Chaos in Ukraine!

Ukraine, a nation of 45 million people stuck between Europe and Russia’s southwestern border, is undergoing a dramatic collapse of its government in recent days which is subsequent to months of political chaos and social turbulence. Demonstrators have been gathering against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych, which have unfortunately been followed by bloody street protests that left dozens dead and hundreds injured.

So, what urged the Ukrainian people to protest against their own government?

Protesters had been fighting in opposition to President Yanukovych’s constant rejection to sign a political and economic association pact with the EU after pressure from Russia. The Ukrainian government had been trying to establish a landmark trade deal with the European Union for years. In an unexpected change of heart, Yanukovych withdrew last November. It was ultimately acknowledged that Russian force led to the turn around.

This specific deal was immensely important to the Ukrainian people. The deal would have made tremendous changes for Ukraine citizens such as allowing them to travel through the EU without visas; in return Ukraine would implement numerous laws and regulations, and a program of extensive reforms. To activists, the option connecting Russia or Europe is a sign of the plans for the prospect of Ukraine. Given that this deal is so important to the Ukrainian people, why wouldn’t the President want to sign it? It is believed he wouldn’t do so due to the reason that pressure from Russia on Ukraine can be severe and makes economic demands on an already stressed economy. Prior to this, there have been cases where the Kremlin have cut off gas exports into the country and prohibited Ukrainian goods in Russia.

ImageUkraine has undergone an intensifying split, with individuals in the west commonly wanting to create stronger ties with their European neighbors and support the provisional government and its European Union tip; many are Roman Catholic and speak Ukrainian. In contrast, industrial workers in the eastern half prefer a Ukraine where Russia spreads a long shadow. Thus, making Ukraine a political and economic battleground for influence from both the EU and Russia. There are a few things at stake for the EU and Russia. Containing Ukraine as a clear political ally is vital for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mission to incorporate and salvage power over ex-Soviet states. Furthermore, Ukraine has been a significant target for an EU program intended to encourage democratic transformation in the region in return for free-trade agreements.

Viktor Yanukovych left the capital, Kiev, on late February, and protesters took control of the city center. After he left and vowed to never resign, parliament voted to remove Yanukovych of authority for failing in his presidential duties and set new presidential elections for May 25. Meanwhile, Ukraine opposition leader, former Prime Minister, and Yanukovych’s main political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko was released from prison. Mr. Yanukovych has vowed to remain in power and is telling supporters “the dictatorship has fallen” and confirming she will run for president in the upcoming election.


More information on Yulia Tymoshenko

Now, how has the Obama administration reacted to this? Senior White House officials state they are looking at a large range of probable economic and diplomatic measures to present to Obama that would demonstrate to Putin there are consequences to his proceedings in Ukraine. The White House has previously announced the United States will delay partaking in preparatory meetings for the G-8 Summit that will bring world leaders together in June in Sochi, Russia. “Going forward, Russia’s continued violation of international law will lead to greater political and economic isolation,” according to a statement by the administration.

What do YOU think the ultimate fate of Ukraine is? 

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6 Responses to Chaos in Ukraine!

  1. zoneofsubduction says:

    Ukraine is in the proverbial hard place. To understand the discord and the animosities, some history is called for.

    It is rarely a nation and always a culture that is conflicted and treated as subservient by their dominate Russian master. Culturally and geo-politically, Ukraine has always been fought over. Though independent and formidable in the Middle Ages, it waned and came under the control of the Polish and Lithuanian Empire until it rebelled in the 17th century and opted to fall under the influence of Russian Czarists. It was then divided between Russia and Austria during the Partition of Poland in the late 18th century. It remained a territory until the Russian Revolution in 1917. It became the short lived Ukrainian Peoples’ Republic until it lost an armed Russian incursion in 1919 and was annexed into the Soviet nation.

    During the ‘Holomodor’ [Ukrainian for ‘starvation-hunger’] in 1932-1933, millions of Ukrainians were killed off through simple starvation by the Soviet Russians who considered Ukrainians and their culture to be unworthy and sub-human, to prevent the rise of Ukrainian nationalism, and/or for economic theft of their lands for feeding the Russian nation. Motivations and reasons vary, but a case can be made for any of the mentioned motives. Estimates of the dead range from 2,000,000 to 7,500,000 Ukrainians who were killed by the Soviet Russians. Ethnic animosities were so bad that when the National Socialist Germans invaded in 1941, Ukrainians nearly universally welcomed them as liberators. After receiving the National Socialist form of ‘justice’, a Ukrainian Liberation Army was formed and who took on both the Nazi and Soviet militaries in open warfare during the Second World War.

    After the war, the Soviet Russians gave the Crimean peninsula to the Ukrainian SSR as a form of reparations [1954] and to lower nationalist tensions. Stalin, Krushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko, et. al. promoted Russian relocation to Ukraine to solidify a cultural attachment to Moscow and to counter-balance Ukrainian nationalism.

    With the collapse of the USSR, the Ukrainian people realized their freedom and have advocated stronger ties to the West and to the European Union. Moscow has always been leery of this and with the Russian fears of invasion because of Emperor Napoleon, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the American/British incursion of 1918-1919, and the National Socialist German/Fascist Italian alliance; the Russians have recent historically based fears of invasion and occupation.

    The Russian nation longs for the Ukraine because it is a rich agricultural region, it has geologic wealth, a more temperate climate than the north, and access to the Black Sea and the only warm water port for Russian merchant shipping and Naval ships.

    Viktor Yanukovych is an ethnic Russian whose allegiances are solely with the Russians and Vladimir Putin. His intransigence and open disdain for Ukrainian commerce and closer ties with the West has put him at odds with the numerically greater ethnic Ukrainian people. His downfall and his obscenely opulent lifestyle [a tour of his palace is available on YouTube @ ].

    Sadly, while the Ukrainian people fight for independence and the Right to self-determination as a Nation-State, their efforts are currently doomed because of a Russian ruler who longs for the return of the USSR, in which the Ukrainian state must be part of. Because of this, Putin will spare no expense and kill as many as needed to ensure that the Ukrainians never leave the shadow of Russia.

    The United States can do little to help. The American military is bankrupt, in decline, and doesn’t have the energy needed to uphold the fight of another nation seeking its independence. Our national command has made repeated declarations, yet conveniently ignores them when it isn’t politically expedient. We are effectively $18,000,000,000,000 in debt and do not have the national treasure to fight a war, send in advisers, assist NATO, or do anything else other than to offer platitudes and vapid threats. NATO is little without the US or the UK and the British are not going to become a mercenary expeditionary force for American political interests. The Germans would provoke a visceral reaction from the Russians and the Ukrainians – thank goodness the German Army is little more than an internal force and would have difficulty invading Lichtenstein]. France isn’t in NATO, and the Italians, the Dutch, the Norwegians, etc. have no stomach for a foreign fight.

    Just like the Hobbesian vision; the Russians will do as they will and the Ukrainians will suffer what they must. The American leaders will posture for their subjects and Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is realized.

  2. Throughout the history of Ukraine, the people have overcome extreme hardships, both politically and socially. The one thing that is clear is that no matter what is thrown at the Ukrainian people they will become a stronger nation. Now what is the fate of the nation of Ukraine? If this revolution, and lets be honest some see it as a protest, I see it a the forefront to a revolution, does not become successful, Ukraine will always be under a government that is failing and or will be bullied by the powerhouse that is Russia.

  3. darrian01 says:

    This movement has shown that the Ukrainian people are strong and are not going to give up on what they believe is right. The one downfall is, the political protests and violence that has cost people their lives and well being. Instead of destroying their streets, the Ukrainian people should voice their opinions non-violently. For such a small country that for years has lived under the shadow of Russia and its government, violence seems like the only way to get the attention they need. Pray that they are able to soon solve their problems so that they don’t destroy their country and their people. This revolution will make a difference, and hopefully shine a light on the Ukraine.

  4. bmfdub says:

    The awkward lack of involvement by the Obama administration is quite telling of greater American foreign policy of late. The ability of the US to assert dominance anywhere in the world seems to be fading quickly. The lack of involvement in Syria, the very minor response following the expansion of China into the China Seas, and now a disturbingly minor response in Ukraine thus far all exemplify fading American power internationally.

    A simple statement supporting nonviolent activism would have at least asserted our support for the region instead of allowing for Russian appeasement reminiscent of the German invasion of Poland prior to World War II (something like, “Oh, just let them have Crimea. They want to be Russian anyway right?”). In my opinion, just saying something is better than standing idly by.

    But hey, I don’t write foreign policy.

  5. seancity971 says:

    wow, thank you very much for this clear and accurate decription of the situation in the Ukraine. I knew about most of these facts but the whole picture was still a little blurry to me. with this new found knoledge I can only imagine what will happen in the furture for Ukraine. It seems to me that the protestors are clearly ahead of the struggly so far in taking the capitol and getting the president removed from power. I imagin that an EU friendly Ukraine is not far from the horizon.

  6. dalienthus says:

    Thank you for posting on Ukraine, I am surprised that no one had done a post on them yet. Your post was clear, precise, and too the point. I appreciate that over a lot of posts that ramble and jump from one tangent to the next. You made a great animation choice. The cartoon of the car and two busses summarizes the Ukrainian conflict very well. This situation is certainly not a surprise though. At one point or another I feel like most of the old soviet states will be going through something similar. Hopefully the world will learn how to appropriately address this issue with Ukraine in order to not make the same mistakes later on.

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