The riots in the capital of Ukraine have been ongoing for more than a month now. The country is effectively on the verge of the civil war and there is no settlement in perspective. On the one hand, there is Russia with its everlasting imperialist inclinations, on the other, the European Union that tries to pull Ukraine in its sphere of influence using mainly the hands of the Polish Government. However, to be fair, it is the Ukrainian people who started demonstrating with the EU flags and who has been asking for the EU support.
What is so magical about the European Union in the eyes of the Ukrainian people? To find the answer to this question, one must look back at the history of the independent Ukraine. The state appeared after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then, it remained largely in the Russian’s zone of interest until the Orange Revolution in 2004 when the pro-Russian authoritarian alliance of president Leonid Kuchma and prime minister Viktor Yanukovych has been overthrown and replaced by pro-European and fully democratic tandem of Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko. Ukraine, perhaps for the first time in its history, took the westward direction. Yushchenko became a president whereas Tymoshenko subsequently assumed an office of the prime minister. They were very consistent in their policy – Ukraine was to approach the European Union as oppose to the old affiliation with its more powerful neighbour, Russia. The direction taken collapsed in 2010 when Yanukovych, having support of the large Russian minority (20%) living in Ukraine, was elected to be the president. At the same time, due to the controversial changes to the electoral system, prime minister Tymoshenko was voted out of office. Subsequently, she was charged with and convicted of misuse of public funds resulting in her imprisonment. The trial is believed to have been initiated, supervised and concluded by the president Yanukovych thereby Tymoshenko became a political prisoner. Consequently, since 2010, Ukraine has been drifting away from the democratic West towards the authoritarian Russian hands. Accordingly, the revolution we are witnessing now, is directed against the policy of human-rights abuse, political trials and economic collapse. Ukraine is heading for the position of a Russian puppet, a place that it has already been in – and the people know exactly what will happen if they do not rebel.
The European Union, despised so much by the majority of the libertarian minds, has become a symbol of the West for the Ukrainian people. The symbol of democracy, human rights and solid economy. When they demand close link with the EU, they do not think about the ridiculous regulations regarding fishery or farming, they mean democracy, human rights and genuine capitalism which the EU, at least in theory, symbolises. It is the only alternative to Russia thereby by saying ‘yes’ to the chancellor Merkel, the Ukrainians say ‘no’ to the president Putin and everything that he represents.