Civil uprising, which started in Kiev in November 2013 as peaceful protest against President Viktor Yanukovich’s rejection of a free trade deal with EU, now takes violent forms and spreads to Lvov and other western Ukrainian cities.
Here is the New York Times report on events in Ukraine.
Russian media gives a lot of different answers to the question “who and why came out to Kiev Independence Square to protest”. Depending on the political engagement of the source, the answers are different. Most of official state controlled sources give the answers of the kind: “Ukrainian Nationalistic Nazis, who came to hang Muscovites and Jews“; ” bums and unemployed, who have nothing else to do”; “provocateurs paid by American State Department”.
The answers of the most witnesses trying to be objective are totally different. They can be summarized as several statements: “Completely different people came out”, “Those are “Angry citizens”, “There have no leaders, and nobody controls the crowds in the streets”.
Most of democratic commenters blame president Viktor Yanukovich for triggering the appraisal. Yanukovich’s opponents present him as an uneducated man with criminal record, whose autobiographic resume of 90 words contains 12 major spelling and grammatical errors and who in January 2010 claimed that Anton Chekhov was “the Ukrainian poet”. They find his policies disastrous.
Here are excerpts from an article of the one of the most prominent Russian political writers, Stanislaw Belkovsky:
“For three and a half years, Yanukovich tested Ukraine [to see] if he could rule as an uncontrollable royalty. He extended the stationing of the Russian Black Sea Fleet for 25 years, and got away with it. He put Yulia Tymoshenko into prison, no disaster happened. In 2012 he formed a new government, consisting almost entirely of direct appointees of his family. The people’s reply was a muffled grunt, without consequences.
“But finally he was involved in the case which proved to be too difficult for him. In search of convulsive money-saving, pre-bankruptcy Ukrainian budget (and what else could be expected of the budget if the government works for the benefit of a single family?), he began to maneuver between Russia and the European Union, trying to cheat both sides. Do not forget: in an environment where Yanukovich was formed from his childhood, such behavior considered to be not bad, but sweet and honorable.
“When old Europe refused to get Ukraine rich, Yanukovych delayed signing an association agreement with the EU and rushed to cajole Vladimir Putin, Yanukovych overestimated the patience of his people.”
Here are some quotes from the Kiev correspondence of the young and very popular blogger Ilya Varlamov (we wrote about him some time ago ):
“An ancient grandmother fills up Molotov cocktail bottles for nationalist, a manager of a large company brings ammunition to students. None of these people have any clear plan; none has an idea what to do next. Of course, each individual has intention to bring ‘Salvation to Ukraine.’ ”
Some say “It is just necessary to bring here 2 cases of Kalashnikovs and enough grenades and we quickly put things in order.” Others want to “ask for help from the international community and the UN to send troops”. None has a general idea of what to do next. Only one thing is quite clear: people came out against Yanukovych.
“Hundreds of people got to burning barricades to express their anger and resentment accumulated over the years. Anger towards lawless policemen, unfair trials, golden toilets of billionaires, stupidity and corruption of officials.
The majority of people completely depoliticized. They came to kick ass of Yanukovych and his team. Everyone has their own vision of the future claim.”
I think the situation is best of all described by Vitality Portnikov, one of the popular democratic Russian journalists:
“It does not matter now how it began, who conceived it. The main thing: Ukrainian society has ripened such will to change and resistance that it can’t be crushed, neither by police special forces ‘Berkut’, nor by any Russian intervention.”