11/21 – Euromaidan

An Orthodox priests hears confession as protesters and Berkut riot police face off. (source: Anthro Encyclopedia)

On this day in 2013 the Euromaidan, or “European Square” protests began in Ukraine in response to President Viktor Yanukovych’s postponement of an association deal with the European Union (EU). The protests, which took place largely in the central square (Maidan) in Kiev, were motivated by the Yanukovych government’s decision to seek further economic alignment with Russia as well as widespread corruption within the administration. After Ukrainian security forces violently attacked protesters in late November, the demonstrations grew and carried on until February of the following year. The ensuing Ukrainian Revolution resulted in a more Euro-friendly government headed by Oleksandr Turchynov; but the chaos of Euromaidan also enabled Russian-backed agitators to lay the groundwork for the 2014 Russian Invasion of Crimea. Like the rest of Eastern Europe, Ukraine was and is still torn between pro-Euro alignment and the strong pull of Russia. This crisis of Eastern identity will likely cause violence and unrest for decades to come.

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