

In four years – from 2014 to 2018 – there was a decrease of 3.48  times (or 248%).

The exchange value of the ECU/Euro according to the NBU

1 September 1996: 2,261

1 February 1997: 2,237

1 February 2014: 10,849

1 February 2018: 34,685

Thus in 17 years – from 1997 to 2014 — there was a decrease in the money value of 4.85 times (or 385%).

In four years – from 2014 to 2018 – There was a decrease of 3.20 times (or 220%).1

Gross domestic product

2013 ≈ 1,454 billion hryvnya (≈ $180.7 billion). GDP per capita 2013: 32,000 hryvnya (≈ $ 4,000).[2]

GDP 2017: ≈ 2,991 billion hryvnya[3] + 106% (≈$112 billion US,[4] -38%). GDP per capita 2017: 74,000 hryvnya + 131% (≈ $2,8 thousand, -30%).

The industrial production from 2014-2017 shrank by 20%.

The bank assets of people

Deposits 01.01.2014 ≈ 433.7 billion hryvnya[5] (≈ $54.3 billion).

Deposits 01.12.2017 – 455.7 billion hryvnya[6] +5% (≈ $16.8 billion   – 70%).


The official minimum [wage] in 2013 (1.12.2013) was 1.218 hryvnya (≈ $152).

The average in Ukraine (January 2014): 3,148 hryvnya (≈$394)

The average in Kyiv (January 2014): 4,783 hryvnya (≈$598)

The official minimum [wage] in 2018 (1.1.2018) was: 3,723 hryvnya  +206% (≈$133, -12%)

The average in Ukraine (January 2018) was  7900 hryvnya +151% (≈$281 US dollars, -29%)

The average in Kyiv (January 2018) was: ≈ 11,300 hryvnya +136% (≈$403, -33%).


The official minimum in 2013 (1.1.2013)

894 hryvnya (≈$112).

The average in Ukraine (2013) 1,509 hryvnya (≈$189).

The official minimum in 2018 (1.1.2018) 1,452 hryvnya + 62% ($52, – 53%).

The average in Ukraine (2017): ≈ 2,450 hryvnya, +62% (≈90 US dollars -52%).


The Metro in Kyiv (January 2014): 2 hryvnya (.25 US dollars)

Electricity energy for population of Kyiv (January 2014): 0.280 hryvnya (≈0.035 US dollar; ≤150 kWh); 0.365 hryvnya (≈0.046 US dollar, 150-800 kWh)

“Ukrainian” Bread in Kyiv (January 2014): ≈ 5 hryvnya (0.63 US dollar)

Cinema in Kyiv (January 2014): 40 hryvnya (5 US dollars)

The Metro in Kyiv (January 2018): 5 hryvnya +150% (0.18 US dollars, -28%)

Electricity energy for Kyiv population (January 2018): 0.90 hryvnya, + 221% (≈ 0.032 US Dollars, -9%, ≤ 100 kWh); 1.68 hryvnya, + 360% (≈ $ 0.059, + 30%,> 100 kWh).

“Ukrainian” Bread in Kyiv  (January 2018): ≈ 14 hryvnya, + 180% ($ 0.50, -20%).

Cinema in Kyiv (January 2018): ≈ 80 hryvnya, + 100% ($ 2.85, -33%).

Consumer prices in general for 2014-2017 increased by ≈ 130%.

Budget expenditures

Expenditures 2013: 419.8 billion hryvnya (≈ $ 52.5 billion), incl. for the Ministry of Education – 30.9 billion hryvnya. (≈ 3.9 billion US Dollars), Police and Special Services – 39.2 billion hryvnya. (≈ 4.9 billion USD), the Ministry of Defense – 15.3 billion hryvnya. (≈ $ 1.9 billion).

Expenditures 2018: 988.6 billion hryvnya, + 135% (≈ $ 35.2 billion, -33%), incl. Education and Science – 95.5 billion hryvnya. (≈$3.4 billion), Police and Special services – 78.9 billion hryvnya. (≈2.8 billion US Dollars), defense – 86.6 billion hryvnya. (≈ $3.1 billion),

The richest people in Ukraine

A real revolution should — if not change everything — at least renew the ruling class. Let us see if it changed the face of the ruling class  – of the big bourgeoisie:

At the beginning of 2013 (a list of the Ukrainian capitalists in the Forbes list of the richest people in the world):

1. Rinat Akhmetov, assets value – $ 15,44 million;

2. Victor Pinchuk, $3,800 million;

3. Ihor Kolomoysʹky $ 2,400 million;

4. Vadym Novynsʹky, $ 1,900 million;

5. Gennady Bogolyubov, $ 1,700 million;

6. Yuriy Kosyuk, $ 1,600 million;

7. Petro Poroshenko, $ 1,600 million;

8. Kostyantyn Zhevago, $ 1,500 million;

9. Serhiy Tihipko, $ 1,200 million;

10. Andriy Verevsky, $ 1 million.

In the March 2013 list of the richest Ukrainian capitalists in the journal “Focus”:

1. Rinat Akhmetov, $ 16,830 million;

2. Ihor Kolomoysʹky, $ 3,645 million;

3. Gennady Bogolyubov, $ 3,645 million;

4. Dmytro Firtash, $ 3,327 million;

5. Vadym Novynsʹky, $ 3,273 million;

6. Victor Pinchuk, $ 2,150 million;

7. Kostyantyn Zhevago, $ 1,920 million;

8. Kostyantyn Grigorishin, $ 1,814 million;

9. Yuriy Kosyuk, $ 1,514 million;

10. Victor Nusenkis, $ 1,507 million.

End of 2016 (the richest Ukrainian capitalists according to the journal “Focus”)

1. Rinat Akhmetov, $ 2,200 million;

2. Ihor Kolomoysʹky, $ 1,200 million;

3. Gennady Bogolyubov, $ 1,200 million;

4. Victor Pinchuk, $ 1,100 million;

5. Andriy Verevsky, $ 871 million;

6. Yuriy Kosyuk, $ 738 million;

7. Alexander Yaroslavsky, $ 734 million;

8. Kostyantyn Zhevago, $ 635 million;

9. Dmytro Firtash, $ 623 million;

10. Petro Poroshenko, $ 589 million.

In October 2017 the journal “Novoye vremya” published the following list of the richest Ukrainian capitalists:

1. Rinat Akhmetov, $ 6,900 million;

2. Victor Pinchuk, $ 1,400 million;

3. Kostyantyn Zhevago, $ 1,400 million;

4. Vadym Novinsky, $ 1,200 million;

5. Petro Poroshenko, $ 1,000 million;

6. Ihor Kolomoisky, $ 1,000 million;

7. Gennady Bogolyubov, $ 763 million;

8. Dmytro Firtash, $ 746 million;

9. Yuriy Kosyuk, $ 693 million;

10. Alexander and Halyna Gerega, $688 million.

As is evident, the faces (“snouts in the trough’) are the same; what has changed, let us say, is the “executive director” of Joint Stock Company “Ukraine” and his assistants, but the main “stockholders” and the “board of directors” have essentially not changed. It is interesting to note that possibly the biggest success in gaining wealth came to the millionaire president of the poorest country in Europe; he is one of the few big bourgeois whose net worth has increased.

The Trade Union HQ was attacked and burned by the authorities during Euromaidan

Was there a revolution?

Take up arms, citizens!

(a French revolutionary song)

There has been for some time the idea that a bourgeois revolution took place in February 2014. It is difficult to accept this. It is easy to accept this statement only for those who believe that the Russian Revolution was bourgeois (state-bourgeois), and that the USSR was capitalist (state-capitalism). According to this analysis, revolutions also took place to remove from power communist parties and to privatise state industries (those which had not been ruined) in all East European countries towards the end of the 1980s and early 1990s: there was a transition from “abnormal” state-capitalism to “normal” market capitalism.

Now, as it happens in “normal” capitalist societies, you have bourgeois revolutions, and “revolutions of dignity” is one of them, (another was the “orange revolution” of 2004). Supporters of such an analysis consider – and here we cannot disagree with them – that not all revolutions can be great, like the French, Russian or Chinese revolutions – one also has “small” revolutions, such as the July 1830 revolution  in Paris.

I consider this analysis to be flawed because it adheres to the linear model of the progressive irreversible development of human societies which dominated in Marxism-Leninism and is positivist rather than dialectical; this analysis leaves no room for instances of “repeated history”, for (feudal or bourgeois) restorations or “second editions” (of serfdom, capitalism etc.). Therefore, I cannot subscribe to the opinion that the “February revolution” of 2014 was just another bourgeois revolution. Any kind of bourgeois revolution would mean even a minimal step forward – the expansion of political freedoms, and if not the average increase in the standard of living of the masses, then at least there should be new possibilities for economic development, and a cultural revolution. This cannot be seen in Ukraine at the moment – and it couldn’t be seen three or four years ago either. But let us examine for a moment the July 1830 Revolution, a revolution genuinely “small” but still important enough to serve as a model for the “revolutionary dignity”.

Although the July Revolution only lasted a few days and did not overthrow the monarchy as an institution, it removed the power of large landowners, reduced the electoral qualification (voting age was brought down to 25 years, and property qualification fixed at 200 Francs), thus increasing the electorate from 90,000 to 200,000 people, abolished censorship, and gave a blow to the reactionary system of the Holy Alliance.

Instead of the old constitution (Charte de 1814), they adopted a new more liberal constitution (Charte de 1830). From then on, the king “reigned but did not govern”. The state machinery and the army were cleansed of reactionary aristocrats. The July Revolution influenced the development of revolutionary and national-liberation movements in many countries of Europe. In August—September 1830, a bourgeois revolution as well as a national liberation struggle took place in the southern provinces of the Netherlands. Belgium separated from the Netherlands. In February and March 1831 there were the beginnings of revolution in central Italy, in the Papal States and in the Duchy of Parma, quickly defeated though. And ultimately the wave, unleashed by the revolution in Paris, reached Eastern Europe—the Polish uprising (November 1830 to October 1831).[7]

Did the “revolution of dignity” remove the monopolist industrialists or the speculators-financiers from power? What freedoms did it increase? Who did it inspire and why? The answer is obvious and understandable. It is one thing to fight under the leadership of the bourgeoisie at a time when the bourgeoisie is a rising class and is leading society along a progressive path, and it is another thing when it is in decline and the society which it is trying to lead is in fact rotting. We are faced with an example of revolutionary action in the former instance and reaction in the latter.

Reaction embraced with conservatism

“The counterrevolution is largely preventive and, in the Western world, altogether preventive. Here, there is no recent revolution to be undone, and there is none in the offing. And yet, there is a fear of revolution which creates the common interest and links the various stages and forms of the counterrevolution.”

Herbert Marcuse, Counterrevolution and revolt.

Many socialists, Marxists, anarchists and other Left-wing  radicals – those who are struggling to overthrow of the capitalist system and building a classless society, are convinced that only they can learn from history. Only they are smart enough to study history and teach it’s lessons. They are mistaken. Their class adversary, the bourgeoisie, also learns from history. The bourgeoisie, certainly not conscious of its actions, thus, “they do not know that they are doing this, but they do it”[8], has learned to mobilise the masses in order to prevent social revolutions, the bourgeoisie has learned to create, with the help of the masses or with their tacit consent, social conditions which prevent the emergence of a revolutionary political movement of workers, peasants or greater popular masses. That’s how “preventive counterrevolution” has come about which is the ruling class’s response to a social crisis. The first person to use this term was the Italian anarchist, Luigi Fabbri in his pamphlet “Preventive Counter-Revolution: Reflections on Fascism” (1922).[9]  Later, Herbert Marcuse wrote about preventive counter-revolution as a stage of permanent mobilisation of capitalist society against a potential social revolution. The preventive counter-revolution exists in order to go on the offensive if there is an the outbreak of a revolution – this is its difference from the “classic” counterrevolution.

In the same way that there are big and small revolutions, so there are big and small counter-revolutions, more or less ruthless authoritarian regimes, totalitarian fascist states, one person or collective dictatorships, etc. The results of “our” – up to now small – “counterrevolution of dignity” and some features of its consequent regime and situation are the following:

  1. The cheapening of labour power (if calculated in US dollars) –  creates a new reserve army of labour, which is good for foreign employers, not only domestically but also equally beyond its borders: industries are not “transferring” to Ukraine, but the labour force is being actively squeezed out of the country to find work. Soon the country will face a further step: the unfavourable “investment climate” for foreign capital in the country  which leads to lack of jobs which leads to a “brain drain” which leads to the depopulation of the country. To try and stop this flow is not possible even for the biggest employer of the country – the armed forces of Ukraine (although for many young men and women who face unemployment this is the only alternative).
  2. Greater the isolation of the population from the external world, what remains in the country (primarily elderly people but not only): economic barriers (no finance for trips to western or central Europe but also bourgeois propaganda about the “paradise on earth” and therefore, where would you want to go), and administrative barriers (the restriction of air, train and road connections with the Russian Federation, where many have relatives). Many Ukrainians cannot afford a trip even to a neighbouring region. One also needs to add to this the decrease in train connections within the country.
  3. The years of independence, or perhaps more accurately the years of the new dependence – either dependence on the west, or on Russia – have created an atomised mass of consumers, who love to have “everything ready”, for a good life for free, “home where the wages and the pension are higher”.  The anthem of a genuine national revolution (because there are pretensions to this name of national revolution) should be: “There are no supreme saviours, neither Brussels, nor Moscow”. However, Ukraine was negated by two sides of the future frontline: séances of mass self-hypnosis under the banner “Ukraine is Europe” on one side were echoed with “Russia! Russia!” on the other as if a battle between two football chants was going on. Take us abroad even as servants, as stepchildren. Europe preferred but Russia will also do. Take us somewhere, but don’t abandon us, in poverty, in a motherland by ourselves! The consequence is the division of the country into three parts: Ukraine, the People’s Republic of Luhansk and the People’s Republic of Donetsk), but also the annexation of another part by Russia (Crimea). We have three puppet states and annexed territory – all of whom are dependent, each in different ways.
  4. The civil war was provoked by the short-sighted policies of the new ruling elite. The crisis, and the war in particular, show that the previous 20 years were wasted by the national bourgeoisie – a genuine national state was not built, there was no genuine Ukrainization program carried out, which could have kept, at the linguistic-cultural level, the country together. In these years, there was no regrouping of the society within the state borders, even if within those of the Ukraine SSR. Instead we see an alienation from Ukrainian and its denial in policies. Some are selling themselves and selling their fellow-citizens in the West, while others wish to reunite with mother-Russia.
  5. If howitzers are used to “pacify” popular masses of big cities, why couldn’t a bullet “resolve” an ideological-political difference with an individual? When multiple rocket launchers have the floor no further discussion is possible, and opponents are simply killed (which generally speaking is typical of any kind of war including a civil war): from Oleksandr Muzychko and Oles Buzyn to Amina Okuyeva and Iryna Nozdrovska, “people’s republics”, where some field commanders (Oleksiy Mozhoviy Pavlo Dryomov) expressed opinions incompatible with life in a “war democracy”, make no exception.
  6. The moment of truth for the Ukrainian bourgeoisie came in 2014 – its bankruptcy. It demonstrated an inability to resolve both foreign policies and domestic socio-economic policies. The bourgeoisie did not succeed in fulfilling the main duty of any governing class – to develop productive forces. Instead of development there is decline. The movement “from bad to worse”, which lasted a quarter of a century, reached its logical conclusion. We have seen what was in the Ukraine SSR, but we have yet to see what will be Ukraine. We have witnessed the greedy, small faction of the bourgeoisie, in power, becoming an even more greedy and intellectually restricted faction (its intellectual ineptness was demonstrated in particular by appointing foreigners to higher state posts — this bourgeoisie is incapable of even creating leading cadres) and which is ready – in order to ensure power – to collaborate with neo-fascists: introducing neo-fascists into government structures (“Azov”) and condoning their actions (“National Militia”, “The Right Sector”. “C14”).
  7. Unprofessional provincial unimaginative but aggressive persons coming to power. “The revolution of dignity” has demonstrated that a Ukrainian nationalist is a yokel with an assault rifle who has accumulated little knowledge of history, is not aware of contemporary world, lacks imagination and courage to imagine another world, but he is arrogant and pretentious. A country fellow with an assault rifle rushing to defend class interests of a fellow countryman with a heavy purse that is the national bourgeoisie. Arranging for comfortable living, for himself and his family, in a comfortable world (in the Europe of his dreams, i.e., in the capitalist utopia) is the ultimate limit of his fantasy, his petty bourgeois’ horizon. If comfortable living is possible only at the expense of his compatriots, his Ukrainian brothers, and capitalism offers no other option, so be it. Cannibalism is his moral choice.
  8. The victory, relatively speaking, of Petlyura and Bandera: a Ukraine as antithesis to Russia. There is no synthesis of self-sufficiency. There is objection without corroboration. A positive program is lacking, one that would enthuse, be innovative, progressive (in all senses of the word). The only program is the strengthening of the military-police regime. It is funny to observe the destruction of the monuments of USSR heroes and the installation of memorial plaques (because there is no longer any money for monuments) for the heroes of three Western Ukrainian regions and the Canadian emigration (which consists mainly of people who fled from Western Ukraine), and the renaming of streets, etc. They are acting as if in accordance with the Marxist Antonio Gramsci, but they are interpreting his statements upside down. When the Italian Marxist wrote “the press is the most dynamic part of the ideological structure, but not the only one. Everything that directly or indirectly influences or could  influence public opinion belongs to it: libraries, schools, associations and clubs of various kinds, even architecture, the layout of streets and their names”[10] he had in mind a society economically viable if not affluent where in addition to the names of streets people regularly read the newspapers, listened to the radio, etc., i.e., they had the time and means for ideological indoctrination. This does not apply to our society. In the same way as the Kyiv monument to Lenin showed Kyivans and visitors to the capital, where the most expensive city market of rural products was located, did not disturb – and could not disturb – the building of capitalism, then the prospect of Bandera Avenue will not save the Ukrainian nation.
  9. The cleansing of the left political wing – which had a certain political autonomy — of the large official socialist (communist) forces, and creation in their place two puppet socialist parties – led by Kiva and the other by Kaplin. From then on, the entire political spectrum – from the extreme right wing to the leftist-centrist wing – came under the full control of the bourgeoisie. It resulted in the building of a society/community of spectators in a political theatre, in which the actors lost touch with their roles which they were supposed to be playing. And the names “National front”, “Svoboda”, “Socialist Party” can mean whatever one wishes, except for practical actions aimed at national unity or freedom of expression, or a movement towards socialism. (Only the “National Corps” does not trick the potential electorate, because its name, practice and aesthetics clearly state: yes, we are neo-fascists.) It has become a taboo to use the words “Marxist” or “communist”.
  10.  The working class is politically non-existent, outside of history.

The Final Solution to the Ukrainian Question

Kill the poor.

Jello Biafra.

In spite of its strength, the Ukrainian bourgeoisie during the 20 years, leading up to 2014, has given life to the slogan “The ‘third world’ is possible” – and they succeeded. In 2014 it became enthusiastic about a new idea: the “decisive resolution” of the “Ukrainian question”, both territorially and from the point of view of the population. The data demonstrates that they will make short shrift of even this task:

1 February 2014

Territory: 603,6 square kilometres

Population: 45.4 Million people

1 February 2018:

Territory: 561.5 square kilometres[11]

Population: 40.2 million people

Historically the maximum population was 52.2 million people (1993).

It is symptomatic that the current genocide of Ukrainians is sanctified above all else by a sign brought here in the past by a foreign bourgeoisie – the bourgeoisie of a European country. The German bourgeoisie – which built and financed the military machine – that seventy-five ago fought for “lebensraum” (“living space) for its capital in Ukraine. Part of this machine were SS Divisions. The symbolism adopted by the most effective squadrons of “our” bourgeoisie – that of the specially designated squadron named “Azov”, the military school of the commanders of “Azov” and the civil Corps “Azov” – includes the “wolfsangel” (“wolf trap”) which in its time decorated {the sign of }the second tank division of the SS “Das Reich” (Empire). During the Second World War, from 1941 to 1944, the division fought on the German-Soviet front, including on the territory of Ukraine.[12] We don’t know much about the military crimes of the “Das Reich” in Ukraine, but we do know about their participation in at least three criminal acts on the territory of France: mass killings in June 1944 of the peaceful population of the towns Tulle, Argenton-sur-Creuse and Oradour-sur-Glane, where SS killed more than 900 men, women and children.[13] That is the tradition which the current Ukrainian “dignified revolutionary” movement bases itself on.  I would be surprised if some new minister, say for the protection of health in Ukraine, would not have in his wardrobe a symbol of the Reichsfuhrer SS, and they will not broadcast on television the image of the Black Sun as the universal cure for all diseases.


[1] The exchange rates here and further on, see the official website of the National Bank of Ukraine (

[2] Here and further on, data from the State Statistics Agency of Ukraine ( and the website “Minfin”. (

[3] The author’s opinion/estimate.

[4] In the middle of the year the exchange rate was UAH 26.597 for USD 1.

[5] Yu.O. Shvets, K.S. Tsykalo.

[6] The main indicators of the activities of Ukraine’s banks in December 2017, see the official website of the National Bank of Ukraine (

[7] For more detail see: V.M. Dalyn, V.V. Zahladyn, A.Z. Manfred (xx ed), S.N. Pavlov, S.D. Skazkyn. The History of France, Volume 2, the July revolution of 1830, Moscow, “Nauka”, 1973. Pages 216-225; A.Y. Molok. The July Revolution 1830 in France, E.M.Zhukov (ed). Soviet historical encyclopedia, Volume 6, Moscow, Soviet encyclopedia 1965, pages 713-716. Paul Wiriath, “France: History to 1970” in the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed, Vol.X, the University of Cambridge, 1910, p.865.

[8] Karl Marx, Capital, Volume One, London; J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.; New York: E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc., 1930, p. 47.

[9] Luigi Fabri, La Contro-rivoluzione Preventiva, Licinio Capelli, Bologna, 1922.

[10] Herbert Marcuse, Counterrevolution and Revolt, Boston: Beacon Press, 1972, pp.1-2.

[11] Antonio Gramsci, The Prison Notebooks, Volume II, New York: Columbia University Press, 1996, p. 53.

[12] The area/site and the population as of February 2018 – the author’s evaluation.

[13] “Ex-SS soldiers face massacre charges”, in The Independent, 6 December, 2011 (;  Bruno Kartheuser, Die Erhangungen von Tulle, Der 9. Juni 1944, Edition Krautgarten, 2004, 560; Gregory L. Mattson, SS – Das Reich, The History of the Second SS Division 1941-1945, MBI Publishing Co., 2002, pp. 132-135; Tom Parry, “ ‘I played dead as SS beasts wiped out my entire village’: Last witness of Nazi massacre tells his story”, in The Mirror, 2 February 2013 (