The Ukraine riots were activated by Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, renegading on an agreement to sign a major partnership deal with the EU in favour of one with Russia. The signing of the EU agreement was understood to be a precursor to Ukraine becoming a member of the 28 nation bloc Union. Under the Russian deal, the price of gas was to be slashed, as well as Moscow committing to buy Ukrainian Government bonds to the tune of Fifteen Billion dollars.
Demonstrations in reaction to Yanukovych’s decision began two months ago, and his refusal to budge from his position has led to increasing volatility and violence in the country. The protesters originally were from Kiev and Western Ukraine, and mostly in favour of aligning with the EU compared to the Russian speaking East and South. Since new security laws have been introduced, prescribing jail terms for blockading of public buildings, and banning the wearing of masks or helmets at demonstrations, the rioters have become more violent, with protesters torching police buses and other vehicles, and Molotov cocktails being hurled at the heads of the police, who’ve responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons. A few protestors have been shot dead.
Ukraine, like most interdependent small countries, are still dealing with the effects of the 2008 economic downturn, with loss of job opportunities for the youth and dwindling incomes for all but the financially well off. As a country they are seeking to increase their national and personal fortunes, and assessing the best route to achieve this, although it’s debatable if this lies within the E.U. with their prescriptive and one-size-fits-all economic policies.
None- the –less, being pulled in different directions by competing interests in the guise of Europe and Russia, and no doubt America, is having a detrimental effect. This is definitely an East versus West scenario complete with agenda’s and guarding of vested interests. The county has a mixed population with two officially spoken languages and corresponding cultural identities adding to the mix, although the identities and aspirations are not necessarily so narrowly matched up and defined.
People are also distrustful of Putin since gaining independence, and the remainder are not comfortable with being in the European stable. Of course Putin has always regarded Ukraine as being part of the Russian bloc, and would prefer the country align accordingly.
The active role of foreign provocateurs in flaming passions and encouraging rioters have been reported on, with the Ukrainian President referring to European Union members presence at these protests, and their rallying of opposition forces against the establishment as disgraceful and treacherous actions that would not be tolerated in their own countries.
It appears, like Egypt, that the original aims and dissatisfactions of protestors have been hijacked by foreigner political (and economic) agents intent on nothing less than regime change.
Early elections have been recommended by most, if not all Western governments in fact.
It is also peculiar that the most violent protests involve tactically organized masked rioters, those manning the frontlines being young, strong males, who have erected fortress like barricades consisting of separate ramparts in some places. In other protests the participants are middle class, middle aged people.
This interference by outsiders is fuelling a type of nationalism and by the look of things, not in a good way either, seems to be leaning toward mob rule, with Ukrainians favouring a revolution.
Some allude to the idea of the country resembling revolutionary Paris in 1789, “one barricade even displaying the blue, white and red of a Tricolour complete with the slogan: “Merci France!” according to a report by ‘The Daily Telegraph.
In consideration though, can this extreme reaction be a justifiable response to Government intransigence and secrecy, the ruling class perceived as intent on riding roughshod over the wishes of the people in pursuit of securing their own interests and that of their foreign counterparts?
As the Ukrainian President’s recent overtures to the opposition, promising them positions in his cabinet such as Prime Minister and other senior placements, as well as his proposal to regulate for the curtailment of his powers have been rejected, not much wriggle room remains, other than signing the EU agreement, which might be too little too late, as it appears he’s no longer trusted.
In response to the President’s concessions, the Ukrainian opposition have called for his immediate resignation.
If the regime changes that have occurred thus far, as in Iraq, Libya, Egypt, as well as the current ongoing civil war in Syria, with the same outcome intended by some, are kinds of harbingers, unless a peaceful solution is found, the future looks ominous for Ukraine.
The Ukrainian people are convinced that theirs is a fight for freedom, but the question remains, who represents the true face of Ukraine’s instability, the provocateurs or the people themselves?
And who are the real provocateurs, those manning the frontlines or those hidden in the shadows?
Only time will tell.
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