Saturday, March 1, 2014

Explanation of the Ukraine Protests That's Easy to Understand

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“We are civilized people, but our government are barbarians,” she tells viewers. “I know that maybe tomorrow we’ll have no phone, no Internet connection, and we will be alone here.”

Los Angeles–based filmmaker Ben Moses met Yulia while working on his latest documentary, A Whisper to a Roar, which follows five countries in their fight for democracy: Egypt, Malaysia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and Ukraine.

“We wanted to include a post-Communist country,” Moses said, referring to Ukraine's declaration of independence from Mother Russia in 1991, months before the collapse of the Soviet Union—ties that are still unraveling in the modern conflict.

Protests first broke out in November when President Viktor Yanukovich rejected a trade deal with the European Union that many Ukrainians believed would help hold the country's corrupt leadership to account while developing the economy in a more Western, open style.

Instead, Ukraine's leadership accepted a $15 billion bailout from Russia—which has been paying into the recession-ridden country's cronyistic leadership for years. Yanukovich’s close ties with former Soviet masters—who have an interest in the gas pipelines running through Ukraine into Europe—proved to be the final stroke for Ukrainians, who took to the streets to demand fresh leadership.  

Protesters, who are calling their movement the Euromaidan, occupied Independent Square in Kiev in freezing temperatures, enduring beatings and violence that has left at least 75 people dead and hundreds more injured.

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