Friday, December 13, 2013

People v. President, Ukraine

The nation was once a Soviet Satellite, its grain fields being fought over during the Second World War by Russia and Germany. Although it is now free of Russia, the rich and powerful oligarchs still find it better for their pockets to remain in close economic ties with them, rather than with the European Union, which is what the people want. The president, Viktor Yanukovych, did not sign a recent deal bringing the nation in closer alignment with the EU, and the people have begun protesting.
Kiev, the capitol city, has become the focal point of the unrest. The square where the demonstrations are being held is named Independence Square. They seem to have chosen well.
But there is a history with men who wish to hold on to power. It is a history of anxiety attacks about free speech. Whether the president has such an attack is unclear, but someone did. Thousands of riot police stormed the square and knocked down the barricades.
But the police did not have as much resolution as the people, and the barricades are back, according to the British newspaper the Guardian, they are now twice as high as they were before the attack. The people retain control of city hall, and apparently the center of the city. Organizers are claiming that as many as 50,000 are on their way to join them.
The opposition is demanding the president sack the prime minister. One of their three leaders is a former heavy-weight boxing champion. Meetings between him and his compatriots with the president have brought nothing. Now, in Independence square a tent city has sprung up, as the people wait for justice. The city statue of Lenin has been torn down.
The president has promised the end of violence, but some are not so sure.
The government is now planning to hold their own weekend rallies, sending people in by train. There is an established law of physics, known as the Pauli Exclusion Principle. It states that no two pieces of matter can be at the same place at the same time. It is the same with massive groups of politically high-strung people. In Ukraine, it will be a very interesting weekend.
In Kiev it is after all Christmastime, and what a very merry Christmas it is turning out to be.
Andrew C. Abbott

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