Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Glory and Gore of Kiev's Independence Square

When I first the footage of protesters rioting in the streets of Independence Square, I was in complete awe. Shock is a good word for it, maybe even a tad emotional, as hundreds of thousands of people gathered within the town's center to spread their voice over the future of Ukraine. Once again, a war between the west and east, yet there is no Berlin wall to stop the damage that is ravaging Kiev and other cities. Before I jump within commentary, I would like to present the "before and after" of Independence Square- a truly appalling transformation that presents the power and will of the Ukrainian people. 

This ongoing conflict between western and Russian influence dates back father than Ukraine's desire to join the European Union. Ukraine is generally divided between Russian or Ukrainian speakers- as the eastern portion of Ukraine is generally dominated by Russian speakers that split off with the downfall of communism. This split has generally created arguments over the support of the European Union or their corrupt trading partner- as Russia has held up a few bribes to the Ukrainians such as allowing for cheaper oil if they were to join. On the other hand, the European Union provides for greater trade and a more powerful economy that will boost Ukraine's power and position. While the Europeans seems as the better choice, thousands of Ukrainians fear losing their jobs as the east is generally dominated by Russian consumers- through which Putin will have the ability to stop trade or raise oil prices. One thing that is certain is that this situation is not really about Ukraine's search for independence (even though they will be needing a new government) but rather a global conflict that could either put Ukraine within the super-power group of China and Russia rather than joining the EU and the Americans. With another country within this circle- the power of these dictatorship lead countries will grow and begin to have a greater influence over world politics.

With president Viktor F Yanukovych fighting for his position- the frustration seems greater than ever. This conflict can be resolved by a resignation, yet Yanukovych is not budging within his seat as he launches one of the most violent series of riots Ukraine has ever seen. Over 100 people have been confirmed dead and  injuries are soaring towards the thousands- there will be no ease as Ukraine tries to resolve the destruction, terror, and distrust of the people. While the protests remained peaceful in the beginning- with photographs of priests protecting the people- violence grew from both the military and the people. Molotov cocktails, the main source of destruction- were thrown by both sides with no apparent truce in the future. It gets worse- as the military has began to use weapons and has even brought in tanks within Kiev's borders. A video of soldiers firing AK-47 rounds can be found here. At this point there is no way to stop the protest- as it was said that over one million people gathered within the square recently. Ukraine sits in flames and the people battle it out with their government. 

There is no clear truce in light- as recently protesters said to have captured 67 police officers. (source) The will and ambition of these people is inspiring- and shows the dedication that many have in the search of their freedom. One thing is certain, This fight will not only decide the future of Ukraine's independence- but also the control of the worlds' greatest superpowers. 

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