Turmoil in the Ukraine

Katie Walker, Staff Writer

In the past year, the country of Ukraine, containing approximately forty-six million people; has become a battleground for political and economic influence from the European Union (EU) and Russia. There is no question that there has been political turmoil in Kiev, Ukraine throughout the last year, however, recent weeks have witnessed more violence than ever witnessed there before.
The European Union was created after World War II and is an economic and political union containing twenty-eight member states that are located primarily in Europe. In hopes to avoid conflict and cultivate economic cooperation, the EU wants countries who trade with one another to become economically interdependent.
The commotion first began when Ukraine’s former President, Viktor Yanukovych, abandoned a European trade and political deal to instead secure a fifteen billion dollar bailout loan from Russia. Ukraine has been an important target for an EU program focused on democratic change in the area for free-trade agreements, so when President Yanukovych’s decision was released to the public, many Ukrainians became angered because they did not want to have any ties with a dictatorship form of government as depicted in Russia. Shortly after this news broke out , hundreds of thousands of people took to the street to protest. A few weeks later, these protests transformed into immense uproars against official corruption and police violence. After many months of protesting, Mr. Yanukovych fled the capital and protesters decided to take control of the city center. One of the most recent and absurd acts of violence occurred on Sunday, February 23rd at the Ukraine House Conference Center. Protesters set off fireworks and threw firebombs at the Ukraine House, while police responded with tear gas.
As far as Russia’s involvement in this madness, their President, Vladimir Putin, has ordered Russian military members to align around the border of Ukraine to portray the image that Russia is superior to Ukraine.
As of now, the Ukraine parliament has agreed to discharge Mr. Yanukovych and assemble new presidential elections for May 25th. After Yanukovych was removed from Ukraine government, former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, known for her infamous peasant-style braid, was released from prison. Tymoshenko was jailed in October 2011 for abusing her position in office by supposedly ordering collateral to sign a natural gas deal with Russia in 2009.
In the near future, Ukrainians hope to remain linked to the 28-nation EU rather than form a new alliance with Russia.