Challenges and Hopes
Edited By Viktor Stepanenko and Yaroslav Pylynskyi
The Ukrainian “Eurorevolution”: Dynamics and Meaning
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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