World Views
2:30 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Ukraine Protests Continue, Resolution Elusive

Thousands of Ukrainians protest the scrapping of a trade pact with the European Union on the streets of Kiev - November 24, 2013.
Thousands of Ukrainians protest the scrapping of a trade pact with the European Union on the streets of Kiev - November 24, 2013.
Credit Ryan Anderson / Flickr Creative Commons

Thousands of people have gathered in Kiev's Independence Square over the past two weeks, where Orthodox priests chanted prayers at dawn and demonstrators are vowing to keep up their protests.

The government is showing no signs of yielding, suggesting that the tensions that have gripped the country for two weeks are far from a resolution.

Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says the protests are about two things: The jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, and the president’s decision not to sign agreements with the European Union that would bring them closer to Europe, both economically and politically.

“Many in Ukraine suffering economically right now are very upset with this apparent choice by their leader, and hence their country, to look toward Russia and in fact China,” Cruise says. “Actually this week the President was in China hoping to build those relationships.”

Suzette Grillot, the College’s Dean, says former Cold War tensions are playing out on the streets of Kiev.

“It’s really fascinating to watch how Russia is putting this pressure on Ukraine to not sign these agreements,” Grillot says. “So you've got the government being torn between its former superpower and the West, where many of Ukraine's population would like to see them turn for these economic and political developments.”

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