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You're reading: People First: The latest in the watch on Ukrainian democracy

Ukrainian public launches video referendum

E-democracy is appearing in various forms in Ukraine. One of them is the first political video referendum in history which was launched on the Nov. 11. The referendum is organized by the ‘Spilna Sprava’ civil movement and delegates from ‘Narodna Rada’, a union of civil organizations, with the main goal of terminating the rule of President Viktor Yanukovych and the current government. People of Ukraine have been asked to record video addresses to the President and Verkhovna Rada explaining their frustration with recent policies and present their reasoning as to why the current ruling elite should resign from office. The last words each might as well be "You are fired. Hurry up and go!" It is planned to post all the videos on Youtube.
As of today over 100 addresses from Ukrainian citizens to the President and Ukrainian Parliament(2) have been already posted on the video streaming website, which has the worlds largest audience. The organisers hope for up to 3 million videos, which will clearly demonstrate to the politicians in power that the people are not satisfied with their work. The authorities have so far been withholding comment on this civil initiative. Some journalists and experts suggest that the referendum might have some legal consequences in addition to the probable social and political ones. According to Article 69 of the Constitution of Ukraine the people of Ukraine have the right to express their will through not only elections and referenda but also forms of direct democracy. Either way, as the video referendum continues it will definitely show whether Ukrainians are able to encourage resistance through social networks.

People First Comment: It is excellent to see Ukrainians exercising their right to freedom of speech and using the new media to express their opinions and frustrations to the political elite. The elite may not like it as it was not the ‘done thing’ in the Soviet era but fortunately for the rest of the planet the Soviet era is long gone and so too should those who still hanker after it. In the real world of today politicians simply have to live with the irritation of a well informed, well educated and erudite population using the latest technology to express their displeasure.
Any government in such a situation has three options; the first is to switch off the mobile phone networks and the internet but that would only bring thousands if not millions more onto the streets. Secondly they could waste thousands of man hours in tracking down every contributor and charge them with… what? Thirdly they could actually listen to the people’s grievances and do something about them.

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