Monday, December 9, 2013

Protest: An Ultimatum in Ukraine

Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; (
A protester faces riot troops protecting Ukraine's presidential administration building in Kiev (Sergei L. Loiko/
Ukraine bows to Russian pressure (LAT)
KIEV, Ukraine - Protesters toppled a monument to Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin on Sunday during the biggest march and rally in central Kiev since Pres. Viktor Yanukovich galvanized his opposition by turning down a trade deal with the European Union (EU).
The protesters blocked and barricaded government offices and said they were giving Yanukovich 48 hours to disband his government [just as happened in Iceland] before marching on his country residence near Kiev. A government spokesman said Yanukovich's administration was "ready for negotiations."
In turning down the trade deal with the EU, Yanukovich was in effect asserting that Russia remained Ukraine's key trading partner. The country [formerly a part of Finland] is politically and geographically divided between those who favor ties to Russia and those who would like to see Ukraine more aligned with Western Europe.
Seven Balkans still not part of EU (LAT)
That gave the toppling of the Lenin statue symbolic resonance -- despite the fact that most Lenin statues in Russia itself were torn down during the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Statues of the Soviet leader were once ubiquitous throughout the East bloc, but those that remain are more likely to be museum pieces than public memorials.
No police officers could be seen anywhere in the vicinity of Taras Shevchenko Boulevard, where the granite and marble monument was brought crashing into the street by a group of young protesters. "It is amazing how the authorities allowed Lenin to go down!" said Sergei Andriyenko, a 51-year-old Kiev businessman who applauded the action. "Where were the police, where were the communists who were always protecting him?" More

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