Ukraine protests reach dangerous levels

 Citizens of Ukraine have recently taken up protest against the government across the country. They wish to join the European Union, much to the dismay of their Russian neighbors.

While Ukraine has been independent from Russia since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Russians still have a major influence on Ukrainian politics. The protesters seek to free themselves from this influence.

Thousands of Kiev citizens have been camping in protest for over two months, hoping to sway the pro-Russian government. Protests have been getting increasingly violent, with riot police on one side and Molotov cocktails on the other.

This divide between the Ukrainian people goes much farther back than the EU. The Eastern and Western halves of the country have deep cultural, social, and linguistic differences that have existed since even before the Soviet era.

The Russian-speaking East and the Ukrainian-speaking West have vastly different views on the country’s political situation. Election data shows a stark contrast between the two sides, with little to no middle ground. The government is currently on the side of the East, and the citizens of the West hope to change that.

The Russian-supported government may have even been using illegal methods to curtail the protesters’ efforts. An anonymous Ukrainian protester on said “they hired lots of people in eastern Ukraine… and let them out into the city to crash cars and start fights.”

The country is split nearly down the middle by the protests. According to a December poll, 50 percent of Ukrainians support the protest, while 43 percent are against it.

President Viktor Yanukovych isn’t giving in to any demands by the protesters, who wish to have him removed from office. However, he has control of Parliament, so this seems unlikely.

With the political temperature constantly growing, politician Vitali Klischko states “we have to immediately take a decision, because the future of Ukraine depends on this decision.”

Whether they make a decision or not, it will have a huge effect on the country.  At this point, all we can do is wait and see where these protests lead.