By Mayank Jain:Â
“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” â€• Leonardo da Vinci
You have been hearing about the protests, seeing pictures and reports about Kiev,Â and still don’t know how and why the protests are happening in Ukraine? Here is all you need to know in just 7 points:
1. The protests began around 23rd November, 2013 when the Ukrainian President Yanukovych refused to sign a trade agreement with EU association. It implied his intentions to build stronger ties with Russia instead and the people erupted with peaceful protests all around the country to express their resentment against this overnight decision.
2. On the night of 30th November, “Berkut” units came down on the protestors brutally and tried to disperse them resulting in violent protests in the capital, Kiev and all across the country. The President reacted like nothing happened and people started “March of the Million” with about a million protesters in Kiev and thousands in other cities as well to overthrow the government.
3. Things took an ugly turn when the government passed 20 anti-democratic, unconstitutional laws against Parliamentary voting procedures. The government could now beat up people wearing a helmet and put the protesters in jail for up to 15 years. Thus, the protests increased and use of petrol bombs against the police force became popular.
4. The regime ignored the peaceful protests of Euromaidan and its own people started to react on the non-parliamentary procedures being carried out to disperse the movement by hook or the crook.
5. Violence escalated with further resentment by the people and gave rise to public perception of the regime as highly corrupt, abusive of power and criminal to human rights. Some even quote the Euromaidan protests as a civil war. Hundreds of people are injured by now and dozens are missing. There are hospitals filled with unidentified bodies which only point towards the deadly nature of this identity struggle that Ukraine’s population is going through.
6. The situation is grave because of the lack of independent media outlets in the country and lack of English news channels that could transmit ground realities to the outer world. Free internet, hence is the crucial link between us and the people of Ukraine.
7. The government is still denying the use of force or “Berkut” units but footage from international media clearly refutes the claim and the protests are nowhere close to dying down. Demonstrations have gone global as people are staging supportive demonstrations in far flung areas from St. Petersberg to even Chicago.
Journalist Lecia Bushak well described the situation in the 18th February 2014 issue of Newsweek magazine,Â “EuroMaidan has grown into something far bigger than just an angry response to the fallen-through EU deal. It’s now about ousting Yanukovych and his corrupt government; guiding Ukraine away from its 200-year-long, deeply intertwined and painful relationship with Russia; and standing up for basic human rights to protest, speak and think freely and to act peacefully without the threat of punishment.”
April 5th, 2014
The situation is getting worse everyday in the country. After Russia’s takeover of Crimea after a public referendum, chaos hasn’t come down. Eastern Ukraine is getting violent with armed insurgents being attacked for the first time by the Ukrainian force. Dozens have already been killed and one of the bloodiest day happened in Odessa, an otherwise calm city where 23 people lost their lives. The protests are now taking the shape of an all out war.
Russian and Ukrainian military units are all converging towards the border in anticipation of a worse situation and anything further violent from here will spell a long drawn power struggle that could have been avoided long back. The Russians have also been accused of “throwing thugs on Ukraine”, kidnapping journalists and diplomats.
In the midst of all this, it will be hard for Kiev to hold its ground and hold the Presidential elections that are due in this month itself.