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13 December, 2013 01:18   ▪  

The Economist on Ukraine: The birth of the nation

The people on Maidan were defending something far greater than an association agreement with the EU. They were standing in the way of a police state, defending fundamental European values and defying the post-Soviet order imposed by Russia, The Economist writes

“Standing in temperatures of minus 13°C, ready to be beaten up, the people on Maidan were defending something far greater than an association agreement with the EU, which was the initial cause,” The Economist writes in its latest piece on the protests in Ukraine, The Birth of the Nation?

“They were standing in the way of a police state, defending fundamental European values and defying the post-Soviet order imposed by Russia. Whatever advantage the riot police had in equipment, the protesters had moral superiority. They were on the right side of history, pushing against the authoritarian power of President Viktor Yanukovych,” the article proceeds.

“Only a few hours earlier, he was shown on television talking to three former presidents of Ukraine about finding a peaceful way out of the crisis; he held talks with Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign-policy boss, and Victoria Nuland, America’s assistant secretary of state, and spoke by phone to Joe Biden, its vice-president. Launching an assault on Maidan with both diplomats in town seemed a deliberate provocation,” The Economist writes.

This was followed by expression of “disgust with the decision of Ukrainian authorities to meet the peaceful protest in Kiev’s Maidan with riot police, bulldozers and batons” from US Secretary John Kerry.

More harsh reaction from the international community followed. “In any democracy new elections can be called when renewed popular legitimacy is needed,” goes the Resolution on the outcome of the Vilnius Summit and the future of the Eastern Partnership, in particular as regards Ukraine filed by EMPs and adopted in the European Parliament today. The EP also called on the European Commission “to consider possible counter-measures which the EU can evoke when Russia breaks World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade rules for short-sighted political ends,” as stated in the Resolution. Canadian Parliament will consider personal sanctions against Ukrainian officials at an extraordinary session, Ukrainian Canadian Congress reports.

“Mr. Putin loathes both popular protests and the idea that Ukraine might move closer to the West. For the time being, Mr. Yanukovych has bowed to his prejudices. But, sooner or later, the protesters will have their way. That is partly because, lacking the Kremlin’s petro-wealth, Mr. Yanukovych is less able to bribe and bludgeon his countrymen into submission: because of his mismanagement, Ukraine’s economy is on the verge of collapse. But mostly it is because a majority of its citizens want to live in a law-abiding, cleanly governed country,” The Economist writes in its other piece on Ukraine, Goodbye, Putin.

Ukrainian political analysts predict that the Maidan will last until it fulfills its functions, whether before New Year or after.


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