Why are there protests?
The citizens are greatly concerned about the direction their country (Ukraine) is heading. It is not yet known whether Ukraine will be a country that will adhere to the rule of law or will be a country that is run like Russia in a very closed fashion.
The original trigger for the protests was the result of the President, Viktor Yanukovych, rejecting the possibility of a stronger relationship with the European Union in favour of closer links with Russia, last year. A majority of the country’s population wants to integrate with Europe (as Ukraine is currently not a member state), so this was a major upset.
This week violence is at an all time high in Ukraine, however it is uncertain whether it started as a result of the government’s actions or the action of the people. Things were believed to be going well, especially as a deal had been made between the protesters and government that their parliament would discuss plans to alter the constitution to limit the president’s power. However, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament rejected this, which subsequently lead to the protesters becoming increasingly violent.
Who is protesting?
Most protests have occurred in Western Ukraine and Kiev as these areas have people who most want to be part of the EU. Although there has been protests in the East many citizens are Russian speaking and not concerned. Although the opposition parties have been trying to direct the protesters, they do not seem to be very successful in gaining the trust of those protesting.
What is in it?
Russia wants to be a country that can challenge the large global economic powers, such as China, the USA and the EU, so seeks to create a close tie with Ukraine so the country can work towards that goal. However, alternatively, if Ukraine were to be part of the EU it is believed that their economy would rapidly grow.
Will Ukraine be divided?
Some say it will, due to the clear divide in those speaking Russian and those who do not. And as a result of the clear voting divide – where those in the East are voting for the current president who wishes to tie with Russia and those in the west who vote for the opposition.
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