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Ukraine after the Euromaidan

Challenges and Hopes

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Edited By Viktor Stepanenko and Yaroslav Pylynskyi

Ukraine’s protest movement of 2013–14, known as the Euromaidan, and its culmination, the people’s uprising in late 2013–early 2014 became one of the most dramatic world events in recent years. The accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation and military conflict in the Donbas demonstrate that the dramatic dynamics of the country’s ongoing transformation are still far from predictable. This book examines the manifold aspects of Ukraine’s current crisis and its political upheaval. The contributors to the book, Ukrainian experts in a variety of disciplinary fields, explore social, political and cultural reasons and factors behind the country’s transformation in its national and regional dimensions, the impact of Ukraine’s revolution on European and global politics, and also the new challenges of tough reforms with which the country is faced. The contributors share the view that the Euromaidan brought new opportunities for Ukraine’s modern development and the greatest historical chance for the country’s European future since independence in 1991.
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The Ukrainian “Eurorevolution”: Dynamics and Meaning

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The events in Ukraine that followed the decision of the Yanukovych government not to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union at the November 2013 summit in Vilnius came as a surprise to both Ukrainian society and the international community. Meanwhile, the dynamic situation has shown that significant parts of the Ukrainian people desire a principally new (“European”) political and economic structure to their lives. In this article we will reconstruct a chronology of the most significant events from November 2013 to February 2014 and examine various aspects of a political and economic crisis that is without parallel in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history.

The Initial Spontaneous Protests

The first protest on the Kyiv Maidan, Ukraine’s independence square, took place in the night between 21 and 22 November. As early as Saturday 23 November, tens of thousands of people, the largest assembly since the “Orange Revolution” of 2004, gathered to demonstrate and shout slogans in support of European integration. The majority of the demonstrators were angered not so much by the “abandonment” of negotiations with the EU as by the way it was communicated: society was confronted with the decision without public mention of the question, and after representatives of the government had confirmed only the previous day that they would most certainly be signing the agreement at the EU summit in Vilnius. It was this cynical manner of going about things that brought about a wave of protests of such magnitude. ← 59 | 60 →

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